Ekadashi- A Spiritual Practice Where Importance is Given to Divinity in the Time of Materialism
Everyone is always fascinated to know about Ekadashi, its significance, and the history behind it. Everyone is keen to know about it, which also includes certain facts prevailing. There is a saying as per Sadhguru which states, every human physiology goes with one cycle called ‘Mandala.’
It comes after every 40-48 days. So, in these three day, which depend upon person to person with proper spacing wherein your body won’t require food, that is your body doesn’t demand you for food. So, it's always suggested to listen to your body at that time. That’s what Ekadashi Arise is.
What is Ekadashi?
Ekadashi is an important Hindu festival that is celebrated on the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight. In Sanskrit, 'Eka' means eleven, and 'Dashi' means the eleventh day. It is considered auspicious by many Hindus as it is believed that during this period, the Gods and Goddesses are in a state of bliss.
This implies that this festival can be observed two times in a single calendar month. Ekadashi holds a special significance, as on this day Hindus observe fasts to please their favourite deities.
Hindu months of Shukla Paksha (bright half) and Krishna Paksha (dark half), so there are two Ekadashi every month, one in each half. The Krishna Paksha version is known as Jaya Ekadashi and the Shukla Paksha version is known as Vijaya Ekadashi.
Usually, Hindus do not eat grains on Ekadashi but the menu depends from region to region and sect to sect. Some only drink milk, some include fruits and some even abstain from drinking water. In Hinduism, fasting on Ekadashi is considered to be of great religious importance.
Fasting on Ekadashi helps in purification. It also gives a boost to one’s spiritual progress, while helping mankind attain liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. According to Hindu Scriptures, the eleventh day of any given fortnight is considered auspicious for spiritual devotion.
The eleventh day of the Indian calendar month Kartik is known as Dev Shayana Ekadashi and is especially significant for Vaishnavites who believe that fasting on this day liberates them from the cycle of births and deaths.
History Behind Ekadashi
In the period of Satyug, there was a demon named Murdanav. He used to scare all the people and even all the devas, and they left their heaven and gave it over to Lord Vishnu. So, Lord Vishnu came with his vehicle called ‘Garuda.’
He fought for 1000year with all his strength, but later he decided to change his strategy. He went into a huge cave and took a nap. Where the Murdanav came to find Lord Vishnu. There he found Lord Vishnu and removed his sword to kill him, but as soon as he removed one beautiful lady came out of Vishnu’s body.
Looking at the beautiful lady, Murdanav directly asked her to marry him. She had one condition with it, she said i'll marry you if you defeat me in the fight. Murdanav agreed to it and that’s how the beautiful lady killed him and everyone was free from the demon.
After listening to the noise Lord Vishnu woke up, he saw a lady came within him as the name of Ekadashi. So, it was the eleventh day. So the lady told Lord Vishnu that she came from his Ekadash Indriya (the eleventh sense of Lord Vishnu’s body). So that’s how Ekadashi started prevailing wherein people follow Ekadashi Vrat by fasting.
Importance of Ekadashi
● When someone observed their own system, three days every 48 days where you don’t have to eat popped up. This became crucial for the system and that is why people fixed these three days as Ekadashi.
● In the year there are twelve Ekadashi. Every 48 days there is a third Ekadashi. These 48 days have three phases. These are called “Chatur Trayi '' or four conditions.
● The first 16-day period after any Ekadashi is called Ashaucha, or impurity. In this period of time the system starts digesting what it has eaten already and clears out its impurities; hence it is called ashaucha.
● For those who have no awareness or cannot see their inner system the three-day cycle is the process of digestion. The body’s system digests all that it has taken in over the last four days and then releases it. Depending upon what capacity one has of seeing one’s inner system, they will be able to understand their inner process.
● At the time of Ekadashi, Food such as beans and rice are not eaten, spices can be used while cooking but mustard seeds should be avoided.
● Foods such as Fruits, Milk, Nuts can be eaten at the time of Fasting.
● The Fasting of Ekadashi has more positive effects on body and brain which helps to give you effectiveness towards your regular life.
● Fasting of Ekadashi is considered to be as many as crores of baths done in Ganga, crores of cow donation. These two donations are considered because both give the pleasing sense of God.
● Ekadashi Fasting is considered as the ‘Maha Vrat.’
● Fasting also helps in detoxifying our body and improving our body circulation, respiration and digestion.
● Some of the devotees also opt for the complete strict fasting that is without food and water.
● The Importance of Ekadashi is linked to bodily functions and improvements in health.
● It cleanses the blood and improves the functioning of the kidneys and liver.
● Observing Ekadashi fasting is also very beneficial for people who have a problem with overeating. Since the entire process of fasting helps to cleanse the body and remove all toxins, it is also extremely beneficial for people suffering from various types of skin diseases, liver problems and kidney problems.
Types of Ekadashi
There are a total 24 types of Ekadashi. Let's learn about them one by one.
Putrada Ekadashi - It takes place on the 11th day of January Month. Here the fasting is done by doing Lord Vishnu Pooja for blessing with the children.
Satilla Ekadashi - Satilla Ekadashi is rooted with the word “Til” known as sesame seeds. It involves receiving and giving sesame seeds.So, Satilla Ekadashi is all about donation.
Jaya Ekadashi - Here the fast starts after the timing of Jaya Ekadashi until the next morning.
