Periyava’s Key Message on Ekadasi – Abstain From Rice!

ஏகாதசியின் ஏற்றம்

Ambal_Periyava_Adi_Shankara

– Jaya Jaya Shankara Hara Hara Shankara – Ekadasi Thithi comes twice a month and will happen in the next couple days, depending on where we live and based on sunrise. It is important we remember what Periyava has said (Deivathin Kural Volume 3) about this ‘Mother of all Vratham’s’ (fasting) and what we need to do on that day.  There are 4 levels of fasting prescribed by Sastras, starting with Nirjala upavasam to all the way down. The key takeaway is to avoid eating rice on Ekadasi which is a great sin with no atonement equivalent sin to consuming dog’s excretion. However, the sastras has given a few exceptions on this regard for kids, aged, sick, etc. Chanting of Bhagawan Nama on this day is very auspicious. Ram Ram!

வ்ரதோபவாஸங்களில் உச்ச ஸ்தானத்தில் இருப்பது ஏகாதசி.

 காயத்ர்யாபரம் மந்த்ரம்  மாதுபர தைவதம் |
 காச்யாபரமம் தீர்த்தம் நைகாதச்யாஸமம் வ்ரதம் ||

‘காயத்ரிக்கு மேலே மந்தரமில்லை; அம்மாவுக்கு மேலே தெய்வமில்லை (தாயிற் சிறந்ததொரு கோயிலுமில்லை); காசிக்கு மேலே தீர்த்தமில்லை’ என்று சொல்லிக் கடைசியில் ‘ஏகாதசிக்கு ஸமானமாக வ்ரதுமெதுவுமில்லை’ என்று முடிகிறது. மற்றதற்கெல்லாம் ‘மேலே’ ஒன்றுமில்லை என்பதால் அவற்றுக்கு ‘ஸமமாக’ ஏதாவது இருந்தாலும் இருக்கலாம் என்று ஆகிறது. ஆனால் வ்ரதங்களை எடுத்துக்கொண்டால், அவற்றில் ஏகாதசிக்கு ‘மேலே’ மட்டுமில்லாமல், அதற்கு ‘ஸமமாக’க் கூட எதுவுமில்லையென்று ரொம்பவும் சிற்ப்பித்துச் சொல்லியிருக்கிறது.

அஷ்ட வர்ஷாதிகமர்த்யஅபூர்ணாசீதி வத்ஸர😐
ஏகாதச்யாம் உபவஸேத் பக்ஷயோஉபயோஅபி ||

என்று தர்ம சாஸ்த்ரம் கூறுகிறது. அதாவது மநுஷ்யராகப் பிறந்தவர்களில் எட்டு வயஸுக்கு மேல் எண்பது வயகுக்கு உட்பட்ட எல்லோரும் இரு பக்ஷங்களிலும் வரும் ஏகாதசிகளில் உபவாஸம் இருக்க வேண்டும் என்று அர்த்தம். எந்த ஸம்ப்ரதாயக்காரன், எந்த ஜாதிக்காரன், ஆணா பெண்ணா என்ற வித்யாஸமில்லாமல், ‘மர்த்ய’, அதாவது மநுஷ்யராகப் பிறந்த எல்லோரும் ஏகாதசி உபவாஸம் அநுஷ்டிக்க வேண்டும் என்று இது சொல்கிறது. ரொம்பவும் கருணையோடு குழந்தைகளையும், தள்ளாத கிழவர்களையும் சிரமப்படுத்த வேண்டாமென்றுதான் எட்டு வயஸுக்குக் கீழே இருப்பவர்களுக்கும், எண்பது வயஸுக்கு மேலே போனவர்களுக்கும் விதிவிலக்குக் கொடுத்திருக்கிறது. அவர்கள் உபவாஸம் இருக்கக் கூடாது என்று கண்டிப்புச் செய்ததாக அர்த்தமில்லை. முடிந்தால் அவர்களும் இருக்கலாம். முடியவில்லை என்பதால் இல்லாவிட்டாலும் பாதகமில்லை என்று அர்த்தம். மஹாராஷ்டிரம் முதலிய இடங்களில் ஏகாதசியன்று பச்சைக் குழந்தைக்குக்கூட பால் கொடுக்காத தாய்மார்கள் இருந்திருக்கிறார்கள்; அந்தக் குழந்தைகளும் அவர்களுடைய நம்பிக்கையிலேயே நன்றாக இருந்திருக்கின்றன என்று சொல்வார்கள். இத்தனை ‘எக்ஸ்ட்ரீம் டிஸிப்ளி’னை தர்ம சாஸ்திரகாரகர்களே எதிர்பார்க்கவுமில்லை; ரூலாகப் போடவுமில்லை.

