One has to perform devotional service in full tapasya, austerity. One should fast on the two Ekadasi days, which fall on the eleventh day of the waxing and waning moon, and on the birthdays of Lord Krishna, Lord Rama and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There are many such fasting days. Yogena means “by controlling the senses and mind.” Yoga indriya-samyamah. Yogena implies that one is seriously absorbed in the self and is able, by development of knowledge, to understand his constitutional position in relationship with the Superself. In this way one becomes fixed in devotional service, and his faith cannot be shaken by any material allurement.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam 3:27:22. purport excerpt)
Srila Jiva Gosvami has given quotations from many sastras stating that the sraddha ceremony of oblations to the forefathers should not be performed on Ekadasi tithi. When the tithi of the death anniversary falls on the Ekadasi day, the sraddha ceremony should be held not on Ekadasi but on the next day, or dvadasi. In the Brahma-vaivarta Purana it is said:
ye kurvanti mahipala
If one performs the sraddha ceremony of oblations to the forefathers on the Ekadasi tithi, then the performer, the forefathers for whom the sraddha is observed, and the purohita, or the family priest who encourages the ceremony, all go to hell.
trayas te narakam yanti
data bhokta ca prerakah
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam 7:14:23. purport excerpt)
To observe Ekadasi-vrata and Dvadasi-vrata means to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those interested in advancing in Krishna consciousness must observe Ekadasi-vrata regularly.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam 9:4:29. purport excerpt)
One may study the example of, or vows. The injunction that one should fast on Ekadasi is a permanent vow for all Vaishnavas, and one should not conclude from these verses that one may neglect the Ekadasi vow.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11:12:1-2 purport excerpt)
dvadasyam ekadasyam vaRamesvara: On the calendar it says it is Bhima-ekadasi.
srinvann ayushyavan bhavet
pathaty anasnan prayatah
puto bhavati patakat
One who hears this Bhagavatam on the Ekadasi or Dvadasi day is assured of long life, and one who recites it with careful attention while fasting is purified of all sinful reactions.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 12:12:60.)
ei dui-ghare—in these two houses; prabhu—the Lord; ekadasi dine—on the Ekadasi day; vishnura—of Lord Vishnu; naivedya—food offered to Lord Vishnu; magi’—begging; khaila—ate; apane—personally.
saci kahe,——na khaiba, bhala-i kahila
sei haite ekadasi karite lagila
In the twelfth vilasa, Ekadasi is described. In the thirteenth vilasa, fasting is discussed, as well as observance of the Maha-dvadasi ceremony. In the fourteenth vilasa, different duties for different months are outlined. In the fifteenth vilasa, there are instructions on how to observe Ekadasi fasting without even drinking water.
(ACBSP. Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 1:35.)
The Caturmasya period begins in the month of Ashadha (June–July) from the day of Ekadasi called Sayana-ekadasi, in the fortnight of the waxing moon. The period ends in the month of Karttika (October–November) on the Ekadasi day known as Utthana-ekadasi, in the fortnight of the waxing moon. This four-month period is known as Caturmasya.
(ACBSP. Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 4:169 purport excerpt.)
krishna-pritye bhoga-tyaga, krishna-tirthe vasa
ei sabe viddha-tyaga, aviddha-karana
akarane dosha, kaile bhaktira lambhana
One such occasion for remembrance is Ekadasi, which comes twice a month on the eleventh day of the moon, both waning and waxing. On that day all the devotees remain fasting throughout the night and continuously chant the glories of the Lord.
(ACBSP. Nectar of Devotion chapter 26.)
Ecstatic love for Krishna is also aroused on the days of Ekadasi, which are other festive days in connection with Krishna.
(ACBSP. Nectar of Devotion chapter 26.)
On Ekadasi day, one should increase one’s chanting of Hare Krishna:
One should generally accept the following principles to properly execute devotional service: … (9) observe fasting on Ekadasi day. (This occurs on the eleventh day after the full moon and the eleventh day after the new moon. On such days no grains, cereals or beans are eaten; simply vegetables and milk are moderately taken, and chanting Hare Krishna and reading scriptures are increased.)
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
So one should execute Krishna consciousness, dharmatah, in right path, and vrataih. Bhajante mam dridha-vratah. Just like today, ekadasi-vrata. Vrataih. This ekadasi-vrata is required. Just see. Here it is that “You have performed all the vratas.” The purpose of ekadasi-vrata is that today we should not eat much usual food, grains. The actual prescription is fasting. Nirjala-ekadasi. Nirjala means there are many devotees who does not take even water. Water, drinking water, according to sastra, it is taking food... It is drinking of food or no food. We can take both ways. So sometimes drinking of water is excused as upavasa also. But there are many devotees who even..., drink even a drop of water. Whole day and night they fast and observe ekadasi-vrata. And the night is called harivasara. Harivasara means the whole night they would chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama... This is called vrata. Dridha-vrata. Dridha-vrata.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture 1:5:1-8. 23rd May 1969. New Vrindavan.)
