Srila Prabhupada Speaking About Ekadasi - snippets

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There are so many rules and regulations, and if one at all wants to understand Kåñëa, he must follow the regulative principles described in the authoritative literature. One can perform penance in accordance with those principles. For example, to undergo serious penances one may observe fasting on Janmäñöamé, the day on which Kåñëa appeared, and on the two days of Ekädaçé (the eleventh day after the new moon and the eleventh day after the full moon).
(ACBSP. Bhagavad Gita 11:54. purport extract.)

One has to perform devotional service in full tapasya, austerity. One should fast on the two Ekädaçé days, which fall on the eleventh day of the waxing and waning moon, and on the birthdays of Lord Kåñëa, Lord Räma and Caitanya Mahäprabhu. There are many such fasting days. Yogena means “by controlling the senses and mind.” Yoga indriya-saàyamaù. Yogena implies that one is seriously absorbed in the self and is able, by development of knowledge, to understand his constitutional position in relationship with the Superself. In this way one becomes fixed in devotional service, and his faith cannot be shaken by any material allurement.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam 3:27:22. purport excerpt)

Çréla Jéva Gosvämé has given quotations from many çästras stating that the çräddha ceremony of oblations to the forefathers should not be performed on Ekädaçé tithi. When the tithi of the death anniversary falls on the Ekädaçé day, the çräddha ceremony should be held not on Ekädaçé but on the next day, or dvädaçé. In the Brahma-vaivarta Puräëa it is said:
ye kurvanti mahépäla
çräddhaà caikädaçi-dine
trayas te narakaà yänti
dätä bhoktä ca prerakaù
If one performs the çräddha ceremony of oblations to the forefathers on the Ekädaçé tithi, then the performer, the forefathers for whom the çräddha 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)

To observe Ekädaçé-vrata and Dvädaçé-vrata means to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those interested in advancing in Kåñëa consciousness must observe Ekädaçé-vrata regularly.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam 9:4:29. purport excerpt)

One may study the example of vratäni, or vows. The injunction that one should fast on Ekädaçé is a permanent vow for all Vaiñëavas, and one should not conclude from these verses that one may neglect the Ekädaçé vow.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11:12:1-2 purport excerpt)

dvädaçyäm ekädaçyäà
çåëvann äyuñyavän bhavet
paöhaty anaçnan prayataù
püto bhavati pätakät

One who hears this Bhägavatam on the Ekädaçé or Dvädaçé day is assured of long life, and one who recites it with careful attention while fasting is purified of all sinful reactions. (Srimad Bhagavatam 12:12:60.)

Rämeçvara: On the calendar it says it is Bhéma-ekädaçé.
Prabhupäda: Bhéma-ekädaçé, yes.
Rämeçvara: So I’ve been told that if one fasts on Bhéma-ekädaçé, that it is like fasting on all the ekädaçés. Is that true?
Prabhupäda: Yes. Ekädaçé is meant for fasting, either Bhéma or Arjuna. But we cannot fast, therefore we have to take little fruits and.... Otherwise, ekädaçé means fasting.
Tamäla Kåñëa: If it is possible, should we go without eating at all?
Prabhupäda: Yes. But don’t lie down and sleep.
Mahendra: Eating mahä-prasädam is also fasting.
Prabhupäda: Who says?
Mahendra: You said that to Paramahaàsa Swami once.
Prabhupäda: And you heard from Paramahaàsa.
Mahendra: No, I was in the room. It was when he was trying to observe Caturmäsya.
Prabhupäda: I never said that.
Mahendra: Oh, okay, I must have heard wrong.
Prabhupäda: If there is service and, on my fasting, service will be stopped, then I can take. First consideration, service. Now if somebody feels weak, he can take mahä-prasäda, render service.
(ACBSP. 7th June 1976, Morning Walk. Los Angeles)

ei dui-ghare prabhu ekädaçé dine
viñëura naivedya mägikhäila äpane
ei dui-ghare—in these two houses; prabhu—the Lord; ekädaçé dine—on the Ekädaçé day; viñëura—of Lord Viñëu; naivedya—food offered to Lord Viñëu; mägi’—begging; khäila—ate; äpane—personally.
In their two houses Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu begged food on the Ekädaçé day and personally ate it.
The injunction to fast on Ekädaçé is especially meant for devotees; on Ekädaçé there are no restrictions regarding food that may be offered to the Lord. Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu took the food of Lord Viñëu in His ecstasy as viñëu-tattva.
(ACBSP. Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi-lila 10:71.)

