Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Shattila Ekadashi observed at ISKCON, Vrindavan

Donation of Sesame on Shattila Ekadashi leads to Moksha

ISKCON Temple, Vrindavan
Devotees of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna observe the fasting of Ekadashi with utmost devotion every fortnight. Lord Krishna followers at the renowned ISKCON Temple, Vrindavan start their day early on the day of Ekadashi. Drik Panchang correspondent visited the Temple to capture the ambience on the auspicious day of Shattila Ekadashi. This year, Shattila Ekadashi was observed on 20th January.

Lord Krishna and Radharani at ISKCON, Vrindavan

As shared by the Communication Officer of the temple, Tirtheshwari Radhika Devidasi, devotees on the day of Ekadashi wake up in the Brahma Muhurat and gather at the temple to attend Mangal Aarti and Tulsi Aarti which are conducted at 4:30 am and 5:00 am respectively. The day of Ekadashi is dear to Lord Vishnu and one must completely devote himself or herself in Hari-Bhakti on the day of Ekadashi. ISKCON followers who perform Japa of 16-Mala every day increase their Japa and perform at least 25 Mala on Ekadashi. Consumption of Anna or grain is completely forbidden on Ekadashi, so one must only include fresh fruits, dry fruits, milk and buttermilk in their diet. Devotees then perform Parikrama of Vrindavan and pay their homage to every temple that comes in the course of Parikrama. The entire day is spent in worship of Lord Krishna. Followers immerse themselves in Hari-Bhakti by performing intense Japa, Bhajan-Kirtan, reciting Srimad Bhagavatam and Srimad Gita at the Temple on the day of Ekadashi as shared by Rakhal Raja Das, Director Braj Sevanam of ISKCON.

Significance of Shattila Ekadashi

The Mahatamya of Shattila Ekadashi was narrated to sage Narad by the Lord Vishnu Himself. Lord Vishnu shared the great Mahatamya of Shattila Ekadashi by recounting an incident He witnessed -

A long-time back, there lived a pious Brahman woman in mortal world. She devoted her life to the observance of various Vrat and fasting. Once, she observed a month-long fast which weakened her body. That woman was highly intelligent, but she never made a donation of Anna in her life. Lord Vishnu contemplated that despite the fact that this woman has purified her body by observing every kind of Vrat, and she would surely attain Vaikuntha, but she has never made a donation of food grain in her life and without grains the sustenance of life is impossible. Reflecting on this very fact, Lord Vishnu appeared in the guise of a Bhikshuk at the doorstep of that Brahman woman and asked for alms from her. In return to his request, she hurled a lump of clay towards Lord Vishnu refusing to give any food to Him. Lord Vishnu returned to Vaikuntha with that clay lump. After living her full life, that Brahman woman attained her rightful place in the abode of Lord Vishnu. As a result of her donation of clay to Lord Vishnu, she received a hut with a mango trees in Vaikuntha. But that hut was empty and devoid of any article needed for the sustenance of life. Upon seeing such a place, she approached Lord Vishnu in a restless state of mind and expressed her displeasure in the following way –

“Oh Lord Vishnu, I have worshipped you with all my devotion and observed all kind of Vrat dedicated to you. Then why my house is devoid of everything”.  
Lord Vishnu thus replied with the following words –
Return to your hut O pious woman, and when wives of Gods come to see you don’t open the door unless they recited the Mahatamya and procedure of Shattila Ekadashi to you.

Hearing such words from Lord Vishnu,
that woman returned to her hut. When the wives of Gods came to see her, she asked them to narrate the procedure and Mahatamya of Shattila Ekadashi otherwise she wouldn’t open the door. One of them then stepped forward and recited the procedure and Mahatamya of Shattila Ekadashi as follows.

After the God woman had narrated the Mahatamya of Shattila Ekadashi the Brahman woman opened the door. All those God women were mesmerized to see such women of divine grace and beauty that has never been seen before. After hearing the detailed procedure and Mahatamya of Shattila Ekadashi, that Brahman woman observed the fast of Shattila Ekadashi with full devotion. Her devotion earned her the fruits of her fast and her little hut was immediately filled with various articles of food grain and wealth.
Lord Vishnu thus said that one must abstain from every kind of ignorance and observe the fast of Shattila Ekadashi. The one who observes this fast will receive eternal wellbeing and health and destroy all their sins.    

Shattila Ekadashi Mahatamya -

When the auspicious month of Magha has arrived, one must purify one’s body and mind by taking holy bath early morning and practice abstinence. A person must stay away from immoral feelings of lust, anger, greed, attachment, envy and pride.

On the auspicious occasion of Pushya Nakshatra in Magha, one must collect cow dung, mix it with sesame and cotton to make Upala and perform Homa 108 times using those Upala.

On the day of Ekadashi Tithi, a person should practice pious deeds throughout the day. After completing the routine activities of cleaning and washing, he should dedicate himself in the Bhakti of Shree Hari. He should do Puja of the Lord and do Kirtan all day with utmost devotion. He must observe fasting on Ekadashi Tithi and keep awake all night and do Homa in dedication of Lord Vishnu. On the next day, that is, on Dwadashi Tithi, the person must worship Shree Hari with Dhup, Deep and Naivedya and offer Him the Bhog of Khichdi. It his highly auspicious to offer Arghya with Petha, coconut, Sitaphal and betel nut to Lord Vishnu on the day of Ekadashi. After giving the Arghya, the person must sing a Stuti in the praise of Lord Vishnu.

“O Lord of the world! You give refuge to destitute in your heart. You salvage those who have drowned in the depths of this mortal world. O Lord with beautiful Lotus eyes! Destroyer of demon Madhu! O Lord of the universe! O lotus-eyed Vishnu! Accept along with your divine consort Shree Lakshmi this Arghya of petty value offered by this servant of yours”.

After singing the Stuti, he must donate a water-filled pitcher and sesame seeds to a Brahman. If possible make a donation of a cow and sesame seeds. Thus, a person will become worthy of living in Heaven for the number of thousand years equal to the total number of sesame seeds he donates.    

·         Bathing with sesame
·         Using sesame Ubtan
·         Offering of sesame
·         Homa/Havan with sesame
·         Consuming food made with sesame
·         Donation of sesame

Thus, using sesame in the aforementioned six ways is called Shattila. By observing Shattila, all kinds of sins are destroyed.


Observing Shattila Ekadashi fast grants a person eternal health and wellbeing and donating food grains and sesame on Ekadashi day bestows the person with great wealth and every kind of material pleasure. The story of that pious Brahman woman also suggests that a person after leaving his body will receive the fruits as per the donations and charity he or she makes in this mortal world.  Therefore, one must make donations as per their financial situation to earn the complete fruit of fasting and Vrat. It is also stated in religious scripture of Hinduism that no ritual or religious activity is complete without donation and charity.

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