History and Significance of Devshayani Ekadashi

Eighteenth century Vaishnava painting decipting Vishnu,on the serpent Anant Shesha with consort Lakshmi,pressing his feet; sage Markandeya paying his respects to Vishnu, while Brahma emerges in a lotus from Vishnu's navel.

Today is our Hindu’s auspicious festival day, Devshayani Ekadashi, and this is devoted to Bhagwan Vishnu and Mata Lakshmi. Devshayani Ekadashi is celebrated to mark the 11th day of the Shukla paksha. 

It is the day when Bhagwan Vishnu goes into a state of Yogic sleep for four months. Devshayani Ekadashi also marks the beginning of Chaturmas, which is a holy period of four months.

Devshayani Ekadashi significance:

According to Hinduism, Devshayani Ekadashi is when Bhagwan Vishnu goes into a state of yogic meditation for around four months. It is assumed that he sleeps on Shesh Naag in the Kshirasagara bed, and during his absence, Bhagwan Shiva looks after the entire universe.

It is also believed that there was once a king with a beautifully large kingdom that he governed. The king had faced drought for three years, but he could not find a solution to please the rain gods. Finally, sage Angiras urged the king to observe the vow (vrata) of Dev-Shayani Ekadashi. On doing so, by the grace of Bhagwan Vishnu, there was rain in the kingdom, and the land came out alive. 

Pandharpur Yatra

Pandharpur Wari is an annual yatra (pilgrimage) to the town of Pandharpur, which is the seat of Hindu Bhagwan Vitthal in Maharashtra. Vittal is a local form of Vishnu. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims come to the town of Pandharpur on this day from various parts of Maharashtra. Saints from the Ancient Era used to perform pilgrimage to Pandharpur by foot for fifteen days, reaching Pandharpur’s Vithoba temple on Devshayani Ekadashi.

Rituals on Devshayani Ekadashi

On this day, Bhagwan Vishnu and Mata Lakshmi’s images are worshiped, the entire night is spent singing prayers, and devotees vividly keep fast and take vows on this day, to be observed during the whole chaturmas, the auspicious four-month period of the rainy season. These may include fasting on every Ekadashi or giving up a food item.

A fast is kept on this Ekadashi. The fast demands refraining from all beans, grains, certain vegetables like onions, cereals, and certain spices.

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