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Bhishma Ekadashi

Panchang Ganita, Panchanga Siddhanta, Panchang Author: Pundit Mahesh Shastriji, Seattle, WA USA
Inspiration: Late Pundit Maganlal Devshanker Shastriji


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Bhishma Ekadashi

Contributed by: Pundit Srinivas Khedam

Sri Laxmi Haygreevaya Namaha

Bhisma Ekadashi: Birthday of the most powerful Sri Vishnu Sahasranaama Sthothram

Bhishma Ekadashi is one of the most auspicious days and it is celebrated to mark the origin of the most powerful and well known Sri Vishnu Sahasranaama Sthothram. On this day Bhishma Pithamaha who was the oldest, wisest, most powerful, and the most righteous person belonging to the Kuru dynasty (approx. over 5000 years ago) narrated the greatness of Lord Krishna through Sri Vishnu Sahsranaama to Yudhishtira who was the oldest brother of Pandavas.


Bhishmacharya is a very important, famous and a great warrior ever to live on this planet earth. He is regarded as the symbol for righteousness (dharma) and it is mentioned in the epic Mahabharatha that even gods used to consult Bhishmacharya on the issues of righteousness. He was very wise and knowledgeable in dharamashastra (the science of righteousness), political science, strategies of war, etc. The reason why he is called .Bhishma. is because of the prathigna (oath) that he took to be unmarried throughout his life for his father.s happiness. In addition to this, Bhishmacharya also took another difficult oath of supporting and protecting the Kuru dynasty until his death. He faced so many challenges and difficulties but never broke the two promises he made. For his determination in following the path of righteousness Bhishmacharya, is considered as great role model to people of his all future generations in terms of righteousness, truthfulness and incredible valor.

Greatness of Bhishmacharya

During the Kurukshetra(the great war between Kouarva and Pandava brothers), Bhishmacharya took the side where there is no righteousness. Even though Bhishmacharya knew that his choice was wrong he stuck to his choice to keep the promises he made to his father. Though he had the valor of not get defeated by anybody else except Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu he got hurt in the war and vowed to die only after securing the Kuru dynasty as promised to his father. At the end of the war all kouravas died and Yudhishtira took over the Kuru dynasty. Yudhishtira is yet another symbol of righteousness. When Yudhishtira asked Lord Krishna to teach him the knowledge to become a good, principled, and righteous ruler, Lord Krishna advised him to seek all the knowledge from Bhishmacharya. Lord Krishna knew that Bhishmacharya was the most qualified person to give necessary education related to righteousness and duties of a good ruler.

Origin of Sri Vishnu Sahasranaama

On Lord Krishna.s command Bhishmacharya answered all the questions that Yudhishtira asked with regard to the duties of a good ruler, and the principles of right and wrong. This conversation between Bhishmacharya.s and Yudhishtira is nothing but .Sri Vishnu Sahasranaama.. Sri Vishnu Sahasranaama contains 1000 names Lord Vishnu, and each name explains numerous attributes of the Lord in an incredible manner. Over the time, many scholars wrote commentaries on Sri Vishnu Sahasranaama. The commentary written by Parashara Bhatter and Adi Shankaracharya is the most popular one among all commentaries. Listening and reciting Sri Vishnu Sahasranaamam everyday will bring great benefits in terms of wealth, health and prosperity. In fact, Sri Vishnu Sahasranaama Sthothram is equivalent to many manthras that are powerful manthras. That.s Sri Vishnu Sahasranaamam protects all those who recite it from all kinds of problems. While explaining the greatness of Sri Vishnu Sahasranaama Parayanam Lord Shiva said to Parvathi Devi that if one cannot recite the whole Vishnu Sahasranaama at least reciting the following sloka .three times. will give the same benefit of reciting the whole sthothram.

Sri Rama Rama Raamethi Rame Raame Manorame
Sahasranaama Thathhulyanm Rama Nama Varanane||

Significance of Ekadashi

Ekadashi is the 11th day after each phase of the moon, i.e. full and new moon. This day is very special to Lord Vishnu and on this day the doors of Sri Vaikunta are left open for His darshanam. One can qualify for Moksham(salvation) by pleasing Lord Vishnu through fasting on the Ekadashi day. One should refrain from eating rice, grains and water on Ekadashi days. Not only that but those who fast on this day should spend the day reciting the name of Lord Vishnu, listening to his stories and performing Vishnu pooja. Through fasting and performing Vishnu puja on Ekadashi day one qualifies for a place in Sri Vaikunatam, which is the abode of Lord Vishnu.

Science of Fasting

In the present age excessive food intake, luxuries and lack of exercise have been the leading cause for health complications. From scientific point of view frequent fasting is proved to be good for health. This is because fasting tends to give rest to all organs, overhaul the systems, and eventually eliminate toxins from the body. In other words, regular fasting acts like cleansing process. So, by fasting twice a month on Ekadashi days one gets not only health benefits but also spiritual benefits. This is another example to say that in Hindu way of life there are many ways to reach God with simple practices.

||Kaayena Vaacha Manasendriyairva Budhyathmanaava Prakruthe Swabhavaatha
Karomi Yadyath Sakalam Parasmai Naarayanayethi Samarpayaami||a

Important Links about vishnu saharanama:

2014 Bhishma Ekadashi (Smartha) Dates

  • Hawaii and Pacific Time Zone (Seattle, Oregon, California, Idaho), February 9th 2014
  • Central Time Zone (USA/Canada), Mountain Time Zone (USA/Canada), Eastern Time Zone (USA/Canada): February 10th 2014
  • West Indies, UK, Gulf Countries, India, Pakistan, Srilanka, Malaysia, Australia, Newzeland & Fiji: February 10th 2014
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yaj jagrato duram udaiti daivam tad u suptasya tatHaivaiti|
duramgamam jyotisam jyotir ekam tan me manaH shivasankalpam astu||
||shri shukla yajurveda vajasaneyi samhita (madhyandina sakha) 34.1||

The divine essence that goes far away, from the waking, and likewise from the sleeping, and that one far-traveling Light of lights, on that-the auspicious will of the divine-may my mind dwell.

.. sarve janA sukhino santu ..
kriShNa! kriShNa!! kriShNa!!!

I bow down to the supreme personality of godhead Lord kriShNa who makes incomplete complete.
Pundit Mahesh Shastriji
Seattle, WA, USA
shastrijii at mypanchang dot com


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