Introduction to Ekadasi Svarupa Darsana

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed different devotees at different times and places. He gave important instructions to Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī for two months while visiting Vārāṇasī, and for four months, He instructed Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī and his family in Śrī Raṅgam. In Jagannātha Purī, He taught Śrī Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī for approximately eight months, and at other times He would also teach Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī there. These instructions, spoken by Mahāprabhu to His dear devotees, help us, conditioned souls, to realise our true spiritual identity (svarūpa) and to connect with Śrī Hari’s eternal pastimes (nitya-līlā). By instructing His devotees, Mahāprabhu taught the whole world that the only purpose of all our activities should be the attainment of śuddha-bhakti, or pure devotion. We should not waste our time with all kinds of ideas and desires of this mundane world, which are unrelated to śuddha-bhakti. Rather, Mahāprabhu taught us our real identity:

nāhaṁ vipro na ca nara-patir nāpi vaiśyo na śūdro

    nāhaṁ varṇī na ca gṛha-patir no vana-stho yatir vā

kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramānanda-pūrnāmṛtābdher

     gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ

Padyāvalī 63,
quoted in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 13.80)

I am not a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, or śūdra, nor a brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, or sannyāsī. My only identity is that of an insignificant servant of the servants of the servants of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the ever-expanding ocean of fully nectarean transcendental bliss, who is renowned as the maintainer of the vraja-gopīs

We are not anything related to the material body, be it a gender, caste member, national of a country, race, or anything else. We are not man, woman, black, white, American, Australian, African, British, Chinese, Indian, Russian, and so on. Each one of us is a part and parcel of God and our real position is to be engaged in His loving service. The love of the vraja-gopīs for Śrī Kṛṣṇahow they serve and please Him—is the main principle and objective of our life.

Ekādaśī is not controlled by material time

In Jagannātha Purī, many karmīs (fruitive workers), and jñānīs (mental speculators) would not observe Ekādaśī, and even those who did, they would not follow the Ekādaśī-vrata properly; their Ekādaśī-vow was not śuddha (pure). Mahāprabhu, however, showed by His own example how śuddha Ekādaśī should be observed. By following Ekādaśī in the proper way Himself, He taught everyone.

Ekādaśī is kṛṣṇa-priyā, very dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Just like Lord Hari and hari-bhakti, devotion to the Lord, are free from mundane qualities (nirguṇa), the appearance of Ekādaśī-devī for the purpose of helping the conditioned living entities is also nirguṇa. The Ekādaśī-vrata as performed by the karmīs and jñanis is not equal to the Ekādaśī-vrata that is performed by the śuddha-bhaktas, or pure devotees who are on the transcendental platform. 

Nirguṇa means ‘beyond the three modes of material nature,’ or ‘the absence of material qualities.’ Time is material, and so are the sun and the moon, but when they become a medium for hari-bhakti, when they connect to the service of Śrī Hari, then they become nirguṇa. Similarly, Ekādaśī appears at a certain time, and it is important to understand that it is due to the presence of Ekādaśī and due to the careful utilization of that time in śuddha-bhakti, that this time becomes nirguṇa. To think that the pure, nirguṇa nature of Ekādaśī is ascertained merely due to the position and influence of the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies is a mistake.

There are many rules and regulations for observing the Ekādaśī-vrata. Scriptures ordain one to observe a fast from grains and other foods, to minimize the demands of the body, and to engage more time in the performance of the different limbs of bhakti, such as hearing and chanting. On this day, one should give up the company of worldly-minded and sinful people by staying in a holy tīrtha or temple and associating with high class devotees. 

One may also avoid all that is prohibited on auspicious fast days, such as applying oil on the body, brushing teeth, eating on a bellmetal plate, sleeping during the day, gambling, cheating, criticising others, becoming envious, becoming angry, and engaging in material sense gratification.

It is important to note that in spite of following all the rules of this vrata (including the rules for breaking one’s fast the next day at the specified material time), none of these practices will be nirguṇa if they are done without actual devotion and without connecting that devotion to one’s eternal position as a loving servant of Śrī Hari. The fruits obtained by such disconnected practices are the same as those attained by performing āropa-siddha-bhakti and saṅga-siddha-bhakti, or that which is desired by karmīs and jñānīs, namely sense gratification and liberation.  

