ANNADA/AJA EKADASHI SIGNIFICANCE | ABOUT ANNADA/AJA EKADASHI | STORY OF ANNADA EKADASHI
Annada Ekadashi or Aja Ekadashi is celebrated on the 11th day of the Krishna Paksha or waning Moon phase of the Hindu month of Bhadra/Bhadrapada. As per the Gregorian calendar it falls in August-September every year. It is an important Ekadashi and observing the Annada Ekadashi Vrat brings benevolent outcome and blessings of Lord Vishnu.
Annada/Aja Ekadashi Date & Time(Muhurat) 2022 Annada Ekadashi in 2022 is on 23 August, Tuesday. Annada Ekadashi in 2022(Hindi) - 12 Bhadra, Mangalvar Ekadashi Tithi Starts - 03:35 AM on 22 August, 2022 Ekadashi Tithi Ends - 06:06 AM on 23 August, 2022 Prana Time - 06:18 AM to 08:30 AM on 24 August, 2022
Dwadashi End Moment - The fast must be broken after sunrise the next day of Ekadashi. It is to be noted that one should break the fast (Parana) within Dwadashi Tithi. Dwadashi ends at. Another important consideration is that one must not break the fast during Hari Vasara
Annada/Aja Ekadashi Vrat (Fast) Significance
The auspicious Annada or Aja Ekadashi Vrat relieves the devotee of sins and helps to get liberation from the cycle of birth and death. He/she is protected from evil energies, harm, danger, Black Magic, Ghosts etc. The devotee lives a prosperous, healthy and happy life, by the grace of Lord Vishnu. The Annada Ekadashi Vrat Katha clearly narrates how Raja(King) Harishchandra got relieved of his sins by observing the Anaada Ekadashi Vrat. As per the ancient texts, merely hearing or reading the Annada Ekadashi Vrat Katha is equivalent to the fruits earned performing Ashwamedha Yajna. Abstaining from eating or drinking anything on Annada Ekadashi requires devotion, patience and control over one's senses It is an important Vrat to observe, to appease Lord Vishnu in the Hrisikesha form.
The presiding Deity of Annada Ekadashi or Aja Ekadashi is Lord Hrishikesha, which is one of the names of Lord Vishnu, which means Lord of senses or the One who is in control of senses. Hrishikesha or Hrisikesha is among the 108 names and the twenty forms of Lord Vishnu. Among the other meaning of Hrisikesha, a beautiful version also says, the Lord Who turns all the senses of His devotees towards Him. Observing the Annada Ekadashi Vrat and worshipping Lord Hrishikesha with complete devotion and sincerity brings His benevolent blessings.
Annada/ Aja Ekadashi Vrat Katha(Traditional Story of the Fast)
As mentioned in the ‘Brahmavaivarta Purana’ the Annada Ekadashi Vrat Katha was narrated to Yudhisthira(the eldest Pandava brother) by Lord Krishna, when He wanted to know the name and merits of the Krishna Paksha Ekadashi in Bhadrapada month(August -September).
The Annada Ekadashi Vrat Katha is about Raja Harishchandra, was known for His truthfulness. He was a kind King who was liked by the people of His kingdom and lived happily with His wife and son. However, King Harishchandra had a terrible stroke of fate in which He lost His Kingdom and became so impoverished that He had to sell off His wife and son. He became the slave of a Chandal (who burns corpses in the crematorium) and had to participate in collecting clothes from the dead bodies. But He never lost His integrity and pious nature.
After years of living such a life, in a state of despair, not knowing where life was taking Him, Harishchandra was overwhelmed by sorrow and worry. He wanted to be free from the terrible life He was forced to live. Once a great Sage happened to pass by and Harishchandra took the opportunity to tell the respected Sage His story and asked Him what He can do to get out of the unbearable life He was suffering. The Sage was none other than the great Gautam Muni, who was moved by the story of King Harishchandra. Gautam Muni compassionately told Harishchandra to observe fast on the Annada/Aja Ekadashi which falls in the month of Bhadrapada(Bhadra) with sincerity, which will absolve His sins and relieve Him from poverty.
Harishchandra took the advice of Gautam Muni and followed the Aja or Annada Ekadashi Vrat with dedication and devotion. All His sins were dissolved after the observance of Vrat. He won back His Kingdom and got back His wife and son, who had actually died but were brought back to life. Due to the merits of the Annada Ekadashi Vrat King Harishchandra, once again could live a happy life.
The Annada Ekadashi Vrat Vidhi are to be followed meticulously.