பகவான் கை கொடுப்பான் என்று நம்பி தைர்யமாகப் பூர்ண நியமத்தோடுதான் ஆரம்பிக்க வேண்டும். அப்படியும் முடியாவிட்டால் வீம்பாகப் பட்டினி கிடந்து தேஹ ச்ரமத்தையும் மனஸ் கஷ்டங்களையும் வரவழைத்துக் கொள்ள வேண்டியதில்லை. ஏகாதசி தவிர மற்ற உபவாஸ தினங்களில் ஒரே பொழுது பலஹாரம் (சாஸ்த்ரீய பலஹாரத்தைச் சொல்லாமல், தோசை-இட்லி பலஹாரத்தைத்தான் சொல்கிறேன்) செய்யலாம். இன்னொரு பொழுது சாஸ்தீரிய பலஹாரமான பழம், பால் மட்டும் சாப்பிடலாம். முடியாதவர்கள் ஒருபொழுது அன்னம், ஒருபொழுது தோசை-இட்லி மாதிரி பலஹாரம் பண்ணலாம். ஆனால் முழு நியமப்படி மாற்றிக் கொள்ள முயற்சி பண்ணிக் கொண்டேயிருக்க வேண்டும்.

ஏகாதசியில் நிர்ஜலமாயிருந்தால் ரொம்பவும் ச்ரேஷ்டம். அது ரொம்பவும் கஷ்டமும். ஸாத்விகமான பானங்கள் மட்டும் பண்ணுவது அடுத்தபடி. அதற்கும் அடுத்தப்படி நிஜப் பலஹாரமாகப் பழத்தோடு பால் சாப்பிடுவது. அப்புறம் ஒருவேளை மட்டும் பற்றுப்படாத ஸத்துமா, பூரி மாதிரியானவற்றைச் சாப்பிட்டு இன்னொரு வேளை பழம், பால் ஆஹாரம் செய்வது. இன்னம் ஒருபடி கீழே, ஒருவேளை பக்வமான, புஷ்டியான இட்லி, தோசை, பொங்கல், உப்புமா இத்யாதியும் இன்னொரு வேளை பால் பழமும சாப்பிடுவது.

இதற்கும் கீழே போகப்படாது. அதாவது ஒரு வேளைகூட அன்னம் சாப்பிடுவதாக இருக்கப்படாது. மற்ற உபவாஸங்களில் அதமபக்ஷமாக ஒரு வேளை அன்னம், ஒரு வேளை இட்லி தோசை என்று வைத்துக் கொள்ளும் அளவுக்கு ஏகாதசியைக் கொண்டு வந்துவிடக் கூடாது. ஏகாதசியில் அன்னத்தைச் சாப்பிட்டால் பிராயச்சித்தமே கிடையாது என்றிருக்கிறது. சிலவிதமான நோயாளிகள், பலஹீனர்கள், அன்னம் தவிர எதுவுமே ஜெரித்துக் கொள்ள முடியவில்லையென்று நிர்பந்தம் ஏற்பட்டால் சாதத்தை கஞ்சி வடிக்காமல் ஹவிஸ்ஸாகப் பண்ணி அதில் உப்பு, புளி, காரம் எதுவுமே சேர்க்காமல் ஒருவேளை மட்டும் ஸ்வல்பம் ஏகாதசியன்று சாப்பிடலாம். ரொம்பவும் அசக்தமானவர்களுக்குத்தான் இந்த relaxation. மற்றவர்களுக்கில்லை. அன்று ஒருவன் சாப்பிட்டால் அதில் ஒவ்வொரு பிடியிலும் நாயின் அமேத்யத்துக்கு ஸமமான பாவத்தைச் சாப்பிடுகிறான் என்று மிகவும் கடுமையாகவே சொல்லியிருக்கிறது: ப்ரதிக்ராஸம் அஸௌ புங்க்தே கிஷ்பிஷம் ச்வாந விட் ஸமம்.



