Rama Ekadashi Rituals and Significance
Rama Ekadashi is regarded as one of the most auspicious and significant Ekadashis as per the Hindu beliefs. According to the Hindu calendar, Rama Ekadashi takes place on the 11th day in the Kartik month during the Krishna Paksha. It is also popular by its other names such as Kartik Krishna Ekadashi or Rambha Ekadashi and it takes place four days prior to the Diwali celebrations. Rama Ekadashi Vrat is recognized as one of the most significant Ekadashi fasts which are observed in the Hindu religion as the devotees can get absolved from all their sins by keeping this fast religiously.
What is the story of Rama Ekadashi?
There was a King named Muchukunda who was blessed with a daughter named Chandrabhaga. She was married to the son of King Chandrasen, named Shobana. King Muchukunda was a keen devotee of Lord Vishnu and instructed all the individuals of his kingdom to strictly observe a fast of Rama Ekadashi. Chandrabhaga used to keep a Rama Ekadashi fast since her childhood.
Once her husband Prince Shobana was also present at the Kingdom of King Muchukunda during the time of Krishna Paksha and it was the day of observing Rama Ekadashi fast. So, he was also required to observe a fast for the day. Shobana was not able to keep a fast due to his poor and weak health. Chandrabhaga told her husband to go to some other place as if he will stay here, he will have to perform the ritual. But, Shobana said that he will stay there only and will also keep a Rama Ekadashi fast, come what may.
Since Shobana was weak, due to thirst and hunger, he died midnight. But because of the merits gained by observing the Rama Ekadashi fast, the prince entered into the celestial world and got a unique and great kingdom. But because of the reason that he had fasted forcefully, the kingdom was invisible. Once a Brahmin from the Kingdom of Muchukunda went out, and he saw Shobana and his kingdom. The prince narrated all the scenes to the Brahmin and asked him to tell everything to his wife, Chandrabhaga. The Brahmin returned back and told everything to Prince’s wife. Because of the benefits and merits attained by Chandrabhaga due to her observance of several Rama Ekadashi fasts, Chandrabhaga with her divine blessings converted the kingdom into reality and they both retained the Kingdom forever and started living a divine and blissful life.
What are the rituals of Rama Ekadashi?
- The fasting ritual initiates one day prior to Ekadashi i.e. it starts from Dashmi. On this particular day, the observers are restricted to consume cereals or rice and are only allowed to take satvik food. The observers are not permitted to eat anything after sunrise.
- On the eve of Ekadashi, observers are abstained from eating or drinking anything for the whole day. The fast concludes on the next day i.e. the 12th day of the lunar month called as Dwadashi at the time of Parana.
- On the particular eve of Rama Ekadashi, the observers wake up early, take a holy bath and then offer prayers to Lord Vishnu.
- Flowers, fruits, special bhog and other essential things are offered to the deity during the Puja. Once the aarti is completed, the prasad (sacred food) is distributed among all the devotees.
- On this day, the devotees maintain the vigil overnight and spend the entire night by listening to the glories of Lord Vishnu and by singing bhajans and performing kirtans.
- As the term represents Goddess Lakshmi, so the devotees also worship Goddess Lakshmi on this day. The devotees also read Bhagavad Gita during midnight vigil.
What is the significance and benefits of Rama Ekadashi Vrat?
- As per the Hindu beliefs and scriptures such as Brahma Vaivarta Purana, by observing the Rama Ekadashi fast, the observers get free from all their past sins.
- The devotees who listen to the glories of Lord Vishnu this day achieve salvation.
- The merits attained by observing this vrat are much more than the merits attained by performing the several Ashwamedha Yagnas and Rajasuya Yagna.
- The devotees who observe this fast dedicatedly are able to attain enormous success in their lives.