Shattila Ekadashi also known as Tilda Ekadashi, is usually observed during the Krishnapaksh in the month of February, or in the month of Magha, according to the Hindu calendar; which falls in the month of February according to the Julian calendar. The festival dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

What does the name Shattila mean?

The word Shattila is derived from the two words of Sat and Tila. Tila means sesame seeds and Sat means the number six.  Thus it means the occasion when sesame seeds are donated to the devout, poor and the hungry.

How did Shattila Ekadashi come to be celebrated?

Long long ago, a rich and religious woman used to perform all the rites of a Ekadasi always without fail. She used to give away precious jewelries and rich clothes to all those who came to her, but never gave any food or seeds to the needy. One day the Lord Krishna, on this Shattila Ekadashi day came in a disguise of a poor and needy to her. She as always gave him jewelries and clothes; but he kept asking for food.  The rich lady agreed to give him some food if he mentioned his gothra or caste. Lord Krishna went on asking for food. Angered, the lady placed a roll of clay on his begging bowl. The Lord blessed her and left.  The lady then to her misery found all her food, fruits and every edible turned into clay. Despite having money, she could not get any food. Famished and weak, she started praying to the Lord Krishna for the atonement of her sins. Lord Krishna appeared in her dreams and told her that the biggest danam or giving is the giving away of food or Anna Danam; which she had failed to do for so long. He told her that performing the rituals of the Shattila Ekadashi she would be rid of all her miseries. Thus on the day she gave away alms and Tila s or sesame to the poor. Since then, Shattila Ekadashi has come to be celebrated with Anna Danam in an effort to purge oneself of one’s sins.

How does one use the Tilas or the sesames in sat or six ways?

The main significance of this festival lies in the usage of the sesame seeds in at least six different ways to purge oneself, attain spiritual purification and gain religious brownie points. Let us have a look at the various uses of the sesame on this day –

  • Have a bath in water mixed with sesame seeds,
  • Make a paste of sesame seeds and rub on the body,
  • While performing Havana, offer sesame seeds in the divine fire,
  • Use sesame seeds in various recipes,
  • Pray for Heaven and peace for your forefathers soul with sesame seeds while offering Anjali during Tarpan,
  • Donate Sesame seeds or sesame laddoos to the devout and the poor.

What is the significance of the Shattila Ekadashi?

  • Performing Shattila Ekadashi removes all sins and helps one to attain the ultimate or the Moksha
  • It helps one to keep a control of their senses
  • Performing this ritual helps one to rid oneself of anger, harmful activities, ego etc.
  • Offering the tarpana or the oblation to our deceased ancestors with sesame is said to be beneficial
  • It helps one attain spiritual enlightenment and helps in the fulfillment of one’s wishes.