Why can we not eat grains on Ekadashi? Krishna never mentioned this in Bhagavad Gita.
Ekadashi is a special day, which appears twice a month – once on the waxing moon and the next on the waning moon. And according to the Puranas, fasting from grains and beans is mandatory on this day. It is cleansing, both materially and spiritually. Fasting from grains and beans on Ekadashi has pragmatic explanations as well. According to Ayurveda, the ancient Vedic science of medicine, and according to complex astrological calculations, this is an auspicious time for such fasting.
Lord Krishna explains in Bhagavad-gita that someone offers a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water with love and devotion, He accepts them. All these items can be offered on Ekadashi days. He has not specifically mentioned about what food items can be consumed on Ekadashi day, since He did not have sufficient time to give all details at that time. When Lord Krishna came as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu five hundred years ago He asked His mother for one boon out of the many things He could have asked her and that was to follow the Ekadashi brata (the vow of Ekadashi).
Extra chanting of God’s names is recommended on this day. One should use this time for spiritual pursuits. Fasting is good for the body, and, when properly directed, it is good for the soul. It is recommended in all of the world’s religions. And so the particular day, in one sense, is not as important as the principle although, in another sense, the days that are recommended are important as well. They have special meaning. One of our predecessor teachers, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, has said that if one even accidentally follows Ekadashi, he makes great spiritual advancement.
What does Hare Krishna mean?
“Hare Krishna” refers to the Sanskrit prayer we sing (the Maha-mantra, or “great chant for deliverance”) and to our group. Since we are often seen chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, we are referred to as the “Hare Krishnas.”
Srila Prabhupada came to the United States from India in 1965 to introduce the Western world to bhakti-yoga, which features the chanting of Hare Krishna as its main spiritual practice. Prabhupada represents a lineage of teachers dating back into antiquity, but which was revitalized 500 years ago by the incarnation of God named Lord Chaitanya.
The voluminous Vedic scriptures of India contain everything we need to know about how to live happily in the world while we realize our spirituality and our relationship with God. These scriptures describe many methods of spiritual attainment, but they specifically recommend the chanting of Hare Krishna as the most effective method of God realization for the time we live in.
Since God is unlimited, He has unlimited names, with different purposes and meanings. The purpose of the Hare Krishna prayer is to awaken us to our eternal nature as servants and lovers of Krishna.
The Hare Krishna mantra is composed of three Sanskrit words: Krishna, Rama and Hare. Krsna and Rama are both names for God. Krishna means “the all-attractive,” and Rama means “the supreme pleasure.” We can approach the all-attractive Supreme Lord, and experience the supreme pleasure of His company, through the help of His devotional or pleasure energy, Hare.
Placed together the words of the prayer mean “O Lord, O energy of the Lord, please engage me in Your loving service.” By chanting Hare Krishna we become purified of material conditioning and become reinstated in our normal eternal position.
How to do mind management according to Bhagavad Gita?
Thanks for asking this question.
The teachings of Bhagavad Gita are certainly very helpful to regulate the mind’s activities.
One needs to devote some time everyday by serving, reading about Lord Krishna’s glorious acts, chanting His Holy names (Hare Krishna Mahamantra).
This helps to perform other duties in a balanced way.
It is a matter of practice, which Lord Krishna recommends to Arjuna in BG 6.35
By constant practice and detachment, one can regulate the mind.
In this way one can do mind management.
Many people have the idea that bad karma can be reduced or removed through meditation, worship, samskara, or sacrifice. How can we really burn all our bad karma?
The Vedic scriptures describe that devotional service to the Lord destroys the results of previous sins, in other words, bad karma. The effectiveness of the process depends on its purity. For example, pure chanting of the holy names of the Lord destroys all sinful reactions. But the chanting is usually not pure in the beginning. When one begins the practice of devotional service, it is said to be like unplugging a fan. The fan will still turn for some time. So in the stage of devotional practice, the reactions will continue, but as we become more and more purified by devotional service, eventually we become free of all reactions and enjoy the bliss of full spiritual life. And even in the stage of practice, Lord Krishna adjusts the karma so that His aspiring devotees get just what they need to progress steadily toward Him.
