Devshayani Ekadashi, also known as Ashadi Ekadashi or Harishayani Ekadashi, is an auspicious Hindu fasting day observed on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the waxing moon (Shukla Paksha) in the month of Ashadha in the Hindu calendar. It marks the beginning of the Chaturmas period, which is considered an inauspicious time for certain activities according to Hindu traditions.
The word “Devshayani” translates to “the sleeping of the gods.” It is believed that on this day, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and protector in Hindu mythology, goes to sleep in the cosmic ocean of milk known as Kshirasagara. He rests on the serpent Shesha, who serves as his divine bed. Lord Vishnu’s sleep continues for a period of four months, during which time various festivals and important religious observances take place.
Devotees observe a fast (vrat) on Devshayani Ekadashi to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu and to emulate his act of rest and rejuvenation. Fasting on this day is believed to purify the mind, body, and soul. It is considered an act of devotion and a means to seek spiritual progress and divine grace.
The fasting rituals associated with Devshayani Ekadashi vary across different regions of India. Devotees abstain from consuming grains, lentils, and certain vegetables during the fast. Some may observe a complete waterless fast (nirjala vrat), while others may consume only fruits, milk, and non-grain food items. The fast is typically broken on the following day (Dwadashi) after offering prayers to Lord Vishnu.
The significance of Devshayani Ekadashi extends beyond the religious aspect. The monsoon season in India begins around this time, and agriculture plays a vital role in the lives of people. Devshayani Ekadashi is considered an opportune time for farmers to sow their seeds and begin the agricultural cycle, seeking blessings from Lord Vishnu for a bountiful harvest.
In various parts of India, special rituals and celebrations are held to commemorate Devshayani Ekadashi. Devotees visit temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and offer prayers, flowers, fruits, and other religious offerings. Recitation of religious texts, singing devotional songs, and organizing processions are common practices during this time.
Devshayani Ekadashi holds cultural and spiritual significance for Hindus, highlighting the devotion towards Lord Vishnu and the importance of rest and rejuvenation. The observance of this sacred day is an opportunity for devotees to reflect on their spiritual journey, seek blessings for a prosperous life, and strengthen their faith in the divine.