Typically, two Ekadashis are observed in a month. The date of the Ekadashi is specified and best found in the Hindu lunar calendars. Ekadashi is the 11th lunar-moon day. Sanskrit word ‘Ekadash’ means the number eleven. ‘Ekadashi’ means the eleventh day of the fortnight or the 11th lunar day. There are two lunar phases in a month, called the Shukla Paksha and the Krishna Paksha. Aja Ekadashi happens on the 11th day, Tithi, of the Krishna Paksha, the waning-decreasing phase of the moon that falls in the Indian calendar month of ‘Bhadrapada’.
Aja Ekadashi, also called ‘Annada Ekadashi’ always corresponds to the Gregorian period August-September. Prominent Hindu deities Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu are worshiped on this day.
Many devotees of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu observe Vrat, fasting, on this day to seek their blessings. They ask for forgiveness for any mistakes or wrongdoings; keeping the Vrat and offering prayers cleanses the sins.
The fast begins one day prior to the Ekadashi on Dashami, the 10th day. For this Ekadashi, it begins at 3:01 pm on the 5th of September. The Vrat ends on the 7th of September, 6:06 am – 8:35 am. Natives pray for happiness, wealth, prosperity, luxury, success, wellbeing etc.
In the ancient mythology, once Lord Krishna was asked by King Yudhisthira Maharaj for an Ekadashi for forgiveness for any past sins, protection of natives, and mastery of the senses. To this, Lord Krishna replied and suggested the observance of 11th Tithi – Aja Ekadashi.
Once, an honest, courageous, brave and devoted King Harishchandra lost his family and empire. He was suffering, and once Sage saw his miserable condition and sympathetically recommended him to keep the Aja Ekadashi Vrat. On keeping the fast, the King slowly regained his kingdom and was reunited with his family.
A Mantra for Goddess Lakshmi is—
Om Hrim Shrim Lakshmibhyo Namah
ॐ ह्रीं श्रीं लक्ष्मी भ्यो नमः
A Mantra for Lord Vishnu is—
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय