Mahabharata says that when a person commits a mistake, the only remedy to relieve him of the sin is by donating land. This donation will wash away the sin, as well as all the other mistakes of the past. But in the hustle and bustle of modern life, when we do not have the right knowledge of the virtues and sins, we might end up committing many sins in a day, and do not realize them. Moreover, donating land for every such mistake seems unaffordable. But besides the donation of land, another remedy has also been mentioned in our scriptures, which can help wash away the sins. Observing a fast on Kamika Ekadashi, is the other remedy.
Kamika Ekadashi 2018
Ekadashi refers to the eleventh day of the fortnight. Since a month consists of two fortnights, there are two Ekadashis in each month. Each of these Ekadashis has been given a different name. Kamika Ekadashi falls on the eleventh day in Shravana masa (month) during Shukla Paksh. Lord Vishnu with a conch shell, Sudarshan chakra and a lotus in his hands, is worshipped on this day. This year the fast will be observed on August 7.
Benefits And Procedure For Observing Kamika Ekadashi
Lord Krishna had said that whosoever lights a lamp in ghee before the God, gets the benefits of a thousand other virtuous deeds. The preparations for Kamika Ekadashi begin with the Dashmi tithi (tenth day of the fortnight) itself. People observing a fast on this day are supposed to consume just Satvika foods. Satvika foods are those which do not contain onion, garlic, fried items and non-vegetarian foods. The fast continues from the evening of the tenth day and until the morning of the twelfth day (Dwadashi tithi) when the parana is performed. On the Dwadashi tithi, one should again take bath during the Brahma Muhurta, and offer prayers to Shri Vishnu. Thereafter, a feast has to be offered to a priest. Those who cannot afford this can donate grains equivalent to one person's meal, to a poor person.
Devotees must wake up early and take bath during the Brahma Muhurta (between 4:00 am to 6:00 am). Offer dhoop-deep, flowers, fruits and Naivedya to Lord Vishnu on this day. Those who observe fasts should listen to Ekadashi vrat katha. Chanting Vishnu Sahastranaam on this day also brings good luck. Try to stay away from any kind of negative thoughts on this day.
Along with these, the donations and pilgrimage undertaken on this day, are believed to get great benefits. Lord Vishnu forgives the sins, provided the devotee does not make those sins again.
Those who observe a fast on this day should not eat grains. They should go to a temple perform puja there. Offering yellow cloth to the deity also brings great benefits to all. Parikramas should also be performed around the temple on this day.
It is said that the devotees should not get a haircut on Kamika Ekadashi day. There should also not cut their nails on an Ekadashi day, many women do not wash their hair as well, on Kamika Ekadashi. All, whether observing fast or not, should keep a whole night vigil chanting the name and the mantras as well as songs for the deity.
Donations hold high importance in Hinduism. Besides, taking a bath in a holy river also brings enormous benefits. More so in the Shravana month, when people go on a pilgrimage to Haridwar. Hence, not just those who observe the fast, but everybody can get the blessings of God, through these.
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