Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said, “O Supreme Lord, I have heard from You the glories of fasting on Deva-śayanī Ekādaśī, which occurs during the light part of the month of Āṣāḍha. Now I would like to hear about the Ekādaśī that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Śrāvaṇa [July-August]. O Govinda, please be merciful to me and explain its glories. O Vāsudeva, I offer my humble obeisances unto You.”
The Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, replied, “O king, please listen attentively as I describe the auspicious influence of this holy fast day, which removes all sins. Nārada Muni once asked Lord Brahmā about this same topic. ‘O regent of all,’ said Nāradaji, ‘O you who sit upon a lotus throne, please tell me the name of the Ekādaśī that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Śrāvaṇa. Please also tell me which Deity is worshiped on that holy day, the process one must follow to observe it, and the merit it awards.’
“Lord Brahmā replied, ‘My dear son Nārada, for the benefit of all humanity I shall happily tell you everything you wish to know, for just hearing the glories of Kāmikā Ekādaśī bestows merit equal to that obtained by one who performs a horse sacrifice. Certainly, great merit is attained by one who worships, and who also meditates on the lotus feet of, four-armed Lord Gadādhara, who holds conch shell, disc, club and lotus in His hands and who is also known as Śrīdhara, Hari, Viṣṇu, Mādhava, and Madhūsudana. And the blessings achieved by a person who worships Lord Viṣṇu exclusively are far greater than those achieved by one who takes a sacred bath in the Ganges at Kāśī [Vārāṇasī], in the forest of Naimiśāraṇya, or at Puśkara, where I am worshiped. But one who observes Kāmikā Ekādaśī and also worships Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa achieves greater merit than one who has darṣana of Lord Kedāranātha in the Himālayas, or one who bathes at Kurukṣetra during a solar eclipse, or one who donates the whole earth in charity, including its forests and oceans, or one who bathes in the Gaṇḍakī River or Godāvarī River on a full moon day that falls on a Monday when Leo and Jupiter are conjoined.
“Observing Kāmikā Ekādaśī bestows the same merit as donating a milk-cow and her calf, along with their feed. On this day, whoever worships Lord Śrīdhara-deva, Viṣṇu, is glorified by the demigods, Gandharvas, Pannagas, and Nāgas.
“Those who are afraid of their past sins and completely immersed in sinful material life should observe this best of Ekādaśīs according to their ability and thus attain liberation. This Ekādaśī is the purest of all days and the most powerful for removing sins. O Nārada, Lord Śrī Hari Himself once said about this Ekādaśī, “One who fasts on Kāmikā Ekādaśī attains much more merit than one who studies all the spiritual literatures.”
“Anyone who fasts on this particular day and remains awake through the night will never experience the anger of Yamarāja, death personified. Whoever observes Kāmikā Ekādaśī will not have to suffer future births, and in the past many yogīs who fasted on this day went to the spiritual world. One should therefore follow in their auspicious footsteps and strictly observe a fast on this Ekādaśī.
“Whoever worships Lord Hari with tulasī leaves is freed from all implication of sin. Indeed, he lives untouched by sin, as the lotus leaf, although in the water, is untouched by it. Whoever offers Śrī Hari but a single leaf from a tulasī tree attains as much merit as one who gives away in charity two hundred grams of gold and eight hundred grams of silver. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is more pleased by one who offers Him a single tulasī leaf than by one who worships Him with pearls, rubies, topaz, diamonds, lapis lazuli, sapphires, gomedā stones, cat’s eye gems, and coral. One who offers Lord Keśava newly grown mañjarīs from the sacred tulasī plant gets rid of all the sins he has committed during this or any other lifetime. Indeed, mere darśana of tulasī on Kāmikā Ekādaśī removes all sins, and merely touching her and praying to her removes all kinds of disease. One who waters tulasī never fear the lord of death, Yamarāja. One who plants or transplants tulasī will eventually reside with Lord Kṛṣṇa in His own abode. To Śrīmatī Tulasī-devī, who awards liberation in devotional service, one should therefore daily offer one’s full obeisances.
“Even Citragupta, Yamarāja’s secretary, cannot calculate the merit obtained by one who offers Śrīmatī Tulasī-devī a perpetually burning ghee lamp. So dear is this sacred Ekādaśī to the Supreme Personality of Godhead that all the forefathers of one who offers a bright ghee lamp to Lord Kṛṣṇa on this day ascend to the heavenly planets and drink nectar there. Whoever offers either a ghee- or sesame-oil lamp to Śrī Kṛṣṇa on this day is freed from all his sins and enters the abode of Sūrya, the sun-god, with a body as bright as ten million lamps.’
“O Yudhiṣṭhira,” Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa concluded, “these were the words Lord Brahmā spoke to Nārada Muni concerning the incalculable glories of Kāmikā Ekādaśī, which removes all sins. This sacred day nullifies even the sin of killing a brāhmaṇa or of killing an unborn child in the womb, and it promotes one to the spiritual world by making one supremely meritorious. Whoever hears these glories of Kāmikā Ekādaśī with faith becomes free of all sins and returns home, back to Visṇu-loka.”
[Ekādaśī, The Day of Lord Hari, by Śrī Kṛṣṇa Balarām Swāmījī, KBS0147]