Jaya Ekadashi falls in the month of Magh according to the traditional Hindu lunar calendar. It occurs on the 11th day during Shukla Paksha, that is, during the waxing phase of the moon. While the North Indians observe this ritual as Jaya Ekadashi, in South India, it is observed as Bhisma Ekadashi or Bheesma Ekadashi, particularly in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Devotees of Lord Vishnu observe vrat on Jaya Ekadashi as they consider it to be highly beneficial. The fast calls for double worshipping since the Ekadashi is auspicious for Lord Vishnu while the month in which it is observed is Magh, regarded fortunate for Shiva pujas. Continue reading to learn about the story of Jaya Ekadashi and the method for observing the vrat.
How To Observe Jaya Ekadasi Vrat
Legends say that Bhishma chose this period to relieve his body and rise for the heavenly abode with the Supreme Soul (Brahman). While lying in a bed of arrows after the war of Mahabharata, Bhishma divulged Vishnu Sahasranama Stothram, or Lord Vishnu, to the Pandavas on this day. This Vishnu Sahasranama Stothram was revealed in the presence of Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Hence, this day is highly auspicious in the Hindu mythology which is observed with immense trust and respect.
Hindu devotees consider observing a vrat, or fast, on Jaya Ekadashi will assist in eradicating the sins committed by one. They also believe that doing so will help them achieve salvation or liberation (Moksha). While pious devotees observe a complete fast on this day, some opt for a partial fast. On the day before Jaya Ekadashi, people consume a single meal as a part of preparation for the fast. On Jaya Ekadashi, devotees rise up early and take a bath after which they offer their morning prayers to Lord Vishnu.
The vrat is observed for 24 hours, either full or partial abstinence from food. Foods like rice, grains, honey, and eating in a bell metal plate. However, fruits, nuts, milk products, vegetables and dried fruits can be consumed. Firm Vishnu devotees keep awake during the entire night and spend their time at Vishnu temples by singing hymns or listening to stories devoted to Lord Vishnu. On the next morning, after bathing and offering prayers, a lamp is lit and the vrat is hence broken.