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14. Shuddha and Ashuddha Ekadashi

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On the 2014 Hindu calendars for example had Ekadashi on the 11th of January and not the correct 12th January. Now this has created quite a confusion as many have emailed and phoned me asking why the different dates. This article is meant to clarify those doubts.

Shuddha means pure and Ashuddha means impure. One should not observe a fast on an Ekadashi that's not pure (Ashuddha) as quoted from the sastric verses below. Therefore at times one has to fast on Dvadashi (the next day – the 12th day) if that Ekadashi is not pure. How does an Ekadashi become impure? This happens when the 10th and 11th Vedic days overlaps. Then this Ekadashi is regarded as impure and thus should not be observed.

When should one begin the Ekadashi Vrat -Sunrise or Midnight?

Srila Prabhupad said: - "Regarding you first question, we observe Ekadashi from sunrise to sunrise. The 12 (midnight) is western astronomical calculation, but the Vedic astronomical calculation begins either from the sunrise or the moonrise. Generally it is sunrise. Our calculation is like this: when the sunrise is there, Ekadashi tithi (date) must be there. If Ekadashi tithi is not in the sunrise and the tithi begins, say after a few minutes after the sunrise, then we accept that day as previous to Ekadashi. All our ceremonies are calculated in that way. This means we must see the tithi during sunrise. Therefore, sometimes our dates of ceremonies do not exactly coincide like the western calculations." Srila Prabhupada letter, 30 September 1969)

Quotes from scriptures

Ekadashi (the 11th day) and Dvadashi (the 12th day) are both qualified for fasting. Furthermore, one should fast when Ekadashi is combined with Dvadashi, but one should never fast when Ekadashi is combined with Dashami (the 10th day) (HARI BHAKTI VILASA 12/202 from SAURA DHARMOTTARA)

Oh brahmanas, learned souls reject Ekadashis, which are mixed with Dashami (10th day) because they know that if they fast on this day, they will only get poverty and misery. (HARI BHAKTI VILASA 12/226 from GARUDA PURANA)

The demons reside in the grains of any Ekadashi, which is overlapped, with Dashami and whoever fasts on this day achieves negative results. Lord Hari resides in any Ekadashi, which is overlapped with Dwadashi. If someone observes fasting on this day, he receives complete results, which is proper.

Any devotee of the Lord who knowingly or unknowingly observes Ekadashi overlapped with Dashami should certainly understand that Lord Sri Vishnu would not be happy with him. (HARI BHAKTI VILASA 12/246 from SKANDA PURANA)

Therefore, O best amongst human beings, it is not recommended to observe Ekadashi overlapped with Dashami. Great sages have recommended and stated to you to observe only pure Ekadashi fasts.

Oh Suta Goswami, if somebody strictly observes a pure Ekadashi, which is not mixed with Dasami, it is all-auspicious. Therefore, the learned people, the knowers of Vedic literature's have determined that fasting on Ekadashi that is not pure is said to be improper.

Together with the article above I am also including the following information on shraddha i.e. (funerals rites, 10 days, 13 days, 6th month and the 11 ½ month ceremonies) and its connection with Ekadashi.

Ekadashi and Shraddha pujas

"The shraddha (a prayer for the deceased ones) ceremony of oblations to the forefather should not be performed on Ekadashi tithi. When the tithi of the death anniversary falls on Ekadashi day, the shraddha ceremony should not be held on Ekadashi but the next day." Sat Kriya Sara Dipika page 151

Srimad Bhagavatam 7.14.23 purport
The cremation day should not be on Ekadashi or Maha Dwadashi, as all the participants will go to hell according to Srila Jiva Goswami.
Srila Jiva Goswami has given quotations from many sastras stating that the shraddha ceremony of oblations to the forefathers should not be performed on Ekadashi tithi. When the tithi of the death anniversary falls on the Ekadashi day, the shraddha ceremony should be held not on Ekadashi but on the next day, or Dwadashi.

In the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana it is said: If one performs the shraddha ceremony of oblations to the forefathers on the Ekadashi tithi, then the performer, the forefathers for whom the shraddha is observed, and the purohita, or the family priest who encourages the ceremony, all go to hell. (ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam 7:14:23. Purport excerpt)

Garuda Purana Preta Khanda 8.3
Lord Vishnu replied to Shree Garudaji: "If both families are male-less, the women should perform the obsequies. Or the King may perform all the rites."

Garuda Purana Preta Khanda 34.127
"It is the son who should do the sapindana of his father not the father of the son. Due to affection the sapindana of the son should not be done by the father."

Garuda Purana Preta Khanda 34. 132,133
"For a sonless person, his brother, brother's son, sapinda, or disciple may do the sapindana."
"For all sonless people, the daughter can perform sapindana through a ritvij or a purohita."

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Compiled for the upliftment of Sanathan Dharma
Narottam das & Arjun Nandlal
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