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Sri Madhwacharya Seva Sangha

While appreciating the work done by our Sangha,
Dr.V.Prabhanjanacharya, in his Presidential
address, during 1996 Sri Teekacharya Aradhana,
suggested that our Sangha should undertake in
future the job of publishing Madhwa literature.
The outcome of his suggesstion is this booklet on
Ekaadasi. Sri Madhwacharya extolled the greatness
of Ekaadasi and asked everyone to observe it
strictly so that the fire of merit that accrues
from observing an Ekaadasi reduces to ashes the
sins of hundreds of births. Due to lack of pooled
knowledge about it, a vast majority of Madhwas are
not in the know of its fuller details. It is for
the benefit of those, to enlighten them on finer
points, this booklet is brought out by the Sangha
as its maiden attempt. Our fervent appeal to all
Madhwas, is to read this and tell others about
Ekaadasi and be the worthy recipients of His
Grace. Nothing gives more joy to the Sangha than
to become instrumental in spreading the precepts
of Sri Madhwacharya and enlarging their scope for
propagation. October 1, 1997.

1. Introduction
2. Dasami

3. Ekaadasi
4. Why Ekaadasi fasting?
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5. Ekaadasi Vichaara

6. Ekaadasi Achaara (Dos & Dont's)

7. Dwaadasi

8. Sankalpa Mantras

9. List of Ekaadasis in the year


The Vedic religion presupposes that Dharma is

maintained by the observance of truth, prayer and
ritual. If religion is compared to the human body,
its ritualism would be the legs and its philosophy
the head. It means no religion can stand without
ritualism. Since moral and spiritual discipline
have a special place in the Vedic religion,
rituals like Vrathas form and integral part of it.
Some Vaishnava Vrathas are obligatory and some
others are optional. The Ekaadasi fast on the
eleventh day of each fortnight in a month and the
Pithru-Tharpana or libations of water to the
spirits of one's ancestors on the new moon day are
mandatory rites. The observer has the satisfaction
that he has done something sacred which is
different from the secular. This psychological
function of ritualism provides an outlet for
religious emotion. Ekaadasi fasts and vigils
without eating and drinking are not without their
disciplinary value. It is a lesson in selfcontrol.
The central theme of Ekkadasi fast is to feel a
profound mystical experience in which the soul
feels the nearness of God by various ritual acts.
Sri Madhwacharya in his work 'Krishnamrutha
Mahaarnava' established beyond doubt that only
after the practice of such a Vratha that our other
activities bear fruit. God's infinite grace is
possible only to a pure heart; and a pure heart in
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turn is attained only through right living. A true
Vaishava does not take even a single morsel of
food or a drop of water to allay hunger or thirst.
The whole day and night are spent in devotion,
prayer and religious study. Since, Sri
Madhwacharya has prescribed Ekaadasi fast as
compulsory just like Sandhya Vandhanam it becomes
mandatory for Madhwas. Apart from the fast,
jagarane is also prescribed on Ekaadasi nights,
when men and women sing and dance in praise of God
and pass the whole night without sleep. The
greatness of Ekaadasi vow has been extolled in the
story of Ambareesha in the Bhagavatham, by Sri
Madhwacharya in his Krishnamrutha Mahaarnava, Sri
Vadhiraja in his "Ekaadasi Nimaya" and a host of
haridasas like Sri Purandaradasa, Sri Vijaya Dasa,
Sri Gopala dasa have also extolled through their
devarnamas the uniqueness of Ekaadasi Vratha. Sir
Vijaya Dasa in his song "Ekaadasi Vrathada
Mahithya" says that the efficacy of this Vartha
was first mentioned by Lord Padmanabha to his
consort Lakshmi and later to Brahma, who imparted
it to Narada.

Na Kaashi na Gaya Ganga na rewa cha Gowthami Na

Chaapi KauravamKshethram,
- Padma Puraanam

Padmapuraanam says that sacred rivers like Ganga,

Narmada, Godavari etc. and holy places like Kashi,
Gaya, Kurushetra etc., cannot equal the merit of
Ekaadasi Vratha.
Ekaadasi Vratha begins with the sankalpaon the
Dasami day, fasting on the Ekaadasi day and parane
on Dwaadasi day. Since it is spread over three
days it goes by the name Dinathraya or three-day
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Vratha. The evening meals on the Dasami and
Dwaadasi days along with abstaining from both the
meals on the Ekaadasi day, will make a total of
four meals forbidden on these three days.