Just like... The, everything is described in the Bhagavad-gita. Just like in hospital. In hospital there are many patients, they are not eating anything on the Ekadasi day. Does it mean that is observing Ekadasi? He is simply hankering after, “When I shall eat, when I shall eat, when I shall eat?.” But these students, they voluntarily don’t eat anything. We, we don’t say that you don’t eat anything. Some fruits, some flowers. That’s all. So param drishtva nivartate. Just like a child. He has got in his hand something he’s eating. and if you give him better thing, he will throw away the inferior thing and will take that better thing. So here is Krishna consciousness, this better engagement, better life, better philosophy, better consciousness, everything better. Therefore they can give up the sinful activities of life and that will promote to Krishna consciousness.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture 1:8:30. 22nd April 1973. Los Angeles)
Absolute, then you must agree to certain type of tapasya. Otherwise it is not possible. The preliminary little tapasya. Just like ekadasi. That is also item of the tapasya. Actually on the ekadasi days we shall not take any food, even drink water. But in our society we are not doing so much strictly. We say, “Ekadasi, you don’t take food grains. Take little fruit, milk.” This is tapasya.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture 3:12:19. 3rd March 1975. Dallas TX USA)
The Ekadasi, why we observe? To become pure.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture 7:9:8. 21st October 1968. Seatle.)
So any way, you can help this movement and do the welfare activities for India and outside India. So that is my request. I welcome you. Of course, today is ekadasi. We are, mostly we are fasting. Some prasadam will be given. So it is not the question of prasadam; it is the question of the important work we are taking in hand, how to spread a God consciousness movement. Otherwise, you will never be happy.
(ACBSP. Cornerstone laying 23rd January 1975. Bombay.)
This is called tapasya. Just like Ekadasi day—there is no eating sumptuously. Simply you take little fruits and flowers. Try to avoid that also. You don’t take even water. That is really ekadasi. But because we cannot do it—in the Kali-yuga the time is different—therefore we are allowed to take little fruit and milk, which is called anukalpa. These are different methods of tapasya.
(ACBSP. Pandal program Bombay 7th April 1971.)
Devotee: On ekadasi, we can offer the Deity grains?
Prabhupada: Oh yes. But not guru. Ekadasi observed by jiva-tattva, not by Vishnu-tattva. We are fasting for clearing our material disease, but Radha-Krishna, Caitanya Mahaprabhu... Caitanya Mahaprabhu also may not be offered grains because He is playing the part of a devotee. Only Radha-Krishna, Jagannatha can be offered grains. Otherwise, Guru-Gauranga, no. And the prasadam should not be taken by anyone. It should be kept for next day.
(ACBSP. Room Conversation 22nd April 1972. Japan.)
Guest: (Sanskrit or Hindi: Krishna is offered tambula in the temple.)
Prabhupada: No, Krishna can take.
Guest: Yes. And that prasada of Bhagavan Sri Krishna...
Guest: ...the devotees can take also...
Prabhupada: No, prasadam, according to our principle... Just like on Ekadasi day, we do not accept even prasadam. Anna. We keep it. So prasadam... Just like on Ekadasi anna is prohibited, but not the Deity. Deity’s offered anna, but we cannot take the prasadam even. So following strictly the principle, even tambula is offered to Krishna, it is not for us. Yes. Strictly following the principle. The same example... Just like on Ekadasi day, anna is offered to Krishna, but we don’t take.
Guest: The devotees are not allowed.
Prabhupada: Not allowed, yes.
(ACBSP. Room Conversation 11th July 1973. London.)
Tamala Krishna: Sometimes we have heard that ekadasi is a inauspicious alignment of the planets and therefore one has to counteract this inauspiciousness by more chanting.
Prabhupada: (laughs) No, no. It is the most auspicious. And chanting is more effective. [break] Yes.
Tamala Krishna: I remember you were instructing once that all of your initiated disciples should chant twenty-five rounds...
Tamala Krishna: Minimum on this day. Is that a rule that we should all follow in our temples?
Prabhupada: We are sixteen rounds.
Tamala Krishna: No, I mean on ekadasi.
Prabhupada: Oh yes. Ekadasi, simply you should chant. No other business. Nirjala.
Tamala Krishna: No preaching work? Should they go out for preaching?
