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Shayani Ekadashi

Shayani Ekadashi is popularly known as Deva-shayani Ekadashi. It is also locally known as Maha-ekadashi. This particular Ekadashi is observed by the Hindus and especially Vaishnavas. This auspicious day signifies the beginning of the chaturmas. On this day, devotees wholeheartedly worship Lord Vishnu. This Ekadashi is also related to Prabodhini Ekadashi. In Sanskrit language, Maha-ekadashi means “The great eleventh”, Shayani Ekadashi means “sleeping eleventh”, Prathama-ekadashi means “The first eleventh”. It is to be highly noted that Padma Ekadashi, Devpodhi Ekadashi and Devshayani Ekadashi is the eleventh lunar day (Ekadashi), of the Hindu month of Ashadha (June – July), of the bright fortnight (Shukla paksha). Therefore, it is also called as Ashadhi Ekadashi as it falls in the month of Ashadhi as per the Hindu traditional calendar. This particular auspicious and holy day has special significance to Vaishnavas, who are ardent followers of Hindu preserver god Lord Vishnu.

According to Hindu religious scholars and pundits, “On this day images of Vishnu and Lakshmi are worshipped, the entire night is spent singing prayers, and devotees keep fast and take vows on this day, to be observed during the entire chaturmas, the holy four month period of rainy season. These may include, giving up a food item or fasting on every Ekadashi day.”

It is strongly believed that in Ksheersagar – cosmic ocean of milk, Vishnu falls asleep – on Shesha nāga, the cosmic serpent. Therefore, this auspicious day is called as Dev-Shayani Ekadashi which means “god-sleeping eleventh”. The religious term for this particular Ekadashi is Shayana Ekadashi or “Vishnu-sleeping eleventh” or Hari-shayani Ekadashi. In the Hindu month Kartik (October–November), on Prabodhini Ekadashi – eleventh day of bright fortnight, Lord Vishnu finally awakens from his slumber four months later. On this day, devotees observe fasting and visit temples that are dedicated to Lord Vishnu with great devotion and dedication.

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