Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi is important fasting ritual that is observed on the ‘ekadashi’ (11th day) during the Shukla Paksha (the bright fortnight of moon) in the month of ‘Maadhva’ in the Vaishnava calendar. This observance falls somewhere between the months of January to February in the Gregorian calendar. Jaya Ekadashi is also popularly called as ‘Bhaimi Ekadashi’ and it is strongly believed that one who observes a righteous fast on this day will find place in ‘Vaikunth’, which is Lord Vishnu’s abode. Observing the Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi vrat is equivalent to observing all other ekadashi fasts in the Hindu calendar.
The Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi is celebrated with immense devotion and fervour by Hare Krishna followers in Northern India. In the southern regions of the country like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, this ekadashi is referred as ‘Bhisma Ekadashi’ or ‘Bheesma Ekadashi’. Devotees worship Lord Vishnu and observe special puja rituals on this day. Moreover on this day, devotees even offer prayers to Lord Shiva, thereby making the Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi, doubly beneficial.
There is no Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi in 2020
Rituals during Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi:
- On the day of Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi, devotees either observe a complete fast or partial fasting according to their capacity and convenience. The vrat begins a day before on ‘dashami’ and only one meal is eaten on this day before sunset. On ekadashi they perform the chosen fast for the whole day. The Jaya Ekadashi Parana (ritual of breaking fast) is done on the next day, ‘dwadashi’ by lighting a ‘deep’ in front of the lord. One who undertakes full fast bust observes Parana by intaking ‘Charnamrit’ only whereas partial fasting can be broken by eating either fruits or dairy products. In this way the Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi vrat is successfully completed.
- Even those who are not observing the Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi must refrain from eating restricted foods like grains, rice, pulses, honey, leafy vegetables and some specific spices. It is believed to be inauspicious to consume these prohibited foods on any ekadashi.
- It is good to get up before sunrise on Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi and take an early bath. Following this an idol of Lord Vishnu is worshipped with dedication by offering Tulsi leaves (plucked a day before), flowers and dhoop. They also visit nearby temples of Sri Hari Vishnu to listen to His stories and sing hymns in His praise. Reciting Vedic mantras and reading ‘Bhagawad Gita’ and ‘Vishnu Sahasranaam’ is considered very favourable on Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi.
Significance of Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi:
The glories of Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi are explained in the ‘Bhavisya Uttara Purana’ as a conversation between Lord Sri Krishna and Dharamraja Yudhisthira. It is stated that this sacred ekadashi keeps its observer free from all demoniac influences and sinful reactions. The person lives a satisfactory and peaceful life and ultimately seeks salvation, that is, freedom from the vicious circle of birth and death. Performing the Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi vrat with full devotion and faith is equivalent to offering charity, bathing in Hindu pilgrimage places and performing all holy sacrifices. It is very auspicious to read or listen to the glories of Vaishnava Jaya Ekadashi as the benefits are equivalent to performing the ‘Agnistoma’ sacrifice.