PaapMochini Ekadashi - Friday 24th March
PaapMochini Ekadashi: Falgun Vad Ekadashi
King Yudhishthir asked, "O Shree Krishna! Please narrate me the significance of Ekadashi falling in the dark fortnight of the month of Falgun. What are the rewards of fasting on this Ekadashi."
Bhagwan Shree Krishna replied, "O King Yudhishthir! Falgun Vad Ekadashi is called PaapMochini Ekadashi. King Mandhata once asked Sage Lomash to narrate him the significance of PaapMochini Ekadashi. Let Me reiterate the same once again."
Sage Lomash replied to King Mandhata, "O king! The Ekadashi falling in the dark fortnight of Falgun is called PaapMochini, meaning, it can dispel one's all sins. Undertaking its Vrat enables one to fulfil all his desires. Indeed, one can even become free from the life of spirits by observing its Vrat. Let me narrate an example of a miracle of observing the Vrat of PaapMochini Ekadashi."
"There is beautiful wooded area in heaven which belonged to Kuber, the chief financial officer of Indra, the king of heaven. Many Apsaras (celestial dancers) lived there and even King Indra, flanked by other Devtas, Gandharvas and Apsaras visited this garden to celebrate the festival of Spring. Many great sages found solitude of this area suitable to undertake their austerities. Once a great Rishi by the name of Medhavi came to this area to undertake severe austerity. Scared that the great Rishi will seek his throne as a reward for his austerity, Indra sent a beautiful Apsara called ManjuGhosha to detract Sage Medhavi from his austerity. Though she was scared of the Rishi, she had no option but to obey the command of Indra. She hesitantly went where Medhavi Rishi was in meditation to work her charms on the sage. She played arousing music on her Veena and danced erotically in front of the Rishi to distract him. At the behest of Indra, Eros came to her assistance. He granted her the extra ordinary physical charms and a strong lascivious desire. The sound of her bangles and anklets distracted Sage Medhavi from his meditation. He opened his eyes to see a divine beauty inviting him to join her. Eros entered the sage's heart and he felt extreme attraction towards ManjuGhosha. The sensual desires got better of him and he embraced Munjughosha and was lost in her charms and arms. He gave up meditation for the pleasure of company of ManjuGhosha. They returned to earth to live together. Overwhelmed the lust, the sage lost track of time and years passed by fulfilling his physical desires. Once ManjuGhosha asked Rishi Medhavi ti allow her to return, but infatuated by her charmed, he declined her request. She did not dare to defy her due to the fear of being cursed by the sage. After passage of some more time, she requested again to return to heaven. Rishi asked her to stay with her till the morning. Many more mornings passed by, but Medhavi could not bring himself to live without ManjuGhosha. She once again asked her to be allowed to return after passage of some more time. The sage asked her to remain with him till he completed his evening Sandhya. Exasperated, ManjuGhosha taunted, 'O Rishi! You have spent innumerable evenings with me. Not only evenings, I have lost the count of number of nights we have spent together.' Medhavi Rishi meditated to gauge the passage of time and was horrified to discover that fifty seven years had passed since his return to earth after abandoning his austerity. He was greatly agitated and blamed ManjuGhosha for deviating from his goal. He cursed her to become a Pishachini (an evil spirit). She pleaded with Rishi, 'Please save me from your curse. One earns great Punya by associating with an eminent Rishi like you. I have lived with you and have greatly pleased and served you for many years. Please have mercy on me!.' Medhavi Rishi calmed down a little and said, 'O wretched woman! I got deviated from my austerity due to you. However, I shall show you a way to lessen the effects of my curse. Ekadashi falling in Vad fortnight of Falgun is called PaapMochini Ekadashi. It is capable of dispelling one's sins. Observe its Vrat faithfully including the fast and you will become free from the life of Pishachini."
"Medhavi Rishi returned to his father - Chyavan Rishi's Ashram. His father scolded him for abandoning his austerity to pursue sensual gratification. Medhavi realised his folly and asked his father for guidance for washing away his sin for deviating from his Brahamcharya. Chyavan Rishi said, 'O son! Your sin can only be washed away by observing the Vrat of PaapMochini Ekadashi.' Medhavi Rishi followed his father's advice and was absolved of his sins. ManjuGhosha observed tghe Vrat of PaapMochini Ekadashi faithfully and as a result was freed from the life of Pishachini and became Apsara once again and returned to heaven. O King Mandhata! Anyone who fasts on the day of PaapMochini Ekadashi is able to extricate himself from all his sins. Anyone reading or listening to the Katha of its Mahatmya earns Punya equivalent to donating thousand cows to a chaste Brahmin."
This Mahatmya of PaapMochini Ekadashi is narrated in the Bhavishyottar Puran.