Apara Ekadasi occurs during the waning phase of moon in the month of Jyeshtha (May – June). The importance of Apara Ekadashi was explained by Lord Krishna to Yudishitira, the eldest of the Pandavas. Washing away the sins committed is the main benefit from observing Apara Ekadasi. In 2009, the date of Apara Ekadashi is May 20.
Fasting on this Ekadashi is beneficial to those people who are suffering from remorse or guilt due to sin or sins committed. One can attain moksha by observing a fast on Apara Ekadasi. Krishna also mentions that one who observes this particular Ekadashi will become famous through meritorious deeds.
Observing this Ekadasi removes the remorse associated with not performing a particular action, when the person had the opportunity to do it but shied away
Ekadasi, or Ekadashi, is an important Upvaas (fast) dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Millions of Hindu devotees observe Ekadasi, which is considered highly auspicious by Lord Vishnu devotees. The traditional approach is to abstain from food completely on the day. But nowadays a complete fast is not possible for many people. Such people consume certain food items on the Ekadasi day and observe only a partial fast.
It is believed that demon Mura found a dwelling place in the rice and Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Ekadasi to annihilate Mura. Therefore devotees who fast on the Ekadashi day avoid food made from grains.
Many devotees due to several reasons – like health and job commitments – observe partial fast on the day. Such people avoid non-vegetarian and food items made from beans, pulses and grains, especially rice.
The food that can be consumed on the Ekadasi day includes fresh and dried fruits, milk products, vegetables and nuts.
As the list of Ekadasi food expands there will be new issues cropping up like – Are you sure this can be consumed on Ekadasi.
So the golden rule is avoid pulses and grains on Ekadasi.
Drink lots of water and eat fresh and dried fruits.
In Hinduism, Upvaas is meant to bring a person close to Brahman. So forget about the rules and regulations and what you are going to gain from the Ekadashi fast. Spend the day in purifying the mind and body.
Ekadashi is mentioned in a number of Puranas. It is associated with Lord Vishnu and ‘Haribhakti Vilas’ talks in detail about its importance. Today, in Hindu religion Ekadasi has come to mean a day to fast. It falls on the 11th day of every lunar fortnight and thus there are two Ekadashi in a month. It is also known as ‘Harivasara’ and ‘Hari din.’ Several Puranas including Padma Purana and Skanda Purana detail about the significance of Ekadeshi.
How to fast on Ekadashi?
How to observe ‘Ekadashi’ is clearly mentioned in ‘Harivasara.’ In modern day, many people will find it difficult to observe it in its entire strictness. But there are a large number of people who observe it. And there are numerous observations on what food one can have? There are also regional variations to the way in which the Ekadasi is observed.
The preparation starts on Dasami day – a day before Ekadashi. The person observing Ekadashi should wake up early in the morning on Dasami day and should take bath and perform other daily routines. The person should mentally prepare for the Ekadashi. He/She should only have one meal on the Dasami day and should avoid salt. Alcohol, non-vegetarian food and sex should be avoided. Some Puranas say ‘dal’ and ‘honey’ should be avoided on Dasami day.
The next day, that is the Ekadashi day, is meant for total fasting. Praying to Vishnu is the order of the day. Some people avoid sleep during Ekadashi night and they hear religious discourses and perform ‘Arati.’ But many people today will not be able to stay awake the entire night due to work pressure etc.
The next day on Dwadasi – that is the day after Ekadeshi – the same routine done on Dasami is followed. Overeating should be avoided on Dwadasi day. Puranas state that one should not take pride in observing Ekadashi. The food on Dwadasi should be cooked in one’s house.
It is good to go on fast once in a while as it recuperates the body. Ekadashi observance cleans our body and the digestive organs get much needed rest.
Those people suffering from ailments and on medications should take the advice of a doctor before fasting. Never torture your body in the name of religion. There is nothing wrong in having fruits or milk. And you can bring a certain amount of flexibility in the way it is observed.