(Also known as ‘Parivartini’ or ‘Jalajilani’ Ekadashi)
—🌧 A Shower of Grace Granting Continual Holistic Wellbeing
⚪ ShriHari Mandir (Porbandar) is celebrating Padmā Ekādaśī fast on Friday, 17th September, 2021.
⚪ This fast is observed on the eleventh day of the first fortnight (Śukla pakṣa) in the month of ‘Bhādrapada’.
⚪ The unique significance of each Ekādaśī Kathā is explained to Dharmarāja Śrī Yudhiṣṭhira Māharāja by Śrī Krṣṇa, in the ‘Uttara Khaṇḍa’ of the Padma Purāṇa.
⚪ Śrī Krṣṇa explains the significance of this Ekādaśī fast by narrating a story told to Devarṣī Nārada by Śrī Brahmājī.
⚪ What is the story of Padmā Ekādaśī?
✸ In the Solar race, there was a distinguished King who went by the name of Māndhātā. King Māndhātā lived by the pledge of Truth, and his rule was extensively spread over the entire world.
✸ King Māndhātā used to righteously serve his people, considering them to be the form of his own progeny. His people were blessed with both wealth, and fearlessness. There was never a time of doom in his kingdom; nor was it ever tormented by mental distress or agitations.
✸ The King’s treasury only stored wealth that was brought through righteous means. Under his rule, people of all professions (varṇas) and at all stages of life (āśrama) used to be engaged in their respective duties.
✸ The land under King Māndhātā’s rule was thus, akin to a fruit-bestowing celestial cow. During his rule, his people enjoyed great prosperity.
✸ One time, as part of receiving the fruit of one of his past actions, there was no rain in King Māndhātā’s kingdom for three years; causing his people to suffer and perish, due to starvation.
✸ In the middle of this alarming time, King Māndhātā’s people went to him with a request—
‘Dearest King, you should listen to what your people have to say. In our Purāṇas, it is said that water is ‘nārā’. This ‘nārā’ is Bhagavāna’s ‘ayana’ or place of rest; which is why He is known as ‘Nārāyaṇa’ (The One who rests on water). Bhagavāna Nārāyaṇa is universally present in His Cosmic form. It is He who showers us with rain by taking the form of clouds. Food is grown from rain, and life is sustained through food.’
‘Oh best of all, our people are losing their lives due to the lack of food during this time. Find us a solution that can fulfil our wellbeing by providing us with what we lack, and persevering what we already have,’ the people urged.
अनन्याश्चिन्तयन्तो मां ये जना: पर्युपासते |
तेषां नित्याभियुक्तानां योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम् ||
ananyāś cintayanto māṃ
ye janāḥ paryupāsate
yoga-kṣemaṃ vahāmy aham || BG 9.22 ||
‘There are those who always think of Me and engage in exclusive devotion to Me. To them, whose minds are always absorbed in Me, I provide what they lack and preserve what they already possess.’
King Māndhātā agreed to what his people had to say, adding that food is said to be that Highest Reality; from food are born living beings, and it is only through food that this Universe is able to sustain life on it.
✸ King Māndhātā reflected on the possible reasons for the current circumstances, thinking out loud, ‘I have heard many times as well as read in the Purāṇas that a King’s atrocities can bring about suffering to his people. However, when I think things through, I am unable to recall myself doing any injustice. Still, I will try my best for the wellbeing of my people.’
✸ Having made his decision, King Māndhātā chose a few from his Kingdom, paid his obeisance to the Supreme Reality, and headed to the forest. There, as he made his way through the forest, visiting the main hermitages of ascetics and sages, the King was one day blessed with a sight of Brahmāji’s son, Ṛṣi Angirā.
✸ King Māndhātā immediately dismounted his vehicle and offered his heartfelt obeisances to the Ṛṣi’s feet with folded hands. Ṛṣi Angirā blessed the King; first asking him about his wellbeing, and then about his reason for coming to the forest.
