Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi falls on the Krishna Paksha (the dark fortnight of moon) ‘ekadashi’ (11th day) during the ‘Ashwin’ month in the Vaishnava calendar. This ekadashi is observed during the ‘Pitru Paksha’ (15 day period dedicated to ancestors) and is therefore often known as ‘Ekadashi Shradh’. In the Gregorian calendar, this date corresponds between the months of October-November. The Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi is observed by Hare Krishna followers to seek forgiveness for their sins and also liberate the souls of their forefathers.
There is no Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi in 2019
Rituals during Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi:
- Ekadashi is an important fasting day for Lord Vishnu followers. On this day devotees abstain from eating all day while some also observe partial fast. Some of the staunch followers keep a ‘nirjala vrat’ (without even drinking water) on Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi. The fast commences from the time of dawn on ekadashi till the sunrise of the next day, which is ‘dwadashi’.
- On Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi a restricted diet is followed that includes nuts, fruits and specific vegetables and spices like sweet potatoes, coconut, olives, potatoes, rock salt, black pepper, ginger and fresh turmeric. Like any other ekadashi eating pulses, grains, rice and honey is strictly prohibited on this day, even for those not keeping the fast.
- The fast of the Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi is broken on the specific muhurat as mentioned in the Vaishnava calendar. Parana implies breaking the fast and the Ekadashi Parana is observed following day, after the sunrise. It is important to do Parana before the ‘dwadashi’ tithi ends, failing which is considered to be an offence.
- Lord Vishnu is worshipped with immense gaiety and devotion on the day of Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi. Various offerings are prepared and presented to appease the lord to seek His divine blessings. Reading religious books and scriptures dedicated to Lord Vishnu is considered very auspicious on this day. Devotees also visit Lord Vishnu temples during evening to listen and sing devotional songs in praise of Sri Hari Vishnu.
Significance of Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi:
The prominence of Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi is mentioned in the ‘Brahma Vivarta Purana’ and was also explained to Dharamraj Yudhisthira by Lord Krishna. It is stated that by observing this ekadashi every year with dedication, the person will come to Lord Vishnu and in the end seek a place in ‘Vaikunth’, the heavenly abode of the lord. The fasting on Vaishnava Indira Ekadashi is considered superior over other ekadashi fasting days as it gives more ‘punya’ (benefits) as those obtained from performing the revered ‘Ashwamedha Yagya’.