vyädhi-chale jagadéça-hiraëya-sadane
viñëu-naivedya khäila ekädaçé-dine
vyädhi-chale—on the plea of being diseased; jagadéça-hiraëya—of the names Jagadéça and Hiraëya; sadane—in the house of; viñëu-naivedya—food offered to Lord Viñëu; khäila—ate; ekädaçé—of Ekädaçé; dine—on the day.
Pretending to be sick, the Lord asked some food from the house of Hiraëya and Jagadéça on the Ekädaçé day.
The Caitanya-bhägavata, Ädi-khaëòa, Chapter Six, fully describes the Lord’s accepting viñëu-prasädam on the Ekädaçé day at the house of Jagadéça and Hiraëya. Regular prasädam is offered to Lord Viñëu on Ekädaçé because although fasting is recommended for devotees on Ekädaçé, it is not recommended for Lord Viñëu. Once on Ekädaçé in the house of Jagadéça and Hiraëya Paëòita there were arrangements for preparing special prasädam for Lord Viñëu, and Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu asked His father to go there to ask for the viñëu-prasädam because He was feeling sick. The house of Jagadéça and Hiraëya Paëòita was situated about two miles from the house of Jagannätha Miçra. Therefore when Jagannätha Miçra, on the request of Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, came to ask Jagadéça and Hiraëya for the prasädam, they were a little astonished. How could the boy understand that special prasädam was being prepared for Lord Viñëu? They immediately concluded that Nimäi must have supernatural mystic power. Otherwise how could He understand that they were preparing special prasädam? Therefore they immediately sent the food to Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu through His father, Jagannätha Miçra. Nimäi was feeling sick, but immediately after eating the viñëu-prasädam He was cured, and He also distributed the prasädam among His playmates.
(ACBSP. Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi-lila 14:39.)

mätä bale,——täi diba, tumi mägibe
prabhu kahe,——ekädaçéte anna khäibe
mätä bale—His mother said; täi diba—I shall give that; —whatever; tumi—You; mägibe—should ask me; prabhu kahe—the Lord said; ekädaçéte—on the Ekädaçé day; anna—grains; —don’t; khäibe—eat.
His mother replied, “My dear son, I will give You whatever You ask.” Then the Lord said, “My dear mother, please do not eat grains on the Ekädaçé day.”
From the very beginning of His childhood life Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu introduced the system of observing a fast on the Ekädaçé day. In the Bhakti-sandarbha, by Çréla Jéva Gosvämé, there is a quotation from the Skanda Puräëa admonishing that a person who eats grains on Ekädaçé becomes a murderer of his mother, father, brother and spiritual master, and even if he is elevated to a Vaikuëöha planet, he falls down. On Ekädaçé, everything is cooked for Viñëu, including regular grains and dhal, but it is enjoined that a Vaiñëava should not even take viñëu-prasädam on Ekädaçé. It is said that a Vaiñëava does not accept anything eatable that is not offered to Lord Viñëu, but on Ekädaçé a Vaiñëava should not touch even mahä-prasädam offered to Viñëu, although such prasädam may be kept for being eaten the next day. It is strictly forbidden for one to accept any kind of grain on Ekädaçé, even if it is offered to Lord Viñëu.
(ACBSP. Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi-lila 15:9.)

çacé kahe,—— khäiba, bhäla-i kahilä
sei haite ekädaçé karite lägilä
çacé kahe—mother Çacé said; khäiba—I shall not take; bhäla-i kahilä—You have said very nicely; sei haite—from that day; ekädaçé—Ekädaçé day; karite lägilä—began to observe.
Mother Çacé said, “You have spoken very nicely. I shall not eat grains on Ekädaçé.” From that day, she began to observe fasting on Ekädaçé.
It is a prejudice among smärta-brähmaëas that a widow must observe fasting on Ekädaçé but a woman who is sa-dhava—who has her husband—should not. It appears that before Lord Caitanya’s request, Çacémätä, being sa-dhava, was not observing Ekädaçé. Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, however, introduced the system that a woman, even if not a widow, must observe the Ekädaçé day and must not touch any kind of grains, even those offered to the Deity of Viñëu.
(ACBSP. Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi-lila 15:10.)

