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Ekadasi Fast - How should one fast on Ekadasi...

Nilamadhava dasa - Fri, 08 Feb 2002 07:01:59 +0530
Again and again I offer my obeisances to all!

How should one follow Ekadasi?  I have heard that some fast from all food, but I have heard that roots are ok to eat.  I have also heard that on Ekadasi one should fast from all non-bhajan related activities.

Please instruct me regarding Ekadasi fasting, so that I may somehow please the Lord on this most holy of days.
Advaitadas - Sat, 09 Feb 2002 00:10:48 +0530
Yes, best Ekadashi is Nirjala, without any food or water. But there are concessions for hardworking householders such as fruits, potatoes and milk. If possible one should not travel or engage in mundane consumption of newspapers, TV and so. Advaitadas
Mina - Sun, 24 Feb 2002 04:50:12 +0530
The main thing is to abstain from grains, such as rice.  Nirjala vrata is difficult for us Westerners.
kanai - Tue, 18 Jun 2002 07:02:17 +0530
For ekadasi one can eat buckwheat and quinoa also.I cook macrobiotic foods(except garlic and onion) but with indian spices,and for example you can do japanese soba-buckwheat noodles.Like Advaita prabhu said, best is nirjal,but for our bodies we do need certain foods.So first try with fruits, if it doesn't go then take potatoes and some milk products.
Kana the ekadasi prana
Madhava - Tue, 18 Jun 2002 10:55:51 +0530
Speaking of Ekadasi, the next Ekadasi is Pandava Nirjal Ekadasi. In my calendar, it is dated for the 21st.

You can check the exact date of Ekadasi for your location with Vcal 4.01. program [download here].
Madhava - Tue, 18 Jun 2002 11:32:58 +0530
The following is an excerpt from "Dearest to Visnu", a book on Ekadasi compiled by Bhrigumuni Das, consisting mainly of translations of Hari Bhakti Vilasa. DDT stands for "Dig Darsini Tika" of Sanatana.



19. In the Padma Purana (6.51.15, 19-25): ‘Bhimasena said: “Grandfather, what should I do, since I am unable to fast? O master, please describe to me a single vrata which can give plenty of fruits!”

20-22. ‘Sri Vyasa said: “When the sun is in Taurus or Gemini during Ekadasi in the bright fortnight of the month of Jyaistha one should fast diligently, avoiding water. The wise should avoid water, except when bathing or performing acamana. Otherwise one should not taste water, or the fast will be broken. A thoughtful person should zealously avoid water from sunrise to sunrise. He will attain the fruit of the twelve Dvadasis.
DDT: ‘The twelve Dvadasis’: The eight Maha-dvadasis plus Sayani-, Parsva-parivartani- and Bodhini Dvadasi, plus Bhaimi Dvadagi. Otherwise it may mean the fruit of all the Dvadasis during the twelve months of the year.
23-25. “‘Then, on the pure morning on Dvadasi, one should bathe and according to the rules give water and gold to the twice born. O master of the senses, after performing one's duties one should eat together with brahmanas. Bhimasena, please listen to the merit one gains by doing this. Son, on this day one attains without a doubt the fruit of all the other Ekadasis of the year! This Kesava, the carrier of the conch, disk and club, has told me.’”
DDT: The merit is especially great since it is a great effort to refrain from drinking water in the middle of summer.
26-28. Furthermore (6.51.30-33): ‘Tiger amongst men, when a man celebrates this day it brings him wealth, grain, merit, sons, for tune and happiness. I am telling you the truth! The terrible, angry messengers of Yama, with enormous, lusty bodies, carrying sticks and ropes, do not bind such a man. That Vaisnava is at the time of death led to the abode of Vigiri by persons wearing yellow garments, holding conches and disks, fleet as the mind.’

29-31. And also (6.51.39-42): ‘That foremost of Vaisnavas who follows the rule of refraining from water gains the merit of ten million donations of gold with every three hours. The bathing, giving in charity, muttering of mantras and sacrifices a man does on this Dvadasi will all be immortal. This is the statement of Krishna. O king, what shall I say about other observances than Nirjala Dvadasi? One who fully fasts and observes the rules attains the abode of Vishnu.’

