The glories of Parama Bradashi, which occurs during the waning moon on an extra leap year month, are described by Lord Krishna to Maharaj Yudhisthira.
Maharaj Yudhisthira said, O my Lord! What is the name of the Ekadashi, which occurs during the waning moon on an extra leap year month, and what is the procedure for observing this Ekadashi.
Lord Krishna replied, O King! The name of this Ekadashi is Parama Ekadashi. This Auspicious Ekadashi destroys all one’s sinful reactions and awards one material enjoyment and liberation. The procedure for observing this Ekadashi is the same as I have already described to you. One should worship the supreme lord, the master of all beings, on this Ekadashi. Now, please hear an enchanting story that I had heard from the sages in the city of Kampilya.
There was a pious Brahmin named Sumedha who lived in the city of Kampilya. He had a chastened wife named Pavitra. But due to some sinful activities, this Brahmin became poor. He could not earn his livelihood even by begging. He had no food to eat, no clothes to wear, and no place to sleep. Nevertheless, his young, beautiful wife faithfully served him.
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Often, she had to remain hungry for the sake of serving a guest. Despite often remaining hungry, her face did not become pale. She never told her husband about this.
Upon seeing that his wife was becoming weak day by day, the Brahmin condemned himself and said to his sweet-speaking wife O dear one! Although I tried to beg from the most influential people, I got nothing. Now tell me, what should I do? Should I go to a foreign country to earn wealth? I may get something there if I am fortunate. Without enthusiasm, no work is successful; that is why intelligent people always praise the enthusiasm of the people.
After hearing these words of her husband Sumedha, the beautiful-eyed Pavitra said to her husband with folded hands and tears in her eyes. There is none else more intelligent than you. Whatever we do and achieve in this world is due to our previous deeds.
If one has no piety accumulated from his previous life, he cannot attain anything. However, he may try. If a person distributes knowledge or wealth in his previous life, attain similar things in this life. O best of the Brahmin! Neither you nor I gave any charity the suitable
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candidate in our previous life. That is why both of us will have to stay here together. O Lord! I can not remain without you even for a moment. Moreover, if you go, then people will call me an unfortunate and condemn me. Therefore, please be happy with whatever wealth you can collect here. You will certainly achieve happiness in this country only.
Upon hearing these words from his wife, the Brahmin dropped his plan to go to a foreign country. One day, by providence, the great sage Kaundinya Muni came there. As soon as Sumedha saw him, he and his wife became joyful and offered their obeisances to the sage. He offered an Asana to the sage and worshipped him properly. He said O great sage! Today, our lives have become successful, for we have received your darshan. After that, the couple fed the sage according to their ability. Then the wife of the Brahmin asked O learned sage! What is the means of destroying poverty? Without giving any charity, how can one get wealth, education, and so on? My husband wanted to go to a foreign country in order to earn wealth, but I have stopped him from this act. It is indeed our good fortune that you have come here. By your mercy, our poverty will certainly be destroyed. Now, please instruct us in such a way that our poverty is destroyed.
After hearing these words, Pavitra, the great sage Kaundinya, said, There is an auspicious Ekadashi which occurs during the waning moon on the extra leap year month. This Ekadashi is very dear to the lord and is known as Parama Ekadashi. This Ekadashi vanquishes one’s sinful reactions, material miseries, and poverty. By observing this Ekadashi, a person certainly becomes prosperous. Kubera first observed this sacred Ekadashi. As a result of this, Lord Shiva became pleased and awarded him the benediction to become very rich. By observing this Ekadashi, King Harishchandra regained his kingdom and wife whom he once sold out. O beautiful eyed! You should also observe this Ekadashi. Lord Krishna continued, O Pandava!
After happily and affectionately describing the topics of Parama Ekadashi, Kaundinya Muni described the auspicious vow known as Pancharatrika. By observing the Pancharatrika vow, one attains liberation. One should begin to observe Pancharatriaka’s vow from the day of Parama Ekadashi with proper rules and regulations. According to his ability, anyone who fasts for five days, beginning from Parama Ekadashi he, returns to the abode of Lord Vishnu along with his father, mother, and wife. One who only eats once a day during these five days becomes freed from all sinful reactions and goes to the spiritual world.
According to the instructions of Kaundinya Muni, both the husband and wife duly observed this Parama Ekadashi.
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When the vows of Ekadashi and Panchratrika were completed, a prince from the royal palace came there being, inspired by Lord Brahma. The prince offered them a new house decorated with beautiful royal furniture. He also gave a cow to the Brahmin for their livelihood, and after praising the Brahmin couple, the prince left. As a result of this, the prince returned to the abode of Vishnu at the end of his life.
As the brahmins are best among human beings, the cows are best among the four-legged animals, and Indra is the best among the demigods. Similarly, the leap year month is the best among all the months.
Within this month, the two Ekadashis, namely Padmini and Parama, are most dear to Lord Hari. Having received the human form of life, if a person does not observe Ekadashi, then he never attains any happiness throughout his eight million four hundred thousand spices of life. Rather, he suffers unlimited miseries. By virtue of great piety, one obtains a human birth; that is why one should certainly observe the vow of Ekadashi.
After hearing the glories and benefits of this Ekadashi, Maharaj Yudhisthira, along with his wife and brothers, observed this sacred Ekadashi.