Prabhupada: No, those who are preaching, not for them. Those who are sitting idle, or they... (laughter) [break] ...has no other regulation, simply preaching. A preacher is so exalted. He hasn’t got to follow any regulation. But don’t take it. (laughter) And actually if one is busy in preaching work, that is first-class. [break] ...not my manufactured word, my Guru Maharaja, that the... That Madhava Maharaja, when he was a brahmacari, his name was Hayagriva. So he was to go somewhere. So but he was sick. Guru Maharaja was informed that he was sick and “Today is ekadasi. He cannot take his regular meals.” So Guru Maharaja said, “No. Let him take immediately meals and go.”
Revatinandana: For preaching. [break]
Tamala Krishna: ...Maharaja would sacrifice everything for preaching.
Prabhupada: Oh yes. [break] He was not pleased with Bon Maharaja, He could not do anything. [break]
(ACBSP. Morning Walk. 5th July 1975. Chichago)
Tamala Krishna: We should always chant twenty-five rounds on ekadasi if initiated.
Prabhupada: Initiated? Everyone. Why initiated?
Tamala Krishna: So that should be standard for our movement on ekadasi day?
Prabhupada: Standard is sixteen, but if one can chant more, then he is welcome.
Tamala Krishna: It’s not mandatory for ekadasi.
Prabhupada: No. Ekadasi means that, fasting and chanting.
Tamala Krishna: Sometimes I’m wondering, because our men have to go out on book distribution.
Prabhupada: No, no. That is also preaching work. For that purpose you can stop this, but generally, one who has no preaching work, he can chant.
(ACBSP. Morning Walk. 11th February 1976. Mayapur.)
Ramesvara: On the calendar it says it is Bhima-ekadasi.
Prabhupada: Bhima-ekadasi, yes.
Ramesvara: So I’ve been told that if one fasts on Bhima-ekadasi, that it is like fasting on all the ekadasis. Is that true?
Prabhupada: Yes. Ekadasi is meant for fasting, either Bhima or Arjuna. But we cannot fast, therefore we have to take little fruits and.... Otherwise, ekadasi means fasting.
Tamala Krishna: If it is possible, should we go without eating at all?
Prabhupada: Yes. But don’t lie down and sleep.
(ACBSP. Morning Walk. 7th June 1976. Los Angeles.)
But if they develop Krishna consciousness, this will be automatically “no.” So don’t bring many “no’s,” but give them positive life. Then it will be automatically “no.” And if you say “no,” that will be a struggle. This is the psychology. Positive engagement is devotional service. So if they are attracted by devotional service, other things will be automatically “no.” Param drishtva nivartate. Just like Ekadasi day. Ekadasi day, we observe fasting. And there are many patients in the hospital, they are also fasting. But they’ll “No, no.” They’ll, within heart, “If I get, I shall eat, I shall eat.” But those who are devotee, they voluntarily “no.” The same fasting is going on for the devotees and the hospital patient. And that “no” and this “no,” there is difference. Param drishtva nivartate. It is not meant for the mass of people, but at least if we keep a section of people ideal to the human society, they will be guided. At the present moment, there is no ideal section. Everyone is rascal, demons, rogues, everything. There is no ideal character. All politicians, scientists, leaders, they are all drunkards and woman-hunters. So what they can lead? There is no ideal man in the society. The politicians are giving big, big speech in the United Nations. They’ll go to the same hotel where another debauchee is dancing and drinking. That’s all. That is his character. Is it not? So what he will do? We can give a very big speech, that’s all. What is his character? There is no ideal character in the present human society. Do they appreciate our, these restrictions?
Bhagavan: Our restrictions? Yes, they are impressed. They sometimes write about the Gurukula that we are treating roughly the children by making them so austere. But every time they show the picture, the children are always happy.
(ACBSP. Room Conversation. 31st July 1976. New Mayapur - French farm.)
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Vegetable, fruits, very innocent, little milk. That’s all. Even if you don’t eat these foodgrains, that is preferred. Better. Vegetable and fruits and milk, that is sufficient nutritious. There is no question of disease. But for our tongue taste we eat so many cooked food, but if we eat vegetables, boiled vegetables and fruits and milk, ah, it is sufficient. Ekadasi. (laughter) Daily ekadasi.
And these peanuts, a few grains. Not much. That is also nice. Cashew, peanut. Yes. So thank you very much. You are working so much for Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission. Yare dekha tare kaha krishna-upadesa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Bas. You become a guru. Actually you are doing the guru’s work.
(ACBSP. Room Conversation. 22nd August 1976. Hyderabad.)
