What is Ekadashi:
Ekadashi is considered to be an auspicious day in Hindu and Jain culture. It takes place on the eleventh day of the waxing and waning lunar cycles (11th day after full moon or new moon). Ekadashi symbolizes eleven senses constituting 5 sense organs, 5 action organs and 1 mind.
Days of the lunar cycles:
Every day of the lunar cycle has a name in the Hindu calendar.
1. Prathama 2. Dwitiya 3. Tritiya 4. Chaturthi 5. Panchami 6. Shashti 7. Saptami 8. Ashtami 9. Navami 10. Dashami 11. Ekadashi 12. Dwadashi 13. Thrayodashi 14. Chaturdashi 15. Purnima / 15. Amavasya
Fasting on Ekadashi:
Devotees observe a fast to mark the day by controlling the eleven senses and consuming only permitted foods and refraining from others. In general, it is recommended to avoid grains (Wheat, Jowar, etc). We should also refrain from all kinds of intoxication and meat. We should also keep our mind positive and refrain from thoughts and actions related to sensory pleasures and spend most of the time in devotional activities.
As explained by Sadhguru, the human physiology goes through a cycle called a mandala, approximately every 40 to 48 days. During this period, there will be at least 3 days during which the body does not require food. If we fast during these days, it helps the body stay healthy and many ailments would automatically get resolved. As these 3 specific days varies from person to person, we can instead use Ekadashi to uniformly provide each person with the required three days of fasting.
Benefits of Fasting:
- It purifies one’s mind, body and soul.
- Fasting will clean the toxins out of the body especially in the digestive system.
- It is believed that such periodic fasting greatly reduces the possibility of any kind of cancer.
- The body will feel light and energetic after fasting.
Types of fasting:
There are three main types of fasting recommended during Ekadashi.
- Nirjala Ekadashi: To pass the whole day without eating or drinking anything.
- Sajala Ekadashi: To pass the whole day on water and juice.
- Farali Ekadashi: To consume Only Fruits and Milk.
- Not to eat anything is best
- If not possible, then one can drink water or fruit juice
- If that is not sufficient, one can eat fruits and vegetables
- If that is also not sufficient, one can cook & eat one or two items which does not contain grains or strong spices. Many people eat boiled potatoes, buckwheat, etc.
Please note that buckwheat is not considered a grain, is a pseudo cereal, which is gluten-free, a good source of fiber, and rich in minerals and various plant compounds.
The International Society of Krishna Consciousness has posted some buckwheat based recipes here.
Types of Ekadashi:
As documented in wikipedia, here are the various important Ekadashi’s that occur during the year.
|The Vedic lunar month||Presiding deity||Krishna paksha Ekadashi name||Shukla paksha Ekadashi name|
|Chaitra (चैत्र, March–April)||Ram Vishnu||Papavimocani Ekadashi||Kamada Ekadashi|
|Vaisakha (वैशाख, April–May )||Madhusudana (Vishnu)||Varuthini Ekadashi||Mohini Ekadashi|
|Jyeshta (ज्येष्ठ, May-June)||Trivikrama (Vishnu)||Apara Ekadashi||Nirjala Ekadashi|
|Ashaad (आषाढ, June-July)||Vaamana||Yogini Ekadashi||Shayani Ekadashi|
|Shraavana (श्राव=90ण, July-August)||Sridhar||Kamika Ekadashi||Shravana Putrada Ekadashi|
|Hrisikesha (Vishnu)||Annada Ekadashi||Parsva Ekadashi|
|Ashvin (अश्विन्, September-October)||Padmanabha||Indira Ekadashi||Paashunkushaa Ekadashi|
|Kartik (कार्तिक, October-November)||Damodara||Rama Ekadashi||Prabodhini Ekadashi|
|Keshava||Utpanna Ekadashi||Mokshada Ekadashi / Vaikunta Ekadashi|
|Pausha (पौष, December-January)||Naaraayana (Vishnu/Krishna)||Saphala Ekadashi||Pausha Putrada Ekadashi / Vaikunta Ekadashi|
|Maagha (माघ, January-February)||Maadhava||Shat Tila Ekadashi||Bhaimi Ekadashi / Jaya Ekadashi|
|Phalguna (फाल्गुन, February-March)||Govinda (Krishna)||Vijaya Ekadashi||Amalaki Ekadashi|
(अधिक, once in 2–3 years)
|Purushottama||Padmini Visuddha Ekadashi||Paramaa Shuddha Ekadashi|
You can refer to the vaishnava calendar here for a list of upcoming Ekdashi’s.
Wishing you a divine Ekadashi experience.
If you are interested in learning more about Lord Shri Krishna’s teachings, you can check out the book here.
Krsnadaasa (servant of Krishna)