Papmochani Ekadashi falls on the Eleventh day of the waning phase of moon in Chaitra month as per the Hindu calendar. Papmochani Ekadashi is the last Ekadashi in all 24 Ekadashi fasts. According to the South Indian calendar, it falls on the Krishna Paksha of Phalguna mont. It is celebrated on Krishna Paksha of Chaitra month as per the North Indian calendar. Interestingly, it falls on the same day in north as well as south Indian calendar. Papmochani Ekadashi is the last Ekadashi among all 24 Ekadashi. It falls between Holika Dahan and Chaitra Navratri. Papmochani has two words ‘pap’ and ‘mochani’ which means ‘sin’ and ‘remover’ respectively. As the name suggests, Papmochani Ekadashi is observed to eradicate one’s sins. Lord Vishnu is worshiped on this auspicious day of Papmochani Ekadashi.
Significance and Legend of Papmochani Ekadashi
The significance of Papmochani Ekadashi vrat was explained by Lord Krishna to King Yudhishthira. Devotees need to observe the day of Papamochani Ekadashi with a pure heart to invoke the blessings of Lord Vishnu and to eliminate the past life sins. The Papmochani Ekadashi is also mentioned in the Bhavishyottara Purana. The tale of Papmochani Ekadashi is narrated in the Bhavishya Uttara Purana in the form of dialogues between Lord Krishna and King Yudhishthira.
Sage Medhavi was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. He used to perform strict meditation in the forest of Chaitraratha which was full of beautiful flowers. The Chaitraratha forest was frequently visited by Lord Indra and Apsaras. Apsara, "Manjughosa" tried many ways to seduce sage Medhavi but she was unsuccessful in her every attempt due to the power of his sobriety. Manjughosa stayed a couple of miles away from the sage and started singing. She sang so beautifully that Lord Kamdev got excited. When Manjughosha looked at an attractive body of the sage Medhavi, she got restless by lust. She started singing seductively. Kamdev drew Medhavi’s attention towards Manughosha through his powerful magical bows. Medhavi stopped his meditation and got trapped in Manjughosha’s charm. He lost his purity of mind. He got attracted to her charm for a very long time. After living a married life for many years, Manjughosha lost her interest in the sage and decided to abandon him. When Manjughosha asked Medhavi to allow her to leave, he realized that he was cheated. Fuming with anger Medhavi cursed her to become an ugly witch. Medhavi returned to his father Sage Chyavana’s ashram. Sage Chyavana asked Medhavi to observe fast on Papamochani Ekadashi and assured him that his sins would be removed by observing fast. Medhavi observed the fast with devotion to Lord Vishnu and got relieved from his sins. Manjughosha also observed the Papmochani Ekadashi fast and regretted her wrong deeds. She was also relieved from her sin
Celebrations and Rituals
The rituals of Ekadashi fast are started from Dashami, a day before Ekadashi. Devotees are abstained from taking normal food items. Only simple food is consumed by the devotees. A sacred bath is taken at a nearby river or lake. Flowers, sandalwood paste, incense sticks, and Bhog (sacred feast) are offered to Lord Vishnu. Devotees chant mantras of Lord Vishnu and praise him.