Ekadasi and Tulasi: Be Mindful

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Caracas, Venezuela
26 September 2009

 

Question: How important is it to fast on Ekadasi?

Some vrata is necessary. If your health is good you should fast. In our temple, Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Guru Maharaj made fasting from morning until noon. If your health is not good, if you cannot fast in the morning, you have some health problem, then you can take some Ekadasi food—but do not take the dvadasi food (non-Ekadasi food).

One time, a devotee from Soquel, California, wrote to Gurudev asking, "Gurudev, early in the morning I have to go to work, and my work is very heavy (I work for a ship company and have to work with a very big heavy hammer). How should I do Ekadasi?" Gurudev replied, "All right, then early in the morning, before you go to work, you can take five kg of potato."

 

Question: Can we do the offering Gurudev without Tulasi leaves or we must always put Tulasi?

If you do not have Tulasi, then what can you do? Then, you can offer remembering Tulasi... If you go to India, you can bring Tulasi leaves and offer with dry leaves.

Also, remember that we do not put Tulasi on Gurudev's feet—always on his chest. You can put Tulasi on Krishna's lotus feet, but not on Gurudev's lotus feet.

Tulasi is very sensitive, you know...

Once, I went preaching in Bengal to one house. There was a lady who came to me and cried so much. She said, "Maharaj, I have planted Tulasi so many times, but every time I put the Tulasi plant into the soil, she immediately dries... I have been trying to plant Tulasi for seven-eight years, but still there is no Tulasi..." I asked her, "Tell me what offence did you make?" and she told me that when she was cleaning her front yard, she cut a Tulasi plant once. Anyhow, I told to bring a pot, I put a Tulasi plant there, and from that pot there is now a big Tulasi garden at her house.

Tulasi is very sensitive...

 

Question: Is there any reaction if we do not break the fasting the day after Ekadasi (for example, we do not eat anything the next day)?

Sometimes people do double Ekadasi, it is not a problem; you can even do a three-day fast too, no problem.

There some Indian custom that women who have husbands do not do Ekadasi. They do not know the conception... They say, "Oh, my husband is alive, how can I do Ekadasi?" They think if they do Ekadasi their husband will die. Before, and even now also, when the husband dies, the wife has to do Ekadasi, and they do a very hard Ekadasi—they fast on the day before Ekadasi, they fast on the Ekadasi day, and they also fast on the next day after Ekadasi. I tell them, "If the husband dies, the wife does Ekadasi, but why does husband not do Ekadasi when the wife dies?" It is all misconception, they do not know anything about the sastra and do their own thing...

 

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