Ekadashi Vrat (fast) is one of the most significant rituals observed as per the Hindu community. The word ‘Ekadashi’ has its roots in Sanskrit language, which means ‘Eleven’ and corresponds to the 11th day of every fortnight in Hindu Lunar Calendar. There are two Ekadashis falling every month, namely Shukla Paksha (those taking place during the waxing phase of the moon) and Krishna Paksha (the ones falling during the waning phase of the moon).
As per Hindu scriptures, people observe fast from sunset on the eve of Ekadashi until sunrise the day after Ekadashi. The fast, therefore, lasts for approximately 3 days and 2 nights.
In both Hinduism and Jainism, it’s a day for spiritual observance. Devotees observe it by keeping a partial, complete or Nirjala (without water) fast.
It’s dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This fasting spans for about three days. The day before the vrat, devotees consume a single meal in the noon. “Why single meal?”, you may ask. Well, this is because the vrat procedure ensures no residual food is left in the stomach on the day of fasting.
Yes, Ekadashi vrat follows strict rules. People break the fast the next day after sunrise. Do not eat cereals and grains as it’s prohibited..
What to eat on Ekadasi
It depends upon the devotion of the devotee how he or she wants to observe the fast. They can observe the vrat with partial meals like fruits or vegetables or go nirjala (without even a drop of water). Whichever way they want to go should be decided in advance.
Ekdashi Vrat Rules:
- You should start your Ekadashi Vrat from the day of dashami. You must not eat non veg, garlic or onion and preferably you should take only one meal on the day of dashami.
- You should not do any sexual contact with your partner at night of dashami and ekadashi.
- You should keep a promise to god that you will not talk ill of anybody and will not indulge in any type of sins.
- Read the mantra 12 times- “Om Namo Bhagwate Vasudevaye Namah”. Read also the sahastranam of Lord Vishnu, Lord Ram and Lord Krishna.
- Remembrance the name of Lord Vishnu in the whole day and pray to Lord Vishnu that he may give you the power to maintain this fast easily and purely.
- Do not sweep your home on this day and try to observe mouna Vrata.
- Donate the things on this day as you can.
- On Dwadashi, donate sweets.
- Do not get angry on Ekadashi and try to say soft words.
- Put ‘tulsi dal’ on everything what you are going to eat.
- You can eat banana, pistachio, grapes and almonds. You must stay away from cauliflower, carrot and spinach etc.
- Avoid consuming peas, grains, or any type of cereals.
- Take milk, fruits, dry fruits, and vegetables
- Start Ekadashi Vrat by performing pooja of Lord Vishnu at home.
- Offer tulsi leaves, fruits, incense, dhoop and flowers to the idol of Lord Vishnu to appease Him. Visit a nearby temple as well.
- Chant “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya” mantra during the fast.
- The next day, which is usually called ‘Paran’, take a bath early in the morning and adulate Lord Vishnu. Break the fast after sunrise.
- Most of the people consume only one meal in the whole day of Ekadasi and avoid salt in the meal.
- Fresh fruits, dry fruits, vegetables, nuts and milk products are among the most preferred edibles consumed on this day.
- You cannot have any form of cereals. Even dal (pulses) and honey is also avoided on the day of Dashami.
- Consumption of alcohol, non-vegetarian food and sex are to be thoroughly avoided.
The preparation for the vrata begins on Dashami (10th day), or the day before Ekadashi. This day is dedicated to worshipping Lord Vishnu. Prayers and mantras are chanted, and puja offered in praise of Lord Vishnu to invoke his blessings for all-round prosperity.
Bath as a ritual is taken by the devotees on Dashami in the morning. Devotees can also sing Aartis, narrate Ekadashi Vrata Katha (Ekadashi story) and give spiritual sermons after sunset on Ekadashi.
On Ekadashi, complete fast is to be preferred. There are some devotees who do not even consume water. This fasting is known as Nirjala Ekadashi.
On Dwadashi (twelfth day), the day after Ekadashi, the routine of Dashami is to be followed. Have your bath early in the morning and offer prayers to Lord Vishnu by lighting a diya (earthen lamp). The fast can then be broken in the late morning or noon.
Ekadashi is also known as “Hari Vasara” and “Hari din”. The importance of Ekadashi Vrata finds mention in the sacred texts of Skanda Purana and Padma Purana.
According to Vishnu purana, harivasara or ekadashi is devoted to lord Vishnu. Ekadashi vrat has its own importance and it provides the true blessings from lord Vishnu.
Ekadashi Vrat has so many types like Devshayani Ekadashi, Kamika Ekadashi, Putrada Ekadashi, Nirjala Ekadashi, and Apra Ekadashi. One Ekadashi held in Krishna paksha and one in shukla paksha.
So basically, these all Ekadashi Vrat give a special benefit to devotees.
Benefits of Ekadashi Vrat:
- It makes you free from the cycle of birth and death.
- It gives you the blessings of lord Vishnu.
- It makes your body and soul pure.
- It destroys all your sins which you have done in past.
- It brings happiness, peace and wealth into your home.
- It makes the balance of thoughts into your mind.
- It makes your body strong to face any situation.
- It calms your soul and mind.