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Nirjala Ekadasi/Pandava Bhima Ekadasi/Summer Solstice- June 21

06/21/2010

Monday June the 21st this year is Jyestha Shukla Ekadasi also better known as Nirjala Ekadasi .It is also the  day of Summer Solstice(only northern hemisphere) and Winter Solstice ( Southern hemisphere ). Today the day will be the longest and the night will be the shortest on the Northern side. The ancient Indians timed the festivals and days of various observances to coincide with natural phenomena so that people could take advantage of the beneficial effects of nature while following traditions as well.

Ekadasi is the day of the 11th tithi of the moon. Usually this is a day recommended for fasting . The reasons are many for this tradition. Modern science reveals that giving a day of rest to your digestion system not only improves your health but also detoxifies your body. Since two Ekadasis occur in a lunar month giving rest to your system has its own benefits. I will do a detailed writeup on fasting sometime later. Also why choose only Ekadasi for this fasting. In swara yoga  the phases of the moon correspond to the movement of the mind

Moon or Soma is an important planet which plays a major role in regulating tides on earth , keeping the weather patterns steady , regulating the seasons and many other things. This is not hocus pocus but a proven scientific fact…In fact if the moon were not there the earth would not be there.National Geographic had a detailed show on this recently .

“Our moon is the “counter-balance” of our own planet. It makes our planet stable, just tilting 23 degrees. If the moon suddenly disappeared, however, catastrophic things might happen. Earth would tumble to it’s own axis, making our seasons different. Countries near the equator might experience snow, while in the polar regions they might experience drought. Tide patterns would also change.”

Written by a Astronomy Professor this book details the above

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060925566/sr=8-6/qid=1154787417/ref=sr_1_6/103-3122721-8714204?ie=UTF8

The ancients knew this and based the Hindu calendar on the  Luni Solar Transition……Amavasya was not considered an Inauspicious day in ancient times. In fact it is not a suggested day for material gains but is a superb day for Mental focus and Spiritual practises.

🙂 Soma or the Moon has an huge impact on human’s ….The lunar cycle has a similar effect on the human mind ”

The ancient practise of Swara yoga which maps this movement of the moon to the movement of the mind through the seven chakras says the Moon will rest in the Ajna or Anahata Chakras during the two Ekadasis.Both the Ajna and Anahata are natural resting places of the mind and one is very comfortable on these days and the mind is tuned towards god.

Also giving rest to your digestion system will divert your energy towards god . Commonly we tend to fall asleep after a heavy meal and science says it is because the flow of blood is diverted from other parts of the brain to the digestive system to help digestion. The brain tends to work more when it gets a fresh inflow of blood and oxygen and heavy meals typically tend to disrupt this. By having a full day of light fasting you actually help the brain turn inwards for spirituality . It is a different story many people might find the day sluggish with fasting 🙂 this is because they are not used to it. If you make a regular habit of it fasting will keep you active and healthy. We shall discuss more in the series on fasting.

Now what is the speciality of this day and why is it called Pandava Bhima Ekadasi.

The Pandava brothers were regular in keeping the Ekadasi fast. However Bhima could not keep the fast as he loved food a lot and could not keep the fast. Bhima worried that he might be commiting a grave mistake and requested Veda Vyasa for an alternative solution. The great sage Veda Vyasa suggested  ” If one can keep a fast without even taking water on Nirjala Ekadasi the longest day of summer  one will get the benefit of having kept the fast on rest of the 24 ekadasis ” .  Bhima was happy with this solution and he kept fast on Nirjala Ekadasi.

Always rules get modified by Desa Kala Patra.The scriptures allow one to take light milk and fruits on any fasting day and the same can be done today as well.

Krishna in the Sankhya Yoga Chapter 6 of the Gita says

yuktahara-viharasya
yukta-cestasya karmasu
yukta-svapnavabodhasya
yogo bhavati duhkha-ha

SYNONYMS

yukta–regulated; ahara–eating; viharasya–recreation; yukta–regulated; cestasya–of one who works for maintenance; karmasu–in discharging duties; yukta–regulated; svapna-avabodhasya–regulated sleep and wakefulness; yogah–practice of yoga; bhavati–becomes; duhkha-ha–diminishing pains.

TRANSLATION

He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.

Lunar Phases of the Moon

Movement of breath through the two nostrils linking the chakras

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