Krishna Paksha Ekadashi tithi of Shravana masa is celebrated as Aja Ekadashi. Aja Ekadashi is observed in the 'Bhadrapada' month in the northern states of India, while other parts of the country are Shravana masa. This Ekadashi is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.
In the 'Brahmavaivarta Purana,' Lord Krishna narrated the importance of this Aja Ekadashi vrat to Yudhisthira, the elder one in the Pandavas. This vrat was observed by King Harichandra to revive his dead son and lost kingdom.
Aja Ekadashi Date 2022
Mon , 22nd Aug 2022
The Magnanimity of Ekadashi Vrat
Bhagavad Gita says that Lord Krishna revealed this Ekadashi Vrat to King Yudhisthira and all the Pandavas followed this fast all their lifetime.
Being in 'Vrat' doesn't necessarily mean denial of food; it's the compulsive nature moderated during the Vrat. Ekadashi Vrat aims at making everything a conscious process. When we do not act based on compulsive nature, we become conscious.
When we are conscious, we choose; choose our reactions, our words, and actions. This is the cycle the Vrat taps into, by making a shift in our very nature, from compulsive to conscious. We collect data or memories based on day-to-day life, things we see, read, and eat.
Ekadashi creates a window to reflect on this memory pile, re-evaluate data fetched to our system, a hard reboot. It is also believed that a full stomach causes lethargy and dullness, and a light stomach keeps the mind sharp and alert. This Vrat is considered to be of incomparable power and benefits. There is a famous sloka on Ekadashi Vrat that goes,
“Na Gayathrya para mantram:
Na Mathu para dhaivatham:
Na Ganagasya paramam theertham:
Na Ekadasya samam vratham”
There is no mantra superior to Gayathri Mantra; there is no God superior to one's mother; there is no holy water superior to River Ganga and there is no vrata superior to the Ekadasi vrat.
According to Srimad Bhagavad Purana, this Ekadashi Vrat earns the same merit as performing an Ashwamedha homa, 10 times the merit of donating 1000 cows to a temple or an ashrama the merit of feeding 1000 sages or spiritual seekers.
Ideal Ekadashi Vrat rituals
The best way to celebrate Ekadashi is to observe fast and chant Vedic mantras. Ekadashi fasting means spiritual cleansing, spiritual detoxification of all senses. People refrain from consuming solid food, grains, pulses, or lentils on this day.
According to ancient Vedic scriptures, the Ekadashi fast spans for about three days. The day before Ekadasi, i.e., On Dashami, devotees relish one healthy balanced meal around the afternoon or before sunset to ensure no residual food remains in the body during Ekadashi.
On Ekadashi, devotees observe a sincere, clean fast and break the fast after sunrise of the next day. This has been the formal fasting process. In today's world, people follow different types of fast-
Nirjala Ekadashi: ultimate fast. Fast the whole day without eating and drinking water.
Rajala Ekadashi: similar to a juice fast. Consume water and fruit juices.
Farali Ekadashi: Fruit diet that is commonly followed. Consume Fruits and Milk only.
Aja Ekadashi Vrat rituals
Wake up in the Brahma muhurat, take a bath, and clean sacred live space at home for pooja and bhajan ceremonies. We can recite or meditate on Vishnu Sahasranama during this time.
Or be with the mantra "Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaaya" all day, learn more about Vishnu Mantras.
Choose a fast that suits your schedule for the day or activities for the day. It is generally preferred to avoid grains and pulses, or lentils, tubers on Ekadesi. Instead, eat fruits, positive prana foods like coconut, coconut water, dairy products, peppercorn, honey, and nuts.
Stay mindful of your every thought and action. Offer flowers and light a lamp for the Tulsi plant. We can participate in bhajan or homa remedy ceremonies. Temple visits, offerings, and donations are advised since they can deepen the sense of devotion.
Refrain from negative emotions like hate, anger, greed, jealously, and violence. Choose happier, inclusive attributes like empathy, care, faith, integrity.