Vijaya Ekadashi - There is a full day fast in Vijaya Ekadashi and the devotees worship Lord Vishnu. Here they cannot eat onion and garlic, which is called Tamasic food.
Amalaki Ekadashi - Amalaki means amla which is a combination of Ayurvedic and Hinduism. As it is said, Amla was very close to Lord Vishnu. Here you can make, variety of products related to amla.
Papmochani Ekadashi - It is celebrated in the month of Chaitra. This Ekadashi falls after the Krishna Paksha (waning phase) of Chaitra month and before the Shukla Paksha (brightening phase) of Vaishakh.
Kamada Ekadashi - It occurs at the start of Hindu new year. The ekadashi helps to protect all the devotees from curses.
Varuthni Ekadashi - The Varuthini fast is considered as being in penance for 10 years. Varuthini Ekadashi refers to a specific Ekadasi that occurs during the Tamil Month of "Marghazhi" (November - December). Varuthini Ekadashi is observed on the 11th day of the waning moon period in this month.
Gauna Mohini Ekadashi - Here devotees need to follow a strict fast in order to praise Lord Vishnu. Fast should only be broken the next morning by fruits or milk.
Apara Ekadashi - During Apara Ekadashi it is necessary to give bhog and tulsi leave. Early in the morning after taking a bath, each one should fast for the day.During Apara Ekadashi not only bhog but also tulsi leave is prohibited. So everyone must fast on this day and eat only fruit juice or milk.
Nirjali Ekadashi - The Nirjala Ekadashi, also called Nirjalabhakti Dvadashi is observed in the month of Magshir. In this fast, food can be taken but not water. This fast is believed to have been started by Sri Krishna when he was in Vrindavana.
Yogini Ekadashi - Here in yogini ekadashi you need to have food without salt. THey can break their fast after donating food or clothes to Brahman or needy people the next morning.
Padma/ Devashyani Ekadashi - The ekadashi is done at the beginning of Chaturmas which is the 4th month in Hindu Calendar.
Kamika Ekadashi - Here, the ekadashi is done in chaturmas when Lord Vishnu is sleeping. The name Kamika Ekadashi is because it comes in kam (black) maas. During this period, the devotee should keep fast and should visit Kshira Sagar Tirtha and take a holy bath there by chanting mantras.
Aja Ekadashi - Here in order to eliminate our sins and ignorance, Aja Ekadashi is celebrated. Aja means unborn, Ekadashi is the eleventh day (twelfth full moon night) of each month in the traditional Indian calendar.
Vamana, Parivartini or Parsva Ekadashi - Here all devotees please Lord Laxmi. Here, you cannot consume food after sunset on Dashmi.
Indira Ekadashi - Here, Indira Ekadashi gives salutations to forefathers. But you might be thinking which Indira Ekadashi it is as one more similar name- 'Bhavishyattu' comes to your mind?
Padmini Ekadashi - It helps to purify your soul , mind and body. It is the 11th day of the Moon Phase. It is considered holy and auspicious by Hindus.
Parama Ekadashi - Parama Ekadashi is one of the most holy and beneficial Ekadashis. The fast of Parama Ekadashi helps a person destroy all the sins and gets into an atmosphere of godly realms.
Papankusha Ekadashi - Papankusha Ekadashi is observed for the welfare of accomplishing all the dreams. Here you need to start the fast from the day of Dashmi.
Rama Ekadashi - Rama Ekadashi is a day when devotees of Lord Vishnu observe fast. It falls on the 11th day in the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the Vaishakha month in the Hindu calendar.Here devotees also pray for health and wealth of the family.
Devathuna Ekadashi - It is the last of the four Ekadashis that are followed during the Caturmas. It is believed that on this day Lord Vishnu wakes up from four months of rest. From this Ekadashi onwards, devotees are free to carry on with their auspicious activities that are prohibited in this period.
Utapanna Ekadashi - It occurs during the waxing phase of the moon in the Hindu month of Kartik. The word 'Utpanna' is used for getting something or receiving something. According to religious beliefs, people who fast on Utapanna Ekadashi find all kinds of comforts and receive the shelter of Lord Vishnu after death.
Mokshada Ekadashi - It is a special Ekadashi that is observed once in a year. It is celebrated on Kartika Shukla Paksha (bright lunar fortnight). On one of the two days, devotees are allowed to consume Bel tree leaves and fruits. Similarly, on the second day only fruits are allowed.
All You Need to Know About Ekadashi Vrat
● People who are old and pregnant women should not opt for fasting.
● You can fast according to your health.
● In Nirjala Ekadashi which is without water, here you can intake milk and other fruits.
● Eating food grains, meat and fish is strictly not allowed.
● The fast should start in the morning and end in the evening except few of them have fasting ending the next morning.
● You should not indulge in activities such as violence, and lying.
Frequently Asked Questions
It helps to clean the toxicity of your body and improves your digestive system.It helps to eliminate chances of cancer. Your body starts feeling energetic.
Mango Kheer, Dudhi ka halwa, Khichdi, Mixed Fruits,Custard Apple Juice, Farali Chivda,Farali Biscuit.
Sajala Ekadashi - to pass the day with water and juice, Nirjala Ekadashi - to fast without water, Farali Ekadashi - to intake only fruits and milk.
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, radish, carrot, cucumber, pumpkin.
One should not sleep in the afternoon. Skp all your work for the say, Do not intake grains, Maintain Peace and meditate , Worship the Lord, Do more charity, Be regular with your duty.