On the 11th day or ‘Ekadashi’ of the waxing moon in the lunar month of Phagun which falls in the month of February-March, Amalaki Ekadashi is observed. It is a Hindu holiday and marks the first day of Holi, the festival of colors. It falls between the onset of Holi and the day of Maha Shivratri. Regarded as one of the most pious and important Ekadashis among all the 24 Ekadashis that take place in a year, it is also known as Phagun Shukla Ekadashi as it falls in the month of Phagun.
The Indian gooseberry Amalaki is where Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Lakshmi are considered to reside, as per mythology, Therefore, the Amalaki tree is regarded as an auspicious tree where people offer prayers and worship on the eve of Amalaki Ekadashi. In the year 2021, Amalaki Ekadashi falls on Thursday, 25 March.
Ekadashi Tithi Begins - 10:23 AM on Mar 24, 2021 Ekadashi Tithi Ends - 09:47 AM on Mar 25, 2021
1. On this pious day, devotees wake up early and take a bath before they offer prayers to Lord Vishnu. This starts with the observance of various rituals like the devotees observe a Sankalp by taking some sesame seeds and a coin in the palm in order to attain salvation (moksha) after death.
2. After the prayers are offered to the idol of the deity, the tree is worshipped by the devotees by offering incense sticks, rice, flowers, sandalwood, and water.
3. Once all that is done, it is now time for donations to be made to the Brahmins of all things essential and food, clothes, and money.
4. The most significant ritual on the eve of Amalaki Ekadashi is the fast that devotees observe dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Only food made from amla can be consumed during the fast and rice and any grain should be avoided.
5. The fast is broken after listening to the Amalaki Ekadashi Vrat Katha.
As per the legend, there was a king named Chitrasena. Chitrasena was a firm devotee of Lord Vishnu who was an ardent observer of the Amalaki Ekadashi fast and was bestowed with blessings from the deity. Once the king went hunting with his soldiers where he was captured along with his soldiers by tribal men. There, as per the ritual of the tribals, the king was made ready for sacrifice to please their deity. Just when he was being taken away, the king fell unconscious and appeared from his body a ray of light and killed all the tribal men.
Later, the king became conscious and was told by a voice that because of the merits of observing the fast of Amalaki Ekadashi, he was saved by Lord Vishnu.
1. It is believed that devotees who fast on this day are bound to reach Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu. Even in the Brahmananda Purana, the significance of observing a fast on this day is mentioned. It is also recited by Saint Valmiki.
2. By observing a fast on this day, devotees get rid of their sins and attain the path to Moksha.
3. On this day people also worship the Amalaki tree, this bestows them with good health.
There are a few rituals to breaking the fast or Parana. Ekadashi Parana is usually carried out after sunrise on the next day of Ekadashi fast within Dwadashi Tithi unless Dwadashi is over before sunrise.