(A few fans had asked to remind on the day of Ekadasi. Hence this reminder.)
Let Krishna bless all of you on this auspicious day! Hare krishna!
One who fasts on Apara Ekadashi day (16th May, 2012) gets the merits that can be attained by donating a pregnant cow with gold & fertile land to brahmanas.
Fast can be observed from now itself and it may be broken tommorrow on Dvadashi day between 6 am to 10.10 am I.S.T.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can one observe Ekadasi? What is the story behind that? What are the benefits?
Today is Apara Ekadasi. I have already written the details of Ekadasi & fasting briefly in this column! However, let us try to know some more details about Ekadasi today!
On Ekadasi day, it is said that the demon Muran & all sins will be assembling on the grains! So, it is good if we avoid grains on ekadasi. It is better to avoid food totally; However, if it is difficult, we can take fruits, milk, juice, etc.
Very important point is: Ekadasi is very auspicious to Krishna; So, we must chant as many rounds as possible on that day that will have multiple effects!
Bhagavan says: “Among all fasting days, I am Ekadashi”
Ekadasi is the name of the Goddess that arose from Lord Vishnu to defeat Demon Mura. Devas unable to bear the tyranny of 'Muran', a demon, approached Lord Shiva, who directed them to Lord Vishnu.
A battle started between Lord Vishnu and the demon and the Lord felt that a new weapon was needed to slay Muran. In order to take rest and create a new weapon, the Lord retired to a cave called 'Himavati' in Badrikashrama.
When Muran tried to slay the Lord, who was sleeping, the female energy evolved out of the Ekadash indriyas of Lord Narayana (The ten indriyas (sense organs)... comprise the five karma indriyas (mouth, hands, feet, anus and genital organs) and five gnan indriyas (eyes, ears, nose, skin and tongue) burnt him to ashes in one look. The ten indriyas along with the mind are collectively known as “Ekadash indriyas”.
Pleased with her, Bhagavan granted her a boon.
She asked, "O Prabhu! As I have manifested from your 'Ekadash indriyas', let my name be Ekadashi. I am wedded to tap (austerity) and I desire that people should observe the Ekadashi vrat (fast) and control their Ekadash indriyas on this day”.
Pleased with her divine act, Bhagavan Vishnu blessed her that “Anyone who observes Ekadasi fast will be freed of their sins and will attain Moksha”
Ekadashi occurs twice a month in the Hindu calendar - on the eleventh day of the bright half - called Shukla Paksha and on the eleventh of the dark half called Vad Paksha.
HOW TO OBSERVE EKADASI?
On 'Dasami', the previous day of the observance, devotees who take up Ekadasi fasting are to take only lunch. On Ekadasi, the next day, they have to maintain a complete fast and engage in prayers and meditation of the Lord Narayana. They are strictly prohibited from taking rice & better grains!. That night, people keep vigil the whole night and visit the temple of Lord Vishnu, mostly in the wee hours of the morning.
The demon Muran stands for the rajasic and tamasic qualities in people, which attributes to lust, passion, inertia, arrogance etc.
When one conquers these tendencies, one attains the purity of mind, Sattva, indispensable for attaining moksha, liberation or realisation of the self.For realising the self as pure awareness, purity of mind is required. Fasting helps to keep tendencies at bay, which could be triggered by intake of certain food.
Keeping vigil in the night is symbolic of awareness, or being watchful of the contents of the mind. When the mind is looked at, it becomes still. To abide in the stillness is to attain freedom or peace, acquired through merging of the mind with the self. This is symbolic of the mind automatically being absorbed at the sight of the Lord after the arduous fast and vigil.
The belief that grains are prohibited, because Muran dwells in them, symbolically signifies the fact that eating of grains could get one feel heavy and hamper the vigil to be kept up. This signifies that entertaining negative tendencies could hamper one's progress towards awareness or consciousness.