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Putrada Ekadashi
Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja said, “O Lord, You have so nicely explained to us the wonderful glories of the Saphalā Ekādaśī, which occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Pauṣa (December – January). Now please be merciful to me and explain to me the details of the Ekādaśī that occurs in the light fortnight (Shukla or Gaura paksha) of this month. What is its name, and what Deity is to be worshipped on that sacred day? O Puruṣottama, O Hṛṣīkeśa, please also tell me how You can be pleased on this day?

Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa then replied, “O saintly king, for the benefit of all humanity I shall now tell you how to observe fasting on the Pauṣa-śukla Ekādaśī.

As previously explained, everyone should observe the rules and regulations of the Ekādaśī vrata, to the very best of their ability. This injunction also applies to the Ekādaśī named Putradā, which destroys all sins and elevates one to the spiritual abode. The Supreme Personality of God Śrī Nārāyaṇa, the original personality, is the worshipable Deity of the Ekādaśī and for His faithful devotees He happily fulfils all desires and awards full perfection. Thus among all the animate and inanimate beings in the three worlds (lower, middle and higher planetary systems), there is no better personality than Lord Nārāyaṇa.

“O King, now I shall narrate to you the history of Putradā Ekādaśī, which removes all kinds of sins and makes one famous and learned.

“There was once a kingdom named Bhadrāvati, which was ruled by King Suketumān. His queen was the famous Śaibyā. Because he had no son, he spent a long time in anxiety, thinking, If I have no son, who will carry on my dynasty?‟ In this way the king meditated in a religious attitude for a very long time, thinking, „Where should I go? What should I do? How can I get a son? King Suketumān could find no happiness anywhere in his kingdom, even in his own palace, and soon he was spending more and more time inside his wife‟s palace, gloomily thinking only of how he could get a son.

“Thus both King Suketumān and Queen Śaibyā were in great distress. Even when they offered tarpaṇa (oblations of water to their forefathers), their mutual misery made them think that it was as undrinkable as boiling water. They thus thought that they would have no descendents to offer tarpaṇa to them when they died. The king and queen were especially upset to learn that their forefathers were worried that soon there would be no one to offer them tarpaṇa.

“After learning of their forefather‟s unhappiness, the king and queen became more and more miserable, and neither ministers, nor friends, nor even loved ones could cheer them up. To the king, his elephants and horses and infantry were no solace, and at last he became practically inert and helpless.

“The king thought, 'It is said that without a son, marriage is wasted. Indeed, for a family man with no son, both his heart and his splendid house remain vacant and miserable. Bereft of a son, a man cannot liquidate the debts that he owes his forefathers, the demigods and to other human beings. Therefore every married man should endeavor to beget a son; thus he will become famous within this world and at last attain the auspicious celestial realms. A son is proof of the pious activities a man performed in his past one hundred lifetimes, and such a person achieves a long duration of life in this world, along with good health and great wealth. Possessing sons and grandsons in this lifetime proves that one has worshipped Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of God, in the past. The great blessing of sons, wealth, and sharp intelligence can be achieved only by worshipping the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. That is my opinion.

“Thinking thus, the king had no peace. He remained in anxiety day and night, from morning to evening, and from the time he lay down to sleep at night until the sun rose in the morning, his dreams were equally full of great anxiety. Suffering such constant anxiety and apprehension, King Suketumān decided to end his misery by committing suicide. But he realized that suicide throws a person into hellish conditions of rebirth, and so he abandoned that idea. Seeing that he was gradually destroying himself by his all consuming anxiety over the lack of a son, the king at last mounted his horse and left for the dense forest alone. No one, not even the priests and brāhmaṇas of the palace, knew where he had gone.

“In that forest, which was filled with deer and birds and other animals, King Suketumān wandered aimlessly, noting all the different kinds of trees and shrubs, such as the fig, bel fruit, date palm, jackfruit, bakula, saptaparṇā, tinduka, and tilaka, as well as the śala, tāla, tamāla, saralā, h iṇgoṭā, arjuna, labherā, baheḍā, sallaki, karondā, paṭala, khaira, śāk a, and palāśa trees. All were beautifully decorated with fruits and flowers. He saw deer, tigers, wild boar, lions, monkeys, snakes, huge bull elephants in a rut, cow elephants with their calves, and fourtusked elephants with their mates close by. There were cows, jackals, rabbits, leopards, and hippopotamuses. Beholding all these animals accompanied by their mates and offspring, the king remembered his own menagerie, especially his palace elephants, and became so sad that he absentmindedly wandered into their very midst.

