Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Ashadhi Ekadashi

Ashadhi Ekadashi is an auspicious day of God Shri.Vitthal and is a festival of religious procession which is celebrated during the month of June-July.As per the Marathi calendar, it is Aashadh Shukla Paksha. People consider the two eleventh days, 'Ekadashi',of every month to be of special significance.And the eleventh day (bright) of Ashadh is known as the Maha (great) Ekadashi. Ekadashi is considered as the date (tithi) of Lord Vishnu,so,it is also referred to as Haridini (Hari's, that is, Lord Vishnu's day).In other religious festivals there are vows and resolutions but ekadashi need not be observed with a resolution (sankalpa) and ritual.It is the basic among all vowed religious observances and rituals.

The proportion of satva,raja,tama components in every organism varies according to time/season (samay/kal).On the eleventh day of each Hindu lunar fortnights,the satva component is maximum in all living beings.So it benefits the most if spiritual practice is done on an ekadashi day.

This period coincides with the rainy season and is also known as Chaturmas.Ashadhi Ekadashi is a fasting day and on this day people go walking in a huge processions from Alandi to Pandharpur,singing the Abhangas (devotional songs) of Vithoba,Saint Tukaram and Saint Dnyaneshwar.The 'Dindi'(procession) starts from Alandi and ends on Guru Poornima day at Pandharpur. Ashadhi ekadashi is also known by the following names - Maha Ekadashi(the great eleventh),Shayani Ekadashi (the sleeping eleventh),Prathama Ekadashi (the first eleventh) and the Padma Ekadashi.It is believed that on this day, Lord Vishnu falls asleep and wakes up four months later on Prabodhini Ekadashi in the Kartik month(oct-nov).This holy day is very important for the 'Vaishnavas",being the followers of Lord Vishnu.
The “Vi” in Lord Vithoba’s name denotes knowledge and “Thoba” denotes shape.So, He is the idol of knowledge. Another interpretation is that the word “Vitthal” is said to be derived from the Marathi word “Vit”, meaning brick.The reason behind the brick will be explained later in this article. “Ba” is used to denote “father” in Marathi.


In recent times, the holy festival of ‘Ashadi Ekadashi’ has seen multitudes from the states of Maharashtra and Goa make the pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate this important festival in the Divine Presence.
Devotees from the states of Maharashtra and Goa commence their Dindi Yatra from the town of Dharmavaram (about 40 kilometres from Puttaparthy) on foot and reach Prasanthi Nilayam, on the morning of Ashadi Ekadashi to have the Darshan and blessings of Bhagawan. This is usually followed by a cultural programme presented by the Bal Vikas children of Maharashtra and Goa


All of them being tired of journey,decided to rest for some days there itself.The next morning,just before the dawn,Pundalik saw a group of beautiful, young women dressed in dirty clothes who entered the hermitage.They cleaned the floor,washed the Sage’s clothes and did other such jobs.On finishing their jobs, they went to the prayer room and came out with spotlessly clean clothes and they disappeared.
Pundalik was very happy to see all this but thought he was dreaming.The next day when the incident was repeated,he talked to the women and asked curiously,'Who are you ?'They replied,'We are Ganga, Yamuna and all the holy rivers of India.People wipe away their sins by taking a bath in us.But you are a biggest sinner,because of the way you treat your parents.'

Pundalik was shaken with their statement.He realized his mistake and wanted to improve his ways.He soon started serving his parents well and looked after all their needs and comforts.

  Pundalik flung a brick(Vit) towards the door to offer a platform for the guest,to wait at the door.The Lord Vishnu was very much pleased with Pundalik's devotion to his parents and he waited for him on the brick.When came to know the fact,Pundalik apologised Lord Vishnu,for keeping him waiting,but the Lord instead offered him to get a boon to be fulfilled.
Pundalik soon requested him to remain on earth and bless all his devotees.His wish was granted and the Lord remained behind and is known as Vithoba(Lord who stands on a brick).This form of the Lord Vishnu is Swayambhu(came into existence on its own).He is always seen accompanied by his consort Rakhumai or Rukmini.

*In the scripture Bhavishyottara Purana,God narrated significance of Shayani Ekadashi to king Yudhisthira, as the creator-god Brahma did it to his son Narada.The story of king Mandata has reference to this.The country of king Mandata was struck by drought for three years,but the king could not to find a solution to come out of it and to please the rain god.

1 comment:

  1. very nice post! Thank you for providing all the hindu slokas and mantras at one place for us to to view. Really they are very helpful. I believe in chanting slokas and man