Prabhupada: I stress on this cleanliness very much. If they keep unclean, I chastise them like anything. (laughing) They have learned this art. I always say, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
Mr. Malhotra: About two years back, two, three of your devotees came to our house here. Naturally we offered them, “Would you like to have coffee, tea?” They said, “No.” Then we said, “Would you like to have Coca-cola.” They said, “No.” Then I said, “What would you like to have, milk?” “Yes.” Lassi, chach?(?) Yes. Fruit. Yes. It happened so that Giriraja came to us twice, and twice it was this ekadasi. Now ekadasi day they are not supposed to eat this wheat or flour or anything. So when last we came to Bangleswara (?), so we brought some paratas with this gobi(?) in it.
Mr. Malhotra: We didn’t know about ekadasi. When we came to Mahabaleswar, we opened. They said “No, we can’t eat because it is ekadasi.” So we said that “No you won’t eat, so it looks odd that we should eat.” But we were very hungry, you know. In the morning we didn’t take anything. We said “All right, we eat, now we will go to the bazaar and see if we could get something.” Then we went to Mahabaleswar, it was all closed, because it was raining season. And then there was one shop which had bananas, good amount of bananas. So we took one dozen or two dozen bananas, and then...
Prabhupada: Banana is very good. You can make banana and potato. Potato boil and mixed with banana, and make nice puri. And then...
Mr. Malhotra: How Giriraja, I just ask you, how you took to all these good things of life? I mean in natural form or with some self-discipline or with some coercion or with some what?
Giriraja: It was Prabhupada’s mercy. I was looking for a guru. Actually whenever I heard there was a swami or a yogi, I would always go, even hundreds of miles. But I was never satisfied. But Srila Prabhupada perfectly satisfied all of my questions. And I liked the process, chanting, dancing, taking prasadam, offering arati, and I liked the devotees. It was very pleasing. So I immediately decided this is my real life.
Mr. Malhotra: No, but not taking any wheat, like on ekadasi day, all such things.
Giriraja: That’s training. Once we surrender to the spiritual master, then he trains us in the process of spiritual life.
Prabhupada: Sadhu-marganugamanam, adau gurvasrayam sad-dharma-pricchat sadhu-marganugamanam.(?) These are the process.
Mr. Malhotra: Sadhu-marga.
Giriraja: We study the sastras every morning and evening in all of our centers, so we become educated. [break]
(ACBSP. Room Conversation. 22nd December 1976. Poona.)
Dr. Patel: (Hindu) But even you get the same thing by (Hindi). So Vaishnava cult is easier than getting the mind blank and then getting all in the... Because here your mind is engaged to Lord Himself. It is... We call as samadhi.
Prabhupada: Param drishtva nivartate. Just like a man is observing Ekadasi, fasting. Another, in the hospital, he’s also fasting. So these two fastings, they are different.
Dr. Patel: Here fasting of all the senses and applying to God.
Prabhupada: For satisfaction of Krishna. And there compulsory fasting, but he has got desire. So param drishtva nivartate. When you get better taste, when you stop this nonsense for better taste, that is positive. Artificially, if you do, it will not benefit.
Dr. Patel: Ekadasi, according to the Puranas and the stories, all the eleven senses should be withdrawn from their sense objects...
Prabhupada: No, Ekadasi, that is automatically... By Ekadasi is one of the process for... (Hindi)
Indian (2): (Hindi)
(ACBSP. Room Conversation. 5th January 1977. Bombay.)
Prabhupada: Therefore ekadasi. One day or two days in the month he should practice fasting, and then he’ll be able to conquer over these things. These are all practical. So we should practice ourself and teach others. This is Krishna consciousness movement. And if he thinks that he’s quite all right in this material atmosphere, then he’s doomed. Mudhah nabhijanati. That means aprapya mam—without achieving Krishna—nivartante—again he goes back—mrityu-samsara-vartmani [Bg. 9.3]—the cycle of birth and death. Take one birth, suffer, again take another body, again take another body, another body. There are 400..., eight million four hundred... That’s all. Sometimes so-called happiness, he is born as demigod, sometimes as dog, sometimes as insect, sometimes as tree. What is this business? “I am eternal. Why shall I suffer this?” This is sense. They are simply trying how to become a hog, how to become a dog, or how to become a god. God you cannot become. You may have some partial happiness just like the demigods. They have got power. They have got high standard of living.
(ACBSP. Evening Room Conversation. 25th January 1977. Puri.)
So far the Advent Day of Lord Caitanya is concerned, I have written a full suggestion to Montreal, in which the main points are that we should all observe strict fasting up till moonrise, and at that time, an offering is made to Lord Caitanya of Ekadasi foods, fruits, peanuts, milk, and so forth. Then, on the next day, Friday the 15th, a full-scale feast is held to celebrate His Advent Day. On the 14th, chanting, reading of Srila Bhaktivinode's book, Life and Precepts and Caitanya Caritamrta, Introduction to Bhagavatam, may be held all the day in the Temple.
