Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Nov 27 22:47:43 CST 2002

On Wed, 27 Nov 2002, Srikrishna Ghadiyaram wrote:

> 1. Ekadasi Vratam: I have some doubts on this subject. What is the
> prescribed method of observing this Vratam. There is so much of confusion
> about the actial times of Ekadasi thithi timings. How is it reckoned for
> the observance of this Vratam. Is it to be observed from dawn, even though
> the tithi starts later ? or should it be observed strictly as per the tithi
> timings. Any other important practical guidelines that should be kept in
> mind while observing this Vratam in the present times.

Who can observe Ekadashi?

This vrata may be observed by people of any gender, caste, age or ashram
in life.

When is it observed?

As the name suggests on the 11th tithi of the bright and dark halves of
each month. There is some difference between Smartas and Vaishnavas as to
what to do if the 11th is omitted (kshaya) or stretches over two days
(Vriddha.)  The Smarta practice is to perform the vrata on the preceding
tithi (or first day) while the Vaishnavas do it on the next tithi (or
second day.)

How is it performed?

Before dawn or when one wakes up, one should do ones nityakarma and then
make the samkalpa to observe Ekadashi vrata in honor of Vishnu Bhagavan.
Then one should fast until nighttime.

Fasting is of three types.  The lowest is to eat normally but refrain from
eating grains.  The medium is to eat only once (again refraining from
grains.)  The highest is to not eat at all.  Bhagawan has given us these
options in order to cater to our differnt circumstances.  It is better to
do at a lower level but be meticulous than to try and go beyond your
abilities and end up breaking the fast.  Having said that, I find that
after a while one can get used to not eating quite easily.  Pregnant women
or people whose health may be endangered by not eating are excused from
fasting.  Another thing is if you are eating you should be careful about
that your food doesn't contain grains.  for instance Cola is made with
corn syrup so it is not suitable for this day.  It is traditional to break
the fast at night with something sweet.

One should also read the kathas and mahatmyas of the Lord, bhajan and
kirtan of His name, and dana and other Dharmic works.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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