Ekadashi – Spiritual Intermittent Fasting
The legend behind Ekadashi begins with Vishnu.
Vishnu was in deep meditation when he encountered the ferocious Murdanav, a demon who was out to wreak havoc on everything good – from nature and even to the Devas (celestial beings.)
During Vishnu’s meditation, Murdanav attempted an attack but a stunning form emerged from Vishnu’s 11th sense capturing the demon’s attention. Murdanav demanded this form to obey him, to be his companion or wife, She agreed but she set a condition: defeat her in battle.
Murdanav who had never been defeated was unable to gain control of her, distracted by her pure energy and full of desire he lost the fight and met his end. Vishnu, upon waking up, named this feminine energy “Ekadashi,” and he granted spiritual liberation ( moksha ) to those all who took up fasting on this day.
Fasting, a process often linked with enhancing physical health, extends its influence far beyond the bodily realm. Within Hinduism, the primary purpose of fasting on ekadashi is to gain control over the mind and bodily senses, and channel it towards spiritual progression. When spirituality intertwines with fasting, it transforms into a journey far beyond the physical benefits commonly associated with it.
Physiologically, fasting triggers intricate metabolic processes, aiding in cellular repair, optimising metabolism, and aiding in weight management. However, when spiritual dimensions are integrated, it transcends these physiological aspects. The infusion of spirituality elevates fasting, becoming a gateway to self-discipline, mental clarity, and heightened consciousness.
This amalgamation of the physical and spiritual realms within fasting holds profound potential for holistic well-being. Beyond its tangible effects on the body, the spiritual infusion infuses purpose and introspection into the process, nurturing not only physical health but also mental resilience and spiritual evolution.
Ekadashi, the eleventh lunar day and aligns with specific moon phases. In the Vedic calendar, each arc, measuring a lunar day or tithi, marks the moon’s journey from full to new. Ekadashi denotes the 11th tithi, corresponding precisely to phases of the waxing and waning moon. In the bright half, the moon (Shukla Pakṣa) appears about 3/4 full, while in the dark half, (Kṛṣṇa Pakṣa) it’s around 3/4 dark.
Pop these dates into your Calendar and add a wonderful new dimension to your fasting.