What are Ekadashi (fasting) unknown facts

Namaste friends, how are you doing today? Bhagavan Sri Krishna blessings to you and your family!

Let us learn the full details about the Great Ekadashi: “Hari din / Day of Hari – Ekadashi upavasam / fasting”

Dear friends, first let us know the meaning of “Upavasam” (fasting) in Sanskrit:

“Upavasam” (fasting) means, one should stay away from the banned things and should always think and do only the works which will make Sri Vishnu / Sri Hari / Sri Krishna / Sri Rama happy and satisfied.

The bhoga (luxury, lust etc.) things should not be done and used in any way at all, on the GREAT Ekadashi fasting / Upavasam day.

When does the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata starts –

When does the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata starts – Ekadhashi Vrata begins with the sankalpam on the Dashami day and then fasting on the Ekadashi day and doing Parana on Dwadashi day. 

Since it is spread over three days it got the name Dinatraya (here ‘dina’ means day and ‘traya’ means three).

First let us understand what does the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata vs Today’s Modern Scientific Science all about

Many must be aware that the air pressure varies on our Prithvi / earth starting from the ‘amaavaasya’ / new moon day & ends on the ‘chaturdashi tithi’ (that is first fifteen days of the maasa / month called as ‘Shukla Paksha’) and also changes from the ‘poornima’ / full moon day and again ends on the ‘chaturdashi tithi’ (that is the second fifteen days of the maasa / month called ‘Krishna Paksha’).

The pressure on the earth on the ‘amaavaasya’ / new moon day and ‘poornima’ / full moon day is highest (one can understand this by seeing the ocean) and after both ‘amaavaasya’ or ‘poornima’ gradually the pressure on the prithvi / earth varies.

This means on ‘amaavaasya’ or ‘poornima’ the pressure is highest and on the second day, that is ‘pratipada’ the pressure decreases little bit, similarly on the ‘dvitiya’ the pressure varies.

Similarly on other days like ‘tritiya’, ‘chaturti’, ‘panchami’, ‘shasTi’, ‘saptami’, ‘ashttami’, navami’, ‘dashami’, ‘ekadashi’ (on this day the pressure is most least compared to other days), ‘dvaadashi’, ‘trayodashi’ and ‘chaturdashi’ also the pressure keeps on varies.

It is same in the human body also. The pressure keeps on varies on all these days.

Thus our ancestors (starting from the svayam Bhagavan Sri Hari) had done this yojana / plan that to minimize the pressure on our body (that is over eating).

One should have a day out of these fifteen days (Ekadashi day – this is the day when the pressure in our body is least and if someone does the Upavasam / fasting that would definitely be very useful to that person), that the pressure inside our body could be stabilized by not at all consuming anything.

That is, if body doesn’t has much work to do, then it keeps itself calm and pressure & other things can be managed by our body. 

Thus a day was taken, and that day was considered as an auspicious day (both materially and spiritually) and on that our ancestors advised not to eat or drink anything on that particular day, so that one can manage the pressure and other things very easily inside our body.

(Now, my dear mitragan / friends think, who are forward in Science and Technology, that is Bharata / India or other countries?).

If one consumes limited food means, one will be heal and healthy. Even today’s Science says the same thing. That’s why our Shaastras are so great and versatile.

But one may get the question, why only on Ekadashi day one should do Upavasam / fasting?

Sri Hari with his consort Sri Maha Lakshmi Devi riding on Garuda Raja. Hanuman and Ganesh praying.

Yes, we have answer for this  also!

As said above, the pressure on earth and also the pressure on our body would be least on this day. Thus it is easy for us to manage our body without food and water on this particular day. Yes, we have answer to this also:

Our body doesn’t need anything to sustain our body on this day because of the low pressure inside our body and outside our body (earth / space).

One can easily manage the stress on our body. One can easily calm the body when there is no pressure or stress on the body. What more we need to keep our body heal and healthy. 

That’s why Bharatiya Sampradaaya is the FINEST and MOST FORWARD in everything since unknown age.

