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Ekadasi Tithi: One of the Practices

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
19 July 2013

 

Question: What is the meaning of Ekadasi?

If I give answer in Gurudev's words, then I can say to you, "OK, ask Tirtha Maharaj." One time somebody asked Gurudev, "What is the meaning of Ekadasi?" and Gurudev replied, "OK, ask Tirtha Maharaj."

There are sixty-four bhaktyangas (devotional practices), and Ekadasi is one of them. We practise these sixty-four bhaktyangas (for example, we do parikrama, arati, we stand during the arati, pay obeisance, etc.), and one of these practices is Ekadasi. It is not so much important, what is important is

সাধুসঙ্গ, নামকীর্ত্তন, ভাগবতশ্রবণ ।
মথুরাবাস, শ্রীমূর্ত্তির শ্রদ্ধায় সেবন ॥

sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

"One should associate with devotees, chant the Holy Name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.124)

Ekadasi is not so important, but we follow viddhi-marga (we worship the Lord and Guru), that is why we follow Ekadasi. Also, because Mahaprabhu told to do so. We are devotees of Mahaprabhu, so we follow whatever Mahaprabhu tells us to do.

Before, in Mahaprabhu's time, Ekadasi was very hard—they would fast for three days, but now Ekadasi fast is one day only and not nirjal (not dry-fast). On Ekadasi, we take what is necessary and maintain our health through service. We do not take rice, corn, grains, dal, peas, flour, sesame and mustard seeds, etc. Ultimately, we follow Ekadasi because our Guru-varga follows it. This is the meaning of Ekadasi.

In general, it is nothing special. Ekadasi is a tithi (lunar day). There are many tithis like dvadasi, trayodasi, chaturdasi, purnima, navami, and so on. A month starts on prathama and ends on chaturdasi, then there is either purnima or amavasya (full moon or dark moon). In this way the moon comes and goes. Ekadasi is one of these tithis (the eleventh day).

Mahaprahu also told His mother, "Mother, I am begging something from you. Please follow Ekadasi." His mother said, "Yes, very nice. I can follow it." So, we too follow it because our Guru-varga followed it.

Even many doctors and scientists also say that every day you take many kinds of food, and if you do some fast once-twice a month (if you take some fruit and light food, do not take masala, etc.), then your stomach will be good, and it is very good for your health.

 

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