Categories: Deivathin Kural

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46 replies

  1. As with other important aspects of Sanathana Dharma, I think the “Maahatmiya Gyana” regarding Ekadasi has to be inculcated in childhood itself. And also when children observe such practices being followed by the elders in the house, it becomes that much easier for them to follow.
    It of course does not mean that the practice cannot be started in later stages of life. In my own experience, I have seen that my neighbours and a few of my colleages took to fasting on Ekadasi after observing me and hearing from me about this Greatest of the Vrata. It is purely by His Grace that I have been able to observe “Nirjala Ekadasi for many years inspite of the situation or circumstances I have been in.
    Therefore, apart from observing the fasting oneself, it is also equally important to try and create awareness as much as possible (which I think is also the requirement/injunction). And what more satisfaction can one have when you see someone get inspired and take to the practice. And thus being of a little service to Sanathana Dharma in our own little way, as well as adhering to atleast some of the preachings of Sri Maha Periyawa, if not all (which would be ideal ) .

  2. Shanker Sir,
    Thanks for reiterating the core values of Ekadashi.
    Regards, Mahalakshmi

  3. Please observe ekadashi as enscribed in the scriptures as much as possible. NO Grains, daal, veggies etc. Fruits and nuts and milk allowed. No coffee, tea, coke etc. Reciting hari nama and Vishnu sahasranamam important. PLease observer Nirjala Ekadashi without ANY food or water. Only water for acahamanam ( enough to dip a mustard seed) is allowed on Nirjala ekadashi.

    • Well said Shanker Sir. I totally agree with you. We should all try to follow as much as possible as said in our shastras and not try to define any shortcut or excuse.

  4. Namaskaram,
    I do upvasam on Sashti and Ekadashi.
    I generally have coffee and fruits.
    Once in a while I have paruppu (payatham paruppu) kanji with milk and sugar.
    I am so much addicted to having coffee on getting up.
    I did not know that coffee is not a permissible drink.
    Please advise if paruppu kanji is permitted.
    Thanks, Mahalakshmi

  5. someone asked me avoid buttermilk, curd during fasting days does that apply for ekadasi.
    also what if we go to temples on ekadasi days where we are offered prasadam made of rice? should weconsume or no?

    • Ram Ram – Avoiding buttermilk and curd applies for Ekadasi as well, the mother of all Vrathams. I do not eat the temple prasadam if it is made of rice but eat the following day. You may want to check with our Periyava’s on that. In my experience a lot Vaadhiyar’s do not know or care much about this. Ram Ram.

      • Thanks for the clarification. I have been doing the same. when I say I don’t eat prasadam people who distribute it are trying to convince me saying that it is prasadham. so thought of clarifying it here.

      • Avoiding buttermilk and curd applies for Ekadasi as well,-

        Just happened to see this posting. So far I haven’t taken buttermilk or curd luckily on Ekadasi days. I was thinking with whom to confirm this. What I have heard earlier, now is confirmed now. Thanks for this confirmation.

        Will not take in future too .Will strictly adhere.

  6. what all is included and excluded in saathveegamana baanam. can someone explain.

    • Milk, Butttermilk (without salt), Wheat (Kodhumai) Kanji without salt are considered Sathvika Baanam.

      Coffee, Tea, Any caffenine, Chocolote, Alcohol are a strict no no and NOT considered as Sathvika Baanam. Hope this helps! Ram Ram.