In the twelfth viläsa, Ekädaçé is described. In the thirteenth viläsa, fasting is discussed, as well as observance of the Mahä-dvädaçé ceremony. In the fourteenth viläsa, different duties for different months are outlined. In the fifteenth viläsa, there are instructions on how to observe Ekädaçé fasting without even drinking water.
(ACBSP. Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 1:35.)

The Cäturmäsya period begins in the month of Äñäòha (June–July) from the day of Ekädaçé called Çayanä-ekädaçé, in the fortnight of the waxing moon. The period ends in the month of Kärttika (October–November) on the Ekädaçé day known as Utthänä-ekädaçé, in the fortnight of the waxing moon. This four-month period is known as Cäturmäsya.
(ACBSP. Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 4:169 purport excerpt.)

kåñëa-prétye bhoga-tyäga, kåñëa-térthe väsa
yävan-nirväha-pratigraha, ekädaçy-upaväsa
kåñëa-prétye—for satisfaction of Kåñëa; bhoga-tyäga—acceptance and rejection of something; kåñëa-térthe väsa—residence in a place where Kåñëa is situated; yävat-nirväha—as much as required to keep the body and soul together; pratigraha—acceptance of gifts; ekädaçé-upaväsa—observance of fasting on the Ekädaçé day.
“The next steps are as follows: (6) One should be prepared to give up everything for Kåñëa’s satisfaction, and one should also accept everything for Kåñëa’s satisfaction. (7) One must live in a place where Kåñëa is present—a city like Våndävana or Mathurä or a Kåñëa temple. (8) One should acquire a livelihood that is just sufficient to keep body and soul together. (9) One must fast on the Ekädaçé day.
(ACBSP. Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 22:116.)

ei sabe viddhä-tyäga, aviddhä-karaëa
akaraëe doña, kaile bhaktira lambhana
ei sabe—all these things; viddhä-tyäga—to avoid viddha-ekädaçé or mixed Ekädaçé; aviddhä-karaëa—performing the pure Ekädaçé; akaraëe doña—the fault of not performing them; kaile—if done so; bhaktira lambhana—there will be discrepancies in devotional service.
“You should recommend the avoidance of mixed Ekädaçé and the performance of pure Ekädaçé. You should also describe the fault in not observing Ekädaçé. One should be very careful as far as these items are concerned. If one is not careful, one will be negligent in executing devotional service.
(ACBSP. Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 24:342.)

Observing Fasting on Ekädaçé
In the Brahma-vaivarta Puräëa it is said that one who observes fasting on Ekädaçé day is freed from all kinds of reactions to sinful activities and advances in pious life. The basic principle is not just to fast, but to increase one’s faith and love for Govinda, or Kåñëa. The real reason for observing fasting on Ekädaçé is to minimize the demands of the body and to engage our time in the service of the Lord by chanting or performing similar service. The best thing to do on fasting days is to remember the pastimes of Govinda and to hear His holy name constantly.
(ACBSP. Nectar of Devotion chapter 7.)

One such occasion for remembrance is Ekädaçé, which comes twice a month on the eleventh day of the moon, both waning and waxing. On that day all the devotees remain fasting throughout the night and continuously chant the glories of the Lord.
(ACBSP. Nectar of Devotion chapter 26.)

Ecstatic love for Kåñëa is also aroused on the days of Ekädaçé, which are other festive days in connection with Kåñëa.
(ACBSP. Nectar of Devotion chapter 26.)

On Ekädaçé day, one should increase one’s chanting of Hare Kåñëa:
One should generally accept the following principles to properly execute devotional service: … (9) observe fasting on Ekädaçé day. (This occurs on the eleventh day after the full moon and the eleventh day after the new moon. On such days no grains, cereals or beans are eaten; simply vegetables and milk are moderately taken, and chanting Hare Kåñëa and reading scriptures are increased.)
Teachings of Lord Caitanya

So one should execute Kåñëa consciousness, dharmataù, in right path, and vrataiù. Bhajante mäà dåòha-vratäù. Just like today, ekädaçé-vrata. Vrataiù. This ekädaçé-vrata is required. Just see. Here it is that “You have performed all the vratas.” The purpose of ekädaçé-vrata is that today we should not eat much usual food, grains. The actual prescription is fasting. Nirjala-ekädaçé. Nirjala means there are many devotees who does not take even water. Water, drinking water, according to çästra, it is taking food... It is drinking of food or no food. We can take both ways. So sometimes drinking of water is excused as upaväsa also. But there are many devotees who even..., drink even a drop of water. Whole day and night they fast and observe ekädaçé-vrata. And the night is called hariväsara. Hariväsara means the whole night they would chant Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma... This is called vrata. Dåòha-vrata. Dåòha-vrata.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture 1:5:1-8. 23rd May 1969. New Vrindavan.)

