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The Purāṇas describe King Rukmāṅgada, who was devoted to Bhagavān and who strictly followed the vow of ekādaśī. He also made his subjects follow ekādaśī through a royal decree.

Due to this order of the king, all of his subjects became spiritually purified. Thus, when they died they went to the spiritual realm of Vaikuṇṭha, and the hellish abode of Yamarāja became more and more empty. Yamarāja and his assistant Citragupta, who keeps account of the pious and impious activities of the people, went with Devarṣī Nārada to see Brahmā and inform him of the situation.

Brahmā understood the difficulty faced by Yamarāja, and after reflecting for sometime he created a very beautiful woman. He gave her the name Mohinī, and ordered her to enchant King Rukmāṅgada with her beauty and charm.

Mohinī approached the kingdom and began to sing in a sweet voice. At that time the king, who was riding a horse and looking after his subjects, heard her wonderful singing. Even animals and birds were attracted to that lovely sound. The curious king approached and saw the very beautiful, faircomplexioned damsel Mohinī. Enchanted by her beauty andvoice, he proposed marriage to her.

Mohinī said, “I am the daughter of Brahmā. I heard about your fame and good reputation, and wanted you as my husband. Thus, I was praying to Lord Śiva through my song. My condition for marrying you is that you promise to do whatever I ask.”

Placing his hand on hers, the king vowed, “O Mohinī, I will fulfill all of your wishes.” The king returned to his capital with Mohinī. He put his son Dharmāṅgada in charge of the kingdom and lived with her. Many years passed, and while he lived happily with Mohinī, he never disrespected the vow of ekādaśī. When the king developed a desire to follow the vow of Kārtika, he asked Mohinī for permission to do so. At that time the king heard the proclamation made by his son: “Tomorrow is ekādaśī tithi, and all subjects must follow it.” The king said to Mohinī, “At your request I have appointed the senior queen Sandhyāvalī to observe the vow of Kārtika; however, I will personally observe the vow of ekādaśī. You should also follow this vow with me.”

Mohinī reminded the king that he had promised to fulfill all of her desires. The king said, “I will certainly do whatever you want.” Mohinī replied, “I want you to forget about ekādaśī and have lunch with me.” The king replied, “Mohinī, you should not ask me to break my vow; I shall fulfill all of your other desires. I have personally preached about observing ekādaśī, so how can I break that vow?”

Mohinī became very angry and said with ridicule, “If you do not break the vow, your promise to me will be broken and you will go to hell. I will leave you.” Then Dharmāṅgada arrived and Mohinī explained to him what was going on.

Dharmāṅgada insisted that his father obey his stepmother Mohinī. King Rukmāṅgada became very frustrated and said, “Mohinī may stay or go; she may live or die, but I will not fail to observe ekādaśī.”

Dharmāṅgada went to his mother Sandhyāvalī and requested that she try to persuade Mohinī to change her mind. However, despite Sandhyāvalī’s best efforts, Mohinī remained insistent. Mohinī said, “If the king does not eat lunch on ekādaśī, he should chop off the head of his dear son and offer it to me.” Hearing this, Sandhyāvalī began to tremble. After regaining her composure, she said, “O king, honoring your religious duties is more important than your son’s life. As his mother I have even more affection for him than you do;
however, I would rather give up that affection than see you neglect your religious duties by breaking your vow. So, you should give up your affection and sense of possessiveness towards your son, and sacrifice him.”

Then Prince Dharmāṅgada put a sharp sword in the king’s hand and said, “O father, please do not delay; please kill me to protect your
vow.” Mohinī told the king, “Either eat food on ekādaśī or kill your son.”

The king lifted the sword and Dharmāṅgada was ready to sacrifice his life. The Earth began to tremble and great waves arose in the oceans. At that very moment, Bhagavān Śrī Hari manifested there and took the sword from the king’s hands.

Lord Hari said, “O king, I am greatly satisfied by your determination to observe ekādaśī. You, your wife, and your son will go to the spiritual kingdom of Vaikuṇṭha.” Śrī Hari blessed the king with a touch and then disappeared.

Ekādaśī is the mother of Kṛṣṇa- Bhakti, love and affection. If you do not follow ekādaśī, Kṛṣṇa- Bhakti will never come.