The word Ekadashi (literally, “the eleventh day”) refers to two days a month: the eleventh day after the new moon and the eleventh day after the full moon. On these days, devotees strive to deepen their attitude of loving service to Krishna by using even more of their time to chant Hare Krishna, read books like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, and discuss topics of devotional service.
To observe Ekadashi, devotees simplify their diet by fasting from grains and beans. On Ekadashi they eat only fruits, nuts, milk products, non-bean vegetables, and so on. People today follow all sorts of harsh or complicated diets to improve their health or enhance their spirituality, but simply by observing this Ekadashi diet twice a month one can easily improve one’s health and enrich one’s spiritual life.
Although Ekadashi is not difficult to follow, the results are most beneficial. The Brahma-vaivartaPurana, one of the oldest scriptures known to man, states, “One who observes Ekadashi is freed from all kinds of reactions to sinful activities and advances in pious life.” On the other hand, if one sacrifices eating simply for material reasons then such sacrifices are denigrated by Lord Krishna. “But sacrifices, austerities and charities performed without faith in the Supreme are nonpermanent, O son of Prtha, regardless of whatever rites are performed. They are called asat and are useless both in this life and the next.” – BG. 17.28
Actually, on the Ekadashi day one should not take any food or even drink water. Everyone has a different constitution, and for some people fasting even from water can be too much of a strain on health. SrilaPrabhupada once told a disciple that in order of importance first comes health, then our sadhana (spiritual practices), and then our service to help give Krishna consciousness to others. This is not to imply that health is more important than chanting Hare Krishna! The idea is that without some form of good health it’s difficult to do anything. In fact, Prabhupada instructed that if by fasting on Ekadashi a devotee feels too weak to do his devotional service, it’s better for him to eat. Whatever way one decides to observe Ekadashi, it’s best to mentally prepare yourself the day before by planning what you intend to do. Try to make it a day in which you break your regular pattern of life and increase your spiritually oriented activities. Ekadashi is also a good time to reflect on your spiritual progress in general.
This year Kamika Ekadasi falls on 28 Jul, 2019
Click here to know – “How to observe ekadasi as per Srila Prabhupada’s instructions?”