The literal meaning of the word Ekaadasi is one

plus ten, where ONE stands for the Lord. Shri
Vishnu Sashasra Nama Sthothram calls HIM "Ekasmai
Namah" meaning salutations to the ONE. So in the
very name of Ekaadasi Shri Hari is present and so
it is auspicious day. Since Shri Hari is the
presiding deity for Ekaadasi it is called
'Haridina' meaning a day to be dedicated entirely
for worshipping HIM, meditating upon Him,
listening to HIS glory and studying the
scriptures. In short, anything we do on this day
should please the Lord. Sri Purandara Dasa says
"Vrathagalellavu Haridina Vrathadahinde". This is
a unique concept to the followers of Dwaita
philosophy. In Adwaita, Ekaadasi is just like any
other day. In Vishistadwaita, Vaikunta Ekaadasi
alone is meant for fasting and the day is spent in
worshipping HIM and not other Ekaadasis.
Observance of Ekaadasi by fasting and meditating
on the Divinity with implicit faith, is an
excellent reflection of sathwa guna. The Lord
mentions in the Gita that none born of prakruthi
is free from the influence of three gunas, viz.,
sathwa, rajas and thamas. Of the three, sathwa is
given the highest place because the jeeva in whom
sathwa guna dominates moves towards the Nivruthi
Marga i.e., Jnana - Bhakthi - Vairagya - Moksha.
To such souls God reveals Himself. It is,
therefore, compulsory to all castes and creeds,
for young and old, for men and women to develop
sathwa guna. Even our puranas proclaim that
ekaadasi vow is for all people, at all places, for
all times, since it has been gifted to us by our
sages for our physical and spritual well - being.
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Its observance cleanses the mind and paves the way
for Jnana. It is an established fact when one does
not take food even though there is a desire for
it, there will be increase in self - control and
it develops a strong will-power. One who controls
hunger will be away from sin because hunger is the
root cause of many a sin. Shrimad Acharya says in
Krishnamurtha Mahaarnava that the fire of merit
that accrues from observing an Ekaadasi reduces to
ashes the sins of hundred of births.

