Grand Master Akshar
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this festival of Ashadh Ekadash is also known as Devshayani Ekadashi. Celebrated by Hindus, it falls on the eleventh day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of the moon) in the month of Ashadh just days after the famous Jagannath Rath Yatra. Just like any other Ekadashi vrat, this one also holds a great significance for the Hindus.
Significance of Ashadhi Ekadashi
Devshayani Ekadashi marks the commencement of Lord Vishnu’s slumber period which continues for four months known as Chaturmas. Any kind of auspicious activity is avoided during Lord Vishnu’s period of sleep. During this period, Lord Vishnu moves to the Ksheer Sagar (Ocean of Milk) and rests on the Shesha Naag. After completing 4 months of his divine sleep which ends on Prabodhini Ekadashi or Dev Uthani Ekadashi, Lord Vishnu wakes up.
Importance of Worship
Lord Vishnu’s devotees pay their deep respect and devotion to Him and His consort, Goddess Lakshmi to get blessed by the supreme entity Himself.
The rituals of Ashadhi Ekadashi Vrat according to the scriptures are given as follows:
· To observe Devshayani Ekadashi Vrat, devotees must wake up early in the morning, and purify themselves with a holy bath.
· An altar is set up to perform the puja rituals, and the Puja Sthal is cleaned to be embellished with the idol of Lord Vishnu.
· Lord Vishnu can be bathed in milk or Ganga water
· Lord Vishnu is dressed in yellow coloured clothes.
· Betel leaf (Paan), Betel nut (Supari), yellow flowers, sandalwood, etc. are offered to Lord Vishnu.
· The people who are observing the Ashadhi Ekadashi Vrat are allowed to consume food only one time a day. They can drink water and eat fruits.
· During mid-day, rituals are performed to pay homage to the souls of deceased ancestors, and let them rest in peace.
· During the Parana period on the next day, the fast can be broken by consuming food.