According to Hindu mythological story once Lord Vishnu was in deep Yoga Nidra and during that time, a demon named Murdanav, came and challenged him for a fight. A damsel appeared from Lord Vishnu’s yoga nidra – Ekadash Indri the eleventh sense. As soon as Murdanav saw the damsel, he got so attracted that he wanted to marry her. But, the damsel put a condition that he would have to fight with her and in the tough fight the demon got killed by the damsel. Lord Vishnu was so happy from the damsel that he granted her a boon and named her as Ekadashi. Goddess Ekadashi wanted people to observe fast on the day of Ekadashi and Lord Vishnu granted her the boon. And the devotees who keep fast would get Moksha (salvation).
Ekadashi Parana is the process of breaking the rigorous fast before the sunrise of Dwadashi is over. According to myths the most preferred time to break the fast is Pratahkal. Ekadasi ocaasion is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and devotees worship him to get themselves blessed. People observe fast on this day to progess and walk on the path of sadhana and devotion. It is said that one who keep fast on the day of Ekadashi is considered to be happy, gains peace of mind and attains moksha. Ekadashi which comes in Krishna Paksha of Hindu month – Kartik is known as Rama Ekadashi. Those devotees who observe rigorous fast on this day get freed from the sins and attain the spiritual peace. Happy Ekadashi to all out there and hope you enjoy it with gifts, hugs, love, sweets and lots of blessings from Lord Vishnu.
Ekadashi is considered to be the favourite day of Krsna, when devotees refrain from material activities. The Sanskrit word Ekadasi literally means eleven. Ekadashi is the eleventh of the fifteen-day lunar month. In one of the lunar months (called the light month) the moon grows from new moon to full moon and in the following lunar month (called dark month) it diminishes from full moon to no-moon. Thus every calendar (solar) month there are two Ekadasis, the light Ekadasi that occurs on the eleventh day of the waxing moon, and the dark Ekadasi that occurs on the eleventh day of the waning moon. It is recommended that all Vaisnavas should fast on this day of Ekadasi. Such austerity will be greatly beneficial for their devotional life.
Since there are 12 months in a year, with two Ekadasis in each month, there are 24 Ekadasis in each year. Each Ekadasi has a name, that are Utpanna, Mokshada, Saphala, Putrada, Shat-tila, Jaya, Vijaya, Amalaki, Papamocani, Kamada, Varuthini, Mohini, Apara, Nirjala, Yogini, Padma (Devashayani), Kamika, Putrada, Aja, Parivartini, Indira, Papankusha, Rama, and Haribodhini (Devotthani). Occasionally there are two extra Ekadasis that happen in a lunar leap year, which are Padmini and Parama.
Devotees fast on this day, observe vigil the whole night and do Japa, Hari Kirtan and meditation. Some do not take even a drop of water. Those who are unable to fast completely can take some light fruit and milk.
No rice should be taken on Ekadashi days. This is very important. The sweat that fell down from the head of Brahma assumed the form of a demon and said to the Lord, “O Lord! now give me an abode to dwell.”
Brahma replied, “O demon! go and dwell in the rice particles eaten by men on Ekadashi day and become worms in their stomach.”
For this reason rice is prohibited on Ekadashi. If one observes the Ekadashi fast regularly, Lord Hari is propitiated. All sins are destroyed. The mind is purified. Devotion gradually develops. Love for God becomes intense. Orthodox people in South India observe complete fasting and vigil even on ordinary Ekadashi days. For the devotees of Lord Vishnu, every Ekadashi is a very sacred day.
It is said that even if one mistakenly misses the observance of an Ekadasi, he or she may make up for it by observing it the very next day on Dvadasi, and then break one’s fast from grain on the next day, Trayodasi. One may also observe the special fast on Nirjala Ekadasi. This is also called Bhima Ekadasi. This is because the Pandava brother known as Bhima was so strong and had such a voracious appetite that he could not observe Ekadasis twice a month. He could not fast because he was too hungry. So Lord Krishna told him to merely observe one Ekadasi a year, which is the Nirjala Ekadasi. Nir jala means no water. So he had to observe at least one Ekadasi a year, and on that day he had to abstain from not only beans and grains, but from all foods, even water. So devotees who miss an Ekadasi day often observe a complete fast from all food and liquids on the Nirjala Ekadasi, which is usually sometime in June, and thus make up for whatever was missed. However, this is a very potent Ekadasi, so a complete fast on this day gives one who observes this many pious credits.
Once there was a demon, Mura, who oppressed the gods. The gods approached Lord Hari for protection. Hari sent Yoga Maya to kill the demon. Yoga Maya carried out the behests of the Lord successfully.Then the Lord said to Yoga Maya, “Those who observe Ekadashi will be freed from all sins, and you will be called by the name Ekadashi.”
