Jaya Ekadashi-Story and Significance
卐 Jaya Ekadashi is also known as Bhishma Ekadashi or Bhaimi Ekadashi. This day is considered very auspicious for the devotees of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. This Ekadashi falls in the month of Magh. Worshipping Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu on this day helps in eliminating grief and sorrows from life and helps in attaining prosperity and peace. People get relief from the sins committed in the past and offering prayers to Lord helps them in attaining Moksha after dying. Devotees perform the special Shiv-Vishnu Maha puja and get blessings on this special day.
卐 The significance of Jaya Ekadashi Vrat is described as Yudhisthira-Srikrishna Sangbad in the Bhavishya-uttara Purana. It occurs in Shuklapaksha (the bright fortnight) in the month of Magh (January – February). Different names of this Ekadashi can be seen in different puranas. In the Sri Garurpurana, the Ekadashi of the month of Magh is called ‘Bhaimi’ Ekadashi. According to the Padma Purana, the Ekadashi of Shuklapaksha (the bright fortnight) in the month of Jaistha is also called ‘Bhimseni’ (Bhaimi) Ekadashi or ‘Pandava Nirjala’ Ekadashi.
卐 Yudhisthira said- “O Krishna! Please describe in detail the Ekadashi of Shuklapaksha (the bright fortnight) in the month of Magh (January – February).” Lord Krishna said- “O Maharaj! the Ekadashi that occurs in the bright fortnight (Shukla or Gaura paksha) of Magh (January – February) is known as ‘Jaya’. This Ekadashi vrat obliterates all kinds of sinful reactions and demonic influences that may affect the soul. It is known as Jaya Ekadashi, and the one who strictly observes a fast on the sacred day of Lord Hari, especially on this Jaya Ekadashi, can be freed from the sin of killing even a twice born brahmin. Fasting on Jaya Ekadashi qualifies one to reside in Vaikuntha (the abode of Sri Hari) and enjoy unending happiness for billions of yugas – indeed, forever as the soul is eternal. Thus there is no better Ekadashi than this, for it truly bestows freedom from birth and death. It is to be honoured very carefully and diligently. So, listen to me very attentively, Oh Pandava, as I explain a wonderful episode regarding this Ekadashi, an episode that I have already related in the Padma Purana.
卐 The following story of this Ekadashi can be heard. Once upon a time, Indra was ruling his celestial kingdom very nicely, and all the devas (gods) living there were very happy and content. In Nandana Kanan (forest), which was beautifully graced with Parijata Flowers, Indra drank ambrosia whenever he liked and enjoyed the service of fifty million celestial maidens, the Apsaras, who danced in ecstasy for his pleasure.
One day Devraj Indra, the hero of Asparas, voluntarily asked them to dance with joy. The Gandharvas began to sing along with the dance. The main Gandharvas like Pushpadatta, Chitrasena etc. were also present there. The name of Chitrasen’s wife was Malini. They had a daughter named Pushpavanti. Pushpadatta’s son’s name was Malyavan. Pushpavanti had a splendid beauty. She had incomparably graceful arms; her face resembled the Moon; her lotus eyes reached almost to her lovely ears, which were adorned with wonderful and costly ear-rings; her thin, ornamented neck looked like a conch, having three lines; her waist was very slender, the size of a fist; her hips were broad, and her thighs like the trunks of banana trees; her naturally beautiful features were complemented by gorgeous ornaments and garments; her breasts were highly raised emphasizing her prime of youth; and to look upon her feet was to behold newly grown red lotuses. Malyavan was fascinated by the pretty appearance of Pushpavanti. Puspavanti subdued Malyavan by repeated sneers.
They both joined the dance party for Indra’s affection. But both of them were getting confused as they were attracted to each other. There they stood staring at each other. As a result, the order of the song was disrupted. Devaraja Indra realized that they had fallen in love with each other after realizing such a break in the rhythm of the music. Then he cursed them in anger saying – ‘Stupid! You have disobeyed my command. Woe to you! Right now, both of you will be born as Pishachas (flesh-eating demons) and you will suffer the consequences of your evil deeds going to the material world.’
The two of them were wandering in the Himalayas feeling sorry for Indra’s curse. They began to suffer greatly because they had received the form of Pishacha and Pishachi. In the Himalayas, they lost their previous identity due to severe winter. Thus they began to live there with great difficulty.
One day the Pishacha said to his wife Pishachi – ‘We have not sinned in the slightest. But we are suffering the hellish torment. So from now on we will never commit any more sins.’ Thinking like this, they started living on that mountain almost dead. Then the Ekadashi of Shuklapaksha (the bright fortnight) in the month of Magh occurred. Malyavan and Puspavanti spent the day in solitary confinement under an ash tree. They passed the night without sleep due to the cold.
The next day Dwadashi day appeared at sunrise. Actually, they observed the Jaya Ekadashi Vrat unknowingly with fasting ang night vigil. As a result of observing this vrat, by the grace of Lord Vishnu, their demonic nature was removed. They both got back to their former life. Then they went back to Heaven. Devaraja was very surprised to see them. He asked them, ‘How did you get back to your former life? Who delivered you from my curse?’
Malyaban said- O Lord! By the grace of Lord Vasudeva, our demonic forms have been removed by the virtue of Jaya Ekadashi vrat. Hearing their words, Devaraja Indra said- O Malyavan, ‘Drink nectar again from now on. Those who obseve Ekadashi vrat and those who are Krishna devotees are always revered. In this Devalok (Heaven), you live happily with Puspavanti.’
卐 Lord Krishna said to Yudhisthara, O king! This ‘Jaya’ Ekadashi vrat also destroys the sin of killing Brahma. In fulfilling this vow, all kinds of donations are rewarded. The consequences of all Yajnas and Tirthas is automatically gained by the virtue of observing this Ekadashi vrat and at last the bliss of Vaikuntha lives is got forever. One who even hears or reads these wonderful glories of Jaya Ekadashi achieves the blessed merit attained by performing an Agnistoma Yajna (fire sacrifice), during which the hymns from the Sama-veda are recited.”
卐 A fast is observed on the day of Jaya Ekadashi. Take a meal on Dashami Tithi. Make a resolution by meditating on Shri Vishnu. Do not bring a feeling of malice, deceit, deception and lust in the mind. Worship Vishnu with incense, lamp, sandalwood, fruit, sesame, and panchamrit and also keep Gomti Chakra and Yellow Kauri in worship. Offer yellow flowers to Lord Vishnu and mix turmeric in ghee and light a lamp to Vishnu. After lighting the lamp, offer Lord Vishnu a banana or a saffron dessert. After the worship is over, distribute the Prasad of God to everyone and eat it.