The auspicious Aamalaki Ekaadasi is to be observed on March 1, 2015 in all parts of the world except countries in North and South American continents. People in these regions marked as exception to the observance must observe this fast on February 28, 2015 itself.
This fast is known to eradicate all great sins and bestow great destiny, and hence it is also observed as Paapanaasini Ekaadasi. Puranaas speak of how a hunter who witnessed the performance of this fast and night-long prayers under the Amla tree (Indian gooseberry tree) by a king and his retinue in the forest, was blessed to be born as a king named VasUratha in his next life. Such is the glory of this vrata - the mere witnessing of which confers great merit!
Once that person (the hunter born as King VasUratha in next birth) lost his way in the forest and being exhausted fell asleep under a tree. Tribesmen who were his enemies tried to kill him in that unconscious state; but none of their weapons could harm the sleeping king. Then, a beautiful maiden with Divine Powers manifested from the sleeping king's body and slayed all the tribesmen. On waking up, the King was wondering how this could have happened and who could have saved him thus from his sworn enemies. Then a voice from the sky said 'You ask who helped you. Well, who is that person who alone can help anyone is distress? He is none other than Sri Keshava, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He who saves all who take shelter of Him without any selfish motive.'
Such is the greatness of the Aamalaki Ekaadasi. This was narrated by Sage Vasishta to the Surya vamsa king Maandaatha.
On this day it is customary to worship the avatar Lord Parasuraama and Aamla tree (those who have such trees may perform the worship under the tree; others can just meditate on that tree and Lord Parasuraamaa).
picture of Lord Parasuraama courtesy: www.scienceofhinduisim.blogspot.com
(I am not aware of any copyright restrictions with regard to use of this image, but I guess using this for informative purposes and illustrative purposes must be alright).
Prayers to Lord Parashuraama:
'Oh Lord ParashurAma, Oh son of RenukA, Oh all-pleasing one, Oh liberator of the worlds, kindly come beneath this holy Amalakii tree and accept our humble obeisances.'
Prayer to Aamalakii tree: (Aamalakii tree is Indian Goosberry tree)
'Oh Amalakii, Oh offspring of Lord BrahmA, you can destroy all kinds of sinful reactions. Please accept our respectful obeisances and these humble gifts. O Amalakii, you are actually the form of Brahman, and you were once worshiped by Lord RAmachandra Himself. Whoever circumambulates you is therefore immediately freed of all his sins.'
May our members observe this fast and become recipients of Divine Grace.
Pandit R. DAKSHINAMOORTHI