Papankusha Ekadashi falls on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha during the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunar calendar. This year, it falls on October 1. Fasting is observed on Papankusha Ekadashi by Hindus to cleanse oneself from all sins committed in one’s life.

The significance of Papankusha Ekadashi

The day is dedicated to Lord Padmanabha, an embodiment of Lord Vishnu. The person who observes the fast on this day is believed to be bestowed with good health, wealth and have his desires fulfilled. While observing the fast, one should know the significance of this Ekadashi vrat. Observe it with full devotion towards Lord Vishnu.

The story behind Papankusha Ekadashi

There is a story behind keeping fast on Ekadashi. Once, the eldest of Pandav brothers, Yudhishthir, asked Lord Krishna an easy solution by which a person can abolish some mistakes committed by him in ignorance. Lord Krishna answered that Papankusha Ekadashi observance is the solution in this case.

As the name suggests, Papankusha Ekadashi is the destroyer of sins and nullifies them if committed by mistake. Also, this Ekadashi gives the desired wishes to the observer. What merits are obtained by doing long penance in forest, same merits can be attained by just bowing down to Lord Vishnu sleeping in the cosmic ocean, Ksheer Sagar.

The merits attained by doing thousands of Vajpeya and Ashwamedha Yagna are not even equivalent to sixteenth part of this Ekadashi fast. Thus, this fast is considered the most pure and rewarding in all three realms.

The intrinsic worth of Papankusha Ekadashi is far beyond the virtues earned by bathing in sacred river Ganges or donation done in Gaya, Kashi, Kurukshetra and Pushkar. The sins are believed to remain in the body till the time the person has not done this fast.

According to Lord Krishna, the observer of this fast achieve healthy body, beautiful spouse, begets progeny, wealth and all worldly pleasures. Above all, he or she attains the abode of Lord Vishnu in the end. The observance of this fast gives the benefits to generation of the observer.

Lord Shri Rama also observed this fast after killing Ravana. Ravana was a demon but he was a Brahmana by birth. Though killing a Brahmana is considered a sin according to vedas, Lord Rama absolved this sin by way of Papankusha Ekadashi fast.

Whosoever observes this fast faithfully never has to see death personified God Yamraj.

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Rules for keeping Papankusha Ekadashi fast:

  1. Devotees keep strict fast on this day and break the fast on the next day only after sunrise.
  2. Eating grains and cereals is prohibited during Ekadashi fasting. Don’t eat any cereals like rice, pulses, wheat and salt.
  3. One can drink water, milk, or any fruit juice.
  4. Take single meal in the afternoon a day before fasting day to make sure there is no residual food in the stomach on next day.
  5. Observer may eat potatoes, sweet potatoes, yogurt and butter.
  6. Observe self-control. Do maun-japa, dhyan and bhajan by keeping awake for a longer time in the night.
  7. Avoid eating foods that are heavy to digest like sabudana, potato chips, banana and fried food.
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Traditional Beliefs

  1. Whosoever chants the sacred names such as Ram, Krishna, Janardan and Vishnu on Ekadashi never sees Yamraj.
  2. It is believed that if a person eats once at midday on this Ekadashi, the sins of his previous birth are erased.
  3. If he eat only supper, the sins acquired during his previous two births are removed.
  4. If he fasts completely, the sins accumulated during his previous seven births are gone.

This fast gives you a good opportunity to cleanse the hidden undigested food in the body. If possible, one should stay on lukewarm lemon water. It is a very good cleanser and detoxifier. In all religions, fasting is observed. Rules may be different but the emphasis on inner spiritual cleansing remains the same.