The glories and significance of Pavitra Ekadashi have been vividly described in the conversation that happened between Lord Krishna and King Yudhisthir in the Bhavishyottara Purana.
Maharaj Yudhisthira once said to Lord Krishna O Madhusudana!, the destroyer of Madhu demon. What is the name and glory of the Ekadashi, which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of July/August?
Please explain it to me in detail.
Lord Krishna replied, O King! The name of this sacred Ekadashi is Pavitra Ekadashi. Now, carefully listen to the glories of the topics of this Ekadashi, which destroys one’s sins of the past. One obtains the result of Bajapeya’s sacrifice by hearing the glories of this Ekadashi.
In an ancient time, at the beginning of Dvapara Yuga, there was
King named Mahijit, who ruled the kingdom of Mahismatipuri.
But, the King had no sons and did not feel any happiness or delight in conducting his activities. A married man with no son does not get any happiness in his present life or in his next. The King spent many years trying to have a son but was not fortunate enough to get a jewel-like son who would give him all the joy.
Realising his own pathetic situation one day, the King called his subjects, whom he treated as his children, to the royal assembly and said, O dear subjects, I have never committed any sinful activity in my life. I did not fill my treasury with unlawfully earned wealth, I did not rob the wealth of the brahmins and the demigods, rather I have conquered by following the right code of conduct, I have treated all of you like my own children, I have never hesitated to order due punishment even to my dear ones such as my brother and relatives as per their faults, and I have shown respect to even my enemy if he was gentle and saintly. O Brahmanas, in spite of travelling on the religious path like this, why am I bereft of a son? Please consider carefully the reason for this and advise me.
After hearing these lamenting words of King Mahijit, the King’s Brahmana advisers discussed the subject matter among themselves and decided that for the King’s benefit, they would go to the forest and visit the ashramas of the great sages who know the past, present and future. Then we can come to know exactly what they did. They entered the forest, and while wandering here and there, they came across the various ashramas of the great sages. They met Lomasa Muni, who was into many austerities, whose body was spiritual and filled with bliss, who strictly observed the vow of ekadashi fasting, who had self-controlled, who knew the science of Eternal Religious Principal, who was well conversant with the knowledge of all the scripture, whose duration of life was as long as Brahma and who was a saint.
When a Kalpa of Brahma passes a single hair( (Loma) out of his body, it falls out; that is why the name of the sage is Lomasa. The sage Lomasa knew of the past, present and future.
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Enchanted by the sage, the advisers of the King offered their respect to him and spoke with humility. O great sage! As a result of our great fortune, we have met a soul like you. The sage Lomasa asked, Who are you all? Why have you come here? Why are you praising me? The Brahmins replied O great sage! We have come to you to clear some of our doubts. O Lord! Our king Mahirit has no sons. We are the King’s subjects, and the King treats us as his own children. We are feeling bad about seeing the distress of the King. O best of the Brahmin, we want to undergo austerity here strictly. It is the good fortune of the King that today we met a great personality like you. By the darshan of a great saint, a man certainly attains all perfections. Please instruct us in such a way so that our King can finally have a son.
After hearing their prayers, the sage Lomasa entered into a deep meditation for a movement and immediately understood King Mahijit’s previous life. He then said this King was a poor Vaisya or a Merchant in his previous life. He committed a sinful deed. Once, while travelling from village to village for his business, he got thirsty. It was the midday of dvadasi in the July month. Soon, he found a beautiful lake and started to drink water from it. At that time, a cow and her calf came there to drink water. As the cow started to drink water from the lake, the merchant immediately shooed her away and began to drink water himself. As a result of not allowing an unsatisfied, thirsty cow from consuming water, the merchant had committed a sin. For this reason, though the merchant, by the influence of his piety, has now been born as a King Mahijit, he has no son.
On hearing these words of the great sage, the King’s advisers
Said, O great sage! It is mentioned in the Puranas that by the influence of piety, all one’s sinful reactions are counteracted. Therefore, please instruct sin in a way that all the sinful actions of the King may be, and he can obtain a son.
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The great sage Lomasa said, There is a famous auspicious
Ekadashi, known as Pavitra Ekadashi, occurs during the waxing noon in the month of July/August. You and your King must properly observe this Ekadashi. After that, you must give away the righteousness you will earn by observing this Ekadashi. If you follow all my instructions, then the King will be blessed with a son. After hearing this from sage Lomasa, all the King’s advisers became satisfied and happy. They offered their obeisances to the sage and came home.
Then they met King Mahijit and explained to him in detail whatever they had heard from the great sage Lomasa.
Thereafter, when the right time arrived, the King’s adviser remembered the advice of the sage and properly observed the vow of Pavitra Ekadashi along with the King. On the day of Dvadasi, they gave away their accumulated good graces to the King as advised by the sage. By the influence of this righteousness, the queen became pregnant and in due course of time, she gave birth to a beautiful son.
O King Yudhisthira! Anyone who observes this sacred Ekadashi is relieved from sinful reactions and becomes happy in this life and the next. One who hears the glories of this Ekadashi gets to enjoy the happiness that comes from having offspring in this life and goes to meet the godhead in their next life!