Everybody knows that over eating is the main cause of ill health and diseases in today’s world.

Why nearly 50% of the world’ population is having health problems?

Why big food companies are making huge amount of money?

Why today’s India is getting over weight?

The more one eats, the more diseases one has. The less or more limited amount of food one eats, the more heal and healthy we are.

The same is said by our GREAT ancestors. 

They were knowing everything about the earth and our body. What to eat? What not to eat? How much to eat? How to eat? Where to eat? When food should be served? When food not be served? etc etc etc everything was known by our GREAT ancestors.

Again think my dear mitragan / friends, who is forward in thinking Bharata / India or other countries?

Now, let us know more about the GREAT Ekadashi according to our Shaastras.

Mahabharata (Shanti Parva)

“ahimsaa satyavachanam daanamindriyanigraha |

yetebhyo hi mahaaraaja tapo naanashanaat param” |

Compared to non-violence, always speaking the truth, control of the sensory organs (indriyas), doing Upavasam / fasting on haridina / Ekadashi is highly valued (means there is no greater tapas then doing Upavasam / fasting on Ekadashi).

Doing Upavasam / fasting will help us to restore our indriyas (sensory organs), with this we can do the dharmacharane (rituals pertaining to Sanatana Dharma) and this we can get the higher planets like Svarga and others. 

This means by doing the Ekadashi Upavasam, we can get both materialistic and virtuous things (related to Sri Hari).

There are different types of Upavasams / fastings –

‘ekabhukta’ (here eka means one, bhukta means leaving – this means leaving one time’s food)

‘dravaahaara’ (here drava means liquid and ahaara means food – this means having only liquid foods)

‘phalaahaara’ (here phala means fruits and ahaara means food – this means having only fruits)

‘vihitaahaara’ (here vihita means allowed and ahaara means food – this means having only allowed foods)

‘mitaahaara’ (here mita means limited and ahaara means food – this means having only limited food)

‘niraahaara’ (here nira means not at all having and ahaara means food – this means having nothing – including water). The other name of ‘niraahaara’ is ‘nirjala’ means doing Upavasam even by not consuming a drop of water.

Among the above said Upavasams doing the ‘niraahaara or ‘nirjala’ Upavasam is the best and this will ultimately yield us the best fruits.

(Just for example – If a student studies through out the year in the right way, then that student will get very very good marks or may be 100 out of 100, similarly someone studies only half means that student will get average marks and also a student who studies nothing or very little means that student get just pass marks or he / she may get failed in the examination also.)

(Remember if we need to be more closer means we need to perform our Dharma’s duties properly, rightly, with full bhakti, with full respect, then only we will get more and more marks otherwise we will get marks as per our qualification and capacity. Everything is left to us.)

Left:This is Sri Udupi Krishna and Sri Madhwacharya Ji. Sri Rukmini Devi when in Dvaraka was doing pooja for this same original pratima. Right: Sri Vadiraja Guru Ji and Bhagavan Sri Hayagriva Swamy.

We may go to Kashi or to Gaya or we may take bath in the Great Ganges river or in the Great Narmada river or in the Great Godavari river or we may even visit the Great place like Kurukshetra or any other place, but it won’t yield us as much the great fruits as when we do the Upavasam on an Ekadashi day. The Greatness of Ekadashi

This means, the fruits what we get by visiting all these places can be easily obtained by just doing the Ekadashi Upavasam (remember the Shaastras are talking about the Nirjala Ekadashi Upavasam).

Among all the yagnas, doing Ekadashi Upavasam is the greatest – We may do thousands of ‘Ashvamedha yagnas’, we may do ten thousand ‘Vajapayee yagnas’, but this is not even equal to 1/16th of the total of what we do of the Ekadashi Upavasam.

Among all the ‘Parva kaalas’ (auspicious times) doing Ekadashi Upavasam is greatest – We may do great works during the thousands of ‘grahanas’ (eclipses), we may do great works during the ‘vyateepaatas’, we may do great works during the lakhs of ‘amaavaasyas’ (full moon days), but this is not equal to 1/16th of what we do on ‘dvaadashi’ day. 

