Devshayani or Ashadi Ekadashi?

Devshayani Ekadashi, also known as Ashadi Ekadashi or Maha-ekadashi, is a significant event in the Hindu calendar, celebrated with great reverence and devotion.

It marks the commencement of the four-month period of Chaturmas, during which Lord Vishnu is believed to enter a state of divine rest. This day is observed with fasting, prayers, and a range of spiritual practices by devotees seeking blessings and spiritual growth.

In this article, we explore the multifaceted aspects of Devshayani Ekadashi, including its cultural and religious significance, key dates for 2024, the mythology that underpins the observance, and the spiritual practices associated with it.

Key Takeaways

  • Devshayani Ekadashi is a pivotal day in the Hindu calendar, marking the start of Chaturmas, a four-month period when Lord Vishnu is believed to be in a state of cosmic slumber.
  • In 2024, Devshayani Ekadashi will be observed on July 17th, with devotees engaging in rituals, fasting from sunrise to sunrise of the following day, and focusing on spiritual enlightenment.
  • The mythology behind Devshayani Ekadashi revolves around Lord Vishnu resting on the serpent Ananta in the cosmic ocean, symbolizing a time for devotees to enhance their spiritual practices.
  • The observance of Devshayani Ekadashi includes fasting, charity, and special prayers to Lord Vishnu, aimed at spiritual growth and seeking divine favor during this auspicious period.
  • Devshayani Ekadashi is closely associated with the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra, a significant festival that takes place shortly after the Ekadashi and involves a grand procession of Lord Jagannath.

The Cultural and Religious Significance of Devshayani Ekadashi

The Start of Chaturmas: A Period of Divine Rest

Chaturmas marks a period of divine rest, commencing with Devshayani Ekadashi and culminating on Prabodhini Ekadashi.

This four-month phase aligns with the monsoon season in India, a time when, according to Hindu beliefs, the deities are in a state of slumber. Devotees engage in various religious practices during this time, including fasting on all Ekadashis and abstaining from certain foods like onion, garlic, grains, and beans.

The observance of Chaturmas is deeply rooted in Hindu astrology and mythology. It is believed that during these months, the environment is laden with darshan, which can lead to various defects affecting human health. To counteract these effects, certain rituals and activities are traditionally restricted.

The significance of Chaturmas is not only spiritual but also practical, as it encourages a lifestyle that is in harmony with the seasonal changes and the agricultural cycle.

The following table outlines the key restrictions and permitted activities during Chaturmas:

Restrictions Permitted Activities
16 rituals Pujas and rituals
Entry into renovated houses Purchase of vehicles and jewelry

Fasting on Devshayani Ekadashi, also known as Saubhagyadini Ekadashi, is said to absolve sins and lead to salvation, highlighting the day's profound spiritual importance.

Observances and Rituals Among Vaishnavas

On Devshayani Ekadashi, Vaishnavas engage in a series of devout practices to honor Lord Vishnu. Devotees observe a strict fast (vrat), refraining from both food and water, which is a testament to their dedication and spiritual discipline. The fast commences on Ekadashi and is broken the following day, known as Dwadashi, after the morning rituals and prayers.

The essence of the observance lies in the purity of the mind, body, and soul, aiming for spiritual elevation and divine blessings.

In addition to fasting, worshippers recite the Vrat Katha, a narrative that elucidates the importance and benefits of the fast.

Temples become the epicenter of devotion, with followers waking early for ritualistic baths, offering prayers, and adorning the idol of Lord Vishnu with sacred symbols like the mace, chakra, and conch. The day concludes with Aarti and the distribution of Prasad, fostering a sense of community among the devotees.

The night of Devshayani Ekadashi is marked by vigilance and piety, as followers stay awake to sing hymns and recite mantras in praise of Lord Vishnu. This practice not only honors the deity but also signifies the devotees' unwavering commitment to their faith.

Impact on Hindu Ceremonies and Festivities

Devshayani Ekadashi marks a significant shift in the Hindu religious calendar, as it signals the onset of Chaturmas, a period when certain ceremonies and festivities are put on hold.