32-34. Similarly: ‘Bhimasena, those who perform this pure Nirjala Ekadasi all liberate a hundred relatives. Together with them he will be led to the temple of Vasudeva.’ And also (6.51. 50): ‘Those who do not fast on this day commit suicide. They are full of sin, they behave badly and are evil. There is no doubt about this.’ Furthermore (6.51.55): ‘Both one who listens to this with devotion and one who declares this to others will attain heaven. Do not doubt this!’
DDT: The verse beginning with ‘Those who’ shows that this vrata is mandatory.


yathA prAg-likhitaM kRtvA saGkalpaM niyamaM vrate
jalam AdAyagRhnIyan mantreNAnena vaiSNavaH

35. After performing the duties explained earlier on, the Vaisnava should, holding water, state the declaration and the rules for the vrata with this mantra:
DDT: Having stated the mandatoriness of the vrata he now writes in the next nine verses about the rules for the vrata, following the statements of the Uttara-khainda of the Bhavisya Purana. ‘The duties explained earlier on’ refers to the rules for Dasam

i, etc., that have already been explained (12.2-22).


ekAdazyam nirAhAro varjayiSyAmi vai jalam
kezava-prINanArthAya atyanta-damanena ca

36. ‘To please Kesava I will with great self-restraint fast on Ekadasi and refrain from water.’

varjayec cAmbv aho-rAtraM vinA cAcamanArthakam
vinA ca prAzanaM pAdodakasyAtyantapAvanam

37. One should avoid water during both day and night, except water for acamana and water that has washed His feet, for it is greatly purifying.
DDT: One should refrain from water both during day and night. In this verse he states that water for acamana and bathing and water that has bathed the Lord's feet should not be avoided, since there will always otherwise be the fault of impurity. Now, avoid water, except when bathing or performing acamana was stated earlier (15.2 1), but foot-bathing water was not mentioned. The reason is that it is greatly purifying, it is even more purifying than acamana. The mandatoriness of acamana has been established earlier (3-304-305).
38. After performing one's prescribed duties in the evening of the Ekadasi, one should bathe a golden form of Trivikrama with milk and so on.

vastrAdikaM samarpyAthAbhyarcya gandhAdibhiz ca tAm
praNamya jAgaraM kuryAt tad-agre nartanAdinA

39. One should offer Him clothes, etc, and worship Him with sandalwood-paste and so forth. After paying obeisances one should by dancing and so on keep vigil in front of Him.

prAtaH-snAnAdi nirvartya taM trivikramam arcayet

40. One should bathe, etc, in the morning and then worship Trivikrama.

zaktyAmbukumbhAn viprebhyo dadyAd gandhAdy-alaGkRtAn

41. According to one's means, one should donate to the brahmanas kumbhas with water, decorated with sandalwood-paste and so on.


deva-deva hRSIkeza saMsArArNava-tAraka
jalakumbha-pradAnena yasyAmi paramAM gatim

42. ‘God of gods, Hrisikesa, rescuer from the ocean of birth and death! By giving away this waterpot I will go to the highest destination.’

dadyAc ca kanakaM chatraM vastra-yugmam apAnakau
jalapAtrANi divyAni vibhAve sati vaiSNavaH

43. The Vaisnava should donate gold, a parasol, two cloths, sandals or just wonderful waterpots.

zaktyA viprAn bhojayitvA pItvA bhrAtRkarAj jalam
svayaM vA pIya maunI san bhuJjIta saha bandhubhiH

44. After feeding the brahmanas according to one’s means, one should silently drink water from one’s brother’s hand, or from one's own. Then one should eat together with friends.

