अश्वमेधसहस्रणिराजसूयशतानिच  |
एकादशयुपवासस्यकलांनारहंतिशोडशीम्र  ||
Not Even Thousand Ashtamedha Yogas or Hundred Raj Suya Yogas
would match the fast on a Ekadashi Day

Ekadashi means 11, in Sanskrit and is the name of the 11th day of the month in a Hindu Calendar. In the Hindu Calendar, a month is actually divided into two parts of 15 days and hence, a month has practically 2 ekadashis. Ekadashis are of very high importance in the Hindu culture and one can easily find a festival or the other being observed on this day. Apara Ekadashi is one such day that is observed on the Ekadashi of the second half of the month of Jeshtha.
Apara Ekadashi
Of all the Ekadashi’s observed in a year, Apara Ekadashi is considered the most glorious one. It is believed that a person who fasts on this day washes away all his sins and attains Moksha. With just one fast on this day, a person frees himself of all the wrong doings and short falls of the past. In Madhya Pradesh, this day is celebrated with grandeur and almost everyone tries to observe a fast. This day is given high importance and people visit temples in huge numbers to pray for forgiveness.
Observed in the month of Jyeshtha, this festival is generally observed in the month of May or June all over the country. This festival goes by many names across the nation like Achala Ekadashi, Bhadrakali Ekadashi, Vaishakh Vadi Ekadashi and Jalkrida Ekadashi. In Madhya Pradesh, it is called Apara Ekadashi a day that washes away all the sins and reserves a place in Heaven.

Legends of Apara Ekadashi

There are many tales associates with Achala Ekadashi. Here are a few of them:

The Tale of Lord Trivikrama 

Lord Trivikrama

Lord Trivikrama is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who taught a fitting lesson to King Bali. According to the puranas, it was in Treta Yug that King Bali started acting arrogant after being conferred with the title Chakravarty Samrat. Such was his pride that he made Lord Indra to leave from Heaven after attacking it.

Indra sought asylum from King Vishnu who took the avatar of Vamana (dwarf) showing that he is Trivikrama, the Lord of Three Worlds. King Bali realized his mistake and obliged to Lord Vishnu. This auspicious day is celebrated as Apara Ekadashi. Owing to its prominence, it is also known as Jyeshtha Krishna Ekadashi, Vaishakh Vadi Ekadashi, and Achala Ekadashi.

The Story of King Yudhishthir

King Yudhishthir, the eldest of Pandavas in Mahabharata, asked about the importance of Apara Ekadashi during one of his resting periods. According to Lord Krishna, the festival is chiefly celebrated in the dominant Hindu communities during which they seek perfect solution so that their past sins could get washed off successfully. This is the exact reason why people in large numbers maintain fast on the auspicious day. Perhaps, it is the Apara Ekadashi festival alone that helps people in realizing more benefits on an overall.
King Yudhisthir and Lord Krishna
श्री कृष्णा कहते हैं के, "हे राजन्, इस एकादशी का नाम अपरा है। ये अपार धन देने वाली है।
जो मनुष्य इस व्रत को करते हैं, उनको संसार मे उनका यश तथा कीर्ति की प्राप्ति होती है।
अपरा एकादशी के व्रत के प्रभाव से ब्रम्हत्या, भूत, योनि तथा पर-निंदा आदि तक के सब पाप दूर हो जाते हैं।"

Rituals of Apara Ekadashi

Sri Krishna Puja on Apara Ekadashi
The rituals observed on this day include fasting, pujas and yagya. The rituals of this day are given very high importance and are performed with utmost sincerity. It is said that a person who observes this day honestly gets as blessed as someone who has done innumerable good acts and observed various religious acts. Madhya Pradesh is a state of diversities. Many festivals are celebrated here with grand fervor and Apara Ekadashi is one of them. It is of equal importance to every person in the state despite of their caste and the state they come from.

Apara Ekadashi Vrat Vidhi 

Material of worship
Agarbatti, rice, sandalwood, lamps, incense lights, lighted lights, milk, turmeric, kumkum, basil leaves, Srikhand, Gangajal and seasonal fruits.
  • During the Ekadashi fast, a person should not eat food after sunset on Dashami. One should sleep after meditating on God at night.

    On the day of Ekadashi, wake up in the morning and remove all the vices from your mind, take bath and worship Lord Vishnu with incense sticks, rice, sandalwood, lamp, incense sticks, lamp wicks, milk, turmeric and kumkum.

    Offer Tulsi leaves, Shrikhand sandalwood, Ganga water and seasonal fruits during the puja.

    After this, recite Vishnusahasranama and read the story.

Apara Ekadashi Vrat Katha (अपरा एकादशी व्रत कथा)

एक बार की बात है, महीध्वज नाम का एक राजा हुआ करता था। उसका छोटा भाई वज्रध्वज बड़े भाई से द्वेष रखता था। एक दिन उसने राजा की हत्या कर दी और उसे जंगल में एक पीपल के नीचे गाड़ दिया। अकाल मृत्यु होने की वजह से राजा की आत्मा प्रेत बनकर पीपल पर रहने लगी। रास्ते से गुजरने वाले हर व्यक्ति को राजा की आत्मा बोहोट परेशान थी करती। एक दिन एक ऋषि इस रास्ते से गुज़रे। इन्होंने राजा की प्रेत को देखा और अपने तपोबल से उसके प्रेत बनने का कारण पता लगाया।

पीपल के पेड़ से
ऋषि ने राजा की प्रेतात्मा को नीचे आने को कहाइसके बाद उन्होने आत्मा को परलोक जाने का आदेश दिया। आत्मा को परलोक का सुख प्राप्त हो इसके लिए ऋषि ने अपरा एकादशी का व्रत रखाराजा व्रत का पुण्य प्राप्त करने के पश्चात स्वर्ग चला गया और प्रेतयोनी से मुक्त हो गया
Keep in mind: Avoid slander, lies, and deception throughout the fasting day. Even those who do not fast should not use rice in food on Ekadashi day and avoid falsehood and slander.

Attaining salvation is best possible for all those who believe in Lord Vishnu and offer their selfless prayers to God. Reflecting the name “Apara” term in the festival, it is believed that people who observe fast will be able to realize unlimited benefits in the same way as it is expected. Remaining uneaten as part of the fasting ritual is something that is regarded as the most effective step from your end.

इस आर्टिकल को हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहां क्लिक करें

Forthcoming Festivals