Lord Vishnu, the rider of Garuda, once can achieve the same merit as is
won by performing great penances for a long time with completely
controlled senses. Although a person might have committed unlimited
sins, he can still escape hell just by paying his obeisances to Lord
Hari, who removes all sins.
The merits gained by going on pilgrimage to tirthas of this earthly
planet can also be achieved simply by chanting the holy names of Lord
Vishnu. Whoever chants these sacred names-such as Rama, Vishnu, Janardana,
or Krishna - especially on Ekadasi, never sees Yamaraja's abode. Nor does
one who fasts on Papankusa Ekadasi, which is so dear to Me, see that abode.
Both the Vaisnava who criticizes Lord Shiva and the Saivite who
criticizes Me certainly go to hell. The merit obtained by performing one
thousand horse sacrifices and one hundred Rajasuya sacrifices is not
equal to even one sixteenth of the merit a person obtains by fasting on
Ekadasi. There is no higher merit one can achieve than that attained by
fasting on Ekadasi. Indeed, nothing in all the three worlds is as
pleasing or as able to purify one of sin as Ekadasi, the day of the
lotus-naveled Lord, Padmanabha.
O king, until a person observes a fast on the day of Lord Padmanabha
named Papankusa Ekadasi, he remains sinful, and the reactions of his
past sinful deeds never leave him. There is no merit in all the three
worlds that can match the merit one attains by observing a fast on this
Ekadasi. Whoever observes it faithfully never has to see death
personified, Lord Yamaraja. One who desires liberation, heaven, good
health, beautiful women, wealth, and food grains should simply fast on
this Ekadasi. O King, neither the Ganges, Gaya, Kam, nor Puskara, nor
even the holy site of Kuruksetra, can grant as much merit as Papankusa
O Yudhisthira, protector of the earth, after observing Ekadasi during
the daytime, the devotee should remain awake through the night, for by
doing so he easily attains to the abode of the Supreme Lord, Shri Vishnu.
Ten generations of ancestors on his mother's side, ten generations on
his father's side, and ten generations on his wife's side are all
liberated by a single observance of a fast on this Ekadasi. All these
ancestors attain their original, four-armed, transcendental forms.
Wearing yellow garments and beautiful garlands, they ride to the
spiritual world on the back of Garuda, the enemy of the snakes. This is
the benediction My devotee earns simply by observing one Papankusa
O best of kings, whether one is a child, a youth, or an old person,
fasting on Papankusa Ekadasi frees him of sins and makes him immune to
suffering a hellish rebirth. Whoever observes a fast on this Ekadasi
becomes free of all his sins and returns to the abode of Lord Hari.
Whoever donates gold, sesame seeds, fertile land, cows, grain, drinking
water, an umbrella, or a pair of shoes on this most holy day will never
have to visit the abode of Yamaraja, who always punishes sinners. But if
a resident of earth fails to perform spiritual deeds, especially the
observance of a fast on holy days such as Ekadasi, his breathing is said
to be no better than the puffing of a blacksmith's bellows.
O best of kings, especially on Papankusa Ekadasi, even the poor should
first bathe and then give some charity and perform other auspicious
activities according to their ability. Whoever performs sacrifices or
builds public ponds, resting places, gardens, or houses does not suffer
the punishments of Yamaraja. Indeed, one should understand that a person
must have performed such pious activities as these in his past life if
he is long-lived, wealthy, of high birth, or free from all diseases. But
a person who observes Papankusa Ekadasi goes to the abode of the Supreme
Lord Krishna concluded, "Thus, O saintly Yudhisthira, I have narrated to
you the glories of Papankusa Ekadasi. Please question me further if you
wish to hear more about Ekadasi."