Aja Ekadashi, also known as Ananda Ekadashi is a fast observed on the eleventh day during the waning phase of moon (Krishna Paksha) in the month of Bhadrapad in North India. The corresponding period in other regions is the Krishna Paksha of Shravan month.
On this day people worship Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi to get rid of ill effects on their lives and gain apology for all the sins they have committed in the past. People also attain a balanced life as it purifies heart and soul.
The celebration of Aja Ekadashi involves observation of a fast which is believed to result in the washing away of all the sins committed by the devotee.
Aja Ekadasi Vrat Katha was narrated to Yudhishtira by Lord Krishna. The story of Ananda Ekadashi is associated with the famous king Harischandra.
King Harischandra was famous for his truthfulness and honesty. Once Sage Vashista praised the truthfulness of Raja Harischandra but Sage Vishwamitra was not ready to accept it and he decides to test King Harischandra. Vishwamitra vows to prove that Harischandra also lies.
As a result of Vishwamitra’s tests, King Harischandra had to give up his kingdom and family and had to take refuge in Kashi. He becomes an undertaker in Kashi. But never lies. He always upheld truthfulness and proper code of conduct.
One day the great sage Guatama met King Harischandra and the king narrated his sad tale to him. Sage Gautama advised King Harischandra to observe Aja Ekadashi which has the power to
remove all sins. The King observed Aja Ekadashi and continued his firm faith in truthfulness.
Soon Sage Vishwamitra accepts his defeat and restores the kingdom, half of his power and all the glory to Harischandra. By the power of observing Aja Ekadasi, the King also got back his wife and his dead son became alive.
King Harischandra ruled the kingdom for several years and finally got Moksha and reached the Vaikunta all with the influence of observing Aja Ekadashi.
Rituals & Customs
Taking holy baths in the morning
Observe fast throughout the day (Ignore if having health and other serious issues)
Worship Lord Vishnu (Possibly VishnuSahasraNama)
Visit nearby Vishnu temple
Ekadasi/Ekadashi, is an important Upvaas (fast) dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Millions of Hindu devotees observe Ekadashi, which is considered highly auspicious by Lord Vishnu devotees.
It is believed that demon Mura found a dwelling place in the rice and Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Ekadashi to annihilate Mura. Therefore devotees who fast on the Ekadashi day avoid food made from grains. Many devotees due to several reasons – like health and job commitments – observe partial fast on the day. Such people avoid non-vegetarian and food items made from beans, pulses and grains, especially rice.
Complete fasting involves total abstinence from food and water for 24 hours.
Partial fasting involves consumption of fruits and milk and the avoidance of rice and grains.
People with health problems can opt for partial fasting after consulting with their doctors.
Some people take only a single meal on the Dasami day, the day before Ekadashi.
In Hinduism, Upvaas is meant to bring a person close to God. Spend the day in purifying the mind and body.
The fasting comes to an end on the Dwadashi day with the consuming of food cooked in one’s house.
Benefits of Fasting
Fasting gives the system a rest: The physiological system may become overworked due to a little overeating or indiscrimination in diet. Fasting gives the system a chance to catch up.
Fasting helps us practice self-discipline in eating and concentrate more on pleasing God.
Fasting helps keep the body light and the stomach free so that one can meditate better. The digestive system draws the blood circulation towards the digestive organs. Therefore blood circulation to the head is decreased once food is taken: so we feel sleepy.
Observing Ekadashi increases spiritual advancement.
The fast observed during the waning phase of the moon (Krishna Paksha) in the month of Bhadrapad or Bhadra is known as Annada Ekadashi. It falls in the month of August or September in the Gregorian calendar. While in North India, it is observed during the Krishna Paksha in Bhadra month, in other Indian regions, it is observed in the month of Shravan. Hindu devotees believe the observance of this vrat eradicates all their sinful and evil activities. Also known as Aja Ekadashi or Ananda Ekadashi, this vrat is dedicated towards Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Lakshmi. Read on further to know the story of Annada Ekadashi fasting and the procedure for observing the same.
