Indira Ekadashi - Friday 18th September
Indira Ekadashi - Bhadarva Vad Ekadashi
King Yudhishthir asked "O Shree Krishna! Please tell me the name of and narrate to me the significance of the Ekadashi which falls in the Vad fortnight of the month of Bhadrapad."
Bhagwan Shree Krishna replied, "O king Yudhishthir! Bhadarvo Vad Ekadashi is known as 'Indira Ekadashi'. Observing its Vrat including fasting and Jagran dispels the great sins. The ancestors consigned to hell are released and go to heaven or Akshardham if Punys of Vrat of Indira Ekadshi is offered to them. Those who listen attentively to Mahatmya of Indira Ekadashi earn Punya equal to performing a Vajpayee Yagna.
O king! In the bygone Satya Yug, a powerful king named Indrasen ruled over a vast kingdom whose capital was Mahismati. A true devotees of Bhagwan Vishnu, he ruled justly and wisely and his subjects were happy and prosperous. Once, Sage Narad entered the assembly of King Indrasen who was surrounded by his ministers and courtiers. King got up from his throne and greeted sage with warm respect and great affection. He offered a suitable seat to Sage Narad and performed his veneration with humility. When sage asked king about his kingdom and subject, the king replied that the kingdom was secure and subject happy with blessings from eminent sages like Narad himself. Indrasen asked sage the reason behind his unexpected arrival. Sage Narad replied, 'O King Indrasen! I am coming from hell where I had gone from Satya Lok. Dharmaraj warmly welcomed me and performed my veneration. Surprisingly, I saw your father there. He sent a message for you. This is my true reason to come to Mahismati to relay your father's message to you. He is consigned to hell due to not performing some Vrats sincerely. He has asked you to undertake the Vrat of Indira Ekadashi and offer its accrued Punya so that he is released from hell and proceed to heaven. O king! Therefore, you must observe the Vrat of Indira Ekadashi and offer its Punya to your father."
King Indrasen asked Sage Narad, "O great Muni! Explain to me how should I undertake the Vrat of Indira Ekadashi."
Sage Narad replied, "O king! Wake up early (before dawn) on Bhadarva Vad Dasam and conclude your daily morning routine reverently. Perform Shradhdh with reverence and devotion at midday after Snaan. Eat only one meal whole day. Sleep on floor at night and wake up early on the day of Ekadashi. After concluding the morning routine, meditate upon Bhagwan Narayan and offer this prayer, 'O Keshav! O Achyut! I will not eat anything today and will refrain from worldly pleasures. Please protect me from all temptations.' O king! With this prayer, take a vow to observe fast with devotion and love. Perform another Shradhdh at midday in front of Shaligram. Feed the food prepared and offered to Pitris (dead ancestors) to the crows after just taking a whiff of that food. Worship Bhagwan Narayan with sandalwood and incense sticks. Spend the entire night in front of Murti of Bhagwan singing Kirtans or chanting His name. After Snaan, Sandhya and worship of Bhagwan Narayan the next morning, feed Brahmins and satiate them with Dakshina. You can conclude your fast only after this. You should now offer Punya the accrued by undertaking the Vrat of Ekadashi to your father which will release him from hell."
Bhagwan Shree Krishna concluded, "O King Yudhishthir! King Indrasen observed the Vrat of Indira Ekadashi as described by Sage Narad. Taking water in his hand, he offered Punya earned by observing the Vrat of Indira Ekadashi to his father. Flowers were showered from heaven as his father travelled to Vaikunth. O king! This is the Mahatmya of Indira Ekadashi. Whoever narrates or listens to this Katha will attain Vaikunth upon his death."
This Mahtmya of Indira Ekadashi is narrated in the BrahmVaivart Puran.