VAIKUNTA Ekadashi falls in the month of Marga-seersha (December-January) every year. Also known as Magh Shukla Ekadashi, Jaya Ekadashi & Mokshada Ekadashi, this Ekadashi is observed with all solemnity in the temples of Lord Vishnu. Fasting is prescribed on all Ekadashis, that is, the 11th day of the lunar fortnight, twice a month.
Some of these vaishnava Temples are ISKCON Bangaore, ISKCON Vrindavan, Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy Temple, Tirupathi Venkateshwara Temple, Kumbhakonam Sarangapani Temple, Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple Thiruvananthapuram, Jagannath Temple Puri, Dwarakadhish Temple, Dwaraka Vitthal Temple, Pandharpur & so forth.
Truly a sacred religious fast, worth attending in these Powerful Temples of India. Just don’t miss it in the month of Dec-Jan.
In this Kali Yuga, even if just one Ekadashi is observed with dispassion, faith and devotion, and if the mind is wholly fixed on Hari, one is freed from the rounds of birth and death. There is no doubt about this. The Hindu Scriptures give us their assurance on this point.
Devotees fast on this day, observe vigil the whole night and do Japa, Hari Kirtan and meditation. Some do not take even a drop of water. Those who are unable to fast completely take some light fruit and milk.
No rice should be taken on Ekadashi days. This is very important. The sweat that fell down from the head of Brahma, the creator in Hinduism, assumed the form of a demon and said to the Lord, “O Lord! now give me an abode to dwell.”
Brahma replied, “O demon! go and dwell in the rice particles eaten by men on Ekadashi day and become worms in their stomach.”
For this reason rice is prohibited on Ekadashi. If one observes the Ekadashi fast regularly, all sins are destroyed. The mind is purified. Devotion gradually develops. Love for God becomes intense.
Orthodox people in India observe complete fasting and vigil even on ordinary Ekadashi days. For the devotees of Lord Vishnu, every Ekadashi is a very sacred day.
Fasting controls passion. It checks the emotions. It controls the senses also. It is a great penance. It purifies the mind and the heart. It destroys a multitude of sins.
Fasting controls the tongue in particular which is the deadliest enemy of man. Fasting overhauls the respiratory, circulatory, digestive and urinary systems. It destroys all the impurities of the body and all sorts of poisons. It eliminates uric acid deposits.
Just as impure gold is rendered pure by melting it in the crucible again and again, so also this impure mind is rendered purer by repeated fasting.
Youngsters are advised to observe fasting whenever passion troubles them. Only then will they have very good meditation, as the mind will be rendered calm. The chief object of fasting is to render the system calm so that one is able to practise meditation rigorously during that period.
Fasting is one of the ten canons of Yoga. However excessive fasting should always be avoided. It will produce weakness. Common sense has to be used.
Diseases that are pronounced incurable by doctors are cured by fasting. Occasionally, a complete fast is greatly desirable for all to keep up good health, to give adequate rest to the internal organs and maintain celibacy. All diseases have their origin in overeating and verily fasting is the only method to cure this.
Complete fasting helps to control sleep. Taking recourse to tea or coffee to control sleep during fasting is not desirable. We will not gain any spiritual strength if we depend on an external agent. During fasting all company should be avoided and time utilised in spiritual practises for our evolution.