The Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi is an auspicious fasting day for Hare Krishna followers that falls on the ‘ekadashi’ (11th day) of Shukla Paksha (the bright fortnight of moon) during the month of ‘Damodara’ in the Vaishnava calendar. This date corresponds to the months of October-November in the Gregorian calendar. The Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi is known by different names like ‘Utthana Ekadashi’, ‘Haribodhini Ekadashi’ or Dev Oothni Ekadashi’. This ekadashi is second ekadashi of the sacred month of Kartik and signifies the end of four month long ‘Chaturmaas’ period. The end of Chaturmaas period also marks the beginning of the auspicious Hindu wedding season.
As per the Hindu legends it is believed that Sri Hari Vishnu goes to sleep on ‘Shayani Ekadashi’ and wakes up on ‘Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi’. Hence this ekadashi is also fondly known as ‘Dev Oothani’ or ‘Lord’s Awakening’ Ekadashi. Just after the festival of Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi comes, ‘Kartik Poornima’ that is observed as ‘Dev Diwali’ (the Diwali of Gods and Goddesses). The celebrations of Prabodhini Ekadashi are very prominent in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Lord Vishnu followers, who devotedly observe the Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi will gain freedom from their sins, will be bestowed with merits and ultimately gain liberation or moksha.
There is no Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi in 2019
Rituals during Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi:
- Devotees keep a strict fast on Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi. The observer of this vrat should not eat in anyone else’s house nor eat food cooked in iron utensils. The fast begins from the time of getting up and continues till the dawn of the following day known as Utthana Dwadashi’. During the time of fast the devotees neither eat nor drink all day. They also stay awake all night.
- On the day of Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi, in some places, the Vaishnavas also begin the ‘Bheeshma Panchaka Vrat’ or the ‘Bheeshma Panchakam’. It is a five day fasting ritual that is kept during the last five days in the month of ‘Kartik’ right from ekadashi to the Poornima. This fast is particularly observed by Vaishnavites who cannot observe fast during the entire ‘Damodara’ month.
- Tulsi Vivaah is another important ritual of the day. On this day a ritualistic marriage of Lord Vishnu with Goddess Tulsi takes place.
- On Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi devotees worship Sri Krishna with fruits, camphor and aromatic flowers like the yellow agaru flower. They also read ‘Vishnu Sahasranaam’ and other religious books dedicated to Lord Vishnu to receive His divine love and affection.
Significance of Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi:
The glory of Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi was first narrated to Narada Muni by Lord Brahma. The lord himself stated that observing this ekadashi is more meritorious than taking a holy dip in the Hindu pilgrimages or even performing 1000 Asvamedha sacrifices. It is believed that a person who observes Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi by eating once midday, all the sins from his/her previous life will be pardoned, if the observer eats a supper, the sins from his/her previous two births will be acquitted and one who observes a complete fast, the sins during his/her past seven births will be eradicated. By the virtues of the Vaishnava Prabodhini Ekadashi, the observer of this vrat will be bestowed with fame and prosperity and will finally seek place in ‘Vaikunth’, the heavenly abode of Lord Vishnu.