Rama Ekadashi - Sunday 15th October
Rama Ekadashi - Aso Vad Ekadashi
King Yudhishthir once asked Bhagwan, "O Shree Krishna! What is the name of the Ekadashi that falls in the Vad fortnight of Aso months and what is its significance?"
Bhagwan replied, "O king! This Ekadashi is called Rama Ekadashi. Listen to its Mahatmya. There was king named Muchkund in the bygone era. Indra - the king of Devtas, Varun, Kuber and other Devtas were his friends. King Muchkund was a staunch devotee of Bhagwan Vishnu and followed the path of Dharma and truth. The holy River Chandrabhaga was born as his daughter. She was married off to Sobhan, the son of King Chandrasen. Once Sobhan came to visit his father-in-law on the eve of Rama Ekadashi. His wife - Chandrabhaga thought that her husband is physically too weak to undertake fast for the day. She was aware of the fact that her father had decreed that everyone in his kingdom mustl observe fast on Ekadashi.
As Sobhan was unable to find a way of not to observe a fast on the day, he sought his wife's advice. She said, 'O dear! When even animals such as elephants, horses and camels are not allowed to eat grass or drink water on Ekadashi, how can you be allowed to eat or drink tomorrow? You will not be allowed to continue to be the part of family if you do not fast on Ekadashi. Think carefully before coming to any decision.' Sobhan replied, 'O dear! You are right. I shall observe fast come what may! Whatever is to happen will happen."
Bhagwan Shree Krishna continued, " O Yudhishthir! On the day of Rama Ekadashi, Sobhan was perturbed all day due to hunger and thirst,. His day ended in pain. As other people were singing Kirtans happily as a part of Jagran, Sobhan was in great agony. He fell unconscious and by the dawn, he was dead. His mortal body was cremated and other funeral rites were performed. Chandrabhaga remained at her father's home after her husband's death. O king! As a result of successful completion of Vrat of Rama Ekadashi, Sobhan was reborn as a crown prince of a celestial city atop Mountain Mandara. The city was so opulent that pillars of the palace were made of gold and floor was inlaid with precious jewels. Sobhan was eventually crowned as the king. Gandahrvas sang and Apsaras danced on occasion of his coronation. He enjoyed heavenly pleasures comparable to Indra. Once, a Brahmin named Shomsharma, a resident of King Muchkund's kingdom went on a long pilgrimage and ended up in the city ruled by King Sobhan. The Brahmin recognised Sobhan as the son-in-law of King Muchkund and approached him. When King Sobhan realised the domicile of the Brahmin, he asked for the well being of King Muchkund and his wife Chandrabhaga. Somsharma replied, 'O king! Everyone in the household of King Muchkund are well and happy and the subjects of the kingdom are content. However, I am surprised to see this beautiful city. Now tell me how did you acquire this city?' Sobhan replied, 'O Brahmin! I had observed the Vrat of Rama Ekadashi including the fast on the day, as a result of which, I am rewarded with this city. However, this beautiful city is unstable.' Somsharma was perplexed, 'How come this city is unsteady and how can it be stabilised?' Sobhan replied, 'Though I had observed the Vrat of Rama Ekadashi, my faith in it was not steadfast. Therefore, the city I got in reward is unsteady as well. My wife Chandrabhaga is very clever. She will show you a way to stabilise this city when you explain this fact to her on your return."
Bhagwan Shree Krishna continued, "O Yudhishthir, Somsharma returned to his city and relayed Sobhan's message to Chandrabhaga. She was very surprised and asked the Brahmin if what he saw was not just a dream or imagination. Somsharma replied, 'O daughter! I had seen the beautiful city and Sobhan with my very eyes whilst on the pilgrimage. Sobhan asked me to relay the message to you and added that you will find a way to stabilise his city.' Chandrabhaga said, 'O Brahmin! Take me to my husband. As a result of Punya earned by observing Ekadashi with steadfast resolve, his city will become steady. Find a way to unite me with my husband.' Somsharma took Chandrabhaga to the hermitage of Sage Vamdev at the foothills of Mountain Mandarachal and narrated the whole sequence of events to him. Compassionate Sage Vamdev chanted divine Vedic hymns and sprinkled water on head of Chandrabhaga. Due the potency of divine hymns, Chandrabhaga acquired the divine body and reached the city atop the mountain. The couple were very happy to be reunited. Chandrabhaga said to her husband, 'O dear! I have been observing the Vrats of each Ekadashi as prescribed in the scriptures with utmost devotion and faith since I was eight years old. Due to the accumulated Punya of these Vrats, this city will now become stable and will remain stable until Atyantik Pralay. Moreover, it will remain prosperous too."
Bhagwan Shree Krishna concluded, "O King Yudhishthir! Rama Ekadashi is like Kamdhenu (wish fulfilling divine cow) and Chintamani (wish fulfilling stone). Its Vrat is capable of washing away one's great sins such as killing a Brahmin or a cow. Not only that, but whoever listens to, reads or narrates its significance will become free from his sins and attain Vaikunth Dhaam."
This Mahatmya of Rama Ekadashi in the form of dialogue between Bhagwan Shree Krishna and King Yudhishthir is narrated in the BrahmVaivart Puran.