Shree Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple (Mandir) London
Affiliated to Shree Swaminarayan Temple, Bhuj, Kutch, India
Ekadashi follows the Hindu calendar on the movement of the moon. a month has 30 days and are divided into two periods of 15days. First period of the month is called Sud (Sukla pax). During this period, the Moon's size is increasing. The second period of the month is called Vad ( Krishan pax). During this period, the moon's size is decreasing.
Ekadashi occurs on the 11th day of each period (twice a month). Ekadashi mean 11 (Ek meaning 1 and dash meaning 10 therefore 11). It is tradition in Hindu religion to observe fast on this day and is considered a holy day.
Story of Ekadashi
Ekadashi is a Vrat (austerity) which started many years ago. Once Lord Narayan was resting and a demon call Mundanav challenged the Lord for a fight. Mundanav had a boon (wish) that he could not be defeated by a man. So Lord Narayan produced a damsel from eleven spiritual parts of his body. Mundanav was so attracted to this damsel that he asked her to marry her. The damsel agreed with a condition that he had to fight her and destroy her and only then will she marry him. Mundanav was blinded by passion and did not even think twice and agreed to fight with her.
During the fight, Mundanav was killed by the damsel. Lord Narayan was pleased with the damsel and granted her a boon.
The damsel asked Lord Narayan that ‘as I evolved from your Ekadash Indriyas (eleven spiritual parts of the body) I shall be known as Ekadashi. I am filled with Taap (penance) so I desire that people should observe Ekadashi Vrata on this day and control their Ekadash Indriyas on this day. Lord Narayan agreed and ever since all Hindus perform Ekadashi Vrat by fasting or eating farrari foods. A number of people do Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat on this day by not taking any food or drink.
Swaminarayan Bhagwan explains in the Vachnamrut that a true Ekadashi Vrat is when one withdraws the ten indriyas and the eleventh, the mind, from their worldly activities and focuses them on God and devotional activities
The Indriyas that should be controlled during Ekadashi
5 Sense organs
5 Motor organs
The Mind is the last of the Indriyas that should be controlled
Items which can be eaten Ekadashi under farrari foods include: Potatoes, Sweet Potato, Cassava (Mogo), Turnip and Yams, Milk Yogurt, Fruits, Nuts, some vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower tomatoes) and special grain such as Samo and Rajagri.
Please Note that on Ekadashi, NO OUTSIDE FOOD MUST BE TAKEN!! Only food prepared at home or temple must be taken
Number of Ekadashis in a year
There are 2 ekadashi's in each month plus 5 additional Vrats that must be taken which means there is a total of 29 Vrats in a year which must be taken. They are as follows: