Rituals and Observances
Preparations: Devotees prepare for Devshayani Ekadashi with great enthusiasm and devotion by making their homes aesthetically ready for a spiritual occasion. They wholeheartedly decorate their Puja (worship) room or altar and get ready before sunrise as this day holds immense significance. It is believed that by cleansing the body and having a calm mind the soul gets empowered to have a spiritual connection with Lord Vishnu.
Fasting and Prayer: Fasting is an essential aspect of Devshayani Ekadashi and that is what devotees of Lord Vishnu do. Actually, fasting is a spiritual practice that is synonymous with all Ekadashis. The main aim of fasting on an Ekadashi is to make ourselves receptive to the Grace of Lord Vishnu and to make our souls reverberate on frequencies linked to higher realms.
As part of their spiritual practice or rituals, devotees spend their time in praying, singing sacred hymns and reading or listening to sacred scriptures.
Puja and Offerings: Devotees perform special puja rituals dedicated to Lord Vishnu on Devshayani Ekadashi. They offer flowers, incense, lighted lamps, and holy water to the deity. The puja concludes after the vrat (fast) is completed the next Sunrise with the distribution of prasad, which is considered auspicious and is consumed by all family members.
Chaturmas Vrat: On Devshayani Ekadashi a very significant period of Chaturmas begins during which people undertake something which is known as the “Chaturmas Vrat”. Chaturmas, meaning "four months," is a sacred period observed by devout Hindus. It spans from Devshayani Ekadashi to Prabodhini Ekadashi, which occurs four months later. Many people undertake vows during this period, such as abstaining from certain foods or practicing specific spiritual disciplines. It is believed that observing Chaturmas Vrat brings spiritual purification and helps attain divine blessings.
Date and Auspicious Timings: Devshayani Ekadashi is observed in the month of Ashadha, which corresponds to June or July in the Gregorian calendar. The exact date of Devshayani Ekadashi varies each year based on the lunar calendar. In 2023, Devshayani Ekadashi will be celebrated on 29th June.
The auspicious timings for the observance of Devshayani Ekadashi are as follows:
Parana which means the completion of the fast (vrat) will take place on 30th June.
- Ekadashi Tithi (Lunar Date) begins on 29th June 2023 at 03:12 AM
- Ekadashi Tithi (Lunar Date) ends on 30th June 2023 at 02:45 AM
- Fast Parana Time: 30th June 2023 1:49 PM to 04:39 PM
Devshayani Ekadashi is celebrated with great enthusiasm and unique customs across different regions of India. Let's take a look at some of the regional variations and the distinctive ways in which Devshayani Ekadashi is observed.
Maharashtra: Ashadi Ekadashi
The town of Pandharpur in Maharashtra becomes the center of attention during this time. A large number of Vishnu devotees go on what is called the “Pandharpur Wari Yatra”. They walk long distances, singing devotional songs and carrying palanquins with idols of Lord Vithoba and Goddess Rukmini, seeking Their blessings and this “Yatra” or the spiritual journey of devotees gets completed in Pandharpur after they worship Lord Vishnu who is known as Vithoba in that region.
Gujarat: Padma Ekadashi
In Gujarat, Devshayani Ekadashi is celebrated as Padma Ekadashi. The festival holds immense significance, and devotees engage in various rituals and prayers to seek the divine grace of Lord Vishnu. The temples of Lord Vishnu witness a huge number of devotees immersing themselves in the spirit of Devshayani Ekadashi. One popular custom observed in Gujarat is the preparation of a special dish called "Padmini Khichdi" or lotus seed khichdi. It is made using ingredients such as lotus seeds, spices, and ghee. It is considered auspicious to consume this dish on Devshayani Ekadashi.
Rajasthan: Toli Ekadashi
Devshayani Ekadashi also goes by the name of Toli Ekadashi in Rajasthan and the highlight of Toli Ekadashi is the colorful procession known as the "Toli." It involves beautifully decorated chariots, camels, and elephants, carrying idols of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.
Tamil Nadu: Maha Ekadashi
In Tamil Nadu, Devshayani Ekadashi is known as Maha Ekadashi. Special prayers and rituals are conducted in Vishnu temples across the state. Devotees observe a strict fast, and the day is spent in devotional activities such as singing hymns and reciting prayers. In some places, a grand feast known as "Thirupavithrothsavam" is organized, where devotees gather to partake in a sacred meal together.
Odisha: Harishayani Ekadashi
In Odisha, Devshayani Ekadashi is celebrated as Harishayani Ekadashi. It is a significant festival observed with deep devotion with devotees worshipping Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Jagannath over there. A special ritual called "Sayan Dwadashi" is performed, where idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra are laid on a beautifully decorated swing and worshipped. Devotees also participate in processions, singing devotional songs and chanting prayers.
These are just a few examples of the regional celebrations of Devshayani Ekadashi. Each region adds its own cultural flavors and customs to this auspicious occasion, making it a truly diverse and vibrant festival celebrated throughout India.
Significance of Devshayani Ekadashi
Ekadashi holds immense significance in Hindu culture and is considered a highly auspicious day for devotees. Let's explore the profound meaning and importance behind the observance of Devshayani Ekadashi.
Divine Rest of Lord Vishnu: Devshayani Ekadashi marks the commencement of Lord Vishnu's divine rest which is called the “Yog Nidra” meaning the Yogic Sleep that goes on for 4 months. This period is known as the "Chaturmas" and signifies a time of rest and rejuvenation for the divine preserver of the universe.
Sustaining the Universe: While Lord Vishnu sleeps, it is believed that He continues to sustain the universe and all its beings. Devotees consider this time to be highly sacred, as they believe that Lord Vishnu bestows His blessings and protection upon them during His Yog Nidra. It is an opportunity for devotees to deepen their connection with the divine and seek His divine grace.
Spiritual Awakening and Enlightenment: Devotees take part in various sacred rituals such as fasting, singing devotional songs, reciting hymns etc. to prepare themselves for receiving auspicious energies and blessings from divine realms. It is believed that observing the rituals and practices associated with this day helps in attaining spiritual progress, awakening one's consciousness, and experiencing a deep connection with the divine.
Purity and Devotion: Devshayani Ekadashi emphasizes the significance of purity and devotion in one's spiritual journey. Observing a strict fast and engaging in prayers and rituals are seen as acts of devotion and surrender to Lord Vishnu. By observing the rituals associated with Devshayani Ekadashi, one can make significant progress both on the spiritual as well as material planes and subsequently move ahead on the path to “Moksha” or ultimate liberation.