✸ The King answered, ‘I was ruling over and taking care of Earth through a righteous system. And yet, there has been no rain in my kingdom for the past three years. I am unable to ascertain the reason behind this. Please help me find a way out.’
✸ Ṛṣi Angirā spoke—‘Oh King Māndhātā, this is the most excellent of all four ages (Yugas), Satya-yuga, in which everyone is ever-contemplating upon the Lord. Thus, during this time, righteousness (Dharma) is empowered with all four of its limbs (Truth, Purity, Asceticism and Compassion). In this Yuga, only Brāhmaṇas are fit to perform asceticism; not anyone else. However, in your Kingdom there is a Śūdra who is performing asceticism, which is why the clouds aren’t showering down rain.’
✸ Ṛṣi Angirā advised the King to find a resolution of this current circumstance (discontinue the Śūdra’s asceticism), so that the clouds can then shower King Māndhātā’s barren land with rain.
✸ King Māndhātā reflected over the Ṛṣi’s words, and then spoke—‘Oh Sage, firstly, this Śūdra is absorbed in his asceticism; and secondly, he is innocent. Thus, I will not act unjustly with him. Please suggest another way out.
✸ The pleased Rṣi then told the King to observe this Padmā Ekādaśī fast together with his people and relatives, whose effect would undoubtedly bring forth excellent rains.
✸ Having heard these words from the Ṛṣi, King Māndhātā returned home, and observed this fast with everyone in his kingdom, including people of all four Varṇas.
✸ At the completion of their fast, the clouds burst, showering down rain, filling the lands with water and beautifying them with greenery. Everyone became prosperous and was filled with joy again.
⚪ How to observe Padmā Ekādaśī?
– On the day of Padmā Ekādaśī, one should perform charity of:
– A pot filled with water (covered with a cloth), together with curd and rice to a Brāhmaṇa.
– An umbrella and shoes
– Whilst performing the respective charities, one should chant the following śloka:
नमो नमस्ते गोविन्द बुधश्रवणसंज्ञक |
अघौघ संक्षयं कृत्वा सर्वसौख्यप्रदो भव ||
भुक्तिमुक्तिप्रदश्चैव लोकानां सुखदायक ||
namo namaste govinda buddhaśravaṇasaṅjñaka |
aghauga saṅkṣyaṃ krutvā sarvasaukhyaprado bhava ||
bhuktimuktipradaścaiva lokānāṃ sukhadāyaka ||
‘Oh Govinda, you are the bestower of happiness, blessing the virtuous ones with enjoyment and liberation.’
⚪ One who reads or listens to this Ekādaśī Kathā, is liberated from all their sins.
🌐 Stay tuned to know more about the respective significance of, rituals involved in, and fruits reaped from, each Ekādaśī Kathā!
🔆#DidYouKnow—The term ‘Varṇa’ in Saṃskṛta can be translated as ‘to select’ or ‘take a liking to’. Thus, differing to the man-made ‘caste’ system, the class-system (Varṇa-vyavasthā) is system that allows individuals to move fluidly within the social structure based on inherent qualities and personal preference, as Śrī Krṣṇa tells us in the Bhagavad Gītā ↓
cātur-varṇyaṃ mayā sṛṣṭaṃ
tasya kartāram api māṃ
viddhy akartāram avyayam || BG 4.13 ||
To know more about Varṇāśrama Dharma, as well as the other four Life Breaths of Sanātana Dharma, register your interest here
🔆 #DidYouKnow—“Be it a fast such as Ekadashi or others; or be it worship of Gayatri, Mother of the Vedas—the aim of all is Yoga (Divine Union with the Supreme),” tweets @PPBhaishri.
🌙 #FunFact—There are two Ekādaśīs in every month; falling on the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight. The Ekādaśī falling during the waxing phase of the moon (bright lunar fortnight) is known as ’Śukla pakṣa’ Ekādaśī; and the one falling during the waning phase of the moon (dark lunar fortnight) is known as ‘Krṣṇa pakṣa’ Ekādaśī.
PuraanPrasaad by Rishi Dhavalbhai Joshi