Yudhishthira Maharaj said, “O Janardana, what is the name of the Ekadashi that comes during the dark fortnight of the month of Kartika (October – November). Please narrate to me its history and glories.”
The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna then said, “This Ekadashi is called Rama Ekadashi. It is most auspicious, for it eradicates the greatest sins and awards one the passage to the spiritual abode.
There was once a famous king named Muchakunda, whose daughter, Chandrabhaga was married to Shobhana, the son of Chandrasena. Shobhana once visited his father-in-law’s palace on the Ekadashi day. As he was weak; he was unable to bear the day-long fast.
Chandrabhaga told him, ‘In my father’s house nobody eats on Ekadashi. None of the animals are given grains, leaves, straw or even water. If you want to eat, then you should leave at once.’ Shobhana said, ‘I have decided to fast on Ekadashi day. Whatever my fate is, it will surely come to pass.’
Shobhana fasted but he suffered excessive hunger and thirst. Eventually when the sun rose on the Dvadashi, he was dead. Chandrabhaga, after performing all the procedures for honouring her deceased husband, continued to live in her father’s house.”
Lord Sri Krishna continued, “Yudhishthira, even though Shobhana died because of observing Rama Ekadashi, the merit that he accrued enabled him, after his death, to become the ruler of a kingdom on Mandarachala Mountain. This kingdom was like a city of the demigods.
Somasharma, a brahmin who lived in Muchakunda’s kingdom, came upon Shobhana’s kingdom while travelling. On seeing Shobhana he was surprised.
King Shobhana told him that as he had observed the Rama Ekadashi, he was given this splendid city to rule over. But it was only temporary. He said that as he observed Rama Ekadashi without any faith, this kingdom was not permanent. He asked the brahmin to meet Chandrabhaga, and tell her what he had seen and understood about this place as he thought that she could possibly make his kingdom permanent.
The brahmin returned and related the entire episode to Chandrabhaga, who was overjoyed to hear this news of her husband. Chandrabhaga then said that she greatly desired to see her husband again and she could make his kingdom permanent with the merit she had acquired by fasting on every Ekadashi throughout her life.
Somasharma then led Chandrabhaga to Shobhana’s kingdom. On the way they stopped at the sacred ashrama of Vamadeva. Upon hearing their story, Vamadeva chanted hymns from the Vedas and sprinkled holy water upon Chandrabhaga. By these rites, the merit she had accrued by fasting for so many Ekadashis made her body transcendental.
When Shobhana saw his wife on Mount Mandarachala, he called out to her in great happiness. She then told him, ‘From the time I was eight years old I have fasted regularly and with full faith on every Ekadashi. If I transfer to you all the merit I have accumulated, your kingdom will surely become permanent.’
Chandrabhaga at last enjoyed happiness with her husband. By the potency of Rama Ekadashi, Shobhana found his kingdom on the peak of Mount Mandarachala and was able to fulfill all his desires.
O greatest of kings, I have narrated to you the glories of Rama Ekadashi that falls in the dark fortnight of the month of Kartika.”
Thus ends the narration of the glories of the sacred Kartika Krishna Ekadashi, or Rama Ekadashi, from the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana of Srila Krishna Dvaipayana Veda Vyasa.
This year, Rama Ekadashi falls on November 04, 2018.