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Jaya Ekadashi is observed every year during the Magh Month. Jaya Ekadashi will be celebrated on February 5 in 2020. Jaya Ekadashi fast is observed by almost all Hindus, especially followers of Lord Vishnu, to receive their divine blessings. It is also a popular belief that by observing this Ekadashi fast, all sins are washed away and salvation is achieved.
Jaya Ekadashi is also known as 'Bhumi Ekadashi' and 'Bhishma Ekadashi' in some Hindu communities of South India, especially in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The importance of Jaya Ekadashi is described in many Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad Purana and the Padma Purana, which exist as a conversation between Lord Krishna and King Yudhisthira. Shri Krishna described the greatness and manner of observing this auspicious Ekadashi fast to King Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five Pandava brothers. The Jaya Ekadashi fast is so powerful that it frees one from the most heinous sins committed and leads to salvation. The fast observed on this day confers the virtue of fasting for Lord Brahma, Mahesh, and Vishnu. Therefore, if the fast is observed with utmost dedication, the devotees receive divine blessings.
Every Hindu fast focuses on observation of penance and relieve the soul from sins. On the day of Jaya Ekadashi, following should be taken care of:
People who are observing Jaya Ekadashi fast should light a lamp of Ghee in front of the idol of Lord Krishna. An earthen pot should be covered with red cloth and the statue or image of Lord Krishna should be placed on it. While worshipping Lord Krishna incense sticks, fruits and holy water (Panchamrit) should be used. The Prasad should be offered to Brahmins along with donations of food and clothes. Reciting Vishnu Sahastram & Narayan Stories are considered auspicious and a source of benediction.
People who cannot follow a full fast can also keep a partial fast on milk and fruits. This exception is for elderly people, pregnant women and people suffering from serious physical illnesses. Even those who do not want to observe Jaya Ekadashi fast should avoid eating food made of rice and all kinds of grains. Applying oil on the body is also not allowed.
Once upon a time Arjuna asked Lord Krishna - "O Lord, please tell me in detail the significance of Ekadashi of Magh month. Which god should be worshiped on the Ekadashi of Magh Shukla Paksha and what is the story of this Ekadashi fasting tradition? What are the results of doing it? "Lord Shri Krishna says - "O Arjuna! Ekadashi of Shukla Paksha of Magha month is called Jaya Ekadashi. By keeping fast on this day, one gets rid of ghosts, demons, vampires, etc., so fasting should be done in a systematic way. Hey! Arjun, now listen to the story of Jaya Ekadashi fast. Listen carefully - Once upon a time, the festival was being organized in Nandan Forest. The deities and the sages were all present at that festival. At that time Gandharvas were singing and Gandharva girls were dancing. Among them was a Gandharva named Mallywan who sang very melodiously. His voice was strong and melodious. The Gandharva girls also had a dancer named Pushyavati. Pushpavati became attracted to Gandharva named Malavan. Pushpavati started trying to woo her with her expressions. Mallywan too became attracted to Pushpavati and forgot the rhythm of his singing. This broke the rhythm of the music and spoiled all the joy of music.
The deities present in the meeting did not like it. Lord Indra became so angry with this act of Mallyavan and cursed him so that that he was deprived of all the beauty and became like a demon in the world of death because he had insulted the sacred practice of music as well as they have insulted the gurus present in the assembly. Due to the curse of Lord Indra, both of them started living on earth in the forest of Himalayas.
Life of humans was very painful. Both were very unhappy. Once, on the day of Jaya Ekadashi of Shukla Paksha of Magha, both of them did not eat anything nor did any sinful act. They spent the whole day eating only fruits and flowers. Distraught with hunger and with great grief due to frost, both of them spent a whole night under the Bodhi tree, hugging it. Throughout the night, Mallyavan also repented the act he had done and was determined not to commit such a mistake in the future. However, both died in the morning.
He had fasted for Ekadashi just in time. The name of the Lord was also awakened as a result of the grace of the Lord. Due to this both went to heaven. Lord Indra was surprised to see them in heaven and asked how they were freed from the curse. Then he told that Lord Vishnu was pleased with him. Unbeknownst to us, we kept the fast Magh Shukla Ekadashi i.e. Jaya Ekadashi and due to which the Lord Vishnu freed us from the life of a vampire. Thus everyone learned the importance of Jaya Ekadashi fast. Thus it is clear that by observing Jaya Ekadashi fast, the devotee gets freedom from the sins committed in the past.
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