Ekadashi fasting is all about purifying your soul and preparing yourself towards attaining Moksha (salvation). This ritualistic practice helps human beings to get rid of malefic planetary influences and attain happiness.
While all Hindus can observe this fast, it is particularly popular among the devotees of Vishnu and is kept on the 11th lunar day of the lunar cycle of a Hindu calendar month.
What is Ekadashi Vratham?
Ekadashi fasting is about spiritual cleansing. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu – the protector lord of the realm. The lunar phase, according to Hindu belief, has two distinct phases – the Krishna Paksha (new moon) and the Shukla Paksha (waxing moon). Each phase is of 14 days.
The eleventh day is called Ekadashi (literally meaning eleventh). The Vratham or the ritualistic fast that is kept on this day is called Ekadashi Vratham and is observed by millions of Hindus all over the world. There are strict Ekadashi fasting rules.
In this article, we shall discuss how to do Ekadashi fast and what are things you should be careful about while observing the Ekadashi Vrat.
Why do we fast on Ekadashi?
This question can be answered very well by the worshippers of Lord Vishnu. The Ekadashi fast benefits are meant for those who have faith and worship Lord Vishnu. It is considered to be amongst the most fruitful fasts in Hindu. Ekadashi fast’s benefits can bring you peace, harmony, and prosperity.
The significance of Ekadashi fast was narrated by Vishnu to Yudhishthira. He said those who are truly faithful must observe this day to purify the soul and attain Moksha (salvation).
Since the main purpose of human life is to attain salvation, this fast is said to be particularly helpful for all. Devout observers of this pious Hindu ritual attain peace of mind and prosperity.
How to do Ekadashi fast?
Ekadashi fast has many rules that must be observed properly to attain the desired results:
- Pregnant women and infirm and old people must not keep this fast.
- Only those who are determined and are deeply spiritual can observe this fast as per the rules.
- Food and water must not be touched during the fasting hours. However, those who cannot observe Nirjala Ekadashi (Ekadashi without water) can intake fruit and milk.
- Intake of food grains, meat, and fish is strictly prohibited.
- The fast must start at sunrise and must end at sunset. Observers of this fast are advised to wake up in the morning, take a purifying bath and recite the Vishnu mantra, “Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevaya.”
- Observers of this fast should refrain from violence, deceit, and lying and indulge in charitable activities.
What can we eat on Ekadashi fast?
Ekadashi fasting food excludes meat, grains, and fish. Instead, fruits, milk and milk-based products and non-grain products are to be eaten. If you are observing Ekadashi fast for the first time and don’t know what to eat, try to avoid flour, rice, wheat, pulses, onion, and garlic.
On the other hand, various kinds of fruits, paneer, ghee, makhana, singhare ke atta, kuttu ka atta, and rajgira ka atta can be consumed. Those who are observing the extreme variant of this fast (i.e. Nirjala Ekadashi) must not drink water. Smoking and drinking alcohol are strictly prohibited during the fast.
Ever wondered why Ekadashi fasting is so important?
Ekadashi was the name given to a Goddess who was one of the creations of Lord Vishnu. According to the tail Demon, Mura was to be defeated for the sake of peace which was done by Ekadashi.
Getting pleased with her act of killing the demon lord Vishnu endowed her that if a person will observe the fast of Ekadashi then he will be able to free himself from all the sins and impurities of the mind and will surely get Moksha which is considered by people as one of the Ekadashi fast benefits. Thus, Ekadashi fast is a very special and prominent fast to date.
Benefits of Ekadashi Fasting
In Hinduism, fasting is a way of making the human body a subject of rituals that are a need and part of worshipping God and Ekadashi is one such fast. During the worship of God, a lot of rituals are performed depending upon the king and deity being worshipped. Fasting is also a part of it.
Well, this phenomenon of purifying one’s mind body and soul is not merely restricted to the supernatural world of the soul but finds its relevance in the scientific application of the metabolism and other biological operations.
This art of worshipping and pleasing the deity is being practiced since ancient times and is prevalent in the modern world as well. Fasting lets you go on a spiritual journey and purify your conscious soul.
Fasting not only means restricting a complete diet but involves standard hygiene practices. Fruits and milk can be taken by a person who is fasting. There are numerous short stories associated with fasting and are present in the sacred and holy text of Hinduism.
There are a lot of scientific parameters of fastening. Researchers have found the biological effects of fastening on the human body. A lot of people are not aware of it but it is their faith that makes them keep such fast.
Ekadashi fast benefits for the worshippers of Vishnu
Fasting on the day of Ekadashi is equivalent to visiting any place of pilgrimage. The merit of this fast is considered to be the well-known Aswamedha sacrifice.
The Ekadashi day in the month is purely dedicated to those who want mental peace and stability. If you want to get rid of all your sins and purify your body, mind, and soul, then these Ekadashi fasting benefits are made for you.
Ekadashi fast not only cleans your soul but also makes your body detoxified and makes the body metabolism good. Worshippers of Lord Vishnu are aware of the fast of Ekadashi. Ultimate salvation, prosperity, and religious faith are some of the Ekadashi fast benefits.
When should we start Ekadashi fast?
Ekadashi fast means eleven and it falls every month on some phases of the moon resulting in the high and low tide of the sea. Overall there are 24 Ekadashi in a year and they are of prime importance for the worshippers of Lord Vishnu.
The timings of Ekadashi depend on the tithi. As long as the period of Ekadashi continues, you must observe fast. Consult a drikpanchang to know the timings of Ekadashi Fast 2020.
When will my Ekadashi fast be completed?
Ideally, you should observe fast during the Ekadashi hours. However, you may eat Ekadashi fasting food listed above after sunset. You may continue with your normal dietary routine after Ekadashi fast breaking time. You can visit the ISKCON Temple Delhi, Dwarka, and get details about the exact timings.
ISKCON Temple, Dwarka, offers spiritual and cultural guidance to people to enhance their quality of life and elevate them to a higher level of consciousness. The temple is also involved in a host of charitable activities, contributing positively to the larger community around us.
The temple celebrates all festivals that are important to Gaudiya Vaishnavas, including rituals relating to Ekadashi fasting. Come, be a part of ISKCON’s Ekadashi fasting rituals.