June 01, 2016, is fasting for Apara Ekadashi Next three Ekadashis are
Pandava Nirjala Ekadashi on June 16, 2016
Yogini Ekadashi on July 01, 2016
Shayana Ekadashi on July 15, 2016
Following is a small writeup on Apara Ekadashi
(from Brahmanda Purana)
Sri Yudhishthira Maharaj said, “Oh Janardana, what is the name of the Ekadashi that occurs during the dark fortnight (Krishna paksha) of the month of Jyeshtha (May-June)? I wish to hear from You the glories of this sacred day of Hari. Please narrate everything to me”.
Lord Sri Krishna said, “Oh king, your inquiry is wonderful because the answer will benefit the whole human society. This Ekadashi is so sublime and meritorious that even the greatest sins can be erased by its purity”.
“Oh great saintly king, the name of this unlimitedly meritorious Ekadashis Apara Ekadashi. Whoever fasts on this holy day becomes famous all over the universe. Even such sins as killing a Brahmana, a cow, or an embryo; blasphemy; or having sex with another man’s wife are completely eradicated by observing Apara Ekadashi”.
“Oh king, people who bear false witness are most sinful. A person who falsely or sarcastically glorifies another; one who cheats while weighing something on a scale; one who fails to execute the duties of his varna or ashrama (an unqualified man’s posing as a brahmana, for example, or a person’s reciting the Vedas wrongly); one who invents his own scriptures; one who cheats others; one who is a charlatan astrologer, a cheating accountant, or a false Ayurvedic doctor. All these are surely as bad as a person who bears false witness, and they are all destined for hellish punishments. But simply by observing Apara Ekadashi, all such sinners become completely free of their sinful reactions”.
“Warriors who fall from their kshatriya-dharma and flee the battlefield go to a ferocious hell. But, Oh Yudhishthira, even such a fallen kshatriya, if he observes fasting on the Apara Ekadashi, is freed of that great sinful reaction and goes to heaven”.
“That disciple is the greatest sinner who, after receiving a proper spiritual education from his spiritual master, turns around and blasphemes him. Such a so-called disciple suffers unlimitedly. But even he, rascal though he be, if he simply observes Apara Ekadashi, can attain to the spiritual world. Listen, Oh king, as I describe to you further glories of this amazing Ekadashi”.
“The merit attained by one who performs all of the following acts of piety is equal to the merit achieved by one who observes Apara Ekadashi: bathing three times daily in Pushkara-kshetra during Kartika (October-November); bathing at Prayag in the month of Magha (January-February) when the sun is in the zodiac of Capricorn; rendering service to Lord Shiva at Varanasi (Benares) during Shiva-ratri; offering oblations to one's forefathers at Gaya; bathing in the sacred Gautami River when Jupiter transits Leo (Simha); having darshan of Lord Shiva at Kedarnatha; seeing Lord Badrinatha when the Sun transits the sign of Aquarius (Kumbha); and bathing at the time of a solar eclipse at Kurukshetra and giving cows, elephants, and gold there in charity.
A person who observes the Apara Ekadashi fast gains all the merit one gets from performing these pious acts. Also, one who fasts on this day attains the merit attained by one who donates a pregnant cow, along with gold and fertile land”.
“In other words, Apara Ekadashi is an axe that cuts down the fully matured forest full of trees of sinful deeds, it is a forest fire that burns sins as if they were kindling firewood, it is the sun blazing before one’s dark misdeeds, and it is a lion stalking the meek deer of impiety”.
“Therefore, Oh Yudhishthira, whoever truly fears his past and present sins must observe Apara Ekadashi very strictly. One who does not observe this fast must be born again in the material world, like one bubble among millions in a huge body of water, or like a small ant among all other species”.
“Therefore one must faithfully observe the sacred Apara Ekadashi and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Trivikrama. One who does so is freed of all his sins and promoted to the abode of Lord Vishnu.”
“Oh Bharata, for the benefit of all humanity I have thus described to you the importance of the holy Apara Ekadashi.”
“Anyone who hears or reads this description is certainly freed from all kinds of sins, oh best of saintly kings, Yudhishthira.”
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Jyeshtha-Krishna Ekadashi, or Apara Ekadashi, from the Brahmanda Purana.
1. Pushkara-kshetra, in western India, is the only place on Earth where a bonafide temple of Lord Brahma is to be found.
2. The Vedas declare, narah budbuda samah: “The human form of life is like a bubble in water”. In water, many bubbles form and then suddenly burst a few seconds later. Thus if a person does not utilize his rare human body to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, his life has no more value or permanence than a bubble in water. Therefore, as the Lord herein recommends, we should serve Him by fasting on Hari-vasara, or Ekadashi.
In this regard, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes in the Srimad Bhagavatam (SB: 2.1.4 purport) “The great ocean of material nature is tossing with the waves of time, and the so-called living conditioned are something like foaming bubbles, which appear before us as bodily self, wife, children, society, countrymen, etc. Due to a lack of knowledge of self, we become victimized by the force of ignorance and thus spoil the valuable energy of human life in a vain search after permanent living conditions, which are impossible in this material world.”