Apara Ekadashi is observed on the Eleventh day of the Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of ‘Jyeshtha’. It is believed that observing Apara Ekadashi vrat will be washed away all the sins. Apara Ekadashi is also known as ‘Achla Ekadashi’. Apara Ekadashi is dedicated to worshipping Lord Vishnu.
The word ‘apar’ implies ‘limitless,’ as by observing this vrat the person is believed to get unlimited benefits, this Ekadashi is called as ‘Apara Ekadashi.’ Apara Ekadashi is observed with full commitment. Apara Ekadashi is known by the different names in across India. In the state of Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and Haryana, Apara Ekadashi is celebrated as ‘Bhadrakali Ekadashi.’ Goddess Bhadra Kali is worshiped on this day. In Odisha, it is referred as ‘Jalakrida Ekadashi’ and is celebrated in honor of Lord Jagannath.
Significance of Apara Ekadashi:
The significance of Apara Ekadashi is mentioned in the ‘Brahma Purana.’ The greatness of Apara Ekadashi was narrated by Lord Krishna to King Yudhishithir. Lord Krishna also stated that a person observes Ekadashi vrat, he will be very renowned due to their meritious deeds. Apara Ekadashi vrat is highly beneficial for those who are suffering from the guilt of their sins. By observing a fast and worshipping Lord Vishnu with devotion, all the sins will be pardoned. Apara Ekadashi vrat makes a person prosperous and rich. By observing Apara Ekadashi, the devotees get the same benefits as taking a bath in the holy Ganges during the auspicious month of ‘Kartik.’ It is equivalent to donating cows or performing sacred yagnyas.
Celebrations and Rituals:
Devotees need to be cautious while performing Apara Ekadashi vrat. All the rituals must be performed with devotion and dedication. Devotee should get up before sunrise and take a bath. Offer Tulsi leaves, flowers, dhoop and lamp to Lord Vishnu. Sweets are prepared at home and offered to the Lord. The devotees also recite the Apara Ekadashi vrat Katha or story along with Vishnu Sahastranaam Stotra. After performing the ‘Aarti’,‘Prasad’ is distributed among the family members. The devotees also visit temples of Lord Vishnu. The fast of this Ekadashi begins on the ‘dashami’ (10th day). The person can eat only one meal on the 10th day. Many devotees keep strict fast and spend the day without eating or drinking anything. Partial vrat can also be kept by those who are unfit. They can eat fruits. The fast starts at sunrise and ends on the sunrise of the ‘dwadashi’ (12th day). Eating grains and rice is prohibited on Apara Ekadashi. Applying oil on the body is also not allowed. Devotees should keep the mind free from all negative thoughts. He should not tell lies or speak badly about others. Their mind should only have thoughts of Lord Vishnu. The Devotees must be engaged in bhajans and kirtans in praise of Lord Vishnu on the day of Apara Ekadashi.