Apara Ekadashi:An Auspicious Day for Spiritual Practices

In Hindu culture, Apara Ekadashi is a significant day of the year, observed by fasting and offering prayers to Lord Vishnu. This auspicious day falls in the month of Jyeshtha, which usually occurs in May or June. It occurs after Mohini Ekadashi and followed by Nirjala Ekadashi. Apara Ekadashi is also known as “Achala Ekadashi” and “Jyeshtha Krishna Ekadashi”. This essay explores the mythological stories behind this festival, the significance of fasting, and the rituals performed on this day.

The Mythological Significance of Apara Ekadashi

According to Hindu mythology, the Pandavas once approached Lord Krishna and sought his advice on how to overcome their problems and attain salvation. Lord Krishna advised them to observe the Apara Ekadashi fast to get rid of all their sins and attain happiness and prosperity. He also narrated a story to them about how a king named Mahidhwaja was able to attain heaven by observing the Apara Ekadashi fast.

Mahidhwaja was a righteous king who ruled his kingdom with justice and compassion. He was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and observed the Apara Ekadashi fast with great devotion. One day, while hunting, he became separated from his companions and lost his way. As he wandered through the forest, he came across a lake where he saw a group of Gandharvas performing a sacred ritual. Mahidhwaja was curious and asked them about the ritual. The Gandharvas explained that they were performing the ritual to attain heaven, but they were unable to complete it because they lacked a pure-hearted person to assist them. Mahidhwaja, being a virtuous and pure-hearted person, offered to help them complete the ritual. As a result of his assistance, the Gandharvas were able to complete the ritual, and Mahidhwaja was rewarded with a place in heaven.

The Significance of Fasting on Apara Ekadashi

Apara Ekadashi is a day when devotees fast from sunrise to the next day’s sunrise. It is believed that by fasting on this day, one can get rid of all their sins and attain prosperity and happiness. Fasting on Apara Ekadashi is also believed to be equivalent to performing austerities and penances for thousands of years.

Devotees who observe the fast on Apara Ekadashi abstain from eating grains, cereals, and certain vegetables. Instead, they consume fruits, milk, and other non-grain food items. They also spend the day in prayer, meditation, and reading religious scriptures. The fast is broken the next day after offering prayers to Lord Vishnu.

Rituals Performed on Apara Ekadashi

On Apara Ekadashi, devotees offer prayers and perform various rituals to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu. They visit Vishnu temples and perform puja, recite the Vishnu Sahasranama, and offer flowers and fruits to the deity. Some devotees also perform yajnas and homas to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu.

Another important ritual performed on Apara Ekadashi is the donation of food, clothes, and other essential items to the poor and needy. This act of charity is believed to bring immense blessings and good fortune to the donor.

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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