Prayer to the Lord prior to taking Niyam:
‘Oh Lord! (or Swami!) – Please give me strength and courage so that I may follow my chosen niyam. Confide in the saints of which niyam you are taking and request them to remind you frequently about your niyam.
Oh Lord! with your grace, I will do….
Devshayni Ekadashi is also known as Padma Ekadashi or Devpodhni Ekadashi. It falls on the eleventh lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month of Ashadh (June – July). It is of special significance to all Vaishnav Devotees; followers of Lord Vishnu.
A fast is observed with an aim to control the ten senses and the mind, engaging them in the service of the Lord. A spiritual vigil is performed the entire night where songs in praise of the Lord are sung. This Ekadashi marks the start of Chaturmaas (the holy four month period of rainy season) and devotees take vows on this day to be observed until Prabodhani Ekadashi. In the seventy sixth shlok of The Shikshapatri, Lord Swaminarayan Himself instructs His disciples to undertake extra religious activities during Chaturmaas. These may include, any eight religious activities mentioned by Him in Shikshapatri shloks 77-78.
During Chaturmaas, Lord Vishnu takes rest in Ksheersagar- cosmic ocean of milk – on His serpent bed (Shesh naag) hence this day is known as Dev-Shayani Ekadashi (God-sleeping). The Lord awakens from His rest on Prabodhani Ekadashi (Dev Diwali); eleventh day of bright fortnight of Kartik Month (October–November). This period is known as chaturmaas (“four months”) and coincides with the rainy season.
In the Bhavishyotar Puran, authored by Sage Ved Vyas, Lord Shree Krishna narrates the significance of Dev Shayni Ekadashi to King Yudhishthir just as Brahma; the creator once narrated the significance to his son Sage Narad. The saga of King Mandhata is narrated in this context. His Kingdom faced drought for three years. Unable to find a solution he consulted Sage Angira who advised him to observe the austerities of Dev Shayani Ekadashi. Through the benediction of the Lord, the Kingdom finally received rain after successful completion of the King’s vow.
The following are the best methods of observances to be adopted and followed daily;
1. Reading religious scriptures
2. Listening to religiuos scriptures
3. Reciting songs in praise of his divine qualities
4. Performing Mahapuja of the Lord’s images
5. Chanting His Mantra
6. Reciting His hymns
7. Performing Pradakshina
8. Prostrating before God’s image.
The Origins of Chaturmaas