Q. Stories abound on the origin of the Ekadasi day. Even more stories are told on the benefits and warnings given for breaking this fast. My question is why we break fast on the Dwadasi at a particular time and what might be the ‘result’ of breaking ones fast after the allotted time has passed, say if you are traveling or something like that or have just simply forgotten to break fast at the appropriate time.
A. In the stage of regulative sadhana bhakti, several do’s and do not’s are prescribed. One such set of rules applies to the Ekadasi Vrata and it is said that to get the full benefit of observing the fast, the fast has to broken within the prescribed time; if not, the benefit of fasting would be minimized.
While it is certainly important for us to follow these rules as meticulously as possible, we have to keep in mind that the rules are not the be-all and end-all. The higher prerogative is the mood of devotion in pleasing the Supreme Lord. We endeavor to follow the rules meticulously to please the Lord. All rules are servants of this one rule.