(ACBSP. Letter to Balai. 12th March 1968. San Francisco)
Regarding you first question, we observe Ekadasi from sunrise to sunrise. The 12 midnight is western astronomical calculation, but the Vedic astronomical calculation begins either from the sunrise or the moonrise. Generally it is sunrise. Our calculation is like this: when the sunrise is there, Ekadasi tithi (date) must be there. If Ekadasi tithi is not in the sunrise and the tithi begins, say after a few minutes after the sunrise, then we accept that day as previous to Ekadasi. All our ceremonies are calculated in that way. This means we must see the tithi during sunrise. Therefore, sometimes our dates of ceremonies do not exactly coincide like the western calculations. Just like Christmas Day they have fixed up on the 25th December, but our Janmastami tithi is not fixed up like that. My birthday is on the 1st September, 1896, but this year the tithi of my birthday was fixed for the 4th September. So it is very difficult to calculate, therefore we have to take help from the Indian expert almanac astronomers.
(ACBSP. Letter to Madhudvisa 30th September 1969. England.)
I have duly received the bananas you sent, and you can send me these dried bananas tons and tons. It is very useful and can be nicely used for our Ekadasi foodstuffs. After drying the bananas you can make powder, just like flour, and out of this you can prepare puris, halava, pakoras and other fruit products.
(ACBSP. Letter to Govinda. 27th October 1969. Tittenhurst, John Lennon's place.)
Srimati Jayasri Dasi sent me some dried banana chips and they are very nice for my Ekadasi food. Is it possible to send us in large quantity this foodstuff? If not, please try to send me at least one small packet like that every fortnight. It is very nice. The mango pulp, a sample of which was also sent to me, I don't think it has come out very nice, so there is no need of sending it.
(ACBSP. Letter to Gaurasundara. 20th November 1969. London.)
Why just 25 rounds? You should chant as many as possible. Real Ekadasi means fasting and chanting and no other business. When one observes fasting, the chanting becomes easier. So on Ekadasi other business can be suspended as far as possible unless there is some urgent business.
(ACBSP. Letter to Jadurani. 9th July 1971. Los Amgeles.)
Gaura Purnima instruction:
No feasting in the evening of Caitanya's birthday. Fasting all day till evening moon rise. Then take Prasadam like Ekadasi. Next day you can have full swing feasting. On the birthday if can take a procession of Kirtana on the street it is very nice.
(ACBSP. Letter to Rayaram. September unknown date or place.)
To join send mailto:HinduPriesthoodfirstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 15:04:06 -0000
We can definitely see that to advance in Krsna consciousness one must control his bodily weight. If one becomes too fat, it is to be assumed that he is not advancing spiritually. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura severely criticized his fat disciples. The idea is that one who intends to advance in Krsna consciousness must not eat very much. Devotees used to go to forests, high hills or mountains on pilgrimages, but such severe austerities are not possible in these days. One should instead eat only prasada and no more than required. ACCORDING TO THE VAISNAVA CALENDAR, THERE ARE MANY FASTS, SUCH AS EKADASI AND THE APPEARANCE AND DISAPPEARANCE DAYS OF GOD AND HIS DEVOTEES. ALL OF THESE ARE MEANT TO DECREASE THE FAT WITHIN THE BODY SO THAT ONE WILL NOT SLEEP MORE THAN DESIRED AND WILL NOT BECOME INACTIVE AND LAZY. Overindulgence in food will cause a man to sleep more than required. This human form of life is meant for austerity, and austerity means controlling sex, food intake, etc. In this way time can be saved for spiritual activity, and one can purify himself both externally and internally. Thus both body and mind can be cleansed.
Visuva, or Visuva-sankranti, means Mesa-sankranti, or the day on which the sun enters the sign Aries. Tula-sankranti is the day on which the sun enters the sign Libra. Both of these days occur only once within a year. The word yoga refers to a certain relationship between the sun and moon as they move in the sky. There are twenty-seven different degrees of yoga, of which the seventeenth is called Vyatipata. On the day when this occurs, one should perform the sraddha ceremony. A TITHI, OR LUNAR DAY, CONSISTS OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE LONGITUDE OF THE SUN AND THAT OF THE MOON. SOMETIMES A TITHI IS LESS THAN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. WHEN IT STARTS AFTER SUNRISE ON A CERTAIN DAY AND ENDS BEFORE THE SUNRISE OF THE FOLLOWING DAY, THE PREVIOUS TITHI AND THE FOLLOWING TITHI BOTH "TOUCH" THE TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR DAY BETWEEN THE SUNRISES. THIS IS CALLED TRYAHA-SPARSA, OR A DAY TOUCHED BY SOME PORTION OF THREE TITHIS.
