Rama Ekadashi 2023: Know significance, history, ritual and more
Fasting on Rama Ekadashi is believed to cleanse the soul and bring peace and prosperity. Devotees observe a strict fast and engage in prayers, singing bhajans, and reading or listening to Bhagavad Gita or Srimad Bhagavatham.
The Ekadashi which falls on Krishna paksha of Kartik month, is known as Rama Ekadashi. It is considered as most sacred and fortunate Ekadashi. One can atone for all of their sins in this world by maintaining fast on this Ekadashi. This year, the Rama Ekadashi falls on November 9.
In the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana of Veda Vyasa, Lord Krishna and King Yudhishthira recount the glories of Rama Ekadashi, also known as Kartika-Krishna Ekadashi.
The Supreme Lord Krishna said to King Yudhishthira, “O lion among kings, the Ekadashi that occurs in the dark fortnight of the month of Kartika is called Rama Ekadashi. This Ekadashi has the power to eliminate the greatest of sins and award passage to the spiritual realm. Now hear a story that demonstrates the glory of this sacred Ekadashi."
A famous king by the name of Muchakunda once ruled. Sincerely, Muchakunda consistently rendered devotional worship to Krishna. His strict adherence to religious precepts contributed to the tranquility of his realm.
Krishna tells Yudhishthir Maharaja, "Prince Shobhana, the son of King Chandrasena, married Chandrabhaga, the daughter of Muchakunda. A few days prior to Ekadashi, Shobhana paid his father-in-law a visit once. It was customary of Muchakunda that all his residents observe a full fast on Ekadashi. Chandrabhaga was worried about her husband because he was too weak to fast for an entire day. My father observes Ekadashi with great strictness,' she informed him. "Everyone is therefore obliged to fast on Ekadashi, the sacred day of Sri Hari!" Muchakunda declares as he strikes a massive kettledrum on the Dashami, the day before Ekadashi."
“On Dashami, when Shobhana heard the sound of the kettledrum, he said to his wife, ‘O beautiful one, what am I to do now? How can I obey your father’s and also save my life?’ Chandrabhaga replied, ‘My dear husband, in my father’s house, not even the elephants or horses – what to speak of human beings – eat on Ekadashi. The animals are not fed grains, leaves, straw, or even water! So you cannot avoid fasting if you are here. If you must eat something dear husband, then you must leave at once. Please decide what you wish to do.’
"Prince Shobhana then made the decision to give himself over to fate and fast on the holy day of Ekadashi. Shobhana suffered from thirst and hunger as a result of the Ekadashi fast, which he found intolerable. The Vaishnavas were all joyful that auspicious night when the sun set in the west. The devotees enthusiastically worshipped Me (Sri Hari) and remained awake all night, O Yudhisthira. But for Prince Shobhana, the evening turned agonising. By Dwadasi's dawn, Prince Shobhana was dead," said Lord Krishna.
"King Muchakunda conducted his son-in-law's burial over a substantial pile of wood, but he gave his daughter Chandrabhaga the instruction to break the ritual of climbing her husband's funeral pyre. Chandrabhaga stayed with her father after carrying out her husband's purification rites. Shobhana gained tremendous virtue by following Rama Ekadashi, and in his next life, he ruled an affluent kingdom perched on Mandarachala Mountain. This kingdom was like a city of the demigods."
Travelling through Muchakunda's realm, Somasharma, a Brahmin came onto Shobhana's kingdom. He was shocked to see Shobhana.
King Shobhana informed him that he was granted authority over this magnificent city as he had observed the Rama Ekadashi. However, it was just momentary. He declared that this empire was temporary since he observed Rama Ekadashi without any faith. As he believed that Chandrabhaga would be able to establish his dominion permanently, he requested the Brahmin to see her and share with her everything he had observed and learned about this location.
After returning, the brahmin told Chandrabhaga the whole story. Chandrabhaga was ecstatic to learn about her spouse. Then Chandrabhaga claimed that she longed to see her husband again and that she could use the merit she had accumulated by abstaining from food on every Ekadashi for her whole life to permanently establish her husband's kingdom.
Then, Somasharma guided Chandrabhaga to the realm of Shobhana. They took a halt at the revered Vamadeva ashrama en route. After learning of their tale, Vamadeva showered Chandrabhaga with holy water and performed Vedic chants. She had gained virtue by fasting for numerous Ekadashis, which according to Hindu traditions made her body transcending.
When Shobhana saw his wife on Mount Mandarachala, he called out to her in great happiness. She then told him, ‘From the time I was eight years old I have fasted regularly and with full faith on every Ekadashi. If I transfer to you all the merit I have accumulated, your kingdom will surely become permanent.’
Finally, Chandrabhaga and her husband were happy. Shobhana established his dominion atop Mount Mandarachala, and thanks to the power of Rama Ekadashi, he was able to realise all of his aspirations.
"O greatest of kings, I have narrated to you the glories of Rama Ekadashi that fall in the dark fortnight of the month of Kartika," Lord Krishna said.
Parana Time - November 10, 2023 - 05:52 AM to 08:07 AM
Devotees fast and give Lord Vishnu heartfelt, focused prayers. It is considered that those who follow this Ekadashi are freed from all sins and sorrows. One can get redemption and free oneself of the sin of being a Brahma Hatya, or killing a Brahmin. One thousand Ashwamedha Yagyas is equal to one thousand Rama Ekadashi Vrtas.