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Apara Ekadashi 2023: A Guide

It is observed on the 11th day (Ekadashi Tithi) of the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) of the Jyeshtha month.

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Apara Ekadashi
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Discover the significance and rituals of Apara Ekadashi 2023 with our comprehensive guide. Learn about the auspicious day’s history, and traditions, and how to observe it for spiritual benefits.

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Apara Ekadashi is one of the most important and sacred days for Hindus, especially for the devotees of Lord Vishnu. It is observed on the 11th day (Ekadashi Tithi) of the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) of the Jyeshtha month, which usually falls in May or June. In 2023, Apara Ekadashi will be celebrated on May 15. On this day, devotees observe a strict fast and worship Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe. By doing so, they believe that they can attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death, and also receive blessings for worldly prosperity and happiness.

Meaning of the word Apara

The word Apara means ‘limitless’ or ‘infinite’, and this Ekadashi is believed to bestow unlimited blessings and benefits to those who observe it with faith and devotion. It is also known as Achala Ekadashi, Bhadrakali Ekadashi or Jalakrida Ekadashi. According to Hindu scriptures, Lord Krishna himself explained the significance and glory of this Ekadashi to Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas.

Also read: What is Buddha Purnima and why it is celebrated?

The Legend

The legend behind Apara Ekadashi is that there was once a righteous king named Mahidhwaj, who ruled his kingdom with justice and compassion. He had a younger brother named Vajradhwaj, who was cruel and greedy. He envied his brother’s popularity and wealth and plotted to kill him and usurp his throne. He succeeded in his evil plan and buried Mahidhwaj’s body under a peepal tree in a forest.

However, by the grace of Lord Vishnu, Mahidhwaj’s soul remained alive under the tree. One day, a sage named Dhaumya happened to pass by the forest and sensed Mahidhwaj’s presence. He used his divine powers to revive him and asked him how he came to be in such a state. Mahidhwaj narrated his tragic story and expressed his desire to take revenge on his wicked brother.

The sage advised him to observe Apara Ekadashi’s fast and worship Lord Vishnu with devotion. He said that by doing so, he would attain immense strength and courage to defeat his enemy and regain his kingdom. He also said that Apara Ekadashi fast can erase all sins and grant salvation to the soul.

Mahidhwaj followed the sage’s instructions and observed Apara Ekadashi fast with sincerity. He felt a surge of energy and confidence in himself. He then confronted his brother Vajradhwaj and challenged him to a battle. With the blessings of Lord Vishnu, he emerged victorious and reclaimed his throne. He also forgave his brother and ruled his kingdom with peace and prosperity.

The moral of this story is that Apara Ekadashi fast can help one overcome any obstacle or difficulty in life and achieve one’s goals. It can also purify one’s mind, body, and soul from all impurities and negative influences.

How to Observe Apara Ekadashi Fast

Apara Ekadashi is equivalent to performing a thousand horse sacrifices (Ashwamedha Yajna) or donating a hundred cows (Godana) to a Brahmin. It is also said that observing this Ekadashi can wash away all kinds of sins, including the sin of killing a Brahmin (Brahmahatya).

The procedure

  1. On the day before Ekadashi (Dashami), one should take a bath in the morning and perform all the daily rituals.
  2. One should eat only one meal before sunset and avoid grains, beans, garlic, onion, and other tamasic foods.
  3. One should also abstain from alcohol, tobacco, gambling, violence, lying, and other sinful activities.
  4. On the day of Ekadashi, one should wake up before sunrise and take a bath in a river or a lake. If that is not possible, one can sprinkle water on one’s head while chanting Vishnu’s name.
  5. One should then worship Lord Vishnu with flowers, incense, lamps, fruits, sweets, and other offerings. One should also recite Vishnu Sahasranama (the thousand names of Vishnu) or other hymns in praise of Vishnu.
  6. One should observe a complete fast throughout the day and night, without eating or drinking anything. If that is too difficult, one can drink water or milk or eat fruits or nuts.
  7. One should also spend the day in meditation, prayer, charity, service, and other virtuous deeds.
  8. One should stay awake at night and sing devotional songs or listen to stories related to Vishnu.
  9. One should perform the same rituals as on the previous days and worship Lord Vishnu with gratitude. One should also offer food and water to a Brahmin and seek his blessings.
  10. Then, one should break the fast by eating fruits, milk, or other light foods. One should also donate some money or food to the poor and needy.

By following these steps, one can successfully observe Apara Ekadashi fast and reap its benefits. However, one should also remember that the essence of any fast is to control one’s senses and mind and to cultivate love and devotion for Lord Vishnu. Without these qualities, any external ritual is meaningless and fruitless. Therefore, one should always strive to please Lord Vishnu with one’s thoughts, words, and deeds, and seek his grace at all times.

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