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The science behind the Ekādaśī fast

Ekādaśī is the 11th day of the moon cycle, both from the full moon and from the new moon. According to modern science, it is known that the air pressure on our planet varies to extreme limits on both the new moon (Amāvasyā) and the full moon (Pūrṇimā) day. This
is because of the orbital path combination of the sun, moon and earth.

This can be observed by the change in the nature of the tidal waves on the new moon and full moon days. The waves are very high and rough, but from the next day onwards, the waves become calm, an indication that the pressure has also receded.

Now, based on this fact, the significance of Ekādaśī fasting can be explained in 2 ways:

1) According to science, it takes about 3-4 days for the food that we eat today to reach our brain. Now, if we eat light/fast on Ekādaśī days, that intake will reach the brain correspondingly on the New moon/full moon day.

On both of these days, the earth pressure is at its maximum, thus leading to imbalance in everything, including ones thought process.

So, if the input to the brain is at a minimum, the chances of the brain indulging in any wayward activity due to the high
pressure imbalance also becomes minimum.

2) Another explanation for the Ekādaśī fasting is that compared to any other day of the moon cycle, the atmospheric pressure is the lowest on the Ekādaśī days. Thus, this is the best time to fast and cleanse the bowel system. If we fast on any other day, the high pressure/strain may damage our system. Thus, it is advisable that after fasting on the Ekādaśī, on the immediate next day (Dvādaśī), we get up early and eatas soon as possible.

As per both the above theories, the fasting practice on the Ekādaśī days have a strong scientific base. People who observe the fast are asked to stay away from all types of grains, and to have a light diet of nuts, milk, fruits, etc.

Fasting gives the system a rest. The physiological system may become overworked due to a little overeating or indiscrimination
in diet. Thus the fortnightly Ekādaśī fasting gives the system a chance to catch up. We know that the digestive system draws the blood circulation towards the digestive organs. Therefore blood circulation to the head is decreased once food is taken: so we feel sleepy.

Thus observance of Ekādaśīs helps us recharge our brain and mind keeping us more alert, sharp, focused and more aware.

The fortnightly Ekādaśī fasting accompanied with healthy eating improves insulin responsiveness, lowers blood cholesterol and prolongs life span. It helps improve the mental stability of people suffering from anxiety and depression. It also detoxifies the body, cleanses the blood and improves the functioning of kidneys and liver. It is amazing how the ancient Vedic Indians devised this method to keep ourselves fit and free from any negative influences!

Ekādaśī is the mother of Kṛṣṇa- Bhakti, love and affection. If you do not follow ekādaśī, Kṛṣṇa- Bhakti will never come.