Date(s) - September 3, 2021
Day(s) - Friday
Do’s and Dont’s For Fasting – Fasting (Do not eat grains); Water, Milk, Fruits, Vegetables or Ekadashi food can be taken
Fast Breaking Time – Next day on September 4, 2021 – Between 06:00am to 08:26am (For Delhi/ NCR – India, for other regions please check nearest Iskcon Centre)
Description – Sri Yudhisthira Maharaja said, “Oh JanArdana, protector of allliving entities, please tell me the name of the Ekadasi that occursduring the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada (August-September).”
The Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna, then replied, “Oh King, hear me attentively. The name of this sin-removing, sacred Ekadasi is Aja. Any personwho fasts completely on this day and worships Hrishikesha, the master of the senses, becomes free of all reactions to his sins. Even one who simply hears about this Ekadasi is freed from his past sins. Oh King, there is no better day than this in all the earthly and heavenly worlds. This is truewithout a doubt.
“There once lived a famous king named Harishchandra, who was the emperor of the world and a person of great truth and integrity. His wife’s name was Chandramati, and he had a son named LohitAshva. By the force of destiny, however, Harishchandra lost his great kingdom and sold his wife and son. The pious king himself became a menial servant of a dog-eater, who made him guard a crematorium. Yet even while doing such menial service, he did not forsake his truthfulness and good character, just as soma-rasa,even when mixed with some other liquid, does not lose its ability to be stow immortality.
“The king passed many years in this condition. Then one day he sadly thought, ‘What shall I do? Where shall I go? How can I be delivered from this plight?’ In this way he drowned in an ocean of anxiety and sorrow.
“One day a great sage happened by, and when the king saw him he happily thought, ‘Ah, Lord Brahma has created brahmins just to help others.’ Harishchandra paid his respectful obeisances to the sage, whosename was Gautama Muni. With joined palms the king stood before Gautama Muniand narrated his pitiful story. Gautama Muni was astonished to hear the king’s tale of woe. He thought, ‘How has this mighty king been reduced to collecting clothes from the dead?’ Gautama Muni became very much compassionate toward Harishchandra and instructed him on the process of fasting for purification.
“Gautama Muni said, ‘Oh king, during the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada there occurs an especially meritorious Ekadasi named Aja (Annada),which removes all sins. Indeed, this Ekadasi is so auspicious that if you simply fast on that day and perform no other austerity,all your sins will be nullified. By your good fortune it is coming in justseven days. So I urge you to fast on this day and remain awake through the night. If you do so, all the reactions of your past sins will come to an end. Oh Harishchandra, I have come here because of your past pious deeds. Now, all good fortune to you in the future!’ So saying, the great sage Sri Gautama Muni immediately disappeared for their vision.
“King Harishchandra followed Gautama Muni’s instructions concerning fasting on the sacred day of Aja Ekadasi. Oh Maharaja Yudhisthira, becausethe king fasted on that day, the reactions to his previous sins were completely destroyed at once. Oh lion among kings, just see the influence of this Ekadasi fast! It immediately vanquishes whatever miseries one may be suffering as a result of past karmik sinful activities.
Thus all Harishchandra’s miseries were relieved. Just by the power of this wonderful Ekadasi, he was reunited with his wife and son, who had died but were now revived. In the heavenly regions the devas (demigods) began beating on their celestial kettledrums and showering down flowers upon Harishchandra, his queen, and their son. By the blessings of the Ekadasi fast, he regained his kingdom without difficulty. Moreover, when King Harishchandra left the planet, his relatives and all his subjects too, went with him to the spiritual world.
“Oh Pandava, whoever fasts on Aja Ekadasi is surely freed from allhis sins and ascends to the spiritual world. And whosoever hears and studiesthe glories of this Ekadasi achieves the merit gained by performing a horse sacrifice.”