The Safala Ekadasi is an extremely auspicious day for the Hindus which have been observed for achieving success. There are two Safala Ekadashis in the year.
One is observed in January, the other is observed on the Krishna paksha of the month of Pausha as per the traditional Hindu calendar.
As per the Gregorian calendar, it is observed in the month of December in the waning phase of the moon. In 2016, the dates of the Safala Ekadashis are January 5th, Tuesday and December 24th, a Saturday.
Legend of Safala Ekadashi
Long ago in the kingdom of Champavati, there was a king called Maahishmata, who had four sons. Lumpaka or Lumbaka was his eldest son. He was always busy in various sinful and money consuming activities. Gradually his father’s wealth also started getting less. Lumbaka also became very anti=religion and was openly critical about Lord Vishnu. Due to his attitude he was exiled from their kingdom. However he started robbing people and made his home under a banyan tree. So set was he in his evil ways, that he started killing animals and eating raw meat too. While living under the Banyan tree he was not aware that Banyan trees are close to Lord Vishnu.
Once on the day of the Safala Ekadashi he fell ill. He could not eat anything and managed to just go and get some fruits from the forest. He was so lonely and depressed, that finally he offered the fruits to Lord Vishnu and sought his forgiveness. He realized his own mistakes. Since it was the day of the Safala Ekadashi, he unknowingly observed the vrat by fasting and staying awake the whole night. He prayed to Lord Vishnu to restore him his kingdom and a normal life. Lord Vishnu accepted his apologies and forgave him for all his sins. He was forgiven and all his sins washed away as he observed the Safala Ekadashi. Thus the Prince got back his kingdom and people all over started following the Safala Ekadashi vrat. Thus he got back his kingdom and Lord Vishnu also blessed him with salvation or moksha.
Observance of the Safala Ekadashi
Since Ekadashi was blessed by Lord Vishnu that the day named after her will be auspicious and people will follow it and observe the rituals, the Ekadashi day is highly auspicious for keeping vratas. For observing the safala Ekadasi worship –
- Keep a picture or idol of Lord Vishnu
- Wake up earluy in the morning and take a ritual cleansing bath. Offer worship to Lord Vishnu.
- Offer the puja with Tulasi leaves and flowers.
- The tulasi leaves should not be plucked on this auspicious da, but should be plucked a day earlier.
- The devotees fast for 24 hours or a day.
- In case of the devotee being unwell, one can keep partial fasting.
- Abstain from all kinds of food made from rice on this da
- Also avoid eating honey, grains and other meat products
- Those following partial fasting can have fruits and milk.
- Fruits offered to Lord Vishnu are pomegranate, betel nuts, betel leaves, coconut, mangoes etc.
At the evening Puja, devotees offer worship in the same manner, to Lord Vishnu. Read Vishnu Sahasranama or Vishnu Astotharama and visit nearby Vishnu temples. At the night devotees are not allowed to sleep. The staunch devotees keep up a whole night vigil and do not sleep. The fast is broken only on the next day by lighting a lamp in front of Lord Vishnu.
Significance of Safala Ekadashi
The tale and the significance of the Safala Ekadashi were conveyed to the eldest Pandava Yudhisthira by Lord Sri Krishna. This has found a mention in the Brahmananda Purana. Fasting on this auspicious day ensures the blessings of lord Vishnu, cleansing all the past sins and obtaining success in everything in life.