Indira Ekadashi falls on the 11th lunar day after the Full Moon Day in the month of Ashwin (September-October). It is also called Ashwin Krishna Ekadashi.
Since it falls during Pitru Paksha (Mahalaya Paksha), performing ancestor rites on this day propitiates the ancestors by helping them enter the spiritual world. This is referred as Ekadashi-shraddham. Indira Ekadashi vrat is noted for washing away the sins of a person as well as his ancestors once observed strictly.
Indira Ekadashi Vrat Katha
The story of Indira Ekadashi was narrated by Lord Krishna to Yudhishtra as found in Brahma Vaivatra Purana.
In the ancient days, there was a king called Indrasena who was ruling over the kingdom of Mahishmati-puri in Satya Yuga.He was a blemishless king with his citizens leading a peaceful life under his rule. He was a very ardent devotee of Mahavishnu and worshipped him with deep rooted devotion.
One day, as the king was presiding over his court, he had Sage Narada’s darshan in his court. After welcoming the Sage with due respect, he wanted to know the reason for the visit of Narada. The Sage explained that he was coming down from Brahmalok and was visiting Yamalok where he was welcomed by Yamaraj with due respect. Narada spotted the father of Indrasena in the assembly of Yamaraj and was surprised to see him in the Yamalok. Indrasena’s father explained that he had been suffering in Yamalok because he broke one of his Ekadashi fasts in a premature manner. He asked Narada to inform his son to observe Indira Ekadashi so that he would get out of hell and go to the spiritual world.
The king Indrasena wanted to know when Indira Ekadashi was and how to observe it. Narada explained about the observance of Indira Ekadashi vrata to the king.
It is like any other Ekadashi vrat observance- a single meal on the Dashami, complete fasting on the Ekadashi and breaking the fast on the Dwadashi morning.
On the day of Ekadashi, after praying to Lord Vishnu, the observer has to do oblations to his forefathers in the afternoon and do tarpan.
The observer should stay awake over the night near the idol of Mahavishnu.
Narada said that by observing this Ekadashi fast in a strict manner, Indrasena could send his father to the spiritual world and relieve him from hell.
The king, his family and attendants observed Indira Ekadashi in this way and on the Dwadashi day flowers fell from heaven on the king as a token of appreciation for his ardent devotion. He also saw his father mounting to Vaikuntam sitting on the back of Garuda.
The king also attained Vaikuntam after his death.
A person who observes Indira Ekadashi gets rid of his sins and helps his forefathers get rid of their sins and move towards the spiritual world.
Reading or hearing the narration of Indira Ekadashi causes prosperity to a person in this life and helps him attain moksha at the end of his life.
Hearing the narration of Indira Ekadashi is equal to the merit of offering a horse sacrifice.
Indira Ekadashi vrat gets us relief from our sins and moksha for our ancestors. Why not help our ancestors through this Ekadashi vrat and seek their blessings apart from seeking divine grace from Lord Vishnu?
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