Nirjalaa Ekadashi is the one Ekadashi in which people does fasts without even drinking water for whole day and night. But if one wants to do this kind of fast on every Ekadashi, will it be fine? Is eating something in Ekadashi fast is mandatory like many other fasts?

  • Yes it will be fine and great if u can manage to do it on all the ekadashi days.... but what is the meaning of the last line?
    – Rickross
    Apr 25, 2018 at 17:24
  • @rickross In some fasts eating is mandatory. For example in Lord Hanuman's fast we can't spend day without eating. We have to eat one time a day. I was asking whether same rule apply on Ekadashi fast too.
    – Vishvam
    Apr 25, 2018 at 18:45
  • @Rishabh, there is no ekadashi which mandates eating. quite the opposite. there are varying degrees of upavaas - first is nirjal (not even water). then water. then milk (obtained properly, not store bought). then fruits & nuts. then dosa/upma/ragi etc. But atleast avoid eating rice.
    – ram
    Apr 25, 2018 at 21:43
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    Simply check the dates here. No need to calculate on ur own. Simply put ur city name in the space. @Rishabh
    – Rickross
    Apr 26, 2018 at 7:36
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    @Rishabh - i don't think you understood me. i never said we SHOULD eat milk and fruits. i said 'first' is nirjal - meaning, ideally, don't even drink water. If that is not possible, then drink water only. If drinking water only is not possible, then satvik milk. If milk alone is not possible, then fruits/nuts etc. It's various degrees of upavaas depending on your strength.
    – ram
    Apr 29, 2018 at 1:20

1 Answer 1


In fact, Nirjal is the mandatory mentioned method. Nobody says we HAVE to eat. Anything else is less than ideal, depending on our will-power and physical strength.

Ekadashi fast in decreasing order of ideal-ness:


  1. nirjal - not even water. but you can do vayu-bhojanam i.e. breathe air :) (actually there is tapas where you don't even breathe)

  2. jal - only drink water, nothing else. not too much either, maybe one mouthful 3 times during the day.

madhyam (natural foods):

  1. doodh - milk/curd etc. There is many restrictions on which type of milk is satvik and sin-free. milk you buy from the store is not allowed - because it is taken from cow without feeding its calf, or pregnant cow, or cow in heat, or first 10 days after calf is born. or it is not even cow-milk, maybe mixed with buffalo etc.

  2. fruits/nuts - banana,orange,almonds,cashews,honey,sugar etc. - again, take in moderation. maybe 500 calories. usual food intake is around 1500-2000 calories.

adham (involves fire + salt = cooking & taste): broken rice/wheat upma, dosa, idli etc.


eating usual rice/chappati, eating outside in restaurant, eating lot so that you don't feel hungry

In addition, there are rules for previous day and next day food, and sleep:

  1. Dashami day - eat only during lunch time, no food (or light milk/fruits) at night. so that stomach is empty when ekadashi day starts

  2. wake up before sunrise, clean teeth & tongue thoroughly, bathe, sandhya-vandanam etc.

  3. during day - avoid sleeping, exercise, going out, watching tv, talking lot. definitely no marital union.

  4. listen to sankirtan, pravachanam, upanyasam. chant veda, vishnu-sahasranama, stotra. do japa.

  5. avoid sleeping throughout night

  6. dvadashi day - after bathing, sandhya etc. - break the fast with rice before ~8.30am. there is special diet for this day because of stomach acids from fasting all day. no tamarind or chili. amla-curd, buttermilk-kozhmabu, and lemon-rasam, agathi spinach are usually served. No banana related items. also, only eating once and light milk/fruits at night. and no sleeping during day time.

More exact detailed procedures can be found on other sites, or ask elders. Doing perfect ekadashi fast even once during whole life-time may not be possible.

You can clearly feel the effects of the light satvik foods on our mood and mental clarity. Regular days we would feel sleepy in afternoon, or irritable if someone annoys us. We can realize that we are not slaves to stomach and tongue.

Ambarisha chakravarthi did this every time for 12 years, and Sudarshana chakra defended him from Durvasa rishi shaapam, who ran to Shiva, Brahma and finally Vishnu, even He couldn't protect him from His own chakra, only Ambarisha himself pardoned Durvasa.

  • You have said one should break fast on dvadashi by 8:30 am. But I have read some where that one should nit break fast on the first quarter of Dvadashi as it's called Hari vasara. Why is 8:30 fixed to break the fast? And why is Banana not allowed? As it's a satvik fruit
    – user22253
    Sep 19, 2021 at 8:10
  • hari vasar might occur on some days, not everyday. on those days have to wait till 11.30 or something
    – ram
    Sep 19, 2021 at 16:18
  • Why no banana related items?? Banana is main fruit. Jun 7, 2022 at 16:50
  • @ShyamMukundan - i don't know why. both banana fruit and banana vegetable are not used for cooking/eating on dvadashi in traditional ashrams. similarly, no tamarind either, only lemon for sourness, because tamarind is acidic and can cause pain after fasting for long.
    – ram
    Jun 9, 2022 at 15:07

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