Ekadashi the fasting occurring on the 11th lunar day is most auspicious for Vaishnavas. on this day Vaishnavas refrain from eating any sort of grains, and they are deeply engrossed in worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu. we might have heard many stories of how and why Ekadashi began and why to refrain from grains but the detailed description and mention of this Vrta is in Padma Puran. in the section entitled Kriya-Sagara-Sara, 14th chapter of the Padma Purana, Uttara Kanda, during Conversation of Veda Vyasa and Jaimini, Veda Vyasa explains the Importance of Ekadashi.
Once Sage Jaimini desired to hear the benefits of fasting on Ekadashi and of its appearance from his Guru Veda Vyasa. Jaimini then asked O Gurudeva! When did Ekadashi take birth and from whom did she appear? What are the rules for fasting on the day of Ekadashi? Please describe the benefits of following this vow and when it should be followed. Who is the utmost worshipable presiding deity of Sri Ekadashi? What are the faults in not observing Ekadashi properly?
Veda Vyasa started to illustrate the story of how Ekadashi originated he said “At the beginning of creation, the Supreme Lord Vishnu created the moving and non-moving living entities within this world made of five gross material elements. Simultaneously, for the purpose of punishing evil human beings, He created a personality whose form was the embodiment of the worst kinds of sin (Paap-Purusha). The different limbs of this personality were constructed of various sinful activities.
His head was made of the sin of murdering a Brahmana, his two eyes were the form of drinking intoxicants, his mouth was made from the sin of stealing gold, and his ears were the form of the sin of having an illicit connection with the spiritual master’s wife, his nose was of the sin of killing one’s wife, his arms the form of the sin of killing a cow, his neck was made of the sin of stealing accumulated wealth, his chest of the sin of abortion, his lower chest of the sin of having sex with another’s wife, his stomach of the sin of killings one’s relatives, his navel of the sin of killing those who are dependent on him, his waist of the sin of egotistical self-appraisal, his thighs of the sin of offending the guru, his genitals of the sin of selling one’s daughter, his buttocks of the sin of telling confidential matters, his feet of the sin of killing one’s father, and his hair was the form of all sorts of less severe sinful activities. In this way, a horrible personality embodying all sinful activities and vices was created. His bodily color is black, and his eyes are yellow. He inflicts extreme misery upon sinful persons.
This is really Ironic that according to Purusha Suktam of rig Veda Lord’s created the Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishya, and Sudras through his Mouth, Arms, Belly, and Feet. From the Supreme creator’s mind, the moon was born, from his eyes, the sun was born. and From his mouth, Indra and Agni were born his breath became the wind. The Purusha’s navel space manifested, from his head, the sky and the earth was created through his feet, his ears the directions and thus the creation was created. This very mention can be also found in Srimad Bhagavatam. But according to this particular mention of the Ekadashi story in Padma Puran, we find that through the same body parts of the Lord the Sins were also created. Thus the sins are also manifestations of the supreme.
Let us look at the story in Padma Puran further.
When this personality Paap- Purusha or sin was created Lord Vishnu felt very sad and he felt really guilty, that he had created happiness and misery both. so he felt that He needs someone to control this Paap-Purusha Lord Vishnu then created Yamaraja and the different hellish planetary systems. Those living entities who are very sinful will be sent after death to Yamaraja, who will punish them according to their sins, and send them to an appropriate hellish region to suffer.
After these adjustments were made, once went to the house of Yamaraja. where he heard very loud crying sounds from the southern direction. He became surprised by this and inquired of Yamaraja, ‘From where is this loud crying coming?’
Yamaraja in reply said,’ The different living entities of the earthly planetary systems have fallen to the hellish regions. They are suffering extremely for their misdeeds. The horrible crying is because of suffering from the infliction of their past bad actions.’
After hearing this Supreme Lord Vishnu went to the hellish region to the south. When Lord Vishnu saw the conditions in the Hellish Planets his heart became filled with compassion. Lord Vishnu thought to Himself, ‘I have created all this progeny, and it is because of Me that they are suffering.
So to elevate the living entities from their miseries and bring them back to his abode Vaikuntha merciful Lord suddenly manifested from His own form the deity Ekadashi. Afterward, the different sinful living entities began to follow the vow of Ekadashi and were then elevated quickly to the abode of Vaikuntha. therefore Ekadashi and the Supreme Lord Vishnu are non-different. Sri Ekadashi is the utmost pious activity and is situated at the head of all vows.
Following the ascension of Sri Ekadashi, Paap-Purusha was very intimidated. He then approached Lord Vishnu with doubts in his heart and began offering many prayers, whereupon Lord Vishnu became very pleased and said, ‘I have become very pleased by your nice offerings. What boon is it that you want?’
The Paap-Purusha replied, I am Your created progeny, and it is through me that you wanted distress given to the living entities who are very sinful. But now, by the influence of Sri Ekadashi, I am destroyed. O Keshava, After I die, all the living entities who are your part and parcel will be liberated, and thus there will be no one to carry out your eternal pastimes on earthly planets. if there is no adharma (injustice, sin) then you would not need to descend to the earthly planets. O Keshava! If you want these eternal pastimes to carry on, then You please save me from the fear of Ekadashi. No type of pious activity can bind me apart from Ekadashi as it is Your own manifested form. Out of fear of Sri Ekadashi I have fled and taken shelter of men; animals; insects; hills; trees; moving and non-moving living entities; rivers; oceans; forests; heavenly, earthly, and hellish planetary systems; demigods; and the Gandharvas. I cannot find a place where I can be free from the fear of Sri Ekadashi. O, my Master! I am a product of Your creation, so therefore very mercifully direct me to a place where I can reside fearlessly.
Hearing the Paap- Purusha’s Cry Lord Vishnu, began to speak with laughter ‘O Paap-Purusha, rise up! Don’t lament. I’ll tell you where you can stay on the lunar day of Ekadashi. On the day of Ekadashi, which is the benefactor of the three planetary systems, you can take shelter from food grains. And you will be safe from my form as Ekadashi. After giving direction to the Paap-Purusha, the Supreme Lord Vishnu disappeared and the Paap-Purusha returned to the performance of his own activities.
Therefore, those persons who are serious about the ultimate benefit of the soul will never eat grains on Ekadashi. According to the instructions of Lord Vishnu, every kind of sinful activity that can be found in the material world takes its residence in this place of grains. Whoever follows Ekadashi is freed from all sins and never enters into the hellish regions.