Ekadashi Vrata-the Legend of King Rukmanga

As ‘Eakadashi’ or the eleventh day of any month is stated to be a special day for worship of Vishnu, observance of of ‘Upavas’ (Fasting), Puja and Vrata are stated to be of significance to qualify for the nullification of sins and a stepping stone for attaining ‘Vaikuntha’. In fact the advantage of peforming Vrata in full faith and devotion is stated to reap the fruits of Ashwamedha Yagna and Rajasuya Yagna, besides avoiding ‘Yama Darshana’ or the need for the visits of hell. With no exaggeration, observance  the Eakadasha Vrata is said to be superior than the bathings in the Sacred Rivers/ Kshetras like Ganga, Kashi, Pushkar, Kukukshetra, Narmada, Devika, Yamuna, Chandrabhaga etc. To signify the import of the Ekadahsa Vrata, King Rukmanga of Surya Vamsha was in the habit of publicising the Vrata by consistent announcements on Elephant tops to alert all the citizens to compulsorily observe day long fasts with the exceptions however of those above eighty years of age, expectant mothers, Kumari Kanyas, and with severe diseases or of disturbed minds. As the Law was enforced with strictness, there were bee-lines of citizens to ‘Vishnu Dhaama’; but Lord Yama Dharma Raja had free time and Chitragupta was jobless as the paths leading to various Narakas which were always  overcrowded with the dead souls waiting in long queues for their turns before admission to specified Narakas were to be decided had turned quiet ! Dharma Raja was alarmed that the order books were thinning day by day. Lord Brahma was approached and having examined the Order Books he too was astonished and created a Damsel named Mohini and fully briefed her about the purpose of her creation. On the manifestation of Mohini, Brahma Maya  overcame King Rukmanda and decided to marry her at any cost. She agreed but on her terms viz. when ever she decided to do any thing should be instantly carried out without asking questions  as otherise she would leave the King at once. She demanded annulment of the Vrata and  indeed King’s passion for its obesrervance was gradually eroded too! Since then, performance of the Vrata became optional and  discretionary!  But indeed the faith continues among some Human Beings especially of Vishnu Bhakatas,albiet  rather feebly  till date.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in