Once Pandava king Yudhisthir asked Lord Krishna about the significance of Ekadashi, which occurs during the dark lunar fortnight in the month of Chaitra (March-April).
Lord Krishna replied to him: ‘ O king Dharmaraj, for the benefit of mankind and purification of sinful souls, I will surely describe you the glories of this Ekadashi which is also known as Paapmochini Ekadashi due to its endless benefits. To understand its benefits, I will narrate you a piacular legend which was told by sage Lomesh on the request of king Mandhata.
For the well-being of the entire mankind, once king Mandhata asked sage Lomesh about the name and the benefits of Ekadashi occurring during the dark fortnight in the month of chaitra (March-April) and how to observe it?
Saint Lomesh said: O supreme King, by observing this Paapmochini Ekadashi one is freed from all sins and is awarded eight perfections of life. This Ekadashi also fulfill all the desires and makes the man perfectly righteous.
Long before, once during the spring season, Chaitrarath (the head of demigods) came across a beautiful forest along with the heavenly maidens (apsaras). The forest was flooded with the aroma of variety of beautiful flowers and creepers. Being mesmerized by the beauty of forest he started having fun. There he joined the company of other demigods, kinnars and the Lord Indra himself. Many sages were performing religious austerities within the forest. Saint Medhavi, the follower of Lord Shiva was also one among them. The heavenly maidens had always tried to attract him. One among them was heavenly girl Manjughosha, who also tried many times to seduce the saint but always failed. Out of respect for the saint, Manjughosha tented a mile away from the ashram of saint Medhavi and started singing in a melodious voice playing tambura. When Kamdeva (Cupid) listened to her melodious voice, he was extremely thrilled and being inspired to take revenge from lord Shiva, he targeted Manjughosha with his lust filled arrows. Being overpowered by Kama (lust/desire) Manjughosha went in front of saint Medhavi and started dancing in an enchanting manner to seduce him. When saint Medhavi saw her, he was completely awestruck by her mesmerizing beauty and was filled with lust and desire due to the effect of cupid. Manjughosha slowly came towards him and embraced him lustfully. Being captivated by her beauty and moves, saint Medhavi left his meditation and united with her in a mood of lust. As, soon as he was engaged in desire, his purity of heart left him. He started living in union with her and in her company he even forgot the difference of days and nights. Thus, they spent years together. When Manjughosha realized that the sanctity of the sage has been destroyed completely, she decided to go back to heaven. Manjughosha told the saint, that she wants to go back to heaven. But saint Medhavi requested her to stay with him for some more time, so fearing of his saintly powers Manjughosha accepted his request and stayed with him for some more time. Again one day she told her desire to go back and Saint Medhavi again requested her to stay back till his morning prayers are over.
Manjughosha smiled and asked him, “O saint, I have been living with you for a long time and still you are not satisfied. Please, remind of those times and allow me to return back to heaven.” When saint Medhavi calculated the time, he realized that he has wasted 57 years of his life with Manjughosha and his sanctity has been destroyed. In a rage of anger he cursed Manjughosha to become a witch. Manjughosha pleaded for saint’s mercy and asked for his forgiveness reminding him of the time she spent with him. Saint Medhavi replied that she has committed a sin of destroying the sanctity of a sage, so he can’t do anything but will guide her to abstain from his curse. He advised her to observe the fast on the pious Ekadashi (Paapmochini Ekadashi) occurring during the dark lunar fortnight in the month of Chaitra with pure heart and devotion so as to resume her beautiful body again and to get rid of all her sins.
Soon after that, saint Medhavi went to his father’s hermitage. Seeing his son saint Chyavan asked Medhavi, “Son, how could you lost the wealth of your austerities by getting engaged in such materialistic activities?” Listening to the words of his father saint Medhavi was filled with extreme guilt and asked his father regarding the atonement, which he should perform to get rid of that sin and get his sanctity back. Then saint Chyavan told Medhavi that, if he will observe the fast on the Paapmochini Ekadashi which occurs during the dark lunar fortnight in the month of chaitra then he will be freed from the effect of all his sinful activities and will attain the righteousness again. Thus, on the advice of his father saint Medhavi religiously observed fast on Paapmochini Ekadashi and thus was freed from all his sins. Similarly, Manjughosha observed the fasts on this Ekadashi and got rid of the body of witch and resumed her beautiful body of heavenly maiden (apsara) and went to heaven.
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