Here ‘dvaadashi’ means, this is also part of the ‘ekadashi’ – the three days such as ‘dashami’, ‘ekadashi’ and ‘dvaadashi’ are considered as ‘ekadashi vrata’ day itself as including all these three days are called as ‘ekadashi Upavasam vrata’.

Just by celebrating the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata, we will easily be get freed from our earlier lives’ bad karmas – When we do the Ekadashi Upavasam, we may get little hardships of been empty stomach. 

But doing the Ekadashi Upavasam, we will definitely won’t get any pain of the body both physically and mentally. But rather, the GREAT Ekadashi Upavasam will help to burn all our earlier bad Karmas. 

This is the great message which we will get by doing the GREAT Ekadashi Upavasam.

We can easily believe that doing the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata in the right way, will ultimately benefit in getting cured of unlimited diseases including heart ailments (this has even been proved by the modern doctors). 

Modern scientific experiments have proved that blood clots and fat accumulation can be easily cured by doing the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata.

As soon as a person celebrates the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata he / she will be freed of all the previous bad Karmas.

Purification of all senses will happen by doing the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata – 

Ekadashi / Eleven indriyas

This means the bad Karmas which we had done through the inner mind, Pancha / five jnanendriyas 

(nose – ghrana, eyes – caksu, tongue – rasana, skin – tvak and ears – srotra)

Pancha / five karmendriyas 

(Vaak – speech, Paani – hands, Paada – feet, Paayu – excretory organ and Upastha – organ of reproduction) will be freed as soon as we start doing the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata.

YamaBhaada, Shani kaataas will be solved if one does the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata.

The ‘samudra manthana’ (ocean churning) took place on the Great Ekadashi day itself and on the ‘Dvaadashi’ day Sri Mahalakshmi Devi got emerged from the ocean. This is very clearly said in the ‘Padma Puraana’.

Samudra Manthana taking place. From this manthana itself Sri Mahalakshmi Devi took her one of the avatar as the daughter of Sri Varuna Deva

Ekadashi in the Varaha Purana –

Our Great Shaastras have allowed for the pregnant ladies, during post pregnancy, the very elderly, the unhealthy people can have some amount of food (but limited). Ekadashi in the Varaha Purana –

Here some amount of food doesn’t mean that one can have lots of water or milk or fruits or chapatis or idlis or dosas etc. But can have some amount of water, milk and fruits (but very very limited).

Salt, food containing urad dal should not at all be eaten as food on the Ekadashi day (This is for the above said pregnant, post pregnancy, elderly and unhealthy people only and not for the common man. 

The common man should not at all even think of eating or even smelling any type of food. Remember the ‘nirjala upavas’ as said above).

Cooked grains and food containing salt should not at all be eaten on the GREAT Ekadashi day as it is a form of food item.

Such food should be eaten which should be equal to or less then only one-fourth (1/4th) amount of the food we eat on the other days (again remember this is for the pregnant, very elderly and unhealthy people).

Even someone who tell others to have food on the GREAT Ekadashi day will have to face the Naraka bhaada (hellish problems).

Having food on the Ekadashi day is more sinful than the Brahma hatya.

Ekadashi fasting is compulsory, even in the case of ‘sootaka’ (if someone has died in the family) and during the ‘rajasvala’ time (women’s monthly / menstruation period).

The wife or the servant(s) who helps in completing the ‘Paarana’ of the husband or owner on the ‘dvaadashi’ day, will not get the dosha (will not be called as faulty). 

These people (wife or servants) can have the food after doing the ‘teertha’ paarana along with husband or the owner.

The TriMurtis – Sri Brahma Deva, Bhagavan Sri Maha Vishnu and Sri Rudra Deva

The sins obtained while having food on the Ekadashi day –

Few paapa (bad) Karmas can be cleared by doing darshana of Surya / Sun, whereas if someone eats the food on the GREAT Ekadashi day, then it is considered as huge paapa (bad) Karma.  

