Ekadashi, the eleventh day of both the waxing and waning lunar cycles, holds significant importance in Hinduism, particularly within Vaishnavism and Shaivism. It’s a day for followers to offer worship to gods like Vishnu and Shiva through fasting or symbolic gestures, aiming to cultivate self-discipline and spiritual progress. The fast typically involves abstaining from certain foods like grains and beans, instead opting for fruits, vegetables, and milk products. This period of abstinence extends from sunrise on ekadashi day to sunrise the following day. Ekadashi’s timing is determined by the moon’s position, with each ekadashi corresponding to a specific phase of the lunar cycle. The practice is deeply rooted in ancient texts like the Bhagavata Purana (Srimad Bhagavatam), which recounts the observance of ekadashi by devotees like Ambarisha, highlighting its enduring spiritual significance and benefits.

Lord Vishnu

Story

In ancient times, as Vishnu rested in deep meditation, a demon named Murdanav dared to disturb his peace. From Vishnu’s very essence emerged a stunning woman named Ekadashi. Murdanav, captivated by her beauty, sought her hand in marriage, but she challenged him to a battle instead. In their fierce clash, Murdanav met his demise. Awakening from his slumber, Vishnu bestowed blessings upon Ekadashi, declaring that those who fasted on this sacred day would attain spiritual liberation, thus honoring the courage and strength of the woman born from his being.

Different Types of Ekadashi

Every month has two special days called Ekadashi. One falls during the waning moon (Krishna paksha), and the other during the waxing moon (Shukla paksha). So, in a year, there are a total of 24 Ekadashis. Let’s learn more about them.

1. Varuthini Ekadashi

Varuthini Ekadashi is observed during the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the Hindu lunar month of Baishakh, which typically falls in April or May. It is a day dedicated to Lord Vamana, the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu. The word “Varuthini” translates to “protection,” signifying the belief that observing a fast on this day can shield devotees from misfortunes and bring them prosperity and good fortune. Devotees fast and engage in prayers and rituals to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu.

2. Mohini Ekadashi

Mohini Ekadashi falls on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) of the month of Baishakh. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini, a female enchantress, to protect the universe from the demons. Fasting on Mohini Ekadashi is believed to purify the soul and wash away sins accumulated in the present and past lives. Devotees observe strict fasting and participate in prayers and religious activities to honor Lord Vishnu in his Mohini form.

3. Apara Ekadashi

Apara Ekadashi is celebrated on the 11th day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Jestha, which usually falls in May or June. Also known as Achala Ekadashi, it is believed that observing a fast on this day can absolve devotees of all their sins and bestow upon them unlimited wealth and prosperity. Devotees abstain from food and worldly pleasures, dedicating the day to prayers, meditation, and spiritual reflection.

4. Nirjala Ekadashi

Nirjala Ekadashi, also known as Pandava Nirjala Ekadashi, is observed on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Jestha. It is considered one of the most rigorous Ekadashis because it involves fasting without consuming water. Devotees emulate the Pandava brothers (Pandavas) by abstaining from both food and water throughout the day and night. This strict fast is believed to cleanse the soul of impurities and grant divine blessings from Lord Vishnu.

5. Yogini Ekadashi

Yogini Ekadashi falls on the 11th day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Ashadh, typically in June or July. On this auspicious day, devotees observe a fast and dedicate themselves to worshipping Lord Vishnu with sincerity and devotion. It is believed that fasting on Yogini Ekadashi can purify the mind, body, and soul, warding off diseases and ensuring good health in the future. Devotees engage in prayers, chanting of hymns, and acts of charity to seek blessings from the Lord.

6. Padma/Devshayani Ekadashi

Padma Ekadashi, also known as Devshayani Ekadashi or Hari Shayani Ekadashi, marks the beginning of Lord Vishnu’s cosmic sleep, which lasts for four months until Prabodhini Ekadashi. It falls on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Ashadh. During this period, known as Chaturmas, devotees reflect on their spiritual journey and seek blessings for the coming months. Padma Ekadashi is a time for introspection, prayer, and devotion to Lord Vishnu, who rests on the coils of the cosmic serpent, Shesh Naaga, in the milky ocean. Devotees observe fasts, perform rituals, and visit temples to seek the blessings of the divine.

