Ekadashi is one of the most important day for the devotees of Lord Vishnu for cleansing of mind, body and soul.
People observe complete fast ( or only consume milk ,water and fruits ) on this day.
Ekadashi is a very auspicious day and is connected to Krishna and Vishnu especially.
Those who observe fast on this day attains mental peace and are protected from the destructive planetary influences which are majorly prevalent on the day of Ekadashi.
In an year there are 24 Ekadashis, 12 in the Krishna Paksha of each month and 12 in the Shukla Paksha.
There happens two more Ekadashis in leap years.
These Ekadashis are presided over by specific manifestations of Lord Vishnu.
Ekadashi: Astrological Importance
In the Vedic calendar , each month of the year is divided into two lunar phases. The first phase of 15 days after Purnima is known as Krishna Paksha , and the next 15 days is known as Shukla Paksha.
The eleventh day of each of these lunar phases is the auspicious day of Ekadashi.
So altogether there are 24 Ekadashis in an year.
Ekadashi is actually the divine manifestation of the eleven senses of Vishnu.
List of 24 Ekadashis
- Papvimochani Ekadashi (Chaitra- Krishna Paksha)
- Kamada Ekadashi (Chaitra – Shukla Paksha)
- Varuthini Ekadashi ( Vaishakha – Krishna Paksha)
- Mohini Ekadashi ( Vaishakha – Shukla Paksha)
- Apara Ekadashi ( Jyestha – Krishna Paksha)
- Nirjala Ekadashi ( Jyestha – Shukla Paksha)
- Yogini Ekadashi( Ashaad- Krishna Paksha)
- Shyani Ekadashi (Ashaad – Shukla Paksha)
- Kamika Ekadashi( Shravana- Krishna Paksha)
- Shravana Putrada Ekadashi ( Shraavan -Shukla Paksha)
- Annada Ekadashi ( Bhadrapada -Krishna Paksha)
- Parsva Ekadashi (Bhadrapada- Shukla Paksha)
- Indira Ekadashi ( Ashvin – Krishna Paksha)
- Pasankusa Ekadashi (Ashvin- Shukla Paksha)
- Rama Ekadashi ( Kartik- Krishna Paksha)
- Prabodhini Ekadashi (Kartik- Shukla Paksha)
- Utpanna Ekadashi ( Margshirsha- Krishna Paksha)
- Mokshada Ekadashi (Margashirsha- Shukla Paksha)
- Safala Ekadashi ( Pausha- Krishna Paksha)
- Pausha Putrada Ekadashi (Pausha- Shukla Paksha)
- Shat Tila Ekadashi (Maagha – Krishna Paksha)
- Jaya Ekadashi (Maagha- Shukla Paksha)
- Vijaya Ekadashi ( Phalguna- Krishna Paksha)
- Amalaki Ekadashi (Phalgun- Shukla Paksha)
- Padmini Visuddha Ekadashi ( Adhika- Krishna Paksha)
- Paramaa Shuddha Ekadashi (Adhika- Shukla Paksha)
Legend of Ekadashi from Scriptures
According to a legends mentioned int the Padma Purana :
In Satya Yuga , there lived a demon named Murdaanav, who was extremely powerful and had a special boon from Brahma. He captured the Yamloka and Swarga Loka. Devtas, terrified with fear approached Lord Vishnu for help .
Vishnu fought with the demon for a very long time ( for thousands of years). Finally , Vishnu hid himself in a cave and rested there, concentrating his mind and ten senses. When the demon arrived at the cave he tried to kill Vishnu . At the same time , from the body of Vishnu there emerged a female energy that slayed Murdaanav.
This female energy that emerged from the senses of Vishnu was named Ekadashi.
Since Ekadashi emerged from the senses of Vishnu , the Brahman, she hold special importance in controlling the senses of the mind . Therefore it is important to hold fast and restrain from eating grains and cereals on this day.
Fasting on Ekadashi
Fasting , actually is a celebration performed joyfully by the devotees for the love of Krishna.
However it has a physical and mental significance also.
On the day of Ekadashi , spiritual energy overflows through us , and it becomes easy to disconnect from the material world and involve oneself in the service of God.
The astrological positions on Ekadashi cause harmful planetary influence on the mental state of the person , if he is involved in the sensual activities .
One must reduce the demands of the body to bare minimum on this day. It has positive effects on the body and the brain , keeps us mentally stable and protect us from negative astrological influence of the planets.
How to fast on Ekadashi ?
One must hold the fast from the sunrise on Ekadashi and end it on the sunrise of the consecutive day .There are mainly three ways to fast on Ekadashi:
(i).Nirjala vrat – Not consuming anything for the whole period of fasting
(ii).Sajala vrat- Consuming only water and juices .
(iii).Farali vrat- Consuming only milk and fruits.
Nirjala is the most difficult as well as the most effective type of fast.
Nirjala Ekadashi: –
In all, 24 Ekadashi fasts are observed in a year, but there are some Ekadashi that are relatively of greater significance. Nirjala Ekadashi, observed on the Ekadashi day (11th day) of the bright fortnight of Jyaishtha (May-June) is one of these. Not only do people refrain from eating food on this day, but also water. In India the month of Jyaistha is very hot and the days are long, and so observing fast, without even taking a drop of water from dawn to dusk means a great act of piety and austerity. Ekadashi vow and vigil enhances mental equipoise, tolerance and spiritual powers.
One can consume potatoes, groundnuts, fox nuts (makhane), kutu flour, savank in food.
Among fruits Banana, apple, mango etc. (fruit salad banana in fresh cream) can be consumed
For cooking the food Ghee or groundnut oil can be used .
Milk items like cottage cheese, condensed milk or khoya if they are freshly made at home they are allowed.
However , one must not consume spices during the fast.
Do's on Ekadashi
(i).Chanting special Mantras of Lord Vishnu like: Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevaya Namah. Om Damodaraya Namaha
(ii). Chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra , concentrating your mind on the divine acts of Shri Vishnu.
(iii).Fast is broken by taking honey, eating from bell- metal plates (Kansa), and massaging one’s body with oil.
(iv).Avoid activities that you otherwise feel attached to like watching Telivision , playing games, watching movies etc.
(v).Offer Prasada (not made of grains) , made using milk products like Khoya, cheese etc to Shri Vishnu ( or krishna). Engage yourself in chantings,yoga , meditation and mindfulness practices.
Dont's on Ekadashi
(i).Dont break. your fast in any condition. It is sinful to break the fast once it is observed.
However if it accidentally happens, ask Lord to forgive you and dont break the fast for the rest of the day.
(ii).Strongly refrain from consuming grains, honey and normal salt . Avoid addictive activities and the acts of sensual pleasure.
(iii).Avoid washing hairs and shaving beards on Ekadashi.
Ekadashi is just an auspicious opportunity for staying close to God, deviating from the normal lifestyle of consumption and devoting ones time for self introspection .