Jaya Ekadashi - Thursday 18th February
Jaya Ekadashi - Maha Sud Ekadashi
Dharmaraj Yudhishthir said to Bhagwan, "O Krishna! You are the creator, sustainer and destroyer of everything. Please tell me the name of Ekadashi that falls in the Sud fortnight of month of Maha."
Shree Krishna replied, "O Yudhishthir! This Ekadashi is called Jaya Ekadashi. Listen attentively to its significance and greatness. Whoever observes Vrat of this Ekadashi will have all his desires and also attains Moksha. A man never has to become a ghost or indeed an evil spirit is released from that life after observing the Vrat of this holy Ekadashi. Let Me cite an example from Padma Puran which details the reward one earns for observing the Vrat of Jaya Ekadashi."
"Once, Indra, the king of Devtas, was enjoying a festival of song and dance in Heaven. The Apsaras (celestial dancers) were dancing to the music played by Gandharvas (celestial musicians) such as Pushpadant and Chitrasen. O king! Chitrasen's grandson Malyavan had fallen in love with one of the Apsaras. Malyavan and his paramour Pushpavati were participating in this festival, but instead of concentrating in their respective art forms i.e. singing and dancing; they were eyeing each other. This led to the lapses in their performance. Indra perceived these lapses as an insult and disrespect. He became angry and cursed the pair, 'Both of you have sinned and sullied the chastity of heaven. I curse you to become Pishach (evil spirits) on earth where you can satiate your lascivious desires unabated.' O Yudhishthir! The two lovers turned into Pishach and landed in the jungles at the foothills of the Himalayas. They had no knowledge of taste, smell and touch. Their bodies burnt with pain and suffering. They could not sleep peacefully at night. Once, sitting under a Peepal tree and shivering in biting cold winds, Malyavan said to his lover, 'What sins must have we committed to endure the pains worse than that of Hell?' Instead of replying anything, Pushpavati just sighed. Both of them sat under the tree worrying and suffering. Fortunately, that day was Maha Sud Ekadashi. They did not venture out to prey and neither did they eat or drink anything the whole day. As the night set in. it became very cold. They embraced to keep each other warm. They could not sleep due to cold. The whole night passed by whilst worrying about the state of affairs. Unknowingly, they observed the Vrat of Jaya Ekadashi by undergoing a fast and Jagran."
Bhagwan Shree Krishna continued, "O king! As the Sun rose the next morning, they were released from the bodies of Pishach and attained their previous forms. They closed their eyes and reverently prayed to Bhagwan Narayan for His mercy upon them. They returned to Heaven in a divine aeroplane. They went to King Indra and humbly sought his forgiveness for their earlier mistake. Indra was surprised to see them return to Heaven and asked them that how were they freed from his curse. Malyavan explained how they had observed the Vrat of Jaya Ekadashi inadvertently and were released from the curse to become celestial once again. Malyavan and Pushpavati got married and lived happily ever after in heaven. O King Yudhishthir! Whoever observes the Vrat of Jaya Ekadashi becomes pious and are worthy of Bhagwan's grace. One becomes worthy of respect and veneration by other humans after observing the Vrat of Jaya Ekadashi. Whoever observes this Vrat with faith and devotion shall be rewarded with the Punya equivalent of donating vast amount of wealth, performing Yagnas and undertaking pilgrimage to the shrines. Whoever listens to Mahatmya of Jaya Ekadashi shall have all his desires fulfilled in this life and attain Akshardham upon his death. O king! Such great is the Mahatmya of Jaya Ekadashi"
This Mahatmya of Jaya Ekadashi is mentioned in Bhavishyottar Puran.