Ekadashi tithi begins: 16:37 on 27thAug 2016
Ekadashi tithi ends: 15:22 on 28thAug 2016

Aja Ekadashi is observed in the waning phase of the moon in Krishnapaksha during the Hindu month of Bhadrapad. On this pious day, devotees observe fast and worship Lord Vishnu and His consort, Goddess Lakshmi, in order to get rid of their past sins and attain salvation. Aja Ekadashi is also known as Ananda Ekadashi.

Significance of Aja Ekadashi

According to Brahmavaivarta Purana, Lord Krishna suggested Yudhishtra (the eldest brother among the Pandavas) to observe Aja Ekadashi fast to get rid of all sins and burn the consequences of bad karmas. It believed that people who keep fast and pray Lord Vishnu with His consort sincerely are freed from the cycle of birth and death and attain moksha (enlightenment). The observers are also blessed with happiness and prosperity.

The Legend (katha) of Ekadashi

As per the shastras, the significance of Aja Ekadashi revolves around the life story of Raja Harishchandra, who was known for his courage and honesty. King Harishchandra belonged to Lord Rama’s lineage and always followed the path of truth.

One day, sage Vashishta and sage Vishwamitra had an intense argument as Vishwamitra refused to acknowledge Harishchandra’s honesty and decided to test the king’s truthfulness. Vishwamitra created adverse situations for the king and compelled him to lie, but the honest king decided not sway from the path of truth. As a result, the penniless king lost his empire, wife and son. After some days, the king’s only son died on being bitten by a deadly snake. One day, sage Gautam was passing by saw his condition and upon hearing king’s sorrows, he advised him to keep Aja Ekadashi fast and devote himself in Lord Vishnu’s feet.

Raja Harishchandra, then, observed fast on Aja Ekadashi and was blessed by the supreme Almighty. He was blessed with his lost kingdom and reunited with his wife. Besides, Lord Vishnu also blessed him by resurrection of his dead son.

Since then orginated the tradition of keeping fast and praying Lord Vishnu with His consort on Aja Ekadashi.

Rituals Observed on Aja Ekadashi

  • Ekadashi Puja:
    • Bathe early in the morning.
    • Clean the Puja sthal (place of worship).
    • Spread some rice on the floor and place Kalash (earthen pot) covered with a red cloth.
    • Place the idol of Lord Vishnu on the Kalasha.
    • Perform aarti of the Lord while chanting Vishnu Sahasranamam and begin your fast.
  • Fasting:
    • The devotees observe a day long fast and avoid eating all kinds of grains, rice and honey whereas consumption of water is optional. Besides, they are advised to take an afternoon meal a day prior to Ekadashi vrat & skip dinner, in order to remain pure from all kinds of toxins in the body.
    • Parana (breaking of fast) should be done on the next day after sunrise.
    • Parana time: 06:11 am- 08:42am (29th Aug 2016)
  • The followers read the sacred scriptures of Srimad Bhagwad Gita and Srimad Bhagwatam on this auspicious day.
  • It is advised to follow the principle of Brahmacharya (celibacy) so as to get maximum benefits.

It is believed that people who observe fast on Aja Ekadashi and ardently worship Lord Vishnu with Goddess Lakshmi get the same benefits as that obtained from the great Ashwamegh Yagya. Let us all pray the Almighty on this auspicious day with our heart, mind and soul, and seek His Divine blessings.