Significance of Ekadasi


Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara – One of our volunteers shared some of the finer points of observing Ekadasi Vrattam, Rama Nama, Gho Matha, etc. referring our scriptures. Sharing it for the benefit of all. Rama Rama

Murari and Ekadasi

Sri Vedavyaasaaya Namah
Namah Parvathi Pathaye – Hara Hara Mahadeva

Maha Periyava has told us to observe Ekadasi Vratam on ‘n’ number of occasions. Bhagavadpadhal also had highlighted the importance of Ekadasi in those times itself. Our Acharyal like Krishna, has left subtle hints to make us follow Ekadasi.   Great Mahans  like Acharyal and Bhagwan Sri Ramana Maharishi composed works which gives a simple meaning to ordinary people and at the same, a deeper meaning to scholars. Our Jadguru Indra Saraswati Swamigal has strived hard to revive so many festivals like MahaShivarathri, Krishna Jayanti, Narashima Jayanti etc.

Many festivals are celebrated with great galore but our Sakshat Acharyal Avataram – Maha Periyava has an important mission of spreading the awareness of Ekadasi.

Krishna in Gita explains about a medicine (solution) which is bitter at the start but sweet later on. Ekadasi may seem bitter but later on, becomes the sweetest.

A few may think certain things must be done for the sake of the mental purity only but Vyasa Bhagwan himself has stated the merits obtained by doing Ekadasi vratam. Maha Periyava himself gave gold coins for writing Rama Nama.

Initially, one may do it for the merits mentioned but he/she will gradually start doing it for Bhagwan’s joy. (-Periyava in his discourses).

Putrada Ekadasi (the Ekadasi which bestows good children), Kamada Ekadasi (which fulfills all our wishes etc.) and all the 26 Ekadasis bestows innumerable benefits. There will be only 24 Ekadasis in a year but our panchangams have an Adika Maasam in a leap year – thus we get 26 Ekadasis in a leap year. One must carefully observe according to his/her ability.

Subtle Hints in Great Works

When we look at the great works , the verses would convey two meanings. One, if we take in the literal sense, we get an ordinary meaning and another one in a deeper sense. One can understand this if one listens to discourses about Valmiki’s Srimad Ramayanam or Vyasa Bhagwan’s Mahabharatham , Bhaja Govindam etc.

This would be a little hard to understand, let me explain with examples from Thirupaavai and Aditya Hrdayam.

Thirupaavai

மார்கழித் திங்கள் மதிநிறைந்த நன்னாளால் (Tirupaavai’s first line) Here, “மார்கழித் திங்கள்” – “Margazhi Thingal” can be taken as in the month of Margazhi or in the deeper sense – when the ego is reduced or removed (கழித்) from our heart (not the organ) (மார்),that day becomes very auspicious.

Adithya Hrudayam

राम राम महाबाहो शृणु गुह्यं सनातनम्। 
येन सर्वानरीन् वत्स समरे विजयिष्यसि॥

 

  1. Verse taken literally – Agastya Maharishi says “O Rama ! If you recite this Aditya Hridayam (which is the eternal secret), you shall be victorious in the battle.”
  2. Verse taken in the deeper sense –
    Agastyar uses Rama Rama Mahabhaho, we can take one Rama as Parashurama, another Rama as Srirama and Mahabhaho as Balarama.Mahabhaho is used because Balarama will incarnate in the Dwapara yuga, Balarama is known for his physical prowess, that’s why Agastya uses Mahabhaho (indirectly hinting at Balarama’s avatar)The other Ramas had already incarnated in Treta Yuga itself.  Agastya says Rama Rama Rama . Anything important will be said thrice in our scriptures. Even in Sri Rama Rama Rameti sloka (Rameti = Rama + Ithi), Rama is said three times. Then he says Shrunu Guhyam Sanatanam,

    Shrunu = listen
    Guhyam = secret
    Sanatanam = eternal

    With this, we shall take Agastya has conveyed even Maha Vishnu has incarnated three times as Rama to stress the importance of Rama Nama.

    Kasi Viswanath temple, one of the most famous temples in India, there vilva leaves have Rama Nama written on them before vilva is offered to Kashi Vishwanatha.( believe in the Nithya puja.)

    In Skanda Purana, it is said that Agastya stayed with Kashi Viswanath before coming to South India. Who else other than Agastya Maharishi can explain the importance of Rama Nama?

