Sadhguru Writes About Ekadashi And Its Impact On Our Physical And Mental Well-Being

Sadhguru Writes About Ekadashi And Its Impact On Our Physical And Mental Well-Being

The human physiology goes through a cycle called a mandala, approximately every 40 to 48 days

SadhguruUpdated: Saturday, August 26, 2023, 08:07 PM IST
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Swami Chitranga

The human physiology goes through a cycle called a mandala, approximately every 40 to 48 days. In this cycle, three specific days arise when the body does not demand food. The days may be different from person to person and need not come with equal spacing. If you identify those days and do not give the body food — because does not ask on those days — a lot of your health issues will be handled by this simple pattern.

This cycle in the system is something that most people can identify if they take away the nonsense of “so many calories, so much protein and so much mineral should be eaten,” and just listen to the body. This is why it was said that three times in those 48 days, you should not eat. This was said because someone observed his own system and expressed this. But then, people did not have the awareness, so they fixed the day of Ekadashi for fasting. Ekadashi is the eleventh day after the full Moon and new Moon. If you observe, there are three Ekadashis in 48 days.

On that day, the planet itself is in a certain state, so if we keep our body light and available, our awareness will turn inward. The possibility of opening the door within is more on that day. If you have a full stomach and you are unaware and dull, you will not notice it. So to stay alert and also to purify the body, you go without food on that day — you ate dinner the previous day and the next thing you eat is dinner on Ekadashi. If you are unable to go without food — because your activity levels are such and you do not have the sadhana to support you — you can go on phalahara or fruit diet, which is light on the stomach so that your inner doors will open. Forceful denial of food is not the point. The point is to make everything into a conscious process. We do not want to compulsively eat like this, we choose.

In some Indian languages phal means fruit, but pal also means many. Today, in southern India, in many families it happens that on Ekadashi, a lot of people have interpreted phalahara as many kinds of foods. So they do not eat the normal rice and sambar or whatever on that day. Instead, they eat many varieties of food, mostly fried food. That was the day you were supposed to give it a break. Because you could not fast and are not aware, it was said, “Okay, at least just eat fruit.” Now, because the same word in the language exists in a different meaning, people are eating the worst type of food on that day.

Another aspect of the Ekadashi fasting is, when one is on the spiritual path, people usually fall off at the slightest discomfort. So fasting is one simple way of training yourself to become in such a way that outside situations will not take you off track. When you are hungry, instead of going and sleeping, you remain alert and in activity. When you are very hungry, still remaining alert and keeping your focus on the sadhana is a very important part of the training to ensure that outside situations do not take you off track.

While fasting, if you feel thirsty, drink water. If you feel tired, add a few drops of honey or put a little bit of lemon into the water you are drinking; that will take care of it. Fasting for 24 hours is not very difficult for the body. If your body does not have that much capability, there is something seriously wrong with your system. Any healthy body can forsake food for this period. If the body — not the mind — is going through enormous trouble, then you need a medical check-up — maybe you are not physically healthy or something is wrong. But if you have mental struggles and all kinds of snacks are hitting you like asteroids, then you must fast!

(Sadhguru is a Yogi, mystic, visionary and a New York Times bestselling author. He is also the founder of Conscious Planet – Save Soil)

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