Pavitra Ekaadasi, or Pavitropana Ekaadasi (one of the Putradaa ekaadasis! - fast efficacious for improving progenic prospects) is the ekaadasi observed in the waxing phase of vedic month Sravana. It is to be observed on 26th August 2015 throughout the world except in USA, Canada, and other countries of North and South American continents. Those living in North/ South American continent countries must observe this on Augus 25, 2015 itself.
As the name of the fast implies, this fast is good for begetting a good son who will be a pride to the whole race. (There is another Putradaa Ekaadasi which falls in Pausha Shukla Ekaadasi which is also good for progenic blessings).
Those who wish to observe this fast as a "Kaamya vratam" (an austerity with the aim of achieving mundane end - that of begetting good progeny) may recite verses from Naaraayaneeyam, Vishnu Sahasranaamam, and Putra Kaameshti yagna chapter of Shrimad Vaalmiiki Raamaayanam on this day.
A full fast is recommended on this day; but those who cannot fast completely should at least refrain from consuming legumes and grains (all varieties of beans, and all grains - wheat, rice, maize, barley, oats, etc.). You can consume fruits and milk. Honey should also be avoided on ekaadasi day.
The glory of this ekaadasi is explained in Bhavishya Puraanaa in the form of a conversation between Yudhishtra Maharaajaa and Lord Krishna. I am giving a gist of that below.....
At the end of the Dwaapara Yuga there was a king named Mahiijita ruling over the kingdom called Mahishmatipuri (It is not clear whether this is the same Mahishmati which was the kingdom of Shri Kaartaveeryaarjuna). Because he had no son after many years of marriage, his kingly pleasures and royal honours seemed utter waste to him and he felt very dejected
(Personal note: You may be wondering what is the big deal that a king with all Royal Pleasures was "dejected" due to lack of progeny.....Recently I read about a trend where couples decide to avoid having children as a conscious choice - to enjoy more freedom as they considered children as a responsibility that might hinder their lifestyle choices/ career options; BUT, in shastraic communities, begetting a child is considered the only way in which pitru-runa - indebtedness to ancestors - can be repaid (the logic is that if our ancestors had decided not to have progeny we might not be here; and so it is our duty to carry the family line forward and we will be failing in our duty if we avoid that UNLESS there are medical contraindications that deny such a bliss), and begetting a good child and grooming a child in a dharmic way such that he/ she will be an adherent to dharmic principles is one of the best "services" that any human being can do to the Universe....just bearing a child is not the matter here....bearing the child with the right attitude with express intent that the child will adhere to dharmic values at all costs, and grooming the child in such a way that his/ her behaviour/ actions will benefit the society at large is what makes a person a "real and efficient parent" and shastras are unequivocal in that such children are a blessing to their whole clan....Shastraic people yearn for such children to be born to them and when they are denied progenic bliss it is a great matter of concern for them.....! Just writing this to explain the perspective of why begetting a child seems to be such an issue and a holy fast has been dedicated towards improving such prospects! Till today there are couples who yearn for progenic bliss earnestly and fasts like these can be facilitators to improve progenic luck and rewrite Fate Script in this matter in their favour).
One day he told an assembly of his advisers: ‘I have committed no sin in this life, and there is no ill-gotten wealth in my treasury. I have never usurped the offerings to the demigods or brahmanas. When I waged war and conquered kingdoms, I followed the rules and regulations of the military art, and I have protected my subjects as if they were my own children. I punished even my own relatives if they broke the law, and if my enemy was gentle and religious I welcomed him. Oh twice-born souls, although I am a religious and faithful follower of the Vedik standards, still my home is without a son. Kindly tell me the reason for this.’ (My note: See the hints about ethical conduct for a ruler; this is the main purpose of Puraanaas - to hint about ethical conduct in a gentle and interesting manner amidst legends. The puraana clearly implies that if these ethical codes are broken, there is justification for being childless or being miserable in other ways in subsequent incarnations. How we wish present day rulers read this and get influenced by these exalted codes of conduct! How much better all our lives will be then - without corruption, without mismanagement, without nepotisim, without undue favouritism, and without harassment from government or political parties to the gentler sections of the society!)
The King's advisers undertook rigorous austerities and travelled to various ashrams of sages for long periods. In the course of time, they came across Lomasha Maharishi - who had longevity extending to many kalpaas .
My note: One kalpa is 4, 320, 000,000 years; after each kalpa, one hair in his body will fall down; like that when all his hairs fall down, only then does his longevity expire! Just imagine the stupendous spiritual power that Great Sage must have to enjoy this longevity fully engaging himself in austerities and wishing Universal Welfare. Just thinking about such Maharishis is a merit in itself.
They made entreaties to the Maharishi requesting for remedies for the king's anxiety regarding childlessness. The Maharishi meditated for sometime and discovered the cause of the king's childlessness. In a previous incarnation as a wealthy merchant, once he had come across a beautiful pond in the outskirts of a village. As he was very thirsty, he wanted to quench his thirst. A cow with its calf had also come there to quench its thirst. He had chased the thirsty cows and calf just as they had begun to drink the water, and selfishly quenched his own thirst first. This offense against the cow and her calf has given rise to a malefic karma that is preventing him from getting a child in this birth. Due to the other charitable deeds he did, he has been born as a King; but due to that sin of chasing the cow and calf when they wanted to quench thirst, he has remained childless. (Special note: Beating a cow with a stick, chasing away thirsty cows from water bodies, torturing the animal in other ways, etc. are productive of a sin called "Gohati" - equivalent to the sin accrued by killing of a Cow. Gohatya is considered to be next only to Brahmahati dosha (i.e. killing of a pious religious person). Persons with Gohatya dosha will be cursed with childlessness. This is the karmic theory behind this legend).
The sage went on to say that if the King and all his subjects fast on Shravana Shukla edaadasi and maintain a night vigil as per scriptural guidelines, and if all his subjects gift the merit accrued out the observance to the king, the king's sin will get nullified, and he will be blessed with a child (It must be apparent from this legend how much effort is needed to nullify sins! The combined merit of possibly lakhs of pious and motivated persons is needed to nullify a simple sin that has arisen out of chasing a cow and a calf - that too just because the person himself was thirsty! Just imagine how much more effort it will take to nullify a sin committed willfully! The best way is not to sin at all - so that life is easier - at least in our future incarnations).
By the observance of this fast, and by receiving the gift of the punya of this fast from his citizens, the king was blessed with a good son who proved to be a worthy heir to him.
Lord Krishna says that whosoever observes this fast will enjoy happiness in both this world and the next (in Heaven). Even hearing about the glory of this ekaadasi is a merit in itself.
Observance of this ekaadasi is reputed to give the effect of having performed an Aswamedha yagna!
May our members undertake this fast religiously and with constant remembrance of Lord Hari, and be blessed with all auspiciousness - both in this incarnation and also after this - by possibly merging with Lord Hari.
Pandit R DAKSHINAMOORTHI
Astrological and Remedial consultant