    So, in the deeper sense – Chant Rama Rama Rama, which is the eternal secret that can eliminate all obstacles in our battle (with Samsara), fulfill all desires and also grant liberation.

    Ekadasi in Narayaneeyam  – ( Dasakam – 92 )

    गङ्गा गीता च गायत्र्यपि च तुलसिका गोपिकाचन्दनं तत्सा
    लग्रामाभिपूजा परपुरुष  तथैकादशी नामवर्णाः।
    एतान्यष्टाप्ययत्नान्ययि, कलिसमये त्वत्प्रसादप्रवृद्ध्या
    क्षिप्रंमुक्तिप्रदानीत्यभिदधुरृषयस्तेषुमांसज्जयेथाः॥

    Ganga, Bhagwat Gita, Sandhyavandam(Gayatri), Tulasi/Vilva, Tilakam prescribed according to one’s tradition, Saligrama worship (or worshipping deities in the form of Utsava Murthy or Moolavar Murthy),  Ekadasi and letters of your names makes  you (Parabhramam) pleased, so please make me attached to these eight things. According to Rishis, these eight are effortless, makes you pleased and people attain liberation very quickly.

    Murari (means “the one who defeated Mura.”)

    Murari is the name given for Krishna for defeating Mura (an Asura who tormented the Devas). Mura could not be defeated easily, Indra and other Devas were defeated, then Maha Vishnu fought with Mura for a long time still Mura couldn’t be defeated. Vishnu using his illusionary powers, distracted Mura and went to a cave in Badhrikashramam to rest. When Mura found Vishnu sleeping, he advanced with his weapons to kill him but he was stopped by an Amsha Avatar of Mahalakshmi who eliminated Mura without any exertion. Maha Vishnu woke up and saw Mura dead, and being pleased, told Devi to ask for any boon.

    Ekadasi Devi asked “Whoever fasts completely/partially on Ekadasi Thithi must be given your grace in abundance for crossing the Samsara.”

    Which is why, every Ekadasi has its own special merit.

    Then Ekadasi fasting started for worshipping Murari (some do Ekadasi for pleasing Shiva .)

    Murari is often used by Acharyal in his works, Yamunashtagam starts with the word Murari, in many places in Bhaja Govindam, Kanakadhara Stotram, Narashima Stotrams and so on.

    Whenever you ask a devotee who got blessings from Maha Periyava would say that it was his/her Poorva Janma Punyam to meet such a Mahan. So, a Brahma Gnani must have a reason to request Mahalakshmi to shower gold at the lady’s house.

    Even when dharma was declining during the rise of Buddhism and others religions, the lady did Ekadasi Upavaasam and gave an Amla fruit to the little boy (Sri Adi Sankarar) though she had nothing to break her fast. She was in bitter poverty, she decided to break her fast with water and didn’t want to send the little boy empty handed. Then on Dwadashi, the famous Kanadhara stotram was composed and it was it his first stotram. The Divine Mother gave her Nayana Anugraham (nayana = eyes) to the whole world while showering the lady’s house with gold.

    Kanakadhara Stotram

    मुग्धा मुहुर्विदधती वदने मुरारेः – Salutations to mother Lakshmi Devi who is delighted by Hari (Murari) and incessantly directs her glances towards the face or Murari.

    त्वां मुरारिहृदयेश्वरीं भजे – You are the beloved of Hari who resides in the heart of Murari.

    Yamunashtagam

    मुरारिकायकालिमाललामवारिधारिणी – Salutations to Yamuna Devi whose water holds (the touch of) the beautiful bluish dark tinge of Murari.

    Lakshmi Nrisimha (Narasimha) Karavalambam Stotra –

    संसारघोरगहने चरतो मुरारे – In this dense forest of Samsara (worldly existence), I keep wandering, O Murari !

    Bhaja Govindam

    भगवद्गीता किञ्चिदधीतागङ्गाजललवकणिका पीता ।सकृदपि येन मुरारिसमर्चाक्रियते तस्य यमेन न चर्चा ॥

    Let a man read little Gita, drink a drop of Ganga and at least once worship Murari. Then he shall have no arguments with Yama.”

    Here, Acharyal has kept many secrets. I will explain only about the Murari part for now,  there are special ways to worship deities. There are regulations for each samskara, Ekadasi restricts eating rice or pongal on that day. Say, if one fasts on Ekadasi having only milk means he/she will be avoiding salt on that day.

