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As per Hindu calendar, Ekadashi is the 11th day after the full moon and the 11th day after the new moon. It is considered as one of the most important fasts in the Hindu lunar calendar. ‘Ekadashi’ is a Sanskrit word which means eleven. As per Hindu calendar, there are two Ekadashis falling every month, namely Shukla Paksha or Gaura Paksha (period of brightening moon) and Krishna Paksha (dark lunar fortnight).
Significance of Fasting on Ekadashi
As per Hindu lunar calendar, it is observed that the human physiology goes through a cycle called a mandala, after every 40 to 48 days. Differ from person to person, this cycle has specific three days in which your body demands no food. If you identify those days in your life, then you can attain maximum efficiency and your mind can attain a peace of energy.
The fast is observed from the sunset on the day before Ekadashi until sunrise on the next day. The spiritual fast lasts for 48 hours. The devotees not only gain spiritual insights but also attain mental clarity. According to Hindu scriptures, Lord Rama said if an individual kept regular fasting on Ekadashi, then all his previous sins would be removed.
Ekadashi in Hindu Scriptures
As per Hindu panchang calendar, all Ekadashi play a vital role. But, talking about Vaishnava tradition, Vaikunta Ekadasi is considered as one of the most important Ekadashi. Vaikunta Ekadashi is also known as Mukkoti Ekadasi or Swarga Vathil Ekadasi. On this auspicious festival, prayers, yagnas, and special speeches are arranged at Vishnu temples in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
As per Hindu mythology, it is believed that during Ekadashi, our mind attains maximum productivity to give our brain a better concentration power. On this spiritual day of Ekadashi, fasting helps you achieve mental peace. Along with spiritual insights, fasting gives your body a healthy regime. Devotees are advised to fully devote the fasts of Ekadashi in extreme ‘sadhana’ or worship.
Spiritual favor aside, these Ekadashi fasts help the human body to take a break from dietary irregularities. As per the saying of Lord Krishna, if someone fasts on Ekadashi, then all his sins and wrong deeds get burnt. Hence, this spiritual day is considered as one of the most preferred days to purge or cleanse all sins.
How to Fast on Ekadashi?
On Ekadashi dates, you need to keep anhydrous fast, that means you should not drink water the whole day. Such spiritual fasts should be broken the next day preferably with a liquid such as milk. If you are unable to keep an anhydrous fast (substance without water), then you can choose to go on a fruit diet.
Forceful denial of food is pointless because of your day-to-day physical activity. Apart from avoiding grains, cereals, and meat, many devotees also avoid activities such as shaving, clipping nails or cutting hair on this pious day of Ekadashi.
Hindu Rites Prohibited on Ekadashi
● Hindu rites such as the funeral or Shraddha Puja are a big ‘No’ on the auspicious days of Ekadashi.
● It is advisable not to plan marriage ceremonies and havan rituals on Ekadashi.
● As per Hindu scriptures, devotees are not allowed to consume grains and cereals on Ekadashi
● If you are forced to conduct any worship or ritual on Ekadashi, only non-grain items could be served to guests.