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Manual to follow Ekadashi and Caturmasya -

sadhaka108 - Sat, 03 Jul 2004 07:40:15 +0530
Please, can someone give us some synthesis of instructions how to follow Ekadashi and Caturmasya?
Keshava - Sat, 03 Jul 2004 11:03:23 +0530
QUOTE(sadhaka108 @ Jul 3 2004, 02:10 AM)
Please, can someone give us some synthesis of instructions how to follow Ekadashi and Caturmasya?

In my opinion it's too hard to follow either fully according to HBV. I always get lots of emails this time of year about this. In South India Madhvas (except the sannyasins who fast) eat puris and halava on ekadasi. (previous Statement made for shock value)

Mostly the people who ask questions about Ekadasi want to know "What can we eat?".

The best way to avoid confusion on Ekadasi is to not eat.

But I think Jagat said that he tried the three day Ekadasi fast thing one time and failed. That's good enough for me.

The orthodox people I know in South don't eat anything, but it seems to depend upon your definition of what the word "annam" means.

As for Caturmasya, Madhava mentioned to me recently that Gaudiyas mostly concentrate on following the Karttika vrata, as distinct from all four months.

Perhaps he would like to enlighten us on that.

If you are going to follow it be aware that leap month (Purusottama masa) comes in the middle of it this year and it is not observed during that. (This seems like it would make it easier)

I guess if you want to know some stuff to do. Tell me do you want to know the ISKCON way, the GM way or the HBV way, the Madhva way or the Sri Vaisnava way?

sadhaka108 - Sat, 03 Jul 2004 11:46:57 +0530
Hi Keshavaji, dandavats!
Mostly the people who ask questions about Ekadasi want to know "What can we eat?".

The best way to avoid confusion on Ekadasi is to not eat.

This is not my case. I don't eat anything on ekadasi. My questions is about others austerites (like not sleeping), rituals, etc.

My main pratice on ekadasi is to eat only once on day before (but drinking water all day long), and not eating and trying to be awake all night long on the ekadasi, what I found very dificult... sad.gif

I guess if you want to know some stuff to do. Tell me do you want to know the ISKCON way, the GM way or the HBV way, the Madhva way or the Sri Vaisnava way?

I would to known all the diferents ways, but on the pratical side I'm more interested in the HBV way. smile.gif
Keshava - Sat, 03 Jul 2004 13:47:26 +0530
Dear Sadhaka108, pranams

I am very impressed that you are so austere. I checked your homepage and bio and I see that you are interested in following Ananta das Babaji. There are probably others better qualified to advise you. I also see that you are a worshiper of Siva and Krsna. Interesting. Would you call yourself predominately a Vaisnava or Saivite or equally disposed?

I think that some devotee (ISKCON?) has translated the HBV 12 Vilasa so you might be able to actually buy that book from one of the online websites.

Anyway HBV 12 & 13 Vilasas deals with Ekadasi Vrata

Much of it has to do with calculating the exact times and dates for doing the Vrata and the Parana (breakfast). In the beginning of the chapter 12 it is said that those who observe fast on this day are very dear to the Lord.

On dasami the day before ekadasi one should get up, bathe and put on clean clothes. Then one should chant the following sankalpa vow mantra

The correct way to do this is to go before the deity, do acamana, then pranayama, then make sankalpa mudra holding left and right hand on the right knee (while seated) or one could make anjali mudra (prayer) while standing. Then chant:

dazamI dinamArabhya kariSye'haM vrataM tava |
tridinaM devadeveza nirvighnaM kuru kezava || HBV 13.6

"I am going to do your vratam for three days stating from dasami, Oh god of gods, Keshava, clear any obstacles."

After saying this pour water on the right palm through the finger tips onto the ground or a plate. (Touching water is like confirming that you are serious. One cannot violate a vow made after saying OM or touching water)

Then at noon one should eat the only meal of that day consisting of Havisya and Ksara (perhaps someone else can help with the ingredients)

Don't take food at night, nor take any of the following on that day:

meat, masur dhal (red lentils), chick-peas, honey. Also don't use bell metal utensils, lie, sleep, associate with women, gamble or engage in physical labor.

You can sleep that night but only after sunset.

next day rise early, bathe, fresh clothes, and worship the deity. Then face north with a copper pot full of water and do a sankalpa with that. This is for pouring on your right hand after saying the following sankalpa vow mantra:

ekAdazyAM nirAhAraH sthitvA'hamapare'hani |
bhokSyAmi puNDarIkAkSa zaraNaM me bhavacyute || HBV 13.25

"I surrender unto you O Acyuta, to please you O Pundarikaksa, I will not take food on this Ekadasi."

Then offer flowers to the deity and drink the water in the pot.

You cannot use a toothbrush on that day. If you like you can use a leaf to clean your tongue.

This night you have to stay up and sing and dance and offer prayer and worship of the deity.

Next day (dvadasi) after morning bath and wrship of the deity. Chant the following mantra:

ajńAna timirAndhasya vratenAnena kezava |
prasIda sumukho nAtha jńAnadRSTiprado bhava || hbv 13.231

"I was in the dark well of ignorance, O keshava by doing this vrata , I will please you O Lord and bestow on me knowledge."

(My translations are just rough)

Then feed some brahmanas, eat a few tualsi leaves andthen break your fast before the paran time.

There are many other mantras for specific ekadasis and dvadasis but this is the basic vratam

Madhava - Sat, 03 Jul 2004 15:02:45 +0530
QUOTE(Keshava @ Jul 3 2004, 05:33 AM)
Mostly the people who ask questions about Ekadasi want to know "What can we eat?".

The best way to avoid confusion on Ekadasi is to not eat.

Our general policy is to avoid the following on Ekadasi: Grains, beans, bellpepper, eggplant, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, green leafy vegs, honey, all spices but cumin and salt. Some also avoid peanuts, though I've never gotten around to confirming that. Probably some more small things, too.

Of course, it is more simple to just say what we do take if we eat. Milk, fruits, (sweet) potatoes, zucchini.

I am quoting on Ekadasi from Sri Ananta Das Pandit's commentary on Raga-vartma-candrika:

Visvanatha: In the smriti-sastra, the effect of observing Ekadasi-fast is told: “Fasting on Ekadasi causes the remembrance of Govinda”. From this statement it is understood that it is a cause for attaining one’s desired mood, being a direct cause for the limb of smarana, and therefore Sri Ekadasi-vrata is said to be partially related with one’s desired mood. On the other hand, it is said about not observing it, “One who does not observe the Ekadasi-vrata attains the sins of killing his mother, father, brother and guru.” In this way the Skanda Purana says that one who does not fast on Ekadasi becomes a killer of his guru and commits an offence against the holy name. Again, “Killer of a brahmana, drunkard, thief, one who has sex in his guru’s bed”, and so forth, thus Vishnu-dharmottara describes the specific imperishable sins which the one who eats grains on Ekadasi acquires. All these denouncing statements prove that vows like Ekadasi should always be kept.

“Anyone who does not give up the vow of Ekadasi, come great distress or great ecstasy, has made his Vaishnava-initiation a success.” “Anyone who offers all his activities unto Lord Vishnu, is a successful Vaishnava.” These two statements from the Skanda Purana give a definition of the Vaishnava as one observing the vow of Ekadasi. It is forbidden for a Vaishnava to eat food which is not offered to the Lord. “If the Vaishnava becomes so bewildered that he eats on the day of Ekadasi...” These words show that eating of maha-prasada-grains is forbidden on the day of Ekadasi.

From the commentary: The end of the eleventh lunar day and the first phase of the twelfth lunar day are called Sri Harivasara. Here, the term Ekadasi, also refers to Vaishnava-vows like Sri Janmashtami, Radhashtami, Rama-navami, Sri Nrisimha Caturdasi, Maghi Trayodasi and Phalguni Purnima, that are prescribed in the scriptures. All these Vaishnava-vows are eternal. This eternality has four characteristics: 1) Pleasing Sri Hari, 2) Following the etiquette prescribed by the scriptures, 3) The prohibition of certain kinds of meals, and 4) The dreadful results of not following such vows. Tacca kRSNa prINanatvAd vidhi prAptatvatas tathA. Bhojanasya niSedhAc cAkaraNe pratyavAyataH (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 12.4).

