Hari Bodhani Ekadasi, the Ekadashi of Sukla Paksha, is observed during the waxing phase of moon in the month of Kartik (Oct – Nov). The pious day is believed to eradicate all kinds of sins and bestow great merit, and ultimately liberation, upon the wise people who surrender unto the supreme Lord Vishnu.
Explaining the glories of the day, Lord Brahma narrated relative merits of fasting on Ekadasi to Narada in Skanda Purana; if a devotee observes absolute fast, the sins accumulated during his/her previous seven births are eradicated and if s/he remains awake throughout Ekadasi night, the sins accumulated over a thousand previous births are burned to ashes. The Haribodhani Ekadasi fast pleases Lord Vishnu so he takes the person who observes it back to his abode, and while going there the devotee illuminates then ten universal directions. It is believed that whoever desires happiness and prosperity in life should honor Lord Vishnu by observing fast on the day of Hari Bodhani Ekadasi.
The day also marks the end of four month period of Chaturamasa, when god Vishnu is believed to sleep. The celebration of the day begins since the early morning. Devotees take bath and offer puja to Lord Vishnu. They observe fast eating only supper (without grains or beans) or once at midday but without grains or beans and visit Narayan temples in various parts of the country. In the evening, devotees mediate on the image of Lord Vishnu, and offer puja to ensure happiness, prosperity and forgiveness of transgressions and sins to him. For the whole night they keep awake and involve themselves in chanting the hymns of Lord Vishnu.
Many legends are associated with the pious festival. According to the Hindu mythology, once there was a battle between Lord Vishnu and demon Mura. The battle continued for a long time and in the period between, Lord Vishnu took rest. The demon thought that it was the right time to vanquish the Lord and attacked him. From the Lord’s transcendental form emerged a goddess, resplendent, with eight arms brandishing various weapons. She battled and killed Mura. When the lord woke up from his long sleep, he came to know about all the incidents and asked the goddess who she was. The goddess was Ekadashi and she desired the benediction that those who would fast on the occasion of her appearance would be free from sinful reactions, and would attain devotion to Lord Vishnu. The Lord granted her desire and since then 24 ekadasis are celebrated throughout the year.
Similarly the popular belief goes that every year, Lord Vishnu needs to lead a four-month life as Tulsi for he was cursed from Brinda-spouse of Jallandhar (demon) for killing her husband deceitfully. So, every year, he goes to serve as a guard at the entrance to the residence of Monarch Bali- whom the Lord himself pushed to the underworld to salvage the heavenly throne for Indra.
Hence, there are different legends surrounding Hari Bodhani Ekadashi and this Maha-Ekadashi holds a significant value among the Hindus in Nepal.