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Home » Religion - Purana & Ithihas - Narada Purana Story about Ekadasi Fasting, involving Yama Dharmaraja!
A story from Narada Purana
By Gopala Krishnan (AGM BSNL Trivandrum retd)
How Important is Ekadasi, its signifincance & How one gets Salvation - Moksha by fasting on Ekadasy day!
Brahma's instructions to Mohini
instructed Mohini to accept the king's proposal of marriage, but only on
condition that he promised to do whatever she asked of him. "He will not
refuse and when the time is right.
told her that she should then ask Rukmangada to give up fasting and practising
severe vows on Ekadashi, telling him that it is a hindrance to their
also told her about the king's son, Dharmangada. He surpassed even his
illustrious father. The prince had conquered the entire universe, bringing all
beings under his father's sway. He is dearer to Rukmangada than his own life.
continued, "Dear Lady, if the king refuses your request to give up his vows on
Ekadashi then you should ask for Dharmangada's head."
told her to set off on her mission. As she left he thought with in his mind
"Either the king shall abide her by desire and the people will again
approach Yama Dharma Raja, or he will slay his son and go with him to Sri Maha Vishnu's
was not sure to give a positive reply to Yama Dharma Raja. Mohini departed and Yama Dharma Raja
felt sure his problem would soon be solved though Brahma did not say any thing
else. Yama Dharma Raja had a personal experience in this case. That story of Yama Dharma Raja
and his human wife we will read later.
Rukmangada desire to go over to Mandara Mountains
earth King Rukmangada called for his son Dharmangada. He said, "I have
discharged my duties as king. All men are attaining salvation and the earth
prospers. I wish now to go to Mandara Mountain and enjoy some rest in that
king entrusted the kingdom to him and Dharmangada replied, "Enjoy whatever
pleasures you desire. Surely I shall bear the heavy burden of your kingdom,
ensuring that all your edicts are kept. No other holy virtue appeals to me other
than following your directives. The prince bowed and touched his father's
Dharmangada refresh orders
summoned the leading citizens and said, "While I hold the rod of justice even Yama Dharma Raja cannot be the chastiser. Always do your duty and remember Lord
Sri Maha Vishnu.
Do not take food on Sri Maha Vishnu's day. In this way be happy in this life and go to
Vaikuntha after death."
prince ruled the kingdom exactly as his father had done. A steady stream of
souls continued to rise up to Vaikuntha, while Yama Dharma Raja waited patiently for
Mohini to exert her irresistible charms on Rukmangada.
Rukmangada starts to Mandara Mountains
king took leave from his queen Sandhyavali. The queen requested non-violance
from the king while in the forest. He said, "I have no desire to slay animals.
My wish is only to protect the sages in the forest and to get their holy
company. Hunting is merely a pretext for me."
ride for Mandara Mountain." He told soldiers following him. Spurring on his
horse, Rukmangada went at such a speed that no one could keep pace with him.
was a four or five-day ride to Mandara Mountain but the king arrived there
within a single day. Brahma knowing the pathetic condition of Yama Dharma Raja made his
horse runs like a super fast train. He reached a beautiful hermitage at the foot
of the mountain, which abounded in flowering and fruit-laden trees.
Rukmangada goes to hermitage of sage Vamadeva
went into the hermitage and saw the lustrous sage Vamadeva who was surrounded by
thousands of disciples. The sage resembled a blazing fire covered by countless
sparks and Rukmangada immediately fell flat before him.
offered blessings and said to his disciples, "Here is the Emperor Rukmangada.
Offer him due respects." After worships sage Vamadeva told him "I think it
is I who am blessed by your presence. You are a highly praiseworthy Vaishnava.
What other king on earth could vanquish Yama Dharma Raja and lead the entire world to
Vaikuntha? The path to hell is empty and desolate as a result of your great
praised the king at length. Rukmangada was a rare soul, a great exemplar among
monarchs. As desired by the king his past story was told to the king.
sage Vamadeva blessed the king and told him to go to wherever pleased him.
Rukmangada bowed before the sage and took his leave, riding out toward the great
King Rukmangada meet Mohini
king dismounted from his horse and made his way up the mountain, his mind
intoxicated by the sights and sounds around him. As he went higher he became
aware of a divine voice singing a bewitching song entering a delightful bower he
saw that all creatures there were motionless, enchanted by the music.
the centre of the bower sat Mohini, her lustrous beauty appearing to illuminate
the whole region. As she played upon her lute she glanced up shyly at the king
and quickly looked down again. She was worshipping a Shiva-lingam.
to his feet he approached Mohini, who threw him sidelong glances. She stopped
singing and smiled at the king. Shaking off the bees that were attracted by the
fragrance of her breath, she stood up to greet him. Mesmerised by her graceful
movements, he stood staring as she spoke to him.
