The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the origin of ekadashi and the killing of demon mura which is chapter 38 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the thirty-eighth chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 38 - The Origin of Ekādaśī and the Killing of Demon Mura

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Mahādeva said:

1. O son, on one occasion I had gone into the proximity of (i.e. to) Viṣṇu. There I first asked (him) about the importance of Dvādaśī, having heard which all sages having enjoyed pleasures went to heaven.

Nārada said:

2. O Mahādeva, of what kind would be the great (vow of the) Mahādvādaśī? O lord, O ruler of all, what kind of fruit (would one get) by observing it.

Śiva said:

3-17a. O brāhmaṇa, this Ekādaśī gives the fruit (in the form) of great religious merit. It should be observed by the best sages when it is in conjunction with (certain) constellations. Jayā, Vijayā, Jayantī and Pāpanāśinī—all these destroy sins. They should be observed by those who desire (certain) fruits. When, in the bright half (of the month), the star Punarvasu (i.e. the seventh lunar mansion) appears on the Ekādaśī day, that is called Jayā, and it is the best of days. Having observed a fast on that day a man is freed from a sin. There is no doubt about this. When, in the bright half (of the month), the star Śravaṇa (i.e. the twenty-second lunar mansion) appears on the Dvādaśī day, that is called Vijayā and it is the best of days. Gift given on that day becomes thousandfold (in religious merit); so also food given to brāhmaṇas (becomes like that). In the same way a sacrifice (performed) or a fast (observed on that day) gives more than a thousandfold fruit. When on the Dvādaśī in the bright half Rohiṇī (i.e. the fourth lunar mansion) appears, that is called Jayantī. That day removes also sins. Viṣṇu worshipped on that day certainly washes sins, small or great, committed during (previous) seven existences. When on the Dvādaśī in the bright half Puṣya (i.e. the eighth lunar mansion) appears, then that will be the very meritorious Pāpanāśinī. (The religious merit of him) who every day gives a prastha of sesamum-seeds (to a brāhmaṇa) for the (whole) year, and (the religious merit of him) who observes a fast on that day (i.e. on the Pāpanāśinī) are said to be equal. Viṣṇu, the lord of all, the lord of the world, being pleased, appears actually (i.e. in person) only, and endless fruit is said (to be obtained by him who observes a fast) on that (day). Viṣṇu who was won over and worshipped on that (day) by Sagara, Kakutstha and Nahuṣa, gave (them) everything on the earth. There is no doubt that he (who observes a fast on that day) is freed from the sin due to speech, mental sin or especially bodily sin committed during the seven (previous) existences. A man having fasted on that (Pāpanāśinī) alone, which is joined with the star Puṣya, obtains the fruit of (having fasted on) a thousand Ekādaśīs. Whatever like a bath, (giving a) gift, muttering (of hymns), a sacrifice, self-study, worship of a deity, is done on that day is said to give an inexhaustible fruit.

17b-18. Therefore, those who desire the fruit (like salvation) should observe (a fast on) this (day) carefully. When Yudhiṣṭhira had the ablution after the fifth horse-sacrifice, he, the religious-minded one, asked Kṛṣṇa, the scion of the Yadu family:

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

19. O lord, O Janārdana, tell me all that, viz. what religious merit or what fruit (is obtained) by observing a fast on eating only at night or eating once (a day).

The lord said:

20-27a. In the cold season, when the auspicious month of Mārgaśīrṣa has come, a man should fast on that Dvādaśī which (comes) in the dark half, O son of Pṛthā (i.e. O son of Kuntī, O Yudhiṣṭhira). Knowing what ‘nakta’ is, a man, with a pure heart and of a firm vow, eating (only) once on the tenth, and being controlled, (should eat) during the eighth part of the day when the Sun is feeble (i.e. is setting). That should be known as ‘nakta’. ‘Nakta’ is not eating only at night. Nakta is enjoined for a householder before the stars appear (in the sky). The nakta for an ascetic is eating only in the eighth part of the day. Eating at night is prohibited for him. Then, O Yudhiṣṭhira, he who has taken the vow, should make the religious observance in the morning, so also in the mid-day, and being pure, should bathe. Bathing in a temporary well is the lowest; bathing in a well is of a middling quality. Bathing in a tank is excellent. Bathing in a river is still better. O Yudhiṣṭhira, the sin and the religious merit are equal when a bath is taken in the water where living beings are troubled. Bathing at home is excellent, and the water should purify (him). Therefore, O best (or eldest) of the Pāṇḍavas, a man should bathe in his house.

27b-32. (At that time he should pray:) ‘O you earth, that are stepped over by horses, gone over by chariots and by Viṣṇu, remove the sin that has been collected by me in (my) former (existence)’. He should give up anger and greed. He should think of one thing only, and be of a firm vow. He should not talk to a Śūdra, so also to heretics, so also to those given to lying, so also to those who censure brāhmaṇas, and to others of bad behaviour, to those who take away others’ wealth, and to those who are adulters. Having worshipped Viṣṇu, he should make articles of food offered; and with a devoted mind he should offer lights in the house. O Pārtha, on that day he should avoid sleep and sexual union. He should pass the entire day in recreation by means of sacred texts.

33-39. O best king, he, being full of devotion, should keep awake during the night, should give presents to brāhmaṇas, and should, after having saluted them, apologise to them. He should get observed (i.e. observe) the Ekādaśī (vow) during the bright half as during the dark half (of the month). He should not differentiate between (the two Ekādaśīs). Listen to the fruit of (i.e. obtained by) him who does like this. A man, after bathing at Śaṃkhoddhāra and after seeing (the image of) god Viṣṇu, does not deserve (i.e. obtain) even the sixteenth part (of the merit) of fasting on an Ekādaśī day. O best king, a man who gives four lakhs (of coins) on the days of the passage of the Sun from one Zodiacal sign to another, does not deserve (i.e. obtain) even the sixteenth part (of the merit) of fasting on an Ekādaśī day. Indeed he who observes a fast on an Ekādaśī day, gets the same fruit as the religious merit that is due to (the bath) during the lunar eclipse or the solar eclipse at the holy place Prabhāsa. Rebirth is not had by him after he has drunk water at Kedāra. In the same way, O Yudhiṣṭhira, it removes staying in a womb.

40-48. The religious merit that he who observes a fast on an Ekādaśī day gets, is a hundredfold more than the fruit that he would get from a horse-sacrifice on the earth. The religious merit of him who fasts on an Ekādaśī day is a hundred times more that the religious merit he would obtain by giving a thousand cows to (a brāhmaṇa) who has mastered the Vedas. Those who fast on the Ekādaśī day are equal to those in whose bodies live the three deities Brahma, Viṣṇu and Śiva. Those who are devotees (of Viṣṇu) and who worship Viṣṇu, are those who perform virtuous deeds. So also the religious merit of (i.e. due to) the vow of Ekādaśī cannot be counted. This would be its religious merit which is difficult to be obtained even by gods. Half the religious merit of this is obtained even through eating at night only. Men would have half the religious merit of this through eating once (a day). Sacred places, gifts, restraints roar till that time till a living being (i.e. a human being) would not fast on a day dear to Viṣṇu. Therefore, O best Pāṇḍava, observe this vow. O Pāṇḍava, I do not know the quantity of religious merit (about) which you are asking me. O Pāṇḍava, I have narrated to you the excellent vow, which should be kept secret. Even the performance of a thousand sacrifices is not equal to the Ekādaśī (vow).

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

49. O god, how has this auspicious Ekādaśī day come up? How is it pure in the universe and how is it dear to deities?

The lord said:

50-54. O Pārtha, formerly in the Kṛta-age there was a demon by name Mura. He was very wonderful, very fierce and caused fear to all gods. O king, even Indra, and so also other gods were vanquished by that death(-like), great, wicked demon. Driven out of the heaven they roamed on the earth. With uncertainty and full of fear, all of them went to the great god, and Indra told everything to the great lord (i.e. Śiva). (He said:) “O great god, the gods fallen from the heaven are roaming on the earth and they who are staying among the mortals, do not shine (at all). O god, tell me the remedy. What course do (i.e. should) the gods follow?”

Mahādeva said:

55-58. O You best among gods, O lord of gods, go there where he, the eagle-bannered (god), the lord of the world, the protector, and the best resort dwells. O best among gods, he will protect you.

O Yudhiṣṭhira, on having heard the words of the lord, the very intelligent king of the gods went there along with the gods. Seeing the god, the Disc-holder (i.e. Viṣṇu) sleeping in the water, Indra joined the palms of his hands, uttered (this hymn of praise):

Indra said:

59-65. Salutation to you, O lord of the gods, O you who are saluted by gods and demons, O you enemy of the demons, O you lotus-eyed one, O Madhusūdana, protect us. O lord of the world, all gods frightened by the demon (Mura) have come to seek your refuge. O you to whom your devotees are dear, protect me. O lord of gods, protect us; O Janārdana, protect us, protect us. O you lotus-eyed one, O you destroyer of the demons, protect us. We all have approached you. You alone are our refuge, O lord. O lord, help the gods who have sought your shelter. O god, you are the master; you are the intellect; you are the agent; you are the cause. You are the mother of all the people. You are the father of the world. O holy one, O lord of gods, O you who love those who seek your shelter; the deities that are frightened, have sought your refuge. O lord, all the deities have been vanquished. All of them have been expelled from heaven by the very fierce and very vigorous demon named Mura.

Hearing the words of Indra, Viṣṇu said (these words):

The lord said:

66. O Indra, of what kind is the demon? Of what form is he? Of what kind is his might? Where is the place of that wicked one? What is his strength? What is his valour? What is precious about him? O you very intelligent one, tell me (that).

Indra said:

67-75. O lord of gods, formerly there was a very fierce, great demon named Tālajaṅgha (who was) born in the family of Brahma. His son, the demon Mura, was well-known. He was very mighty, very powerful and fearful to gods. (There was) a city by name Candrāvatī. He lived in that place. He vanquished all gods, and expelled them from heaven. He installed another Indra (as the chief of gods), so also (another) Vāyu and (another) Agni. He fashioned other (i.e. new) Moon and Sun, so also Vāyu and Varuṇa. He took possession of everything. O Janārdana, (this is) the truth, (the only) truth. He made the world of gods bereft of all holy places.

Hearing these words of him (i.e. of Indra), the angry Viṣṇu (said): “I shall kill the wicked demon, fearful to the gods.” Then the god, along with (other) gods went to the city of Candrāvatī. The gods saw the demon roaring repeatedly. He vanquished all gods. They went in the ten directions. Seeing Viṣṇu the demon said: “Wait, wait.” The lord, with his eyes red due to anger, said to him:

The lord said:

7 6-84. O demon, O you of a bad conduct, see (the power of) my arm.

Then all the wicked demons that were before him were struck by Viṣṇu with divine arrows. They were overcome with fear. O Pāṇḍava, Kṛṣṇa (i.e. Viṣṇu) discharged his disc against the forces of the demon. Hundreds (of demons) were cut off by it, and many died. Only one demon fought there repeatedly. He made all the gods flee and vanquished Viṣṇu. Then (of him who was) vanquished by the demon, a close fight with the demon took place. He fought that close fight for a thousand divine years. Viṣṇu became thoughtful. All gods had fled. Viṣṇu was vanquished. He went to Badarikāśrama. There was a cave named Siṃhavatī. Viṣṇu slept there (i.e. in it). O Pāṇḍava, it was twelve yojanas (in length) and had one door (only). He entered it and slept (there). The demon was bent on killing him.[1] He was tired due to that great battle, (and had slept there) through his divine power. The demon pursued him.[1] He then entered that cave. Seeing him (i.e. seeing Viṣṇu) asleep there, the demon was delighted. Thinking Viṣṇu to have been vanquished like this and to have been entered (i.e. overpowered) by fear, (he thought:) ‘I shall undoubtedly kill him, the cause of fear to the demons.’

85-90. O Yudhiṣthira, then a maiden came out of Viṣṇu’s body. She was beautiful, very auspicious, and had divine missiles and weapons. She, of a great might and valour, came up from a portion of his lustre. O Dhanañjaya, she was seen by that lord of demons, Mura by name. He directed a fight there. The maiden also had asked for it. The maiden skilled in all (kinds of) battle, fought there. The great demon by name Mura was reduced to ash due to (her) huṃkāra sound. When the demon was killed, the god (Viṣṇu) woke up. Seeing the demon fallen (dead) he was amazed: ‘who has killed this fierce and very cruel enemy of me? (That person) has done a very ferocious deed through compassion for me.’

The maiden said:

91-93a. He having conquered gods, gandharvas, yakṣas and goblins, so also Indra and others, expelled them from heaven. I saw Viṣṇu asleep, and Mura had pursued him. (I thought:) ‘He will destroy the three worlds when Viṣṇu is asleep.’

Hearing those words of her, Viṣṇu, spoke (these) words: “How is it that you vanquished him too who had defeated me?”

Ekādaśi said:

93b. O lord, due to your favour I killed the great demon.

The lord said:

94. In the three worlds sages and deities are delighted. O auspicious one, tell me what you like in your mind (i.e. what your mind likes). There is no doubt that I shall give it even if it is very difficult to be obtained by gods.

Ekādaśī said:

95-96. If O god, you are pleased, and if you have told the truth, O Janārdana, I desire one boon in (i.e. from) my heart, O lord of the world. O lord of gods, I shall ask for what is desired by me. O lord, O master of the world, if (your offer is) true, then give me three utterances (i.e. repeat your offer thrice).

The lord said:

97. O you of a good vow, I have certainly spoken the truth, I have made three utterances (i.e. I have repeated my promise three times). Now there would be no absence of promise (i.e. the promise will not be false).

Ekādaśī said:

98-101. O lord of gods, do for me what is proper in the three worlds, in the four ages and everywhere in the three worlds. Through your favour I shall be the chief of all sacred places, the destroyer of all difficulties, and one who brings about all (kinds of) well-being. If, O lord, you are pleased with me, then, may they who through devotion (for me) and devotion for you, fast on my day, have all (kinds) of well-being. O Viṣṇu, give wealth, righteousness and salvation to him who observes a fast or a nakta or who eats once a day (on the day sacred to me).

Viṣṇu said:

102-110. O auspicious one, all that you say will take place. O good one, you will grant all desires. (This will) not be otherwise. My devotees who in the world will observe the Ekādaśī vow and worship me in Kārtika will undoubtedly obtain salvation.

O lord, the Ekādaśī is famous in the four ages and the three worlds. I look upon you as a power. The third, the eighth, the ninth, the fourteenth, and especially this eleventh are dear to Viṣṇu. (A man who observes the Ekādaśī vow gets) religious merit more than (obtained) from all the sacred places. This is true, undoubtedly true. He gave this vow to her repeating it thrice. There was no doubt about it. The Ekādaśī of a great vow became glad and strong. ‘You will kill his (i.e. the observer's) enemy. You will give him the highest position. You, giving (all kinds of) welfare, will remove all difficulties. O Yudhiṣṭhira, the Ekādaśī of both the fortnights is equal (in merit) and is auspicious. A man should not differentiate between the bright and the dark (Ekādaśī of the bright half and that of the dark half). He should devoutly listen to (pious accounts) by day or at night. For both the fortnights the same day (i.e. Ekādaśī) would be the full (day). At the sunrise the Ekādaśī day is little (i.e. is in a small part). At the end of the vow is the Trayodaśī (i.e. the thirteenth day).

111-114a. In between (the two) there is the full Dvādaśī (i.e. the twelfth day). Thus that (Ekādaśī-vow) which touches (these) three (days) is dear to Viṣṇu. If a man fasts on one (Ekādaśi he would get the) fruit of (having observed) a thousand Ekādaśīs. This would be thousandfold if the fast is broken on Dvādaśī. Aṣṭamī, Ekādaśī, Ṣaṣṭhī, Tṛtīyā and Caturdaśī, mixed with the previous day, should not be observed (as fast days). A man should observe (a fast on any one of these) when mixed with the next day. If the Ekādaśī lasts for a day and night and would continue for a ghaṭikā in the (next) morning, that day should be avoided. That Ekādaśī, along with Dvādaśī, should be fasted on.

114b-118. Thus, I have told you about the Ekādaśī falling in both the fortnights. There is no doubt that a man should observe a fast on the Ekādaśī day. They (i.e. who observe this fast) go to the place of Viṣṇu where the eagle-bannered (god Viṣṇu) dwells. Those men who are absorbed in devotion for Viṣṇu are blessed in the world. That man who would at all times recite the importance of the Ekādaśī(-vow), obtains the religious merit which is the fruit (of the gift) of a thousand cows. There is no doubt that those who devoutly listen to it by day or at night are freed from the sins of killing a brāhmaṇa etc. O best king, the (exposition of) the significance of the Gīta is not equal to devotion to Viṣṇu. There is no other vow like that of the Ekādaśī, that destroys sins.

Footnotes and references:


mām appears to be a wrong word here. It should have been tam.

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