Devshayani Ekadashi usually begins days after the Puri Rath Yatra. Padarpur Yatra in Maharashtra too concludes on this day. Pilgrims in Maharashtra observe Devshayani Ekadashi with religious fervor. Main celebration occurs in Lord Vithal temple. Lord Vital is considered an incarnation of Lord Krishna.
Initiation of Chaturmas Period
Devshayani Ekadashi occurs on a day prior to the beginning of the Chaturmas period. Chaturmas as the name signifies four months with chatur referring to four and mas to months. The four months that makes up the chaturmas period include the months of Ashadh, Shravan, Bhadarva ad Aaso. During the chaturmas period, the devotees are expected to observe penance, carry on devotional activities and have restriction over their senses. Festivities and celebrations make these chaturmas months lively and active.
Historic Significance of Devshayani Ekadashi
Religious scriptures have it that the significance of Devshayani Ekadashi was first explained by Lord Krishna to Yudhisthira. A King by the name of Mandata had to face drought for three years in a row in his kingdom. This created a precarious condition and the residents of the kingdom had to face hard times. Rivers dried out and man and animal suffered immensely. The King saddened by the happenings in his kingdom embarked on a journey to seek some solution for his people.
The King wished to appease the Rain Gods and met Rishi Angiras to seek a solution. The King was supposed to keep a fast on Devshayani Ekadashi alongwith the entire population of the kingdom as advised by the rishi. Lord Vishnu blessed the kingdom and heavy rains occurred following the religious devotion shown by the King and his peasants. With rains came prosperity and the people lived happily thereafter.
It became a ritual since then to fast on this auspicious day as this brought prosperity and luck to those who showed religious devotion.
Devotees get divine blessings of Lord Vishnu on Devshayani Ekadashi if they observe the day with utmost devotion. An ardent devotee is able to attain salvation if fasting is done in true earnest. Fasting on Devshayani Ekadashi helps devotees fulfill their wishes and help them attain freedom from any of the sins they have committed in the past.
Fasting on Devshayani Ekadashi also helps one strengthen the self control and become emotionally stable. Many devotees of Vishnu fast for 2 consecutive days. However, the fasting on the second day is suggested only for those who wish to attain Sanyas (salvation) in the long run. Widows and those looking forward to attaining Moksha too can go for the second day fast in Devshayani Ekadashi.