|Observances||Prayers and religious rituals, including puja to the god Vishnu in the form of his avatar Krishna|
Kamada Ekadasi is a Hindu holy day, which falls on the 11th lunar day (ekadashi) of the fortnight of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March–April). It is the first ekadashi after the Hindu New Year and as its name Kamada suggests, is believed to grant all desires.
The legend about Kamada Ekadashi is narrated by the God Krishna to the Pandava King Yudhishthira in the Varaha Purana, as it was told by the sage Vasishtha to King Dilipa. Once, a young gandharva couple, Lalit and his wife Lalita, lived in the city of Ratnapura, a highly prosperous city decorated with gold and silver, which was ruled by the King Pundarika. Lalit was a famed singer, while Lalita was a renowned dancer at the royal court. One day when Lalit was singing in the royal court, his attention fluttered from the song to his wife, who was absent from the court. As a result, he missed some beats and incorrectly ended his performance. A serpent from the Patala Region, he went by the name of Karkotaka and knew well the mystery of this situation complained to the king of the folly and said that Lalit considered his wife more important than his master, the king. Infuriated, the King Pundarika cursed Lalit to become a monstrous cannibal, who was sixty-four miles in height. His neck was like a mountain, arms eight miles long and mouth the size of huge cave. This greatly distressed Lalita who wandered around the forests with her monstrous husband who dealt in sinful activities.
While wandering around the Vindhyachal Hills, Lalita came across the sage Shringi. Paying her respects to the sage, she appealed to him to provide a solution to her problem. Sage Shringi told her to observe the vrata (vow) of Kamada Ekadasi, to atone for the sins of her husband. Lalita observed the ekadashi fast with great devotion and the next day again visited the sage and bowed to the God Krishna. She requested God to free her husband from the king's curse as a reward of the religious merit gained by the fast. With the blessings of Krishna, Lalit was restored to his original gandharva form. Thereafter, they were taken to heaven on a celestial flying chariot.
The religious merit gained from this vrata is believed to grant all desires, to cleanse even the most heinous sin one committed (like murder of a Brahmin) and to free the devotee or his family members from curses.
- Lochtefeld, James G. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598842050. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- Melton, J. Gordon (2011), Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 9781598842050, retrieved 24 November 2012
- Dwivedi, Dr. Bhojraj Dwivedi (2006), Religious Basis Of Hindu Beliefs, Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd, ISBN 9788128812392, retrieved 24 November 2012