Mohini welcome king Rukmangada
said, "Mohini understood the kings feelings at once . Welcome, king. Know me
to be under your control. I am willing to become your partner. After giving me
what I desire you may accept me as yours."
spoke in a soft voice. "My dear king, I do not wish for the earth or all its
treasures. You, who are famous for your truthfulness, need only promise to carry
out my desire at the time when I choose to ask."
Rukmangadha marry Mohini Gandharva way
king's eyes expanded in delight. "Consider it done, most beautiful maiden.
Never have I uttered a lie, even in jest."
solemnly held out his right hand. "I have come here only for your sake, great
king. Born of the god Brahma, I heard of your fame and glory in his mansion.
Immediately I came here, forsaking even the gods."
her hand and marrying her according to the Gandharva rite, by a simple exchange
of garlands, he asked her where she wished to go?
Rukmangada arrive with Mohini in kingdom
am happy here in the mountains, but it is always the wife's duty to accompany
and serve her husband. His house, even if full of misery, is preferable to
heaven for a chaste wife."
then set off toward to his kingdom with her. In the city Dharmangada saw the sky
becoming brighter from the north and realised that his father was approaching.
to his ministers he said, "Just see how the firmament glows with radiant
light. I think my father returns. Let us go to greet him.
Prince Dharmangada welcome Chithi
walked two miles out of the city to a flower filled garden where Rukmangada and
his new wife descended. As soon as the king dismounted Dharmangada bowed to his
feet. Beaming in delight Rukmangada lifted him up and embraced him.
son, I hope you are protecting the citizens well and punishing your enemies. I
trust also that the Brahmins and cows are all well maintained and that the
kingdom is flourishing. I hope too that no one takes food on Ekadashi.
at Mohini, whom his father had helped dismount, Dharmangada said, "Who is this
lady with the lustre of ten thousand suns?
told his son how he had found Mohini on Mount Mandara. I have made her a promise
and offered her my right hand. Accept her as your chithi."
at once bowed at Mohini's feet and said, "Chithi, I am your son, servant and
slave. Be pleased to favour me with your blessings. By his mother's grace the
son can obtain the earth itself."
asked his son to look after Mohini chithi and retired for some rest. Kneeling
before her he personally washed her feet and then sprinkled the water on his
head. The prince had many divine ornaments brought from the higher planets These
he gave to Mohini while shedding tears of delight.
Dharmangada advice his amma to accept new chithi
the inner quarters of Rukmangada's palace Sandhyavali sat alone. She scratched
at the ground with her foot and sighed repeatedly.
went to her and said "Dear mother, please come and greet Mohini chithi. She
who is loved by father must surely
be a highly respectable person for us. Please give up all jealousy and serve
chithi". To reconcile to it Dharmangada told his amma many stories
Sandhyavali accept Mohini as 2nd queen
queen went to the kitchen and by merely glancing at the pots and utensils she
produced a meal replete with the six types of taste. She personally served it to
smiled and offered her respect to Mohini with folded palms. "It is my pleasure
to please you, who are so dear to my husband."
laughed and said, "Oh, you are Dharmangada's mother. I did not recognise you
and surely did not expect you to serve me. Indeed, I am your servant. Take it
from me" These words from Mohini
took all hatreds from her mind fully
Mohini feels a pang of remorse
looked at the prince, who kept his head down as he slowly fanned her. She felt a
pang of remorse. How could she perpetrate the act asked of her by Brahma? This
boy was without doubt a saint and wished her only well. But perhaps she would
not need to make her terrible demand of the king. Perhaps he would simply agree
to eat on Ekadashi. She thought about poor Yama Dharma Raja waiting for the positive
results of her. She asked Dharmangada to get his father.
Rukmangada arrives and compromise with other Queens
was in deep sleep after the lightening journey on horse. He came as requested by
the son. Mohini intimated him that she wanted to live with him with permission
of other co-queens.
pleaded to other chithies regarding the father's desire to live with new
Chithi. Dharmangada pleaded, "My dear mothers, if you will not agree to this
then I shall drink poison and cast off this body. I cannot live if my father is
all of hem consented Rukmangada to live with Mohini
Mohini live happily far away with King Rukmangada
with Mohini, King Rukmangada was hardly aware of the passage of time. King asked
what were her wishes to carry out once. But
Mohini smiled. "I am happy with you. Perhaps in future I shall ask something
too smiled, oblivious to his impending destruction. Eight years passed as if
they were as many months. All the while Rukmangada fasted for Ekadasi and Mohini
did not murmur a word. She was waiting for the proper time.
