Vijya Ekadashi - Wednesday 22nd February
Vijya Ekadashi - Maha Vad Ekadashi
King Yudhishthir asked, "O merciful Lord Vaasudev! What is the name of the Ekadashi that falls on the dark fortnight of month of Magh? What is its significance?"
Bhagwan Shree Krishna replied, "O king! This Ekadashi is called Vijya Ekadashi and as the name suggests, anyone undertaking the Vrat of this Ekadashi becomes victorious. Once, Sage Narad approached Brahma and asked him to narrate to him the Mahatmya of Vijya Ekadashi. Brahma said, 'O Son! This Vrat is very ancient, holy and dispeller of all evils. I have not revealed its secret to anybody as yet. Anyone observing this Vrat can easily annihilate his enemies and become victorious in a battle. This Vrat instils new confidence in a disheartened man."
"Bhagwan Ram, Laxman and Sita settled in Panchvati to spend fourteen year's exile. The demon king Ravan abducted Sita from Panchvati. His ardent devotee Hanuman helped locate Sita in Lanka. With the help of Sugreev, Bhagwan Ram gathered a large army of monkeys on the shore of the ocean. Shree Ram asked His brother, 'O Laxman! The rewards of which Punya will enable us to cross this vast ocean?' Laxman replied, 'O Brother! You are omniscience supreme Bhagwan in garb of my brother. However, I shall reply as You have asked me. There is a hermitage of Rishi Bakdalabhya nearby. We should approach him and seek his advice to alleviate our problem.' Bhagwan Ram, along with Laxman went to sage's Ashram and greeted him with folded hands and bowed heads. O Narad! Though Rishi knew the identity of his guests and the reason for their arrival, he, nonetheless asked Lord Ram, 'Who are You and where have You come from?' Bhagwan Ram identified Himself and asked the sage, 'O Rishi! I have gathered a vast army to defeat the demon king of Lanka. Please tell Me how can I and My army reach Lanka on the other shore of the ocean.' Sage Bakdalabhya replied, 'O Ram! A well known Ekadashi is due shortly. You will be able to cross the ocean and be victorious in battle by undertaking the Vrat of Vijya Ekadashi, falling in the dark fortnight of month of Maha. I shall now tell You how to undertake its Vrat. You should fill a gold, silver, copper or earthen pitcher with seven different types of grain on Dasam preceding the Ekadashi. Top the pitcher with barley and place a gold Murti of Bhagwan Narayan on top of it. On the morning of Ekadashi and after concluding Your morning routine, worship the Murti of Bhagwan Narayan with various artefacts such as sandalwood, flowers, incense and lamp and offer fruits as Naivedhya. Spend the whole day in Bhagwan Narayan's memory by meditation, singing His Kirtan and chanting His name. Take the pitcher to a river or a lake the next morning (on Baras) and establish the pitcher there. Worship Bhagwan Narayan with full faith and rituals on the banks of a river or lake. The pitcher, its content and golden Murti of Bhagwan Narayan along with some extra Dakshina should be gifted to a scholar Brahmin."
Brahma continued, "O Narad! Bhagwan Ram observed the Vrat of Vijya Ekadashi as guided by Sage Bakdalabhya and after which He, with Hanuman's help, built a bridge across the ocean. Bhagwan Ram killed Ravan and became victorious in the battle. Sita was reunited with Bhagwan Ram. O Son! Everyone should observe the Vrat of Vijya Ekadashi. Whoever even listens to or reads its Mahatmya will be rewarded with Punya equivalent of performing Vajpayee Yagna."
This Mahatmya of Vijya Ekadashi is taken from the Skand Puran.