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 Krishna and King Yudhisthira regarding the amazing glories of Pasankusa Ekadashi, also known as Papankusa Ekadashi.
This year Indira Ekadashi is observed on October 16, 2021.
The Potency of Pasankusa Ekadashi
“O Yudhisthira!” Krishna said, “This Ekadashi known as Pashankusha is capable of annihilating all adverse karmic reactions. By sincerely and devoutly observing this Ekadashi, one can obtain all material happiness, liberation, and anything he might desire.
“The most beneficial sacrifice to perform on this day is to give one’s time to meditating on My names in japa. Simply by chanting My names one gains as much spiritual merit as those who visit all the holy places in the world. If sincerely one chants My holy names, seeks My shelter and forgiveness, and fasts on this Ekadashi, then even if he committed unlimited sinful acts in the past, he will certainly be delivered.
“There is no spiritual vow equal to the observance of Ekadashi. Even holding thousands of ritualistic Vedic sacrifices does not equal the merit of a single Ekadashi fast. Know that the holy Ekadashi day is very dear to Me, and no other day is more important. By observing this holy day, one can liberate ten generations of his ancestors, and he will hardly suffer any material difficulties throughout life, because he will be constantly blessed with My remembrance. Then, at the end of life, he will surely return home to My abode in the spiritual world.”
Errors to Be Avoided
Krishna continued: “One must be careful to never neglect or disrespect the Ekadashi vow. If one passes the entire day without doing any spiritual offering, giving nothing in charity and performing no pious deed, then he should be considered as no better than a walking corpse. From the very moment a person neglects the Ekadashi day, sins begin accumulating in his gross and subtle bodies. On the contrary, one who faithfully observes Ekadashi will be blessed with all desirable material blessings, such as a good spouse, wealth, land, and so on.
“It is also important to never disrespect the demigods, who are My expanded servants. In particular, Lord Shiva is very dear to Me, being My topmost devotee. One should respect Him as My representative in this world and worship Him in order to be freed of material ego and to attain devotion to Me.”
“O Yudhisthira! Anyone can attain material happiness and mitigate material distress simply by performing such ordinary pious acts as planting trees, donating land to noble persons, digging wells, and so on. However, only by the practice of bhakti-yoga, including the sacred Ekadashi vow, can one attain My devotional service and be elevated to My supreme abode.”
In this way, Lord Sri Krishna glorified the sacred day of Pasankusha Ekadashi.
Ekadashi is powerful! Many people search for a secret code to life, some kind of magic formula which will enable them to get ahead and accomplish their dreams. Ekadashi is that secret. It is such a transformative and spiritually powerful day. Everything you desire and more can be achieved by the genuine and faithful observance of Ekadashi — fasting and doing some special service for Lord Krishna.
Ekadashi occurs twice a month! 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 these special days.
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
You can also bathe your mind and intellect in the sacred wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita or Srimad Bhagavatam.