Mokshada Ekadashi - Monday 21st December
King Yudhishthir asked Bhagwan Shree Krishna, "O Vishnu! You are Purna Purushottam. I bow down to You. Please tell me in detail the name of Ekadashi falling in the Sud fortnight of Magsar, how should one observe its Vrat and who is its ruling deity?" Shree Krishna replied, "O Yudhishthir! I will ask your question in detail. This Ekadashi is known as Mokshada Ekadashi. Bhagwan Vishnu should be worshipped today with sandalwood and fragrant flowers. One can attain Moksha by observing this Ekadashi faithfully.
In the bygone era, there lived a king called Vaikhanas in a kingdom of Gokul. Brahmins including the scholars of the Vedas also lived in his kingdom. Once the king had a dream that his late father was languishing in hell. He told of this surprising dream to the scholar Brahmins, 'O Brahmins! My father is urging me to free him from hell. Due to his sufferings, even I am unable to enjoy the pleasures of kingdom. Please advise me how I can free my father from hell.' The Brahmins replied, 'O king! There is an Ashram of Parvat Muni not far from here. The Muni has the knowledge of past, present and future. He will be able to guide you.' O Yudhishthir! King Vaikhanas, along with Brahmins went to the Ashram of Parvat Muni. He was surrounded by many other Munis well versed in all four Vedas. The king prostrated at Muni's feet. When Muni asked the reason behind his unexpected arrival, the king replied, 'O Muni! Everything is well with my kingdom and me. However, I have a grave problem. I have come to you for your guidance to seek solution to it." Bhagwan Shree Krishna continued, "O King Yudhishthir! When King Vaikhanas explained about his dream, Parvat Muni went into Samadhi to ascertain the facts. He said to Vaikhanas, 'O king! Your father is consigned to hell because he had committed many evil deeds in his life. Your father had two queens and he treated one favourably and ignored the other. The later queen's desires remained unfulfilled and as result of his maltreatment of her, he has fallen in hell.' King Vaikhanas asked, 'O Muni! How can I redeem my father from hell? What Vrats should I undergo and what Daan should I give in order to free my father from hell.' Parvat Muni replied, 'O king! Observe faithfully the Vrat of forthcoming Ekadashi called Mokshada Ekadashi. Undertake fast for a day and worship Bhagwan sincerely. Offer your Punya earned by observing this Ekadashi to your father and as result of this Punya, your father will be released from hell." Bhagwan continued, "O King Yudhishthir! Vaikhanas thanked Parvat Muni for his guidance and returned to his kingdom. The king and his family observed the Vrat of Mokshada Ekadashi by observing a fast as advised by Parvat Muni and offered the Punya earned to his late father. The Devtas freed his father from hell and took him to heaven. To mark this occasion, they showered flowers on king Vaikhanas. King also heard his father crying out loud in joy as he was being led to heaven. He blessed King Vaikhanas for his efforts. O King Yudhishthir! Whoever observes the Vrat of Mokshada Ekadashi is redeemed from his sins and attains Moksha upon his death. Mokshada Ekadashi is unparallel among all the Ekadashis. Punya earned by observing the Vrat of this Ekadashi cannot be described fully in words. Furthermore, whoever reads, narrates or listens to this Katha earns Punya equivalent to performing a Vajpeyi Yagna. One may attain heaven or Moksha as he desires by observing the Vrat of Mokshada Ekadashi." This Mahatmya of Mokshada Ekadashi is narrated in Brahmand Puran in a form of dialogue between Bhagwan Shree Krishna and King Yudhishthir.