This period is traditionally viewed as inauspicious for weddings and other major celebrations.

During Chaturmas, the focus shifts towards spiritual growth and inner reflection. The following list highlights how Devshayani Ekadashi impacts various Hindu ceremonies and festivities:

  • Weddings and engagements are typically not scheduled.
  • Sacred thread ceremonies (Upanayanan) are postponed.
  • Housewarming ceremonies (Griha Pravesh) are avoided.
  • Many devotees engage in increased religious activities, such as pilgrimages and spiritual discourses.
The essence of this period is to minimize worldly activities and maximize efforts on spiritual upliftment, aligning with the divine rest of Lord Vishnu.

As the festival approaches, preparations begin to ensure that observances are in harmony with the traditional guidelines. Devotees often plan their activities well in advance to respect the sanctity of this time.

Devshayani Ekadashi 2024: Key Dates and Observances

The Exact Date of Devshayani Ekadashi in 2024

In 2024, Devshayani Ekadashi will be observed on Wednesday, the 17th of July. This auspicious day marks the commencement of the Chaturmas period, a time of heightened spiritual activity and devotion.

The start and end times for the Ekadashi fast are as follows:

  • Start Time: 16 July 2024 at 08:33 PM
  • End Time: 17 July 2024 at 09:02 PM

Devotees looking to break their fast, known as 'Parana', can do so on the following day:

  • Parana Time: 18 July 2024 at 06:12 AM
  • Dwadashi End Time: 08:42 AM

It is essential for devotees to adhere to the precise timings to honor the sanctity of the vrat (fast).

Rituals and Fasting: How to Observe the Day

Devotees of Lord Vishnu observe Devshayani Ekadashi with great reverence, adhering to a strict fast (vrat) that lasts from sunrise on Ekadashi to sunrise on Dwadashi. The fast involves abstaining from all forms of food and, in some cases, water, reflecting a commitment to spiritual growth and discipline.

The fast is broken the following day after morning rituals, which include offering prayers and reciting the Vrat Katha, a narrative that underscores the fast's significance.

Different types of fasting are observed, each with its own set of rules. For instance, the Nirjala fast involves complete abstinence from food and water, while the Phalahar fast allows the consumption of fruits and certain types of food. It's essential to maintain a vegetarian diet, avoid alcohol, and follow the fasting timings meticulously.

The culmination of the fast is marked by a special moment of spiritual renewal. As the sun rises, devotees often feel a profound sense of energy and empowerment, symbolizing the light of wisdom dispelling the darkness of ignorance.

The Significance of Sunrise in the Fasting Ritual

In the observance of Devshayani Ekadashi, the moment of sunrise holds a profound significance. The fast begins at sundown on the preceding day and culminates at sunrise, marking the completion of the ritual.

This transition from night to day is seen as a symbolic rebirth, a renewal of spiritual commitment and devotion.

The act of gazing at the sunrise, with water in hand, is more than a mere ritual; it is an experience of absorbing energy, a feeling potent enough to instill a sense of invincibility.

The breaking of the fast is not just a physical act but a deeply spiritual one, where the first morsel of food, often a sacred offering, is consumed with reverence. The timing of the sunrise is crucial, as it is believed to be the most auspicious moment to break the fast and offer prayers.

Understanding the Mythology Behind Devshayani Ekadashi

Lord Vishnu's Cosmic Slumber: The Story of Shayana

The tale of Lord Vishnu's cosmic slumber is a cornerstone of Hindu mythology, marking the commencement of the Chaturmas period.

It is during Devshayani Ekadashi that Vishnu is said to recline in the Kshira Sagara, the ocean of cosmic milk, resting upon Shesha, the infinite serpent. This divine rest lasts for four months, concluding on Prabodhini Ekadashi.

Devotees believe that this period of rest for Vishnu is a time for them to intensify their spiritual practices and adhere to the Chaturmasya vrata, a vow of devotion and discipline.

The significance of this event is underscored by the Bhavishyottara Purana, where Krishna explains to Yudhishthira the importance of observing Shayani Ekadashi.