The special secret about following Vaishnava-vows like Ekadasi is that the five knowledge-acquiring senses, namely the eyes, ears, tongue, nose and skin, as well as the five active senses, namely the voice, the hands, the feet, the anus and the genitals, as well as the internal organ, the mind – these eleven senses are being controlled during this worship of Sri Hari in the form of the Ekadasi (11th day) vow! According to the smartas (ritualistic puritans), the fasting is more important than the aspect of worshipping Sri Hari. Actually, fasting means more than just giving up some food. The scriptures say:

upAvRttasya pApebhyo yo vAsas tad guNaiH saha
upavAsaH sa vijJeya nopavAsas tu laGghanam

“Fasting is not accomplished just by abstaining from some food, real fasting means giving up all mundane activities and spending the time hearing and chanting the holy names and attributes of Sri Krishna.”

In the way of the Vaishnavas, thus both rules are followed – both abstaining from food and worshipping Sri Hari for 24 hours. If one is unable to fast entirely, one may just eat fruits and roots instead, as a substitute. This is generally considered a cutting down of the fast, but in the worship of Sri Hari such a substitute is not considered a climbdown. Therefore, in the version of the Vaishnavas, Sri Ekadasi-day is called Sri Harivasara, the day of Lord Hari. How can such a name be fulfilled if Lord Hari Himself is not worshipped? The blessed author says: “By observing the Sri Ekadasi-vow, a partial relationship with the desired feeling is attained.” In Sri Brahma Vaivarta Purana it is seen: govinda smaranam nrinam ekadasyamuposhanam – “Fasting on Ekadasi enables a human being to remember Govinda.” Since this statement from the smriti-sastras (lawbooks) clearly ascertains that one must fast on Ekadasi, and that through it one attains the devotional limb known as smarana, which is a direct cause of attaining the desired feelings, Ekadasi-vrata is known as partially related to the desired feeling.

In this way, the positive necessity of the Ekadasi-vow is established; but there is also a negative incentive established here. In the Skanda Purana it is described: matriha pitriha caiva bhratriha guruha tatha – “A person who eats on Ekadasi becomes guilty of a sin equal to that of killing his mother, father, brother or spiritual master.” From this statement, which mentions the sin of killing one’s spiritual master, it is known that by not following Ekadasi one commits an offense to the holy name called guru avajna, insulting the spiritual master. Again it is described in the Vishnu Dharmottara:

brahmaghnasya surApasya steyino guru talpinaH
niSkRtir dharma zAstroktA naikAdazyanna bhojinaH

“In the scriptures one can find practices of atonement for sins like killing a brahmana, drinking alcohol, theft or sexual intercourse with a superior, but no scripture mentions any atonement for the sin of eating grains on Ekadasi.”

This statement makes it clear that the sin of not following Sri Ekadasi is indestructable. After hearing all these condemnations, one must certainly be free from doubt about the fact that the vow of Ekadasi is surely to be observed, with great necessity and for eternity.

What’s more, when Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa ascertains the characteristics of a Vaishnava, two verses from the Skanda Purana are quoted to specify them:

paramApadam Apanne harSe vA samupasthite
naikAdazIM tyajed yas tu tasya dIkSAsti vaiSNavI
samAtmA sarva jIveSu nijAcArA aviplutaH
viSNvArpitAkhilAcAraH sa hi vaiSNava ucyate

“A person who does not give up the vow of Sri Ekadasi, come bliss, come woe, has made his Vaishnava-initiation a success. A person who is equally disposed towards everyone, who never falls from the principles of Vaishnavism and who offers all his activities unto Lord Vishnu – he is the real vaishnava.”

