Ashadhi Ekadashi, Shayani Ekadashi or Devshayani Ekadashi is often considered by Hindus to be the holiest of all Ekadashi days, especially Vaishnava Hindus who consider Lord Vishnu as the supreme God. Shayani Ekadashi is also known as Maha Ekadashi, Padma Ekadashi. In Telugu language this Ekadashi is known as Tholi Ekadashi.
This Ekadashi falls on the Shukla Paksha in the Ashada month of the Indian Hindu calendar. For this reason, Shayani Ekadashi is also known as Ashadhi Ekadashi, which is one of the most widely accepted names of this Ekadashi. Ashadhi Ekadashi comes after Yogini Ekadashi and is followed by Kamika Ekadashi.
In the English calendar, this Ekadashi falls in the months of June to July. On Ashadhi Ekadashi, Hindus worship Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi and fast to please God. In 2021, this Ekadashi is to be held on Tuesday, July 20.
Ashadhi Ekadashi fast and worship rituals:
Taking a holy bath on Ashadhi Ekadashi is considered very auspicious. A large number of devotees gather in Nashik to take a dip in the Godavari River in honor of Shri Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
On the day of Ashadha Ekadashi, devotees keep fast by avoiding specific foods such as rice, beans, grains, specific vegetables and spices. By fasting on this day, all the troubles in the life of the devotee are overcome.
Devotees decorate the idol of Lord Vishnu with mace, chakra, conch and bright yellow clothes. In the form of offerings, incense sticks, flowers, betel nuts and bhog are offered. After the puja ritual, the aarti is sung and the prasad is distributed along with other devotees.
On Ashadhi Ekadashi, the observer of the fast should stay up all night and chant a religious hymn or song in praise of Lord Vishnu. Reciting religious books like Vishnu Sahastranama is also considered very auspicious.
Importance of Ashadhi Ekadashi
The significance of Ashadhi Ekadashi was first narrated by Lord Brahma to his son Narada and later by Lord Krishna to King Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas who can be recited in the 'Bhavishyottar Purana'.
Shayani Ekadashi is the most important Ekadashi fast which is also celebrated as the first Ekadashi. It is a popular belief that if one observes this Ekadashi fast with full commitment, then one gets the blessings of a happy, prosperous and peaceful life.
Ashadh Ekadashi comes at a time when Lord Vishnu sleeps on Shesha Nag in Kshirsagar and hence its name Hari Shyani Ekadashi.
According to Hindu legends, Lord Vishnu wakes up after four months on the day of Prabodhini Ekadashi. This period of Swami is known as 'Chaturmas' and it is included with the rainy season. Devshayani Ekadashi or Shayani Ekadashi marks the beginning of the Chaturmas period and on this day, devotees hold a holy fast to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu.
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