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» Informational Articles » Festivals » Vijaya Ekadasi

Meaning of Ekadashi

Ekadashi is the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha or the bright fortnight of waxing Moon and the Krishna Paksha or the dark fortnight of the waning Moon, as per the Hindu Lunar calendar. Occurring twice a month, Ekadashi is considered an auspicious day by the Hindus who observe Vrat or fast on the day and worship Lord Vishnu/Shri Krishna, to whom this holy day is dedicated. Since ancient times fasting on Ekadashi has been followed to please and receive the blessings of Lord Vishnu.

Besides the Hindus, the Jains also consider Ekadashi a holy day. In Leap years, there are 26 Ekadashis and otherwise, there are 24. As per the Ekadashi rules, the day is to be spent chanting Lord Vishnu's name, hearing the Ekadashi Vrat Katha and very important to stay awake in awareness, throughout the night of Ekadashi, singing praises of Lord Vishnu. Each Ekadashi has its own story or Vrat Katha, which shows the power of Ekadashi Vrat or fast.

It is best to observe all the 24 Ekadashis of the year.

About - Vijaya Ekadasi

Vijaya Ekadasi is observed on the 11th day of Krishna Paksha or the dark fortnight/waning Moon phase of the month of Phalguna (Hindu calendar), which falls in February-March. It is also known as Phalguna-Krishna Ekadasi.

ekadashi-vrat-katha

Vijaya Ekadashi 2021 Dates, Tithi

Vijaya Ekadashi 2021 is on 9th March, Tuesday.
On 10th Mar, Parana Time - 07:12 AM to 09:37 AM
On Parana Day Dwadashi End Moment - 05:10 PM
Ekadashi Tithi Begins - 06:14 PM on Mar 08, 2021
Ekadashi Tithi Ends - 05:32 PM on Mar 09, 2021
(Parana means breaking the fast and it should not be done during Hari Vasara)

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 5:10 PM on 10th March. 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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Significance of Vijaya Ekadashi

The term Vijaya means victory or to win. Observing a complete fast on Vijaya Ekadasi meticulously along with the specified rituals for the day blesses the devotee to be victorious and successful in this life and the following lifetimes.

Lord Krishna has repeatedly mentioned to Yudhishtira, in His narrations of each of the Ekadasi stories and importance that even listening or reading the stories of Ekadasi is enough to garner merits equivalent to performing a Horse sacrifice or Ashwamedh Yajna.

  • Removes all the misgivings, misdeeds and sins.
  • Gives clarity of thoughts and nullifies all the guilt feelings.
  • Increases spiritual, emotional and intellectual strengths.

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The Story of Vijaya Ekadasi

The story is from the old Hindu text Skanda Purana. It is narrated by Lord Sri Krishna to Yudhishtira. The story had been told to Narad Muni by Lord Brahma and is based on the epic Ramayana.

When Lord Rama was in exile along with His wife Devi (Goddess) Sita and brother Laxmana, the demon King Ravana abducted Devi Sita. When Lord Rama and Laxmana found Devi Sita missing, Lord Rama (Lord Vishnu's avatar), was overwhelmed like any other common man. It was Jatayu, the vulture and devotee of the Lord who had tried to save Devi Sita from being forcefully taken away by Ravana and got fatally injured. But before Jatayu breathed His last, He conveyed the message of Devi Sita's abduction to Lord Rama. Later Lord Rama met the King of monkeys, Sugriva who was ready to support the Lord with his army of monkeys in His search for Sita Devi.

Lord Hanuman, known as the absolute devotee of Lord Rama, was sent across to Lanka (now Sri Lanka), the kingdom of Ravana to search for Sita Devi. Lord Hanuman did find Sita Devi in Ashoka / Ashok Vatika(garden). Lord Hanuman delivered the message of Lord Rama to Sita Devi and showed Her Lord Rama's ring as a proof of His authenticity as a messenger of Lord Sri Ram. On learning that Sita Devi was indeed in Lanka as a captive, Lord Rama decided to wage war against Ravana. So, Lord Rama, Laxmanjee along with Sugriva and his army of monkeys reached the shores of the ocean to cross over to Lanka. But the Lord immediately understood that the ocean was too deep and dangerous with crocodiles inhabiting it and crossing it would be a feat by itself.

In this situation, Lord Rama requested His loving brother Laxmanji to suggest some method by which he merits it easily. On the suggestion of Laxmanji, Lord Rama visited the great sage Bakadalbhya, who had His Ashram in a nearby island. The sage immediately understood that Lord Rama was none other than Lord Vishnu, Himself and the all-knowing Supreme Lord was just playing His role as a human being. So sage Bakadalbhya asked Lord Rama why the Lord had to approach a mere sage-like Him? Lord Rama respectfully told Him about the challenge of crossing the ocean with His monkey soldiers. Hearing this, Bakadalbhya Muni told Lord Rama, that observing the auspicious Vijaya Ekadasi will ensure the success of crossing the ocean as well as a victory over Ravana. Having said that the sage went on to specify the rituals to be followed for the Vijaya Ekadasi.

Lord Rama heard the rituals and followed every word of the ritual of the Vijaya Ekadasi as told by Bakadalbhya Muni that gave Him the merit of being able to cross over the ocean with the Vanar Sena (army of Monkeys) and ultimately defeating the powerful King Ravana of Lanka and get His loving wife Devi Sita back with Him, where She belonged.

Rituals - What to do on Vijaya Ekadasi

The Vijaya Ekadasi has rituals which are to be followed that are different from the other Ekadasi rituals. The rituals are:

1) The day before Ekadasi i.e. Dashami, take a gold, silver, copper pot. If not of these metals, a new clay pot will also do. Fill the pot with water.
2) Arrange the leaves of Mango tree as decoration on the pot.
3) Cover the pot and place it in a worship altar or sacred place of worship, on a mound of seven grains. The seven grains are wheat, rice, barley, corn, Kukani, chickpeas and dahi or peas.
4) Post the morning bath the pot which has been kept has to be decorated with flower garland and Sandalwood paste.
5) On top of the lid of the pot place a Coconut, Barley and Pomegranate.
6) Worship the decorated pot of water by offering flowers, a Ghee Diya (lamp), Sandalwood paste and delicious food as Naivedyam.
7) Place a Golden idol of suitable size of Lord Sri Narayan on top of the lid of the pot where Coconut etc is kept.
8) Stay awake at night in the vicinity of the pot.
9) At the dawn of Vijaya Ekadasi after having a bath, replace the flower garland with a new one and use Sandalwood paste to decorate the pot.
10) Worship the pot again, like the previous day by lighting Ghee lamp, aromatic incense and offering flowers dipped in sandalwood paste.
11) Offering fruit like Pomegranate, Coconut and a variety of cooked food as Naivedyam.
12) Stay awake in awareness through the night of Ekadasi.
13) The next morning i.e. on Dwadashi, the pot along with all that is offered should be taken to a riverbank or a pond where the pot should be worshipped.
14) The sacred pot along with all the ingredients are to be offered to a qualified Brahmin.
15) All through the rituals singing and chanting praises of the Lord and worshipping Him with complete devotion is of utmost importance.

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.

  • The devotee observing fast should have a bath on the morning of Utpanna 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 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 caste, then he/she will have to purify himself 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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