Ekadashi is the Sanskrit name for the eleventh day of the waxing and waning lunar cycle. Ekadashi is a special day for fasting and increasing your practices of meditation and bhakti yoga. The Vedas recommend observing this sacred day in order to experience both physical and spiritual benefits.
The Vedas contain numerous processes for spiritual elevation, and among them the vow of Ekadashi is one of the most effective. Below we recount a conversation between Lord Brahma and his son Narada regarding the amazing qualities of Kamini Ekadashi, also known as Kamika Ekadashi.
This year Kamini Ekadashi falls on August 4, 2021.
Sage Narada Inquires from Brahma
“O Father!” Narada said, “You are the lord and master of this universe. Although the Vedas call you self-born, you manifest from Lord Vishnu as the first created being, in charge of overseeing the secondary creation of the worlds and all their inhabitants.
“I would like to hear from you about the Ekadashi that takes place under the waning moon in the month of Sridhara. Please tell me about the various benefits of and methods for observing this holy day.”
“My dear son Narada,” Lord Brahma replied, “I am very happy you have asked me such a question. The Ekadashi day is dear to Lord Krishna, and for this reason it is known as Hari-vasara. Desiring to give the living beings of this world an easy method by which they can attain His mercy, the Lord infused a special spiritual potency into this eleventh lunar day. Occurring twice per month, Ekadashi is an ideal opportunity for intensifying one’s spiritual practice and reflecting on one’s spiritual goals.
“Those who simply hear about the spiritual merits of Ekadashi can experience a windfall of divine mercy in their lives, what to speak of those who actually make an effort to observe the Ekadashi vow!
“One should spend the day of Kamini Ekadashi contemplating the beautiful form of Lord Govinda, who wears a peacock feather in His sleek, black hair, and who plays melodious songs on His flute, enchanting the minds of His devotees both by His beauty and His musical talent.
“One may read about Lord Krishna in texts like Srimad Bhagavatam and the Gopala-Tapani Upanishad. By hearing about, praising, and remembering His many names, His beautiful form, and His all-attractive pastimes, anyone can overcome the three-fold miseries of this material world. Such activities of bhakti-yoga are more potent than bathing in all the sacred waters, such as the Ganges, Gandaki, or Godavari rivers.
“Worshiping Sri Krishna in this way on the holy day of Kamini Ekadashi grants one more spiritual merit than a pilgrimage to all the holy places of the world. It grants one more spiritual merit than donating the entire Earth in charity. Anyone who observes the Ekadashi vow on this day will be honored and praised by all the inhabitants of the universe, including the demigods, Gandharvas, Nagas, and human beings. Even Lord Vishnu Himself praises those who fast on this Ekadashi day.
“In fact, Lord Krishna once said that those who fast just once on Kamika Ekadashi attain more merit than those who study all the Vedas. By fasting and staying awake throughout the day and night, one can gain instant relief from all karmic reactions, and after death they will attain the spiritual world.”
“Wait — “ Narada interjected. “Is it really possible that such benefits can be had just by a single day of fasting and devotional service?”
“It’s true, my son.” Brahma replied, “You can believe my words! Many, many great souls of the past have fasted on this Ekadashi day and broken free from the grip of samsara, the unending cycle of birth and death. There is no other act of atonement that compares to the Ekadashi vow. It eradicates sinful karma all the way down to the root, dissolving the false ego of the conditioned soul and spiritualizing his very identity.”
Tulasi Power: An Open Secret
Narada was stunned to hear about the amazing power of a single Kamini Ekadashi fast. He could hardly believe his ears, and yet, his father had assured him that it was all completely, one hundred percent true.
“There’s more,” Brahma said with a smile. “Just as a fire burns with greater ferocity the more it spreads, growing both hotter and larger as it burns more and more fuel, the fire of one’s spiritual practice grows exponentially when we add devotional elements to our practice.”
“I don’t understand.” Narada said, “Can you give an example?”
Brahma said, “All this time I have been glorifying the spiritual power of the Ekadashi vow. But anyone can greatly augment the efficacy of this vow by combining it with other, time-tested spiritual practices.”
“What do you mean?” Narada inquired.
“Take for example the worship of the tulasi plant. It is an open secret that by such worship anyone can make rapid progress on the path of bhakti. Whoever offers Lord Krisna even a single tulasi leaf with love and devotion attains more merit than those who give away great sums of gold, silver, and other precious metals. Krishna is more pleased by a humble, sincere offering of tulasi than He is by worship with gem-studded ornaments, such as diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. If one offers a small flower-bud from the tulasi plant, Krishna is unlimitedly pleased. For such a person, He destroys all the sins they have accumulated over countless lifetimes.
Now, by combining the worship of Tulasi with the spiritual power of Kamini Ekadashi, the resulting spiritual merit is many times greater than either practice on their own. On the holy Ekadashi day, simply seeing a tulasi plant relieves one of all past and future sins. And by touching tulasi, one can be cured of all diseases. By watering her, one will never have to suffer in the lower realms ruled by Yamaraja. And by planting or transplanting a tulasi tree on this day, one will eventually attain Krishna’s own abode of Goloka Vrindavan in the spiritual world.”
“Wow!” Narada exclaimed. “That’s amazing!”
“Yes it is.” Brahma replied. “Intelligent devotees take advantage of all available practices in order to quickly traverse the path of bhakti and experience ever-increasing spiritual satisfaction and taste. Even the most genius of demigods cannot tabulate the spiritual merit one obtains by offering Tulasi-devi a ghee lamp on the holy day of Ekadashi.
“My son, now I hope you you see,” Brahma concluded, “this Kamini Ekadashi is so potent that it greatly amplifies whatever activities of bhakti-yoga one might perform. Even if one cannot properly fast on this day, if they try to apply just one or two of the recommendations I have given, then they and their forefathers will attain promotion to the heavenly realm.
“Even by simply hearing the glories of this Ekadashi day with faith and devotion, one can be freed of all negative karmic reactions and attain the spiritual world. Such is the mercy of our Mother Ekadashi and her master, Lord Sri Hari.”
Whoever hears this narration of the conversation between Brahma and Narada regarding the astounding merits of Kamini Ekadashi will certainly attain the spiritual abode.
Be spiritually proactive. There are always plenty of opportunities to make spiritual growth. By committing to a daily practice and by taking advantage of the holy days like Ekadashi, you can transform your consciousness and experience true happiness in life.
Develop informed faith. It may seem unbelievable that such simple acts of devotion could award such impressive results. If you find that you don’t yet have full faith in claims like the ones that appear in this article, that’s okay. You can make an experiment in your life and see the results for yourself.
Kamini Ekadashi is right around the corner! Don’t miss it. Put it on your calendar, set a phone reminder, tell your friends — whatever you need to do to make sure you invest some time into your spiritual growth on this special day.
Not sure what to do? Try spending 20 minutes softly chanting the Hare Krishna mantra:
hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
Hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare