Ekadashi is a day ,when Lord Vishnu is prayed with a complete fast . This is a nanda tithi , which slowly burns out all the sins of the devotee. Ekadasi upavas is a nitya karma( an action ordained as duty , failure of which is punishable by Yama) for all the creatures( not only humans but also other creatures). If done knowlingly or unknowingly , brings immense merits.
Once there was a hunter in the jungle , his only job was kiling animals and passerby , to fulfil his belly.but somehow due to his poorvajanma , he had a fascination for ekadashi vrata. and he regularly undertook the vrata . One day he was caught by a Rakshas in the jungle. the day was Ekadasi. As demon was about to eat him , he requested , kindly leave me tonight , i shall eat, tomorrow morning, fruits offered to the Lord in the nearby temple and come back to you to offer myself . This will complete my vrata also. Demon surprised by the proposition , left the hunter to complete his vrata. Next day after finishing his vrata , hunter returned to the demon to offer himself. Demon was totally astonished to see sincerety in a Hunter. He asked , you could have escaped , then why did you come back” . Hunter said , he had no fear of death. This surprised demon even more. He thought what could be the reason behind this strange behaviour , wherecome he is drawing so much courage and strength. He questioned , what do you do in your day to day affairs. Hunter replies only killing. Demon asks does he do any sadhana, Hunter replies he understands none. However he says I have been doing fast on this eleventh day since many years. Demon asks would he donate this merit ,and he will leave him in exchange. Hunter thinks , he must be having something precious , which demon wants to steal , in exchange for life. He negates the proposal. Demon offers to leave him for half the merit. NO says hunter , you may kill me if you want but i wont part with merits.
Finally demon offers why dont you give me todays’ merit alone. NO , half a day’s merit ….. NO …..
an hour’s equivalent merit(punya) of an ekadasi upavasa …… NO says Hunter ……….
okay why don’t you give me just one second’s worth punya of an ekadasi day ‘s upavasa. Finally Hunter agrees. Demon is released from the curse of being demon due to this punya , returns to swarga as devata, Hunter is blessed with great knowledge and is born as a rishi in his next birth.
So much for a punya , done by an illiterate ,unknowingly . Following all other vratas to obtain wishes , when Ekadasi is at disposal is like a King leaving the kingdom and asking for beggance in the neighbourhood.
Wishing for worldly pursuits against ekadasi punya is like giving gold and buying a rag.
Ekadasi burns all the sins from ekadasha indriyas( two hands ,legs,eyes ears , toungue,speech etc and mind as eleventh) during the fortnight in one single day. There is no other vrata or day as auspicious as Ekadashi.