The narrative includes the story of King Mandata, whose kingdom suffered from drought. Following the sage Angiras' advice to observe the Devashayani Ekadashi vrata, the king's land was blessed with rain, demonstrating the Ekadashi's divine favor.

The Symbolism of the Ksheer Sagar and Serpent Ananta

The Ksheer Sagar, or the Ocean of Milk, is a celestial ocean in Hindu mythology, representing purity and fertility.

It is the abode of Lord Vishnu, who is often depicted reclining on the Serpent Ananta, a symbol of eternity and the infinite nature of the cosmos. The intertwining of Vishnu and Ananta signifies the unity of consciousness and infinity, a core concept in Hindu philosophy.

In the context of Devshayani Ekadashi, the Ksheer Sagar becomes especially significant as it is the resting place of Vishnu during his cosmic slumber.

The serpent Ananta, upon whom Vishnu rests, is said to have a thousand heads, each representing a different aspect of the universe. This imagery underscores the vastness of Vishnu's dominion and his role as the preserver of the world.

The symbolism of the Ksheer Sagar and Serpent Ananta extends beyond mere representation; it embodies the balance and harmony of the natural world, reflecting the interconnectedness of all life.

The following points highlight the symbolic importance of the Ksheer Sagar and Serpent Ananta:

  • The Ksheer Sagar as a symbol of purity and sustenance.
  • Ananta as a representation of the endless cycles of time.
  • The resting of Lord Vishnu on Ananta during Devshayani Ekadashi as a period of reflection and rejuvenation for the universe.
  • The connection between the cosmic sleep of Vishnu and the observance of Chaturmas by devotees.

The Connection with Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra

The Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is an integral part of the Devshayani Ekadashi celebrations, marking a significant event in the Hindu calendar.

The grand procession symbolizes Lord Jagannath's annual journey to visit his birthplace along with his siblings, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. This festival is deeply intertwined with the concept of Devshayani Ekadashi, as it usually takes place shortly before Lord Vishnu's cosmic slumber.

During the Rath Yatra, three colossal chariots are pulled through the streets of Puri, each representing one of the deities. The chariots are constructed anew each year, following strict religious guidelines.

The event draws millions of devotees from across the globe, all eager to partake in the pulling of the chariots, an act believed to bestow blessings and spiritual merit.

The Rath Yatra not only reinforces the cultural fabric of Odisha but also serves as a reminder of the cyclical nature of Hindu festivals and their connection to celestial events.

In recent times, the Rath Yatra has had to adapt to global challenges, such as the coronavirus pandemic, which led to restrictions on public gatherings.

Despite these challenges, the festival continues to be a beacon of faith and tradition, demonstrating the resilience of spiritual practices in the face of adversity.

The Spiritual Practices During Devshayani Ekadashi

Enhancing Devotion Through Fasting and Charity

Devshayani Ekadashi is a time when fasting is not just an act of abstaining from food, but a means to enhance spiritual growth. It is believed that through the discipline of fasting, devotees purify both body and mind, paving the way for a deeper connection with the divine.

This practice aligns with the broader Hindu philosophy that sees fasting as a way to express devotion, gain self-control, and manifest compassion for those less fortunate.

In addition to fasting, charity is a cornerstone of Devshayani Ekadashi. It is a day when the faithful are encouraged to engage in acts of kindness and generosity. The following points highlight the dual focus of the day:

  • Fasting to purify and discipline the self
  • Engaging in charity to support and uplift others
  • Reflecting on one's own blessings and fostering empathy towards the needy
On this auspicious day, the acts of fasting and charity are not just rituals but are seen as essential practices that reinforce one's commitment to spiritual enlightenment and societal welfare.

The Role of Devshayani Ekadashi in Spiritual Enlightenment

Devshayani Ekadashi is a pivotal day for those seeking spiritual growth and enlightenment.

By observing fast on this sacred day, devotees are believed to cleanse their souls and draw closer to divinity. The practice is not merely about abstaining from food but involves a deep introspection and commitment to personal evolution.

  • Wake up early and perform a ritualistic bath.
  • Visit temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
  • Engage in prayers, meditation, and reading of sacred texts.
Observing Devshayani Ekadashi purifies the mind, body, and soul, leading to the removal of sins and the bestowal of divine blessings.

