Sunday, August 30, 2009


As far as our worldly way of life goes, we are constantly under illusions and delusions. These two limitations don’t allow us to see reality, to think rationally and to observe correctly. Again Sattva, Rajas, Tamas – the three Gunas – the attributes of Maya play the same vicious role. Time imposes many limitations. Our actions are misguided by Maya, our illusory existence. As a result we get only illusory happiness which ultimately results in unhappiness. Happiness is followed by unhappiness. The ever-changing scenario of life makes us ugly in old age. Through all hurdles and hitches and with tears we march into the lap of death, which again throws us into the net of births and re-births after suffering the hell-like life. Such is the life of an average human being.

To save all beings from such a plight, Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan provided a new dimension to the traditional vow of Ekadashi and asked one and all to observe it strictly.

Certain restrictions and observances are necessary for developing physical, moral, mental and spiritual strength. This is why Swami Vivekanand declared : ‘YOU MUST HAVE COURAGE TO SAY NO.'

For achieving maximum, durable happiness even in our routine life, for achieving spiritual bliss, for pleasing Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan and to make sure about our permanent stay in Akshardham after death, we have to retreat from extroversion and fall back to ambiversion. This can be done without much difficulty by observing the vow of Ekadashi.

This vow is called Ekadashithe vow of the eleven, because as defined by Shree Hari Himself – the vow of Ekadashi is said to have been performed when one withdraws ten senses and the eleventh, the mind; from their objects of pleasure and joining them to God. (Vachanamrit G.P. 38).

Shree Hari has laid greater emphasis upon the psychological side of this vow because ‘psyche’ originally meant the soul. And again, because mind is nearer to the self. On this day one has to make strong conscious efforts to control the five physical senses – the ears, the skin, the eyes, the tongue and the nose and five senses of knowledge – cognition and eleventh, the mind. The objects of pleasure of these senses are their subtle food.

On the physical side we have to practise change and restrictions in our diet to make the mind free from its conditional food-fads. Only light, non-irritant and less than enough diet should be sparingly taken.

The animal goes on fasting when weak or when it gets no food. Such fast or merely fasting has no spiritual benefits. This is called DHOR LANGHAN (Animal-fasting).

On the physical side too, we have to observe the following rules : (1) Violence of all types should be completely avoided, (2) Silence (except reciting devotional songs and stotras) should be observed, (3) Celibacy should be strictly observed, (4) Sleeping on a carpet at night, (5) Not sleeping at day time, (6) Special worship at home or at the temple, (7) Dishonesty in all dealings should be avoided cautiously, (8) Try to sit at one place and meditate upon God as far as you can, (9) Avoid all tasty dishes, (10) Keep awake at least up to midnight, singing devotional songs and (11) Listen to some holy scriptures.

Thus you have to make Ekadashi an extra-ordinary day of self-control which will develop your will-power elsewhere.

The vow of Ekadashi has its origin in a Puranic story. Lord Vishnu after withdrawing His eleven senses was once in Yoga-Nidra. Moor, the most powerful demon came to destroy Lord Vishnu. At that time a young girl manifested from the divine light of His senses. The demon asked for her hand in marriage, but she beheaded the demon. When Lord Vishnu woke up, she introduced herself as Ekadashi, as she manifested from God’s eleven senses. She got the boon from God that people would observe her vow (who seek for their Moksha, and spiritual bliss) described as before. This vow is observed on the eleventh days – both of the bright half and dark half of every month. It is observed daily by the liberated souls of Shvetdwipa.

Certain restrictions about diet are made on this day, because different diets have different effects on mind. To keep our mind and body light, fresh, Sattvic – light diet (except food-grains) should be taken on this day. Over eating on such a day will lead to drowsiness. As a result of that our senses may become excited and our mind cannot be inclined towards meditation and other devotional practices.

Satsangi Jeevan (C-3, Ch.–31) says that non observance of the vow of Ekadashi is a heinous sin (the sin that becomes an obstacle between your soul and God Supreme).

So, all our readers, should observe the vow of Ekadashi for better life here and best life hereinafter.

Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal


  1. What a perfect article on a perfect day !!!

  2. Jay Swaminarayan. There is mention of self-control of all 10 senses and mind. This is the essential goal of Ekadashi. In Vachnamrut, Shreeji Maharaj says for all devotees to keep a yearly account (naamu) of such things as how much closer one has gotten to Shri Hari, how much has one withdrawn senses and mind from maya, etc. Ekadashi also provides a devotee to examine or test oneself on a bi-monthly basis. If your 10 senses and mind has been in constant or semi-constant service of Shri Hari, then on the day of Ekadashi, focusing your 10 senses and mind on Shri Hari will be a much easier task. But if the opposite is true in which the senses and mind have been feasting on maya for 14 days and then on ekadashi, the devotee tries to focus on Shri Hari, it is very difficult. This day provides significant introspection for a true devotee who has an ultimate goal to be in constant union with God Supreme.

  3. i came across another interesting explanation on benifits of observing ekadashi by someone called swami krishnanand. here goes..

    "Fast and meditation! What connection have they? There is really no intrinsic connection between fast and meditation, but there is some advantage in keeping the body light and the stomach free from excessive metabolic function. When the stomach is given the duty of digestion, doctors will tell you, the blood circulation is accelerated towards the digestive organs, on account of which blood circulation to the head gets decreased after food is taken and so you feel sleepy and the thinking faculty practically ceases to function. Hence, there is no advantage in giving the physical system work on days you want to do Yogic practice. Thus, Ekadasi has also a spiritual significance.

    The energy of the whole system gets distributed equally if a particular limb is not given any inordinate work. If any part is given heavy work, there is a dislocation of the working of the body. So, in fasting the energy is equally distributed as the digestive function is not there. But, there should be no overdoing in fast. Fast is supposed to cause buoyancy of feeling and not fatigue. So people who are sick and cannot observe a total fast take milk and fruits, etc. People who are perfectly healthy and are confident, observe a complete fast. This helps in control of mind and will.

    Apart from all these, there is a necessity to give the physiological system some rest once a while. It may be over-worked due to a little over-eating or indiscrimination in diet. These irregularities unconsciously done during the fourteen days get rectified in one day. Thus the observance of Ekadasi has many advantages—physical, astral, spiritual—and because this day has connection with the relation of the mind with its abode together with the moon, you feel mysteriously helped in your meditation and contemplation,—mysteriously because you cannot know this consciously. But you can feel this for yourself by observing it.

  4. A Very Interesting article. I will refer to it every Ekadashi when I am strugging with my mind to keep/break the fast. Can I get the lyrics to the two kirtans: Panche Indriye and Mera Man Sahajanand Su Manaa Re....Jay Swaminarayan

  5. Anonymous has asked for the lyrics of two kirtans please send your email ID or address so that I can send it to you.

    Lalji Bhagat

  6. This is a really good article for why one should do ekhadashi. I never knew why i actually did it, bu whatever has been stated in this article, i have closely observed and experienced it. If you eat less or lightly eat. You feel more better and not get lazy. i have always felt more peaceful and my poojas in the morning have improved on those days. You also seem to be able to focus more on your daily tasks, bcuz different foods have good and bad affects on your mind. And on ekhadashi you mostly eat fruits, milk and certain vegetables, which are obviously extremely good for your mind and body, thus you feel more good about yourself.