The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the vow of shattila ekadashi which is chapter 42 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 forty-second 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.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 42 - The Vow of Ṣaṭtilā Ekādaśī

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

1-2. Very nice, O Kṛṣṇa, O Jagannātha, O first god, O lord of the world. Be pleased, and tell me. Show favour to me. Which would be the Ekādaśī in the dark half of Māgha? What is the manner in which it is to be observed? Tell me this in detail.

The lord said:

3-4. O best king, listen. That Ekādaśī which would fall in the dark half of Māgha is known as Ṣaṭtilā and destroys all sins. Listen to the auspicious, sin-removing account of Ṣaṭtilā, which the best sage Pulastya narrated to Dālabhya.

Dālabhya said:

5-7. O brāhmaṇa, tell that truly (to me) how those living beings who have come to the mortal world, who commit sins, and are having various sins like the murder of a brāhmaṇa, who take away others’ wealth, who are deluded by great addictions, do not go to hell. O glorious one, (please) tell me (how) sin perishes (even) by means of some small gift.

Pulastya said:

8-15a. Very nice, very nice, O you illustrious one, this is a secret, very difficult to be had. I shall tell it, O best brāhmaṇa, as I am asked by you, which is not told to anyone by deities like Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Indra. When the month of Māgha has arrived, a man being pure after bath, and with his senses curbed, and without lust, anger, pride, jealousy, greed and wickedness, having remembered the gods, having washed his feet with water, should take the cow-dung fallen on the ground, scatter sesamum-seeds, cotton and should get fashioned balls one hundred and eight (in number). No doubt should be raised in this matter. Then when the month of Māgha has come, and if the Āṣāḍha star appears (in the sky) or if it is the beginning of the dark half, he should observe the restraints of Ekādaśī at an auspicious time. Listen to the manner (as) I (tell you). Having worshipped the god of gods, having bathed well, being restrained and pure, he should, by fasting on the Ekādaśī day, recite the names of Kṛṣṇa. He should keep awake at night, and should get performed a sacrifice first.

15b-20a. Again on the second day he should worship Viṣṇu, the lord of the lordly gods. Along with sandal, agaru, and camphor, he should offer eatables and a mixture of rice and peas with a few spices. Then remembering the lord by (uttering) his name, he should repeatedly offer to (the deity) called Kṛṣṇa respectful offering full of pumpkin gourds, coconuts or citrons. In the absence of all (these) (he should make the respectful offering) with betel-nuts, after properly worshipping Janārdana (i.e. Viṣṇu). “O Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, you are kind. Be the refuge of those who have no refuge. O Viṣṇu, favour them who are plunged in the ocean of mundane existence. Salutation to you, O lotuseyed one; salutation to you, the creator of all; salutation to you, O Subrahmaṇya, O ancestor of great men. O lord of the world, accept, along with Lakṣmī, this offering, which is made by me.” (This is) the hymn recited at the time of making a respectful offering. O brāhmaṇa, after that he should worship (the deity) and should cause to be given (to it) an earthen pitcher along with an umbrella, sandals and garments. (He should say:)

20b-23. “May Kṛṣṇa be pleased with me.” A dark cow should be given according to his capacity to the best brāhmaṇa. O best brāhmaṇa, he, expert in recognizing a worthy recipient, should give him a pot full of sesamum seeds. O sage, the black sesamum seeds are recommended for bath and food. He should with effort give them to the best brāhmaṇa according to his capacity. For as many thousands of years as many sprouts from the sesamum seeds are there is the field, he is honoured in heaven. These six uses of sesamum seeds destroy sins: bathing with the sesamum seeds (i.e. with water mixed with them), rubbing (one’s body) with sesamum seeds, offering a sacrifice with sesamum seeds, offering water with sesamum seeds, giving sesamum seeds, and eating them.

