Prabodhini Ekadashi occurs on Kartak Sud Ekadashi and symbolizes the day awakening. The spiritual aspirant is encouraged to enlighten himself to realize that he is the atma and that his ultimate goal is to understand Paramatma’s true form. It signals the end of Chaturmaas, or the four holy months. In the Swaminarayan Sampraday, devotees observe a nirjala fast and offer a wide variety of fresh vegetables to Bhagwan known as the hatadi. These vegetables are distributed amongst the devotees as prasad after performing aarti at night. During the monsoon, the lack of sunlight and heavy rains cause insects and bacteria to breed in vegetables. On this day, the vegetables that are harvested are fresh and relatively healthier.
- Bhagwan Vishnu returns to Vaikunth from a four month rest after defeating an asura in battle.
- Bhagwan Vishnu returns to Vaikunth after guarding King Bali’s doorstep for four months. Shiva and Brahma take over Vishnu’s duties at King Bali’s door.
- Devotees offer an annakut of fresh vegetables to God.
- Devotees observe a nirjala fast on this day.
- Devotees curb their 10 senses and mind from indulging in materialistic pleasures and instead use the senses and mind to worship God.
- After abstaining from eating eggplant, radishes, and turnips, devotees offer them to God on this day and are able to consume them again. The scientific reasoning behind this practice is to avoid the consumption of bacteria and small insects that breed in these vegetables during the monsoon season.