Shayana Ekadashi Vrat-Story and Significance

Shayana Ekadashi Vrat-Story and Significance

Shayana Ekadashi falls in the  Ashadha (June-July) Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of the moon). This Ekadashi comes after Yogini Ekadashi and followed by Kamika Ekadashi.The greatness of Shayana Ekadashi was narrated first by Lord Brahma to his son, Narad and later by Lord Krishna to King Yudhisthira, the eldest of the Pandavas that can be read in the Bhavishyottara Purana.

As per the Purana, the Vrat Katha narrates the story of King Mandhata who was born in the Surya dynasty.  He was a truthful and glorious Chakravarti king.  He treated the subjects like his own children.  His kingdom was free from misery, disease, sickness, famine, malnutrition, or injustice.  Many days passed in this way.  Once, however, because of some sin in his kingdom, there was a drought for three years. The subjects found themselves beset by famine also. The lack of food grains made it impossible for them to perform the prescribed Vedic sacrifices, offer oblations of ghrita (ghee) to their forefathers and to the devas, engage in any rituals or worship, or even study the Vedas.

Then the people came to the king and said, “O King, please listen to us.  In the scriptures, water is called ‘nar’. And in that water is the abode of God. So one of the names of God is Narayana. Lord Vishnu rains everywhere in the form of clouds.  The people live by eating food and food from that rain.  Now the people are starving for the lack of that food. Therefore, O King, seek a way to bring peace and prosperity to your kingdom.”

As the king came to know about this, through his men, he consoled the subjects and said that soon a remedy would be found for this.

Then the king bowed to Brahma and went to the forest with some men. There he visited the ashram (hermitage) of the chief sage.  In this way he met the sage Angira, the son of Brahma.  As soon as King Mandhata saw him, he bowed at the feet of the sage.  The sage asked him for blessings and good luck.  The king then told the sage in detail the reason for his arrival in the forest.

In reply, Maharshi Angira said, “You should observe the famous Ekadashi vrat called Shayani in the month of Ashadha.  The effect of this vrat will surely bring rain to the kingdom.  This Ekadashi is the bestower of all blessings and the destroyer of all troubles. O King, keep this vrat with your subjects and family. “

Hearing sage’s words, the king went back to his palace.  When the month of Ashadha came, all the subjects of the kingdom along with the king performed this Ekadashi vrat.  Due to the effect of the vrat, there was a lot of rain.  In a short time, the shortage of food disappeared.  The people were happy by the grace of Lord Hrishikesh.

Shayana Ekadashi is also known as Devshayani Ekadashi or Vishnu Sayana Ekadasi or Ashadhi Ekadashi. It is very significant as it is believed that Lord Vishnu goes to sleep after this Ekadashi as it is the night of devas with the beginning of Dakshinayana.This greatness is described in the Bhavishyottara Purana. For this reason, it is the duty of all to observe this vrat of happiness and liberation.

By Krishna Das

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