Shri Yudhishthira Maharaj said, "Oh Vasudeva, please describe to me the Ekadashi of the dark fortnight (Krishna paksha) of the month of Vaishakha (April-May)."
Lord Shri Krishna replied, "In this world and the next, the most auspicious and magnanimous Ekadashi is Varuthini Ekadashi. A person who observes a complete fast on this sacred day has his sins completely removed and obtains continuous happiness.
Upon anyone who observes it, this Ekadashi bestows material enjoyment in this life and liberation after the death of this present body. It destroys the sins of all and saves people from the miseries of repeated rebirth. Fasting on Varuthini Ekadashi makes even an unfortunate woman fortunate.
The merit that one achieves by donating gold during a solar eclipse at Kurukshetra is gained by one who observes this Ekadashi with love and devotion, and certainly attains his goals in this life and the next.
Better than giving horses in charity is giving elephants, and better than giving elephants is giving land. But better still is the giving of sesame seeds, and better than that is giving of gold. Still better than giving gold is giving food grains - for all the forefathers, demigods (devas), and human beings become satisfied by eating grains. Thus there is no better gift of charity than this in the past, present and future.
Yet learned scholars have declared that giving away a young maiden in marriage to a worthy person is equal to giving away food grains in charity. Moreover, giving cows in charity is equal to giving food grains. Still better than all these charities is teaching spiritual knowledge to the ignorant. The merits one can attain by performing all these acts of charity are attained by one who fasts on the Varuthini Ekadashi.
Any householder who takes his daughter’s wealth out of greed, who tries to sell his daughter, or who takes money from the man to whom he has given his daughter in marriage – such a householder becomes a lowly that in his next life. Therefore it is said that whoever, as a sacred act of charity, gives away in marriage a maiden decorated with various ornaments, and who also gives a dowry with her, obtains untold merit. That very same merit, however, can be easily achieved by one who fasts on the Varuthini Ekadashi.
The following things should be given up on the Dashami, the day before the Ekadashi: eating on bell-metal plates, eating urad-dal, red-lentils, chick-peas, eating kondo - a grain that resembles poppy seeds, spinach, honey, eating in another person’s house, eating more than once, and participating in sex of any kind.
Whoever observes the Varuthini Ekadashi in this way becomes free from all sinful reactions and returns to the eternal, spiritual abode. One who worships Lord Janardana (Krishna) on this Ekadashi by staying awake throughout the entire night, also becomes free from all his previous sins and attains the spiritual abode. Therefore, Oh king, he who is frightened of his accumulated sins and their attendant reactions, and thus of death itself, must observe Varuthini Ekadashi by fasting very strictly.
Finally, he who hears or reads this glorification of the sacred Varuthini Ekadashi obtains the merit earned by donating one thousand cows in charity, and at last he returns home, to the Supreme abode of Lord Vishnu in the Vaikunthas."