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There are two types of Ēkādaśī.

Smārta Ēkādaśī: If Ēkādaśī has started by sunrise or Sūryōdaya, then it's Ēkādaśī fasting on that day. This is followed by the followers of Ādi Śaṅkarācārya.

Vaiṣṇava or Bhāgavata Ēkādaśī: If Ēkādaśī has started 96 minutes before sunrise or Aruṇōdaya, then it's Ēkādaśī fasting on that day. This is followed by Vaiṣṇava like followers of Madhvācārya and Caitanya Mahāprabhu.


I have two questions regarding this.

  1. Are there any sources from Āgamas or Purāṇas or Smr̥tis which decide when the Ēkādaśī should be fixed?

  2. I was hearing a Pravacana by Madhva Scholar who said following: Ēkādaśī on Sunrise amounts to sin and in Mahābhārata, Gāndhāri did Ēkādaśī which had Daśamī Sparśa, probably the first kind of Ēkādaśī, and that is why she had bad children. Is this mentioned in Mahābhārata? Does it validate the second kind of Ēkādaśī calculation?

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  • You already provide reference in mahabharata
    – Prasanna R
    Jun 8, 2022 at 6:37
  • It's simple when you do sandhyavanda one should sankalpa on thiti sandhya vandana should be started 48 mins before sunrise so thitih will dasami after sunrise or during sunrise the the tithi can changed what matter tithi during sankalpa is important so you sankalpa for dashmi cannot fast on that day just because ekadashi falls during or after sunrise
    – Prasanna R
    Jun 8, 2022 at 6:41
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    All the sources you are questioning are smriti, not sruti. There will be conflict between the smritis depending upon your sectarian preference. Jun 8, 2022 at 10:21
  • @PrasannaR yes but that us jot reference. Please give chapter and verse number along with translation and original Sanskrit shlokas Jun 8, 2022 at 11:07
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    Do you know about Hindu fasts like Shiva Ratri, Ekadashi etc.? They are not mentioned in Vedas but so what? Vedas, Smritis, Puranas are all Hindu scriptures and respected by all Hindus @SwamiVishwananda
    – Rickross
    Jun 8, 2022 at 11:48

1 Answer 1

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First of all, both the methods of performing the Ēkādaśī vrata (viz. the Smārta way, and the Vaiṣṇava or Bhāgavata way), may be deemed correct for the respective followers of their sect.

It is a well-known fact that there can be local, regional, and sectarian variations in certain rituals and beliefs within Hinduism, and there's never a "one-correct way" or "one correct doctrine" for several aspects within Hinduism. That's why we have different sects (Vaiṣṇavism, Śaivism, Śaāktism, etc.). We even have two schemes of the lunar months (Pūrṇimānta & Amānta) to name the Hindu calendar months. All this follows the overarching letter and spirit of the famous verse in the Ṛgveda - Ékaṃ sád víprā bahudhā́ vadanti - [Ṛgveda 1.164.46].

In any case, the Nārada Mahā-Purāṇa dwells deep into this, from the Vaiṣṇava perspective justifying the Vaiṣṇava way of Ēkādaśī fast, all the while still maintaining that the Smārta have a "different-method", albeit not correct from the Vaiṣṇava perspective.

Chapter 37,

Uttarabhāga, Nārada Mahā-Purāṇa


  1. O chaste lady, the Smārtas (those who follow Smṛtis) eschew the Ekadaśī that is overlapped (by Daśami) at sunrise. Those who are devoid of any desire (from this Vrata) leave off (the Ekādasi) that is overlapped by Daśami even at midnight.

  1. It is well-known in all the worlds that the Daśami Tithi belongs to Yama. O, sinless lady, you must station yourself in its vicinity on the border.

  1. O splendid lady, thanks to this, even the task of the Devas can be realized. Staying along the border of Daśami, you will traverse along with the Sun and the Moon too.

  1. In order to dispel your sins, you move about the various sacred places on the Earth. You can have the benefit of the rite of Ekādaśī within the period of time between Aruņodaya (dawn) and sunrise.

  1. If anyone observes the holy rite of Ekādaśī on the day when it has been occupied by you, he will be the person assisting you, o beloved one of the Devas. The period of two Muhūrtas of the dawn should be known (as your period of occupancy).

  • 13-14. The number of Muhūrtas of the day and of the night are remembered to be fifteen for each. They vary when the extent of time of the day and the night varies becoming short and long (by turns). This extent of time should be understood by the process of Trairāśika (Rule of Three).

  1. You come (and occupy your place) after the thirteenth Muhūrta of the night. O lady of pure smiles, deriving the merit of those who observe fast on that day, be happy.

  • 16-17 O Mohini, the time marked by the early dawn has been assigned as the abode to you for the purpose of re-establishing Yama, to destroy the path to Vaikuntha, to increase the number of heretics and to accumulate sins.

  1. O splendid lady, enjoy the benefit of the merit of those persons who assiduously observe the holy rite of Ekādaśī on the day of your occupancy and overlapping.

.....

  1. For the delusion of the people, she stationed herself in the transition period of time of Daśami (that is called Sūryavihīnā (devoid of the Sun or Aruṇodaya-Vedha). She enjoys the whole day in the form of Krcchrānta for the downfall of men into hell.

.....

    1. If Daśami touches Ekādasi at the time of Sunrise what is called Sūryodaya Vedha it is always condemned. The sunrise that is not touched will be conducive to the fascination of men.

  • 26-27. That Daśami day must be eschewed even if it extends to a fourth of the period and is also invisible if the enjoyment of the favorable Yoga is desired. O large-eyed lady, your name Mohini, as people call you, is significant indeed. After deluding the people you get them recorded on the canvas (i.e. the record of their acts kept by Citragupta.)”

English Translation by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers





To summarize:

  • Answer to Question 1:

(As noted by the Translator in the footnotes:)-

An Ēkādaśī, when affected by Aruṇodaya-Vedha, should not be observed i.e. if the 10th Tithi, Daśami, extends on a civil day beyond 56 ghaṭikās from sunrise and Ēkādaśī follows and continues for the whole of the next day, there is Aruṇodaya-Vedha and such affected or penetrated (viddhā) Ēkādaśī is not to be observed. This period of two muhūrtas before sunrise (i.e. Aruṇodaya Vedha) is assigned to Mohini for occupation and the merit of people observing Aruṇodaya Viddhā Ēkādaśī goes to Mohini.

The Smärtas (non-Vaişnavas) however, are not governed by the doctrine of Aruṇodaya-Vedha.




  • Answer to Question 2:

As regards "the Gandhāri incident" - the Garuda Purana Ch. 75 - Brihaspati Samhita, does say that - "She fasted on the day of the tenth phase of the moon, and lost her hundred sons in consequence", but, it does not say (as asked by the OP) that Gāndhāri did Ēkādaśī which had Daśamī Sparśa, and that is why she had bad children, and I don't know if this is mentioned in any recension Mahabharata too, if at all.

So, Yes, from the Vaiṣṇava or Bhāgavata perspective, as mentioned in the Garuḍamahāpurāṇa, "the Gandhāri incident" does validate the second kind of Ēkādaśī calculation!

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