We all aspire for happiness, success, good health, peace and spiritual growth. What better way than to observe Ekadasi vrata, the day that is most dear to Lord Vishnu to be blessed with all that our heart desires!
Hence, it is important for us to understand the procedure / rules to perform Ekadasi vrata sincerely and be subjected to Lord Vishnu’s eternal transcendental mercy.
Papa-purusha and Ekadasi:
Like all other significant days, certain principles are laid down for following Ekadasi too. Before getting into the intricate details, let us have a short story.
Lord Vishnu once created Papa-purusha (sin personified) whose form was the embodiment of the worst kinds of sin.
Papa-purusha was created for the sole purpose of punishing the evil human beings and he thus, inflicts extreme misery upon the sinful people. Upon the advent of Sri Ekadasi, who absolves all the sins of the people, Papa-purusha was deprived of a proper place to stay and fled from one place to the other in fear and despair.
He finally prayed to Lord Vishnu to provide him a proper place to stay. Lord Vishnu assured that he can take shelter in grains during Ekadasi. As per Lord Vishnu’s order, Papa-purusha takes shelter in grains during Ekadasi and people who wish to keep away from sin need to refrain from eating grains on Ekadasi.
Science behind fasting on Ekadasi:
A few of us do not seem to quite easily accept the concept of “sin personified”. Fortunately, most of the vedic practices are backed by ample scientific support. We will now understand the science behind fasting on Ekadasi to help the doubting Thomas in our mind.
It is a proven fact that the atmospheric pressure is the lowest on Ekadasi (eleventh day both after the new moon and the full moon days) and is thus, the most favourable time to fast and to aid the cleansing process of our digestive system (which is normally overworked due to improper eating habits), purify the blood, improve the functioning of the kidneys and the liver, lower the blood cholesterol and also to eliminate the toxins.
As the atmospheric pressure is high on the other days, fasting on those days may cause adverse effects on our entire physiological system. Therefore, fasting bi-monthly on Ekadasi helps one to be healthy and rejuvenated.
Appropriate way / rules to observe the Ekadasi Vrat
A few important rules to be followed on Ekadasi are as follows:
Avoid the consumption of grains, pulses, peas and beans.
It is best to fast completely or take only water. However, as the tiring schedules do not permit everyone following the regulations to a T, one can have fruits, milk, nuts, roots and other non-grain food stuff.
Tulasi leaves should not be picked on Ekadasi and Dwadasi (the day following Ekadasi.)
The primary goal of Ekadasi is to minimize the bodily demands and spend more time in the sravanam (listening), kirtanam (chanting) and smaranam (reciting) of Lord Vishnu.
It is advisable to start one’s day by performing a simple worship to the picture or deity form of Lord Vishnu at home. Offer a lamp, incense, Tulasi leaves (picked the day before), fruits and flowers and pray to Lord Vishnu for His mercy. If possible, visit a nearby temple of Lord Vishnu and seek His blessings or else you can record your wish and will play it in a temple.
Recite Sri Vishnu Sahasranama
Please note that intake of non-veg (meat, fish, eggs), mushrooms, liquor, intoxicants (cigarettes, tobacco) and other tamasic food is strictly prohibited on Ekadasi. If possible, avoid the intake of coffee, tea and other cola and energy drinks on Ekadasi.
• Take a bath next day (Dwadasi) in the morning, worship Lord Vishnu and break your fast during the parana time, which is different for every Dwadasi.
Narayana Gayatri mantra:
The following is the Narayana (Vishnu) Gayatri mantra suitable for recitation by the people who are initiated by a guru into chanting of the Gayatri mantra:
“Om Narayanaya Vidmahe Vasudevaya Dheemahi Thanno Vishnu Prachodayaat”
“Let me meditate on Lord Narayana. May Lord Vasudeva give me higher intellect. And let Lord Vishnu illuminate my mind.”
It is important to note that any mantra recitation generates immense energy and the same needs to be returned to the universe in the form of tarpan or in the form of blessings to the near and dear.
The reciter can give away the energy to the universe through tarpan by reciting “tatsa brahmarpana mastu” at the end of the mantra recitation. One can also distribute the energy through rays by blessing the near and dear. Whenever the energy tarpan is performed to the universe, one receives blessings from the universe.
If you have missed out on the introduction to Ekadasi, please check our article, “Ekadasi: The day empowered with Lord Vishnu’s transcendental potency!” to better understand the significance of Ekadasi.
OnlineTemple.com wishes you all a successful observance of the Ekadasi vrata and thereby receive abundant blessings from Lord Vishnu. Take a look at our online pooja services.