King Dharmangada get married
the ninth year Dharmangada went out and conquered in battle five Vidyadharas,
powerful celestials who had come to the Malaya Mountain
helped Varuna and in return Varuna offered a beautiful virgin girl to
Dharmangada to become his wife, whom he on return introduced to his father. He
requested for his blessings.
gave much of the wealth to his son and had the court Brahmins arrange for his
marriage. After this Dharmangada continued to rule over the kingdom while his
father stayed with Mohini.
Mohini object Karthika fast
when the holy month known as Kartikka arrived the king asked her to allow him to
observe a sacred vow for its duration. Rukmangada
said, "Many years we have been together and I have neglected the Kartikka vow,
not wishing to upset you. I wish now to follow it for the full month. Pray grant
was not happy with this request. "Surely the Kartikka vow is greatly virtuous,
but its observance by kings is not recommended by any sacred text. It is meant
only for Brahmins. The duty of kings is only to protect the people and give
charity at all times."
asked Rukmangada not to observe the vow. "I will not be able to stand your
separation for a month. Please do
not abandon my request."
Sandhyavali observe Karthika Vrata for Rukmangada
called for Sandhyavali. She prayed, "My lord, how may I serve you?" She
smiled and awaited his order. Rukmangada went on, "I desire to follow the Kartikka vow,
but this daughter of Brahma prevents me. Therefore I wish that you observe it on
Mohini gives a pose to Rukmangada
king said to Mohini "I desire only to please you. At your behest I have
forsaken even my duty."
said, "Dear lord, knowing of your loving attitude and wanting only to be with
you I have left heaven, forsaking even the immortals. Leaving off the gods,
Gandharvas, Yakshas, Rakshasas and Danavas I came to you on the Mandara
Rukmangada wants to perform Ekadasi vrata
as the sun rose the following day the sound of drums was heard, followed by the
loud voice of a royal messenger declaring that the next day was Ekadashi Gentle
lady, the day of Hari, so destructive of sin, dawns tomorrow. Forgive me but I
must observe restraint. Sandhyavali already observes the Kartikka penance for
me, but this vow I must perform as usual." The king asked Mohini to join him
in its observance
Mohini ask Rukmangada to full fill the promises
in turn said to Rukmangada and said -"Kindly fulfil the promise you made to me
when we first met now."
all the previous years of their being together Mohini had not said anything as
the king observed Ekadashi. He had left her for three days and observed fasting.
But now she felt the time had come to carry out Lord Brahma's order.
Rukmangada's attachment for her was complete. Surely he would not refuse. She
thought about her father Brahma and poor Yama Dharma Raja waiting for her action and
there was nothing justice to think for her.
king said, "Ask anything. I will carry out your wish whatever it may be. Have
no fear." Rukmangada smiled, but as Mohini spoke in reply his smile quickly
Mohini ask Rukmangada to break Ekadasi vrata
king, I ask that you stay with me tomorrow and take your meals as normal. I
desire only this. Please grant this wish."
advocated her stand "I have heard from sages that the Ekadashi vow need not be
observed by kings. There will not be any sin for you if you take food and enjoy
with me. Only this will please me." Mohini added- if the king did not satisfy
her wish she would not stay with him any longer. "I shall not touch your body
which will be contaminated with the sin of falsehood."
Gautama advocate Mohini's stand
called a leading Brahmin Gauthama. Gautama
said, "Understand king, that your vow of fasting is whimsical and not
according to the Vedas. Kings must always bear arms and be ready for battle. The
austerities you accept are meant for other orders of life." Gautama exhorted
the king to eat and cautioned him that he should not ignore the advice of the
Brahmins. "That will only lead you into sin and degradation."
lips trembled in anger. By exerting great self-control he spoke in measured
tones. "Great sages, hear my words. There is certainly support in scripture
for my fasting."
king said, "I will not abandon my vow even if urged by the Devas, Gandharvas,
Danavas, Siddhas, Rakshasas, or even Lord Shiva. The sun may cease to shine, the
oceans dry up and the Himalayas crumble, but Rukmangada will not break his
Mohini gets ready for break of
face turned red as the king spoke. Mohini said, now you demur. I am no longer
yours and you are not mine. I must find another protector."Mohini stood up at
once and began to leave, accompanied by Gautama and the other Brahmins.
