According to the Hindu calendar, Ekadashi is the 11th day after the full moon and the 11th day after the new moon. Considered one of the most vital fasts in the Hindu Lunar calendar, Ekadashi falls twice every month and is known as Shukla Paksha or Gaura Paksha, which means the period of brightening moon, and Krishna Paksha, which means dark lunar fortnight. In a year, there are a total of 24 Ekadashis, and each Ekadashi has specific benefits and influences. On each Ekadashi, different rituals and customary activities are performed.

Importance of Fasting on Ekadashi

When analysing the Hindu Lunar calendar, it is observed that human physiology undergoes a cycle called a mandala every 40-48 days. This cycle has three specific days when the body does not demand food. While these particular days can differ from individual to individual, you can attain excellent efficiency and peace if you can point out those days in your life.

Suppose you wonder when to start and end your Ekadashi Vrat or the fast's timings. In that case, the answer is that the fasting of Ekadashi is observed starting from the sunset on the day before Ekadashi until the sunrise of the next day after Ekadashi, meaning thereby that the fast lasts for 48 hours.

As per Hindu scriptures, Lord Rama said that if an individual observes regular fasting on Ekadashi, one can nullify their past sins.

Upcoming Ekadashi in 2022

  • Sunday, 10 July: Deva Shayani Ekadashi
  • Sunday, 24 July: Kamika Ekadashi
  • Monday, 08 August: Shravana Putrada Ekadashi
  • Tuesday, 23 August: Aja Ekadashi
  • Tuesday, 06 September: Parivartini Ekadashi
  • Wednesday, 21 September: Indira Ekadashi
  • Thursday, 06 October: Papankusha Ekadashi
  • Friday, 21 October: Rama Ekadashi
  • Friday, 04 November: Devutthana Ekadashi
  • Sunday, 20 November: Utpanna Ekadashi
  • Saturday, 03 December: Mokshada Ekadashi
  • Monday, 19 December: Saphala Ekadashi

Hindu Scriptures and Ekadashi

Considering the Hindu Panchang calendar, all days of Ekadashi hold a crucial role. However, particularly in Vaishnava tradition, Vaikunta Ekadashi is the most significant Ekadashi. Vaikunta Ekadashi, also known as Mukkoti Ekadashi or Swarga Vathil Ekadashi, is a day when festivals, prayers, and yagnas are arranged at Vishnu temples across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh.

People believe that during Ekadashi, a person can reach their highest potential and achieve their goals through increased productivity. Moreover, on the auspicious day of Ekadashi, fasting can help an individual get mental peace, gain spiritual insights, and help the body get healthier.

The day of Ekadashi is when the body departs from its day-to-day dietary irregularities, and it is considered that on this day, a person is cleansed of all sins.

Ways to Fast on Ekadashi

  • On the dates of Ekadashi, a person must avoid drinking water during fasting. This type of vrat is called Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat. But, if anyone cannot keep a fast without water consumption, they can adopt a fruit diet. In addition, people should also avoid clipping nails, shaving, and cutting hair on this auspicious day.
  • Sometimes Ekadashi fasting is suggested on two consecutive days. It is advisable for Smartha, alongside their family, to observe fasting on the first day only.
  • The alternate Ekadashi fasting, the second one, is for Sanyasis, widows, or anyone who wishes to attain Moksha.
  • If alternate Ekadashi fasting is suggested for Smartha, it coincides with Vaishnava Ekadashi fasting day.
  • Another word for Nirjala Ekadashi, or vrat without water consumption, is Bhimseni or Bhima Ekadashi.

What are the mantras for the Ekadashi Vrat?

People observing fasts and offering puja are supposed to chant these mantras throughout the day to attain maximum benefits. These mantras are believed to instil peace and serenity in the soul of the chanter.

  • Vishnu Mantra: Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
  • Krishna Mahamantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

Rituals to avoid on Ekadashi

  • Funerals or Shraddha Puja are to be abstained from at all costs.
  • Marriage ceremonies and Havans should not take place on Ekadashi.
  • Devotees and believers are not allowed to eat grains or cereals on this day.
  • If a person is compelled to conduct any ritual on the auspicious day of Ekadashi, then they should offer only non-grain items to guests.

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Frequently Asked Questions

It is widely believed that devotees who observe a strict fast and break it only after sunrise will be able to get rid of malefic planetary influences and be blessed with prosperity. Devotees can keep the vrat with either just water, without water, or with only fruits. This day is significant to the worship of Lord Vishnu, who is believed to bless his devotees wholeheartedly.
One of the significant rules of Ekadashi fasting is that it is forbidden to eat rice. In Hinduism, it is believed that if a person eats rice during the Ekadashi fasting, they will take birth as a reptile in the next birth.
Apara Ekadashi falls on the Jyeshta month and holds prime importance for married women. On this day, if married women observe a fast, they will be blessed with utmost happiness, prosperity and stability in their marital life.