Yudhisthira Maharaja said, “O Janardana, what is the name of the Ekadasi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Jyestha [May-June]? I wish to hear the glories of this sacred day. Please narrate every thing to me.”
Lord Sri Krsna said, “O king, your inquiry is wonderful because the answer will benefit the whole human society. This Ekadasi is so sublime and meritorious that even the greatest sins can be erased by its potency. O great king, the name of this unlimitedly meritorious Ekadasi is Apara Ekadasi. 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 Ekadasi.
“O 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 asrama (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 other; 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 hell. But simply by observing Apara Ekadasi, all such sinners become completely free of their sinful reactions.
“Warriors who fall from their ksatriya-dharma and flee the battlefield go to a ferocious hell. But, O Yudhisthira, even such a fallen ksatriya, if he observes fasting on Apara Ekadasi is freed of that great sin 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, if he simply observes Apara Ekadasi can attain to the spiritual world. Listen, O king, as I describe to you further glories of this Ekadasi.
“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 Ekadasi. bathing three times a day in Puskara-ksetra during Kartika [OctoberNovember]; bathing at Prayag in the month of Magha [JanuaryFebruary] when the sun is in the Zodiac; rendering service to Lord Siva at Varanasi during Siva-ratri; offering oblations to one’s forefathers at Gaya; bathing in the sacred Gautami River when Jupiter transits Leo; having darsana of Lord Siva at Kedaranatha; seeing Lord Badrinatha when the sun transits the sign of Aquarius; and bathing at the time of a solar eclipse at Kuruksetra and giving cows, elephants, and gold there in charity. All the merit one gets from performing these pious acts is gained by a person who observes the Apara Ekadasi fast. Also, the merit attained by one who donates a pregnant cow, along with gold and fertile land, is attained by one who fasts on this day.
“In other words, Apara Ekadasi. is an axe that cuts down the fully matured tree of sinful deeds, it is a forest fire that burns sins as if they were firewood, it is the sun blazing before one’s dark misdeeds, and it is a lion stalking the meek deer of impiety. Therefore, O Yudhisthira, whoever truly fears his past and present sins must observe Apara Ekadasi. 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 Ekadasi. 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 Visnu.
“O Bharata, for the benefit of all humanity I have thus described to you the importance of holy Apara Ekadasi. Anyone who hears or reads this description is certainly freed from all kinds of sins, O king.”
[Ekadasi, The Day of Lord Hari]