EKADASHI

SADHANA - SPECIAL DAYS

 

To please the Lord and strengthen your spiritual practice.

 

“One day Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu fell down at the feet of His mother and requested her to give Him one thing in charity.’
‘His mother replied, “My dear son, I will give You whatever You ask.” Then the Lord said, “My dear mother, please do not eat grains on the Ekādaśī day.”’

(‘Sri Caitanya Caritamrita’, Adi 15.8-9)

Ekadasis are the days when we observe fasting in order to purify ourselves and please the Lord, because these days are very dear to Him. He has made those days into an opportunity for people to burn down the karma of their past lives and receive blessings for the present one. If a person regularly and rigorously fasts on Ekadasis, Lord Krishna promised, ‘I shall remove all obstacles from their path of spiritual development and bestow upon them the perfection of life.’

In the Padma Purana, Lord Vishnu says, ‘Among all plants, the Tulasi is my favourite, among all months, Kartik, among all pilgrimages, Dwaraka, and among all days, Ekadasi is most beloved.’

The main objective of the Ekadasi days is to avoid consuming beans and grains of any kind. Because on these days grain and beans absorb all the sins of the world (Papapurusha, the personification of sin, takes shelter in them), and whoever eats them on Ekadasi will also become affected by that.

“One day Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu fell down at the feet of His mother and requested her to give Him one thing in charity.’
‘His mother replied, “My dear son, I will give You whatever You ask.” Then the Lord said, “My dear mother, please do not eat grains on the Ekādaśī day.”’

(‘Sri Caitanya Caritamrita’, Adi 15.8-9)

These days are very dear to the Lord. He has made those days into an opportunity for people to burn down the karma of their past lives and receive blessings for the present one. If a person regularly and rigorously fasts on Ekadasis, Lord Krishna promised, ‘I shall remove all obstacles from their path of spiritual development and bestow upon them the perfection of life.’

In the Padma Purana, Lord Vishnu says, ‘Among all plants, the Tulsi is my favourite, among all months, Kartik, among all pilgrimages, Dwaraka, and among all days, Ekadasi is most beloved.’

The main objective of the Ekadasi days is to avoid consuming beans and grains of any kind. Because on these days grain and beans absorb all the sins of the world (Papapurusha, the personification of sin, takes shelter in them), and whoever eats them on Ekadasi will also become affected by that.

IN THIS ARTICLE YOU WILL FIND ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

 

  1. HOW TO FAST? / SUGGESTED ‘LEVELS’ FOR BEGINNERS
  2. WHAT TO AVOID?
  3. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES
  4. LIST OF ALL EKADASIS (WITH THEIR STORIES)
  5. INTERESTING FACTS

INTRODUCTION

HOW TO FAST?

options from full fast to only avoiding beans and grains

HOW TO FAST

There are different ‘levels’ or types of the fast, depending on one’s abilities, health condition and choice:

● eat moderately while avoiding beans and grains;

● eat only fruits, nuts, and non-cooked, raw food;

● drink only water;

● full fast without water (nirjala);

● full fast without water (nirjala) and without sleeping.

You can also fast fully (with or without water) until noon, and then you can continue with one of the two last fasting levels (fruits or cooked food). This way of observing Ekadasi is also mentioned in the scriptures.

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THE VOW OF FASTING

BEGINNING AND COMPLETING

Should begin at sunrise of the Ekadasi day. The Ekadasi vrata ends on the next day.

Download a Vaisnava Calendar to know when each Ekadasi is.

 

THE VOW OF FASTING

To know the correct date, you can either use a vaisnava calendar application, or consult with the local ISKCON temple (or get a calendar from them), or by use the internet: the information is easily accessible.

After rising early and taking bath (preferably applying tilaka as well), it is advised to come before the Deities, or a picture of Sri Krishna, or just think of Sri Krishna and state what vow you will follow until the completion of the fast and request Sri Krishna for blessings and the power to do so.

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THESE FOODS

WHAT TO AVOID?

‘On Ekādaśī, everything is cooked for Viṣṇu, including regular grains and dhal, but it is enjoined that a Vaiṣṇava should not even take viṣṇu-prasādam on Ekādaśī. It is said that a Vaiṣṇava does not accept anything eatable that is not offered to Lord Viṣṇu, but on Ekādaśī a Vaiṣṇava should not touch even mahā-prasādam offered to Viṣṇu, although such prasādam may be kept for being eaten the next day. It is strictly forbidden for one to accept any kind of grain on Ekādaśī, even if it is offered to Lord Viṣṇu.’ (Srila Prabhupada’s purport to ‘Sri Caitanya Caritamrita’, Adi 15.9)

WHAT TO AVOID?

● meat, fish, eggs, onion, garlic are strongly prohibited;

● grains (wheat, semolina, rice, oats, corn, rye, spelt, etc.);

● beans (dal (lentils), cacao (oil, beans, chocolate), peas, chickpeas);

● mustard seeds, sesame seeds (on Sat-tila Ekadasi, sesame [tila] seeds may be offered but still it is better to eat them on the next day);

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ON THE DAYS OF EKADASI

PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES

The following activities affect the Ekadasi vrata: having sexual intercourse (especially, conceiving a child, it is strongly advised against in all scriptures), eating grains and beans, expressing anger, blaspheming the Lord and devotees, cutting nails/hair, sleeping during the day/napping…

TWICE MONTHLY

LIST OF ALL EKADASIS

Here you will find the list of all Ekadasis that happen every year: (on each 11th lunar day). Press “Read More” and click on the name to learn more about any of them. All the stories have been summarized, amended or shortened from the book, ‘Ekadasi: The Day of Lord Hari’ 1986 by H.H. Krishna Balaram Swami. Bhaktivedanta Institute Press, Pages 109-112.

LIST OF ALL EKADASIS

1. Putrada Ekadasi (January)
2. Sat-tila Ekadasi (January)
3. Bhaimi Ekadasi (February)
4. Vijaya Ekadasi (February)
5. Amalaki-vrata Ekadasi (March)
6. Papamochani Ekadasi (March)
7. Kamada Ekadasi (April)

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LOTS OF DETAILS!

INTERESTING FACTS

LOTS OF DETAILS

Ekadasi is observed because on the original 11th lunar day of Utpanna Ekadasi, the Goddess Ekadasi appeared from the body of Sri Vishnu and protected Him by slaying the Mura demon. Thus the Goddess got a boon from Sri Vishnu Himself, that anyone who observes the days of Ekadasi (each 11th lunar day of a month) will achieve great benefits and reach Sri Krishna’s abode;

Ekadasis are happening twice a month, each 11th lunar day in one of the two moon phases: Shukla Paksha (the waxing phase of the moon) and the Krishna Paksha (the waning phase of the moon), they are equally important;

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THE MOST BENEFICIAL DAY FOR ANY GOOD DEEDS

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