We will talk about the story of how Ekadshi came into existence? Who is Ekadashi? and Why Lord Vishnu manifested her?
1. Sage Jaimini and Srila Vyasdeva
Sage Jaimini and Srila Vyasdeva
As per Padma purana When Sage Jaimini asked his spiritual master Srila Vyasdeva to explain him everything about Ekadashi He started with saying “The results of following Ekadashi can be perfectly described by the Supreme Lord, Narayana because Sri Narayana is the only personality capable of describing them in full.” After that, he imparted his knowledge with best of his abilities. Today, We will discuss the story he told to Sage Jaimini.
At the very beginning of all material creation, Lord Vishnu created moving and non-moving living entities from five elements (Panch Tatva). While creating this universe he also created a personality whose purpose was to punish all evils. That personality himself was the embodiment of the worst of all evils. He was Papa-Purusha. Moreover, Papa-Purusha’s was made from different sinful activities.
1.1. Limbs of Papa-Purusha
- His head was made of the sin of murdering a Brahman.
- Two eyes were the form of drinking intoxicants.
- Mouth was made from the sin of stealing gold.
- Ears were the form of the sin of having illicit connection with the spiritual master’s wife.
- Nose was of the sin of killing one’s wife.
- Arms the form of the sin of killing a cow.
- Neck was made of the sin of stealing accumulated wealth.
- Chest of the sin of abortion.
- Lower chest of the sin of having sex with another’s wife.
- Stomach of the sin of killing one’s relatives.
- Navel of the sin of killing those who are dependent on him.
- Waist of the sin of egotistical self-appraisal.
- Thighs of the sin of offending the guru.
- Genitals of the sin of selling one’s daughter.
- Buttocks of the sin of telling confidential matters.
- Feet of the sin of killing one’s father, and
- His hair was the form of all sorts of less severe sinful activities.
He was black in color with yellow eyes. Also, the only purpose of his existence was to inflict misery upon all who have sinned.
2. Lord Vishnu and Yamraj
After creating Papa-Purusha, Lord Narayana thought that he is the creator of all living beings. He is the one who created everything that is good as well as bad. Thus, he is the master of all the happiness and misery. Now it would be only wise to have someone who can regulate and govern all these beings as per their deeds. Building on this though, he Created Yamraj who would send sinners to the hell suitable to their karma.
2.1 Manifestation of Ekadashi
After a while, one day Lord Vishnu visited Yamraj to his abode. He reached the door of Yamlok riding Garuda. Yamraj came running and washed lord’s feet before he made him sit on his golden throne. Since his arrival, Lord Vishnu noticed some screams and cries of people. He inquired about it to Yamraj. He responded, that those screams are of the sinners who are doomed to suffer their misdeeds.
Lord went south to take stock of the situation. Upon seeing Lord himself, all the suffering sinners started crying even louder as they sought liberation from their misery. It melted Lord’s heart out of compassion. He thought that his progenies are suffering because of the arrangement he had made.
Lord Vishnu then manifested a lunar deity from his own form named Ekadashi. Hence, Ekadashi is the self-same form of lord Vishnu. Thereafter, the sinners who would follow the vows of Ekadashi could elevate themselves to his abode Vaikuntha (The spiritual domain).
3. Papa-Purusha in food (Grains)
Affected by this, Papa-Purusha; the embodiment of sins, fled to take shelter into all moving and non-moving entities: rivers, trees, hills, oceans; heavenly, earthly and hellish planetary systems; demigods, and Gandharvas but couldn’t find a place where he could be saved from Ekadashi. Ultimately, he came to Lord Vishnu and told him about the influence of Ekadashi on the sinners. He added that, he himself is a son of Lord Vishnu as he had created him. This way, his existence is Lord Vishnu’s responsibility. And now, because of Ekadashi, he is dying. He furthered by saying that if Ekadashi will liberate every living being, planets will not have any inhabitants left. Also, if all beings will be liberated there will be nothing left to amuse the lord and to carry his activities as everyone will return to Vaikuntha. As he concluded his complaint, he fell down floundering at the feet of Lord Vishnu and started whipping.
Lord Vishnu chuckled and asked him to rise. He then consoled him and said not to worry as he will ameliorate the situation. After that, Lord Vishnu told him to go and reside into food (grains) on the days of Ekadashi where she would not be able to affect him anymore. This way, Papa-Purusha lives in the grains on the days of Ekadashi. Also, whoever consumes it becomes the possessor of a bundle of sins.
4. Ekadashi to attain Vaikuntha
Whoever is serious about his/her liberation would not consume grain on the days of Ekadashi. Such individuals will be freed from all the sins and will never enter into the hellish regions. Also to note, that even if one doesn’t follow Ekadashi out of illusion he will still be considered an utmost sinner. Eating grain on Ekadashi is considered equivalent of killing a millions of Brhahmans.
In addition to that, though food offering is made for the lord, devotees are not suppose to eat even grains of Prasada on Ekadashi. Also, we should remember that the purpose of Ekadashi is not just fasting but to limit and minimize needs of the body and realise our connection to Lord Vishnu at least once in a lunar cycle.
Know more about the Untold story of Manthara in Ramayana.