Saturday, August 27, 2011

EKADASI

Ekadasi is a ritualistic observance practiced by Hindus living all over the world.On this day they pray Lord Vishnu and seek his bliss.Vaishnavas consider this day as very auspicious and follows the observances very strictly.There are two Ekadasis in every month one each in the two lunar fortnights.
The meaning of Ekadasi is 'Eleventh day..It refers to the eleventh day that follows the 'Pournami day(full moon day) and the eleventh day that follows the Amavasi day(No moon day).On this day we have to observe fasting from the dawn to the next day dawn by omitting all kinds of food in solid form and liquid form including drinking water also..No meals should be taken before starting the 'vrat'.(Fasting) in the morning.People who are in good health may consume one time meal on the previous day also.
Astrologers say that we are influenced by Sun,Moon and other planets.The energy emitted by these celestial bodies have its own influence on us.All of our body parts are affected by the Sun's rays and its energy where as the Moon's energy affect our 'mind'.We know that the moon is revolving round the earth,Earth,Other planets and all their moons are revolving round the Sun.The Sun,planets and moons are revolving round an energy source in the 'milky way'.The milky way in whole is revolving round some other energy source and so on.As a living being and as part of this universe unknowingly we are also influenced by the movements and energy variations of these heavenly bodies.We know that on full moon day when the moon is nearer to us there is high tide in the oceans and on no moon day there is low tide.Mental patients show variations in their behavior on full moon day and no moon day.Normal person is unaware of it but it does not mean that moon is not influencing us.The exertion of gravitational force on us on the eleventh day will be null and that may be the reason why Ekadasi is selected for this ritual.
We also know that the type of food we eat will  influence our thoughts and actions.By avoiding  food and drinks on Ekadasi day  our mind becomes undisturbed from external and internal forces..We will get much more concentration for  meditation.In 'Bhagawad Gita' Lord Krishna urged us to Practice meditation.Keep our mind concentrated on the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu and sit in 'Padmasana' or in any other posture for as much time as possible.Or otherwise thinking affectionately about Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna Chant their names or mantras.Chant 'Om Namo Narayanaya' so many times during leisure times  and recite 'Vishnu Sahasra Nama' once during the day.
Now a days everybody is busy  and by ignoring two days of work and responsibilities  every month for observing these kinds of observances will be difficult. Such people can do this observance  by taking milk only and if it is also not possible for them, still  Ekadasi can be observed by taking milk and fruits.Avoid any other type of food or drinks.Rice,Wheat,Cereals,oil,Chilly,honey etc has to be avoided.It is better for patients and  weak persons also to practice Ekadasi by consuming milk and fruits.Keep away from all kinds of immoral deeds and activities.We can break the fast on the following day 48 minutes after sun rise.
There is a story that when Lord Vishnu tried to kill a fierce demon by name 'Mura' he hided in cereals but God found him and killed.This happened on an Ekadasi day and the devotees of Lord Vishnu avoided rice,wheat and all cereals on that day.
Scientifically also once in a fortnight giving rest to our body and mind including digestive system is beneficial.
There are twenty four Ekadasis in an year.There is a particular name given to each of these Ekadasi days.Some of these Ekadasi days are considered more important like 'Vaikunta Ekadasi'.At Guruvayur temple one of these Ekadasis is celebrated in a grand manner known as 'Guruvayur Ekadasi'.By observing Ekadasi it is believed that God will forgive our sins and we will attain Moksha(eternal peace for ever, without rebirth) after this life on earth.



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