Srila Jiva Gosvami has given quotations from many sastras stating that the sraddha ceremony of oblations to the forefathers should not be performed on Ekadasi tithi. WHEN THE TITHI OF THE DEATH ANNIVERSARY FALLS ON THE EKADASI DAY, THE SRADDHA CEREMONY SHOULD BE HELD NOT ON EKADASI BUT ON THE NEXT DAY, OR DVADASI. In the Brahma-vaivarta purana it is said:
ye kurvanti mahipalaIF ONE PERFORMS THE SRADDHA CEREMONY OF OBLATIONS TO THE FOREFATHERS ON THE EKADASI TITHI, THEN THE PERFORMER, THE FOREFATHERS FOR WHOM THE SRADDHA IS OBSERVED, AND THE PUROHITA, OR THE FAMILY PRIEST WHO ENCOURAGES THE CEREMONY, ALL GO TO HELL.
trayas te narakam yanti
data bhokta ca prerakah
69-09-30. Letter: Madhudvisa
REGARDING YOU FIRST QUESTION, WE OBSERVE EKADASI FROM SUNRISE TO SUNRISE. THE 12 MIDNIGHT IS WESTERN ASTRONOMICAL CALCULATION, BUT THE VEDIC ASTRONOMICAL CALCULATION BEGINS EITHER FROM THE SUNRISE OR THE MOONRISE. GENERALLY IT IS SUNRISE. OUR CALCULATION IS LIKE THIS: WHEN THE SUNRISE IS THERE, EKADASI TITHI (DATE) MUST BE THERE. IF EKADASI TITHI IS NOT IN THE SUNRISE AND THE TITHI BEGINS, SAY AFTER A FEW MINUTES AFTER THE SUNRISE, THEN WE ACCEPT THAT DAY AS PREVIOUS TO EKADASI. ALL OUR CEREMONIES ARE CALCULATED IN THAT WAY. THIS MEANS WE MUST SEE THE TITHI DURING SUNRISE. THEREFORE, SOMETIMES OUR DATES OF CEREMONIES DO NOT EXACTLY COINCIDE LIKE THE WESTERN CALCULATIONS. JUST LIKE CHRISTMAS DAY THEY HAVE FIXED UP ON THE 25TH DECEMBER, BUT OUR JANMASTAMI TITHI IS NOT FIXED UP LIKE THAT. MY BIRTHDAY IS ON THE 1ST SEPTEMBER, 1896, BUT THIS YEAR THE TITHI OF MY BIRTHDAY WAS FIXED FOR THE 4TH SEPTEMBER. SO IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO CALCULATE, THEREFORE WE HAVE TO TAKE HELP FROM THE INDIAN EXPERT ALMANAC ASTRONOMERS.
70-04-29. Letter: Pradyumna
2. WHEN THERE IS AN IMPORTANT DVADASI, THE EKADASI FASTING IS TRANSFERRED ON THE DVADASI, AND THIS IS CALLED MAHADVADASI. THE 26TH OCTOBER, 1970, IS ACTUALLY DVADASI, SO THE FASTING IS OBSERVED TOGETHER, OR EKADASI FASTING IS DISREGARDED, AND THE DVADASI (MAHADVADASI) FASTING IS TAKEN AS IMPORTANT.
You were give this old Panjika just to consult the names and spelling only. The dates are different, so whatever date I have given, that is correct. WHY YOU ARE SEARCHING BYANJALI DVADASI IN THIS LAST YEAR'S PANJIKA? WHAT I HAVE GIVEN IS FROM THIS YEAR'S PANJIKA, SO EVERYTHING WILL NOT COLLABORATE.
5. 7th February, 1971--Varaha-Dvadasi, I have explained the position in regard to #2.
6. SO FAR DETERMINING EKADASI IT IS COUNTED 11 DAYS AFTER THE FULL MOON AND 11 DAYS AFTER THE NEW MOON, BUT SOMETIMES IT SO HAPPENS AS YOU HAVE NOTED ONE DAY LATER. HOWEVER, WHAT I HAVE GIVEN IS CORRECT.
AS WE GENERALLY PERFORM DEVOTIONAL SERVICE ON EKADASI BY NOT EATING GRAINS, IT IS GENERALLY RECOMMENDED THAT ON DVADASI ONE NOT CONSUME ANYTHING BUT MILK.
SB 9.4 Summary Ambarisa Maharaja Offended by Durvasa Muni
Once Maharaja Ambarisa was worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead in Vrndavana, observing the vow of Dvadasi. ON DVADASI, THE DAY AFTER EKADASI, WHEN HE WAS ABOUT TO BREAK HIS EKADASI FAST, the great mystic yogi Durvasa appeared in his house and became his guest. King Ambarisa respectfully received Durvasa Muni, and Durvasa Muni, after accepting his invitation to eat there, went to bathe in the Yamuna River at noontime. Because he was absorbed in samadhi, he did not come back very soon. Maharaja Ambarisa, however, upon SEEING THAT THE TIME TO BREAK THE FAST WAS PASSING, DRANK A LITTLE WATER, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ADVICE OF LEARNED BRAHMANAS, JUST TO OBSERVE THE FORMALITY OF BREAKING THE FAST.
TO OBSERVE EKADASI-VRATA AND DVADASI-VRATA MEANS TO PLEASE THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD. THOSE INTERESTED IN ADVANCING IN KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS MUST OBSERVE EKADASI-VRATA REGULARLY.
In their two houses Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu begged food on the Ekadasi day and personally ate it.
THE INJUNCTION TO FAST ON EKADASI IS ESPECIALLY MEANT FOR DEVOTEES; ON EKADASI THERE ARE NO RESTRICTIONS REGARDING FOOD THAT MAY BE OFFERED TO THE LORD. LORD SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU TOOK THE FOOD OF LORD VISNU IN HIS ECSTASY AS VISNU-TATTVA.
The Caitanya-bhagavata, Adi-lila, Chapter Six, fully describes the Lord's accepting visnu-prasada on the Ekadasi day at the house of Jagadisa and Hiranya. REGULAR PRASADA IS OFFERED TO LORD VISNU ON EKADASI BECAUSE, WHILE FASTING IS RECOMMENDED FOR DEVOTEES ON EKADASI, IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR LORD VISNU.
From the very beginning of His childhood life Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the system of observing a fast on the Ekadasi day. IN THE BHAKTI-SANDARBHA, BY SRILA JIVA GOSVAMI, THERE IS A QUOTATION FROM THE SKANDA PURANA ADMONISHING THAT A PERSON WHO EATS GRAINS ON EKADASI BECOMES A MURDERER OF HIS MOTHER, FATHER, BROTHER AND SPIRITUAL MASTER, AND EVEN IF HE IS ELEVATED TO A VAIKUNTHA PLANET, HE FALLS DOWN. ON EKADASI, EVERYTHING IS COOKED FOR VISNU, INCLUDING REGULAR GRAINS AND DAHI, BUT IT IS ENJOINED THAT A VAISNAVA SHOULD NOT EVEN TAKE VISNU-PRASADA ON EKADASI. IT IS SAID THAT A VAISNAVA DOES NOT ACCEPT ANYTHING EATABLE THAT IS NOT OFFERED TO LORD VISNU, BUT ON EKADASI A VAISNAVA SHOULD NOT TOUCH EVEN MAHA-PRASADA OFFERED TO VISNU, ALTHOUGH SUCH PRASADA MAY BE KEPT FOR BEING EATEN THE NEXT DAY. IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN FOR ONE TO ACCEPT ANY KIND OF GRAIN ON EKADASI, EVEN IF IT IS OFFERED TO LORD VISNU.
It is a PREJUDICE AMONGST SMARTA-BRAHMANAS that a widow must observe fasting on Ekadasi but a woman who has her husband should not. It appears that before the request of Lord Caitanya Sacimata was not observing Ekadasi because of her being sa-dhava, which means that her husband was living. SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU, HOWEVER, INTRODUCED THE SYSTEM THAT A WOMAN, EVEN IF NOT A WIDOW, MUST OBSERVE THE EKADASI DAY AND MUST NOT TOUCH ANY KIND OF GRAINS, EVEN THOSE OFFERED TO THE DEITY OF VISNU.
BETEL NUTS ARE AN INTOXICANT, and therefore the regulative principles prohibit eating them. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastime of fainting after eating betel nuts is a solid instruction to all of us that ONE SHOULD NOT TOUCH BETEL NUTS, EVEN THOSE OFFERED TO VISNU, JUST AS ONE SHOULD NOT TOUCH GRAINS ON THE EKADASI DAY.