Dharmangada hears Mohini
as Mohini was about to exit from the chamber, Dharmangada arrived there. He
bowed at the feet of his father and Mohini. Dearest mother, whatever you say I
shall do. Stay here and be peaceful."
said in short- "Your father is not keeping his promise. He is a liar "
Dharmangada replied. "How can my father be false while I live? Everything is
established on his truth. Hell has been emptied and the abode of Yama Dharma Raja made
void by his great virtue."
took Dharmangada to his father. She said. "Ask your father of his intentions,
said, " Appa- Chithi claims you are a liar. I cannot believe it. What is it
she wants that you cannot give?
said, "My son, let my fame perish, let me called a liar and even fall into a
terrible hell, but I will not take food on Hari's day. That is what Mohini
desires. Therefore let her go to her father's abode.
looked at Mohini, who sat silently with a firm expression. He understood she
would not relent, any more than his father would break his vow.
Sandhyavali advocate for Rukmangada
felt perhaps his mother Sandhyavali could help resolve the situation. He called
for his mother. When she arrived he said. "Dear Amma please try to make an
agreement between Mohini chithi and Appa after describing the situation. He my
father's truth must be preserved without his taking food grains on Hari's
to Mohini, Sandhyavali said, "Gentle lady, please be gracious. Do not ask for
that which should not be given. When our husband offered you his hand he was
overcome by passion and not thinking rightly. He would otherwise have stipulated
that you couldn't ask this. Pray for some other boon."
cited Vedic evidence to the effect that a woman who causes her husband to commit
sin falls into a condition of terrible suffering. "It is for this reason I am
Mohini accepts Sandhyavali and asks for new boon
glanced at Rukmangada and then said to Sandhyavali, "My senior sister well
advised me. If the king will not eat on Hari's day then let something else be
I ask be given. I do not wish to do anything that will give pain. Some divine
force urges me to speak so."
looked up into her co-wife's face and said, "What I will say now will take
away your life along with that of our husband. It will destroy my religious
merits and attract the condemnation of all men.
said, "Tell me. What can you say that will cause my sorrow? How will defending
my husband's truthfulness cause me misery?"
said. " If your husband will not take food on Hari's day then let him take
his sword and cut off the beautiful head of Dharmangada, letting it fall on my
Sandhyavali agrees for Killing Dharmangada
some moments Sandhyavali stared in silence at Mohini. She then smiled and gently
said, "By no means should the Ekadashi vow be broken. Sons, brothers, friends
and loved ones are persons we contact in this world, but Ekadashi is the means
to attain eternal happiness. Therefore have faith in my words.
I shall do as you say."
clasped her husband's feet and said. "My lord, this Mohini cannot be
dissuaded from her purpose. Either you must take food on Sri Maha Vishnu's day or
strike down your son. There is no third alternative."
could hardly contemplate the prospect of Dharmangada's death. What greater
pain was there for a mother than to lose a son? But she put all affection out of
her mind. To preserve truth was the highest virtue. She exhorted her husband to
kill the prince.
Rukmangada Laments in his predicament
king began to lament that he had ever gone to Mandara Mountain in the first
place. He would never have met Mohini. "Surely she is Death personified meant
only to destroy Dharmangada and myself."
can neither break the Ekadashi vow nor slay my son. I beg you ask for some other
repeatedly beseeched Mohini to show leniency. Why was she so insistent?
shook her head. "I do not wish for his death. He is not my enemy. All I ask is
that you take food on Ekadashi. Why do you lament so? It is within your power to
save your son. You only have to adhere to truth and keep your word."
Dharmangada prepares for his death
then stepped forward. He took out his gleaming blue sword and placed it before
the king. Kneeling before him the prince said, "Hear me king, make your words
true and kill me. Do not hesitate. The soul should be saved even at the cost of
wealth, wives or sons."
the sword was held over the prince's neck many omens were seen. Mohini
breathed deep sighs. Her mission was a failure. She would be hated throughout
the world. Seeing the sword raised above the prince's neck she fell down in a
Lord Sri Maha Vishnu and Brahma appear on the scene
the whole area was brilliantly illuminated. Everyone looked upward and saw what
appeared to be a second sun descending from the sky. It was Lord Sri Maha Vishnu mounted
on the back of his great eagle carrier Garuda. He came to the king and caught
him by the hand. "I am pleased. I am delighted. Lord of the people, I am
taking you now to my abode along with your wife and son." A shower of flowers
fell from the sky and the gods beat heavenly drums. Rukmangada departed to
heaven with queen and son along with Lord Sri Maha Vishnu.
Brahma revive Mohini and take her back
Brahma revived Mohini and consoled her. "Dear lady, rise up. Your husband's
glories are proven. I just made a test and you were a catalyst.
Brahma took Mohini with him he gave her a place to reside in the heavens
where she remains to this day.
Dharmaraja resume duties and Chithra guptha get busied
With the departure of the king Rukmangada and his son Dharmangada gradually the observance of Ekadashi vrata started diminishing and men again went to Yama Dharma Raja, who continued his service to Sri Maha Vishnu with great pleasure.
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