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Apara Ekadasi occurs during the waning phase of moon in the month of Jyeshtha (May - June). The importance of Apara Ekadashi was explained by Lord Krishna to Yudishitira, the eldest of the Pandavas. Washing away the sins committed is the main benefit from observing Apara Ekadasi.
Sri Yudhishthira Maharaj said, "Oh Janardana, what is the name of the EkAdasii that occurs during the dark fortnight (krishna paksha) of the month of Jyeshtha (May-June) I wish to hear from You the glories of this sacred day of Hari. Please narrate everything to me"
Lord Sri Krishna said, "Oh king, your inquiry is wonderful because the answer will benefit the whole human society. This Ekadasii is so sublime and meritorious that even the greatest sins can be erased by its purity.
Oh great saintly king, the name of this unlimitedly meritorious Ekadasii is Apara Ekadasii. Whoever fasts on this holy day becomes famous all over the universe. Even such sins as killing a brahmana, a cow, or an embryo; blasphemy; or having sex with another man's wife are completely eradicated by observing Apara Ekadasii.
Oh king people who bear false witness are most sinful. A person who falsely or sarcastically glorifies another; one who cheats while weighing something on a scale; one who fails to execute the duties of his varna or Ashrama (an unqualified man's posing as a brahmin, for example, or a person's reciting the Vedas wrongly); one who invents his own scriptures; one who cheats others; one who is a charlatan astrologer, a cheating accountant, or a false Ayurvedic doctor. All these are surely as bad as persons who bears false witness, and they are all destined for hellish punishments. But simply by observing AparA Ekadasii, all such sinners become completely free of their sinful reactions.
Warriors who fall from their kshatriya-dharma and flee the battlefield go to a ferocious hell. But, Oh Yudhishthira, even such a fallen kshatriya, if he observes fasting on the Apara Ekadasii, is freed of that great sinful reaction and goes to heaven.
That disciple is the greatest sinner who, after receiving a proper spiritual education from his spiritual master, turns around and blasphemes him. Such a so-called disciple suffers unlimitedly. But even he, rascal though he be, if he simply observes Apara Ekadasii, can attain to the spiritual world. Listen, Oh king, as I describe to you further glories of this amazing Ekadasii.
The merit attained by one who performs all of the following acts of piety is equal to the merit achieved by one who observes Apara Ekadasii: bathing three times daily in Pushkara-kshetra during Kartika (October-November); bathing at Prayag in the month of Magh (January-February) when the sun is in the zodiac of Capricorn; rendering service to Lord Shiva at VaraNasi (Benares) during Shiva-ratri; offering oblations to one's forefathers at GayA; bathing in the sacred Gautami River when Jupiter transits Leo (Simha); having darshan of Lord Shiva at Kedarntha; seeing Lord Badrinath when the Sun transits the sign of Aquarius (Kumbha); and bathing at the time of a solar eclipse at Kurukshetra and giving cows, elephants, and gold there in charity. All the merit one gets from performing these pious acts is gained by a person who observes the Apara Ekadasii fast. Also, the merit attained by one who donates a pregnant cow, along with gold and fertile land, is attained by one who fasts on this day.
In other words, Apara Ekadasii is an axe that cuts down the fully matured forest full of trees of sinful deeds, it is a forest fire that burns sins as if they were kindling firewood, it is the sun blazing before one's dark misdeeds, and it is a lion stalking the meek deer of impiety.
Therefore, Oh Yudhishthira, whoever truly fears his past and present sins must observe AparA Ekadasii very strictly. One who does not observe this fast must be born again in the material world, like one bubble among millions in a huge body of water, or like a small ant among all other species.
Therefore one must faithfully observe the sacred AparA Ekadasii and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Trivikrama. One who does so is freed of all his sins and promoted to the abode of Lord Vishnu.
"Oh Bharata, for the benefit of all humanity I have thus described to you this the importance of the holy Apara Ekadasii.
Anyone who hears or reads this description is certainly freed from all kinds of sins, oh best of saintly kings, Yudhishthira