Sayana Ekadashi or Deva- Sayani Ekadashi falls in the Shukla Paksha of Aani month as per Tamil calendar. It is also called Padma Ekadashi and Ashadi Ekadashi.
As the name suggests, Sayana Ekadashi means that Lord Vishnu goes to sleep with the Devas (semi-gods) and so after observing this Ekadashi, people normally don’t indulge in any kind of auspicious activities for the time being. It is because when the Devas are in the sleeping mode, they won’t be able to accept the ritualistic offerings rendered by human beings.
On Devasayani Ekadashi it is very auspicious to take bath in the Godavari River and take the darshan of Lord Rama in Kala Ram temple.
Pandarpur Yatra culminates on Ashada Ekadashi. Very special poojas are conducted in Lord Vital's temple in Pandarpur on this day. It is very significant for the people of Maharashtra.
It was the day two great saints Tukaram and Jnashewar, great devotees of Lord Vital, reached Pandarpur temple after their yatra on foot for 15 days to the temple from their respective villages. To commemorate this incident, palkis carrying the statues of these saints are brought by the devotees of Vital and they reach Pandarpur on Ashada Ekadashi day.
The bhakthas take Dindi Yatra or Pandarpur Yatra on this day with the palkis having the statues of Tukaram and Jnashewar and reach Pandarpur to seek the grace of Lord Vital.
The significance of Deva Sayana Ekadashi is narrated by Lord Vishnu to Yudhistra.
There is a historical event related to Deva Sayana Ekadashi.
Narada, the son of Brahma asked him once about the significance of the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi that occurs during the Ashada month.
Brahma, while replying, said that the Ekadashi that occurs during the Ashada month has the legend of the King Mandhata who was a ruler in the Satya Yuga.
The king was an excellent ruler who did everything that bestowed prosperity and wellness on his people. The people were perfect, performing their best in every aspect of life. Everything went on well.
The country was once afflicted by drought and famine for three years. The citizens went to the king and appealed to him to remedy the situation. The king was also desperate to find out a solution but in vain. So, he decided to take a tour and find out a solution.
Water is called Nara and Narayana, God Vishnu is called so since He is lying on the bed of water (Ocean of Milk).The Absolute Brahman is said to remain in every grain that helps our sustenance by way of food and it is only water that makes the grain grow and the grain is made to flour with the help of water and it becomes food for us.
Now, without water and the food made through it, the people in Mandhata’s kingdom underwent innumerable sufferings.
The king visited forests, met rishis and paid his obeisance. One day, he came across Angira Muni, a great saint. After paying respects to him, the king explained his sad predicament and pleaded with the Muni for a solution.
The Rishi said that it was because a man, who was not a Brahmin in the kingdom of Mandhata, was performing yagna and rituals that caused drought and famine in the kingdom. He advised the king to kill the man. The king was reluctant as it was not a great offence to be punished with death. He wanted a spiritual solution and was advised by the sage to observe Deva- Sayana Ekadashi.
The king went back to his kingdom, assembled all the citizens and asked them to observe Deva Sayana Ekadashi or Padma Ekadashi. The citizens obeyed and performed the same. The rains fell and the drought was gone.
By observing Devasayani Ekadashi, one is relieved of his worst sin and gets rid of the obstacles on his way to spiritual perfection.
· He gets onto the path of perfection in spiritual life.
· All kinds of sins are absolved and life is endowed with prosperity and well being.
Thus Brahma narrated the story of Sayana Ekadashi to Narada and it was mentioned in Bhavishya Uttara Purana.