sri gopinath gaudiya math


Observing the vow of EKADASHI

All the devotees of Lord Krishna have necessarily to follow the vow of ekadashi. On that day all the five types of grains like wheat, rice, mustard, corn and barley etc. are prohibited. The reason is because according to scripture sins reside in these grains on the day of ekadashi. Sriman Mahaprabhu has enunciated this vow of ekadashi from the very beginning of his life as written in the Chaitanya Charitmrita and Chaitanya Bhagavat. Specifically He had warned his Mother Sachi Devi never to eat any form of grains on the holy day of ekadashi. On this day it is recommended to conduct a fast while engaging in the service of the Lord. For one who is unable to follow such a vow due to bodily incapability they are allowed to take foods like fruits, roots, potatoes, milk and such milk products to mitigate one’s hunger, under the label of anukalpa described in scriptural context. Still, there is no allowance for the use of grains and beans. Srila Jiva Goswami has commented from Skanda Purana in his book Bhakti Sandharbha, “Those people who take grains on the holy day of ekadashi are killers of their mother, father, brother and guru and even if they attain to Vaikuntha Planets they will have to fall down back to this material world”. On the day of Ekadashi whatever grains like rice, dahl are cooked they are automatically to be offered to the Supreme Lord but the devotees do not eat these foodstuffs instead the prasadam is very carefully kept and taken on the following day on the time of breaking fast (päraë). In the case of women even those who are not widows it is important for them to observe Ekadashi as well.

In the Srimad Bhagavat, the story of Ambarish Maharaj and Durvasa Muni tells us that if one were to follow the Ekadashi vow to the letter including breaking at certain time as mentioned then Sri Krishna will bless and protect that advanced devotee. For that reason on the holy day of ekadashi one has to restrict one’s bodily necessities and try to spend his time engaging fully in the Lord’s service. One should fast on that day and with a pure mind hear, remember and chant the glories of the Name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord in the association of the devotees with complete absorption. In the night one should keep awake while hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. During the observation of the vow one should not blaspheme others or indulge in gossip, telling lies, or exhibit any form of anger. In fact, to associate with non-devotees is unfavorable for devotional service and should be avoided.

One important aspect of the vow is that it should be broken timely according to the proper time as per the vaishnava calendar otherwise there is no merit accrued in observing such a vow.

Though it is mentioned in Hari-bhakti-vilas, all the four different types of liberation are afforded to the follower of this vow it is important to note that the devotee only desires the love of godhead, which is the topmost and eternal. Thus the ekadashi although gives all the benefits the devotee only desires pure devotion to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna.

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