Just like... The, everything is described in the Bhagavad-gétä. Just like in hospital. In hospital there are many patients, they are not eating anything on the Ekädaçé day. Does it mean that is observing Ekädaçé? He is simply hankering after, “When I shall eat, when I shall eat, when I shall eat?.” But these students, they voluntarily don’t eat anything. We, we don’t say that you don’t eat anything. Some fruits, some flowers. That’s all. So paraà dåñövä nivartate. Just like a child. He has got in his hand something he’s eating. and if you give him better thing, he will throw away the inferior thing and will take that better thing. So here is Kåñëa consciousness, this better engagement, better life, better philosophy, better consciousness, everything better. Therefore they can give up the sinful activities of life and that will promote to Kåñëa consciousness.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture 1:8:30. 22nd April 1973. Los Angeles)

Absolute, then you must agree to certain type of tapasya. Otherwise it is not possible. The preliminary little tapasya. Just like ekädaçé. That is also item of the tapasya. Actually on the ekädaçé days we shall not take any food, even drink water. But in our society we are not doing so much strictly. We say, “Ekädaçé, you don’t take food grains. Take little fruit, milk.” This is tapasya.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture 3:12:19. 3rd March 1975. Dallas TX USA)

The Ekädaçé, why we observe? To become pure.
(ACBSP. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture 7:9:8. 21st October 1968. Seatle.)

So any way, you can help this movement and do the welfare activities for India and outside India. So that is my request. I welcome you. Of course, today is ekädaçé. We are, mostly we are fasting. Some prasädam will be given. So it is not the question of prasädam; it is the question of the important work we are taking in hand, how to spread a God consciousness movement. Otherwise, you will never be happy.
(ACBSP. Cornerstone laying 23rd January 1975. Bombay.)

This is called tapasya. Just like Ekädaçé day—there is no eating sumptuously. Simply you take little fruits and flowers. Try to avoid that also. You don’t take even water. That is really ekädaçé. But because we cannot do it—in the Kali-yuga the time is different—therefore we are allowed to take little fruit and milk, which is called anukalpa. These are different methods of tapasya.
(ACBSP. Pandal program Bombay 7th April 1971.)

Devotee: On ekädaçé, we can offer the Deity grains?
Prabhupäda: Oh yes. But not guru. Ekädaçé observed by jéva-tattva, not by Viñëu-tattva. We are fasting for clearing our material disease, but Rädhä-Kåñëa, Caitanya Mahäprabhu... Caitanya Mahäprabhu also may not be offered grains because He is playing the part of a devotee. Only Rädhä-Kåñëa, Jagannätha can be offered grains. Otherwise, Guru-Gauräìga, no. And the prasädam should not be taken by anyone. It should be kept for next day.
(ACBSP. Room Conversation 22nd April 1972. Japan.)

Guest: (Sanskrit or Hindi: Kåñëa is offered tämbüla in the temple.)
Prabhupäda: No, Kåñëa can take.
Guest: Yes. And that prasäda of Bhagavän Çré Kåñëa...
Prabhupäda: Yes.
Guest: ...the devotees can take also...
Prabhupäda: No, prasädam, according to our principle... Just like on Ekädaçé day, we do not accept even prasädam. Anna. We keep it. So prasädam... Just like on Ekädaçé anna is prohibited, but not the Deity. Deity’s offered anna, but we cannot take the prasädam even. So following strictly the principle, even tämbüla is offered to Kåñëa, it is not for us. Yes. Strictly following the principle. The same example... Just like on Ekädaçé day, anna is offered to Kåñëa, but we don’t take.
Guest: The devotees are not allowed.
Prabhupäda: Not allowed, yes.
Guest: Äcchä.
(ACBSP. Room Conversation 11th July 1973. London.)

