Why do we fast on Ekadesi days?

Discussion in 'Customs' started by garry420, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    This post is about the importance of fasting on Ekadasi (11th day of moon cycle).

    Now, it is an age old practice for Indians to observe a fast (vrat) on Ekadasi days. Ekadasi is 11th day of the moon cycle, both from the full moon and from the new moon (equidistant).

    I came across an interesting legend from the Padma Purana, which describes the relevance of Ekadasi. I am giving a brief description below:

    Jaimini Rishi, a renowned sage, once became inquisitive about the Ekadasi vrat. He asked the great sage Vyas about the same. Vyas said that initially, when the world was manifested, Lord Vishnu created a demonic creature (Papa-Purush) that was the embodiment of all types of sins. This was done in order to punish all evil human beings. Subsequently, he also created Yamaraj, so that anyone who sinned (signs of Papa-Purush in him) would be punished and sent to Yamalok.
    On a visit to Yamlok, Lord Vishnu noticed the miseries of the people living there, and had pity on them. He created Ekadesi from his own being, and decided that anyone undertaking the Ekadasi vrat would be cleansed of his sins.
    Papa-Purush became alarmed. He immediately went to Lord Vishnu and pleaded that on Ekadasi day, he had nowhere to hide. So the supreme God told him that any type of grain would provide a safe haven to him on Ekadasi.

    According to scientific research, it is known that the air pressure on the earth varies to extreme limits on both the new moon (Amavasya) and the full moon (Purnima) day. This is because of the orbital path combination of the sun, moon and earth.

    This can be observed by the change in the nature of the tidal waves on the new moon and full moon days. The waves are very high and rough, but from the next day onwards, the waves become calm, an indication that the pressure has also receded.

    Now, based on this fact, the significance of Ekadasi fasting can be explained in 2 ways:

    1) According to science, it takes about 3-4 days for the food that we eat today to reach our brain (for the brain to understand the food intake). Now, if we eat light/fast on Ekadasi days, that intake will reach the brain correspondingly on the New moon/full moon day.

    On both of these days, the earth pressure is at its maximum, thus leading to imbalance in everything, including ones thought process.

    So, if the input to the brain is at a minimum, the chances of the brain indulging in any wayward activity due to the high pressure imbalance also becomes minimum.

    2) Another explanation for Ekadasi fasting is that compared to any other day of the moon cycle, atmospheric pressure is lowest on Ekadasi days. Thus, this is the best time to fast and cleanse the bowel system. If we fast on any other day, the high pressure/strain may damage our system. Thus, it is advisable that after fasting on Ekadasi, on the immediate next day (Dwadasi), we should get up early and eat as soon as possible.

    As per both the above theories, the fasting practice on Ekadasi days has a strong scientific base. People who observe the fast are asked to stay away from all types of grains, and to have a light diet of nuts, milk, fruits, etc.

    It is amazing how the ancient Vedic Indians devised this method to keep ourselves fit and free from any negative influences ! The relevance of the fast has been imbibed into a story in the Puranas so that it can be easily carried on from one generation to the other.
    Via : Nikhil

Share This Page