Aja Ekadashi, also known as Ananda Ekadashi is observed during the Krishna Paksha (the dark fortnight of the moon) in the month of Bhadrapada. According to the Gregorian calendar, it falls in the month of August-September.
This festival is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his concert, Maa Lakshmi. People observe fast on this day, and it is believed that by observing fast, one can seek immense benefits. The Aja Ekadashi finds its mention in the ancient Hindu Puranas and Holy Scriptures. It is said that if this vrat is observed with full devotion, all the sins of the present and past life are pardoned. The life of the devotee fills with happiness and prosperity. And, after death, the devotee is taken to the Lord Vishnu’s dham – Vaikunta. It is said that observing this vrat gives boons equivalent to performing Ashwamegh Yagya.
The significance of Aja Ekadashi has been known since the ancient times. According to the Bhagwat Katha, Lord Krishna stated the importance of this vrat to Yudhisthira, the eldest of the Pandavas. Also, Raja Harishchandra performed this vrat to bring back his dead son and lost kingdom. This vrat motivates the person to get on the path of salvation and achieve freedom from the cycle of birth and death.
It is advised that the devotee should keep control on his mind, body, emotions and behaviour. He should consume satvik food and control his thoughts.