Tamäla Kåñëa: Sometimes we have heard that ekädaçé is a inauspicious alignment of the planets and therefore one has to counteract this inauspiciousness by more chanting.
Prabhupäda: (laughs) No, no. It is the most auspicious. And chanting is more effective. [break] Yes.
Tamäla Kåñëa: I remember you were instructing once that all of your initiated disciples should chant twenty-five rounds...
Prabhupäda: Minimum.
Tamäla Kåñëa: Minimum on this day. Is that a rule that we should all follow in our temples?
Prabhupäda: We are sixteen rounds.
Tamäla Kåñëa: No, I mean on ekädaçé.
Prabhupäda: Oh yes. Ekädaçé, simply you should chant. No other business. Nirjala.
Tamäla Kåñëa: No preaching work? Should they go out for preaching?
Prabhupäda: No, those who are preaching, not for them. Those who are sitting idle, or they... (laughter) [break] ...has no other regulation, simply preaching. A preacher is so exalted. He hasn’t got to follow any regulation. But don’t take it. (laughter) And actually if one is busy in preaching work, that is first-class. [break] ...not my manufactured word, my Guru Mahäräja, that the... That Mädhava Mahäräja, when he was a brahmacäré, his name was Hayagréva. So he was to go somewhere. So but he was sick. Guru Mahäräja was informed that he was sick and “Today is ekädaçé. He cannot take his regular meals.” So Guru Mahäräja said, “No. Let him take immediately meals and go.”
Revaténandana: For preaching. [break]
Tamäla Kåñëa: ...Mahäräja would sacrifice everything for preaching.
Prabhupäda: Oh yes. [break] He was not pleased with Bon Mahäräja, He could not do anything. [break]
(ACBSP. Morning Walk. 5th July 1975. Chichago)

Tamäla Kåñëa: We should always chant twenty-five rounds on ekädaçé if initiated.
Prabhupäda: Initiated? Everyone. Why initiated?
Tamäla Kåñëa: So that should be standard for our movement on ekädaçé day?
Prabhupäda: Standard is sixteen, but if one can chant more, then he is welcome.
Tamäla Kåñëa: It’s not mandatory for ekädaçé.
Jayapatäkä: Recommended.
Prabhupäda: No. Ekädaçé means that, fasting and chanting.
Tamäla Kåñëa: Sometimes I’m wondering, because our men have to go out on book distribution.
Prabhupäda: No, no. That is also preaching work. For that purpose you can stop this, but generally, one who has no preaching work, he can chant.
(ACBSP. Morning Walk. 11th February 1976. Mayapur.)

Rämeçvara: On the calendar it says it is Bhéma-ekädaçé.
Prabhupäda: Bhéma-ekädaçé, yes.
Rämeçvara: So I’ve been told that if one fasts on Bhéma-ekädaçé, that it is like fasting on all the ekädaçés. Is that true?
Prabhupäda: Yes. Ekädaçé is meant for fasting, either Bhéma or Arjuna. But we cannot fast, therefore we have to take little fruits and.... Otherwise, ekädaçé means fasting.
Tamäla Kåñëa: If it is possible, should we go without eating at all?
Prabhupäda: Yes. But don’t lie down and sleep.
(ACBSP. Morning Walk. 7th June 1976. Los Angeles.)

But if they develop Kåñëa consciousness, this will be automatically “no.” So don’t bring many “no’s,” but give them positive life. Then it will be automatically “no.” And if you say “no,” that will be a struggle. This is the psychology. Positive engagement is devotional service. So if they are attracted by devotional service, other things will be automatically “no.” Paraà dåñövä nivartate. Just like Ekädaçé day. Ekädaçé day, we observe fasting. And there are many patients in the hospital, they are also fasting. But they’ll “No, no.” They’ll, within heart, “If I get, I shall eat, I shall eat.” But those who are devotee, they voluntarily “no.” The same fasting is going on for the devotees and the hospital patient. And that “no” and this “no,” there is difference. Paraà dåñövä nivartate. It is not meant for the mass of people, but at least if we keep a section of people ideal to the human society, they will be guided. At the present moment, there is no ideal section. Everyone is rascal, demons, rogues, everything. There is no ideal character. All politicians, scientists, leaders, they are all drunkards and woman-hunters. So what they can lead? There is no ideal man in the society. The politicians are giving big, big speech in the United Nations. They’ll go to the same hotel where another debauchee is dancing and drinking. That’s all. That is his character. Is it not? So what he will do? We can give a very big speech, that’s all. What is his character? There is no ideal character in the present human society. Do they appreciate our, these restrictions?
Bhagavän: Our restrictions? Yes, they are impressed. They sometimes write about the Gurukula that we are treating roughly the children by making them so austere. But every time they show the picture, the children are always happy.
(ACBSP. Room Conversation. 31st July 1976. New Mayapur - French farm.)

