Rama Ekadashi is one of the important ekadashi fasts that are observed in the Hindu culture. It falls on the ‘ekadashi’ of the Krishna Paksha (the dark fortnight of moon) during the Hindu month of ‘Kartik’. This date falls between the months of September to October in the English calendar. While Rama Ekadashi is observed in the month of Kartik according to the North Indian calendar, it falls in the month of ‘Puratassi’ as per the Tamilian calendar. Besides in states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra it occurs during the ‘Ashwayuj’ month and is even observed in the month of ‘Ashwin’ in some parts of the country. Rama Ekadashi falls four days before the celebrations of Diwali, the festival of lights. This ekadashi is also referred as ‘Rambha Ekadashi’ or ‘Kartik Krishna Ekadashi’. It is a popular conviction that Hindu devotees can wash away their sins by keeping a sacred fast on this day.
Rituals of Rama Ekadashi:
- Fasting is an important ritual on the day of Rama Ekadashi. This ritual starts from ‘dashami’, a day before the actual ekadashi. On this day too devotees refrain from certain foods and consume only ‘saatvik’ meal once, before sunset. On ekadashi, they do not eat at all. The end of the fasting ritual called as ‘Parana’ occurs on the ‘dwadashi’ tithi. Even for those not fasting, consuming rice and grains on any ekadashi is strictly prohibited.
- On the day of Rama Ekadashi devotees get up early and take a holy bath in any water bodies. Lord Vishnu is worshipped with devotion on this day. Fruits, flowers, incense sticks and dhoop to Lord Vishnu. Devotees prepare a special ‘Bhog’ and offer it to their deity. An aarti is performed and then the ‘Prasad’ is distributed among the family members.
- ‘Rama’ is another name for Goddess Lakshmi. Therefore on this auspicious day, devotees also offer prayers to Devi Lakshmi along with Lord Vishnu to seek the blessings of prosperity, health and happiness.
- The observer of the Rama Ekadashi fast maintains vigil all through the night. They contribute in the bhajans or kirtans organised on this day. Reading ‘Bhagavad Gita’ on this day is believed to be auspicious.