Ekadasi Fasting is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is observed on the 11th day of waning and waxing phase of moon in a traditional Hindu calendar. This is one of the most popular Vrat observed in Hinduism. How to observe Ekadashi was narrated to Arjuna by Lord Krishna and is found in the Bhavisyottara Purana. <?xml:namespace prefix = u1 /><u1></u1>When to start Ekadasi Fasting? <u1></u1>Lord Krishna advices Arjuna to begin the Ekadasi fasting in the autumn season with Utpanna or Uttpatti Ekadasi occurring during the waning phase of the moon in November – December. <u1></u1>Ekadashi Vrat Fasting Method <u1></u1>Ekadasi is the name of the Goddess that arose from Lord Vishnu to defeat Demon Mura. Happy with her divine act, Lord Vishnu blessed her that anyone who observes Ekadasi fast will be freed of their sins and will attain Moksha. Some people only take a single meal on the Dasami day, the day before Ekadasi. <u1></u1>Things needed for Ekadasi Puja and Prayer <u1></u1>Ø A picture or photo or idol of Lord Vishnu Ø Fruits Ø Tulsi leaves (The tulsi leaves should not be picked on the day but on the previous day) Ø Yellow bananas Ø And other normal puja items <u1></u1>Observance <u1></u1>Ø Wake up early in the morning. Take bath and offer prayers. Ø Perform a simple puja to Lord Vishnu at home by lighting a lamp and offering fruits and Tulsi leaves. Ø Pray or meditate for few minutes. Ø If there is a Vishnu temple nearby visit the temple and witness morning pujas and rituals. <u1></u1>Ø Complete fast or Upavas on the day is the main observance. <u1></u1> Ekadasi Fasting <u1></u1>Ø Fasting is for 24 hours. It is believed that a partial or total abstinence from food on Ekadasi is rewarded with bliss. Ø If you have any health problem or are taking medicines, please consult your doctor before deciding on fasting. You can also opt for a partial fast by avoiding food made of rice. Ø Do not eat food made from rice on Ekadashi. <u1></u1>Ø Strictly avoid eating rice and grains, honey, meat and eating on a bell metal plate. Do not apply oil on the day. (What food can be eaten on Ekadasi for those observing partial fast?) Ø Those taking partial fast can consume fruits and milk. <u1></u1> Afternoon Take bath and offer prayers to Lord Vishnu <u1></u1>Evening Prayers Ø Take a bath in the evening. Ø Repeat the morning puja to Vishnu Ø Visit Vishnu temple and witness the evening puja and rituals. <u1></u1>Prayers for Ekadashi <u1></u1>Ø Vishnu Ashotharam Ø Vishnu Sahasranamam Ø Simple Chanting of – <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1lace w:st="on"><?xml:namespace prefix = u2 /><u2LACE st="on">Om</st1lace></u2LACE> Namo Narayana Ø Or any prayers dedicated to Lord Vishnu or Sri Krishna <u1></u1> No Sleep of Keeping Vigil at Night <u1></u1>Staunch devotees who observe Vaikunta Ekadasi fasting do not sleep on the day. They spend the whole night at Vishnu temples or by singing prayers or listening stories dedicated to Lord Vishnu. <u1></u1>But those devotees who have health problems sleep at night. Those people who work, take rest at night and avoid keeping vigil at night <u1></u1>Next Day Morning <u1></u1>The fast is broken on the next day (Dwadashi) after taking bath. Offer prayers to Lord Vishnu by lighting a lamp and then you can break the fast.