Vijaya Ekadashi is observed during waning phase of moon (Krishna Paksha) in January/February. There is a popular story of Vijaya Ekadasi which is associated with Lord Ram’s search for Mata Sita. Vijaya Ekadashi Vrat Katha is listened to by those people observing the fast.
After finding out from Hanuman that Mata Sita was at Lanka, Lord Ram, Lakshman and others started to think about an ideal way to cross the ocean and reach Lanka. But crossing the ocean was a near impossible task for them as only Hanuman could fly across the mighty ocean.
Then Lakshman came up with the idea that there is an ashram of a famous Sage named Bakadalabhya nearby, he is believed to have had darshan of Lord Brahma, and he will be surely able to guide us.
Lord Ram and others agreed to this idea and went to the ashram of the Sage. The holy saint immediately understood that it was Sri Hari Vishnu who was standing before him. Saint Bakadalabhya welcomed Lord Ram and asked him what help he could be off.
Lord Ram said that he was searching for means to cross the mighty ocean with his army and reach Lanka.
Saint Bakadalabhya then advised Lord Ram to observe the Ekadasi falling during the waning phase of moon (Krishna Paksha) in January/February. He said that those observing this Ekadasi will be victorious in all their endeavors.
Lord Ram observed the Vijaya Ekadasi Vrata as suggested by Sage Bakadalabhya and found the way to cross the ocean.
Lord Ram is Sri Hari Vishnu – Narayana – he takes help from a Sage. This is the Leela of Vishnu… to give darshan to his true devotee.