What is Ekadashi ?
In the Vedic calendar called Panchang(am), Ekdashi is the name given for the eleventh (11th) day in the fortnight of the lunar cycle. It happens twenty-four(24) times in a year and each Ekadashi has a unique name. One of the widely celebrated is known as the ‘Vaikunta Ekadashi’, alternatively known as ‘Mokshada ekadashi’.
‘Vaikuntam’ in the Tamil language literally means, the abode of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is represented as the Preserver of the universe and is one of the Trinity of the Hindu pantheon.
He assumes a distinct presence for the devotees during the occurrences of the Ekadashi days. It is believed that steadfast devotion and fasting even during a single Ekadashi occurrence, brings the blessings of Vishu and liberation from the cycle of birth and death. One gains freedom from sins of the past through following Ekadashi fasting. Not surprisingly, in the present times the occasion of Ekadashi has become synonymous with fasting.
Power of Ekadashi
The study of the Vedic astronomy reveals the significance of the moon’s influence over the mind. Ekadashi, the eleventh day of the lunar fortnight is said to be conducive for the mind to be in its natural states of love and wisdom. Finding the place of its home, the mind is thus helped to merge with the True Self. At this stage, the person reaches the enlightened states of being.
Keeping the physical life relatively free through such methods as abstinence from food and certain activities benefit the spiritual aspirant to reach the ultimate goal of coming into alignment with the Higher Self. Through carving out an atmosphere of sanctity, the time and energy is redirected toward devotional activities and selfless service.
As much as it is emphasized by the religion of Hinduism to follow the spiritual discipline of fasting during Ekadashi, it also advised to exercise common sense while following the fast.
Ekadashi Fasting Benefits
Apart from the spiritual significance that marks the Ekadashi days and the strict observances thereof, fasting periodically is obviously beneficial at other levels of our being, such as the physical, mental and emotional.
Ekadashi fasting enhances the physiological functions. There are five functions of the physical body given in the philosophy of Vedanta (sacred scripture of Hinduism). They are the physiological functions of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, urinary and mental functioning. Fasting purges the internal systems of its poisons.
By Bhamini Gobiraj
Importance of Ekadashi and Ekadashi Food
According to Mahabharatha Shanti parva – Ekadashi is compared most valuable than Ahimsa, Satyavachana, Daana and indriya nigraha.
Kashi/Gaya/Gangasnaana/Kurukshetra darshana – nothing is superior to Ekadashi.
Thousands of Ashwamedha Yaga is not even equal to 1/16of Ekadashi.
Thousands of Grahana Parvakala, thousands of Vyatipata Yoga, is not even equal to 1/16 of Ekadashi phala.
5.. By doing Ekadashi upavaasa, janmaantara sins also will be removed
By doing Ekadashi Pancha karmendriya and pancha jnaanendriyagalu all will have purity
On Ekadashi day – there are some exceptions for Pregnant women, aged above 80 years, and children below 8 years, and those who are suffering from diseases. – That too they can take food to a maximum of 1/4 of what they used to take on other days.
On Ekadashi day if we eat or if we tell some body to eat – he will get “naraka loka”.
Even during Soothaka, Rajaswala dosha, – one has to perform Ekadashi
Apart from doing Ekadashi, we have to perform Dwadashi paarane also in time. If we do Ekadashi and does bhojana late on Dwadashi day, we will not get for having done Ekadashi.
King Rukmaangada, King Ambarisha, Sage Durvasa, and all Vaidhika mathacharyas have demonstrated the greatness and power of observing EkAdasi Vratha..
By Prasad J