7. Kamika Ekadashi

Kamika Ekadashi, also known as Krishna Ekadashi, holds a sacred place in Hindu tradition. It occurs during the waning phase of the moon in the month of Shravan, typically falling between July and August. This day is dedicated to venerating Lord Vishnu in his Krishna incarnation. Devotees believe that observing a fast on this day can purify the soul and absolve one from accumulated sins, leading towards Moksha, the ultimate goal of liberation. Additionally, it is believed to alleviate any ancestral curses, known as Pitri Dosha, which may hinder one’s spiritual progress.

8. Shrawan Putrada Ekadashi

Falling on the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Shravan, Shrawan Putrada Ekadashi is a significant day for couples struggling with infertility. It is believed that observing a fast on this auspicious day can invoke the blessings of the divine, increasing the likelihood of conceiving a child for those facing difficulties in doing so.

9. Parivartini, Vamana, or Parsva Ekadashi

Parivartini Ekadashi, also referred to as Vamana or Parsva Ekadashi, occurs during the waning phase of the moon in the month of Bhadra. According to mythology, it is said that Lord Vishnu, while in a state of deep slumber, shifted from lying on his left side to his right side during this time. Observing a fast on this day is believed to bring about eternal happiness and longevity for devotees.

10. Ananda/Aja Ekadashi

Ananda Ekadashi, alternatively known as Aja Ekadashi, is celebrated on the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Bhadra. On this day, devotees worship Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, seeking their blessings for abundant wealth, prosperity, and happiness. Fasting on Ananda Ekadashi is believed to attract divine grace and fulfill the desires of devotees.

11. Indira Ekadashi

Indira Ekadashi falls on the waning phase of the moon in the month of Ashwin, typically occurring between September and October. This Ekadashi holds particular significance during the Pitru Paksha period, dedicated to honoring deceased ancestors. Fasting on Indira Ekadashi is believed to assist the souls of ancestors in transitioning to heavenly realms and also helps the observer to cleanse themselves from past misdeeds.

12. Papankusha Ekadashi

Papankusha Ekadashi falls on the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Ashwin. It is dedicated to Lord Padmanabha, another form of Lord Vishnu. Observing a fast on this day is believed to bring about good health and fulfillment of desires for devotees, granting them blessings in abundance.

13. Rama Ekadashi

Occurring on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the waning phase (Krishna Paksha) of the lunar month Kartik (October and November), Rama Ekadashi is a significant Hindu observance. It falls just before Diwali, the Festival of Lights, adding to its spiritual importance. Devotees believe that fasting on this day can bring immense blessings, including wealth, happiness, and a life free from sins. It’s a time for devout worship and reflection on the virtues of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

14. Devathuna Ekadashi

Also known as Haribodhini Ekadashi, this Ekadashi falls on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the waxing phase (Shukla Paksha) of the lunar month Kartik. It holds deep significance as it commemorates the sacred union of the Tulsi plant (holy basil) and Lord Shaligram, a representation of Lord Vishnu. This day is believed to mark the end of Chaturmas, a four-month period of spiritual observances, and the awakening of Lord Vishnu from his cosmic slumber. Devotees observe fasting, perform rituals, and offer prayers to seek divine blessings and spiritual enlightenment.

15. Utapanna Ekadashi

Falling on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the waning phase (Krishna Paksha) of the lunar month Mangsir (November and December), Utapanna Ekadashi holds significant religious importance. It commemorates the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Murasura and the birth of Ekadashi’s Mother. This auspicious day marks the beginning of the Ekadashi fasting cycle, wherein devotees abstain from food and perform prayers and devotional activities to seek divine grace, purification, and spiritual upliftment.

