Ekadashi

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'Ekādaśī' (ekāhdaśī, "Eleven") (Sanskrit: एकादशी, Kannada: ಏಕಾದಶಿ, Tamil: ஏகாதசி, Bengali: একাদশী, Telugu: ఏకాదశి, Malayalam: ഏകാദശി) also spelled as Ekadasi, is the eleventh lunar day (tithi) of each of the two lunar phases which occur in a Hindu calendar month - the Sukla Paksha (the period of the brightening moon also known as the waxing phase) and the Krishna Paksha (the period of the fading moon also known as the waning phase).[1]

In Hinduism and Jainism, Ekādaśī is considered a spiritual day and is usually observed by partial fast. Beans and grains are not consumed by observant people during because they are believed to be contaminated by sin. Instead, only fruit, vegetables, and milk products are eaten. This period of abstinence starts from sunrise on the day of Ekādaśī to sunset on the following day.

Hindu rules state that anyone between the ages of eight years and eighty years should fast, including forgoing water. However, people who are sick, have health issues, or are pregnant are exempt from the rule and may consume light food including milk and fruits.[citation needed]

The timing of each Ekādaśī is according to the position of the moon[2]. The Hindu calendar marks progression from a full moon to a new moon as divided into fifteen equal arcs. Each arc measures one lunar day, called a tithi. The time it takes the moon to traverse a particular distance is the length of that lunar day. Ekādaśī refers to the 11th tithi, or lunar day. The eleventh tithi 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 Ekādaśī, and in the dark half of the lunar month, the moon will be about 3/4 dark on Ekādaśī.

There are usually 24 Ekādaśīs in a calendar year. Occasionally, there are two extra Ekādaśīs that happen in a leap year. Each Ekādaśī day is purported to have particular benefits and blessings that are attained by the performance of specific activities.

Bhagavata Purana (sk. IX, adhy. 4) notes the observation of Ekādaśī by Ambarisha, a devotee of Lord Vishnu.

List of Ekādaśīs[edit]

The table below describes the Ekādaśīs and when they fall in the year.

The Vedic lunar month Presiding deity Krishna paksha Ekadashi name Shukla paksha Ekadashi name
Chaitra (चैत्र, April–May) Vishnu Papavimocani 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 (श्राव=90ण, August–September) Sridhar Kamika Ekadashi Shravana Putrada Ekadashi
Bhadrapada
(भाद्रपद, September–October)
Hrisikesha Ananda Ekadashi Parsva Ekadashi
Ashvin (अश्विन्, October–November) Padmanabha Indira Ekadashi Paashunkushaa Ekadashi
Kartik (कार्तिक, November–December) Damodara Rama Ekadashi Prabodhini Ekadashi
Margashirsha'''' (Agrahayana)
(मार्गशीर्ष, December–January)
Keshava Vaikunta Ekadashi Mokshada Ekadashi
Pausha (पौष, January–February) Naaraayana Saphala Ekadashi Pausha Putrada Ekadashi
Maagha (माघ, February–March) Maadhava Shat Tila Ekadashi Bhaimi Ekadashi / Jaya Ekadashi
Phalguna (फाल्गुन, March–April) Govinda Utpanna Ekadashi Amalaki Ekadashi
Adhika month
(अधिक, once in 2–3 years)
Purushottama Paramaa Shuddha Ekadashi Padmini Visuddha Ekadashi

Calculation[edit]

Ekādaśī is different for Vaishnavites and Smarthas. According to Kala Prakashika, a Jyotish text discussing auspicious times for beginning an activity ("Muhurta"), the Ekādaśī fast is performed on a day which is not touched 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 completes just 96 minutes before sunrise, then that day is celebrated as Ekādaśī. If the tenth day is incomplete at 96 minutes before sunrise, but still continues to be Dashimi sometime during that day, then the Ekādaśī fast is performed on the following day. (Rules need to be included here by a Panchang Karta from Dharma Sindhu and Nirnaya Sindhu.)

Significance[edit]

Ekādaśī Tithi, the eleventh lunar day (Shukla Ekādaśī), also known as Hari Vasara because it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is a day of fasting and prayers for all Hindus. Those who fast on this day are considered to get rid of malefic planetary influences, experience happiness, and gain the right peace of mind to think of Ishvara and attain moksha. It is a day of Vishtikarana, a day of malefic influences. Vishtikarana coincides with the second half of Ekādaśī Tithi and is avoided for all functions associated with worldly prosperity but for such celebrations, Ekādaśī Tithi should not have Dasami Vedha. Fasting should be done during Vishtikarana but the fast should not be broken during this. 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 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.

Mantra[edit]

The Vishnu mantra chanted on this day is: "Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya"

Hare Krishna maha-mantra to chant 108 times: "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare"[3]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • 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 the original text in Devanagari and English translation, New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1982.