Ekadashi fasting is a sacred vrat observed by Hare Krishna followers, twice in every month. The Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi falls on the ‘ekadashi’ (11th day) during the Shukla Paksha (the waxing phase of moon) in the month of ‘Vaamana’ of the Vaishnava calendar. In the Hindu lunar calendar, it is observed during the ‘Ashaad Shukla Paksha Ekadashi’ that is corresponding to the months of June-July in the English calendar. The Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi holds special meaning for Lord Vishnu followers and the Lord is worshipped with His consort, Goddess Lakshmi with complete dedication and affection. The Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi is also popularly called as ‘Padma Ekadashi’, ‘Prathama Ekadashi’, ‘Devpodhi Ekadashi’, ‘Dev Shayani Ekadashi’ or ‘Maha Ekadashi’.
The word ‘shayani’ implies ‘sleeping’ and according to the Hindu mythology, it is held that during the time of Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi, Lord Vishnu sleeps in ‘Ksheersagar’ on His cosmic serpent, the ‘Shesha Naag’. Hence this ekadashi is also named as ‘Hari Shayani Ekadashi’ or even ‘Shayana Ekadashi’. The sleeping period of Lord Vishnu lasts for four months and is known as ‘Chaturmaas’ and the lord finally wakes up from His sleep on ‘Kartik Prabodhini Ekadashi’. The Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi marks the start of the Chaturmaas period and on this day Hare Krishna followers begin the sacred Chaturmaas vrat to please Lord Vishnu.
There is no Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi in 2019
Rituals on Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi:
- Vaishnava followers keep a fast on this day, which involves refraining from eating grains, cereals, rice, specific vegetables and spices. The fast commences from the time of getting up until the sunrise of the next day ‘dwadashi’ (12th day). Fasting is observed all day and night and devotes keep a jagaran during the night. The vrat is broken on the subsequent day after offering puja to Lord Vishnu. In order to obtain the benefits of Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi, the ritual of breaking the fast should be done on the appropriate time on ‘dwadashi’.
- Devotees clean the place of worship and install the idols God Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Various offerings are made to please the lord that includes fresh yellow flowers, betel nut, seasonal fruits and incense sticks. A ‘Bhog’ is specially prepared for the occasion and later distributed among other devotees after the ‘aarti’.
- On the day of Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi, Hare Krishna followers also visit Lord Vishnu temples during the evening. Chanting ‘Vishnu Sahasranaam’, ‘Vishnu Purana’ and ‘Bhagavad Gita’ is believed to be very auspicious on this day.
Significance of Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi:
The importance of Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi can be read in the ‘Bhavishyottara Purana’ as a discussion between Lord Krishna and Dharamraja Yudhisthira. Devotees observe this ekadashi to be blessed with successful and luxurious life, freedom from sins and attainment of salvation in the end. The Vaishnava Shayani Ekadashi marks the commencement of the festivities and is also the first ekadashi observance of the second half of the Hindu year. Devshayani Ekadashi is observed as ‘Ashadi Ekadashi’ in the famous Pandharpur Vittala Temple. On this sacred day, the renowned Pandharpur Ashadi Wari Yatra also comes to an end.