Observe Ram Ekadashi Vrat for attaining Vishnu Lok

As we are fast approaching Diwali, the festival of lights, we have begun to observe the many auspicious days that precede the Diwali celebrations. One such day is the Rama Ekadashi. Rama Ekadashi vrat is also known as Karthik Krishna Vrat or Rambha Vrat and is celebrated a few days before Diwali every year. This is one of the most significant Ekadashi vrat (fast) in the Hindu religion. Devotees observe this fast to be absolved from all their sins. On this day, devotees perform Pooja for Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. The name Rama Ekadashi comes from Goddess Lakshmi, who is also known as Rama.

2023 – Rama Ekadashi

The Hindu calendar dates Rama Ekadashi every year, on the 11th day of Karthik month during Krishna Paksha.

This year, Rama Ekadashi will be celebrated on November 9, 2023.

According to Hindu Puranas, Lord Krishna had stated to Arjuna that whoever observes this fast religiously would attain Vishnu Lok after his death.

Rama Ekadashi Pooja Timings

  • Sunrise: 6:40 AM, November 09, 2023
  • Sunset: 5:40 PM, November 09, 2023
  • Ekadashi Tithi Begins: 8:23 AM, November 08, 2023
  • Ekadashi Tithi Ends: 10:42 AM, November 09, 2023
  • Dwadashi End Timing: 12:36 PM, November 10, 2023
  • Parana Time: 6:41 AM – 8:53 AM, November 10

Rituals to Observe

  • As a devotee, it is ideal that you consume only Satvik food once on Dwadashi day before sunset. Devotees should sleep on the floor and observe Brahmacharya or celibacy from Dwadashi.
  • On Ekadashi day, they must wake up at dawn during the Brahma Muhurtha, and finish their daily routine and cleanse their body.
  • They must visit a Vishnu temple and offer Mangal Aarti and prayers. Alternatively, they may also offer their prayers at home and offer Aarti at home in their Pooja room.
  • After offering Aarti, they must then provide water and a deep (Lamp) to Tulsi Devi and go around the Tulsi plant three times.
  • They must sit beside the Tulsi plant and chant the mantra “Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare..Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.. Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare” as many times as possible.

Abstinence on Ekadashi Day

On Rama Ekadashi, it is advisable that devotees abstain from consuming any form of grains, rice, lentils. If your health condition does not allow you to observe the fast strictly, then you may consume fresh fruits, milk or the Ekadashi Prasad. On Ekadashi day, you must recite the hymns and chant the mantras of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna and also read the Ekadashi vrat katha and immerse yourself in the worship of the lord. At dusk, you must again offer prayers and Aarti to the lord and continue to observe the fast.

The next day, you must wake up at Brahma muhurta at dawn, and after having finished your daily routine and cleansed your body, you must offer Mangal aarti and prayers to the lord. After sunrise, during the Paranamuhurta, you must provide a feast for satviks and give donations. It is a belief on this Ekadashi day, even the poorest of the poor must provide gifts and feed others according to their capacity and pay their obeisance to the Lord.

After feeding satviks, the devotee can then complete the fast by partaking in the Ekadashi Prasad or Jagannath Prasad. It is said that fasting on Ekadashi day is equivalent to being in the presence of the lord, and hence one should spend the day chanting hymns and praising the lord and worshipping the lord with complete devotion. This is how the Ekadashi vrat (fast) should be observed and followed religiously.

Why is Rama Ekadashi Fast Observed?

In the Hindu religion, you will notice that every fast or vrat has a story or a history associated with it. Rama Ekadashi Vrat, too, has an interesting story behind it. According to Hindu mythology, the story of Ekadashi vrat starts with the tale of a King named Muchukunda, who was blessed with a daughter named Chandrabhaga. Chandrabhaga was married to Shobhan, the son of King Chandrasen. King Muchukunda was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. He instructed his subjects to observe the Rama Ekadashi fast strictly. Princess Chandrabhaga, too would therefore keep the Rama Ekadashi fast right from her childhood.

On one such Rama Ekadashi day, Shobhan and Chandrabhaga were present in the kingdom of King Muchukunda as it was the day of observing the fast; Prince Shobhan too was required to keep the fast for the day. However, Prince Shobhan was unable to follow the rigorous fast due to his poor and weak health, as he would not survive due to thirst and hunger. He approached Princess Chandrabhaga for a solution to his problem, upon which Princess Chandrabhaga suggested that he leave the kingdom and stay somewhere outside the realm for the day as everyone in the kingdom, including the birds and animals, observed the Rama Ekadashi fast steadfastly in the kingdom of Muchukunda.

Prince Shobhan did not feel that leaving the kingdom was an ideal solution and hence decided to keep the fast despite his weak health. Sadly, Prince Shobhan became extremely weak due to hunger and thirst and died at midnight. King Muchukunda set the body of Prince Shobhan afloat and did not let Princess Chandrabhaga commit sati along with her husband. Hence she started living in the kingdom of Muchukunda along with her father and observed the fast ardently. Meanwhile, Prince Shobhan was revived back to life having kept the fast despite his ill health, and Lord Vishnu gifted him a unique kingdom of Devpur atop the Mandarachal mountain; however, as he had observed the fast forcefully, the realm was invisible, and only Princess Chandrabhaga could make it visible through her divine powers.

Later one day, a Brahmin from the Kingdom of Muchukunda wandered into the Kingdom of Devpur by accident and immediately recognized Prince Shobhan. The Brahmin was bewildered to see Prince Shobhan and enquired what happened to him and how did he cheat death and acquire such a beautiful kingdom. The prince narrated everything that had happened to the Brahmin and told him that he wished to see his wife, Princess Chandrabhaga, who could make his kingdom a reality.

The Brahmin returned to the kingdom of Muchukunda and narrated everything to Princess Chandrabhaga. Chandrabhaga was delighted to learn that her love was indeed alive and well. She wished to be with her husband and travelled to the Devpur Kingdom. Princess Chandrabhaga turned the kingdom of Devpur with the help of her divine blessings, which she had acquired as a result of having observed the fast right from her infancy. Prince Shobhan and Princess Chandrabhaga were reunited, and they ruled the kingdom of Devpur forever.

Importance of Rama Ekadashi

One of the biggest reasons for celebrating Rama Ekadashi is that it is an auspicious day to cleanse you of all sins, including those acquired by killing an innocent or a pious soul. Observing this fast helps you to attain happiness, redemption from your past and present sins and enjoyment for a lifetime and beyond. It is also equivalent to performing 100 Rajasuya Yagyas or 1000 Ashvamedha Yagyas. Worshipping Lord Vishnu on Rama Ekadashi bestows the person with the ability to overcome all obstacles in their life and achieve great success in life.

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