The moon is not in its full glory during Ekaadasi

due to its movements. The food that is, therefore,
consumed on these days remains undigested. Moon is
the solicitation deity for food. Upavaasa does not
mean mere fasting - it means Saameepya Vaasa
(dwelling in proximity to the Lord) with archana,
japa, karthashravana, niraahara and jaagarna. So
after setting apart sometime to basic necessities
the whole day and night is to be spent in thinking
about HIS glories. Even if Shraadha falls on this
day, it is to be performed on the Dwaadasi day
only: By fasting on Ekaadasi day one can earn the
unlimited grace of the Lord and attain Vaikuntaa.
By fasting and meditating on God the body becomes
pure and worthy to be called the temple of God.
Varaaha Puraana says the pregnant woman, mothers
of young children and those who are very weak can
partake fruits like dates, banana, grapes,
coconut, milk, curds and grains which are not
cooked. They will not be considered to have broken
the vow. All sins indulged in by the body and mind
are wiped out by Upavaasa. No Vratha can be
compared with Ekaadasi are considered thieves and
deserve to be punished, says the Krishnaamrutha
Mahaarnava. It is, therefore, a sin to look at
even the face of one who eats food on this day.
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1. It is Haridina-meant for spritual activity
only. 2. Food will not be digested since the moon
is not in full glory. 3. Shrimad Acharya has
prescribed fasting, so it is mandatory to us. 4.
Its observance reduces all sins to ashes. 5.
Fasting tones up our health and keeps the body and
the mind trim.
Fixing of Ekaadasi thithi is different from other
thithis. All other thithis are treated as complete
from one sun-rise to the next except Ekaadasi
thithi. It is determined with reference to
Arunodaya. four Ghatikas before sunrise is called
Arunodaya. One Ghatia = 24 minutes i.e., 4 x 24 =
96 mts. before sunrise is Arunodaya. If sun-rise
for example is 5.36 am for a day - Arunodaya will
be 1 hour 36 mts. before that i.e. 5.36 - 1.36 =
4.00 am. If there is a trace of Dasami at the time
of Arunodaya that Ekaadasi is called Viddha
Ekaadasi and no fasting on such and Ekaadasi is
allowed. If no fasting is done on Viddha Ekaadasi,
fasting is done on Dwaadasi day and parane on
Thrayodasi day. In situations when Dasami,
Ekaadasi, Dwaadasi fall on the same day, fasting
should not be observed as there is Dasami Viddha.
So fasting is done the next day. When Ekaadasi is
not touched by Dasami and when there is Dwaadasi
thithi on Thrayodasi day also (that means Ekaadasi
thithi is there on tow consecutive Arunodayas) the
fast should be continued and not broken on the
first Dwaadasi. That means two consecutive days of
fasting - it is called Athiriktha Ekaadasi and
parane on Thrayodasi day. Athirikta means
excessive. It can come in any month of the year
although rare. There is another occasion for two
days of fasting when Dwaadasi has a contact of
Shravana star and reigns during the afternoon.
Such a Dwaadasi is called Shravana Dwaadasi. So
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along with a fast on Ekaadasi it is compulsory to
fast on Shravana Dwaadasi. So along with a fast on
Ekaadasi it is compulsory to fast on Shravana
Dwaadasi day. It is strictly observed by followers
of other schools also since Shravana is the Lord's
star and the day associated with the Lord is
Haridina. It is sacred. Shastras permit some
relaxation for the aged and the sick in fasting on
the first day but not on the Shravana Dwaadasi.
During a year Shravana Dwaadasi fasting generally
comes thrice, i.e,., Bhaadrapada Shukla Dwaadasi,
Maagha Bahula Dwaadasi and Phaalguna Bahula
Dwaadasi. In 1996, Maagha Bahula Dwaadasi was
Sharvana Dwaadasi and none else. In 1997, there is
no Sharavana Dwaadasi fasting. We are not supposed
to fast on Smartha Ekaadasi day which is according
to us Dasami. On such a day there will be
Harivaasara which is called Dasami Harivaasara;
and so meals is to completed before the indicated
time. For example, Dasami Harivaasara falls on
26.10.97 (Sunday) and meals is to be taken before
11.48 pm because Ekaadasi begins after that time.
10.11.97 (Monday) is another Smartha Ekaadasi day
which is not a fasting day for us. 22.2.98
(Sunday) is Dasami Harivaasara - meals before
11.50 pm. 8.3.98 (Sunday) is another Smartha
Ekaadasi day which is not a fasting day for us.
Ekaadasi Nirnaya is ticklish and differs from Mutt
to Mutt because all do not employ Aryamaana for
calculations. So it is a safe bet to follow the
respective Mutt Panchaangas while ascertaining the
Ekaadasi. Normally 24 (12 x 2) Ekaadasis occur in
a calendar year. When in a year ther is an
Adhikamaasa 2 more are added. Each of these 26
Ekaadasis are named after women of hoary past for
their chastity, virtuousness, dharma etc. The
following table will give the details:
Sl No
1 Chaithra kAmadA varUthini
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2 vaishAka mOhini aparA
3 jyEshTha nirjala yOgini
4. AshADa shayana kAmika
5. shrAvaNa putradA ajA
6. bhAdrapada parivarthini iMdirA
7. Ashwayuja pAshAMkusha ramA
8. kArthika prabOdhini uthpatthi
9. mArgashira mOkshadA suphalA
10. pushya puthradA shaTtila
11. mAgha jayA vijayA
12. phAlguNA Amalaki
13. adhika mAsa
padmini paramA

Ekaadasi is a fasting day to atone for our sins of
indulging in undesirable acts, through
Dashendriyas. It is a Vaishnava Vratha which is
greater than all Yaagaas and its power to destroy
sins is unmatched if we follow the dos and don'ts
of it strictly which are given hereunder in a
nutshell. This will be called aachaara.
1. Worship, meditate and think about HIM.
2. Keep awake during the night of Ekaadasi
3. Make a sankalpa for three day vow.
4. Break the fast on the Dwaadasi day as per rules
5. On Ekaadasi take theertha only once no tulasi
to be eaten and have only angaara mark on the
6. Tell the greatness of Ekaadasi to others.
7. Perform Ekaadasi shraadha on Dwaadasi day
8. If shraadha falls on sadhana Dwaadasi serve
food to the brahmins before Dwaadasi passes off
9. Even on vridhi, suthaka days Ekaadasi is to be
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10. Even while in their periods women have to
observe Ekaadasi.