    This boosts our body physically as well as spiritually. Avoiding food for a whole day, hearing upanyasam or telling stotras or doing mantra japa or doing Bhagwan nama japa – bestows extra phalan than normal like a Maha Punniya Kalam.

    पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणंपुनरपि जननीजठरे शयनम् ।इह संसारे बहुदुस्तारेकृपयाऽपारे पाहि मुरारे ॥

    “This endless cycle of birth and death, and again to stay in a mother’s womb.

    It is hard indeed to cross the boundless ocean of Samsara. O Murari, redeem me through your compassion and grace.”

    Many pariharams are there, Acharyal pleads only to Murari, which means there is no other pariharam like Ekadasi. King of physicians means “Vaideeswaran”, Vaideeswaran gives the best medicine,  “Ekadasi” – the king of all Vratams.  The only simple way for getting moksham is Ekadasi, which is why Acharyal mentions “Murari”. Yes, there are people who follow strict Acharam observing Nirjala Ekadasi but we must do our level best, at least by doing with it having only milk. Nirjala is also an important thing, but at the same time doing karma anushtanam is also important. Saying some stotras for stamina will immense benefit us, Sattvic strength is the key. We must not sleep during day time on Vratam days.

    Puranas and sastras have conveyed ways to escape Narakam (hell or another ignorant Janma where we get entangled in Samsara) :

     

  • Digging up a water reservoir.
  • Doing lots of charity on auspicious constellations.
  • Getting a kanakabhishekam done by great grandson.
  • Performing yagnams for the world.
  • Donating lands with good facilities nearby.
  • Doing Ekadasi Vratam helps one to escape the clutches of Samsara.Bhaghawat padhal hints both at Yama in Yamenana Charcha and also at Samsara in punarapi jananam line. So, Murari may seem to be hinting at Vishnu, but practically, every one of us aren’t doing Yagnams nor getting Kanakabhishekam done by the great grandson. So, Murari means Ekadasi Vratam.

    If one takes up a fasting indicated in the Vedas, he/she shouldn’t break it all in any case, Ekadasi is one such fasting mentioned in the Vedas.Periyava knows how much important is Ekadasi. Once, a few people in the Matam including Swaminatha Indra Saraswati Swamigal (Balu Swamigal) made Adai to eat on Ekadasi. Periyava called them, “All of you recite Vishnu Sahasranamam twice.” Then after reciting Vishnu Sahasranama, they went to eat the Adai, all the Adai had magically disappeared.

    One may take light food once after midday or after sunset, like dosa or idli. But no heavy food like Parathas or Adai. Otherwise, milk or fruits will do.

    In short, Ekadasi will bestow the punya of visiting all punya theertas and punya kshetras. Even it is mentioned in Mahabharata that if one recites Mahabharatham then where is the need for Pushkara waters . But one must be benefitted by bathing in Pushkara and also by reciting Jaya. Don’t take some lines literally, analyze them.

    Amabharisha Maharaja, Durvasar, Sriramar (he performed Mohini Ekadasi), Maha Periyava, Ramanujar, Vedanta Desikara, Madhvacharya and all the wise people did Ekadasi vratham then made their followers to follow them.

    One need not do intense fasting if they can’t follow Acharam strictly. If one wants to observe Nirjala Ekadasi, strict Acharam and Madi must be observed. Nirjala Ekadasi is not about strength but mainly about Acharam. Achamanam can be done even during Nirjala Ekadasi. (Take water sufficient to soak one black gram or urad dal – just a small drop)

    Please see the Ekadasi Reminder for the other points.

    Benefits of Ekadasi

    Strong digestion – Ayurveda condemns eating something if you are not hungry. If one eats food while the tummy is full, the food becomes Amam or Ama /आम/ஆம (Undigested food which later becomes harmful resulting in a number of diseases like skin diseases, digestion problems etc.) Removing ama is very complicated, there are vigorous ways of removing it but Upavaasam is the best painless, easy and effective way of removing Ama. The food consumed must nourish our body, ama reduces the digestive power. So, strong digestion is essential for getting good immunity.

    Dwadashi Tips – You can’t eat the regular amount of food you take. Have at least any one of Sundakkai or Nellikai – amla fruit or Agathi keerai in the paranai, this will bring the energy back otherwise some may feel unusual tiredness.

    Ekadasi Deepam –

    In the discourse about Kartikkai Deepam, Ummachi Thatha mentions to remember Damodara as the Lord in the Deepam.

