Hindus all across the country observe fast on Dev Uthani Ekadashi, the most auspicious one among all 24 Ekadashis. It is believed that on this day, God Vishnu woke up after four months of deep sleep. People also perform wedding rituals of Tulsi on Ekadashi of Shukla Paksh of Kartik month.
It is also believed that God Vishnu married Tulsi on the next day of Dev Uthani Ekadashi and therefore, this day is celebrated as Tulsi vivah where the ritual of marriage is performed between Tulsi plant and black Saligram stone symbolizing God Vishnu.
Well, as we all know it is often said that on Ekadashi anything that belongs to the “Grain” category should not be consumed. Not only from religious point of view but also scientifically it has been proven that consuming food that belongs to the grain category can have harmful effect on the body.
A few special fruits that are consumed on this day include sugarcane, sugar beet and sweet potato. There is a ritual of not eating rice on this Ekadashi and on all the Ekadashis of the year.
According to a mythological story, sweat fell down from Lord Brahma’s head and took shape of a demon. When the demon asked the lord to give a place to reside, Brahma asked him to dwell in rice eaten by men on Ekadashi and get converted into worms in their stomach.
The scientific reason says that having rice or any grain on Ekadashi can cause trouble to your body due to the position of the moon. Grains retain water and as we know the position of the moon impacts all water bodies on the earth, it also applies to the fluid inside our body. Therefore having rice or grain on this day can have an adverse effect on your health.
Another belief is that, on amavasya, because of strong gravitational force, there are high tides but from the next day, the pressure recedes. Hence, on the 11th day from New Moon or Full Moon days, there is almost no pressure. Fasting on any other day can be really tiring as the atmospheric pressure will put a strain on the body, but same doesn’t implies on the Ekadashi day. Hence, it is easy to cleanse our body especially bowel system and detoxify ourselves on Ekadashi. On the next day of Ekadashi it is suggested to have food early in the morning. This is done in order to avoid any pressure on the body. Fasting on Ekadashi has been mentioned in various Puranas.
The Skanda Purana states that,
matr ha pitr has caiva bhratr ha guru has tatha
ekadasyas tu ya bhunkte visnu-lokac cyuto bhavet
“Those who eat grains on Ekadasi and on the Day of Lord Hari (including Janmastami, Gaura Purnima etc.) obtain the sin equal to killing one’s own mother, own father, own brother and own Guru; and they cannot reach the spiritual world, which is why one should never eat grains on fasting days.”
The Brihan Naradiya Purana states:
brahma-hatyadi papanam kathancin niskrtir bhavet
ekadasyat tu yo bhunkte niskrtir nasti kutracit
“By rigidly following religious and ritualistic processes one may become free from grievous sin like killing a Brahmana, but it is impossible to eliminate the sins of those who eat grains on Ekadasi days.”
Well, it is said that, fasting on Ekadashis began in Satyayuga and everyone followed fasting rules then.