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The scientific reason behind not taking grains on ekādaśī

During the bright and dark fortnights of every month, from ekādaśī until the full-moon day, and from ekādaśī until the new-moon day, there is an increased high tide in the oceans, and the waves rise very high. This is because the moon comes somewhat closer to the Earth and pulls the water towards itself by force of gravity. Ninety percent of the human body is fluid in nature. The moon has a strong influence on water during the above-mentioned days. If one eats grains, they absorb water and there is an increased chance of developing diseases due to the moon’s gravity attracting the water.

The body of a human being is like a machine. If we take food three times a day, this machine does not get any rest. If one does not take food on ekādaśī, one’s body can rest and one has more time to engage in nāma-bhajana (devotional service rendered through the chanting of the holy names). Thus, one’s devotion is nourished and can increase.

(Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, Hawaii, 13 May 2000)



Scientific Importance of observing a fast on Ekādaśī

From time immemorial, devotees have been observing fasts twice a month on the Ekādaśī days. This fasting is, in general, for everyone. Ekādaśī (‘Eka’ is 1, ‘Daśa’ is 10) is the 11th day in the lunar calendar, i.e. counting from the new moon day and also from the full moon day.

According to research, the air pressure in the earth’s atmosphere rapidly changes on both the new moon (Amāvasyā) and the full moon (Pūrṇimā) days. This is because of the orbital paths—combination of the sun, moon and the earth and their varying distances at particular intervals (i.e. every 24 hours for one entire rotation of the Earth).

Accordingly the pressure in the atmosphere too changes drastically and varies from day to day. This can be observed by the change in the nature of the tidal waves on the new moon and full moon days. On an Amāvasyā, the waves are very high and rough due to the
increase in atmospheric pressure in the oceans. But from the next day onwards, the waves become calm—an indication that the pressure has also receded. Particularly on the 11th day from new moon or full moon days, the pressure is very light or nil.

Now, based on this fact, the significance of Ekādaśī fasting can be explained in this way –

1. Compared to any other day of the moon cycle, atmospheric pressure is lowest on Ekādaśī days. Thus, this is the best time to fast and cleanse our bodies. If we fast on any other day, the high pressure/strain may damage our system.

On this day, the body never experiences the pain while we cleanse our systems, thus refreshing the entire body mechanism—specifically the liver/stomach/bowel.

As the atmospheric pressure builds up faster and doubles on the 12th day from Amāvasyā / Pūrṇimā days (called as Dvādaśī), to avoid any complications in the body, people fasting are advised to consume food as early in the morning as possible, the next day.

2. It is noted that fasting on this day is also very conducive to concentrate on meditation and prayers. According to science, it takes about 3-4 days for the brain to understand our food intake after we have eaten. It is said that if we eat light/fast on Ekādaśī days, that intake will reach the brain correspondingly on the new moon/full moon day.

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