[Advaita-l] Ekadashi Questions

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 25 00:10:56 CST 2010

Dear Sri Sthanunathan

Nirnaya Sindhu, also called Kala Nirnayah, written in the 17th century by Sri Kamalakara Bhatta is a compendium of such issues. There is a later derivative book called Dharma Sindhu by Kasinatha Upadhyaya which deals with it. We are smarta Brahmins from Vengi (the region between Krishna and Godavari near the Eastern coast) in AP, and in all such matters the word of Dhrama Sindhu is taken as binding in our families.

The Nirnaya Sagar edition of the Nirnaya Sindhu in Devanagari characters is available in the Digital Library of India at http://dli.iiit.ac.in/cgi-bin/Browse/scripts/use_scripts/advnew/metainfo.cgi?&barcode=2020010008716. There is also a verion in Telugu characters with translation into Telugu available at archive.org, but that might not be relevant to most. Anyway it is only a simple Google search away.

In the very beginning these books - both the Nirynaya Sindhu and Dharma Sindhu - haves a lengthy discourse on EkaadaSi - how to determine ekaadaSi, what are the vratas to be followed, who should follow it, what are the rules for Vaishnavas, what are the rules for smaartas etc.

Broadly speaking tithis are Suddha or viddha (that is they have a vedha, an overlapping, by some other tithi). Vaishnavas reckon the vedha based on Arunodaya (4 ghadiyas - a ghadiya is 24 minutes; 60 ghadiyas make a day - before sunrise, suryodaya) and smaartas based on Suryodaya; depending on the kind of vedha or absence thereof, and of the type of adhikya (another aspects of tithi, too involved to be discussed here) there are eighteen types of ekadaSi for Vaishnavas and Smartas each. I also noticed two types of Vaishnavas - Suddha and sarva - but since this is not a Vaishnava forum and since most of us here are not intimately aware of divisions amongst them, we will let that be.

For each of these types of ekadaSi, the rules differ slightly. The details would not be of interest to the readers of that list and so are skipped. If you insist, we can correspond privately on that.

The summary is when ekadaSi obtains from Arunodaya for 60 ghadiyas without any aadhikya by dvaadasi, that day is ekAdaSi for all; at the slightest deviation or in case of doubt, Vaishnavas postpone the observance to dvaadaSi as the three days of daSami, ekaadaSi and dvaadaSi are hari-trayam the three days of Vishnu. For smaatras when jyotirvids differ, the conduct of SishTas is the guide.

Finally, please note that there are many such opinions. The Nirnaya Sindhu itself often mentions Maadhavamatam and Hemaadrimatam. Narada is said to have described some eight or nine types of vedha starting from daSami ending in the 52nd ghadiya of the earlier day. Having said that, Dharma Sindhu's prescription is more than sufficient authority today, except maybe for the few hundred nityaagnihotris.

N. Siva Senani

On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 2:05 AM, sthanunathan Ramakrishnan <
r_sthanu at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Dear all,
>  I have some questions on Ekadashi fasting and the smarta. I will be very
> happy if learned members can either reply or point out to some books on
> this. I searched on the net but could find only vaishnavite views on this.


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