Fasting to be observed on 19th JULY 2013
This is the day where Sriman Narayana falls asleep with the other demigods in Ksheerasagar – cosmic ocean of milk – on Shesha naaga, the thousand-headed cosmic serpent. Vishnu finally awakens from his slumber four months later on Prabodhini Ekadhasi during Oct-Nov. This period is known as Chathurmasya and coincides with the rainy season. Thus, Shayani Ekadashi is the beginning of Chathurmasya. Devotees start observing the Chathurmasya Vratha to please Vishnu on this day. Thus this Ekadhasi is also known as Deva-Shayani Ekadhasi. Deva refers to Sri Vishnu and Shayani denotes resting or sleeping.
Sriman Narayana has told that,
- “Whether one takes fruits, roots, or even water on My sleeping day, or My turning-over-on-My-side day of Ekadhasis, he pierces My heart with a sharp spear.”
The Ekādhaśī that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Āṣāḍha (June-July) is the Shayani or Padma Ekadhasi.
- As Sri Hari will be going into Yoga Nidra on this Ekadhasi, One should fast this Ekadhasi completely even without taking water.
- Whoever observes this sacred fast will never enter into hell.
- This Ekādhaśī bestows perfection upon its faithful observers, removes all kinds of bad elements, and destroys all obstacles on the path to perfection.
- As Chathurmasya starts from this Ekadhasi, by fasting completely on this Ekadhasi brings invaluable merits.
There is a wonderful historical event that was recorded in the scriptures regarding this Ekādhaśī. Just hearing this account destroys all kinds of sins, along with all obstacles on the path to spiritual perfection.
There was once a saintly king named Māndhātā in the Sun dynasty who always stood up for the truth. Once because of some sin in the kingdom, there was a drought for three years. Everything became impossible for everyone without water and grains. The king meditated upon the cause of their problem for a long time, but even after searching his past and present character he honestly said that he can find no sin. Finally the king decided to go into forest searching for advices from sages.
At last he came upon the Aṅgirā Muni, whose effulgence lit up all directions. King Māndhātā was very please and immediately dismounted his horse and offered his respectful obeisances and told him their problem.
Aṅgirā Ṛṣi said to the king, “The present age, Satya yuga, is the best of all ages, for in this age Dharma stands on all four legs. In this age everyone respects brāhmaṇas as the topmost members of society. Only twice-born brāhmaṇas are allowed to perform Vedic austerities and penances. Although this is a standard, there is one śudra who is unlawfully performing the rites of austerity and penance in your kingdom. This is why there is no rain in your land. You should therefore punish this laborer with death, for by so doing you will remove the contamination inflicted by his actions and restore peace to your subjects.”
The king then replied, “How can I kill an offense-less performer of austerity and sacrifice? Please give me some spiritual solution.”
Aṅgirā Ṛṣi said, “O king, you should observe a fast on the Ekādhaśī that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Āṣāḍha. This auspicious day is named Padmā Ekādhaśī, and by its influence plentiful rains and thus grains and other foodstuffs will surely return to your kingdom. This Ekādhaśī bestows perfection upon its faithful observers, removes all kinds of bad elements, and destroys all obstacles on the path to perfection. O king, you, your relatives, and your subjects should all observe this sacred Ekādhaśī fast. Then everything in your kingdom will undoubtedly return to normal.”
Hearing these words King Māndhātā assembled all the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiṣyas and śudras in his kingdom and instructed them to strictly observe this important fast day. After they had observed it, the rains fell, just as the sage had predicted, and in due course of time there were abundant crops and a rich harvest of grain. By the mercy of the Supreme Lord Hṛṣīkeśa, the master of the senses, all the subjects of King Māndhātā became extremely happy and prosperous.