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Ekadashi (Sanskrit: एकादशी, ekādaśī, "Eleven"), also spelled as Ekadasi, is the eleventh lunar day (Tithi) of the shukla (bright) or krishna (dark) paksha (fortnight) of every lunar month in the Hindu calendar (Panchang). In Hinduism and Jainism it is considered a spiritually beneficial day. Scriptures recommend observing an (ideally waterless) fast from sunrise on the day of Ekadashi to sunrise on the day following Ekadashi. Hindu scriptures teach that it is especially important to avoid all beans and all grains on this day because on the day of Ekadashi these two foods are contaminated by sin, one should eat only fruits and vegetables and milk products on this day . The Ekadashi day is recognized as the best of all days to fast because it is on this day of the moon phase in which the rays of the moon actually nourish the subtle nerves and feelings of the heart.
Two Ekadashis occur in one month according to positions of the moon. The progression of the moon from full moon to new moon is divided into fifteen equal arcs. Each arc measures one lunar day, called "tithi": The time it takes the moon to traverse that distance is the length of that lunar day. Ekadashi refers to the 11 tithi, or lunar day. The eleventh tithi therefore corresponds to a precise phase of the waxing and waning moon: In the bright half of the lunar month, the moon will appear roughly 3/4 full on Ekadashi, and in the dark half of the lunar month, the moon will be about 3/4 dark on Ekadashi.
List of Ekadashis
The table below describes the Ekadashis and when they fall in the year.
|Vedic (lunar) and
|Presiding deity||Krishna paksha Ekadashi name||Shukla paksha Ekadashi name|
|Chaitra (चैत्र, April–May)||Vishnu||Papamochani Ekadashi||Kamada Ekadashi|
|Vaisakha (वैशाख, May–June )||Madhusudana||Varuthini Ekadashi||Mohini Ekadashi|
|Jyeshta (ज्येष्ठ, June–July)||Trivikrama||Apara Ekadashi||Nirjala Ekadashi|
|Ashaad (आषाढ, July–August)||Vaamana||Yogini Ekadashi||Shayani Ekadashi|
|Shraavana (श्रावण, August–September)||Sridhar||Kamika Ekadashi||Shravana Putrada Ekadashi|
|Hrisikesha||Ananda Ekadashi||Parsva Ekadashi|
|Ashvin (अश्विन्, October–November)||Padmanabha||Indira Ekadashi||Paashunkushaa Ekadashi|
|Kartik (कार्तिक, November–December)||Damodara||Rama Ekadashi||Prabodhini Ekadashi|
|Keshava||Vaikunta Ekadashi||Mokshada Ekadashi|
|Pausha (पौष, January–February)||Naaraayana||Saphala Ekadashi||Pausha Putrada Ekadashi|
|Maagha (माघ, February–March)||Maadhava||Sat TilA Ekadashi||Bhaimi Ekadashi|
|Phalguna (फाल्गुन, March–April)||Govinda||Utpanna Ekadashi||Amalaki Ekadashi|
(अधिक, once in 2–3 years)
|Purushottama||Parama Ekadashi||Padmini Visuddha EkAdasii|
Ekadashi is different for Vaishnavites and Smarthas. Whether Ekadashi is today, yesterday or tomorrow is determined by a formula. According to KalaPrakashika, a Jyotish text discussing Muhurta, auspicious times for beginning an activity, the Ekadashi fast is performed on a day which is not touched by or ruined by any influence of the tenth tithi or lunar day. The cut off time is 96 minutes before sunrise. If the tenth day gets completed, at 96 minutes before sunrise, then that day is celebrated as Ekadashi. If the tenth day is not yet gets completed at 96 minutes before sunrise, but still continues to be Dashimi sometime during that day, then the Ekadashi fast is performed on the following day. (Rules need to be included here by a Panchang Karta from Dharma Sindhu and Nirnaya Sindhu.)
Ekadasi Tithi, the eleventh lunar day (Shukla Ekadasi) and also known as Hari Vasara because it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is a day of fasting and prayers for all Hindus. One who fasts on this day is considered to become free from the malefic planetary influences, becomes happy, gains peace of mind to think of Ishvara to attain moksha. It is a day of Vishtikarana, a day of malefic influences. Vishtikarana, which coincides with the second half of Ekadasi Tithi, is avoided in all functions associated with worldly prosperity but for such celebrations the Ekadasi Tithi should not have Dasami Vedha; fasting is to be done when Vishtikarana is in duration and breaking of fast should not be done during this duration. Vishtikarana coincides with the second half of Krishna Dasami. Karana is half of a tithi. Tithi is the time taken by the Moon to travel approximately twelve degrees of space with reference to the Sun but as the motion of the Moon is irregular the duration of tithi is not constant. There are seven moveable karanas and four fixed karanas. Vishti or Bhadra is one of the moveable karanas which rotate among the other tithis beginning with the second half of Shukla Padyami. Vashishta states that Vishtikarana is appropriate for killing, binding, use of poisons, fire, arrows or instruments, cutting and use of black magic; auspicious functions pertaining to prosperity should be avoided for they will end in destruction, thus it is good for waging wars successfully. Jataka Parijata states:-
- निखिलजनविरोधी पापकर्मस्पवादी |
- परिजन परिपूज्यो विष्टिजातः स्वतन्त्रः ||
that one born on Vishti, will be an enemy of all, will commit evil deeds, of bad fame, independent and honoured by followers, which evil effects according to Kamalasana (cited by Lalla and supported by Brahma Siddhanta), will not be witnessed in case Vishtikaranas coinciding with the second half of a tithi are benefic in daytime and those coinciding with the second half are good at night.
- Guruvayur Ekadasi
- Prasad (see for food which can/not be offered on Ekadashi)[clarification needed Link exact section]
- "Significance of the Fourth and Eleventh Lunar Days". The Astrological Magazine 42–1: 115–116. January 1953.
- Gangadharan, N., Agni Purana, New Delhi: Motilala Banarsidass, 1985, Chapter 178.
- Iyer, N.P. Subramania, Kalaprakasika: The standard book on the election (mahoortha) system: with original text in Devanagari and English translation, New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1982.