The day is marked by a series of spiritual activities that are designed to enhance one's connection with the divine. It is a time for devout observance, introspection, and embracing the teachings of Ekadashi.

As the Chaturmas period begins, the focus on spiritual practices becomes more pronounced, offering a path to spiritual liberation and fulfillment.

Special Prayers and Offerings to Lord Vishnu

On Devshayani Ekadashi, devotees engage in special prayers and offerings to Lord Vishnu to seek his blessings and grace.

The idol of Lord Vishnu is adorned with sacred items such as a mace, chakra, conch, and draped in bright yellow clothes. Offerings made during the puja include incense, lamp flowers, betel nuts, and sweets.

The culmination of the puja is marked by the performance of Aarti, followed by the distribution of Prasad among the devotees.

The night of Devshayani Ekadashi is a time for heightened devotion, where followers are encouraged to stay awake, reciting hymns and songs in praise of Lord Vishnu. This vigil is a testament to their dedication and a means to attain spiritual merit.

Devotees believe that by observing the fast and engaging in worship on this day, their wishes are fulfilled, sins are destroyed, and salvation is attained.

Chanting the Vishnu Sahasranama, a hymn of a thousand names of Lord Vishnu, is considered particularly auspicious on this day. It is said to generate positive energy and bestow abundant blessings, as it was taught by Bhishma Pitamah to King Yudhishthir in the Mahabharata.


In conclusion, Devshayani Ekadashi, also known as Ashadi Ekadashi, is a day of profound spiritual significance for devotees of Lord Vishnu.

Marking the commencement of the four-month period of Chaturmas, it is a time when Lord Vishnu is believed to enter a state of divine slumber. This period encourages devotees to intensify their spiritual practices, engage in virtuous deeds, and perform charity.

The fast observed on this day, from sunrise to sunrise of the following Dwadashi, is a testament to the devotion and reverence held for this auspicious occasion. As we approach Devshayani Ekadashi on 17 July 2024, let us remember the deep-rooted traditions and the spiritual awakening it symbolizes for the faithful.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Devshayani Ekadashi and why is it significant?

Devshayani Ekadashi, also known as Ashadi Ekadashi or Maha-ekadashi, is a Hindu festival celebrated on the eleventh day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashadha. It signifies the beginning of Chaturmas, a four-month period when Lord Vishnu is believed to rest. It is a day of fasting and prayer among Vaishnavas, marking a time for increased spiritual practices and abstention from auspicious ceremonies like marriages.

When is Devshayani Ekadashi in 2024?

In 2024, Devshayani Ekadashi falls on 17 July. It is observed with particular rituals and fasting, with an emphasis on spiritual enlightenment and devotion.

What are the rituals associated with Devshayani Ekadashi?

Devotees observe a strict fast from sunrise on the day of Devshayani Ekadashi until sunrise the next day, engage in prayers and devotional activities, and offer charity. It is also customary to abstain from organizing auspicious events during Chaturmas, as it is believed the deities are resting.

What is the mythology behind Devshayani Ekadashi?

The mythology of Devshayani Ekadashi revolves around Lord Vishnu entering a state of deep sleep (Shayana) on the cosmic ocean of Milk (Ksheer Sagar) atop the serpent Ananta. This period is known as Chaturmas and symbolizes a time for devotees to engage in virtuous activities and spiritual growth.

How does Devshayani Ekadashi relate to the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra?

Devshayani Ekadashi is closely associated with the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra, a grand procession of Lord Jagannath (a form of Lord Vishnu) in Puri, Odisha. The Rath Yatra typically occurs shortly after Devshayani Ekadashi, and it is a significant event for devotees.

What is the significance of sunrise in the fasting ritual on Devshayani Ekadashi?

The fasting ritual on Devshayani Ekadashi begins at sunrise on the day of Ekadashi and ends at sunrise on Dwadashi, the following day. The timing of sunrise is significant as it marks the beginning and end of the fast, which is observed to enhance spiritual growth and devotion to Lord Vishnu.

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