THE CATURMASYA PERIOD BEGINS IN THE MONTH OF ASADHA (JUNE-JULY) FROM THE DAY OF EKADASI CALLED SAYANA-EKADASI, IN THE FORTNIGHT OF THE WAXING MOON. THE PERIOD ENDS IN THE MONTH OF KARTIKA (OCTOBER-NOVEMBER) ON THE EKADASI DAY KNOWN AS UTTHANA-EKADASI, IN THE FORTNIGHT OF THE WAXING MOON. THIS FOUR-MONTH PERIOD IS KNOWN AS CATURMASYA. Some Vaisnavas also observe it from the full-moon day of Asadha until the full-moon day of Kartika. That is also a period of four months. This period, calculated by the lunar months, is called Caturmasya, but others also observe Caturmasya according to the solar month from Sravana to Kartika. The whole period, either lunar or solar, takes place during the rainy season. Caturmasya should be observed by all sections of the population. It does not matter whether one is a grhastha or a sannyasi. The observance is obligatory for all asramas. The real purpose behind the vow taken during these four months is to minimize the quantity of sense gratification. This is not very difficult. In the month of Sravana one should not eat spinach, in the month of Bhadra one should not eat yogurt, and in the month of Asvina one should not drink milk. One should not eat fish or other nonvegetarian food during the month of Kartika. A nonvegetarian diet means fish and meat. Similarly, masura dal and urad dal are also considered nonvegetarian. These two dals contain a great amount of protein, and food rich in protein is considered nonvegetarian. On the whole, during the four-month period of Caturmasya one should practice giving up all food intended for sense enjoyment.
"YOU SHOULD RECOMMEND THE AVOIDANCE OF MIXED EKADASI AND THE PERFORMANCE OF PURE EKADASI. YOU SHOULD ALSO DESCRIBE THE FAULT IN NOT OBSERVING THIS. One should be very careful as far as these items are concerned. If one is not careful, one will be negligent in executing devotional service.
CAITANYA-CARITAMRTA CONCLUDING WORDS
TODAY, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1974--CORRESPONDING TO THE 10TH OF KARTIKKA, CAITANYA ERA 488, THE ELEVENTH DAY OF THE DARK FORTNIGHT, THE RAMA-EKADASI--we have now finished the English translation of Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami' s Sri Caitanya-caritamrta in accordance with the authorised order of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Gosvami Maharaja, my beloved eternal spiritual master, guide and friend.
However, one should generally accept the following principles to properly execute devotional service: (1) take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, (2) receive initiation from the spiritual master, (3) serve the spiritual master, (4) inquire and learn love from the spiritual master, (5) follow in the footsteps of holy persons devoted to the transcendental loving service of the Lord, (6) prepare to give up all kinds of enjoyment and miseries for the satisfaction of Krsna, (7) live in a place where Krsna had His pastimes, (8) be satisfied by whatever is sent by Krsna for the maintenance of the body and hanker for no more, (9) OBSERVE FASTING ON EKADASI DAY (THIS OCCURS ON THE ELEVENTH DAY AFTER THE FULL MOON AND THE ELEVENTH DAY AFTER THE NEW MOON. ON SUCH DAYS NO GRAINS, CEREALS OR BEANS ARE EATEN; SIMPLY VEGETABLES AND MILK ARE MODERATELY TAKEN, AND CHANTING HARE KRSNA AND READING SCRIPTURES ARE INCREASED.),
Lord Caitanya also explained the symptoms of a holy man and the process of satisfying the sage and rejecting the society of undesirable persons. The Lord also advised that one should hear Srimad-Bhagavatam constantly. Also to be followed are duties of the day and duties of the fortnight, as well as fasting on Ekadasi day. ONE MUST ALSO FOLLOW THE DUTIES OF THE MONTH AND OBSERVE CEREMONIES LIKE THE BIRTHDAY OF THE LORD, THE THREE SPECIFIC DATES OF FASTING EKADASI, JANMASTAMI, VAMANADVADASI, SRI RAMANAVAMI AND NRSIMHACATURDASI. WHEN THE FAST DAYS OVERLAP WITH OTHER DAYS (VIDDHA), THEY ARE HELPFUL IN THE ADVANCEMENT OF DEVOTIONAL SERVICE.
IN THE BRAHMA-VAIVARTA PURANA IT IS SAID THAT ONE WHO OBSERVES FASTING ON EKADASI DAY IS FREED FROM ALL KINDS OF REACTIONS TO SINFUL ACTIVITIES AND ADVANCES IN PIOUS LIFE. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE IS NOT JUST TO FAST, BUT TO INCREASE ONE'S FAITH AND LOVE FOR GOVINDA, OR KRSNA. THE REAL REASON FOR OBSERVING FASTING ON EKADASI IS TO MINIMIZE THE DEMANDS OF THE BODY AND TO ENGAGE OUR TIME IN THE SERVICE OF THE LORD BY CHANTING OR PERFORMING SIMILAR SERVICE. THE BEST THING TO DO ON FASTING DAYS IS TO REMEMBER THE PASTIMES OF GOVINDA AND TO HEAR HIS HOLY NAME CONSTANTLY.