Hemanga Caitanya Das
Next day Break fast (Sydney only): Wednesday 9th June 07:10 to 10:14 AM
In India, Ekadasi is on Tuesday 8th Jun 2010
In India, break fast is on Wednesday 05:23 to 10:00
Observing Fasting on Ekadasi
Sri Ekadasi (Extracts from the Ekadasi Mähätmya)
Ekadasi first appeared from the body of Lord Vishnu during the wanning moon in the month of November/December in order to kill the demon Mura.
Sri Ekadasi, which falls on the eleventh day of each waxing and waning moon is very dear to Lord Hari. Observing the vow of Ekadasi is among the first ten principles of the sixtyfour items of devotional service described by Srila Rupa Gosvami. One should observe Ekadasi only to please the Supreme Lord. The meaning of the word upavasa (fasting) is to live nearby. On the day of Ekadasi one should remain aloof from all kinds of sinful activities, give up all kinds of household activities and sense gratification and live near the lord.
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."
Nectar of Devotion - (Ch 6)
So the main purpose is to perform more devotional service like chanting, reading or doing personal service to please the Lord, not to achieve any material benefit, but just to get pure devotion on his lotus feet, which is the topmost success of human life.
If you are interested in reading a story from Puran about this Ekadasi, here it is (There might be some sections in this story which emphasize on some sort of fruitive result, I humbly request you, not to get encouraged in that direction and just take benefit of this story to increase the pure devotional service of the Lord, which is untouched by any material desires):
from Brahmanda Puran
Ekadasi: June 8, 2010, TUESDAY (Sydney)
Sri Yudhishthira Maharaj said, "Oh Janardana, what is the name of the Ekadasii that occurs during the dark fortnight (krishna paksha) of the month of Jyeshtha (May-June)? I wish to hear from You the glories of this sacred day of Hari. Please narrate everything to me"
Lord Sri Krishna said, "Oh king, your inquiry is wonderful because the answer will benefit the whole human society. This Ekadasii is so sublime and meritorious that even the greatest sins can be erased by its purity.
"Oh great saintly king, the name of this unlimitedly meritorious Ekadasii is Apara Ekadasii. Whoever fasts on this holy day becomes famous all over the universe. Even such sins as killing a Brahmana, a cow, or an embryo; blasphemy; or having sex with another man’s wife are completely eradicated by observing Apara Ekadasii.
"Oh king people who bear false witness are most sinful. A person who falsely or sarcastically glorifies another; one who cheats while weighing something on a scale; one who fails to execute the duties of his varna or Ashrama (an unqualified man’s posing as a brahmin, for example, or a person’s reciting the Vedas wrongly); one who invents his own scriptures; one who cheats others; one who is a charlatan astrologer, a cheating accountant, or a false Ayurvedic doctor. All these are surely as bad as persons who bears false witness, and they are all destined for hellish punishments. But simply by observing Apara Ekadasii, all such sinners become completely free of their sinful reactions.
"Warriors who fall from their kshatriya-dharma and flee the battlefield go to a ferocious hell. But, Oh Yudhishthira, even such a fallen kshatriya, if he observes fasting on the Apara Ekadasii, is freed of that great sinful reaction and goes to heaven.
"That disciple is the greatest sinner who, after receiving a proper spiritual education from his spiritual master, turns around and blasphemes him. Such a so-called disciple suffers unlimitedly. But even he, rascal though he be, if he simply observes Apara Ekadasii, can attain to the spiritual world. Listen, Oh king, as I describe to you further glories of this amazing Ekadasii.
"The merit attained by one who performs all of the following acts of piety is equal to the merit achieved by one who observes Apara Ekadasii: bathing three times daily in Pushkara-kshetra during Kartika (October-November); bathing at Prayag in the month of Magh (January-February) when the sun is in the zodiac of Capricorn; rendering service to Lord Shiva at Varanasi (Benares) during Shiva-ratri; offering oblations to one’s forefathers at Gaya; bathing in the sacred Gautami River when Jupiter transits Leo (Simha); having darshan of Lord Shiva at Kedarnatha; seeing Lord Badrinath when the Sun transits the sign of Aquarius (Kumbha); and bathing at the time of a solar eclipse at Kurukshetra and giving cows, elephants, and gold there in charity. All the merit one gets from performing these pious acts is gained by a person who observes the Apara Ekadasii fast. Also, the merit attained by one who donates a pregnant cow, along with gold and fertile land, is attained by one who fasts on this day.
"In other words, Apara Ekadasii is an axe that cuts down the fully matured forest full of trees of sinful deeds, it is a forest fire that burns sins as if they were kindling firewood, it is the sun blazing before one’s dark misdeeds, and it is a lion stalking the meek deer of impiety.
"Therefore, Oh Yudhishthira, whoever truly fears his past and present sins must observe Apara Ekadasii very strictly. One who does not observe this fast must be born again in the material world, like one bubble among millions in a huge body of water, or like a small ant among all other species.
"Therefore one must faithfully observe the sacred Apara Ekadasii and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Trivikrama. One who does so is freed of all his sins and promoted to the abode of Lord Vishnu.
"Oh Bharata, for the benefit of all humanity I have thus described to you this the importance of the holy Apara Ekadasii.
"Anyone who hears or reads this description is certainly freed from all kinds of sins, oh best of saintly kings, Yudhishthira.
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Jyeshtha-krishna Ekadasii, or Apara Ekadasii, from the Brahmanda Purana.
1. Pushkara-kshetra, in western India, is the only place on Earth where a bonafide temple of Lord Brahma is to be found.
2. The Vedas declare, narAh budbudA samAh: "The human form of life is like a bubble in water". In water, many bubbles form and then suddenly burst a few seconds later. Thus if a person does not utilize his rare human body to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, his life has no more value or permanence than a bubble in water. Therefore, as the Lord herein recommends, we should serve Him by fasting on Hari-vAsara, or Ekadasii.
In this regard, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes in the Srimad Bhagavatam (SB 2:1:4 purport) "The great ocean of material nature is tossing with the waves of time, and the so-called living conditioned are something like foaming bubbles, which appear before us as bodily self, wife, children, society, countrymen, etc. Due to a lack of knowledge of self, we become victimized by the force of ignorance and thus spoil the valuable energy of human life in a vain search after permanent living conditions, which are impossible in this material world."
NOTE: If the holy fast falls on Dvadasii, it is still called Ekadasii in the Vedic literature. Furthermore, in Garuda Purana (1:125.6), Lord Brahma states to Narada Muni: "Oh Brahmana, this fast should be observed when there is a full Ekadasii, a mixture of Ekadasii and Dwadashi, or a mixture of three (Ekadasii, Dwadashi, and Trayodasii) but never on the day when there is a mixture of Dashami and Ekadasii.
This is also upheld in the Hari Bhakti Vilas, Vaishnava smriti shastra, and upheld by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupad in his Navadwip Panjika introduction.
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Hemanga Chaitanya Das
Ekadasi devi ki jaya !