Devshayani Ekadashi is the eleventh day from the Amavasya day (Shukla Paksha Ekadashi) which occurs on the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi Tithi of the Ashada month as per Amantha and the Purnimantha Calendars.
In the year 2021, it occurs on Tuesday, 20th July 2021. The exact duration of the Ekadashi Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars. This day also marks the commencement of Chathur Maas, the cluster of four holy months as per Hindu Calendar.
As per the legend, Sri Maha Vishnu is said to commence his holy sleep on Adi Sesha on this day. He is said to have taken this rest after diminishing the demon named Shankasur. The sleep is said to continue for four months and is said to end on Prabhodhini Ekadashi.
There was once a very pious King named Mandhatha. He was a good ruler. During his rule, a severe famine and draught affected his Kingdom due to lack of rains. He was pained to see his subjects suffering.
He had wandered into the forest to do penance to seek divine intervention for the survival of his people. At the forest, he sighted the ashram of Sage Angkira.
He prostrated before Sage Angkira and sought his blessings for the alleviation of his troubles. The Sage advised him to observe Devshayani Ekadashi Vrat.
The King did so. With the blessings of Sri Maha Vishnu, his Kingdom was blessed with copious rains. Farming flourished and the famine faded away.
The other names of this Ekadashi are Padma Ekadashi, Ashada Ekadashi, Shayani Ekadashi, Maha Ekadashi, Prathama Ekadashi, Devpodhi Ekadashi, Saubhagya Dhayini Ekadashi, Toli Ekadashi and Hari Shayana Ekadashi.
Devshayani Ekadashi – rituals
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 burned. Diyas are lit. Pujas are done with tulsi leaves. Slokas or stotras of Sri Maha Vishnu including Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama are recited with devotion. Srimad Bhagavad Gitaa is also recited.
-The Vrat Katha is to be read and recited.
-At the end of the puja, aarti is done. Prasad is distributed to the family members.
-Devotees of Lord 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.
-Alleviation of all the sins both intentional and unintentional.
-Fulfillment of the wishes
-Attainment of moksha.
Importance should be given to the sincere prayers to Sri Maha Vishnu.
The synopsis of Kamada Ekadashi, Varuthini Ekadashi, Mohini Ekadashi, Apara Ekadashi, Nirjala Ekadashi and Yogini Ekadashi are narrated in the previous articles. The rest of the Ekadashi Vrats shall be dealt with in the subsequent articles of the series.