1.No food, water or sleep

2.No kind of enjoyment or sensual pleasures
3.No sleep during day time on Dasami, Ekaadasi and
4.The first part of Dwaadasi thithi is called
Harivaasara and no food to be taken during that
5.Do not take meal in another person's house on
Dasami and Dwaadasi days.
6.No cooked food to be offered as Naivedyam on
Ekaadasi. No Ramaa naivedyan.
7.No shraadha or homa on Ekaadasi day.

Two plus ten is Dwaadasi etymologically. So the

twelth day in every fortnigth is Dwaadasi, an
important day in Ekaadasi Vratha Paddhathi on
which day the fast is broken (execpt on the
Shravana Dwaadasi). The Ekaadasi shraadha is to be
performed only on Dwaadasi. If there is very
little Dwaadasi thithi on the day of breaking the
fast it is called Saadhana Dwaadasi or Alpha
Dwaadasi. It is so called because one has to make
all our effort to observe Dwaadasi in such a short
time. On Sadhana Dwaadasi day one can take bath
before Arunodaya. On other day one should not take
bath before Arunodaya. The afternoon
sandhyavandanam should also be completed before
sunrise. Vaishvadeva homa, Brahma Yagna, all
tharpanams to be completed within 48 minutes
before actual sunrise; and one should
anticipatingly await sunrise to break the fast
ready to sip water from the right hand palm. To
derive the benefits of Ekaadasi fasting Dwaadasi
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parane should be observed at the scheduled time.
In the Bhagavatha, Ambareesh did the same thing.
If pithru shraadha falls on Saadhana Dwaadasi
brahmins should sit for partaking food before
Dwaadasi passes off.

The last part of Dasami Viddha Ekaadasi and the
first part of Dwaadasi are known as Harivaasara.
These are also auspicious and merit fasting. On
Dasami harivaasara day food is to be taken before
the time mentioned in the Panchaanga since
Ekaadasi will encroach on Dasami after that time.
On Dwaadasi harivaasara day, food should be taken
after the time limit mentioned since Dwaadasi may
not have come before that time. During harivaasara
no homa, no tharpana, no Rama naivedya to be
performed. Shri Madhwacharya in his Sri
Krishnamrutha Mahaarnava says "A thousand solar
eclipes, ten thousand Vyateepaataas and a lakh of
amaavaasyas do not have on sixteenth merit of the
auspiciousness of Dwaadasi". Hence the supremacy
of the Dwaadasi has the greates punya thithi.

Dashamee divase Parapte Vrathastoham Janaaradan

Thridinam Devadevesha Nirvigham Kuru Keshava

- Brahmavaivartha Puraanam
Janaardana! Today being Dasami I am ready for the
three day vow. Oh, Lord! Deva Deva! Keshava! see
that no obstacles come in the way of my vow.
Ekaadashyam Niraharaha Sthithvahani Parehyaham
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Bhookshyaami Pundareeksha Saranam Me Bhavaachyutha

- Brihannaaradeeya Puraanam XXI - 15

After fasting on Ekaadasi I will eat on Dwaadasi,
Please be my reguge Oh, Achyuta!
Adyashvasheha Niraahaaro Bhootvaaham Dwaadashee
Dine Vidhaasye Paaranam Deva Preetho Bhava Ma
- Varaahapuraanam

I will be on a fast today and tomorrow and break

the fast on Dwaadasi. Lord! may you be pleased!

Ajnaana Thimiraandhasya Vratenaanena Keshava

Praseeda Sumukho Natha jnaanadristi Prado Bhava

- Brihannaradeeya Puraanam XXI-20

Oh Lord! Keshava! I am blinded by the darkness of

ignorance. By my undertaking this fast on Ekaadasi
may it please you to bless me with the light of

Ekaadasyupavaasena Dwaadashee Paarnenacha

Yadaarjitham Mayaa Punyam Thena Preenathu Keshavah
- Brahmavaivartha Puraanam
May Lord Keshava be pleased with the merit that
accured to me by fasting on Ekaadasi and breaking
the fast on Dwaadasi. Now that the significance on
Ekaadasi vow is elaborated, wast no time in
joining that select group of people who undertake
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shuddha upavaasa on Ekaadasi and rest assured that
the Lord will redeem us with His infinite Grace.
"Madhwamatha Siddhanthada Paddhathi bidabedi,
bidabedi, bittu kedabedi, kedabedi"

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