      • Will initiate to start avoiding coffee on all Ekadasi days and will have only milk . will do that

  7. very beautifully said by mahaperiava about the importance of observing the ekadasi vrarta.It has lot of significance and as he has said there is nothing above that.It is also health wise good for observing coast once in 15 days.UPAVASA means to be near God by observing vrata or ousting from food that day we should chant the mahamantra or name of god this will give us strength and elevate us.Though in this machine life mechanical way of life everyone has tight time once in fifteen days at least we can observe this by obtaining form rice and reap the benefits as explained.We have to inculcate this habit from younger days and it lies in the hands of parents who alone can explain this to their children and if they follow this and as they only prepare food for them this will surely followed by their children.It has become a fashion nowadays to eat out often which is also not good as the food which is offered to god and taken is prasadam and that alone is good

  8. Thanks for the translation

    • Many persons are writing so many things about MAHA PERIAVA after his sahabtham. No body dared to write such things about him while he was alive. MAHA PERIAVA would have never said such as DOG’s etc. etc. I am really shocked to see such things. K GANESAN

      • Ram Ram, Dear Shri Ganesan – I’m not sure why are you shocked about this 🙂 Maha Periyava has quoted what the Dharma Sastras has said if one eates rice on Ekadasai. This is not something that has been taken from somewhere. I’m sure you are aware of all Periyava’s upanyasams that came as 7 volumes of rare gems called Deivathin Kural. These volumes were compiled and published by Shri Ra Ganapathi decades back after approval and blessings of Maha Periyava himself. They are very much the authority and available in Sri Madam as well as in Kamakoti Website (the official website of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam). You can check the Dharma Sastras, it says what Periyava has said when one eats rice on Ekadasi. I have mentioned the source in the original post itself from where this was taken. Listing it here again with the link http://www.kamakoti.org/tamil/3dk193.htm. Hope this helps.

        I’m amazed we either believe everything or completely trash out everything 🙂 Periyava Thiruvadi Charanam. Ram Ram

  9. Even Periyava, had a experience from a Maharashtrian Electrican, for Ekadashi day

  10. Ram Ram,

    Let me attempt at providing a summary level English Translation. Hope it helps!

    Periyava quotes from Dharma Sastras stating that Gayathri is the highest mantra, mother is the greatest temple, nothing equivalent to Kasi theertham and in Vrathams none equal to Ekadasi. Any human aged above 8 till 80 should observe this fasting, does not matter what sex, caste, creed they belong to. The exemption given is not to trouble kids and elders but if they are willing to and can they are welcome to observe as well. In North Indian states like Maharashtra people have immense faith and do not even feed infants with milk on this day, but the kids did very well by the grace of Bhagawan. Even the Dharma Sastras did not expect this kind of extreme discipline.

    We have to start this vratham with full faith on bhagawan and he will take care of us. On other vrathams exceptions can be made but not on Ekadasi. There are 4 levels of fasting starting with Nirjala Upavasam (no water), liquid diet like water and milk, consuming fruits, tiffin items like idli, dosa, chappathi, uppuma. WE SHOULD NOT LOWER THE BAR BEYOND THIS. WE SHOULD NOT CONSUME RICE ON THIS DAY. Exceptions are given for small kids, very sick and elderly people but rest of us should strive to follow and fast as much as we can. If we consume rice on this day it is an equivalent sin to consuming dog’s excretion in every ounce we take. This sin has no atonement as per our Dharma Sastras. Ram Ram