16. Mokshada Ekadashi

Celebrated on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the waxing phase (Shukla Paksha) of the lunar month Mangsir, Mokshada Ekadashi is a sacred occasion for Hindus. It coincides with the anniversary of the Bhagavad Gita, a revered scripture that contains the teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna. Fasting on this day is believed to bestow liberation (moksha) upon devotees and grant them the opportunity to reside in Vaikuntha, the celestial abode of Lord Vishnu. Devotees engage in prayers, recitation of sacred texts, and acts of charity to attain spiritual enlightenment and divine grace.

17. Saphala Ekadashi

Falling on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the waning phase (Krishna Paksha) of the lunar month Paush (December and January), Saphala Ekadashi holds profound religious significance in Hinduism. The word “Saphala” translates to “successful,” indicating the auspicious nature of this day. Devotees observe fasting and engage in religious activities to purify their souls, seek forgiveness for sins, and create the foundation for a prosperous and fulfilling life. It’s believed that sincere observance of this Ekadashi can lead to the attainment of material and spiritual success, as well as liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

18. Pausha Putrada Ekadashi

Falling on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the waxing phase (Shukla Paksha) of the lunar month Paush, Pausha Putrada Ekadashi is a significant Hindu festival, especially for couples desiring sons. The term “Putrada” means “bestower of sons,” highlighting the primary focus of this observance. On this day, devotees worship Sri Narayana (Lord Vishnu) with utmost devotion and perform rituals to seek his blessings for the birth of a son endowed with divine qualities. It’s believed that sincere observance of this Ekadashi can fulfill the aspirations of childless couples and bless them with offspring who embody the virtues of Lord Vishnu.

19. Satilla Ekadashi

Satilla Ekadashi occurs on the 11th day of the waning phase of the moon during the Magha month (January-February). Devotees of Lord Vishnu observe a fast on this day, offering sesame seeds and water to Lord Vishnu, as well as sesame seeds to their ancestors and parents. The name “Satilla” comes from “Sat” meaning six and “Tila” meaning sesame seeds, symbolizing the offerings made.

20. Jaya Ekadashi

Falling on the 11th day of the waxing phase of the moon in the Magha month, Jaya Ekadashi encourages followers to seek eternal spiritual bliss. By fasting on this day, devotees are reminded of the transient nature of worldly pleasures, encouraging them to pursue lasting happiness through serving all living beings.

21. Vijaya Ekadashi

Vijaya Ekadashi lands on the 11th day of the waning phase of the moon during the Falgun month (February-March). It’s dedicated to the worship of Lord Krishna, and it’s believed that Lord Rama observed his first fast on this Ekadashi. Fasting on Vijaya Ekadashi is thought to accumulate good deeds and pave the way towards spiritual liberation (Moksha).

22. Amalaki Ekadashi

Celebrated on the 11th day of the waxing phase of the moon in the Falgun month, Amalaki Ekadashi is characterized by honoring the Indian Gooseberry (Amala), believed to be the dwelling place of Lord Vishnu. This auspicious day also marks the beginning of the colorful festival of Holi, signifying the onset of spring.

23. Kamada Ekadashi

Falling on the 11th day of the waxing phase of the moon during the Chaitra month, Kamada Ekadashi is dedicated to fulfilling desires and dreams. Devotees observe this day with utmost devotion and austerity, seeking blessings for the realization of their aspirations.

25. Papmochani Ekadashi

This Ekadashi falls on the 11th day of the waning phase of the moon during the Chaitra month (March-April). It’s considered the last Ekadashi of the year, occurring between the festivals of Holi and Chaitra Navami (Rama Navami). Papmochani Ekadashi is a time for seeking liberation from sins (Papa) and abstaining from evil deeds, marking a spiritually significant period.

• Other Ekadashi Days

Apart from these, there are other notable Ekadashi days like Shukla Ekadashi, which occurs when the tenth day of the lunar month is incomplete at 1 hour and 36 minutes before sunrise. Vaikuntha Ekadashi is celebrated with the opening of the Vaikuntha Dwaram, and Ashadi Ekadashi holds particular importance in Maharashtra, known for its grand celebrations and rituals. Each of these Ekadashi days carries its own customs, traditions, and spiritual significance in Hindu culture.

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

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