Vijaya Ekadashi is observed during the waning phase of the moon or what is known as the Krishna Paksha in the month of Phalgun according to what is the traditional Hindu calendar, and February-March according to the Gregorian calendar.
In Odisha, this Ekadashi is also known as the Pankoddhar Ekadashi. The mention of this Ekadashi is found in the ancient book of the Skanda Purana and it is firmly believed that the observance of this Ekadashi removes all obstacles from the path of the devotee and makes him emerge victorious or attain Vijaya.
- What is the legend behind Vijaya Ekadashi ?
The legend behind the observance of Vijaya Ekadashi goes back to the epical time of Ramayana. According to the Ramayana, Lord Rama, who is considered to be an incarnation of God Vishnu, to keep a promise to his father King Dasaratha, went into an exile of fourteen years willingly renouncing kingdom.
While Lord Rama was serving his Banabasa (forest exile) period of fourteen years along with his wife, the beautiful and glorious Sita Devi (who is considered to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi), and his brother Lakshmana. The demon king Ravana, one day by donning a disguise of a saint, kidnapped Sita Mata from the forest. Jatayu, the great big bird disclosed to Lord Rama, that it was indeed Ravana who had kidnapped Sita Mata.
Ravana, was the king of Lanka, which was an island. Later Lord Rama managed to befriend Sugriva, the king of monkeys and amass and organize a huge army of monkeys or the Banarsena to save Sita Mata from the clutches of Ravana, the king of Lanka who had kept her imprisoned in the Ashokavana. Hanuman, Lord Rama’s devotee went over to Lanka to meet Sita Mata. Then when Lord Rama and his huge army were preparing to cross the ocean, they realized that the ocean was too deep and the expanse too wide for them to cross it and save Lord Rama’s consort Sita Mata. Lord Rama became worried seeing this vast ocean infested with hungry sharks and other sea creatures.
Seeing this plight Lakshmana, then advised his elder brother to seek the advice of the aged and experienced sage Bakad Albhya, who stayed a few islands away. Thus then Lord Rama and Lakshmana proceeded to the ashrama of the Bakad Albhya Muni to seek the mantra that will help them cross the vast ocean. Then the great sage gave Lord Rama the tips to traverse the ocean with his monkey army to save his wife.
- What did the great sage suggest Lord Rama to do?
Sage Bakal Abhya, told Lord Rama that he was about to share one of the greatest secrets of success with him, which was the observance of Vijaya Ekadashi. He told Lord Rama that one should keep a pot of made of either gold, copper silver or clay, then fill it with water and place it upon a mound made with the following seven grains such as – rice, corn, chickpeas, kukani, barley, wheat and dahl or peas. The pot should be decorated with mango leaves or amrapallav. The devotee should have a morning bath and decorate the pot with sandalwood and offer prasadam of pomegranate, coconuts, sweets etc and on top of the pot place a golden idol of Lord Narayana.
Worship the same with lamp, incense, fruits, and flowers and remain awake the whole night. When the next day arrives, at the dawn of Dwadashi, worship the pot again; then go to a water body and pray for victory. Lord Rama observed the rituals as suggested by the Sage Bakal Abhya and was able to cross over the vast sea with his indigenous army of monkey to save his consort Sita Mata from the evil clutches of King Ravana. He demolished the Lankan army and managed to save Sita Mata, and since then this day has been celebrated with utmost zeal and dedication as a day which purges one of all previous sins and observance of this helps one to attain the chosen result for their endeavor and emerge victorious.