Kamada Ekadashi occurs in the Chaitra month as per Amanta and Purnimanta Calendars. It is also called as Chaitra Shukla Ekadashi.
Kamada Ekadashi is the eleventh day from the new moon day (Shukla Paksha Ekadashi). In the year 2023, it occurs on Saturday, 1st April 2023. The exact duration of the Ekadashi Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.
Kamada Ekadashi is considered as the first Ekadashi in the year which begins with Chaitra month. “Kamada” means attainment of desires. It is believed that observation of this Ekadashi Vrat may result in fulfillment of the desires.
The legend pertaining to this Ekadashi are said to be narrated in Sri Varaha Puran. It is considered to be the narration made by Sri Krishna to Pandava King Yudhishtra. The story is also said to be narrated by Sage Vasishta to King Dileepa.
The city named Rathnapura was ruled by the King Pundarika. It was very rich and prosperous city decorated with gold and silver.
There, the Gandharva couple Lalith and Lalitha were living. Gandharvas are the celestial artists. Lalith was a renowned singer while Lalitha was a famous dancer. Both of them served in the King’s Royal Court.
One day, Lalitha was absent in the Court. Only Lalith did the singing. He pined for his missing wife. Due to lack of concentration, he missed a few beats and lines in his music. His performance lacked luster.
Karkotaka, the native of Paataal lok was present in the Court. He had observed the apathy displayed by Lalith. He told the king” Raja, this person seems to think that his wife Lalitha is more important than you, the King”.
The King was already upset with Lalith for the poor performance. The observation of Karkotaka added fuel to the fire. He immediately cursed Lalith to be the huge magnificent monster despised by all. The curse had immediate effect.
Lalitha, meanwhile had heard about the King’s curse. She was devastated. She took her husband (who was in a fierce form) to the forest. Even on the way, the cursed monster was causing havoc. Lalitha somehow managed to take him to the deep forest where he could do no harm.
They have reached Vindhya mountains and were wandering hither and thither. Lalitha saw the Sage Shringi at the place. She prostrated before him and told him about the curse that had come upon her husband.
The Sage suggested to her to observe Kamada Ekadashi Vrat. He told her the rituals also. She observed fasting for the whole day and kept awake at night. She ardently prayed to Bhagwan Krishna.
Curing of curse
Since she had observed the Vrat with sincerity, her husband had got back his earlier form. His sins were atoned.
Then both Lalith and Lalitha went to Deva lok in the celestial plane.
The general rituals followed for Ekadashi Vrats are given below:
-The exact time of dawn of Ekadashi tithi is ascertained either from family elders / astrologers. It is mentioned in the Holy Almanac (Panchang) as well. Even daily Calendars provide the information.
-The idol or picture of Sri Vishnu is decorated with flowers. Incense sticks are lit. Diyas are lit with ghee. Pujas are done with tulsi leaves.
– The items such as Jambira fruit (goose berry), Pomegranate, Mangoes, Guava, Betal nuts and leaves, Coconut, Varieties of nuts and Cloves and other aromatic spices are offered in Puja subject to availability.
Slokas or stotras of Sri Maha Vishnu including Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama are recited with devotion. Srimad Bhagavad Gitaa is also recited.
-Special Puja is done for Sri Lakshmi Devi as well.
-The Vrat Katha is read and recited.
-At the end of the puja, aarti is done. Prasad is distributed to the family members.
-Devotees of Bhagwan Maha Vishnu observe strict fasting from the dawn of Ekadashi.
-They do not sleep on the night of Ekadashi. At this time, tales of Sri Maha Vishnu are recited by the elders. Others listen to the stories.
-Various bhajans and kirtans are held.
-The fast shall continue till the sunrise of the next day, i.e., Dwadashi.
-Those devotees who cannot do fasting due to medical or other reasons can take sattvic food. Mostly prasadams and fruits are partaken.
-Making daan / donation to the needy on Ekadashi day is believed to please Sri Maha Vishnu.
-On Dwadashi day, unless it happens to be another Vrat day, a nutritious meal is partaken to balance the internal physical effects of fasting on the previous day. It is considered pious to forego eating of brinjal on Dwadashi day.
-The idol of Sri Krishna is placed at the puja place.
-Sandal paste is specially applied on Sri Krishna.
-Milk based sweets are offered as Neivedyam.
-Removal of sins of past and present births; and
-Removal of effects of curses and ill-will from others.
Even listening to the merits of Kamada Ekadashi bestows the same benefits as observing the Vrat.
Importance should be given to the sincere prayers to Sri Maha Vishnu.