Today is Ekādashi – the 11th day of a fortnight in a lunar month, as per the Hindu calendar.
Since there are two fortnights, Ekādashi is celebrated twice a month. It is typically characterized by observance of a fast.
And the fast can be of many types. From Nirjala Ekādashi – where one does not even touch a drop of water, to days when you can have light fruits and water. As with everything Hindu, rules vary depending on the region, belief and parampara of the household.
I keep a simple fast from daybreak, till the next morning, when I wake early, cook a light meal and eat it just after sunrise. It was a bit tough when it started, but now, I actually look forward to Ekādashi, because I get a chance to reset my digestive system.
Oddly enough, I have more energy and get more done during this day, maybe because digestion does not take up any resources on Ekādashi.
This day is also an opportunity to clear the mind. Like the body, the mind too accumulates a lot over a period of time, and general housekeeping is of the essence. Meditation helps a lot, but occasionally…once a fortnight for example, a mind-body cleanse can invigorate you.
The West is just waking up to the benefits of intermittent fasting, but back home, we knew about it, and observed it since ages. As with all things in the West, the concept of intermittent fasting strips the mental component off, and instead makes it a diet-based convenience.
Personally, I would not recommend intermittent fasting in it’s prescribed form. In fact, Ekādashi can be fun to observe, given that there are 24 types of Ekadashi in a year, all associated with various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Each accompanies certain food rules during fast, which must be followed to direct the mental energy in the right direction.
I would not give you a laundry list of the dos and dont’s on each. I don’t follow them to the T myself, and it is difficult enough to convince you to have the discipline to fast regularly in the first place. Baby steps, as they say.
Yes, today’s world is all about “xyz-as-a-servce”. There is SaaS, PaaS, GaaS (no, just kidding), and a lot more acronyms that end up charging you every month, little-by-little, so that you don’t notice the damage over a period of time.
Ekādashi is FaaS – fasting as a service. But with a difference. No charge, absolutely free, with mind and body benefits to boot. No login and downloads required, just dedication and commitment to the cause. No fancy spa package, nor retreat…just awareness and tranquility. If only it could be monetised!
And so if you are not convinced, try it out for yourself. But try it for at least 2 months (4 fasts). The first three are tough, in decreasing order. The fourth, may just end up convincing you:)
See you tomorrow!