It is said that on ekadashi days one should not eat Grains. So going by strict definitions avoiding rice, wheat, lentils, other pulses etc.

By that definition we can eat Tapioca aka Sabudana , so is it suitable to eat Sabudana on Ekadashi?

  • Going by scientific calorie count, a man needs around 1500-2000 calories per day. On fasting days, this can be reduced to 500-1000 without too much discomfort. One banana gives around 100 calories. One glass of orange juice is another 100. If you eat 1 banana+1 glass orange juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, that gives you 600 calories. Avoid salt or cooked food on ekadasi.
    – mar
    Aug 19 '17 at 3:30
  • @ram Well shastras say just avoid grains like rice, wheat, pulses. why should I avoid salt, spices and cooked food?
    – Yogi
    Aug 19 '17 at 6:27
  • grains = tamasic (cos they are heavy), salt/spices = rajas (cos they stimulate), cooked = don't know guna (cos depends on person cooking).. shastras say one should observe upavaas.. not just 'no-grain upavaas', and uttama (best) way of upavaas is nirjala (no water), madhyama upavaas is taking milk/buttermilk (there are lot of restrictions on how to obtain cow's milk for it to be satvik i.e. store bought aavin or nandini milk is not accepted), fruits, nuts, cos they are natural. Adhama (lowest) category is broken grains like idli/upma/quiona which have salt and are cooked.
    – mar
    Aug 19 '17 at 7:06
  • Anyway, we should all start slowly and steadily. once body gets used to fasting, and mind does not get disturbed due to hunger, we can progress through categories. Personally, I find it impossible to observe nirjala. And for complete rules - we should eat only once on dashami (no dinner), and also break the fast on dvadashi in the morning, and no sleeping on ekadashi night, or dvadashi daytime - also find these near impossible. And if sravana nakshatra comes on dvadashi, should fast that 2nd day also, and only break fast on trayodashi.
    – mar
    Aug 19 '17 at 7:10
  • @ram I disagree with your statement on grains being tamasic, they are just to be avoided on Ekadashi due to the presence of papa purusha. I agree with starting slowly and steadily but complete fasting is not possible for me. I also find the Dashmi thing nearly impossible but the Dwadashi Sravana nakshatra fast is doable.
    – Yogi
    Aug 19 '17 at 10:13

For Vratas, usually grains are avoided throughout the day. Carbohydrate rich diet, fruits, and milk etc. are to be consumed by the devotee. As Sago is a starch hence it is allowed to be consumed for vratas like Ekadashi.

Sago (Metroxylon sagu) starch accumulates in the pith of the sago palm stem from the base upwards. At maturity, the trunk is fully saturated with starch almost to the crown. Apart from sago starch granules, the pith also contained other associated components.


I am quoting some references and posts from various ISCKON website on this topic,

Srila Prabhupada usually observed the Ekadasi fast in the simplest manner prescribed in scripture, by refraining from eating grains, beans, peas and dahl. Sometimes he observed a half-day fast. Some devotees eat only fruit on Ekadasi, some take only water, and some fully fast, even from water (this latter is called nirjala vrata). Non-grain high carbohydrate foods are often prepared on Ekadasi. Sago (tapioca) is a common example. But sago is sometimes mixed with rice flour, and apparently sometimes even with crushed insects. So unless one is sure about the source, sago should be avoided. In India, preparations resembling capatis and rice are made on Ekadasi from non-grain ingredients.


ekadasyam samayantyam prapunantyam jagattrayam

sthatavyam annam asritya bhavata papa purusa

sansare yani papani tany eva ekadasi dine

annam asritya tisthanti sriman narayana ajnaya

(Padma Purana, Kriya Yogasara 22.46,50)

When Ekadasi arrives, at that time, all of the sins from the three worlds reside in grains in the form of a papapurusa.

Whatever sins are available in this world, they all together reside in grains on Ekadasi day by the order of Lord Sri Narayana.

By eating on Ekadasi one eats sin alone (HBV 12.23) and verily he eats the flesh of a cow (HBV 12.25). By indulging the tongue, a terrible result is attained (HBV 12.21 from Skanda Purana):

matrha pitrha caiva bhratrha guruha tatha

ekadasyam tu yo bhunkte visnu-loka-cyuto bhavet

He is a killer of his mother and father, and indeed he is a killer of his brother and his guru. He, who eats on Ekadasi is barred from the abode of Visnu. Gautamiya-tantra cited in Bhakti-sandarbha, Raga-vartma-candrika and HBV 12.32:

vaisnavo yadi bhunjita ekadasyam pramadatah

visnv arcanam vrtha tasya narakam ghoram apnuyat

If a Vaisnava becomes so insane as to eat on Ekadasi, his worship of Visnu becomes worthless and he attains a terrible hell.

The 9th anga of sadhana is harivasara-sammana, "respecting the days of Hari". In illustration, Rupa Goswami quotes in BRS 1.2.109:

hari-vasara-sammano yatha brahma-vaivarte -

sarva-papa-prasamanam punyam atyantikam tatha

govinda-smaranam nrnam ekadasy amuposanam

Respecting the holy days of Hari, from Brahma-vaivarta Purana: "Ekadasi destroys all a person's sin, bestows limitless piety, and causes them to remember Govinda."

Thus, there are three aspects mentioned here to following Ekadasi (1) removal of bad karma, (2) gain of good karma, and (3) remembrance of Govinda.

ekadasi vrata samam vratam nasti jagattraye

anicchaya'pi yat krtva gatir evam vidha 'vayoh

ekadasi vratam ye tu bhakti bhavena kurvate

na jane kim bhavet tesam vasudeva anukampaya

(Padma Purana, Kriya Yogasara 23.172-174)

In the three worlds, there is no kind of fasting which is even comparable to the Ekadasi fast. Even if one performs this fast without a proper attitude, he achieves the Supreme Abode. Anyone who fasts on Ekadasi day, with full devotion, what happens to him by the mercy of the Supreme Lord, I can not say (how much merit gets cannot be described).


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