But one precaution is very important and that is committing sinful activities on the strength of the holy name because this is an offense to Holy name. If one continues to perform sinful activities thinking that he will be freed of sins by chanting Hare Krishna then it is an offense to the Holy name. So one should be very careful in this regard that whatever sins had been committed in the past we do not have any control over them but now onward when we start taking the shelter of Holy name we should not commit further sins.
The devotee can constantly think of the object of worship, the Supreme Lord, in any of His features — Narayana, Krishna, Rama, etc. — by chanting Hare Krishna. This practice will purify him, and at the end of his life, due to his constant chanting, he will be transferred to the kingdom of God. Yoga practice is meditation on the Supersoul within; similarly, by chanting Hare Krishna one fixes his mind always on the Supreme Lord. The mind is fickle, and therefore it is necessary to engage the mind by force to think of Krishna. One example often given is that of the caterpillar that thinks of becoming a butterfly and so is transformed into a butterfly in the same life. Similarly, if we constantly think of Krishna, it is certain that at the end of our lives we shall have the same bodily constitution as Krishna
Q. I have ocd, so I cannot stop myself from having unwanted bad thoughts. Can God forgive me for this unwanted mental sin? Please suggest what to do?
A. God helps them, those who help themselves.
It may happen because of previous conditionings.
Try to become more determined by taking shelter of the Supreme Lord.
Avoid staying awake in the night and surfing the net.
Best is to switch off everything by 9:00 – 9:30 pm
Take proper rest.
Do not mix with those people, who are also having such difficulties.
Read Holy Gita to make your mind more stronger.
Remember, intelligence is higher than the mind and soul is higher than the intelligence.
If you become more determined, you shall be able to overcome it.
If you need any help, please send email.
I hope this helps you.
Q. Thanks for the support. I shall be determined to overcome those thoughts. My mother said mental sin is not sin in Kali-yuga. But is this Kali-yuga or we are in Dwapara-yuga because if Kali-yuga is 1200 years long then we had already crossed it. Again Kali-yuga as 432000 long is also proposed. Which one to believe please clarify.
Furthermore if I want complete sharanagati to Lord Krishna what are the steps please tell me.
I do japa of mahamantra 108 times or more daily, is it ok? or I have to increase the time?
A. Yes, in Kali-yuga, mental sin is not considered.
However, one should be determined to keep mind busy with higher thoughts.
Otherwise, mind may drag back to the previous conditioning. And those thoughts may come back to the gross level.
According to Srimad Bhagavatam, Kali-yuga lasts for 4,32,000 years.
Of which only 5,000 years have passed.
Complete Sharanagati to the Lord comes from the heart.
From heart, if you pray to the Lord, He shall certainly help you and protect you in all circumstances.
In one sense everything belongs to the Supreme Lord.
One needs to remember this all times.
If you offer whatever in your possession, to the Supreme Lord, in your heart, you shall achieve complete sharanagati very quickly.
Also, one should make special efforts to offer fruits, flower and nice foodstuffs to the Supreme Lord.
If you are chanting 108 times, it is good.
Please try to chant more attentively.
If you wish to chant more, it is all right, but do not reduce your chanting.
While chanting, the quality of chanting is important.
One should try to chant in complete dependence of the Supreme Lord.
I hope this helps you.
Q. I cannot control my thoughts. Can Krishna forgive me for having bad
thoughts? What to do to get His forgiveness? I maintain fasting every
Ekadashi as Prabhu says it burns all sins. I want to be spiritual and a good
person, What to do? Please suggest.
A. The nature of the mind is to think.
Thoughts may come and try to overpower, but you should not get carried away.
Keep yourself busy with positive activities.
Lord says in Bhagavad Gita, “Even if someone has committed most sinful action, if he /she is engaged in His devotional service. That person is considered to be saintly.”
If you want to become free from certain difficulties, then help others who are suffering from such difficulties.
Try to create awareness of living a simple and pure life.
It shall help others and you personally.
Try to become positive in all aspects.
You have not lost the battle.
Take complete shelter of the Supreme Lord.
There is nothing impossible for Him.
He is like Sun, wherever there is Sun, darkness cannot remain there.
Whenever such thoughts come, continue chanting little loudly.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare