Ekadashi refers to the 11th Tithi of a lunar month. There are two Ekadashi in every lunar month, out of which one falls in the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase), and the other during Krishna Paksha (waning phase). Ekadashi are devoted to the adoration of god Vishnu. The Ekadashi that falls during the Shukla Paksha (Brighter fortnight), during the month of Ashadha is known as Ashadhi Ekadashi. It is known by different names such as Devpodhi Ekadashi, Toli Ekadashi, Devshayani Ekadashi, Padma Ekadashi, Maha Ekadashi, Hari Sayana Ekadashi, etc.
Ashadhi Ekadashi Vrat Rituals
Devotees of Lord Vishnu wait for this favorable occasion to pay their deep respect and devotion to Lord Vishnu and his consort, Goddess Lakshmi. People observe fast and pray to him, to get blessed by the highest entity himself.
The rituals of Ashadhi Ekadashi Vrat according to the scriptures are given as follows:
- Devotees, who observe Devshayani Ekadashi Vrat, must wake up early in the morning, and purify themselves with a pure bath.
- During mid-day, rituals are performing to pay homage to the souls of deceased forefathers, and let them rest in peace.
- An altar is set up to do the pooja rituals, and the Puja Sthal is cleaned to be embellished with the idol of Lord Vishnu.
- Lord Vishnu’s idol is dressed in yellow colored clothes.
- Betel nut (Supari), yellow flowers, Betel leaf (Paan), sandalwood, etc. are offered to Lord Vishnu.
- The people who are observing the Ashadhi Ekadashi Vrat are allowed to eat food only one time a day.
- During the Parana term on the next day, the fast can be open by consuming food.
Legend associated with Ashadhi Ekadashi Vrat
Once upon a time, there lived a king named Mandhata. During his reign, the prosperity of his kingdom flourished, and as a result all his subjects were pleased with him. But the flow turned, and there came a time during which his kingdom was subjected to drought and famine. Being the great ruler he always was, King Mandhata went on a journey to search a solution to the problems because of which his people were being tormented. On his way, he met Sage Angira who advised him to observe a fast on the Ekadashi of the month of Ashada, to combat the problem his kingdom was facing. King Mandhata returned to his land, and told his people to follow the words of Sage Angira. The whole kingdom observed the Vrat, and prayed to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was pleased with the faith and devotion that the people of the kingdom had for him. As a result, it rained in buckets, and the empire got rid of the problem which had plunged them into depth of despair. It was all achieved with the devotion of the people, and the divine blessings of Lord Vishnu. Since then, Ashadhi Ekadashi is considering as one of the most sacred day to devote oneself in the veneration of Lord Vishnu.
Importance of Ashadhi Ekadashi
Generally denoted by the name Devshayani Ekadashi, it marks the commencement of Lord Vishnu’s slumber period which continues for 4 months. During this time, Lord Vishnu sleeps on Shesha Naga moves to the Ksheer Sagar (Ocean of Milk) to rest on Shesha Naag. The four month long slumber is known as Chaturmas. Any kind of favorable activity is avoided during Lord Vishnu’s period of sleep. The times end on Prabodhini Ekadashi or Dev Uthani Ekadashi, after completing four months of Lord Vishnu’s nap, and he wakes up.
We hope that all your question regarding Ashadhi Ekadashi have been answered, and you will now be able to please Lord Vishnu to obtain his choicest blessings.