Indira Ekadashi is the eleventh day from the Pournami day (Krishna Paksha Ekadashi) which occurs on the Krishna Paksha Ekadashi Tithi of the Bhadra Padha month as per Amantha and the Ashwin month as per Purnimantha Calendars.
In the year 2022, it occurs on Wednesday, 21st September 2022. The exact duration of the Ekadashi Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars. This Ekadashi is prominent as it occurs during Mahalaya / Pithru Paksha period. The Vrat is also known as Pithru Paksha Ekadashi.
As per Brahma Vavartha Purna, Bhagwan Krishna had narrated the importance and significance of this Vrat to the King Yudhishtra.
During Sathya Yug, there was a Kingdom named Mahish Mathi which was ruled by the King Indrasen. One day, Sage Narada hd visited him.
The King welcomed the Sage and asked him the purpose of the visit. The Sage said, “Before coming here, I had visited the Court of Sri Dharma Raja (Yama). There I saw your father being stuck there without reaching any heaven. It appears that he had not observed some Ekadashi Vrats properly and due to that, he was not placed in any heavenly abode.
He asked me the advice you to observe the Ekadashi Vrat and make donations so that the virtuous effect of your Vrat may help him in reaching the heavens”.
King Indrasen had noted the requirement and asked the Sage to guide him as to the method of observing the Vrat. The Sage had advised him the procedure.
Indira 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 with ghee. 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.
-Especially for Aja Ekadashi, a Kalash is kept on a plate of rice at puja place. The mouth of the Kalash is covered with a red cloth. A small idol of Sri Vishnu is kept on the cloth and puja is done.
-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. It is considered pious to forego eating of brinjal on Dwadashi day.
Especially for Indira Ekadashi, it is considered auspicious to conduct tharpan / obeisance to the departed ancestors and provide feeds to crows and cows.
-Observation of this Vrat offers salvation even to the ancestors.
-Fulfillment of the wishes
-Happiness and prosperity
-Alleviation of sins
-Salvation and moksha to reach Vaikunt.
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, Yogini Ekadashi, Devshayani Ekadashi, Kamika Ekadashi, Sravana Putrata Ekadashi, Aja Ekadashi and Parivarthini Ekadsshi are narrated in the previous articles.