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Devshayani Ekadashi: Lord Vishnu's Divine Rest


India  •  29 Jun, 2023  •  2,832 Views  •  ⭐ 5.0

Written by Anand Swami


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Devshayani Ekadashi, also known as Ashadhi Ekadashi, is an auspicious Hindu festival celebrated with great fervour and devotion. Falling on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the Hindu month of Ashadha (June-July), this festival marks the beginning of the four months known as Chaturmas, during which Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, takes his divine sleep.

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Significance of Devshayani Ekadashi

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Devshayani Ekadashi holds immense spiritual significance among Hindus. It is believed that on this day, Lord Vishnu goes into a deep slumber on the cosmic serpent, Shesha, in the Ksheer Sagar (ocean of milk) and rests for four months. It is said that during this period, all the gods and celestial beings also rest. Devotees fast and pray on this day to seek blessings from Lord Vishnu for a prosperous life and to ensure the well-being of their families.

The History of Devshayani Ekadashi

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According to ancient Hindu scriptures, the significance of Devshayani Ekadashi is rooted in the Mahabharata. It is believed that King Yudhishthira approached Lord Krishna and sought his guidance to attain spiritual enlightenment. In response, Lord Krishna narrated the importance of Devshayani Ekadashi and how observing this fast can absolve one of all sins, leading to liberation (moksha). Impressed by Lord Krishna's teachings, King Yudhishthira observed the fast and received immense blessings.

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Lord Vishnu and His Divine Sleep

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Lord Vishnu, the Supreme God in Hinduism, is regarded as the preserver and protector of the universe. Devshayani Ekadashi symbolizes the divine sleep of Lord Vishnu. As per Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu reclines on Shesha, the cosmic serpent, in the Ksheer Sagar, and his sleep marks the beginning of the Chaturmas. It is believed that during this time, Lord Vishnu remains absorbed in deep meditation and continues to fulfil the desires of his devotees.

The Observance of Devshayani Ekadashi

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Devotees observe Devshayani Ekadashi by observing a strict fast. They abstain from consuming food and water for the entire day and spend their time in prayer, reciting hymns, and singing devotional songs in praise of Lord Vishnu. Many pilgrims also visit temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and offer special prayers. It is believed that observing this fast with utmost devotion and sincerity brings peace, prosperity, and spiritual growth.

The Legend of Mandhata and Shaivya

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One of the popular legends associated with Devshayani Ekadashi revolves around the righteous King Mandhata. Once, a severe drought struck his kingdom, causing distress among his subjects. Seeking a solution, King Mandhata observed the fast of Devshayani Ekadashi. Pleased with his devotion, Lord Vishnu appeared in his dream and advised him to perform a particular ritual to bring rain. Following Lord Vishnu's instructions, King Mandhata performed the rituals and witnessed rainfall, saving his kingdom from the drought.

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Prayers and Rituals

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Devshayani Ekadashi Celebrations across India

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Devshayani Ekadashi is celebrated with enthusiasm in various parts of India. In the state of Maharashtra, it is marked by the grand procession of Lord Vitthal and Rukmini in Pandharpur, attracting millions of devotees. In Uttar Pradesh, the city of Mathura witnesses vibrant festivities, where devotees throng to offer prayers at Lord Krishna's temples. The festival is also celebrated with great zeal in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and other regions where Lord Vishnu is worshipped.

Conclusion

Devshayani Ekadashi holds deep spiritual significance and offers devotees an opportunity to connect with Lord Vishnu on a profound level. The festival signifies the divine sleep of Lord Vishnu and marks the beginning of a period of spiritual introspection.

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