Ekadashi (the eleventh) the eleventh day of the lunar fortnight, a sacred day for Hindus. Ekadashi is observed twice in a lunar month, once during the 'bright fortnight';, when the moon appears to become larger, and once during the 'dark fortnight';, when it appears to become smaller.
The day is mainly observed by Hindu widows, especially those belonging to the higher castes. However, the day may be observed by others as well. People observe Ekadashi by fasting. Fruits are allowed during this period, as well as a'tap (unboiled) rice at night if necessary. Auspicious Ekadashis include the bright Ekadashis in the months of Asadh (Late June-early July), Bhadra (Late August-early September) and Kartik (Late October-early November), commemorating the sleep, turning, and awakening of Lord vishnu. Regular observances of Ekadashi are believed to be good for health. Therefore, many Hindus observe Ekadashi twice in a lunar month for health reasons. raghunandan';s Ekadashitattva (Theories on Ekadashi) is cited as evidence of the importance of Ekadashi. [Suresh Chandra Banerjee] [Banerjee, Suresh Chandra Professor (retd) of Sanskrit, Calcutta University]