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 Ekadasi: is the 11th day of the moon phase of the full or new moon

The science: The moon revolves around Earth through 12 degrees in every 24 hour cycle of the day. When the moon is 180 degrees away from the Sun, we have a full moon and when it is conjoint with the Sun, we have a dark/new moon. During the 15 day cycle of the moon, it forms a trine with the Earth or Sun on the 11th day of the phase. The gravitational forces of all the involved bodies influence the water bodies on Earth and hence, we witness the tides being affected during the new and full moon days. Not just tides, Moon's gravitational draw also coincides with the biological rhythms of plants, animals, and humans. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16407788) As the human body is composed of 70 percent water, it is affected during the moon phases.

Why fast on Ekadasi?

  • ​Ayurveda describes the toxins of the body as Ama, which are created due to the residue of the digestive process. If these are not cleared regularly, they build up as Ama-visha(poison)and create vitiations of the doshas(body humors). Hence, the origin of most disease is within the digestive tract. From the 11th day of the moon phase, onwards to the 5th day after the full or new moon, the digestive process is slower than usual. In order to avoid complications, it is imperative to clear up the digestive tract of previous residues every 11th day of the moon cycle to prepare for the coming ten days of sluggish digestion.
  • The Vedic system attaches much importance to the Ekadasi fast and goes as far as calling it the supreme fast. Chanting of mantras and following spiritual practices as well as keeping awake on ekadasi night are recommended. Austerity(Tapas) has its place in all cultures: with good reason. Fasting, especially for ekadasi is said to destroy disease, dukha(misery), and eradicate impoverishment.
  • Astrologically, the moon is responsible for the emotional mind. Yogic physiology and vedantic thought merge to offer a mastery of the mind through fasting on the right days of the moon phase. Yogic physiology considers the five gyanendriyas (organs of sense) and the five Karmendriyas(organs of action) as the ten horses that draw the chariot of the body, which has seated within it the soul and is driven by the mind as the charioteer. Fasting offers a way of control of the senses and chanting or other spiritual practices help in withdrawal of the mind inwards while allowing the body to detox the ama accumulation. This leads towards sattwa(purity) and higher growth.


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Saturday, 15 June 2024