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Ekādaśī (Sanskrit: एकादशी, Tamil: ஏகாதசி, Bengali: একাদশী Telugu: ఏకాదశి, ekādaśī, "Eleven"), also spelled as Ekadasi, is an auspicious day which occurs twice in a Hindu calendar month. It is the eleventh lunar day (tithi) of each of the two lunar phase which occur in a Hindu calendar month - the Shukla Paksha (period of the brightening moon also known as waxing phase) and the Krishna Paksha (period of the fading moon also known as waning phase).
In Hinduism and Jainism it is considered a spiritually beneficial day and is usually observed by a partial fast. Beans and grains are not eaten during Ekādaśī, as on this day these two foods are believed to be contaminated by sin. Only fruits, vegetables and milk products are eaten during Ekādaśī. This period of abstention runs from sunrise on the day of Ekādaśī to sunrise on the day following Ekādaśī.
Hindu rules state that anyone above eight years old and less than eighty should fast completely, including water is supposed to be had. However, people who are sick/health issues and pregnant women are exception and may take light food including milk and fruits.
Two Ekādaśīs 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. Ekādaśī 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 Ekādaśī, and in the dark half of the lunar month, the moon will be about 3/4 dark on Ekādaśī.
There are 24 Ekādaśīs in a calendar year. Occasionally there are two extra Ekādaśīs that happen in a lunar leap year. Each Ekādaśī day has particular benefits and blessings that one can attain by the performance of specific activities.
List of Ekādaśīs
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||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||Shat Tila Ekadashi||Bhaimi Ekadashi / Jaya Ekadashi|
|Phalguna (फाल्गुन, March–April)||Govinda||Utpanna Ekadashi||Amalaki Ekadashi|
(अधिक, once in 2–3 years)
|Purushottama||Parama Ekadashi||Padmini Visuddha Ekadashi|
Ekādaśī is different for Vaishnavites and Smarthas. According to KalaPrakashika, a Jyotish text discussing Muhurta, auspicious times for beginning an activity, the Ekādaśī 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 Ekādaśī. 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 Ekādaśī fast is performed on the following day. (Rules need to be included here by a Panchang Karta from Dharma Sindhu and Nirnaya Sindhu.)
Ekādaśī Tithi, the eleventh lunar day (Shukla Ekādaśī) 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 Ekādaśī Tithi, is avoided in all functions associated with worldly prosperity but for such celebrations the Ekādaśī 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.
On this auspicious day dedicated to Lord Vishnu, you can chant this powerful Vishnu mantra:
"Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya"
- Guruvayur Ekadasi
- Prasad (see for food which can/not be offered on Ekādaśī)[clarification needed Link exact section]
- About Ekādaśī Vrat Fasting & its Importance
- "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.