Yudhisthira Maharaj said, "O my Dear Lord Sri Krishna, what is the
name of that Ekadasi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the
month of Pausha (December-January)?
How is it observed, and which Deity is to be worshipped on that
Please narrate these details to me fully, so that I may understand
The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna then replied, "O
best of kings, because you desire to hear, I shall fully describe
to you the glories of the Pausha-krishna Ekadasi.
"I do not become as pleased by sacrifice or charity as I do by My
devotee's observance of a full fast on Ekadasi.
To the best of one's ability, therefore, one should fast on
Ekadasi, the day of Lord Hari.
"O Yudhisthira, I urge you to hear with undivided intelligence the
glories of Pausha-krishna Ekadasi, which falls on a Dwadasi.
As I explained previously, one should not differentiate among the
O king, to benefit humanity at large I shall now describe to you
the process of observing Pausha-krishna Ekadasi.
"Pausha-krishna Ekadasi is also known as Saphalaa Ekadasi.
On this sacred day one should worship Lord Narayana, for He is its
One should do so by follow the previously described method of
Just as among snakes Shesha-naga is the best, and among birds
Garuda is the best, among sacrifices the Ashvamedha-yajna is the
best, among rivers Mother Ganges is the best, among gods Lord
Vishnu is best, and among two-legged beings the brahmins are the
best, so among all fasting days Ekadasi is by far the best.
O foremost of kings who took your birth in the Bharata dynasty,
whoever strictly observes Ekadasi becomes very dear to Me and
indeed worshipable by Me in every way.
Now please listen as I describe the process for observing Saphalaa
On Saphalaa Ekadasi My devotee should worship Me by offering Me
fresh fruits according to time, place and circumstance, and by
meditating on Me as the all-auspicious Supreme Personality of
He should offer Me jaambira fruit, pomegranate, betal nuts and
leaves, coconut, guava, varieties of nuts, cloves, mangoes, and
different kinds of aromatic spices.
He should also offer Me incense and bright ghee lamps, for such an
offering of lamps on Saphalaa Ekadasi is especially glorious.
The devotee should try to stay awake the Ekadasi night.
Now please hear with undivided attention as I tell you how much
merit one gets if he fasts and remains awake throughout the entire
night singing and chanting the glories of Narayana.
O best of kings, there is no sacrifice or pilgrimage that yields
merit that is equal to or better than the merit one gains by
fasting on this Saphala Ekadasi.
Such fasting - particularly if one can remain awake and alert the
entire night long - bestows the same merit upon the faithful
devotee as the performance of austerity for five thousand earthly
O lion among kings, please hear from Me the glorious history that
made this Divine Ekadasi famous.
Once there was a City called Champaavati, which was ruled by the
saintly King Mahishmata.
He had four sons, the eldest of whom, Lumpaka, always engaged in
all manner of very sinful activities - illicit sexual encounters
with the wives of others, gambling, and continual association with
His evil deeds gradually reduced the wealth of his father, King
Lumpaka also became very critical of the numerous devas, the
empowered universal attendants of the Lord, as well as toward the
brahmins, and every day he would go out of his way to blaspheme the
At last King Maahishmata, seeing the unrepentant brazen fallen
condition of his son, exiled him to the forest.
Out of fear of the king, even compassionate relatives didn't come
to Lumpaka's defense, so angry was the king toward his son, and so
sinful was this Lumpaka.
"Bewildered in his exile, the fallen and rejected Lumpaka thought
to himself, 'My father has sent me away, and even my kinsmen do not
raise but a finger in objection. What am I to do now?'
He schemed sinfully and thought, 'I shall sneak back to the city
under cover of darkness and plunder its wealth.
During the day I shall stay in the forest, and as night returns, so
shall I to the city.'
So thinking, the sinful Lumpaka entered the darkness of the
He killed many animals by day, and by night he stole all manner of
valuable items from the city.
The city-dwelling folk apprehended him several times, but out of
fear of the king they left him alone.
They thought to themselves that it must have been the accumulated
sins of Lumpaka's previous births that had forced him to act in
such a way that he lost his royal facilities and became to act so
sinfully like a common selfish thief.
"Though a meat-eater, Lumpaka would also eat fruits every
He resided under an old banyan tree that unknown to him happened to
be very dear to Lord Vasudeva.
