Aamlaki Ekadashi - Monday 26th February
Aamlaki Ekadashi - Falgun Sud Ekadashi
King Mandhata asked Sage Vashishtha, "O guru! Please tell me about Ekadashi that falls in the bright fortnight in the month of Falgun."
Vashishtha Rishi replied, "O king! This Ekadashi is called 'Aamlaki Ekadashi' which is capable of dispelling one's all sins including five (Maha) major sins and bestow Moksha. Moreover, one earns Punya equivalent to donating thousands cows to a Brahmin by observing a fast on this Ekadashi. I shall narrate a tale of a hunter who attained Moksha as a result of observing Vrat of Aamlaki Ekadashi."
"There was a beautiful city of Vaidish, populated by people of all four Varnas. King ChaitraRath, a descendent of the Moon dynasty, ruled this city judiciously and entire population of the city was pious and Vaishnav. No one committed any sins, even the minor ones. There was no crime, poverty or disease in his kingdom. The kingdom never suffered from natural calamities such as droughts. Besides being a valiant warrior, the king was a good scholar of the scriptures. He had a strength of thousand elephants. The entire population observed the Vrat of Ekadashi including fasting. Aamlaki Ekadashi, falling in Sud fortnight of Falgun, came in due course. Everyone in the kingdom undertook fast on this day. The king and all his subjects took a holy dip in the river and went to the temple on its bank. They established a pitcher filled with sandalwood scented water under an Aamla tree in the courtyard of the temple and collectively prayed to the tree, 'O Aamla tree! You have been created by Brahma to be auspicious. We bow to you. Bhagwan Parshuram has venerated you. 'O king Mandhata! All people performed Pradakshina around Aamla tree. A hunter came along where they were singing Bhagwan Vishnu's Kirtans the whole night as the part of Jagaran. He had a carcass of a dead animal on his shoulders. He was hungry and exhausted. He put down the cadaver and sat at distance from the devotees for a little rest. He could see Bhagwan's Murti and listen to the Katha and Kirtans from where he was sitting. He sat there the whole night listening to the Kirtans and Katha extolling the significance of Aamlaki Ekadashi. He had no food during the day and inadvertently did the Jagran as well. Thus he observed the Vrat of Aamlaki Ekadashi, albeit unknowingly."
"Along with devotees, the hunter headed home at daybreak. When the hunter died after many years, he was reborn as a son of King called Vidurath who ruled over a kingdom called Jayanti. He was named Vasurath. The kingdom was abundant with wealth and grain. In due course, Vasurath became the king of vast kingdom. He was truthful, religious and devout and he ruled his kingdom judiciously. The subjects of the kingdom were very happy to get such a benevolent king. Once King Vasurath went on a hunting expedition in a nearby forest and accidently lost in the dense forest. As the night set in, he had no other option except to spend the rest of night in the forest. He found a large tree and decided to rest under it for the night. He fell asleep under the tree. The aborigines, who lived in the caves of mountains in the forest and who were enemies of king came under the same tree. Seeing the king alone, they attacked him. However, they were unable to harm the king. A beautiful divine maiden, wearing expensive clothes and holding a Chakra in her hand, emerged from the body of king Vasurath. She killed all the aborigines who were trying to kill the king. The king saw the heap of dead bodies of aborigines when he woke up from his slumber the next morning. He was perplexed that who could have come in the middle of the night to protect him! Just as he was musing, he heard an oracle telling him that Bhagwan Narayan Himself had come had protected him. He returned to his city unharmed at the delight of his courtiers and subjects. O King mandhata! See how Bhagwan Vishnu protected King Vasurath! Moreover, people who observe the Vrat of Aamlaki Ekadashi attain the supreme abode of Bhagwan Vishnu upon their death."
This Mahatmya of Aamlaki Ekadashi - Falgun Sud Ekadashi is narrated in Brahmand Puran