    The Dwadasha namam is related to the 12 months of the year from Marghazi to Kartikkai. Keshava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Vishnu, Madhusudhana, Trivikrama, Vamana, Sridhara, Hrishikesha not Rishikesha, Padmanabha and Damodara correspond to the 12 months respectively.

    The 12 Bhagawan Namas have special power in their respective month, still one may remember or recite any nama but the main thing is one must have bhakthi even in lighting a deepam.

    The deepam must pointed towards a direction and should not be in the middle of a lamp. Harathi and deepam are different. Remember, every karma – Japam, namaskaram, deepam etc. all have stressed their importance on the direction. In Sandhyavandanam, we have a vandanam for the directions for helping us in doing the samskaras.

    Chitta Shuddhi – All the renowned skilled people are known for their conduct and huumility. One having chitta shuddhi can achieve anything in the world.Ekadasi is the best way to cleanse our body both inwardly and outwardly. It purifies all the 11 Indriyas, we assume Ekadasi is about controlling our tongue only [Rasendriya = Rasa + Indriya (Rasa = Taste, Indriya = Sense organ) ].

    Protection from sins and removes Doshams –

    There are many versions of Ambarisha Raja Ekadasi story, but in Skanda Purana. Durvasa curses Ambarisha for having Tulasi/Salagrama theertham as Paranai. He curses him to become a fish, a pig, tortoise, etc. Then Maha Vishnu himself takes the curse upon himself and thus the Dasha Avatarm came into being.

    Periyava had advised a Sri Vaishnava couple to do Salagrama abhishekam and Ekadasi vratam as a solution for Pithru dosham. Ekadasi burns many great sins.

    Prosperity and Gho Samrakshanam

    One who observes Ekadasi will overcome all the difficulties but Gho Matha is also an integral part of  Ekadasi.

    Brahmana Bhojanam and GhoSamrakshanam are essential for Dwadashi morning.

    Giving Agathi Keerai is Maha Punniyam but even a small quantity will suffice, we have to provide the necessary things to protect Ghomatha.

    Do financial aid to Ghoshalas according to your level.

    There is one more easier thing – do Japa or Ramayana Parayanam or Veda Parayanam near them. Sastras convey one can do Japa near Ganga or temple or vilva/tulasi or even near Gho Mathas, all these places are equally powerful.

    If you don’t have enough time for that also then do pradakshina of Gho while      chanting any stotra or nama then do a namaskaram before the last pradakshina then leave.

    Gho Matha wards off evil spirits and takes our sins also.

    Gho Matha can fulfill every wish of ours, they are our Kamadhenu, they are our Chintamani and they are our Kalpa Vriksham too. Even our Murari was a shepherd, the Lord is our shepherd 😉 Even in Mooka Pancha Shati, it is mentioned that Ambal’s feet has the title “Surabhi”.

    Gho Matha was never harmed, our Govt. needs maximum support to preserve this anti-slaughter bill. So, at least a small contribution like a squirrel is needed from all of us. Rama accepts whatever we give him.

    Let us do our best for Ekadasi, the blessings of Matha Lalitha TripuraSundari are always with us.

    Sri Rama Jayam



Categories: Deivathin Kural

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11 replies

  1. Those who fast on ekadasi vratam in US, what do you eat on dwadasi day other than adding dried sundaikai vathal or nellikai in your lunch??

    • It is not for lunch but should be taken on early morning for Dwadasi Paranai. Also we can sundakkai from India as well gooseberry from local shops here.

    • Milk with honey or some juice. Having different tastes in our meal is the key, don’t eat only one type of taste like having only rasam rice. Have both rasam and kuzhambu in small quantities for getting the energy back.

  2. so far I have been eating dried sundaikai along with lunch.Henceforth I wil eat it in the morning . (in empty stomatch ???? even before milk ??)

    • Paranai must be done before dwadashi tithi ends. Break your paranai even with milk or water. Tulasi or salagrama water preferably. Otherwise, have a meal with sundakkai first instead of milk. You can add sundakkai or Nellikai to your dishes instead of having them separately.

    • Milk first or after a meal is your choice. Just have milk with sugar or honey or turmeric powder, tea and coffee with milk must be avoided after a fasting.

  3. Thanks for the clarification.

  4. I generally have milk before the dwadasi thithi ends and eat lunch later.

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