The following is a narration of the glories of Pavitropana Ekadasi from the bhavishya purana.
Lord Krishna speaks to King Yudhishthira
Lord Krishna told King Yudhishthira about the glories of the Ekadasi that falls in the Shukla paksha of the month of Shravana called Pavitropana Ekadasi.
King Mahijita’s Moroseness
Lord Krishna said, “At the dawn of Dvarpara-yuga there lived a king by the name of Mahijita, who ruled the kingdom of Mahismati- puri. Not having a son, however, had made this righteous king morose.
“The king had tried hard to beget an heir but failed. As he grew older, King Mahijita became increasingly anxious for a son who would perform the annual offering of tarpana to his forefathers. One day he told an assembly of his advisers, ‘I have committed no sin in this life, there is no ill-gotten wealth in my treasury, I have never taken offerings meant for demigods or brahmanas, I have observed the rules and regulations war in all my battles of conquest, and I have cared for my subjects like my own children. I have even punished my own erring relatives and have welcomed gentle and religious enemies. O brahmanas, why am I sonless even though I am religious and faithful to the Vedic standards? Kindly tell me the reason for this.’
The King’s advisors meet Lomasa Rishi
“The advisers sought time to reply and then went into the forest searching for learned persons to take advice. Eventually, they came upon a sage who was austere, pure, and self-satisfied and strictly observing a vow of fasting.
“His senses were completely under control, he had conquered his anger and was expert at performing his occupational duty. Indeed, this great sage was so expert in the conclusions of the Vedas, that he had extended his life span to that of Lord Brahma. His name was Lomasa Rishi, and he was a trikalajnya – knower of past, present, and future. One strand of hair would fall out of his body at the end of each kalpa (a kalpa, is twelve hours in the life of Lord Brahma which is equivalent to 4,320,000,000 years on earth). The king’s brahmana advisers one by one offered him their humble respects.
“Captivated by this great soul, King Mahijita’s advisers reverentially said, ‘By a great fortune, O sage, have we been able to see you.’ Lomasa Rishi replied, ‘Please tell me the reason for your visit. I will do everything in my power to address your problem for that the sworn duty of persons like me.’
“The brahmanas replied, ‘We have come to you, O exalted sage, seeking your counsel in solving a very serious problem. Our king, Mahijita, cares for his citizens like his children, yet unable to bear a son, he is very unhappy. We are distressed due to this, O sage, and therefore have entered the forest to perform severe austerities for his welfare. Fortunately, we came upon you. Our efforts have become successful by a mere glimpse of you. Please advise us how our gentle king may obtain a son.’
The cause of King Mahijita’s misfortune
“Hearing their sincere plea, Lomasa Rishi absorbed himself in deep meditation for a moment and at once understood the cause of the problem. He said, ‘Your king was a merchant in his past life. Dissatisfied with his wealth, he had committed many sinful deeds to increase it. He used to travel village-to-village trading his goods. Once, at noon on the day after the Ekadasi that comes during the light fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha (May-June), he became thirsty while traveling. He came upon a clear pond on the outskirts of a village. Just as he was about to drink at the pond a cow arrived there with her newborn calf.
“The two were also thirsty because of the heat and when they began drinking, the merchant rudely shooed the gentle creatures away and quenched his own thirst. This offense resulted in your king’s being without a son in this life. But good deeds in previous lives have allowed him an undisturbed kingdom to rule.’
“Hearing this, the king’s advisers replied, ‘O great sage, the Vedas teach methods of nullifying the effects of one’s past sins by acquiring pious credits. Kindly instruct us on how the sins of our king may be neutralised; please bless him to beget a son.’
The Advice of Lomasa Rishi
“Lomasa Rishi said, ‘There is an Ekadasi called Putrada, which comes during the bright fortnight (Shukla paksha) of the month of Shravana. On this day the king along with you all should fast and stay awake all night, strictly following prescribed regulations. Then you should all transfer the merits if your fasting to your king. If you follow my instructions, he will certainly be blessed with a good son.’
“The king’s advisers were glad to receive these instructions from Lomasa Rishi. They gratefully offered him their obeisances and returned home happy.
“When the month of Shravana arrived, the king’s advisers followed the advice of Lomasa Rishi, and under their direction the king and all the citizens of Mahismati-puri fasted on the recommended Ekadasi. The next day, on Dvadasi, the citizens dutifully offered their accrued merits to the king. On the strength of this austerity, the queen eventually gave birth to a beautiful son.
Lord Krishna glorifies Pavitropana Ekadasi
“O Yudhisthira,” Lord Krishna concluded, “the Ekadasi that falls on the bright fortnight of the month of Shravana has rightfully become famous as Putrada (“bestower of a son”). Anyone desiring happiness in this world and the next should sincerely fast from grains and legumes on this holy day. Whoever merely hears the glories of Shravana Putrada Ekadasi is freed from all sins, blessed with a good son, and is eligible to reach heaven after death.”