Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Significance Of Papankusha Ekadashi

Papankusha Ekadashi is a Hindu fasting day that falls on the ‘ekadashi’ (11th day) of the Shukla Paksha (the waxing phase of moon) during the lunar month of ‘Ashwin’ in the Hindu calendar. For this reason this ekadashi is also referred as ‘Ashwina-Shukla Ekadashi’. In the Gregorian calendar, it is observed between the months of September-October. The Papankusha Ekadashi is dedicated to Lord Padmanabha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On this day devotees worship Lord Padmanabha with total dedication and zeal. By keeping the Papankusha Ekadashi vrat, the observer will be bestowed with the blessings of Lord Padmanabha and will enjoy all the luxuries of this world.

Papankusha Ekadashi is considered to be one of the significant ekadashis as the person who keeps a fast on this day is bestowed with good health, wealth and all other worldly desires. It is also believed that without observing the Papankusha Ekadashi vrat, an individual can never be liberated from the sins and their evil action keeps chasing them throughout their life. The merits of this revered vrat are equivalent to performing 100 Surya Yagya or 1000 Ashwamedha Yagya.

Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu
The greatness of Papankusha Ekadashi is described in the ‘Brahma Vaivatra Purana’ and is believed to be the most auspicious observance for removal of sins. In the Hindu mythology, Maharaja Yudhisthira requested Sri Krishna to explain the benefits of observing a fast on this sacred day. It has been stated that anyone who devotedly observes the Papankusha Ekadashi vrat and prays to lord Vishnu will gain freedom from his/her sins and attain salvation from this world thereafter. Also when an individual, irrespective of their age, recites the name of Lord Vishnu on the day of Papankusha Ekadashi, they achieve the same virtues as visiting the Hindu pilgrim places and they never have to see Yamraja, who is the Lord of Death.

Glory of Pashankusha Ekadashi:

This narration of the glories of Pashankusha Ekadashi is excerpted from a dialogue between Shri Krishna and Maharaja Yudhishthira, as given in the Brahmavaivarta Purana.

Once, Yudhishthira Maharaj asked Shri Krishna: “O Madhusudana, what is the name of the Ekadashi that comes during the light fortnight of the month of Ashvina (September – October)? Please be kind and explain this to me.”

Shri Krishna smilingly replied, “O best of kings! The name of this Ekadashi is Pashankusha Ekadashi, and it is also known as Papankusha Ekadashi since the observance of this Ekadashi removes all sins.

“One should particularly worship Shri Padmanabha on the day of this Ekadashi. This Ekadashi awards a person heavenly pleasures, liberation, and his or her desired results. Just by chanting the holy names of Shri Vishnu (such as the Shri Vishnu Sahasranama, and the ashtottara of Shri Rama, Shri Krishna, etc.) one can attain the piety of visiting all the holy places of pilgrimage (teerthas) in this world. If a conditioned soul, in spite of indulging in various sinful activities as a result of delusion, takes shelter and offers obeisance at the lotus feet of Shri Hari, who is the remover of all sins and the granter of liberation, then such a person never sees the punishing abode of Yamaraja, the lord of death.

“Both the Vaishnava (devotee of Shri Vishnu) who criticizes Shiva and the Shaivite (devotee of Shiva) who criticizes Shri Vishnu will undoubtedly go to Naraka (the realm of hell). (yo hariH sa shivaH sAkSAd yaH shivaH sa svayaM hariH / ye tayor bhedamAti sthan narakAya bhave naraH (Vishnu Purana 5.33.46) (He who is Shri Hari is Himself Shiva / He who manifests as Shiva is Himself Shri Hari / Any human who mistakenly thinks that Shiva is different from Shri Hari will surely go to Naraka.))

“The result one obtains by performing one thousand horse sacrifices or by performing one hundred Rajasuya sacrifices cannot equal one sixteenth of the piety one obtains by observing this Ekadashi. There is no piety in this world equal to the piety earned by observing this Ekadashi. Therefore, no other day is as sanctified as this day of Ekadashi, which is very dear to Shri Padmanabha.

“O King! Until a person observes a fast on the day of Shri Padmanabha named Papankusha Ekadashi, he remains sinful, and the reactions of his past sinful activities never leave him like a chaste wife never leaves her husband. There is no merit in all the three worlds that can match the merit that one gains by observing a fast on this Ekadashi. This Ekadashi awards those who observe it heavenly pleasures, liberation, freedom from disease, beautiful women, wealth, and food grains. None of the Ganga, Gaya, Kashi, Pushkara, or Kurukshetra can bestow as much auspicious merit as this Papankusha Ekadashi. O Maharaj Yudhishthira, protector of the earth, after observing Ekadashi during the daytime, the devotee should remain awake through the night, absorbed in hearing about Shri Hari, chanting Shri Hari’s name, and serving Shri Hari – for, by doing so, he easily attains to the abode of Shri Vishnu.”

Shri Krishna continued, “O best of kings! By observing the vow of this Ekadashi one can deliver ten generations from his mother’s family, ten generations from his father’s family, and ten generations from his wife’s family. All these ancestors attain their original, four-armed transcendental Vaikuntha forms. Wearing yellow garments and beautiful garlands, they ride to the spiritual realm on the back of Garuda, the renowned great enemy of the snakes. This is the benediction My devotee earns simply by observing one Pashankusha Ekadashi properly.

“If a person observes this Ekadashi in his childhood, youth, or old age, he does not suffer the miseries of samsara (material existence). One who strictly observes this Pashankusha Ekadashi is relieved of all sinful reactions and at the end of life returns to Shri Vishnu’s abode.

“If a person gives away gold, sesame seeds, land, cows, food grains, water, umbrellas, or shoes in charity, then such a person does not have to go to the abode of Yamaraja. On the other hand, anyone who does not engage in pious activities on this day is like a dead man although he is breathing. His breathing is like the bellows of the blacksmith.

“O best of kings, especially on this Papankusha Ekadashi, even the poor should first bathe and then give some charity according to their means, and perform other auspicious activities in accordance with their ability. Whosoever performs sacrifices for the public benefit, or builds public ponds, resting places, gardens, or houses is not subjected to the punishment of Yamaraja. It is a result of piety only that people live long lives, become rich, take birth in high-class families, and become free from disease. The purport is that the direct result of observing Ekadashi is to attain devotional service to Me, and the indirect result is to attain temporary material benefits.”

Shri Krishna then concluded, “Thus, O saintly Yudhishthira, I have narrated to you the glories of the auspicious Pashankusha Ekadashi.”

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