Our Vedic literature, Acharyas, tell us to observe fast on Ekadashi and other festivals. As per them, observing fast on Ekadashi and other important festivals is a must and an integral part of spiritual life. Acharyas tell us that such regulations are made for those who want to associate with the Lord, Shri Hari, in the transcendental world. All great souls follow the regulations and get the result.
Pastime behind Vijaya Ekadashi
Once Maharaja Yudhishthira asked Lord Krishna,“O Vasedeva! Which Ekadashi comes during the Krishna paksha of phalgun month? Please tell me about it.”
Lord replied that once upon a time Devarshi Narada asked Brahmaji, “Please tell me about the regulations that one should observe on the Krishna paksha Ekadashi of phalgun month”.
Brahmaji informed Narada, “O Narada! Ekadashi during the Krishna paksha of phalgun month is known as Vijaya Ekadashi. Observing fasting on Vijaya Ekadashi destroys sinful reactions for both old and new sins. I haven’t told anyone about this Ekadashi before. This Ekadashi provides victory to all human beings.”
Why Lord Ramchandra ji had to observe fast on Vijaya Ekadashi?
In Treta Yuga, when Lord Ramachandra ji accepted to live in the forest in exile for 14 years, He started living in Panchvati with Lakshman ji and Sitaji. Demon king Ravana kidnapped Sitaji there. When Lord Ram and Lakshman came to know about the incident They were saddened by sorrow. They started searching for Sitaji. In the course of searching for Sitaji, They met dying Jatayu. Jatayu told Them the whole abduction story of Sitaji and died, attaining a higher planetary system. Further searching for Sitaji, They befriended Sugreeva and Lord Ram ji killed Baali.
Hanuman ji went to Lanka and found Sitaji there. After burning Lanka, Hanuman ji returned back to Lord Ram and informed Him about the whole scenario. Lord Ram, after hearing from Hanuman, decided to start for Lanka with Sugreeva along with his army. Reaching the seashore, Lord Ram told Lakshman ji that there were many deadly living creatures in that unfathomable sea. How could they cross the sea easily?
Lakshman ji replied, “O Lord! You are the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. You are omniscient and there is nothing which is unknown to You. Sage Bakad Albhya has lived on this island since ancient times and his hermitage is nearby. O Raghunandan, we should enquire from him.”
Instructions from sage Bakad Albhya
So Lord Ram went to meet sage Bakad Albhya in his hermitage and greeted him. The great sage, seeing Lord Ram, understood immediately that Ram ji none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Very humbly and with all respects he enquired from Lord Ram. He asked, “O Lord! How can I serve you? What is the motive behind your visit to my hermitage?”
Lord Ram replied, “O great sage! I am here to kill Ravana. Please tell me the way to cross this ocean.”
Bakad Albhya replied, “O Ram! By observing fast on Krishna paksha Ekadashi of phalgun month, undoubtedly You will win and You will be able to cross this ocean as well. To observe fast on this Ekadashi, one should make a pot of gold or silver or copper or mud and fill it with pure water. Decorate the pot with mango leaves and establish it on the deities altar. On the day of Ekadashi, after taking bath, one should worship the Lord, Shri Hari, with incense sticks, lamp, coconut, offerings. Thereafter spend the entire day chanting holy names of the Lord in front of the pot. Continue to chant holy names of the Lord the entire night. On dvadashi, on the bank of a river or a pond donate the pot in charity to an eligible brahman after worshipping the pot.”
Sage continued and said, “O Ram! If you observe this fast along with all of Your commanders of the army, undoubtedly victory would be Yours.”
In this way, Brahma ji explained Narada, “Narada! As per instructions from the sage, Lord Ramchandra ji observed fast on the Ekadashi and became victorious. O Son!, By the effect of observing fast on this Ekadashi, people will get success and will attain higher planets.”
Lord Shri Krishna further assured that by abiding by the rules and regulations of Vijaya Ekadashi, one attains the result of performing Vajpayi sacrifice.
How to observe Ekadashi in Kaliyuga?
When the lord incarnated as Shri Ram, He personally also observed fast on Ekadashi, one can understand from this incident that Ekadashi is very very dear to the Lord. We all should also learn from the ideal character of Lord Shi Ramchandra ji and must observe fast on this Ekadashi with full determination. We all should chant more and more the holy names of the Lord so that the unwanted dirt of lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness, envy would be removed. Thus we can take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord.
Fast Breaking time:- 18th Feb from 06:57 AM to 10:42 AM (New Delhi)
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