“Hay Jagannath, Why are we bestowed such misfortunes? We always led our lives with gratitude and kindness, observing charity to others around us. Then why are we now faced with such adversity and forced to leave behind the life filled with riches and comfort? – Yudhishtira pleaded to Lord Krishna, unable to contain his dismayed heart, when Pandavas lost everything in the game of Chaupar and were renounced to exile.
Hearing his plea, Krishna replied – “This world only gives back what one gives to it Yudhishtira. Often our misfortunes are a play of our bad karmas in past lives, and we feel shackled with its consequences in current life. If one failed to observe charity in his previous lives, he would feel the deficit of wealth and grains in his current life.”
The answer humbled Yudhishtira who further enquired “Hay Hari, Is there a way I can liberate myself from my past sins?“
Lord Krishna smiled and replied – “Yes Yudhishtira, All our karmas in past and current lives are interlinked. You can receive forgiveness from your past misdeeds to have your past glory and riches back.”
Krishna continues to enlighten – “On the 11th day of the Krishna Paksh of Adhik Mas during the leap year in Purshottam month, falls Parama Ekadashi. This day is dedicated to my Mool Avataar Lord Vishnu, as he is the Parama God omnipresent across the past, present and the future. Anyone who observes the fast during Parama Ekadashi is relieved of his sins during previous births, liberating their souls. Fasting on this day bestows wealth, fortune and blesses one with the peace and accord in his mortal life.”
Krishna looks at a perplexed Yudhishtira and insistently continues – “Now I will tell you a story. There was once a pious Brahmin, Sumedha who lived with his wife Pavitra, in the city of Kampilya. They suffered extreme poverty. No matter how hard Sumedha tried to fulfil his duties as a providing husband, he failed. He went door to door each day collecting alms to feed his wife and himself. Each passing day was a struggle for survival. Through all the adversities Pavitra remained a faithful wife.”
Attentively Yudhishtira listened to Krishna as he says – “Once a great sage, Kaumdinya Muni visited Kampilya. He was highly praised for his austerities and learnings. The entire city flocked for his Darshan. Sumedha also visited him along with Pavitra and invited him to his humble abode. They fed Muni with a scrumptious meal prepared from whatever grains they had. Later the couple chatted with Muni regarding his great learnings and abruptly asked how they can get rid of his poverty-stricken life. Muni advised Sumedha to observe Parama Ekadashi fast and told them how to follow it. The fast can be observed as normal Ekadashi fast, whether by consuming one meal or only fruits as suited. Only the fast continues till five days along with observing abstinence. One can donate a pot filled with water to a Brahmin reaping the same merit of donating the entire planet in charity. One can also donate a pot filled with sesame seeds to assure their place in Vaikuntha after death. Sumedha and Pavitra observed Parama Ekadashi as directed to redeem their past misdeeds and lived rest of their life in abundance.“
Krishna smiles as he says – “Anyone who observes this fast becomes closer to Parama Lord Vishnu and is bestowed with great riches in life.”