One of my friends on FB wanted to know about the importance of Ashadha ekadashi . I did not know either. I felt that whether I follow our religious practices or not, I should have some knowledge about them. Searched the net, used whatever brains I have and came up with the following information.
A day in the life of gods is a year for human life. The ‘Uttaraayana’ and ‘Dakshinaayana’ which are of half a year duration for humans are the day and night for gods. Dakshinaayana is the night part. It begins in the month of ‘Ashaadha’ of lunar calendar. That is the time when lord Vishnu goes to sleep or ‘Yoganidra’. He is in Yoganidra during the first four months of Dakshinaayana which are collectively called ‘Chaaturmaasa’.
We have a goddess responsible for day and another for night. I believe the goddess of night was unhappy that no auspicious activities were taking place during her time and felt that there was no need for her to exist. Her sentiments were conveyed to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu felt bad about it and assuaged her feelings by declaring that the benefits obtained by worshipping him during chaaturmaasa would be in multiples of what one would get by worshipping him during other times.
Since Ekaadashi is considered the most auspicious for worshipping Lord Vishnu, Ashadha ekaadashi, the beginning ekaadashi of chaaturmaasa acquires greater importance.
Wearing the symbols of Lord Vishnnu namely the Shankha and Chakra, called the ‘Mudras’ is a must during worshipping lord Vishnu. Hence the followers of Dwaita philosophy have these symbols put on their bodies from the heads of their respective religious organisations on ashaadha ekaadashi. This process of preparing for the worship is the ‘Mudraadharana’.
I got the information I wanted and should have kept quiet. Now what made me write this and torture you?
Out of a whim, I decided to fast on one Ekaadashi day few years back. (What is so great about fasting for a day? I can as well do it- feeling) I decided to fast for 24hrs, remained without food since morning and was miserable by evening. I could not think of anything other than food. I gave up, had my food and slept. Then I took it as a challenge but did not have the guts or willpower to try another 24 hrs. So I decided to partially fast half a day. For the past few years I have been successfully following it. It is not a fast actually. Can call it disciplined eating. I have a cup of coffee and two biscuits in the morning, Some snack at mid day and end it by 8 pm. But strictly no tit bits which I otherwise keep popping into the mouth the whole day. Still it is difficult. I can manage fairly well if I am totally occupied in the clinic or elsewhere. If I have nothing to do it gets worse.
It has been raining since two days and there are hardly any patients in the clinic. And today is ekaadashi. By writing this I could keep myself occupied for more than an hour. Another half an hour and I am done. What started as ‘ekaadashi’ has turned out to be ‘Roza’.