Indeed, many worshipped as the demi-god (representative
departmental head) of all the trees in the forest.
In due course of time, while Lumpaka was doing so many sinful and
condemnable activities, the Saphalaa Ekadasi arrived.
On the eve of the Ekadasi (Dasami) Lumpaka had to pass the entire
night without sleep because of severe cold that he felt due to his
scanty bedclothes (bedding).
The cold not only robbed him of all peace but almost of his very
By the time the sun rose, near dead, his teeth chattering and near
In fact all that Ekadasi morning, he remained in that stupor and
could not awaken out of his near comatose condition.
"When midday of the Saphalaa Ekadasi arrived, the sinful Lumpaka
finally came to and managed to rise up from his place under that
But with every step he took, he stumbled and fell to the
Like a lame man, he walked slowly and hesitantly, suffering greatly
from hunger and thirst in the midst of the jungle.
So weak was Lumpaka that he couldn't even concentrate to nor muster
strength to go and kill even a single animal that whole day.
Instead, he was reduced to collecting whatever fruits had fallen to
the ground of their own accord.
By the time he returned to his banyan tree home, the sun had
Placing the fruits on the ground next to him (at the base of the
sacred banyan tree), Lumpaka began to cry out, 'O, woe is me ! What
should I do ?
Dear father, what is to become of me? O Sri Hari, please be
merciful to me and accept these fruits as an offering !'
Again he was forced to lie awake the whole night without sleep, but
in the meantime the all merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Lord Madhusudana, had become pleased with Lumpaka's humble offering
of forest fruits, and He accepted them. Lumpaka had unwittingly
observed a full Ekadasi fast, and by the merit he reaped on that
day he regained his kingdom with no further obstacles.
"Listen, O Yudhisthira, to what happened to the son of King
Maahishmata when but a fragment of the merit spouted up within his
"As the Sun beautifully rose in the sky on the day following
Ekadasi, a handsome horse approached Lumpaka as if seeking him out,
and stood next to him.
At the same time, a voice suddenly boomed out from the clear blue
sky saying, 'This horse is for you, Lumpaka! Mount it and ride
swiftly out of this forest to greet you family! O son of King
Maahishmata, by the mercy of the Supreme lord Vaasudeva and the
strength of the merit you acquired by observing Saphalaa Ekadasi,
your kingdom will be returned to you without any further
Such is the benefit you have gained by fasting on this most
auspicious of days.
Go now, to you father and enjoy your rightful place in the
Upon hearing these celestial words resounding from above, Lumpaka
mounted the horse and rode back to the city of Champavati.
By the merit he had accrued by fasting on Saphala Ekadasi, he had
become a handsome prince once more and was able to absorb his mind
in the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari.
In other words, he had become My pure devotee.
"Lumpaka offered his father, King Mahishmata, his humble obeisances
and once more accepted his princely responsibilities.
Seeing his son so decorated with Vaishnava ornaments and tilak
(udhvara pundra) King Mahishmata gave him the kingdom, and Lumpaka
ruled unopposed for many, many years.
Whenever the Ekadasi came, he worshipped the Supreme Lord Narayana
with great devotion.
And by the mercy of Sri Krishna he obtained a beautiful wife and a
In old age Lumpaka handed his kingdom over to his son - just as his
own father, King Maahishmata, had handed it over to him.
Lumpaka then went to the forest to dedicate his concentrate
attention to gratefully serve the Supreme Lord with controlled mind
Purified of all material desires, he left his old material body and
returned back to home, back to Godhead, attaining a place near the
lotus feet of his worshipful Lord, Sri Krishna.
"O Yudhisthira, one who approaches Me as Lumpaka did will become
completely free of lamentation and anxiety.
Indeed, anyone who properly observes this glorious Saphalaa Ekadasi
- even unknowingly, like Lumpaka - will become famous in this
He will become perfectly liberated at death and return to the
spiritual abode of Vaikuntha.
Of this there is no doubt. Moreover, one who simply hears the
glories of Saphala Ekadasi obtains the same merit derived by one
who performs a Rajasurya-yajna, and at the very least he goes to
heaven in his next birth, so where is the loss?"
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Pausha-krishna Ekadasi,
or Saphala Ekadasi, from the Bhavishya-uttara