According to the Hindu calendar, Shatila Ekadashi fast is observed every year on Ekadashi of Krishna Paksha, Magh month. On this day, Til(sesame) is used in six ways. It is used in Ubtan, bathing, performing Havans, Tarpan, meal and donations. Hence it is called the Shatila or Shattila Ekadashi Vrat.
Significance of Shatila Ekadashi Vrata
Sins of a person are removed on observing Shatila Ekadshi fast with full devotion. Hence, while observing this fast a person should keep control on all his senses and should get rid of all his anger, ego, gossips and other sinful activities and devote himself to God. There is also a belief that by observing this Vrata a person gets place in heaven after death.
Shat-Tila Ekadashi Fast Procedure
Once Dalabhya Rishi asked curiously to Pulastya Rishi about the peoples on earth are always involved in different kinds of dissipation and sinful activities like gossiping about others, killing Brahmans etc., but still they get place in heaven. He further asked “Which donation or saintly work is done by them that they become sin free.” Then Pulastya Rishi replied “Rishi, I am going to tell you a secret which no one knows in the heaven. Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and God of gods Indra also dose not know about this secret.”
He said “as the Magh month begins, a person should wake up early in the morning and perform auspicious works after bathing. He should keep himself under control and meditate. A person should make 108 Uplay(patties) of cow dung mixed with Til and linseed in the Pushya Nakshatra. On Shatila Ekadashi of Magh Masa, a person should complete all his daily work and wear clean clothes. After that the fast resolution is taken and Lord Vishnu is remembered. If any mistake is committed while observing the fast, the person should apologize to Lord Krishna. Havana should be performed at night with the 108 Uplays. Jagran and Bhajan is done whole night. Next day, Lord is worshipped with incense sticks, Deep and Naivedya and then Khichdi is offered. If a person dose not have all the materials for Puja, he may use 100 betel nuts to worship and may perform Ardhaya Daan. While offering Ardhaya the following Mantra should be chanted:-
Krishna Krishna Kripalustvamagatinam Gatirbhav;
Sansararnvamagnanam Prasid Purushottam.
Namaste Pundrikaksha Namaste Vishvabhavan;
Subrahmanya Namasteastu Mahapurush Purvaj.
Grihanaardhayam Mayaa dattam Lakshmyaa Sah Jagatpate.
कृष्ण कृष्ण कृपालुस्त्वमगतीनां गतिर्भव ।
संसारार्णवमग्नानां प्रसीद पुरुषोत्तम ॥
नमस्ते पुण्डरीकाक्ष नमस्ते विश्वभावन ।
सुब्रह्मण्य नमस्तेSस्तु महापुरुष पूर्वज ॥
गृहाणार्ध्यं मया दत्तं लक्ष्म्या सह जगत्पते ।
A person may also offer this prayer in the following way - O Lord! You give shelter to the poors. You are the restorer of people stuck in the ocean of this world. Hey Pundarikaksha! Hey Vishvabhavan! O Ancestor! Hey Jagatpate, I pay you my obeisance. I pray to you and Goddess Lakshmi to accept my Ardhaya. After this the person should worship Brahman and give him a pitcher full of water, an umbrella, shoes and clothes. In addition, Black cow may also be gifted to him, if in capacity. An individual observing this Shatila Ekadashi Vrat should give a pitcher full of Til to Brahman. The number of Til he donates that will be the number of years he will stay in heaven.
Shattila Ekadashi Vrat Katha
Once Lord Vishnu told God Narad about an incident and elaborated the importance of Shatila Ekadashi fast. The story narrated by Lord Vishnu to Narad ji is as follows.
In ancient time, a Brahmani used to live on earth. She always used to observe fast but never did any donations to any Brahman or monk. Once she observed fast regularly for a month. Due to which her body became very weak. Then Lord Vishnu thought that the Brahmani has purified her body by keeping the fast, so she will get a place in the Vishnu Lok but, she never donated food. So, achieving contentment is difficult for her. So Lord decided to visit her house in disguise of a beggar and ask for alms. If she does the charity, she will achieve satisfaction. So, Lord Vishu reached the Brahmani in disguise of a beggar on earth and asked for alms. She asked Lord “Highness, why have you come to me.” Lord replied “I need alms.” Listening this, immediately the Brahmani picked mud and pured it in the begging bowl of Lord Vishnu. God, went back to heaven with that mud.
After some time, the Brahmani left her body and reached heaven. By donating mud, she got a palace in heaven, but there was no food in the palace as she never donated any food. She got worried and went to Lord Vishnu. She said “Lord I observed fast and worshipped you, then also there is lack of food items in my house. Why is it so?” Then Lord Vishnu asked her to go back to her house and said Goddesses will come to see and meet you. Before opening the door ask from them, the significance of Shatila Ekadashi Vrat and then open the door. Brahmani did the same thing. She asked the importance of Shatila Ekadashi fast before opening the door. One of the Dev Istri(lady God) told Brahmani the importance of this fast. After getting the information, she opened the door. The Goddesses saw that she was neither a Gandharvi(beautiful) nor a demoniac. She was in form of a human like before death. Now the Brahmani got to know about not doing charity. Then she observed the Shatila Ekadashi fast as elaborated by the Goddess. This way all her sins were removed. She became beautiful and now her house was full of different food items.
Henceforth, every human being should sacrifice his temptation and greed. He should not think of his self-interest. On Shatila Ekadashi, cereals should also be donated with Til. This way, a person’s fortune will grow strong. He will overcome all his misery and poverty and after his death he will get place in heaven.