Three kinds of Ekādaśī—pūrvaviddhā, para-viddhā, and śuddha—and on which to observe the Ekādaśī-vrata

To carefully honor holy tithis such as Ekādaśī as completely transcendental (nirguṇa), seeing them only in connection to one’s eternal service in the eternal pastimes of Śrī Hari, falls in the category of svarūpa-siddha-bhakti, or pure devotional service. This will, without a doubt, award the fruit of prema, which was the root intention and meaning behind Mahaprabhu’s instruction to Śrīla Śanātana Gosvāmī, as recorded in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 24.341–342): 

ekādaśī, janmāṣṭamī, vāmana-dvādaśī

śrī-rāma-navamī, āra nṛsiṁha-caturdaśī

ei sabe viddhā-tyāga, aviddhā-karaṇa

akaraṇe doṣa, kaile bhaktira laṅghana

Vratas such as Ekādaśī, Janmāṣṭamī, Vāmana-dvādaśī, Rāma-navamī and Nṛsiṁha-caturdaśī must be performed on the aviddhā (unmixed) and śuddha (pure) tithis, whereas viddhā (mixed) tithis should be discarded. All these vratas should be described, as by observing them, bhakti is attained and nourished. Yet, if one does not observe them carefully, one will be negligent in executing devotional service and make many mistakes.

A holy tithi should be honored on that day when it is the only, or exclusive, worshipful tithi, unmixed with the ordinary tithi that precedes it. This is why Mahāprabhu requested Śrīla Śanātana Gosvāmī to explain this, that vratas should be observed on pure, unmixed (aviddhā) tithis only, and that when a tithi is mixed (viddhā), it should be discarded. 

It is important to understand why this is so. It is not that these viddhā-tithis would contaminate the holy tithis and make them impure, but rather because performing worship and following a vrata on a viddhā-tithi would show negligence and dishonor to the special holy tithi one wants to observe. In order to properly honor a king that is about to arrive in a country, one has to make sure that the special reception to welcome the king starts only at that moment when only the king and his party enter. If you would begin the special reception meant for the king at a time when some ordinary people arrive before him, this would be disrespectful and negligent towards that king.   

Thus, following Mahāprabhu’s order, Śrīla Śanātana Gosvāmī has stated in Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa

pūrva-viddhā sadā tyājyā

para-viddhā sadā grāhyā

If a particular tithi happens to be pūrva-viddhā, it is always to be rejected, whereas a para-viddhā tithi is always to be accepted.

What determines whether a tithi is viddhā or aviddhā? For the Vaiṣṇavas, a day begins at the time of Brāhma-muhūrta, which is the second-to-last muhūrta before sunrise. According to Vedic time calculations, a day is divided in thirty parts of 48 minutes each, called muhūrtas. Based on the general definition, Brāhma-muhūrta is the period from 1 hour 36 minutes up to 48 minutes before the sunrise. The deeper meaning of Brāhma-muhūrta, however, is that this part of the day is the time of brāhma. It is an extremely auspicious period, for it is the time that the Divine Couple awakens. Within Their aṣṭa-kaliya līlā, this pastime of awakening takes place in the second-to-last muhūrta (from 4:24 to 5:12 am) of the nīśānta-līlā period (from 3:36 to 6 am).  

When an Ekādaśī tithi is present from the beginning of the Brāhma-muhūrta and continues to be present till the end (or even after) the Brāhma-muhūrta of the next day, it is called sampūrṇā. Such an Ekādaśī is suitable for observing the śuddha Ekādaśī-vrata. 

If, however, the Daśamī tithi (10th moon) is still present when the Brāhma-muhūrta begins, the Ekādaśī tithi mixes with that preceding tithi and is therefore called pūrva-viddhā. Thus, the Ekādaśī-vrata should not be observed on that day, but on the following Dvādaśī day, which then becomes a Mahā-dvādaśī. 

On the other hand, if the Ekādaśī tithi is present from the beginning of the Brahma-muhūrta, but the Dvādaśī tithi (12th moon) already starts before the Brāhma-muhūrta of the next day, then this mixture of the Ekādaśī tithi with the Dvādaśī tithi is called para-viddhā, and although mixed, this day remains suitable to observe the Ekādaśī-vrata. 

By observing Ekādaśī-vrata according to the precepts of uttama-bhakti—that is, by cultivating endeavors and moods that are favorable to Kṛṣṇa (ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam)—devotion is nourished and becomes perfected as prema-bhakti. Thus, Ekādaśī-devī is glorified as the mother of devotion. 

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has said: 

mādhava-tithi, bhakti-jananī, jatane pālana kari

Mādhava’s holy tithis (such as Ekādaśī and Janmāṣṭamī) are the mother of devotion (bhakti-jananī). Very carefully (jatane), I will observe and honor it (pālana kari). So to carefully observe and honor Ekādaśī means: (1) to reserve this holy time exclusively for transcendental devotional activities of bhakti, performed in the company of devotees, and (2) to properly honor this holy tithi by observing the vrata only on the day when this tithi is not mixed with the previous tithi.

The rules for the observance of vratas that Mahāprabhu estabilished in His dialogue with Śrīla Sanatāna Gosvāmī are meant to connect us with the Lord’s nitya-līlā and the eternal spiritualworld; they are not meant to increase our identification with our material environment, which would be a type of niyam-āgraha. While there are very specific rules as to when to observe Ekādaśī-vrata, as explained above, it is important to grasp that the deeper appreciation of these rules is that they are there to connect us to the nirguṇa nature of bhakti.

When we accept that Brāhma-muhūrta marks the beginning of the vrata day, one can either identify Brāhma-muhūrta as a material time, determined by the material sunrise, or one can fully appreciate the real, nirguṇa nature of the Brāhma-muhūrta. The latter is more preferable; otherwise, why call this time period ‘Brāhma-muhūrta’? 

Those who identify Brāhma-muhūrta as determined by the material sunrise will be in an awkward position, for the sun rises in some places at seven a.m., in other places at eight a.m., nine a.m., ten a.m., or in some places even very late in the night. In some places the sun does not rise at all, while in other places it does not set. By trying to apply the rules of Ekādaśī to all these places, based on the movement of the material sun, they do not only misunderstand the nirguṇa nature of Brāhma-muhūrta, but also extend this misunderstanding to their performance of the Ekādaśī-vrata. This only puts them far away from being able to properly honor Ekādaśī as nirguṇa, and as such they will not be able to connect to the Lord’s nitya-līlā.

The nirguṇa-bhaktas on the other hand identify Brāhma-muhūrta as the second-to-last muhūrta (from 4:24 to 5:12 am) of the Lord’s nīśānta-līlā period (from 3:36 to 6 am). This auspicious time marks the awakening of the Divine Couple and Their preparing for the upcoming morning. Our Guru-varga has taught us that this time is the beginning of our day, and that is why we always perform maṅgala-ārati at this time, regardless of the sunrise being earlier or later. In the same way, when observing the rules for following the śuddha Ekādaśī-vrata and determining whether the tithi is aviddhā or viddhā, the nirguṇa devotee will only see whether this nirguṇa Brāhma-muhūrta has come, regardless of whether the material sun has arisen or not. In this way, as the nirguṇa-bhaktas properly honor this nirguṇa time, they will consistently connect to the nirguṇa nitya-līlā of the Lord and thus nourish their devotion.

Those who follow śuddha Ekādaśī-vrata will receive the true fruit (sat-phala) of Ekādaśī from Bhagavān Himself, and those who follow viddhā Ekādaśī-vrata will receive a false fruit (ku-phala) from Mohinī. The history of Rukmāṅgada is evidence of this.

The Māyāpura Calendar

By appreciating how the nirguṇa-bhaktas, followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, properly honor the nirguṇa time in vratas, we can also easily appreciate how they perform their vrata by taking exclusive shelter of the nirguṇa nature of Mahāprabhu’s holy dhāma

Due to contamination of material science and politics, the world is divided into countries and time zones, enhancing one’s false identity and disconnecting sādhakas from nitya-līlā. Therefore nirguṇa-bhaktas mercifully recommend that we accept only to be a resident of Māyāpura, in the same mood that our Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī advised us to reside in Vṛndāvanaby body and mind, and if we cannot do so by body, we should at least reside there by mind. 

Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, or Māyāpura, is non-different from Vṛndāvana. Indeed, śastra states that in Kali-yuga, all holy tīrthas and spiritual potenciesreside in Navadvīpa, and the unique and unprecedented power to bestow prema to sādhakas, disregarding their faults and offenses, is only available there.

Fully faithful to this completely transcendental nature of Navadvīpa, the nirguṇa-bhaktas recommend to perform vrata by exclusively taking shelter of Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, or Māyāpura.

nadīyā-udayagiri, pūrṅacandra gaurahari,

kṛpā kari’ ha-ila udaya

Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi 13.98

By His causeless mercy, the full moon, Gaurahari, rose in the district of Nadia (Navadvīpa), which is compared to Udayagiri, where the sun first becomes visible.

In California, Śrīla Gurudeva was once asked by a senior Prabhupāda disciple if devotees in the West could celebrate Gaura Pūrṇimā (and other festival days) before the devotees of Māyāpura do. Śrīla Gurudeva responded, “Never”.

Later, when told the comment that (Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī) Prabhupāda had said, “The sun first rises in Māyāpura and the rest of the world should follow their observations after,“ Gurudeva replied, “Whatever Svāmījī has written should be followed.”

Nirguṇa-bhaktas, such as Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda, did not comply with the idea of specialised calendars, calculated according to different time zones. Rather, they only established the calendar of the Māyāpura time zone, fully acknowledging that by connecting to Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma in this way, having full faith in its transcendental nature, we can easily become the recipients of Mahāprabhu’s mercy. In that way, despite our faults and imperfections, the full result of our sadhāna will be attained. 

The first Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava calendar (or pañjikā), was made by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda on the request and order of Vaiṣṇava Sārvabhauma Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. Bābājī Mahārāja knew very well that Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta was not just the most expert astrologer, but also and more significantly, a transcendental personality who could rightly collect the dates and timings of all the auspicious festivals and vratas that were to be followed by the Gauḍīyas. Prior to requesting the compilation of the first Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava calendar, Bābājī Mahārāja had conclusively confirmed that the location pointed out by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura to be Śrī Māyāpura-dhāma, was indeed the true birthplace of Śrī Śacīnandana Gaurahari. Understanding the desire of both Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta compiled and published a Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava calendar that inspired everyone to follow the festivals and vratas of Śrī Māyāpura, and in this way, he preached Śrī Māyāpura’s glories everywhere. Thus this Gaurābda Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava calendar, which was started by Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta, should be followed as he established it.

Although the nirguṇa-bhaktas identify Brāhma-muhūrta as a fixed part of the day from 4:24 to 5:12 AM, corresponding with the second-to-last muhūrta of the Lord’s nīśānta-līlā period, we see that the timings of the vratas are not fixed in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣaṇva calendar that was established by Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta. This is because the timings are calculated according to the sunrise in Śrī Māyāpura. Why did Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta choose to do so? Because for the Gauḍīyas, Śrī Māyāpura-dhāma is most worshipable. As devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we take shelter of Śrī Māyāpura-dhāma in all our spiritual practices (sādhana), knowing with full faith that Śrīman Mahāprabhu is still performing His pastimes there. We align our observance of the Ekādaśī-vrata and other auspicious festivals with the timings of the place where the Lord Himself is still observing all these vratas and festivals. In this way, we take shelter of that most magnanimous Lord, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who easily disregard all the faults and offenses in our sādhana and award us our desired goal of eternal loving service to the Divine Couple in Vraja.

adyāpiha sei līlā kare gaurarāya
kona-kona bhāgyavān dekhibāre pāya  

Bhakti-ratnākara 1.57

Only those living entities who are extremely fortunate can see that Śrī Gaurasundara and His associates are still performing their pastimes here, upto today.  

Differences between different Gauḍīya calendars 

Although all the Gauḍīyas follow the calendar established by Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta, we see that there are sometimes differences in the calendars published by the various Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava groups and societies, such as the different Gauḍīya Maṭhas, Iskcon, and so on. To understand why this is, we need to look at the foundation of the different calendar calculations. 

At the time of Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta, the Gaurābda calendars were calculated according to the Sūrya-siddhānta almanac. They were calculated for the Māyāpura time zone only, and at all other locations, the devotees simply followed the Māyāpura calendar, thus taking shelter of Śrīman Mahāprabhu and His eternal pastime place. In other words, no matter where the devotees were located, they all followed the calculations based on the sunrise time in Māyāpura. For example, if the local material sunrise time at a place was ten a.m., but the Māyāpura sunrise time was seven a.m., then the Brāhma-muhūrta (which lasts from 1h 36min till 48min before sunrise) for that place would not be from 8:24 till 9:12 a.m., but from 5:24 till 6:12 a.m. Thus, everyone considered their sunrise time to be determined by the transcendental sunrise time of Māyāpura. If someone takes shelter of Māyāpura and Mahaprabhu in this way, the faults and offenses that may occur in his vratas and sādhana will not be considered.

To understand the difference between different calendars, it is important to understand that there are two ways to calculate the various planetary positions, namely: (1) according to the Sūrya-siddhānta and (2) according to the Drik-siddhānta, which is also called Viśuddha-siddhānta. The calculations that use the Drik-siddhānta result in different timings for sunrise and tithis than the calculations that use the Sūrya-siddhānta, which in turn can lead to differences in dates and timings for vratas and calendar events. 

The Sūrya-siddhānta almanac follows the ancient Sūrya-siddhānta text, which is the most renowned and referred astronomical text in the Indian tradition. The Sūrya-siddhānta, which is in essence part of the traditional school of astrologers, consists of cryptic rules in Sanskrit verse. It is based on the words of sages like Parashara Muni, Garga Muni, and others who never used computers or Western astronomy. Among all the astronomical texts written in India, the Sūrya-siddhānta has the largest number of commentators. One such commentaries was writen by our Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvātī Ṭhakūra Prabhupāda.

The Drik-siddhānta almanac (or Viśuddha almanac) on the other hand was first published in 1890 as a modern alternative to the traditional Sūrya-siddhānta almanac. At that time, modern astrologers and almanac reformers thought that the Sūrya-siddhānta was not accurate, as it did not tally to the observational data that were collected by the new, modern science institutions. They therefore created a new almanac, based on the observational data acquired by modern technology, and named it the Drik-siddhānta almanac, or Viśuddha almanac. Later, this almanac was further fine-tuned with the help of computers and in present times, the calculation of this calendar has become fully computerised. Many popular religious organisations, such as the Śaṅkarācārya Jayendra Sarasvatī of Kāñchī Maṭha, the worldwide Rāmā-Krishna Maṭha and Rama-Krishna Mission, the Sat-saṅga Āśrama of Deoghar, and others have approved this almanac and are following it upto today. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvātī Prabhupāda, however, who himself was the most expert astrologer of his time, chose not to use this Drik-siddhānta almanac, which had already been introduced at his time. Rather, he used the Sūrya-siddhānta almanac. What is not known by many devotees is that all the computer programs that are available now, like the Vaiṣṇava calendar calculator apps used in Iskcon and some of the Gauḍīya Maṭhas (including the calendar calculator on, use the Drik-siddhānta almanac, which furthermore is customised to calculate separate timings for different time zones. As a result, the calendars that are calculated by such computer programs will have differences to the calendars that are based on the Sūrya-siddhānta almanac and fixed on the Māyāpura sunrise timings only.

Present-day almanac calculations

To make an almanac is not an easy thing. At present, the traditional almanac makers, using the Sūrya-siddhānta, publish the almanac called Sydhantic Panchangas, and the modern almanac makers, using the Drik-siddhānta, publish the almanac called Drigganita Panchangas. There are also many dedicated astrologers and almanac makers who calculate both the Sūrya-siddhānta and Drik-siddhānta almanacs and make them available for comparison on their websites and in their printed publications. An example of this is the Prokerala website (, where one can find the details of tithi, nakṣatra, sunrise time, moonrise time, and so on, for each day according to both the Sūrya-siddhānta and the Drik-siddhāna. The devotees who compile the yearly Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava calendar use these resources as a reference.    

By placing the calculations of the Sūrya-siddhānta and Drik-siddhānta next to each other, one can easily see why different calendars sometimes place the same Ekādaśī on different days. As an example, we will show the comparison for Vijaya Ekādaśī in 2023, calculated for Śrī Māyāpura-dhāma: 

Vijaya Ekādaśī
(Kṛṣṇa-paksa Ekādaśī in the month of Phālguna)
Sūrya-siddhānta CalculationDrik-siddhānta Calculation
Sunrise time in Māyāpura6:23 AM6:12 AM
Brāhma-muhūrtaFrom 3:47 to 5:35 AMFrom 3:36 to 5:24 AM
Start of the Ekādaśī-tithiFebruary 16, 12:37amFebruary 16, 05:33am
End of the Ekādaśī-tithiFebruary 16, 10:33pmFebruary 17, 02:49am
Ekādaśi typeŚuddha Ekādaśi
(only the Ekādaśī-tithi is present during the entire Brāhma-muhūrta) 
Purvā-viddhā Ekādaśī
(the Daśamī-tithi is present during the entire Brāhma-muhūrta, and the Ekādaśī-tithi ends before the next day’s Brāhma-muhūrta)
Ekādaśī is observed on16 February17 February

Which almanac to use?

As followers of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvātī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda, we use the Sūrya-siddhānta almanac for determining the dates and timings of the Gauḍīya festivals and vratas in our calendar. However, we do not make it our business to fight with those who follow calendar dates and timings that are calculated according to the Drik-siddhānta almanac—especially not when those devotees are doing so under the guidance and direction of their guru, or when they simply do not know that they are not following the Sūrya-siddhānta almanac.