Aja or Annada Ekadashi Vrat starts on the morning of Ekadashi and the Sankalp(intension) of observing the Vrat(fast) should be taken after having bath early in the morning, preferably before sunrise.
Invoke and worship Lord Hrisikesha/Vishnu.
Beans and grains are prohibited to eat on Ekadashi for devotees who are fasting by eating one meal on Ekadashi.
Non vegetarian food, onion, garlic is strictly not allowed on Ekadashi and Dwadashi. Drinking alcohol, smoking, using drugs, tobacco, other addictions and sex are prohibited on the two days.
Sleeping during the day or night during Ekadashi Vrat is disallowed. The devotee should chant/ sing praises of Lord Vishnu/Krishna, chant the Vishnu Sahasranama, read the Bhagawat Geeta and other holy books through the day and night.
Talking/thinking ill of others or self, gossiping, does not give the desired outcome of the Ekadashi Vrat.
Maintain calmness, avoid anger/aggression for the best outcome of observing the Annada/Aja Vrat.
Distribute the Prasad to family members and as many people as possible on Dwadashi.
Devotees who observe fast should not eat food in other people's house on the day after Ekadashi.
The next morning give charity to Brahmanas respectfully ask them for forgiveness for any offence. Donating to the needy is also advised which garners Lord Vishnu's blessings.
For people who observe Annada Ekadashi Vrat, when breaking the fast, should say the prayer - "O Pundarikaksha, O lotus-eyed Lord, now I will eat. Please shelter me".
After the prayer the devotee should offer flowers and water at the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu and request the Lord to eat by chanting the mantra of eight-syllable, thrice: Om Namoh Narayanaya. To garner the full merits of the fast, the devotee should have water which has been offered to the Lord.
On Dwadashi only one meal should be eaten and Honey and Urad-dal(black lentil) is not to be consumed.
For devotees observing fast, if due to some unavoidable reason they are not able to break the fast on Dwadashi during Prana time, then drinking water to signify breaking of fast is advised. Later food can be eaten as per convenience.
Annada Ekadashi Puja Vidhi(Pooja Procedure)
On Annada Ekadashi after taking an early morning bath the devotee can set a special alter for the Annada/ Aja Ekadashi Puja.
In the Puja Alter/room or on the East side of your dwelling, set up a Chawki(raised platform) as a seat for Lord Hrihikesha.
Keep a small heap of whole Wheat on the Chawki, and put a Puja Kalash(pot) on top of that heap. Put clean water in the Kalash and place Pan leaves(Betel leaves) on the mouth of the pot and a Coconut. Lord Vishnu or Krishna images/idols and Shaligram Shila are worshipped on the day. Performing Abhishekh of the sacred Shaligram Shila with Water and Tulsi leaves and Panchamrit is a must on the Annada Ekadashi day, for devotees who have the Shaligram Shila.
Light a Ghee Diya and offer fresh flowers, garland, Tulsi leaves and pray to Lord Hrishikesha. Apply Chandan paste Tilak to the Deity images/idols/Shaligram Shila.
Pray to Lord Hrishikesha and offer Him Bhog, seasonal fruit, sweets.
Chant Lord Vishnu Mantras, Vishnu Sahasranama, Vishnu Chalisa etc. and worship Lord Hrishikesha with pure heart.
Goddess Laxmi, consort of Lord Vishnu and Goddess of wealth, good fortune and abundance and Tulsijee is worshipped on this day with Lord Hrisikesha.
Reading or hearing the Annada Ekadashi Vrat Katha is a must.
Perform Aarti and bow down to Divine with gratitude.
Observing fast on Annada Ekadashi or Aja Ekadashi helps to dissolve sins and brings the blessings of wealth, prosperity, good health, worldly pleasures, happiness and Divine protection. It helps to alleviate miseries, debts and blesses with peace and abundance.
It is believed that Annada Ekadasi fast helps to attain Moksha.
Wishes are fulfilled on observing the auspicious Annada Vrat with sincerity.
Observing the Annada Ekadash Vrat and performing Annada Eladashi Puja helps to focus only on Lord Hrisikesha(Vishnu) and a spiritual mode. It is best to submit all the senses to Lord Hrishikesha, especially on the day of Ekadashi.
Observing Annada Vrat is one of the best ways to appease Lord Vishnu/Hrisikesha and garner His grace.
Annada Vrat augments spiritual growth.
Annada Ekadashi Puja & Vrat (Fasting) Mantras
On Annada Ekadashi Lord Vishnu/Krishna Mantras are chanted.
Mantras:- Om Namo Narayanaya Om Namah Bhagavate Vasudevaya Hare Krisha, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.
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