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Apara Ekadashi Meaning | What is Apara Ekadashi?

Apara Ekadashi The Hindu Lunar calendar is divided into two different cycles or phases of the Moon. One phase is that of the waxing Moon which is known as 'Shukla Paksha', in which phase the Moon grows in size (visually) and brightness everyday bit by bit and the other phase is that of the waning moon, Krishna Paksha, when the brightness of Moon diminishes in size everyday post the Full Moon. Each phase is of 15 days respectively. 'Ekadashi' is the eleventh (11th) day in each phase of the Moon, which means that there are two Ekadashis in a month. The term Ekadashi means the eleventh lunar day in each fortnight of the Shukla Paksha and the Krishna Paksha respectively.

To further explain the term 'Tithi' (as per the Hindu calendar), it means one Lunar day which means the time it takes for the Moon to travel a certain distance. So Ekadashi is the 11th. Lunar day or Tithi. In the Shukla Paksha i.e. the brighter phase of the Moon, on Ekadashi, the Moon looks three fourth (3/4th) and in the Krishna Paksha Ekadashi, the Moon appears three fourth (3/4th) dark. There are 24 Ekadashis in a year, with the exception of Leap year when there are 26 Ekadashis.

Along with Hinduism, Jainism too considers Ekadashis to be holy, which has spiritual connotations. It is said that merely by hearing the names of the various Ekadashis one will be free of all sins. Lord Vishnu is worshipped on Ekadashi. The day is observed by fasting from Sunrise of Ekadashi Tithi to the sunrise of the following day. Fasting on the Ekadashi is an important ritual of this day. The best form of fasting for Ekadashi is to go without water or food. People who do not want to keep a full fast are recommended to have a fruit-based diet(Phalahar) or fruit and Milk or milk product diet. Consumption of Rice, Grains and Beans are prohibited on this day.

According to the ancient texts both the Ekadashis, whether in Shukla Paksha or Krishna Paksha, are equally holy and auspicious as they have the same tithi.

Apara Ekadashi 2023: Date, Time and Vrat Katha Puja

Apara Ekadashi is a fasting day observed on the eleventh day of the Krishna Paksha (the dark fortnight of moon) in Jyeshtha month (June-July). The Sanskrit word 'apar' means ‘limitless’.


Apara Ekadashi 2023 Dates, Tithi, & Time

Apara Ekadashi on Monday, May 15, 2023
Ekadashi Tithi Begins - 02:46 on May 14, 2023
Ekadashi Tithi Ends - 01:03 on May 15, 2023
On 16th May, Parana Time - 06:41 to 08:40

Those who observe the fast must break it 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 06:41. Another important consideration is that one must not break the fast during Hari Vasara which is the fourth duration of Dwadashi. The best time to break the fast is pratah Kala (morning).
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It is believed that by observing Apara Ekadashi and keeping a fast on the day, one can have all their sins washed away by the infinite blessings of the Lord Vishnu. For the Vaishnavas, the day holds extra importance as Apara Ekadasi is connected to Lord Vishnu or Krishna and is called Hari-Vasara which means the Lord's auspicious day. It is one of the most sacred times to execute one’s spiritual activities. On this day one must observe fast to purify their mind, body, heart and soul.

In the Brahmanda Purana, Lord Krishna explains to King Yudhishthira about the Apara Ekadasi significance. Observing fast on Apara Ekadasi makes a devotee gain name and fame besides all sins being obliterated by the grace of the Divine Lord Vishnu.

The merits gained by observing fast on Apara Ekadasi, by following all the rules along with chanting of Lord Hari's name, has been compared to some of the best forms of religious rituals, sacrifices, donations and charities. Heinous sins like killing a Brahmin or a cow or an embryo, an illicit affair with a married woman, cheating others be it an astrologer/ Doctor/ accountant etc., daring to write one's own scriptures or even blasphemy are all eradicated by observing Apara Ekadasi.

Lord Krishna had said that such pious religious activities like bathing in the River Ganga and giving offerings of respect to the forefathers, worshipping Lord Shiva on Shivratri at Varanasi/ Banaras, taking a bath in a river on a Solar Eclipse, giving cow or Gold as a charity, and such other things are all equivalent to observing Apara Ekadasi fast meticulously.

The significance of Apara Ekadasi has been further highlighted by Sri Krishna, that if any person acknowledges his/her past and present sins and is fearful of the consequences, that individual should observe the Apara Ekadasi fast strictly, as the merits are powerful like the blazing Sun which can burn away all the sins and liberate the devotee.

