by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes kartika best among months and ekadashi among days which is chapter 90 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 ninetieth 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.
1-2. To him of the nature of time, all the parts of time are equal. Then how is Kārtika the best among the months? O lord of the god of gods, how is it that to you Ekādaśī among days and Kārtika among months are dear? Tell (me) the reason for this.
3-4. O Satyā, you have asked well. Listen with a concentrated mind a dialogue between Vena’s son Pṛthu and the divine sage Nārada. What you have asked, O dear one, formerly Nārada was also asked by Pṛthu. The omniscient sage told the reason for the superiority of Kārtika.
5-17. Formerly there was a demon, the son of the Ocean, named Śaṅkha. He was able to destroy the three worlds and had great power and valour. The great demon, having vanquished the gods, drove them out of heaven. He also snatched the powers of the regents like Indra. Due to his fear gods along with the ladies in their harems and with Indra went to the cave of the Meru mountain and lived there for many years. When the gods who lived in the cave of the Meru mountain, could not be subjugated by the demon, he thought: ‘Even though the gods have been vanquished and their powers snatched by me, yet they are full of power. What should I do now? Today it is known (i.e. realised) by me that the gods are endowed with the power of the Vedic hymns. I shall snatch them. Then all of them will be powerless.’ Then the mighty demon thinking like this and noticing Viṣṇu to be asleep, quickly snatched from the Satya world the group of the Vedas. He took the Vedas. Due to his fear they moved out, and with the sacrifice and hymns they entered the water (of the ocean). Śaṅkha also, looking for them and wandering in the interior of the ocean, did not notice them anywhere seated at one place. Then Brahmā with the gods sought the shelter of Viṣṇu. Taking the materials of worship he went to Viṣṇu’s house. There the gods performed acts like singing, playing upon musical instruments, and repeatedly (offered him) sandal, flowers, incense and lights. Then the lord devoutly pleased by them, got up. He, having the lustre of a thousand suns was seen there by all the gods. The gods then having worshipped him in sixteen ways fell (i.e. prostrated themselves) on the earth like a staff. Then Viṣṇu said to them:
18-31. O groups of gods, by means of the auspicious (acts) like singing and (playing upon) the musical instruments, I (am pleased and) will grant you boons. I shall give you all objects desired by your mind. From the Ekādaśī in the bright half of Āśvina till the Udbodhinī Ekādaśī men will daily do as you did with the auspicious (acts) like singing, (playing upon) musical instruments etc. They (will) do what is dear to me, and will ever remain in my vicinity. Since what you did—(offering) water for washing the feet, respectful oblation, and (offering) water for sipping,—has had wonderful effect, it has become the cause of your happiness. O gods, all the Vedas snatched by Śaṅkha remain in water. Having killed the Ocean’s son, I shall bring them (back). May the Vedas with the basic hymns and sacrifice always rest in water from today in the month of Kārtika every year. From today I (shall) also remain in water. Along with the chief sages you may also come with me. There is no doubt that those best brāhmaṇas who during this period bathe (daily) in the morning, have well performed the ablution at the end of a sacrifice. O Indra, those men who everyday properly observe the vow in Kārtika, should be always brought by you to my house on their death. And by my order they are always to be protected from dangers. O Varuṇa, you should give them progeny—sons and grandsons etc. O Kubera, you have to increase their wealth by my order. Those men, liberated while alive, actually have my form. Those (men) who have from birth to death observed this best vow according to the rule laid down (in the holy texts), should also be honoured by you. Since you awoke me on the day of Ekādaśī, therefore, this day is always venerable and gives me joy. This couple of vows, properly observed by men, always gives Kṛṣṇa’s proximity. No other vow (does it). O best gods, gifts, (visits to) holy places, austerities, sacrifices, do not always give (i.e. lead to) heaven.