How To Observe Aja Ekadashi Vrat
The legend behind the observance of Annada Ekadashi can be taken back to the famous king Harischandra. He was known for his truthfulness and honesty. One day, Sage Vashista and Sage Vishwamitra betted on the truthfulness of the king. While sage Vashista was in favor of the king, sage Vishwamitra objected that the king also lies. As a result, king Harischandra had to give up his kingdom and leave for Kashi. Though he became an undertaker in Kashi, he never lied. He always stood by his word and followed a proper code of conduct. One fine day, the king happened to meet the great sage Gautama. The king recounted his entire sad story to the sage. Thereafter, the sage suggested the king to observe the Annada Ekadashi since it had the power to wash away all the sins. Agreed, the king observed the fast and continued with his firm belief in honesty and truthfulness. Hence, as expected, sage Vishwamitra accepted his defeat and returned the kingdom to the king. Moreover, the king was even able to get back his wife and his dead son became alive. Eventually, the king ruled his kingdom happily for many years and finally, attained Moksha (salvation) and reached the Vaikunta. There are no specific rules for observing the fast on Annada Ekadashi. All general rules for the Ekadashi are followed on this day as well. Rice, grains and beans are avoided.Read more at http://festivals.iloveindia.com/rituals/annada-ekadashi-vrat.html#PcyEO5XS4H0mitV3.99
Significance of Aja Ekadashi:
The significance of Aja Ekadashi has been known since the ancient times. Lord Krishna in the ‘Brahmavaivarta Purana’ stated the importance of this vrat to Yudhisthira, the eldest of Pandavas. This vrat was even performed by Raja Harishchandra, and as an outcome he got back his dead son and lost kingdom. This vrat thus motivates a person to choose a path of salvation and ultimately achieve freedom from the cycle of birth and death. The observer of the Aja Ekadashi vrat must keep control on his/her body, emotions, behaviour and food. The fast will purify the heart and soul.
It is mentioned in the Hindu Puranas and holy scriptures that when a person keeps the Aja Ekadashi vrat with full devotion, all his sins of the present life will be pardoned. His/her life will also be filled with happiness and prosperity, and after death they will be taken to Lord Vishnu’s dham, ‘Vaikunta’. It is also believed that by observing the Aja Ekadashi vrat, the person gets the same benefits as those by performing the ‘Ashwamegh Yagya’.
|| Om Namo Narayanaya ||
भाद्रपद कृष्ण पक्ष की एकादशी प्रबोधनी , जया , कामनी ,तथा अजा नाम से विख्यात है , इस तिथि को श्री हरी विष्णु जी की आराधना ,व्रत ,वा रात्रि जागरण करने से शुभ फल की प्राप्ति होती है , कथा इस प्रकार है कि चक्रवर्ती राजा हरिश्चंद्र सपने में अपना राजपाठ ऋषि विश्वामित्र को दान में दे देते हैं और अगली सुबह राजा के दरबार में विश्वामित्र का आगवान होता तो राजा हरिश्चंद पिछली रात जो कुछ सपने में देखा था उसे पूरा करते हैं | विधि विधान से ऋषि को अपना सारा राजपाठ दान दर देते हैं| रजा की समस्त संपत्ति ले लेने के बाद विश्वामित्र पांच स्वर्ण मुद्राओं की और मांग करते हैं | जिसे पूरा करने के लिये राजन को खुद को बेचना पड़ा | राजा को एक डोम ने ख़रीदा और उन्हें शमशान में चिता जलाने का काम दिया | राजा वर्षो यह काम करते | एक दिन राजा की भेट गोतम ऋषि से हो गई राजन ने अपनी आप बीती ऋषिवर को सुनाई उन्होंने राजा को अजा एकादशी व्रत करने को कहा इशी तिथि को राजन के पुत्र का शव शमशान पंहुचा राजन व्रत कर रहे थे | महारानी ने अपनी साड़ी आधी फाड़कर शमशान का कर चुकाया उसी समय आकाशवाणी हुई और विष्णु जी प्रकट हुए आशीर्वाद देते हुए बोले तुम्हारी भक्ति ,सत्यनिष्टा ,ईमानदारी से मैं प्रसन्न हुआ | मैं वरदान देता हूं के तुम्हारे परिवार का बाकि का जीवन सुख आनंद से बाकि जीवन व्यतीत होगा और तुम सत्यवादी राजा हरिश्चंद के नाम से संसार भर में ख्याति प्राप्त करोगे |