OBSERVING EKADASI FAST IN MEAT EATING FAMILY – USEFUL TIPS!
Qn. In detail from a devotee (Name hidden):
jai shree Krishna please guide me… I am very fond of Krishna… I started doing ekadasi but at my home they don’t fully understand… they cook nonveg on ekadasi… what shall I do…. I can’t leave doing ekadasi this way… I didn’t even had a thought that they will be cooking non veg on these days…. it is very difficult to manage…. I am fasting but not satisfied…. feel like Krishna is unhappy with me
Today, I like to clarify an important aspect in devotional practices.
What is it?
This is my consoling statement for all: “FOLLOW THE PERFECTION TO THE POSSIBLE LEVEL NOW AND AIM FOR THE PERFECTION TO THE FULLEST LEVEL IN FUTURE. TILL YOU ACHIEVE THAT PERFECTION, NO NEED FOR GUILT”
(Is it compulsory to donate (Giving dhaan) on Ekadasi? READ HERE!)
Actually, we are thinking that Krishna is like a policeman who is always watching what offenses we make in our innocent devotional practices. Except our offenses against vaishnavas and a few intentional offences, Krishna sees all our offenses mercifully as He is aware of the difficulties in observing ekadasi fast in a meat eating family..
Let me explain this with some examples as usual:
(1) You request your child of 4-5 years to draw a picture of an elephant. She draws it but, she has drawn the legs like that of dogs. What will you do? Will you scold her for having drawn the legs like that of dogs?
(2) You are used to eating the tasty dishes prepared by your mother. You get married. Your new wife cooks masala dhaal for roti. Since she had no sufficient experience in making masala dhaal for roti, she has innocently added a little extra salt in it. What will you do? Will you scold her for that little extra salt?
(3) Your son is actually a brilliant student who scores well in exams. However, he wrongly calculated a math sum and hence lost one mark in the exam. What will you do? Will you consider it a punishable offense?
(4) It is raining heavily. You come out of home for office. When you came near the car, you find that you have forgotten to bring the car key. You ask your daughter to bring the key from home. When she brought and gave the key, it accidentally fell into the small stagnant water near the car and hence the dirty water spoiled your shirt. What will you do? Will you punish your innocent daughter?
I fast secretly for ekadasi throwing the lunch food given by mother. Is it right? READ HERE!
Why these examples?
In all the above incidents, the persons sincerely and affectionately did their duty for you. But, some mistakes happened accidentally beyond their care. Hence you will just forgive and forget those mistakes.
Same applies in our devotional practices.
Krishna does not require anything from us. However, when we think of Him and do something to please Him, He becomes very much excited.
Krishna does not watch us like a policeman. He watches us like our father or mother or a friend or a caring person.
A mother knows how difficult for her child to manage studies as well as help her in kitchen. So, she does not allow her child to help her in kitchen and allows her freely to study her syllabus.
(FIVE IMPORTANT DOUBTS ABOUT EKADASI FASTING! MUST BE READ HERE!)
Similarly, Krishna too knows well how difficult for His devotees to do something to please Him in spite of all the glares of maya and their need for hard work to live in this kaliyuga.
We have many easy opportunities to commit illicit activities now a days. But, still we do not involve in them to remain a disciplined devotee.
We have got cigarettes and liquor well within the reachable limit. Still we do not touch them to remain a disciplined devotee.
We can eat meat whenever we need it since it is sold everywhere. However, we avoid it to avoid karma and to please Krishna because Krishna too is a vegetarian as indicated by Himself in Bhagavad Gita.
(Krishna said in Bhagavad Gita 9.26: “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a ﬂower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.”. He never approved offering meat)
(Ekadasi stories say that my karma will be cleared if I fast. But, I am still struggling even after fasting regularly. Why? READ HERE!)
In all these regulations, we alone can ensure ourselves to follow to safeguard ourselves from smoking, drinking, illicit affairs, meat eating, etc that affect one’s consciousness.
We can not expect all others to follow us.
As said by Krishna Himself in Bhagavad Gita (7-3), Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection and again one among these thousands only one understands Him as He is.
This shows that all people can not think of Krishna and follow His instructions.
This is what happening in your family also.
You follow devotion. You are trying your best to follow the advice of acharyas. You like to follow regulative disciplinary principles. You are trying your best to observe ekadasi fast in a meat eating family.. No doubt.
But, your family members are severely under maya.
(I get headache if I fast on Ekadasi and I take tablets. Is fasting compulsory? READ HERE!)
In this matter, you need not worry for mistakes and small offenses.
Dancing in an air conditioned room is easy. Whereas, dancing inside the circle of fire is difficult. We can not expect perfection in the steps.
Similarly, following devotion from a family of devotees is easy. Whereas, following devotion from a family of non devotees is very difficult. Krishna knows that and hence He will not expect perfection in your devotional practices.
Whatever you do, Krishna accepts it with full satisfaction.
Krishna sees only the heart behind your every sadhana. He does not care much about the process and offenses in following them.
In your case, you may even miss an ekadasi fast just because your family cooked meat on that day.
(My parents object my ekadasi fasting. What to do? READ HERE!)
Krishna does not care why you skipped that ekadasi fast. He knows well the difficulties in observing ekadasi fast in a meat eating family.
He knows that you like to observe the fast, but, you could not.
Whenever you have good atmosphere, follow ekadasi fast. If you are sick, if you are in disturbing monthly periods, if you you are surrounded by meat eaters, even if you skip that ekadasi fast, you will not be punished for that.
In fact, the word PUNISHMENT never comes in the performance of devotional practices.
No devotee is punished if he skips any practice because of genuine reasons.
You are far better than those who have never followed ekadasi fasts though they have all the suitable atmosphere and facilities.
(What sin we acquire if we do not follow 4 regulative principles and Ekadasi fasts? READ HERE!)
Therefore, observe fast in the next ekadasi sincerely.
Even if your family cook meat on ekadasi, if possible, you can observe fast because fast means skipping eating. Therefore, no issues about the dishes prepared in your home. Just skip all the dishes and have fruits, water, milk, some vegetables that are permitted on ekadasi.
What can you do?
I again tell all the devotees:
Try your best to follow the devotional practices. In case you skip any sadhana any day because of any genuine reasons, do not feel offended and guilt.
(Can non vegetarian devotee boys marry vegetarian devotee girls? READ HERE!)
But, do not skip the fast if you have all the facilities.
Krishna understands you better than anyone else.
He will give you a very nice family of devotees in your next birth; Or, He will clear the hurdles in your devotional practices in this birth itself in near future.
Since you are a girl, when you get married, fix a condition to marry only a vegetarian guy, preferably a devotee boy.
Then, after marriage, follow the devotional practices comfortably.
Till that, manage with whatever you can do. Pray to Krishna to make your family understand your sincere devotion and also to make them devotees.
This is my sincere assurance and advice to all. No offenses are recorded in the case of innocent and unavoidable omissions and mistakes in observing ekadasi fast in a meat eating family.
Hope you are happy now to know the tips on observing ekadasi fast in a meat eating family.
(How to cook for Krishna in a non veg family? READ HERE!)