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‘Ekadashi’ is one of the auspicious day in Hinduism. Many people observe fast on the day of Ekadashi. Every year, one of the auspicious Ekadashi, Shatila Ekadashi is observed in the Magh Month of Krishna Paksha. In 2020, ‘Shatilla Ekadashi’ will be observed on Monday i.e. January 20, 2020. The name ‘Shatila’ is derived from the word ‘til’ which means sesame seeds. According to its name, the fast is associated with Sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are believed to be perspiration of Lord Vishnu and hence, are considered very important in Hinduism.
Karma is one of the important concepts in the teachings of Hinduism. There is an equal and opposite reaction of our every karma on Earth. Lord Krishna famously said that no human can live without performing karma, hence, there are bound to be some bad karma as well. That is why, all of us, at some time or other, commit sins. Thus, to rid oneself of the repercussions of bad karmas, one has to conduct good deeds as well. The ancient Hindu scriptures have mentioned many measures i.e. deeds that can liberate an individual from the consequences of bad karma. One such karma is the fast of Ekadashi that falls in the month of Magha in Krishna Paksha. This Ekadashi is known as Shattila Ekadashi.
Shatilla Ekadashi is considered very important in the Puranas. The results of Shatilla Ekadashi are very auspicious and prosperous. It is believed that the result of one fast is equivalent to the penance of a thousand years. It is also believed that the people who observe this fast get all the comfort in life as well as after death they also get a place in ‘Vaikuntha Dhaam’. Sesame seeds or ‘til’ is used in six different forms on the ‘Shatilla Ekadashi’. The six uses of sesame seeds are taking bath in water mixed with sesame seeds or ‘til’, massaging with sesame seeds paste, eating sesame seeds, offering sesame seeds or ‘til’ in havan, donating sesame seeds to Brahmins and even accepting gifts of sesame seeds or ‘til’.
Sesame has special significance in Shatila Ekadashi. The sesame seeds are used in the prescribed six ways on the day of Shatilla Ekadashi:
Lord Vishnu is worshipped on the day of Shatilla Ekadashi. The celebration of Shatilla Ekadashi starts with taking a resolution of fasting by lighting a lamp in front of the idol or photo of Lord Vishnu. After taking the resolution of fasting, bathe the idol or photo of Lord Vishnu with water and offer fruits. After this, light an incense lamp, offer prayers and perform aarti.
People usually worship with cow dung, sesame seeds or cotton 108 times. After worshiping Lord Vishnu on the second day, offer porridge, coconut or betel nut to Lord Vishnu. Also include food items made of sesame seeds. Donate the pot full of water to him. The sesame seeds should be donated to Brahmins.
The story of the Shatila Ekadashi continues as follows:
Once upon a time, Narad Muni, sauntering through Trilok reached Vaikuntha, Lord Vishnu's abode. There, he asked, Lord Vishnu about the story of Shatila Ekadashi and the benefits of fasting on this day.
Lord Vishnu replied that during the ancient times, there was once a Brahmin woman. She was my ardent devotee and always observed a fast on every Ekadashi. This woman used to keep the entire fast for me. Once she worshiped me by fasting for a month. The body of the woman was purified due to the effect of the fast, but this woman never used to donate food for the Brahmin and the gods, so I thought that this woman would be unhappy even after living in the Vaikunth Dhaam so I myself went to take alms one day.
When I requested alms from the woman, she picked up an earthen object and placed it on my hands. I returned to my abode with that earthen object. After a few days, that woman too left her body and came to my world. Here she found a hut and a mango tree. Seeing the empty hut, the woman panicked and came near me and said, "I am a pious woman, then why have I got an empty hut?" Then I told him that it was due to not donating food and giving me clay.
I then told the lady to open your door only when they tell you the law of fasting of Shatila Ekadashi. The woman did the same and with the methods that Devakanya had said, Brahmani fasted on Shatila Ekadashi. Due to the effect of fast, her hut was filled with food and money. Therefore, O Narada, believe that the person who fasts on this Ekadashi and donates sesame seeds and food gets liberation and glory in life.
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