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Ekadashi (Sanskrit: एकादशी, romanized: Ēkādaśī, lit. 'The eleventh day') is the eleventh lunar day (tithi) of the waxing (Shukla Pakṣa) and waning (Kṛṣṇa Pakṣa) lunar cycles in a Vedic calendar month. Ekadashi is popularly observed within Vaishnavism and Shaivism, two major paths within Sanatan Dharma. Followers offer their worship to the god Vishnu, Shiva by fasting or just as symbol, the idea was always to receive self discipline and benefits of fasting and it was connected to the way if life via Sanatam Dharma practices.
Within Hinduism, the primary purpose of fasting on ekadashi is to gain control over the mind and bodily senses, and channel it towards spiritual progression. In addition, there are several health benefits linked to fasting. High protein and carbohydrate-containing foods such as beans and grains are not consumed. Instead, only fruit, vegetables, and milk products are eaten. This period of abstinence starts from sunrise on the day of ekadashi to sunrise on the following day. Rice is not eaten on ekadashi.
The timing of each ekadashi is according to the position of the moon. The Indian 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. Ekadashi 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 ekadashi, and in the dark half of the lunar month, the moon will be about 3/4 dark on ekadashi.
There are usually 24 ekadashis in a calendar year. Occasionally, there are two extra ekadashis that happen in a leap year. Each ekadashi day is purported to have particular benefits that are attained by the performance of specific activities.
The story behind ekadashi began with Vishnu sleeping or in a meditative state. A demon, Murdanav, approaches and attempts to attack Vishnu. At that time, a beautiful woman sprung forth from Vishnu's 11th sense (often called the "mind"). An infatuated Murdanav asked to marry her, to which responded that only if he defeated her in battle. As they fought, Murdanav was eventually killed. Vishnu awoke from his sleep, and blessed the woman by naming her "Ekadashi", and stated that if anyone were to fast on this day, they would be given moksha (spiritual liberation).
List of ekadashis
The table below describes the ekadashis and when they fall in the year.
|Vedic lunar month||Presiding deity||Krishna paksha ekadashi||Shukla paksha ekadashi|
|Chaitra (चैत्र, March–April)||Rama/Vishnu||Papavimocani Ekadashi||Kamada Ekadashi|
|Vaisakha (वैशाख, April–May )||Madhusudana (Vishnu)||Varuthini Ekadashi||Mohini Ekadashi|
|Jyeshtha (ज्येष्ठ, May–June)||Trivikrama (Vishnu)||Apara Ekadashi||Nirjala Ekadashi|
|Ashada (आषाढ, June–July)||Vamana||Yogini Ekadashi||Shayani Ekadashi|
|Shravana (श्रावण, July–August)||Sridhara||Kamika Ekadashi||Shravana Putrada Ekadashi|
|Hrishikesha||Annada Ekadashi||Parsva Ekadashi|
|Ashvina (अश्विन्, September–October)||Padmanabha||Indra Ekadashi||Pasankusa Ekadashi|
|Kartik (कार्तिक, October–November)||Damodara||Rama Ekadashi||Prabodhini Ekadashi|
|Keshava||Utpanna Ekadashi||Mokshada Ekadashi/Vaikuntha Ekadashi|
|Pausha (पौष, December–January)||Narayana (Vishnu/Krishna)||Saphala Ekadashi||Pausha Putrada Ekadashi/Vaikuntha Ekadashi|
|Magha (माघ, January–February)||Madhava||Shattila Ekadashi||Bhaimi Ekadashi / Jaya Ekadashi|
|Phalguna (फाल्गुन, February–March)||Govinda (Krishna)||Vijaya Ekadashi||Amalaki Ekadashi|
(अधिक, once in 2–3 years)
|Purushottama||Padmini Vishuddha Ekadashi||Parama Shuddha Ekadashi|
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