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Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals -16-6.

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15/07/2018
Chapter 16 : The Significance of Ekadasi - 6.
A talk given on the 17th of January, 1970, on the request of devotees.

Ekadasi is a Sanskrit word, which means 'the eleventh'. It refers to the eleventh day of a fortnight in a lunar month. There are two fortnights in a lunar month – the bright and the dark. So, Ekadasi occurs twice in a month, in the bright fortnight and the dark fortnight. The special feature of Ekadasi, as most people know it, is a fast – abstinence from diet.

This is how it is usually understood. "We do not eat on Ekadasi," is what people understand. In this country (India) it has become a routine to be abstemious, if not observe a complete fast on this day. The significance of this particular observance is not merely constituted of a fast, physically, though it is also an essential element; it has other deeper aspects. In fact, the fast is only a practical expression and a symbol of something else that we are expected to do, which is of s…