[Advaita-l] Ekadashi Questions

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Thu Feb 25 19:20:57 CST 2010

On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 1:10 AM, Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com>wrote:

> 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.

Good summary. I will make a few more points.
Coming to the original question, which was regarding the dashamI tithi prevailing on Feb 24 (in India) at sunrise, ekadashI tithi at sunrise on the 25th, *and* more importantly the dvAdashI ending before sunrise on the 26th, the Vaishnavas fast on the 25th whereas the smArtas on the 24th, even though the Feb 24th is a dashamI-viddhi ekAdashI. As you say, the rules for ekAdashI are rather complex, but the overriding principle seems to be that the VaiShnavas very particularly skip the ekAdashI when it is mixed with dashamI in any way, considering aruNodaya vedha and not sUryodaya vedha, and observe it on the next day. 
Also, the smArta householders are not supposed to fast on ekAdashIs of the dark fortnight (krishna paksha), only during shukla pakSha. Again, the exception is the four month chAturmAsya period from shayanI ekAdashI of AShADha to the prabodhini ekAdashI of kArtika during which even the krishna paksha ekAdashis have to be observed as fasting days by smArta householders. For VaiShnavas, fasting on ekAdashIs of both fortnights is mandatory during all months of the year.  
Also, another cause for differing dates in ekAdashIs is the use of different methods for panchanga calculations. For example, the traditional mathas use the sUrya siddhAnta method. Some "progressive" mathas adopt the sUrya siddhAnta for all purposes except for ekAdashis where they use the AryabhaTIya method. Still others, especially in coastal Karnataka and Kerala use even the more modern dR^iggaNita method. I have even personally known panchanga makers use the most modern ephemeris based purely on western astronomy, for example the US Astronomical Almanac. Depending the method used, the dates for ekAdashI (and even for other festivals) may differ. For example, a year or two ago, even the mahAshivarAtri was observed on two different days in India.


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