  11. In my family, elders prevented many times not observing any fast including Ekadasi.

  12. Can someone please translate
    for non-tamil readers

    Thanks in advance

  13. How sad but true!
    It is not only Ekadashi vrathams.
    Everything has got affected all over Bharat not only in Tamil Nadu.
    It is the system of Macaulay’s education that has wrought these sad changes in our mentality and daily living practices.
    The EEE ( English Educated Elite ) as I call them have become completely deracinated from our Shashtra-Vidhi-vidhaanam.Everything is under the microscope and dissected ‘scientifically’ and discarded as superstition and useless.
    In fact we Bharatis have become hollow -everything from the West is Best.
    And very sadly we only take that which suits us -not that which is ideal because in the West there are wonderful things that we should emulate,inculcate in our children and follow.
    Look at the way we greet each other- Hi,Hi ( no Namaste,Namaskara,Namaskaaram ).
    Our beautiful ways have become too old-fashioned and it is fashionable to say Hiiiiii-the longer the better!
    The people in the West more and more say Namaste with folded hands.
    In addition to the spiritual aspect they also consider as hygienic because we do not have to touch hands.
    Look at the way today our women dress-there is nothing Bharateeya about them.
    No ‘pottu’ to hide our Bharateeys identity!
    Only older women are seen dressed in sarees or something Bharateeya.
    So the cycle goes on and one wonders!
    But perhaps this is all that has to happen in this Kaliyugam!
    All that was held sacred and beautiful has been side-lined.
    May our Sri Mahaperiyavaa and other great sages inspire and change the mind-sets of our people to understand and follow our Sanatana Dharmic ways!

    • vijayaa108, It is very convenient how you have just singled out women as not wearing sarees etc. As far as I can see right now around me , I don’t see many men wearing panchakaccham or dhoti either. So it has nothing to do with gender. The issue is universal and applies to all.

  14. பெரியா எல்லோரும் க்ஷமிக்கனம். இந்த ஸாஸ்த்ரீய காரணோத்தோட, ஏன் சாப்பிடக்கூடாது. சாப்பிட்ட என்னவாகும் போன்ற அறிவியல் காரணம் கூட சொன்ன…..இந்த காலத்து குழந்தைகளுக்கு புரிய ஏதுவாயிருக்கும்.

    • Ram Ram

      What is the scientific rationale behind Ekadasi fasting ?

      The number of people observing Ekadashi has been decreasing because the younger people, as well as intelligent ones, who would rather understand the significance and benefit of following a custom instead of observing it blindly., are unable to see any philosophical or rationale significance and only marginal physiological value of such fasting. Thus, Ekadashi has lost its meaning.

      It is obvious to the thinking individual that as is the case with a number of religious institutions, symbols, festivals and observances, the real meaning of Ekadashi has been forgotten and its being followed mechanically and blindly. Just as it is not prudent to discard a car when a part of it needs repair, it is not prudent to ignore Ekadashi just because we fail to grasp its significance. We need to remove the layer of dust covering its important observance.

      In fact, a lot more to Ekadashi than mere fasting. This is explained in three parts. First, what is so special about the eleventh day of the lunar cycle? Why wasn’t ninth day or first day chosen? The number eleven is sum of our five sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin), our five motor organs (hands, feet, mouth, reproductive and excretory organs), and the mind. These are elements with which we function. Ekadashi serves to remind us that the mind is the key element. The mind makes decisions, directs the motor organs to perform certain deeds and utilizes the sense organs to enjoy the fruits of the deeds. The focus of Ekadashi is this crucial eleventh element – the mind.

      Our conscience, not our desires, should control our mind. Ekadashi is one day of each fortnight (two weeks) that is reserved for focusing on the mind to make it pure and pious. The decisions made by a pure mind are not governed by “needs” of the senses, but by divinity. A pure and pious mind leads the senses in right direction.

      We must worship God this day. Devotion is a way to make the mind pure and pious. Upavas actually means , “to be near, to make closer”. Thus the association of Upavas with Ekadashi is that this is the day each individual spends in purifying his mind as a means of bringing himself closer to God. The concept of fasting does have a relationship in this regard. In order to bring ourselves closer to God and spend more time with Him and His work, we should spend less time in sensual pleasures. In this respect fasting gives us chance to reduce our desires for food. We make our minds stronger by imposing this self-discipline. Unfortunately, over a number of generations, the real meaning of Upavas got lost. and its loose association with fasting remained as the only living remnant of Ekadashi.

