Kamika Ekadasi is observed during the waning phase of moon in the month of Shravan
When is it observed ?
Kamika Ekadasi is observed during the waning phase of moon in the month July or early August. In 2014, the date of Kamika Ekadasi is July 22, 2014.
Significance of Kamika Ekadasi
The importance of this Ekadashi was narrated by Lord Krishna to Yudhisthira and is found in the Brahmavaivarta Purana. Originally, it was narrated by Lord Brahma to Narada Maharishi. It is believed that observing this Ekadashi is equal to bathing in sacred rivers on auspicious days.
The Brahmavaivarta Purana mentions that Lord Krishna once told the significance of this Ekadashi to Yudhishthira, the saintly king. Yudhishthira asked Lord Krishna to tell him about the Ekadashi, which occurs during Krishna Paksha or the dark fortnight of the Shravan month. On this, Lord Krishna told him the story behind this Ekadashi. He told him that one day Narad Muni asked Lord Brahma about this Ekadashi and several other questions like the god to be worshipped on this day, the process to observe fast and also its benefits etc. Lord Brahma was very happy to answer him as even listening about Kamika Ekadashi is like performing an Ashwamedh Yajna. Lord Brahma then told him that, on this day one who offers prayers to the divine Lord Vishnu achieves the purity that one gets after bathing in the Ganges river or in the sacred Kali gadaki or the Godavari river during the full moon day. Worshipping Lord Vishnu on this day is like donating the whole earth in charity. Observing fast on this day showers the same blessings that one gets from donating a cow and her calf with their fodder. He also told Narada that one who fasts on this day gets liberation from all the sufferings. That person does not even have to suffer the future births. That person is more blessed than a person who reads spiritual texts.
After narrating this story to Yudhishthira, Lord Krishna also told him that it was very auspicious day because it neutralized the effect of every sin committed in the past, even that of killing a Brahman. This fast blesses the seeker with Vaikuntha, Lord Vishnu’s divine abode.
How to observe Kamika Ekadasi?
Offering Tulsi leaves to Lord Vishnu on this day is considered highly auspicious. Another important offering made is lighting ghee or sesame oil filled lamps at Sri Krishna Temples. Observing this Ekadasi is also equal to reading all the scriptures dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
It is believed that all the sins and remorse will be washed away if a devotee strictly observes the Kamika Ekadashi fast. It is mentioned in scriptures that those devotees fasting on this day wins the favor of Yamraj, the lord of death. For fasting the usual method is followed.
Kamika Ekadashi Fast
Observing fast on this Ekadashi is considered very auspicious. To observe a proper fast, it is good if a person wakes up early in the morning. Then after bathing, Lord Vishnu is worshipped. Aarti is performed with sandalwood, kumkum, incense sticks etc.
Procedure to Observe Fast
This Ekadashi fast begins from the Dashmi date i.e. one day before Ekadashi. The following rules must be followed:
On the Dashmi tithi, the person who observe’s fast, should have a positive attitude and must behave properly. He should be soft spoken and must avoid speaking foul language. He must speak truth. He should not hurt anyone.
One must be firm in his mind while keeping this fast as the time span of observing this fast is very long. Once started, the fast should never be left out in the middle. Meat, honey, barley etc. must be completely avoided in the Dashmi dinner. Only one meal should be taken. No salt must be taken while having the dinner meal.
The person observing fast must sleep on earth. After waking up early in the morning on the Ekadashi day, the person must bath with Til as well as Kush. One should wear clean clothes.
Then, Lord Vishnu should be worshipped. Prayers are offered by the person observing fast to Lord Vishnu to earn his blessings. Lighting ghee lamp as well as offering tulsi leaves in the Lord Krishna temples is considered highly auspicious.