Rituals: What to Do on This Ekadashi?

The rituals of Apara Ekadashi are specified below along with rituals followed on Ekadasi in general.If you have decided to fast on this day, ensure that you take special care of the concerned rituals. You should observe the ritual fast with complete devotion and dedication.

  • First, get up early in the morning before sunrise and take a bath. You can the following mantra while bathing:
    "Ganga Cha Yamuna Chaiva Godavari Saraswati,
    Narmada Sindhu Kaveri Jalesmin Sannidhim Kuru"

    "In this water, I invoke the presence of divine waters from the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri.” These rivers are considered as goddesses and I pray to them for considering me for their blessings.
  • After the bath, it is time for a Vishnu puja. Light up an oil/ghee lamp (Diya).
  • Offer Tulsi leaves, flowers, dhoop and lamp to Lord Vishnu. You can read or recite Vishnu Sahasranama (A thousands of names of Vishnu). You can find it here.
  • It is the best time for Havan, rituals and fasting. At least one of them must be performed to please Lord Vishnu if possible.
  • It is the best time to wear Rudraksha beads ruled by Narayana. A Ten Mukhi Rudraksha bead ruled by Lord Krishna and a Nineteen Mulhi Rudraksha bead ruled by Lord Narayana is best to energize your devotional mood.

The rituals of Ekadashi are specified in the ancient Hindu texts. The rituals are:-

Apara Ekadashi Puja vidhi1) One day before Ekadashi, which is the 10th day of the Krishna Paksha, the person should clean his teeth thoroughly in the afternoon and have supper at Sunset hour.
2) On the morning of Ekadashi, the person should intend on keeping the fast meticulously. The person should have a bath in a river (which is said to be most purifying) or a lake and in both not being available, bathe with pond water.
3) While bathing the person should smear mud on his/her body with chanting a prayer to Mother Earth.The prayer - O Asvakrante! O Rathakrante! O Vishnukrante! O Vasundhare! O Mrttike! (O Mother Earth! please remove all my sins accumulated from past lives so that I may enter the abode of the Lord Vishnu the Supreme Lord)
4) Worship Lord Govinda with complete dedication and Offer an excellent 'Bhog' (food to Divine) along with flowers and other things of the offering.
5) Light a lamp at home in honour of the Lord
6) Chant or sing praises of Lord Vishnu throughout the day and remain in a most blissful state during the fast.
7) Stay awake through the night in full consciousness. If possible play musical instruments throughout the night to please the Lord.
8) The next morning the person should give charity to Brahmanas and respectfully ask them for forgiveness for any offence.
9) For people who keep a complete fast till the next day, one should say the prayer - "O Pundarikaksha, O lotus-eyed Lord, now I will eat. Please shelter me".
10) 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. To garner the full merits of the fast, the devotee should have water which has been offered to the Lord.
11) Fire sacrifices can be performed if the devotee chooses to do so

The day of Ekadashi till the next morning the devotee should involve in taking baths, singing and chanting praises of the Lord and worship Him with complete devotion, involve in activities of devotion and doing charity.

Apara Ekadashi Fasting Rules

As per specifications in the ancient texts, to get the benefits of the fasting on Ekadashi the person should adhere to the rules strictly.

    Happy Ekadashi
  • The devotee observing fast should have a bath on the morning of Ekadashi.
  • Beans and grains are prohibited to eat on Ekadashi.
  • The killing of any animal is prohibited on this day for the devotee.
  • Sleeping during the day is not allowed on Ekadashi and the next day that is on Dvadashi.
  • The devotee keeping fast should not meet or interact with any cheats, frauds or people involved in any nefarious activity. The scriptures even say that if by chance the devotee comes into proximity of such a person then one should purify by standing under the sun and looking directly at it.
  • Abstinence from gambling, drinking alcohol, sex on Ekadashi and Dwadashi.
  • On Dwadashi (the day after Ekadashi), devotees are not to eat in another person's house, have only one meal, Honey and Urad-dal (black lentil) is not to be consumed, eating on Bell metal plate or cutlery, and should not massage oil on the body.
  • As per the ancient text, if the devotee has to speak to a person from the lower cast, then he/she will have to purify the self by eating Tulsi leaves or an Amalaki fruit.
  • If due to any reason the devotee is not able to break the fast on the next day, then he/she should have water to signify the completion of the fast and later have food when convenient.
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