Madhava - Fri, 21 Jun 2002 10:10:26 +0530
Just a reminder, don't forget the Nirjal Ekadashi. Here it is today.
jiva - Sun, 23 Jun 2002 17:27:34 +0530
In his "Haribhaktivilasa"(Vilasa XII,called the Ekadasi-nirnaya) ,Gopala Bhatta deals with the topic of fasting on the eleventh(and also the twelfth) day of the fortnight.Of the necessity of fasting on the eleventh lunar day or the Ekadasi Tithi,four reasons are given,namely,satisfaction of the Bhagavat(Bhagavat-prinanatva), observance of Sastric injuction(Vidhi-praptatva),prohibition of eating on that day(Bhojana-nisedha) and liability to sin resulting from non-observance(Pratyavaya).

Everyone,without distinction of caste,sex,creed,or station in life,is entitled to fasting;but those whose age is below eight and above eighty,need not fast.If he is very old or very young or afflicted with desease and disability he may eat once at night or live on milk,fruit and water.But in no circumstances should a Vaisnava eat on those days when the deity goes to sleep (Sayana-Ekadasi),or when he rises from sleep(Utthana-Ekadasi),or when he turns on the other side in his sleep(Parsva-parivartana-Ekadasi).

The Tithi (lunar day) of Ekadasi may be Viddha (Mixed) or Sampurna (Pure).It is Purva-viddha when touched in the forepart by Dasami,and Uttara-viddha when touched in the latter part by Dvadasi.Of these two,fasting on the Purva-viddha day is to avoided,although it is generally stated that fasting of the Viddha Ekadasi day is highly inauspicious.It is explained that other Tithis are called Sampurna when they last from one sunrise to the next
sunrise;but in the case of Ekadasi,if it last for two Muhurtas before sunrise it is Sampurna,and a Vaisnava should fast on that day.The term 'sunrise',or strictly speaking,'dawn' (Arunodaya),is explained as the time consisting of four Dandas before the actual sunrise;while a 'Vaisnava'  is described as one who has accepted the Visnu-Mantra and worship of Visnu and who is very particular about his duties and observes fasting on the Ekadasi day...

All this is more or less technical discussion,but it is necessery to determine the exact time and period of fasting as a vow.In Vilasa XIII,the connected topic of the rites and duties of the days respectively preceding and following the Ekadasi fast is dealt with.

Radhapada - Sun, 23 Jun 2002 19:19:04 +0530
Thanks for the information on Ekadashi.
premananda - Sun, 23 Jun 2002 22:59:20 +0530
Sridhara Maharaja explained that on the ekadasi day, due to the influence of the moon, the desire for sense gratification increases. In a similar way, Sri Krishna´s desire also increases on that day. Therefore His devotees try to increase their seva to satsify His senses more than usual on ekadasi.
These periods of more intense devotional activity increase the sadhaka´s desire to perform more seva.
Madhava - Mon, 24 Jun 2002 12:42:11 +0530
The moon influences the fluids of the body, just as it influences the water in the seas.  What's the origin of this point, does anyone know? Is it in the Hari Bhakti Vilasa?

It is strange, though, that whenever there is Ekadasi, I feel more physically dull than usual. Does anyone share the experience?

premananda - Mon, 24 Jun 2002 23:06:20 +0530
Maybe because you eat less than you do when it´s not ekadasi?  [.-.]
Madhava - Mon, 24 Jun 2002 23:13:39 +0530

No, generally eating less makes me more sharp. But ekadashi is always a dull day body-wise, no matter how much or little I take prasad.
jiva - Fri, 28 Jun 2002 00:46:07 +0530
QUOTE(raga @ June 24 2002,02:12)
The moon influences the fluids of the body, just as it influences the water in the seas.  What's the origin of this point, does anyone know? Is it in the Hari Bhakti Vilasa?

The disciple should not eat on Ekadasi,either in the waxing or waning phases of the moon.He should perform a special puja on Ekadasi and keep vigil on that night.This is stated in Hari-bhakti -vilasa(2.147) :
jagaram nisi kurvita visesac carcayed vibhum.

In this verse,the word "visesat" has been explained in Sanatana's commentary as follows:
"visesad iti anya-tithibhyo visesena ekadasyam tatrapi visesato jagarane'rcayed ity arthah".
That is,"On Ekadasi one should keep vigil in a way that is not done on other nights.While maintaining this vigil,one should perform special worship of the deity".