King Ambarisha was a great votary of Lord Hari. He practised the Ekadashi Vrata for a year. Ambarisha obtained His Grace. On one occasion he fasted for three consecutive days. He was about to break the fast when Rishi Durvasa appeared as his guest. The king received him with due respect and requested him to take his meals. The Rishi agreed and went to bathe in the river. The king waited patiently for a long time, but the Rishi did not return. Time was running out; if the king did not eat anything before the day ended his Vrata would not bear fruit. And if he ate, he would be showing disregard to the Rishi. As a compromise the king took a little water to serve both the conditions.
When Durvasa returned from his bath, he knew exactly what had happened, and was angry. He tore a hair from his tuft and charged it to kill Ambarisha. The king was unmoved. The discus of Lord Vishnu destroyed the power of the hair of Durvasa. It now followed the Rishi wherever he went and tried to destroy him.
Rishi Durvasa went to Brahma and Shiva for help, but to no avail. He went to Lord Hari who said to him, “I am dependent on My devotees. My heart is in the possession of My devotees. Go thou, therefore, to Ambarisha; beg his pardon and thou shalt be saved.”
Ambarisha thereupon prayed to the charged hair to desist from its course, and saved the Rishi. Durvasa thanked him from the bottom of his heart.
Once the great sage Jaimini Rishi said to his spiritual master, “O Gurudeva! Previously, by your mercy, you described to me the history of the Ganga River , the benefits of worshiping Vishnu, the giving of grains in charity, the giving of water in charity, and the magnanimity of drinking water that has been used to wash the feet of the brahmanas. O best of sages, Sri Gurudeva, now, with great enthusiasm, I desire to hear of the benefits of fasting on Ekadasi and of the appearance of Ekadasi.”
“O Gurudeva! When did Ekadasi take birth and from whom did she appear? What are the rules of fasting on the day of Ekadasi? Please describe the benefits of following this vow and when it should be followed. Who is the utmost worshipable presiding deity of Sri Ekadasi? What are the faults in not observing Ekadasi properly? Please bestow your mercy upon me and tell about these subjects, as you are the only personality able to do so.”
Srila Vyasadeva, upon hearing this inquiry from Jaimini Rishi, became situated in transcendental bliss. “O brahmana sage Jaimini! The results of following Ekadasi can be perfectly described by the Supreme Lord, Narayana, because Sri Narayana is the only personality capable of describing them in full. But I will give a very brief description in answer to your question.”
“At the beginning of the material creation, the Supreme Lord created the moving and non-moving living entities within this world made of five gross material elements. Simultaneously, for the purpose of punishing the evil human beings, He created a personality whose form was the embodiment of the worst kinds of sin (Papa-purusha). The different limbs of this personality were constructed of various sinful activities. His head was made of the sin of murdering a brahmana, his two eyes were the form of drinking intoxicants, his mouth was made from the sin of stealing gold, his ears were the form of the sin of having illicit connection with the spiritual master’s wife, his nose was of the sin of killing one’s wife, his arms the form of the sin of killing a cow, his neck was made of the sin of stealing accumulated wealth, his chest of the sin of abortion, his lower chest of the sin of having sex with another’s wife, his stomach of the sin of killings one’s relatives, his navel of the sin of killing those who are dependent on him, his waist of the sin of egotistical self-appraisal, his thighs of the sin of offending the guru, his genitals of the sin of selling one’s daughter, his buttocks of the sin of telling confidential matters, his feet of the sin of killing one’s father, and his hair was the form of all sorts of less severe sinful activities. In this way, a horrible personality embodying all sinful activities and vices was created. His bodily color is black, and his eyes are yellow. He inflicts extreme misery upon sinful persons.
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, upon seeing this personality of sin began to think to Himself as follows: ‘I am the creator of the miseries and happiness for the living entities. I am their master because I have created this personality of sin, who gives distress to all dishonest, deceitful and sinful persons. Now I must create someone who will control this personality’. At this time Sri Bhagavan created the personality of Yamaraja and the different hellish planetary systems. Those living entities who are very sinful will be sent after death to Yamaraja, who will in turn, according to their sins, send them to an appropritate hellish region to suffer.
“After these adjustments had been made, the Supreme Lord, who is the giver of distress and happiness to the living entities, went to the house of Yamaraja, with the help of Garuda, the king of birds. When Yamaraja saw that Lord Vishnu had arrived, he immediately washed His feet and made an offering unto Him. He then had Him sit upon a golden throne. The Supreme Lord Vishnu became seated upon the throne, whereupon He heard very loud crying sounds from the southern direction. He became surprised by this and inquired of Yamaraja, ‘From where is this loud crying coming?’
“Yamaraja in reply said, ‘O Deva! The different living entities of the earthly planetary systems have fallen to the hellish regions. They are suffering extremely for their misdeeds. The horrible crying is because of suffering from the inflictions of their past bad actions.’
“After hearing this the Supreme Lord Vishnu went to the hellish region to the south. When the inhabitants saw who had come they began to cry even louder. The heart of the Supreme Lord Vishnu became filled with compassion. Lord Vishnu thought to Himself, ‘I have created all this progeny, and it is because of Me that they are suffering.’”
Vyasadeva continued: “O Jaimini, just listen to what the Supreme Lord did next. After the merciful Supreme Lord thought over what He had previously considered, He suddenly manifested from His own form the deity of the lunar day Ekadasi. Afterward, the different sinful living entities began to follow the vow of Ekadasi and were then elevated quickly to the abode of Vaikuntha. O my child Jaimini, therefore the lunar day of Ekadasi is the selfsame form of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, and the Supersoul within the heart of the living entities. Sri Ekadasi is the utmost pious activity and is situated as the head among all vows.
“Following the ascension of Sri Ekadasi, that personality who is the form of sinful activity gradually saw the influence that she, Ekadasi, had. Thus, he approached Lord Vishnu with doubts in his heart and began offering many prayers, whereupon Lord Vishnu became very pleased and said, ‘I have become very pleased by your nice offerings. What boon is it that you want?’
“The Papa-purusha replied, “I am Your created progeny, and it is through me that you wanted distress given to the living entities who are very sinful. But now, by the influence of Sri Ekadasi, I have become all but destroyed. O Prabhu! After I die all of Your parts and parcels who have accepted material bodies will become liberated and return to the abode of Vaikuntha (the spiritual domain). If this liberation of all living entities takes place, then who will carry on Your activities? There will be no one to enact the pastimes in the earthly planetary systems! O Keshava! If you want these eternal pastimes to carry on, then You please save me from the fear of Ekadasi. No type of pious activity can bind me. But Ekadasi only, being Your own manifested form, can impede me. Out of fear of Sri Ekadasi I have fled and taken shelter of men; animals; insects; hills; trees; moving and non-moving living entities; rivers; oceans; forests; heavenly, earthly and hellish planetary systems; demigods; and the Gandharvas. I cannot find a place where I can be free from the fear of Sri Ekadasi. O my Master! I am a product of Your creation, so therefore very mercifully direct me to a place where I can reside fearlessly.’”
Vyasadeva then said to Jaimini, “After saying this, the embodiment of all sinful activities (Papa-purusha) fell down at the feet of the Supreme Lord Vishnu, who is the destroyer of all miseries and began to cry.
“After this, Lord Vishnu, observing the condition of the Papa-purusha, with laughter began to speak thus: ‘O Papa-purusha, rise up! Don’t lament any longer. Just listen, and I’ll tell you where you can stay on the lunar day of Ekadasi. On the date of Sri Ekadasi, which is the benefactor of the three planetary systems, you can take shelter of foodstuffs in the form of grains. There is no reason to worry about this any more, because My form as Sri Ekadasi will no longer impede you.’ After giving direction to the Papa-purusha, the Supreme Lord Vishnu disappeared and the Papa-purusha returned to the performance of his own activities.
“Therefore, those persons who are serious about the ultimate benefit of the soul will never eat grains on Ekadasi. According to the instructions of Lord Vishnu, every kind of sinful activity that can be found in the material world takes its residence in this place of (grains) foodstuff. Whoever follows Ekadasi is freed from all sins and never enters into the hellish regions. If one doesn’t follow Ekadasi because of illusion, he is still considered the utmost sinner. For every mouthful of grain that is eaten by a resident of the earthly region (on Ekadasi), one receives the effect of killing millions of brahmanas. It is definitely necessary that one give up eating grains on Ekadasi. I very strongly say again and again, ‘On Ekadasi, do not eat grains, do not eat grains, do not eat grains!’ Whether one be a kshatriya, vaishya, shudra, or of any family, he should follow the lunar day of Ekadasi. From this the perfection of varna and ashrama will be attained. Especially since if one (even) by trickery follows Ekadasi, all his sins become destroyed and he very easily attains the supreme goal, the abode of Vaikuntha.”
It gives one a taste for renunciation, and thus helps one to give up sense gratification.
** Fasting gives the system a rest: The physiological system may become overworked due to a little overeating or indiscrimination in diet. Fasting gives the system a chance to catch up.
** Fasting helps us practice self-discipline in eating and concentrate more on pleasing God.
** Fasting helps keep the body light and the stomach free so that one can meditate better. The digestive system draws the blood circulation towards the digestive organs. Therefore blood circulation to the head is decreased once food is taken: so we feel sleepy.
** Observing Ekadasi increases spiritual advancement.
Moon seems to have considerable influence and seems to create some imbalance in our body. So the chances are that, if our body is not pure and balanced with any unwanted stuff, it might surface as a disease, sooner or later.
On the days of ekadasis, the effect of the moon can be felt on the stomach. Avoiding eating grains etc, helps reduce this effect. Hence fasting is recommended.
On Ekadasi day by fasting, body doesn’t have its regular food crunching job. So it can concentrate in cleaning the body system. Whatever impurities the body acquired, KNOWINGLY AND UNKNOWINGLY, (by eating and other means) it can remove it.
Ekadashi (Sanskrit: एकादशी, Tamil: ஏகாதசி, Bengali: একাদশী Telugu: ఏకాదశి, ekādaśī, “Eleven”), also spelled as Ekadasi, is the eleventh lunar day (tithi) of the shukla (bright) or krishna (dark) paksha (fortnight) of every lunar month in the Hindu calendar (Panchang).