It states in Padma Puran that keeping the vratt of Jaya Ekadashi earns immense benediction for anyone. The rewards include the fulfilment of desires, destruction of great sins and ultimately, help one to progress on the path of salvation.
Once in the Kingdom of Indra (swarag), Lord of the demi-gods, King Indra in company with other devtas went out for a leisurely walk in the jungle of Nandan. Many other devtas lived in this jungle including one was the father of Malyavan. Malyavan was very handsome, knowledgeable and full of vitality who was passionately in love with one of the great celestial dancers named Pushpavati. The affection for each other was so immense that at times both lost concentration of their assigned duties and instead continued admiring each other.
As the King arrived in the heart of the jungle, an audience was gathered and a heavenly dance known as “Nrutya” was arranged in order to please Lord Indra. As the arrangement took its pace, both Malyavan and Pushpavati, who were both performing the dance, started loosing their concentration and focus. Noticing this for quite some time, the King eventually became furious, stopped the dance and cursed the two of them to be born on earth as human peasants and undergo great sufferings.
Due to this curse, both were born in the region of the Himalayas as poor peasants who were in great distress and agony. They had nowhere to live, no food to eat nor any good clothes to wear. Due to the cold Himalayan climate, they suffered great pains physically and mentally. They did not have anyone who could help them to relieve their pain or support them. In turn they turned out to be mean and of a very malicious nature, unable to realise the difference between right and wrong.
Years passed in this way, but one year, on the eleventh day of the month of Maha, they went on with their usual daily routine in search for food and water. Finding no food they both sat under a tree, hungry and shivering in the cold. They could not even quench their thirst due to the cool breeze and did not sleep during the whole night.
Not realising of the day and its significance they had performed a grand penance and due to this utmost penance on this day of Jaya Ekadashi, Lord Narayan appeared and pardoned them with blessings. They both returned into their original states of a devta and a dancer. They both went to their dwelling and visited their King in swarag. Upon entering the gigantic palace, they politely came and bowed down to the King. Lord Indra was very surprised to see them and upon learning of their penance and the Lords blessings, the King in turn bowed down to both them and admitted that He, the King of devtas, would bow down to any person who keeps and follows the vratt of Ekadashi as they did.
Great rewards and benefits, even greater than performing various donations, yagnas and visits to various pilgrimages (tirthyatra) are earnt by those who observe the vratt with full faith and vigour on this day.