Papankusha Ekadashi falls on the eleventh day of the Shukla Paksha during the month of ‘Ashwin.’ It is also referred as ‘Ashwina-Shukla Ekadashi.’ Papankusha Ekadashi is devoted to Lord Padmanabha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. By observing Papankusha Ekadashi Vrat, the devotees will be bestowed with the blessings of Lord Padmanabha.
Significance of Papankusha Ekadashi:
Papankusha Ekadashi is one of the significant Ekadashis as the person who fasts on this day is blessed with good health, wealth and worldly desires. He will also get rid of gets rid of the sins.The merits of Papankusha Ekadashi are equivalent to performing 100 Surya Yagya or 1000 Ashwamedha Yagya. The greatness of Papankusha Ekadashi is mentioned in the ‘Brahma Vaivatra Purana.’ Yudhisthira requested Lord Krishna to explain the benefits of observing a fast on Papankusha Ekadashi. Anyone who devotedly observes the Papankusha Ekadashi will gain freedom from the sins and attain salvation. They will achieve the same virtues as visiting the Hindu pilgrim places.
A hunter named Krodhana lived on the Vindhyachal Mountains. He was involved in the wicked deeds throughout his life. At the end of his life, Yamraj ordered his representative to bring the hunter to his court. Krodhana was so scared that he approached a sage Angira and pleaded him for help. Sage Angira guided him to worship Lord Vishnu on the Ekadashi of Shukla Paksha of Ashwin Month. Krodhana observed the Papankusha Ekadashi fast. Hence, his soul was taken to heaven. He attained salvation at the feet of Lord Vishnu.
Celebrations and Rituals:
Devotees observe a strict fast on the Papankusha day. They get up early and wear clean clothes after taking a bath. The fasting ritual of Papankusha Ekadashi starts from the ‘Dashami’ day. A single ‘simple’ meal is consumed before sunset. While observing the Vrat, the devotees must not lie or conduct any sinful acts. The devotees offer food and other donations to needy and poor before breaking the fast. The observer of this fast should not sleep at all during the day and night. They must spend the time reciting and singing Vedic mantras and bhajans in praise of Lord Vishnu. Reading ‘Vishnu Sahasranam’ is also considered favourable. An idol of Lord Vishnu seated on the Garuda is worshipped according to ‘Archana Vidhi.’ The ‘Padmanabha’ form of Sri Hari is worshipped with flowers, betel leaves, lamps and incense sticks. At the end of puja rituals, an aarti is performed. If a person cannot observe a fast, they can donate clothes, foods and other essentials to needy and poor people.