In the same way as we do not interfere with the sādhana of those who follow the Drik-siddhānta calculations, we equally request them to refrain from criticising us for following the Māyāpura calendar. We request them not to consider and portray us as misguided, bogus, or following some newly conceptualised calendar, for all we are doing is simply following the same system that was followed by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvātī Prabhupāda, when he established the Gaurābda Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava calendar. This system and calendar is upto today still followed as well by Śrī Caitanya Maṭha in Māyāpura, our Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha in Navadvīpa, and many other Gauḍīya Maṭhas that accept the full conception of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvātī Prabhupāda and do not use the Drik-siddhānta almanac. 

There are also some devotees who, following the instructions of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda, only use the timings calculated for the Māyāpura time zone instead of the timings customised to the local time zone in which they are residing. However, because they are unaware that their computer-calculated calendar is based on the Drik-siddhānta almanac, their calendar still sometimes differs from the Māyāpura calendar.

How to follow the Māyāpura calendar

Some devotees think that to follow the Māyāpura time zone means that, independent from where one is, one should follow the vratas and festival days at exactly the same moment as they are being observed in Māyāpura. For example, if the time to break the Ekādaśī-vrata on the Dvādasī day in Māyāpura is between six and eight a.m. on February 17, then someone in New York should break the Ekādaśī-vrata between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. on February 16. This is not what is meant by following the Māyāpura time zone. Rather, it means that the timings of the different festival days and vratas are all calculated for the Māyāpura time zone, but if one is present in another time zone, one simply follows the festivals and vratas on the same date and time as mentioned in that calender. In other words, if the Māyāpura calendar says to break the Ekādaśī-vrata between six and eight a.m. on February 17, someone in New York will break his vrata when it is between six and eight a.m. on February 17 in New York.

The true purpose of following Ekādaśī

The karmīs and jñānīs also follow Ekādaśī, but they do so with the material conception that the Ekādaśī-tithi is a special time period, depending on some planetary positions. Although by material logic this may be true, as Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas we should appreciate the glory of Ekādaśī beyond that. Ekādaśī is non-different from Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. Although Ekādaśī is fully transcendental, its tithi appears to be associated with certain planetary positions and material explanations, but it is not these material conditions that give existence to the Ekādaśī-tithi, nor do these material conditions infuse the Ekādaśī-tithi with the powerful spiritual potencies it possesses. Completely bound by the material elements, the conditioned living entities are powerless and thus unable to perceive the Ekādaśī-tithi’s true transcendental nature. ‘Time’ is in fact one of the many potencies of the Supreme Lord, namely the potency by which He controls the movement of all the material elements within the material world. Being causelessly merciful, He appears in the form of a time segment, as the Ekādaśī-tithi, to give the living entities an opportunity to connect to the eternal transcendental world.   

Ultimately, we have to understand that time is divided into day and night, and further into different subdivisions—in the eight main divisions, the thirty muhūrtas, and so on—just so that these different segments of time can serve as uddīpana, or stimulus, for the remembrance of the aṣṭa-kāliya līlā of both the Divine Couple and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. We have to go beyond just following the external rules of Ekādaśī and the other vratas in our Gauḍīya line, and come to a proper understanding of how these rules are supposed to connect us to the one main rule, which is to always remember the Supreme Lord and to never forget Him. Sādhana is not sādhana if it is not aimed at attaining the nitya-siddha bhāvas, or eternally perfected moods, of the eternal associates of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vraja, and Śrīman Mahāprabhu in Navadvīpa. By focusing too much on the external rules while observing a vrata, there is a risk of becoming proud and resorting to self-righteousness to such a degree that one actually forgets our worshipable Lords, as well as the aim of our sādhana, and instead only becomes critical towards other devotees and engages in finding fault in them. 

By following the Ekādaśī-vrata with the aim of connecting to the eternal, transcendental pastimes of Śrīman Mahāprabhu and Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and by taking shelter of Śrī Māyāpura-dhāma for this purpose, the perfection of one’s life can easily be attained. May this book serve as a humble guide for all the faithful sādhakas. May it help them to realize the true nature (svarūpa) of Ekādaśī and enable them to properly honor and observe this very glorious and transcendental time-manifestation of the Supreme Lord.

Sri Sri Guru Vaisnava krpa lesa prarthi,


Swami BB Giridhari Maharaja

Swami BB Krsna-karunya Maharaja

Swami BB Rasik Anand Maharaja

Swami BV Giri Maharaja


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