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Shayani Ekadashi

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Shayani Ekadashi

Shayani Ekadashi
Shesha
Official name Shayani Ekadashi, Deva-shayani Ekadashi
Also called Maha-ekadashi
Observed by Hindus, especially Vaishnavas
Type Hindu
Significance beginning of the chaturmas
Observances Prayers and religious rituals, including puja to Vishnu
Date
2013 date
2014 date
2015 date
2016 date
Related to Prabodhini Ekadashi

Shayani Ekadashi (lit. "sleeping eleventh") or Maha-ekadashi (lit. "The great eleventh") or Prathama-ekadashi (lit. "The first eleventh") or Padma Ekadashi or Devshayani Ekadashi or Devpodhi Ekadashi is the eleventh lunar day (Ekadashi) of the bright fortnight (Shukla paksha) of the Hindu month of Ashadha (June - July). Thus it is also known as Ashadhi Ekadashi or Ashadhi. This holy day is of special significance to Vaishnavas, followers of Hindu preserver god Vishnu. On this day images of Vishnu and Lakshmi are worshipped, the entire night is spent singing prayers, and devotees keep fast and take vows on this day, to be observed during the entire chaturmas, the holy four month period of rainy season. These may include, giving up a food item or fasting on every Ekadashi day.[1]

It is believed that Vishnu falls asleep in Ksheersagar - cosmic ocean of milk - on Shesha nāga, the cosmic serpent.[2] Thus the day is also called Dev-Shayani Ekadashi (lit. "god-sleeping eleventh") or Hari-shayani Ekadashi (lit. "Vishnu-sleeping eleventh") or Shayana Ekadashi. Vishnu finally awakens from his slumber four months later on Prabodhini Ekadashi - eleventh day of bright fortnight in the Hindu month Kartik (October–November). This period is known as Chaturmas (lit. "four months") and coincides with the rainy season. Thus, Shayani Ekadashi is the beginning of Chaturmas. Devotees start observing the Chaturmas vrata (vow) to please Vishnu on this day.[3]

A fast is observed on Shayani Ekadashi. The fast demands abstainance from all grains, beans, cereals, certain vegetables like onions and certain spices.

Significance

In the scripture Bhavishyottara Purana, god Krishna narrates significance of Shayani Ekadashi to Yudhisthira, as the creator-god Brahma narrated the significance to his son Narada once. The story of king Mandata is narrated in this context. The pious king's country had faced drought for three years, but the king was unable to find a solution to please the rain gods. Finally, sage Angiras advised the king to observe the vrata (vow) of Dev-shayani ekadashi. On doing so by the grace of Vishnu, there was rain in the kingdom.[3]

Pandharpur Yatra


This day, a huge yatra or religious procession of pilgrims known as Pandharpur Ashadi Ekadasi Waari Yatra culminates at Pandharpur, in Solapur district in south Maharashtra, situated on the banks of the ChandraBhaga River. Pandharpur is main center of worship of the deity Vithoba, a local form of Vishnu. lacs of pilgrims come to Pandharpur on this day from different parts of Maharashtra. Some of them carry Palkhis (palanquins) with the images of the saints of Maharashtra. Dnyaneshwar's image is carried from Alandi, Tukaram's from Dehu, Eknath's from Paithan, Nivruttinath's from Trimbakeshwar, Muktabai's from Muktainagar, Sopan's from Sasvad and Saint Gajanan Maharaj from Shegaon. These pilgrims are referred to as Warkaris. They sing Abhangas (chanting hymns) of Saint Tukaram and Saint Dnyaneshwar, dedicated to Vithoba.

References

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