The Hindu festival of Devutthana Ekadashi is celebrated with reverence to Hindu God Vishnu. The festival is also called “Prabodhini Ekadashi” and ““Dev Uthani Ekadashi”.
Prabodhini Ekadashi is mainly celebrated in India in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra and in some southern states.
Following the Hindu calendar, the festival of Devutthana Ekadashi or Prabodhini Ekadashi is celebrated in the month of Kartik, on the 11th lunar day (Ekadashi) during the period of Shukla Paksha. Shukla Paksha is the first fortnight between New Moon Day and Full Moon Day.
According to the Gregorian calendar, the festivals falls in the months of October and November.
Devutthana Ekadashi 2019 will be celebrated on 8th November.
‘Dev Uthani’ means to wake up the Dev or God, and Ekadashi translates to the 11th day. And so, Dev Uthani Ekadashi denotes the 11th lunar day on which the rituals are performed to wake up Lord Vishnu.
According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Vishnu had to spend years without sleeping, since he was busy fighting evil. This schedule had an adverse effect on his sleeping habit and resulted in his falling asleep suddenly for years.
Lord Vishnu’s wife Goddess Lakshmi, disturbed by his irregular sleep, requested him to regularise his sleeping timing so that she too gets proper resting periods. Realising that he was disturbing his wife, among other Gods, Lord Vishnu decided to sleep for four months in a year, regularly.
And thus, it is believed that Lord Vishnu goes to sleep on Dev Shayani Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha (June-July) and wakes up on Dev Uthani Ekadashi in the month of Kartik (October-November).
Rituals and Traditions
Since the festival also marks the beginning of the sugarcane harvest, it is common to use freshly cut sugarcanes in rituals.
On the auspicious day of Dev Prabodhini Ekadashi, devotees take an early morning bath and perform a day long fast for the deity. Worshipers believe that keeping a Vrat (fast) during the festival will clear away the sins of their past lives. By observing the fast, devotees pray not only their own, but also their successors’ passage to heaven.
Tulsi or Holy Basil plant is the most common plant in every Hindu household, across India. Incase you don’t already have one at home, planting it during the festival will not only bring peace and prosperity, but you will also be blessed with good health and spiritual benefits. A customary tradition of Tulsi Vivah ritual is also performed on Devutthana Ekadashi. On the day of the festival , a ceremonial marriage of Tulsi plant with Lord Vishnu is performed.
According to the Hindu scriptures, Tulsi plant is the reincarnation of a woman named “Vrinda”, who was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. Thus, the ritual of marrying Tulsi plant (incarnation of Vrinda) to Shaligram (incarnation of Vishnu) is performed on Devutthana Ekadashi.
Significance of Devutthana Ekadashi
The festival also marks the beginning of marriage season. The four months period from Shayani Ekadashi to Prabodhini Ekadashi is considered inauspicious for marriages or other sacred functions, which is why people wait till Prabodhini Ekadashi to begin the ceremonies and functions!
It is believed that Lord Vishnu resides in the houses of devotees who offer Him prayers and worship Him with utmost dedication and commitment during the time of His awakening and sleeping.