Pavitropana Ekadashi is a sacred Hindu festival that is observed on the eleventh day of the bright fortnight of the month of Shravana (July-August). It is also known as Putrada Ekadashi, as it is believed that those who observe this fast will be blessed with a son. The word Pavitropana means “to purify oneself” and Ekadashi means “the eleventh day”. Therefore, this festival is a day of purification and devotion to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe.
The significance of Pavitropana Ekadashi is mentioned in the Bhavishya Purana, one of the eighteen major Puranas that narrate the history and future of mankind. According to the legend, there was once a king named Mahijit, who ruled over the kingdom of Mahishmati. He was very pious and generous, but he had no son to inherit his throne. He consulted many sages and performed many rituals, but he could not get a son. He became very depressed and decided to renounce his kingdom and go to the forest.
There, he met a sage named Lomasa, who told him about the glory of Pavitropana Ekadashi. He said that this Ekadashi can grant any desire, including a son. He advised the king to observe this fast with full faith and devotion. The king followed his instructions and observed the fast with his wife. He also offered a sacred thread (pavitra) made of cotton, silk or wool to Lord Vishnu as a symbol of his purity and surrender. The next day, he broke his fast after performing all the rituals and worshipping Lord Vishnu.
By the grace of Lord Vishnu, the king soon got a son who was virtuous and brave. He named him Meghavarna, meaning “one who has the color of clouds”. The king was very happy and ruled his kingdom with justice and righteousness. He also taught his son the importance of observing Pavitropana Ekadashi and worshipping Lord Vishnu.
Pavitropana Ekadashi is celebrated with great fervor by devotees of Lord Vishnu all over the world. They observe a strict fast from sunrise to sunrise, abstaining from food, water and any kind of grains. They spend the day in chanting the names and glories of Lord Vishnu, reading or listening to the scriptures, singing devotional songs and offering prayers. They also make pavitra threads and offer them to Lord Vishnu along with flowers, fruits, incense and lamps. They believe that by doing so, they will be purified from all their sins and attain salvation.
Pavitropana Ekadashi is also a special day for the followers of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), who follow the Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism. They observe this Ekadashi according to the Gaurabda calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle and the appearance day of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of ISKCON. They follow the same rules of fasting and worship as other devotees, but they also offer special services to their spiritual master (guru) and seek his blessings. They also distribute prasadam (sanctified food) to others and spread the message of love and devotion to Lord Krishna, who is considered as the supreme personality of Godhead.
In 2023, Pavitropana Ekadashi falls on Sunday, August 27. It is a very auspicious day to seek the mercy of Lord Vishnu and purify oneself from all impurities. Those who observe this fast with sincerity and devotion will be rewarded with peace, prosperity and happiness in this life and liberation in the next. Hare Krishna!