      There is yet one another, even more logical meaning of Ekadashi. This is the day we offer our energy, wealth and time in the service of God. God loves and protects us 24 hours a day, so we have more than enough reasons to be grateful to him. Therefore we must express our gratitude to Him, and thank Him for His bounty at least once every fortnight. Ekadashi is the designated day to do this. Besides offering Him our mind, we should engage ourselves in the task of spreading His wisdom from door to door. Every man and woman must be acquainted with the teachings of God. We should attempt to build a relationship with as many of his children as we can do on this day.

      In order to be able to dedicate the entire day to God, we must stay away from our routine jobs and household work. The practice of no cooking on Ekadashi and only eating fruits came about so that instead of staying home and cooking, women could go out and do God’s work also. We eat simple food on Ekadashi so that we have more time to show our gratitude to God on that day. When we understand the philosophical significance in logical manner, we appreciate the significance of fasting associated with it.

      With eternally appreciative nature, it reminds us to be thankful to those who maintained even the remnants of Ekadashi through generations. They did it because they maintained the aspects of Ekadashi that they understood, we are not able to appreciate Ekadashi as originally conceived. The observance of Ekadashi as originally was multipurpose. Individual spiritual development was of course an objective. When large number of people utilized the day to spread the wisdom of God door to door for a long period of time, they contributed to instilling the vedic thoughts in to the masses of India. Thus Ekadashi contributed to individual spiritual development as well as to the upliftment of the masses.

      Having understood the concept of Ekadashi, we too would like to observe it in its true sense. However, in today’s society, it may not be possible to take a day off of work or school every eleventh day of the lunar month. The essence of Ekadashi still can be maintained by observing it on Saturday or Sunday or by observing one weekend per month to perform God’s work. If its not possible to do this, a person can still maintain the spirit of Ekadashi by taking 24 days off at one time each year and going out of town or out of country to do God’s work and to uplift himself as well as others.

      There is one additional way of observing Ekadashi. If it is not possible for a person to take any time off from daily routine, he can offer his Ekadashi day’s earnings in God’s service. Ekadashi does not only mean fasting once every two weeks. Ekadashi means controlling one’s senses and mind through self-discipline. Ekadashi gives us that opportunity to thank God for all that He does that by offering one day out of fifteen for His work. When we understand this meaning of Ekadashi, our respect for our ancient Indian Vedic culture increases. When we decide to put this observance of Ekadashi in regular practice ourselves, we greatly enhance our spiritual development.

      From a social and communal perspective skipping a meal causes the food to be saved, give it back to the society for others to consume. The conclusion, according to the most recent meal-skipping study, is that skipping meals as part of a controlled eating plan that results in lower calorie intake can result in better health.

  15. I had been to Pune a couple of years back. As many would be aware, there are eight famous Pillayar temples in Maharashtra called the Ashta Ganapathy. One of the eight is about 25 kms from Pune and I decided to visit that temple – the Pillayar there is really beautiful and is called Theyur Chintamani.

    I took an auto from my hotel and it took about an hour or so to reach the temple. I requested the auto driver to stay there so that he could drop be back and he agreed.

    Since it was a rather hot day and it would take me atleast half hour to have darshan, I thought I would give some money to the auto driver – so that he could have some food while waiting.

    To my utter surprise though, he politely but firmly refused to take the money. I asked him why.

    He said he was fasting that day. When I asked why he was fasting, he looked a bit puzzled as to how I didnt know. He said – “”Aaj Ekadasi hai” (It is Ekadasi today)!

    I felt ashamed that day that I was not fasting.

    Just wanted to mention this incident to show how prevalent this practice of fasting during Ekadasi is in many parts of the North – but seems sadly on the decline in Tamil Nadu.

    • Sri Muthuswamy, let me assure, it is not merely TN but also very fast way declining in all over S.India is the sad part. Until recent a few years back, I was thinking that it is only for old people, since my childhood, my grand ma and other old people around me were only used to do this. Don’t ask me about present day generation. Maha Periva should do something for this in the minds of present day people.

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