On earth there are several paapas (bad) Karmas including the Brahma hatya. We should note that all such paapas (bad) Karmas would be staying in the food on the Ekadashi day.

On the Ekadashi day all the food items would have become full of dosha (दोष). Thus on the Ekadashi day the food should not be eaten at all, should not be served at all and also even smelling the food is also considered to be a paapa (bad) Karma.

One may be a Brahmachari or a Gruhasta or a Vaanaprasta or a Sanyaasi or one may be even a Brahamana or a Kshatriya or a Vaishya or a Shudra or may be even a woman with or without a husband or a married woman or may be anyone on this earth, the GRAT Ekadashi Upavasam Vrata is a must on the GREAT Ekadashi Day.

If a person is over eight years old and who is less then eighty years, that person has to celebrate the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata (even a woman during pregnancy or post pregnancy or an unhealthy person should take only very very limited food as mentioned earlier). 

One should even not think that since I am over eighty years, I can eat whatever I want and / or how much ever I need I will eat, no that can’t happen on the GREAT Ekadashi day.

The unhealthy people can have these food on the Ekadashi day –

Dates, jack fruit, mango, banana, grape, fruits – Milk, yogurt, ghee, non-tuber potatoes – grains cooked with only water – These can be eaten for only a quarter of what the stomach needs.

(Remember that the said food items may be taken for about quarter of the amount one usually takes on other days).

Food which shouldn’t be eaten on the Ekadashi day by any common person –  

Any grain(s) cooked using the combination of water & fire, and any flour item made using the salt mixture (Remember the above said ‘nirjala’ Upavasam. If we need full marks, then we need to do the GREAT ‘nirjala’ Upavasam).

Water, fire and salinity are the result of these three combinations – these are all considered as food items.

Thus upma, dosa, chapati etc are all are considered as food items.

Even very very limited urad dal, salt, non-veg all are made with salt and fire, they shouldn’t be eaten on the GREAT Ekadashi day. Everybody has to celebrate the GREAT Ekadashi Vrata in the same manner. There is no difference in way of the celebration of GREAT Ekadashi day.

On the ‘vidvaikaadashi’ (two days of Ekadashi) one should never ever do the Upavasam on the first day (first day of the two days of Ekadashi). Gandhara had celebrated the Ekadashi Vrata on the ‘vidvaikaadashi’, this means an Ekadashi day which would also have the ‘dashami’ tithi in it. For this reason, Gandhari had lost her 100 sons.

When there is a dispute (dispute of days of Ekadashi), it is advisable to fast on the dvaadashi day. Means on the ‘atirikta’ dvaadashi day, the Upavasam can be celebrated (this is only during the ‘vidvaikaadashi’ time – one need to consult the correct Vaishnava Brahmana about this).

Upavasam on the ‘Shravana’ Ekadashi day –

Somebody who doesn’t celebrate the Ekadashi Upavasam Vrata on the Shravana nakshatra, that person would accumulate huge amount of the bad Karmas and he / she will become ‘mandha buddhi’ (dull minded).

The Shravana Dwadashi will fall on the ‘Bhadrapada’, ‘Maagha’ and ‘Phalguna’ maasas (months) only.

Having food in others’ house – On the dashami and dwadashi days, one should never ever have food in somebody else’s house and it would also accumulate lots of bad Karmas.

Here one may get a question that, during the Shravana Dwadashi period one has to do two days of continuous Upavasam?

Dwadashi Vrata is a Vishnu Vrata. That day (Dwadashi day) if someone does the Parana and if completes the Upavasam Vrata, wouldn’t that be considered as the completion of the Vrata? 

– Since Sri Vishnu is the Devata for the Dwadashi, similarly for the Shravana nakshatra also Sri Vishnu himself is the Devata. 

