Mokshada Ekadashi also celebrated as ‘Gita Jayanti’ falls on the eleventh day of Shukla Paksha in the month of ‘Margashira.’ As the name reveals, Mokshada Ekadashi helps to achieve salvation or ‘Moksha’ from the cycle of birth and death to reach the Vaikuntha, the divine abode of Lord Vishnu. Mokshada Ekadashi is observed with devotion. It is also referred as ‘Maun Ekadashi,’ and hence devotees observe ‘Mauna Vrat’ all day long. In South India and Odisha, Mokshada Ekadashi is known as ‘Baikuntha Ekadashi.’
Significance of Mokshada Ekadashi:
Mokshada Ekadashi is noteworthy as it grants forgiveness for all the evil deeds and sins. By observing the Mokshada Ekadashi, the observer can grant Moksha to their dead ancestors. Mokshada Ekadashi is auspicious for Vaishnavas or Lord Vishnu followers. The day of Mokshada Ekadashi is also favourable for gifting the Bhagavad Gita to any deserving person so that they receive the love and affection of Lord Vishnu. The significance of Mokshada Ekadashi is mentioned in various Hindu scriptures. As per Vishnu Purana, Mokshada Ekadashi fasting is equivalent to the combined benefits of the other 23 Ekadashi Vrat.
Rituals and Celebrations:
Devotees wake up at sunrise on Mokshada Ekadashi and take an early bath. Fasting is another important ritual. Mokshada Ekadashi fast involves spending the whole day without eating or drinking anything. The fasting performed from the sunrise of Ekadashi to sunrise of Dwadashi. Partial fasting by consuming milk, dairy products, fruits and other vegetarian foods is also allowed. Consumption of rice, grains, pulses, onion, and garlic is strictly prohibited. Devotees worship Lord Vishnu to seek his blessings. The Holy Bhagavad Geeta is also worshipped, and sermons are read out along with ‘Vishnu Sahasranamam’ and ‘Mukundashtakam.’ Devotees visit the temple of Lord Vishnu to offer the prayers.
Mokshada Ekadashi is regarded as an auspicious day to worship Lord Vishnu because, on this day Lord Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu narrated the Holy Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. During the battle of Mahabharat, Arjun was struck by despair and grief upon seeing his kith and kin dying. He was reluctant to wage war against his cousins. Lord Krishna narrated the 700 verse of religious discourse which is known as the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. It was Margasheersha Shukla Ekadashi or Mokshada Ekadashi.
Another legend about the Mokshada Ekadashi appears in the Brahmanda Purana. Lord Krishna narrates the story to the Yudhishthira about a benevolent king in the city of Champaka Nagar who treated his subjects like his family. One night the king had a terrible dream about his father suffering in hell. Next day he narrated his nightmare to a scholar who advised him to approach Paravat Muni. He told the king that his father was being tormented for his sin in hell. He instructed him to observe a fast on Mokshada Ekadashi to absolve his father of his sins. The King did likewise along with his wife and children, and his father was redeemed from the sins.