Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja said, “O Janārdana, what is the name of the Ekādaśī that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Jyeṣṭha [May-June]? I wish to hear the glories of this sacred day. Please narrate everything to me.”
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “O king, your inquiry is wonderful because the answer will benefit the whole human society. This Ekādaśī 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 Ekādaśī is Aparā Ekādaśī. Whoever fasts on this holy day becomes famous all over the universe. Even such sins as killing a brāhmaṇa, a cow, or an embryo; blasphemy; or having sex with another man’s wife are completely eradicated by observing Aparā Ekādaśī.
“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 varṇa or aśrama (an unqualified man’s posing as a brāhmaṇa, 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 āyurvedic 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 Aparā Ekādaśī, all such sinners become completely free of their sinful reactions.
“Warriors who fall from their kṣatriya-dharma and flee the battlefield go to a ferocious hell. But, O Yudhiṣṭhira, even such a fallen kṣatriya, if he observes fasting on Aparā Ekādaśī 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 Aparā Ekādaśī can attain to the spiritual world. Listen, O king, as I describe to you further glories of this Ekādaśī.
“The merit attained by one who performs all of the following acts of piety is equal to the merit achieved by one who observes Aparā Ekādaśī. bathing three times a day in Puṣkara-kṣetra during Kārtika [October-November]; bathing at Prayāg in the month of Māgha [January-February] when the sun is in the Zodiac; rendering service to Lord Śiva at Vārāṇasī during Śiva-rātrī; offering oblations to one’s forefathers at Gayā; bathing in the sacred Gautamī River when Jupiter transits Leo; having darśana of Lord Śiva at Kedāranātha; seeing Lord Badrīnātha when the sun transits the sign of Aquarius; and bathing at the time of a solar eclipse at Kurukṣetra 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 Aparā Ekādaśī 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, Aparā Ekādaśī 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 Yudhiṣṭhira, whoever truly fears his past and present sins must observe Aparā Ekādaśī 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 Aparā Ekādaśī and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Trivikrama. One who does so is freed of all his sins and promoted to the abode of Lord Viṣṇu.
“O Bhārata, for the benefit of all humanity I have thus described to you the importance of holy Aparā Ekādaśī. Anyone who hears or reads this description is certainly freed from all kinds of sins, O king.”
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Jyeṣṭha-kṛṣṇa Ekādaśī, or Aparā Ekādaśī, from the Brahmāṇda Purāṇa.
[Ekādaśī, The Day of Lord Hari, by Śrī Kṛṣṇa Balarām Swāmījī, BDS]