Ekadashi Vrats – Bhishma Ekadashi

Bhishma Ekadashi
Bhishma Ekadashi - Lord Krishna at Kurukshetra

Bhishma Ekadashi is the eleventh day from the New Moon day which occurs on the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi Tithi of the Magha month as per both Amantha and Purnimantha Calendars.

Bhishma Ekadashi occurs on Tuesday, 20th February 2024. The exact duration of the Ekadashi Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars. If Bhishma Ekadashi occurs on Thursday, it considered more auspicious.


Bhishma Ekadashi is the important day in the period attributed to Bhishma (Bhishma panchak vrat period). It commences after Ratha Sapthami. The beginning day is called Bhishma Ashtami. The ending day is called Bhishma Dwadashi. Some persons observe Vrat for the five days.

The fourth day is Bhishma Ekadashi. Bhishma is said to have attained moksha on this day.

About Bhishma

Bhishma, the doyen in the Kaurava clan, had the boon to decide the day of his death. This boon was granted by his father Shantanu as Bhishma promised never to aspire for the throne. He also vowed to never marry.

During Maha Bharatha war, Bhishma was helping the Kauravas to progress. However, in order to weaken the side of Kauravas, Bhagwan Sri Krishna made a plan. He had asked Shikandi to turn against Bhishma.

Due to his previous promises, Bhishma could not fight back Shikandi. He had dropped his weapons. Sri Krishna had ordained that Arjun shall beat Bhishma with arrows.

Bhishma Ekadashi
Bhishma depiction at Brahma Sarovar

Weakened, Bhishma knew that his end was approaching. As he had the boon to decide the date, he wished to wait till Uttrayana period.

Baan Ganga

As he was fond of Arjun and his valour, he had asked Arjun to make him a bed of arrows (ampa shayya).  Arjun had let out a stream of arrows which flew like Ganga river.

Bhishma Ekadashi
Bhishma Ekadashi – Baan Ganga Mandir, Kurukshetra, Haryana

The place is called Baan Ganga temple and it exists in Kurukshetra, Haryana, India.

Bhishma Kund

Bhishma laid himself on the bed of arrows. When he felt thirsty, he asked Arjun for water. Arjun immediately hit the ground with another arrow. The water gushed out. It is believed that Maa Ganga, the mother of Bhishma had come to quench the thirst of her son.

Bhishma Kund
Bhishma Kund Kurukshetra

This place Bhishma Kund also exists in Kurukshetra.

Sri Vishnu Sahasra Namam

On the Ekadashi day, Bhishma told the thousand names of Bhagwan Maha Vishnu to Yudhistra and the other Pandavas. Bhagwan Krishna was also present there.

He attained Salvation after reciting Sri Vishnu Sahasra Namam on this day.


The general rituals followed for Ekadashi Vrats are given below:

-The exact time of dawn of Ekadashi tithi is ascertained either from family elders / astrologers. It is mentioned in the Holy Almanac (Panchang) as well. Even daily Calendars provide the information.

-The idol or picture of Sri Vishnu is decorated with flowers. Incense sticks are lit. Diyas are lit with ghee. Pujas are done with tulsi leaves.

– The items such as Jambira fruit (goose berry), Pomegranate, Mangoes, Guava, Betal nuts and leaves, Coconut, Varieties of nuts and Cloves and other aromatic spices are offered in Puja subject to availability.

Slokas or stotras of Sri Maha Vishnu including Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama are recited with devotion. Srimad Bhagavad Gitaa is also recited.

-Special Puja is done for Sri Lakshmi Devi as well.

-The Vrat Katha is read and recited.

-At the end of the puja, aarti is done. Prasad is distributed to the family members.

-Devotees of Bhagwan Maha Vishnu observe strict fasting from the dawn of Ekadashi.

-They do not sleep on the night of Ekadashi. At this time, tales of Sri Maha Vishnu are recited by the elders. Others listen to the stories.

-Various bhajans and kirtans are held.

-The fast shall continue till the sunrise of the next day, i.e., Dwadashi.

-Those devotees who cannot do fasting due to medical or other reasons can take sattvic food. Mostly prasadams and fruits are partaken.

-Making daan / donation to the needy on Ekadashi day is believed to please Sri Maha Vishnu.

-On Dwadashi day, unless it happens to be another Vrat day, a nutritious meal is partaken to balance the internal physical effects of fasting on the previous day. It is considered pious to forego eating of brinjal on Dwadashi day.

Special Rituals

-Recitation of Sri Vishnu Sahasra Namam is done.

-The Bhakts wear yellow coloured / shaded dresses.

-The prasadam for Neivedyam is made in yellow colour.

-Yellow colour bananas are offered to cows.

Other names

The other names given for this Ekadashi are

-Jaya Ekadashi
-Bhouma Ekadashi
-Bhoumi Ekadashi


Abundance of material wealth at home

End of miseries and misfortunes

Happiness and prosperity

Moksha / Salvation

Washes away the sins and evil deeds in the past / present birth

Even listening to the merits of Vaishnava Shat Tila Ekadashi bestows the same benefits as observing the Vrat.

Importance should be given to the sincere prayers to Sri Maha Vishnu.


Bhishma Dwadashi

The next day, the Dwadashi day is called as Bhishma Dwadashi. It is also called as Govind Dwadashi / Magh Shukla Dwadashi.

It is believed that on this day, Pandavas had performed the last rites of Bhishma.

Both Bhishma Ekadashi and Bhishma Dwadashi are combined for observation of fasting. Recitation of Sri Vishnu Sahasra Namam and doing puja to Sri Maha Vishnu with Tulsi leaves are considered to be beneficial on this day as well.

Making daan / donation to the poor and the needy is also considered auspicious.

The synopsis of Kamada Ekadashi, Varuthini Ekadashi, Mohini Ekadashi, Apara Ekadashi, Nirjala Ekadashi, Yogini Ekadashi, Devshayani Ekadashi, Kamika Ekadashi, Sravana Putrata Ekadashi, Aja Ekadashi, Parivarthini Ekadsshi, Indra Ekadashi, Papankusha Ekadashi, Rama Ekadashi, Dev Uttanna Ekadashi, Uthpanna Ekadashi, Mokshada Ekadashi, Saphala Ekadashi and Shattila Ekadashi are narrated in the previous articles. The rest of the Ekadashi Vrats shall be dealt with in the subsequent articles of the series.

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