Yudhisthira Maharaj said, "Oh Sri Krishna, all glories unto You! You have explained to me the auspicious day known as Sat-tila Ekadashi, which occurs during the dark fortnight (Krishna paksha) of the month of Magha (January - February). Now please explain to me the Ekadashi that occurs in the light fortnight (Shukla or Gaura paksha) of this month. Who is the presiding Deity that is to be worshipped and how it is to be observed?”
Lord Sri Krishna replied, "Oh Yudhisthira, this Ekadashi obliterates all kinds of sinful reactions and demoniac influences that may be affecting the spirit soul. It is known also as Jaya Ekadashi. One who observes a fast on this sacred day is relieved of ghostly existence. I shall explain a wonderful historic episode regarding this Ekadashi, which I have already related in the Padma Purana.
Long ago when Lord Indra ruled his celestial kingdom, all the devas living there were happy and content. In the Nandana Forest, Indra drank ambrosia whenever he liked and enjoyed the service of the Apsaras, who danced in ecstasy for his pleasure.
Many singers, led by Pushpadanta, sang in sweet voices. Chitrasena, Indra"s chief musician was there in the company of his wife Malini and his handsome son Malyavan. An Apsara named Pushpavati became very much attracted to Malyavan; indeed Cupid"s sharp arrows pierced the core of her heart. Her beautiful body and the enchanting movements of her eyebrows captivated Malyavan.
Seeing Pushpavati, Malyavan was bewitched at once. They had come with the other performers to please Lord Indra by singing and dancing, but because they had become so enamored of each other, they were unable to sing or dance properly before Lord Indra.
Lord Indra understood the source of the mistakes at once. Offended at the discord in the musical performance, he became very angry and cursed them both to suffer as pisachas (hobgoblins) in the earthly regions.
Malyavan and Pushpavati at once fell from the beautiful Nandana Forest in the kingdom of heaven to a Himalayan peak on planet Earth. Very much distressed, and their celestial intelligence vastly diminished by the effects of Lord Indra"s fierce curse, they lost their sense of taste and smell. It was so cold in the Himalayan ice that they could not even sleep. Roaming aimlessly, they suffered more and more, even though they were in a cave, because of the snowfall and cold their teeth chattered and they were frightened.
By their great good fortune, it so happened that very day was the all auspicious Jaya Ekadashi, the Ekadashi of the light fortnight of the month of Magha. Due to their misery, they neglected to drink any water, kill any game, or even eat whatever fruits and leaves were available and they unknowingly observed Ekadashi by fasting completely. Very much tired, both Malyavan and Pushpavati collapsed beneath a Pipal tree.
The night was even colder and more miserable than the day. They embraced each other just to keep warm. They suffered through the whole night under the powerful curse of Indra. Still, by the mercy of the fast they had unknowingly observed on Jaya Ekadashi, and as they had remained awake all night, they were blessed.
As Dvadashi dawned on the next day, Malyavan and Pushpavati had lost their demoniac forms and were once again beautiful heavenly beings wearing exquisite garments. A celestial airplane (vimana) arrived on the spot for them. The couple stepped into the beautiful aircraft and proceeded directly to the heavenly regions. Malyavan and Pushpavati arrived at Amravati, Lord Indra"s capital city, and then they immediately went before Indradev and offered him their obeisances.
Lord Indra was astonished to see that they had been transformed to their original forms so soon after he had cursed them. Indradev asked them, "What meritorious deeds have you performed? Who released you from my irresistible curse?"
Malyavan replied, "Oh lord, it was by the extreme mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna and also by the powerful influence of the Jaya Ekadashi, that we were released from our suffering condition as pisachas. We executed devotional service to Lord Vishnu unknowingly (ajnata sukruti) by observing the day most dear to Him; we have happily been restored to our former status."
Indradev then said, "As you have served the Supreme Lord by observing Ekadashi, you have become worshipable even by me, as you are now completely purified of sin."
It is said that if one fasts on this day, then one receives entrance to Vishnu"s abode, even though one has not performed the other vratas of the year.