Safala Ekadashi - Sunday 29th December
King Yudhishthir asked Bhagwan Shree Krishna, "O janardan! Please tell me the name of Ekadashi coming in the dark fortnight of Magsar and how should one worship Bhagwan on this Ekadashi."
Shree Krishna replied, "O king! I am pleased more with the observation of Vrat of Ekadashi than by performing Yagnas or giving large donations to Brahmins. Just as Shesha among the snakes, Garud among the birds, Ashvamedha among the Yagnas, Ganga among the rivers, Vishnu among theDevtas and Brahmin among men are superior to others, Vrat of Ekadashi is supreme among all Vrats. Magsar Vad Ekadashi is called 'Safala Ekadashi'. Bhagwan Narayan is the ruling deity of this Ekadashi. He should be worshipped by performing His Aarti and lighting incense. Coconuts, limes and pomegranates should be offered as Naivedhya followed by cinnamon, cloves etc. wrapped in a beetle leaf. One may offer any seasonal fruits in an absence of the above mentioned specific fruits. A devotee should donate lamps on the conclusion of Vrat. O king! One must undertake Jagran on Ekadashi to reap the rewards of performing austerities for five thousand years."
Bhagwan Shree Krishna continued, "There was a king named Mahishmat who reigned his kingdom from the city of Champavati. He had four sons. The eldest among them - Lampark was evil minded. He wasted his father's wealth by gambling, consuming alcohol and visiting prostitutes. He slandered the Vedas, Devtas, Brahmins and the pious. Exasperated with his anti-religious behaviours, Mahishmat drove him away from his palace and kingdom. None of the subjects gave him shelter. Lampark decided to avenge his perceived insult of being driven out by his father. He lived in the forest during the day and came to the city to rob and kill people at random. The subjects were aware of the culprit but were afraid to punish him for the fear of reprisal by his father. He survived by killing small animals of the forest. O King Yudhishthir! There was an old, dilapidated and deserted hermitage in the forest, in which stood a large Pipal tree. After a passage of time, just a day before Safala Ekadashi, Lampark took shelter under this very Pipal tree. It turned very cold by nightfall. He shivered and remained awake all night due to the extreme cold. By the morning his body had become rigid. Unable to move, he remained motionless under the tree; without food and drink. The heat from the sun made his body supple enough for him to wonder about close by. Devoid of energy, he could not hunt for his food and by dusk, he returned back to the tree. Unable to bear his hunger, Lampark ate small fruits of Pipal lying on the ground and drank little water from a stream nearby. At the prospect of spending another cold night in the open under a tree, a shiver passed through his body. For the first time in his life, he remembered Bhagwan. He gathered some fruits and offered them to Bhagwan and prayed for some relief. The sinner sought mercy from Him. He mused that how could he possibly survive the second night in severe cold. He was again unable to sleep the whole night. The merciful Lord Narayan accepted Pipal fruits as Naivedhya and the sleepless night as Jagran and rewarded Lampark by washing away his sins. Lampark became free of his sins by observing Vrat of Ekadashi unintended and as result, his mind became void of ill thoughts. At noon on Dwadashi (Baras), a divine horse came in front of Lampark and he heard an oracle, 'O prince! Knowingly or unknowingly, you have observed the Vrat of Safala Ekadashi and as a result, Lord Vishnu is pleased with you. You have regained the right of being crown prince. Return to Champavati on this horse.' He bowed down to and prayed to invisible Bhagwan with closed eyes. His appearance changed to befitting the royal prince from a vagabond. Prince Lampark mounted the divine horse. At behest of Bhagwan Vishnu, his father welcomed him with an embrace. He became king of Champavati, had children and earned great fame. His soul went to Vaikunth upon his death. O Yudhishthir! People who observe the Vrat of Safala Ekadashi faithfully will attain Moksha on their death. Whoever narrates or listens to this Mahatmya of Safala Ekadashi will be rewarded with Punya equivalent to performing a Rajsuya Yagna."