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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ramaa ekaadasi - October 25/ October 26, 2016

Dear Members:



The  auspicious Ramaa Ekaadasi  is to  be observed on October 26, 2016 this year throughout the world - except that those living in U.S.A., Canada, and other countries of the American continents who must observe this on October 25, 2016 itself.

Glory of Ramaa Ekaadasi


In the Brahma vaivarta Puraanaa, there is an interesting legend that is related by Lord Krishna to King Yudhishtra to explain the glory of Ramaa Ekaadasi.


King Muchukunda - a great friend of Indra (the ruler of the Heavens) had a daughter by name Chandrabhaagaa (named after the Holy River that has the same name). She was given in marriage to Shobhanan - the son of King ChandrasEna.


King Muchukunda and all his subjects were very strict in observance of ekaadasi fast. Even horses, elephants, and other cattle were not fed on the day of ekaadasi fast! Once Shobhanan happened to visit King Muchukunda's palace on the day of the auspicious fast of Ramaa Ekaadasi. His wife cautioned him that as his physical condition was then not in a fit condition to tolerate a severe fast, he must move elsewhere (out of her father's kingdom) immediately as her father's people and the whole kingdom followed the fast rigorously (people who undertake rigorous religious fast on ekaadasi never give food to anyone under any pretext on ekaadasi day; this may seem crude and inhuman to some people now - but such was the adherence to ekaadasi fast in those days! The idea was mainly to avoid tempting those who might be fasting but might lose their resolve if offer of food is extended to them).


But Prince Shobhanan offered to undergo the fast instead of opting to move to some other place. When sun set, all devotees of the kingdom were very happy to invite the long night's vigil with Lord Hari's stories and contemplation - but Prince Shobhanan was miserable as he could not tolerate the rigour of the fast. By next morning, he was found dead. The last rites of the dead prince were conducted duly with all honours; but King Muchukunda stopped his daughter from committing "sati" which was the custom of pious ladies of those times.


The deceased Prince Shobhanan became the ruler of a kingdom in Mandaraachalaa attended by wonderful Divine damsels, and Gandharvaas, due to the merit of the observance of Ramaa Ekaadasi; but, as he had observed the vrat only due to pressure of circumstances and with half-heart, that wonderful kingdom was impermanent (i.e. he will lose Sovereignity of that kingdom once the merit gets exhausted).


One day, a pious Brahmin from the kingdom of Muchukunda chakravarti happened to cross that wonderful kingdom that was being enjoyed by Prince Shobhana, and he recognized his king's son-in-law. Prince Shobhana related the fact about his enjoyment of that wonderful kingdom was not permanent, and that it may vanish any time into thin air once his merit gets exhausted. He also entreated the pious Brahmin to explain this to his wife Chandrabhaagaa.




The pious brahmin returned to his kingdom and related the wonderful matter to Princess Chandrabhaagaa. At first she was bewildered, and wondered if the Brahmin had been dreaming; but, as the Brahmin persisted with his narration, she was convinced about the factual existence of such a kingdom and was overjoyed at the prospect of being able to meet her beloved yet again. She confidently said that by the merit of the ekaadasis that she had been observing from her 8th year of life till date, the kingdom that has come into the possession of her husband could become permanent, and requested the brahmin to take her to that wonderful kingdom. The Brahmin also took her to the Mandaraachala mountain. At the foothills, they met the great sage Vaama DEvaa who chanted vedic mantras and sprinkled water on her - making her body transcendental. Due to the power of the vedic mantras and also due to the merit of her ekaadasi fasts, Chandrabhaaga reached the top of the mountain Mandaraachalaa where her husband was enjoying his kingdom. She transfered the merit that she had accumulated by all her ekaadasi fasts to her husband thus enabling him to enjoy that wonderful kingdom permanently till the next pralayaa.


Lord Krishna concluded this narration saying that by the glory of Ramaa ekaadasi Prince Shobhanan enjoyed a wonderful Divine Kingdom in the mount Mandaraachalaa. The Blessed Lord continues saying "Just as both white and Black cow give the same quality of milk, the ekaadasis in both the dark and bright fortnight are equal in their potency to confer merit, and to liberate one from the endless cycles of transmigration of soul. Anyone who hears this legend about Ramaa ekaadasi will also have freedom from sins and attain the Divine Abode of Lord Vishnu."


The import of the legend of Brahma vaivarta Puraanaa related above is that observing Ramaa Ekaadasi can help one to enjoy good fortune including high status of a permanent nature, happy reunion with relatives, and great glory.




May our members observe this auspicious ekaadasi to the best of their abilities with FULL FAITH (unlike the half-hearted attempt of Prince Shobhanan!), and become worthy recipients of Divine Grace.

Important note: Though the legend says about how the Prince Shobhanan observed the fast in a physically infirm condition and hence met his death, and then ultimately enjoyed a Divine Kingdom, we need not take it that far! As regular readers of this blog might be aware from previous posts, ekaadasi fast is exempted for those who are ailing, for the aged persons, and for ladies who are pregnant. This is in agreement with accepted dharma shastraic doctrines. Those who cannot observe a full fast may observe it to the extent possible - like fasting by drinking milk, fruit juices, etc. Even those who are exempted the full fast due to physical conditions must avoid onion, garlic, and other spicy foods that are ritually impure on ekaadasi days. Ekaadasi is the king among the Fasts, and one should be regulated in food habits (even if physical condition does not permit total abstinence from food and water). Please remember this important point and observe the fast in the way that is possible for you according to your circumstances.

May our members observe this ekaadasi as far as feasible and get the spiritual/ mundane benefits associated with this fast.


Harihi Om


Om Namah shivaya.


Blessed be

Pandit R. DAKSHINAMOORTHI.

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