Papamochani Ekadashi: Liberation through Fasting

Papamochani Ekadashi, occurring on the 11th day of the waning moon in the month of Chaitra (usually March-April), marks the final of the 24 ekadashis in the Hindu calendar. When it aligns with a Thursday, known as Guruvar Ekadashi, it holds special significance. The term “Papamochani” denotes liberation from past sins, making this day auspicious for fasting and seeking spiritual purification. Falling between Holika Dahan and Chaitra Navratri, it emphasizes the importance of reflection, repentance, and renewed commitment to virtuous living. Devotees observe fasts, engage in prayer, meditation, and acts of charity, aiming to deepen their spiritual connection and strengthen their resolve towards righteousness.

Vrata Katha

Lord Krishna graciously shared a profound tale regarding the significance of Papamochani Ekadashi

Yudhishthira, the righteous king, approached Lord Sri Krishna seeking knowledge about a specific Ekadashi occurring in the Krishna Paksha of the Chaitra month. Intrigued by his inquiry, Lord Krishna graciously shared a profound tale regarding the significance of this Ekadashi, as recounted by Maharishi Lomash to Emperor Mandhata.

The story unfolded in the enchanting forest of Chaitrarath, where the celestial nymph Manjughosha dwelled. Her ethereal beauty and captivating melodies lured the sage Medhavi, tempting him to forsake his ascetic practices. Engulfed in desire, Medhavi indulged in worldly pleasures with Manjughosha, oblivious to the passage of time.

Upon realizing that fifty-seven years had slipped away, Medhavi was consumed by anger and cursed Manjughosha to become a demon. Fearing the consequences of her actions, Manjughosha implored the sage for redemption. Medhavi, recognizing her remorse, advised her to observe the Papamochani Ekadashi fast during the dark fortnight of Chaitra to absolve her sins and dispel her demonic state.

Following the sage’s counsel, both Medhavi and Manjughosha observed the Papamochani Ekadashi fast, leading to the expiation of their sins. Through this penance, Manjughosha regained her celestial form and ascended to the heavenly realms, freed from the shackles of her demonic existence.

The Papamochani Ekadashi fast, as emphasized by Medhavi, holds immense significance in Hindu tradition. It is believed that observing this fast not only purifies the soul but also grants immense merit, equivalent to the act of donating a thousand cows. Furthermore, the fast has the power to absolve even the gravest of sins, such as Brahminicide and adultery with the guru’s wife, highlighting its unparalleled spiritual significance and transformative potential.

Rituals during Papamochani Ekadashi

On the auspicious day of Papamochani Ekadashi, devotees rise at sunrise and perform a holy bath using Kush grass and sesame seeds. Many followers of Lord Vishnu observe a fast on this day to seek his eternal blessings. Fasting is highly valued, with some opting for a strict fast without consuming anything, while others choose to consume non-grain foods, milk, nuts, and fruits. The fast is concluded the following day after offering prayers to Lord Vishnu.

Even for those not fasting, it’s customary to avoid eating pulses, rice, and non-vegetarian food on Ekadashi. Reading the ‘Sri Vishnu Sahasranama’ is encouraged on this day for spiritual merit.

Devotees show their reverence to Lord Vishnu by offering Tulsi leaves, flowers, fruits, lamps, and incense sticks. Additionally, presenting mogra or jasmine flowers is considered highly meritorious. Some observers also make it a point to visit Vishnu temples in the evening, where special programs such as recitations from the Bhagavad Gita may take place.

Significance of Papamochani Ekadashi

Papamochani Ekadashi holds great significance as depicted in the ancient scripture like the ‘Bhavishyottara Purana’. It was initially conveyed to King Mandhata by Sage Lomasa and later reiterated by Lord Krishna to King Yudhisthira, the eldest of the Pandavas. This sacred day is believed to cleanse all sins and absolve the observer of guilt. By devoutly observing Papamochani Ekadashi, one is shielded from the influence of demons and ghosts.

The merits of observing this Ekadashi surpass even visiting revered Hindu pilgrimage sites or donating a thousand cows. The devotee who observes this auspicious fast with sincerity not only enjoys worldly pleasures but also secures a place in the heavenly abode of Lord Vishnu, known as ‘Vaikunth’. The primary goal of observing the Papamochani vrat is to discipline one’s bodily desires and dedicate ample time to chanting, listening, and reciting Vedic mantras devoted to Lord Vishnu.

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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