Prabhupäda: Oh, yes. Vegetable, fruits, very innocent, little milk. That’s all. Even if you don’t eat these foodgrains, that is preferred. Better. Vegetable and fruits and milk, that is sufficient nutritious. There is no question of disease. But for our tongue taste we eat so many cooked food, but if we eat vegetables, boiled vegetables and fruits and milk, ah, it is sufficient. Ekädaçé. (laughter) Daily ekädaçé.
And these peanuts, a few grains. Not much. That is also nice. Cashew, peanut. Yes. So thank you very much. You are working so much for Caitanya Mahäprabhu’s mission. Yäre dekha täre kaha kåñëa-upadeça [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Bas. You become a guru. Actually you are doing the guru’s work.
(ACBSP. Room Conversation. 22nd August 1976. Hyderabad.)

Prabhupäda: I stress on this cleanliness very much. If they keep unclean, I chastise them like anything. (laughing) They have learned this art. I always say, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
Mr. Malhotra: About two years back, two, three of your devotees came to our house here. Naturally we offered them, “Would you like to have coffee, tea?” They said, “No.” Then we said, “Would you like to have Coca-cola.” They said, “No.” Then I said, “What would you like to have, milk?” “Yes.” Lassi, chach?(?) Yes. Fruit. Yes. It happened so that Giriräja came to us twice, and twice it was this ekädaçé. Now ekädaçé day they are not supposed to eat this wheat or flour or anything. So when last we came to Bangleswara (?), so we brought some paraöäs with this gobi(?) in it.
Prabhupäda: Ekädaçé.
Mr. Malhotra: We didn’t know about ekädaçé. When we came to Mahabaleswar, we opened. They said “No, we can’t eat because it is ekädaçé.” So we said that “No you won’t eat, so it looks odd that we should eat.” But we were very hungry, you know. In the morning we didn’t take anything. We said “All right, we eat, now we will go to the bazaar and see if we could get something.” Then we went to Mahabaleswar, it was all closed, because it was raining season. And then there was one shop which had bananas, good amount of bananas. So we took one dozen or two dozen bananas, and then...
Prabhupäda: Banana is very good. You can make banana and potato. Potato boil and mixed with banana, and make nice puri. And then...
Mr. Malhotra: How Giriräja, I just ask you, how you took to all these good things of life? I mean in natural form or with some self-discipline or with some coercion or with some what?
Giriräja: It was Prabhupäda’s mercy. I was looking for a guru. Actually whenever I heard there was a swami or a yogi, I would always go, even hundreds of miles. But I was never satisfied. But Çréla Prabhupäda perfectly satisfied all of my questions. And I liked the process, chanting, dancing, taking prasädam, offering ärati, and I liked the devotees. It was very pleasing. So I immediately decided this is my real life.
Mr. Malhotra: No, but not taking any wheat, like on ekädaçé day, all such things.
Giriräja: That’s training. Once we surrender to the spiritual master, then he trains us in the process of spiritual life.
Prabhupäda: Sädhu-märgänugamanam, ädau gurväçrayaà sad-dharma-påcchät sädhu-märgänugamanam.(?) These are the process.
Mr. Malhotra: Sädhu-märga.
Prabhupäda: Sädhu-märga.
Giriräja: We study the çästras every morning and evening in all of our centers, so we become educated. [break]
(ACBSP. Room Conversation. 22nd December 1976. Poona.)

Dr. Patel: (Hindu) But even you get the same thing by (Hindi). So Vaiñëava cult is easier than getting the mind blank and then getting all in the... Because here your mind is engaged to Lord Himself. It is... We call as samädhi.
Prabhupäda: Paraà dåñövä nivartate. Just like a man is observing Ekädaçé, fasting. Another, in the hospital, he’s also fasting. So these two fastings, they are different.
Dr. Patel: Here fasting of all the senses and applying to God.
Prabhupäda: For satisfaction of Kåñëa. And there compulsory fasting, but he has got desire. So paraà dåñövä nivartate. When you get better taste, when you stop this nonsense for better taste, that is positive. Artificially, if you do, it will not benefit.
Dr. Patel: Ekädaçé, according to the Puräëas and the stories, all the eleven senses should be withdrawn from their sense objects...
Prabhupäda: No, Ekädaçé, that is automatically... By Ekädaçé is one of the process for... (Hindi)
Indian (2): (Hindi)
(ACBSP. Room Conversation. 5th January 1977. Bombay.)

Prabhupäda: Therefore ekädaçé. One day or two days in the month he should practice fasting, and then he’ll be able to conquer over these things. These are all practical. So we should practice ourself and teach others. This is Kåñëa consciousness movement. And if he thinks that he’s quite all right in this material atmosphere, then he’s doomed. Müòhaù näbhijänäti. That means apräpya mäm—without achieving Kåñëanivartante—again he goes back—måtyu-saàsära-vartmani [Bg. 9.3]—the cycle of birth and death. Take one birth, suffer, again take another body, again take another body, another body. There are 400..., eight million four hundred... That’s all. Sometimes so-called happiness, he is born as demigod, sometimes as dog, sometimes as insect, sometimes as tree. What is this business? “I am eternal. Why shall I suffer this?” This is sense. They are simply trying how to become a hog, how to become a dog, or how to become a god. God you cannot become. You may have some partial happiness just like the demigods. They have got power. They have got high standard of living.
(ACBSP. Evening Room Conversation. 25th January 1977. Puri.)

So far the Advent Day of Lord Caitanya is concerned, I have written a full suggestion to Montreal, in which the main points are that we should all observe strict fasting up till moonrise, and at that time, an offering is made to Lord Caitanya of Ekadasi foods, fruits, peanuts, milk, and so forth. Then, on the next day, Friday the 15th, a full-scale feast is held to celebrate His Advent Day. On the 14th, chanting, reading of Srila Bhaktivinode's book, Life and Precepts and Caitanya Caritamrta, Introduction to Bhagavatam, may be held all the day in the Temple.
(ACBSP. Letter to Balai. 12th March 1968. San Francisco)

Regarding you first question, we observe Ekadasi 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, Ekadasi tithi (date) must be there. If Ekadasi 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 Ekadasi. 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. Just like Christmas Day they have fixed up on the 25th December, but our Janmastami tithi is not fixed up like that. My birthday is on the 1st September, 1896, but this year the tithi of my birthday was fixed for the 4th September. So it is very difficult to calculate, therefore we have to take help from the Indian expert almanac astronomers.
(ACBSP. Letter to Madhudvisa 30th September 1969. England.)

I have duly received the bananas you sent, and you can send me these dried bananas tons and tons. It is very useful and can be nicely used for our Ekadasi foodstuffs. After drying the bananas you can make powder, just like flour, and out of this you can prepare puris, halava, pakoras and other fruit products.
(ACBSP. Letter to Govinda. 27th October 1969. Tittenhurst, John Lennon's place.)

Srimati Jayasri Dasi sent me some dried banana chips and they are very nice for my Ekadasi food. Is it possible to send us in large quantity this foodstuff? If not, please try to send me at least one small packet like that every fortnight. It is very nice. The mango pulp, a sample of which was also sent to me, I don't think it has come out very nice, so there is no need of sending it.
(ACBSP. Letter to Gaurasundara. 20th November 1969. London.)

Why just 25 rounds? You should chant as many as possible. Real Ekadasi means fasting and chanting and no other business. When one observes fasting, the chanting becomes easier. So on Ekadasi other business can be suspended as far as possible unless there is some urgent business.
(ACBSP. Letter to Jadurani. 9th July 1971. Los Amgeles.)

Gaura Purnima instruction:
No feasting in the evening of Caitanya's birthday. Fasting all day till evening moon rise. Then take Prasadam like Ekadasi. Next day you can have full swing feasting. On the birthday if can take a procession of Kirtana on the street it is very nice.
(ACBSP. Letter to Rayaram. September unknown date or place.)