Shat Tila Ekadashi is the eleventh day from the Pournami day (Krishna Paksha Ekadashi) which occurs on the Krishna Paksha Ekadashi Tithi of the Pausha month as per Amantha and the Magha month as per Purnimantha Calendars.
In the year 2023, Shat Tila Ekadashi occurs on Wednesday, 18th January 2023. The exact duration of the Ekadashi Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.
The name of the Vrat has two significant words,” shat” and “til” which mean “six” and “sesame” respectively. The usage of sesame seeds in six different ways is the significance of this Vrat.
It is said to be referred in Bhavishyotra Puran as conversation between Pulastya Muni and Sage Dalbhya. It is believed that the story was narrated by Sri Maha Vishnu to Sage Narada.
Wealthy old lady
There was an old wealthy woman who was a devout Vishnu-Bhakt. She did a lot of charity work. She had donated clothes and money to the poor people.
However, she was reluctant to donate food to the needy. Of all the daanam, donating food is of utmost importance. She did not realize this.
To teach her a lesson, Sri Maha Vishnu Himself took the form of a beggar. He went to her home and specifically asked for food. She refused and sent him away. However, the beggar persisted. He kept coming back.
Frustrated with the frequent attempts of the beggar, she put a small ball of clay in the begging bowl. When she entered back home, she found that all the food in the house had turned into clay. Even when she bought the food from outside, it became clay.
Any food product accessed by her became clay. She had to go foodless. She was suffering with lack of nutrition. She ardently prayed to Sri Maha Vishnu to relieve her of the predicament.
Solution and salvation
Sri Vishnu appeared in her dreams and told her
“donating food to the needy and poor is the best form of daan. You refuse to donate food. You refused food even to me when I came as a beggar. Not donating food is a sin.
To make you understand that, I have made all your food go clay. You should start donating food. Also observe fasting on Shat Tila Ekadashi. Your woes will be solved. You will reach Vaikunt”.
From then on, she had followed what the Bhagwan told her. She was blessed with prosperity and happiness.
The other names for this Vrat are
-Vaishnava Shat Tila Ekadashi
-Magh Krishna Ekadashi
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.
Apart from the regular rituals, the use of Til (Sesame or gingelly seeds) in six ways is the special significance of this Vrat.
Usage of sesame seeds
The sesame seeds are used in six ways on that day as given below:
Sesame seeds are to be crushed and mixed with water as a paste. This paste is to be applied on the body while bathing.
While bathing, the water has to contain sesame seeds.
The custom of offering Kichdi or pudding made of urad and sesame as Neivedyam is preferred. Other savories made of sesame are also offered as Neivedyam.
Donation / daan of sesame seeds is considered auspicious. It is believed that such donation shall nullify the sins committed in the past / present births.
Sesame seeds are offered in the sacred fire in the havans / homas done on that day.
Similar to Amavasya, tarpan (obeisance) to the departed family ancestors is done on that day.
-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.
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 and Saphala Ekadashi are narrated in the previous articles.