Ekadashi falls in the month of Margaseersha (December-January).
Ekadashi festival is observed with all solemnity in the temples of
Lord Vishnu. It was on this day that during the "Sagara Mathana"
(churning of the ocean), 'Amrit' (nectar) emerged out of the ocean
and was distributed to the Gods. The Hindus consider this day very
auspicious and it is believed that those who die on this day are
freed from the rounds of birth and death; they directly reach
Vaikunta, the abode of Lord Vishnu. It is for this reason that the
Great King Bhishma waited long on his bed of arrows, to leave his
Fasting is prescribed on all
Ekadashis, that is, the 11th day of the lunar fortnight, twice a
month. In this Kali Yuga, even if just one 'Ekadashi' is observed
with dispassion, faith and devotion, and if the mind is wholly fixed
on Hari, one is freed from the rounds of birth and death. There is
no doubt about this. The scriptures give us their assurance on this
On Vaikunta Ekadashi day devotees fast the whole day,
observe vigil the whole night and do 'Japa' (meditation) and 'Hari
Kirtan' (devotional songs). Some do not take even a drop of water.
Those who are unable to fast completely can take some light fruit
No rice should be taken on
Ekadashi days and this is very important. It is said that the sweat
that fell down from the head of Brahma assumed the form of a demon
and he asked the Lord to provide him an abode to dwell. Brahma said
to the demon to go and dwell in the rice particles eaten by men on
Ekadashi day and become worms in their stomach. For this reason rice
is prohibited on Ekadashi.
was a demon, 'Mura', who oppressed the gods. The gods approached
Lord Hari for protection. Hari sent Yoga Maya to kill the demon.
Yoga Maya carried out the behests of the Lord successfully. The Lord
said to Yoga Maya that those who will observe Ekadashi will be freed
from all sins, and Yoga Maya will be caned by the name
Ambarisha was a great votary of Lord Hari. He practised the Ekadashi
Vrata for a year. Ambarisha obtained His Grace. On one occasion he
fasted for three consecutive days. He was about to break the fast
when Rishi Durvasa appeared as his guest. The king received him with
due respect and requested him to take his meals. The Rishi agreed
and went to bathe in the river. The king waited patiently for a long
time, but the Rishi did not return. Time was running out; if the
king did not eat anything before the day ended his Vrata would not
bear fruit and if he ate, he would be showing disregard to the
Rishi. As a compromise the king took a little water to serve both
When Durvasa returned from his bath, he knew
exactly what had happened, and was angry. He tore a hair from his
tuft and charged him to king Ambarisha. The king was unmoved. The
discus of Lord Vishnu destroyed the power of the hair of Durvasa. It
now followed the Rishi wherever he went and tried to destroy him.
Rishi Durvasa went to Brahma and Shiva for help, but to no
avail. He went to Lord Hari who said that he is in the possession of
his devotees. Lord said that the Rishi should go to Ambaisha abd beg
for his forgiveness. Ambarisha there upon prayed to the charged hair
to desist from its course, and saved the Rishi. Durvasa thanked him
from the bottom of his heart.