Nārada (Yudhiṣṭhira?) said:

24-25. O Kṛṣṇa, O Kṛṣṇa, O you of mighty arms, O you the creator of everything, salutation to you. What kind of fruit is due to the Ṣaṭtilā Ekādaśī? Tell it to me, O Yādava, along with an episode, if you are pleased with me.

Śrīkṛṣṇa said:

26-32. O king, listen to what I saw as it took place. O Nārada(?), in the mortal world formerly there lived a brāhmaṇa woman. She was always engaged in observing vows and was always engrossed in worshipping deities. She was engaged in observing the monthly fasts; she was very devoted to me. She observed fasts in honour of Kṛṣṇa, and was intent on worshipping me. O best brāhmaṇa(?), she tormented her body with fasts. The very chaste woman always offered her house etc. due to her devotion to gods, brāhmaṇas and maidens. O brāhmaṇa(?), she always took delight in great expiation. She did not give alms to beggars; she did not gratify brāhmaṇas. Then, O brāhmaṇa(?), after a long time I thought: “There is no doubt that her body is purified by means of vows and expiations. By mortifying her body she honoured devotees of Viṣṇu. She did not offer food, by means of which great satisfaction would be had.” O brāhmaṇa(?), knowing like this, I went to the mortal world. Taking the form of a Kāpāla.[1] I begged alms in my (begging) bowl. (She said:)

33-43. “O brāhmaṇa, what for have you come? Where will you go later? Tell (this to me).” I again said: “O beautiful woman, give (me) alms.” With great wrath she threw a lump of clay into the copper-vessel. Then O brāhmaṇa, I again went (back) to heaven. Then by the power of her practising the vow, the female ascetic of great vows, bodily came to heaven after a long time. Due to the gift of the lump of a clay she got a charming house; but O brāhmaṇa sage(?), it was without heaps of grains. When she would observe (i.e. she observed) the house, she did not see anything there. Then, O brāhmaṇa(?), she moved out of the house and came to me. She spoke these words full of great anger: “By means of many kinds of vows, expiations and fasts, and with worship, I propitiated the god, the guardian of the entire world. O Janārdana, nothing is seen there in my house.” Then I said to her: “O you of a great vow, go home. Wives of gods, full of great curiosity and wonder will come to see you. Do not open the door unless they recite the auspicious (account of) Ṣaṭtilā.” Thus addressed by me, the woman went (back to her house). O brāhmaṇa(?), in the meanwhile gods’ wives came (to her house). There they said, “We have come to see you. O beautiful woman, open the door (so that) we shall see you.”

The woman said:

44. If you want to see me, you must especially tell the truth—the meritorious vow of Ṣaṭtilā—for opening the door.

Śrīkṛṣṇa said:

45-54. None of them told her (about) the vow of Ṣaṭtilā Ekādaśī. Then one of them told (about) the vow of the Ṣaṭtilā Ekādaśī. The other one then said: “The woman should be seen by me.” Then after opening the door, the woman was seen by them. O best brāhmaṇa(?), like that woman a goddess or a female gandharva or a demoness or a female serpent was never seen by them before. By the advice of the goddesses the vow of Ṣaṭtilā which gives pleasures and salvation was observed by that woman of a true vow. She, endowed with beauty and loveliness, obtained in a moment wealth, grains, garments, gold and silver. By the prowess of Ṣaṭtilā her house was endowed with everything. In a moment she became endowed with beauty and loveliness. One should not be very greedy; one should avoid fraud with regard to wealth. According to his wealth he should cause to give (i.e. should give) sesamum seeds and garments. A man obtains good health in very existence. He does not get poverty, or misery or misfortune. (All this) will not take place due to fasting on Ṣaṭtilā. O king, there is no doubt that a giver of sesamum seeds in this way is free from all sins without any trouble. (Giving) a gift duly to a worthy recipient removes all sins. O best king, there is no misery or exertion in the body.

Footnotes and references:


Kāpāla: A follower of the Śaiva sect—the Left-hand Order characterised by carrying skulls of men in the form of garlands and eating and drinking from them.

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