“Suddenly the king heard a jackal howl in the distance. Startled, he began wandering about, looking around in all directions. Soon it was midday, and the king started to tire. He was tormented by hunger and thirst also. He thought, „What sinful deed could possibly have done so that I am now forced to suffer like this, with my throat parched and burning, and my stomach empty and rumbling? I have pleased the devas (demigods) with numerous fire sacrifices and abundant devotional worship. I have given many gifts and delicious sweets in charity to all the worthy brāhmaṇas too. And I have taken care of my subjects as though they were my very own children. Why then am I suffering so? What unknown sins have come to bear fruit and torment me in this dreadful way?

“Absorbed in these thoughts, King Suketumān struggled forward, and eventually, due to his pious credits, he came upon a beautiful lotus bearing pond that resembled the famous Lake Mānasarovara. It was filled with aquatics, including crocodiles and many varieties of fish, and graced with varieties of lilies and lotuses. The beautiful lotuses had opened to the sun, and swans, cranes and ducks swam happily in its waters. Nearby were many attractive āśr amas, where there resided many saints and sages who could fulfill the desires of anyone. Indeed, they wished everyone well. When the king saw all this, his right arm and right eye began to quiver, a sign that something auspicious was about to happen.

“As the king dismounted his horse and stood before the sages, who sat on the shore of the pond, he saw that they were chanting the holy names of God on japa beads.

The king paid his obeisances and, joining his palms, addressed them with glorified praises. Observing the respect the king offered them, the sages said, 'We are very pleased with you, O king. Kindly tell us why you have come here. What is on your mind? Please tell us what you desire.

“The king replied, 'O great sages, who are you? What are your names, O auspicious saints? Why have you come to this beautiful place? Please tell me everything.'

“The sages replied, 'O king, we are known as the ten Viśvedevas. We have come here to this very lovely pond to bathe. The month of Māgha will soon be here in five days and today is the famous Putradā Ekādaśī. One who desires a son should strictly observe this particular Ekādaśī.'

“The king said, 'I have tried so hard to have a son. If you great sages are pleased with me, kindly grant the boon of having a good son (putra).'

“ 'The very meaning of Putradā,' the sages replied, 'is “giver of a son.” So please observe a complete fast on this Ekādaśī day. If you do so, then by our blessing – and by the mercy of Lord Keśava – you will surely obtain a son.'

“On the advice of the Viśvedevas, the king observed the auspicious fast day of Putradā Ekādaśī according to the established rules and regulations, and on the Dvādaśī, after breaking his fast, he paid obeisances again and again to all of them.

“Soon after Suketumān returned to his palace and united with his queen. Queen Śaibyā immediately became pregnant, and exactly as the Viśvedevas had predicted, a bright faced, beautiful son was born to them. In due course of time he became famous as an heroic prince, and the king gladly pleased his noble son by making him his successor. The son of Suketumān took care of his subjects very conscientiously, just as if they were his own children.

“In conclusion, O Yudhiṣṭhira, one who wises to fulfill his desires should strictly observe Putradā Ekādaśī. While on this planet, one who strictly observes this Ekādaśī will surely obtain a son, and after death he will achieve liberation. Anyone who even reads or hears the glories of Putradā Ekādaśī obtains the merit earned by performing an horse sacrifice. It is to benefit all humanity that I have explained all this to you.”

Thus ends the Vṛjavāsī narration of the glories of Pauṣa-shukla Ekādaśī, or Putradā Ekādaśī, from the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa of Veda Vyāsadeva.

Notes
The ten Viśvadevas, the sons of Vishva; Vasu, Satya, Kratu, Daksha, Kāla, Kāma, Dhriti, Pururavā, Mādrava, and Kuru)


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