Ekadashi (11th) denotes the 11th day of both the waxing and the waning lunar cycles. It is observed as a fast day by many Hindus and is an obligatory day of fasting for Vaishnavites, worshippers of VISHNU, as it is associated with his worship. When one observes ekadashi as a result of a vow, one must stay awake that night and worship Vishnu (as is done with SHIVA during MAHASHIVARATRI), as well as fast. The ekadashi in the bright half of the month of Margashirsha (November–December) is known as “heaven ekadashi,” in reference to the heavenly abode of Vishnu. It is a very important temple day, as those who go through the temple doors on this day are believed to go to heaven.
   Further reading: Abbe J. A. Dubois, Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies. Translated from the French by Henry K. Beauchamp (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959); Swami Harshananda, Hindu Festivals and Sacred Days (Bangalore: Ramakrishna Math, 1994).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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