Thus if one does the Upavasam on the Dwadashi (with Shravana Nakshatra) along with the Ekadashi day (means total of two continuous days), that Dwadashi’s Parana Vrata is not broken – remember Parana shouldn’t be done on this Dwadashi day, instead on the Trayodashi day Parana has to be done (please consult a correct Vaishnava Brahmana to know more about this).

Sri Hari sleeping on the Sri Aadi Shesha Naga and thus Sri Hari’s one of the names is called Sri Shesha Shaayi, means sleeping on the Shesha Naaga.

Other works on the Upavasam Vrata day –  

The meaning of “Upavasam” is that one should stay away from the banned things and should always think and only do the works which will make Sri Vishnu happy. No bhoga (luxury, lust etc) things should not be done on the Upavasam day.

Only things related to Sri Vishnu should be done like reading about the Sanatana Dharma grantas (especially related to Sri Vishnu), listening the pastimes of Sri Hari etc.

In all these three days one should avoid over eating, applying oil on any part of the body, sleeping during day time, drinking lots of water etc.

On the Great Ekadashi day, one should not have the teertha more then once (remember only teertha can be taken that too only once and that too very very limited), violence, enmity, talking untruth, eating taambula (beetle leaves), sleeping during day time, sambhoga, gambling, are all completely forbidden. 

If one does the gargling dwadashi times (12 times) it is considered as brushing the teeth on the Ekadashi day –

On the three days (Dashami, Ekadashi and Dwadashi days) one should not eat food too much – that is, on Dashami day one should eat only once, on Ekadashi day complete fasting and also on the Dwadashi day only once food has to be taken.

If someone dies on the Ekadashi day, the Shraddha of that person should be done on the Dwadashi day (please consult a correct Vaishnava Brahmana to know more).

During the Dwadashi day, if one can’t do the Parana sadhana because of the some unexpected reasons, then that person can have some water to complete the Vrata.

(Remember the Ambarisha Maharaja’s story – when Durvasa Muni comes to meet Ambarisha Maharaja unexpectedly, at the time Ambarisha Maharaja consumes little bit of water to complete Vrata).

Names of different Ekadashis –  

Maasa / Month – Shukla Paksha

Chaitra – Kaamadaa

Vaishakha – Mohini

Jyeshtha – Nirjala

Ashaada – Padmaa (Shayanaikaadashi)

Shravana – Putradaa

Bhadrapada – Jayanti, Parivartini

Aashveeja – Paapaankushaa

Kartika – Prabhodini

Margashirshaa – Utpannaa, Mokshadaa

Pushya – Putradaa

Maagha – Jayaa

PhalGuNa – Amalikaa

ADhika – Padmini

Maasa / Month – Krishna Paksha

Chaitra – Paapamochinee

Vaishakha – Varoothini

Jyeshtha – Aparaa

Ashaada – Yogini

Shravana – Kaamikaa

Bhadrapada – Ajaa

Aashveeja – Indiraa

Kartika – Ramaa

Margashirshaa – Pavitra, Utpatti

Pushya – Saphalaa

Maagha – ShaTtilaa

PhalGuNa – Vijayaa

ADhika – Paramaa, Paapavimochini

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    • Vijay Kumar S Khatokar Bharatiya

      Thanks for your question and sorry for late reply as I was held up in some work.

      There is nothing like Gandhari Ekadashi.

      Gandhari once did the Ekadashi Vrat (fasting) on Dashami mixed Ekadashi, that is, which is completely against the rules of Ekadashi. If vidha Ekadashi (Dashami mixed) is there means, we need to do the Ekadashi fasting the next day, that is, on the Dwadashi day.

      This is the right procedure.

      Our Puranas says, since Gandhari did fasting on Vidha Ekadashi, she lost all her 100 children.

      Bhoumi Ekadashi is a local name for Jaya Eakadashi. Places like Orissa use this name Bhoumi Ekadashi instead of Jaya Ekadashi.


  • Rovine Atchadu

    Hi..I’m from Mauritius.
    Great to send me some mantras which I can use for my morning prayers..thank you

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