Intro to Satsang - Ekaadashee



    Swaminarayan Bhagwan explained the essence of ekaadashee (also called agiyaaras) in Vachanamrut Gadhada Middle 8. Once when Lord Vishnu was sleeping, the demon Murdanav came to challenge him to a fight. Lord Vishnu remained absorbed in meditation, but created a tapasvini (holy woman) from the divine light of his ten indriyas (senses) and mind. Murdanav immediately became attracted to her, and asked for her hand in marriage. She replied that she had a rule, that the man she would marry must defeat her in battle. Murdanav was too blinded by lust to realize that her condition represented a logical dilemma: if he won the fight, she would be dead, and if he lost, she would not marry him. After fighting for a long time, Murdanav became confused and exhausted and the girl took the opportunity to behead him. She then went back in front of Lord Vishnu who told her to ask for a boon. She replied that she was born of the divine light of his 10 senses and mind, thus her name was Ekaadashee (eleven). She continued that Murdanav had met his demise because his ten senses and (eleventh) mind were out of control. Thus, on the eleventh day of every half-month, devotees should attempt to control their 10 senses and mind.

    In Vachanamrut Gadhada First 38, Swaminarayan Bhagwan explains, "What are the characteristics of observing a fast on the day of ekaadashee? Well, the ten eendriyas, and eleventh, the mind, should be withdrawn from their respective vishayas and attached to God. That is considered as having observed ekaadashee. In fact, devotees of God should engage in this observance continuously."

    In Shikshapatri verse 79, Swaminarayan Bhagwan states, "All should respectfully observe ekaadashee." (Also see verse 80.)

    Ritually, Hindus observe a fast on the 11th day of every half-month. Traditionally, grains and vegetables are avoided. The Udyoga-parva (book 5) of the Mahabharat, explains, "water, fruits, roots, milk, ghee, satisfying a Brahmin, following the instruction of a spiritual master, and medicine - these eight do not break one's vow of ekaadashee."

    Ekaadashee is also observed on other days to signify an intense prayer to God (e.g., on Holi, for the protection of Lord Vishnu's devotee Prahlad), and historically, on Shivaratri.

    Three of the ekaadashee days are observed nirjala (or nakorda) or without water (as well as, historically, on the bright-half of the month of Jeth - named Bhim ekaadashee). Nirjala ekaadashee is also observed on the days of Ramanavmi and Janmashtami.

    Names given to the ekaadashee days:

    MonthBright Phase (Sud)Dark Phase (Vad)
    AshadhShayani or Devpodhi (nirjala)Kaamikaa
    BhadarvoParivartni or Jal Zilani (nirjala)Indiraa
    KartikPrabodhini or Devuthi (nirjala)Utpatti

    Other types of upvaas (fasting):

    Chaandraayan or Kruchchhra Chaandraayan - Strict fasting regulations such as: increasing then decreasing (or decreasing then increasing) intake of food from 1 to 15 morsels everyday during the first-half and second-half of the lunar month, respectively; eating only a set number of morsels per day or every other day or a certain times a day; etc.

    Paaraak Kruchchhra - Continuous 12-days of nirjala fasting. Tapta Kruchchhra is 3 days on water of 3 pali once, 3 days on milk of 2 pali once, 3 days on ghee of 1 pali once, and 3 days of nirjala fast. (1 pali is 1/4 sher. 1 sher is 1 lb. or 454 grams.) Kruchraati Kruchchhra is 9 days of water once, and 3 days of nirjala fasting.

    Dhaarnaa Paarnaa - Fasting observed every other day.

    Ekaashanu or Ektaanu - Eating only once during the day.

    Details of fasts that Swaminarayan Bhagwan commanded are described in Satsangijivan 5/47 and Dharmamrut 2/18-2/21, from the Dharma Shastras and Purans. Especially followed during chomaasu or chaturmaas (4 months from Ashadh to Aso - during Shravan, even stricter fasting is typically followed).



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