Some say: “There is no fault in eating maha-prasada grains on Ekadasi, for these grains are transcendental, therefore they should always be served. Rather, it is a fault to give up maha-prasada!” To remove such erroneous ideas, the blessed author says: “The Vaishnavas never eat food which is not offered to the Lord, therefore the meaning of a Vaishnava-vow is that they then renounce Sri Mahaprasada.” Srimad Jiva Gosvamipada has also written: atra vaishnavanam niraharatvam nama maha-prasadanna parityaga eva tesham anya bhojanasya nityam eva nishiddhatvat (Bhakti Sandarbha, 299) In Sri Gautamiya Tantra it is seen:

vaiSNavo yadi bhuJjIta ekAdazyAM pramAdataH
viSNvarcanaM vRthA tasya narakaM ghoram ApnuyAt

“If a Vaishnava becomes so crazy as to eat on Ekadasi, his worship of Vishnu becomes worthless and he will attain a foul hell.”

From this statement we can come to know that it is forbidden to eat the maha-prasada which is offered to the Lord on Ekadasi. In connection with this, it is to be known that some compare the Vaishnava-vow of Ekadasi with other ordinary vows. All things related to Sri Hari are endowed with inconceivable potency, and the supreme culmination of this is the attainment of Sri Hari or of love for His lotus feet. One should know that comparing this greatly glorious vow with vows that cause one to attain the insignificant treasures of the material world is a severe offense.

In essence, the primary focus of Ekadasi should be in the worship of Govinda. One ought to balance all varieties of austerity with sumptuous absorption in the primary aspects of sAdhana.
sadhaka108 - Sun, 04 Jul 2004 04:32:03 +0530
Hi Keshavaji,

Thanks for your kind reply.

I am very impressed that you are so austere.

Oh sorry! I didn't want to make a impression that I'm austere, because this not the truth. I'm a very lazy person, attached to illicit sex and intoxication. I just do this by the kripa of vaishnavas.

Anyway, austere is not to make this vrata, austere is to go to university after all this... laugh.gif

I checked your homepage and bio and I see that you are interested in following Ananta das Babaji.

I'm thinking about taking initiation with Babaji Maharaj if he would accept my fallen person as a disciple. I like him and his mood. The only problem to me is that he seens to be in a orthodox parampara, while I'm very heterodox...

I also see that you are a worshiper of Siva and Krsna. Interesting. Would you call yourself predominately a Vaisnava or Saivite or equally disposed?

I'm more inclined to Gora and Sri Sri Radha-Krishna than to Shiva, but every day I chant 1 round of OM Namah Shivaya in a rudraksha-mala meditating in Gopisvara Mahadeva asking him to give me prema, so I can enter in Vraja.

To me Shiva Mahadeva is Bhagavan, not a demigod. He is called the best vaishnava. He can give us the shakti to do any austerity, but this is not his principal feature . The best thing that he can do is give us prema, sometimes called soma-rasa. See Gopisvara-pranam.

Jaya Soma!
sadhaka108 - Sun, 25 Jul 2004 12:14:20 +0530
Thanks Madhavaji.

Only now I readed the comment by Babaji Maharaj. Very nice!

I'm very happy because in the last ekadasi I and another devotee followed all the ekadasi-vrata. biggrin.gif

It's not difficult as it seens...
ramakesava - Wed, 28 Jul 2004 04:10:23 +0530
QUOTE (Keshava @ Jul 3 2004, 08:17 AM)
I think that some devotee (ISKCON?) has translated the HBV 12 Vilasa so you might be able to actually buy that book from one of the online websites.

The book is Dearest to Visnu (ISBN 952-91-3713-3) by Bhrgumuni das, available from Absolute Truth Press.
Jagat - Wed, 28 Jul 2004 05:58:29 +0530
The fasting is not the most difficult part. It's the staying up all night on Ekadasi and staying awake throughout the day on Dvadasi, when you're not supposed to sleep during the day, either.

While living in Nabadwip, we used to have a Hari-vasara "club" that met in a little temple just around the corner from me. There was a rasika pandit who gave class and then kirtan would go on all night. I went regularly, but I eventually gave up trying to make it through the whole night. Some of the bhaktas (about 10-15) did it, though I can't say what they did the entire next day!