I get headache if I fast on Ekadasi and I take tablets. Is fasting compulsory?
A Girl devotee (I myself have hidden her name) asked like this:
Hare Krishna prabhuji. Is it compulsory to do ekadasi fast for every one who wants to progress in devotion ? Yes , I know the importance of fasting but I am getting very severe headache . I will eat fruits or something . I am unable to focus on my studies and on any work during fasting. I will be strong until evening , after that my headache becomes so severe I just can’t tolerate .I become very weak. I chant my evening rounds very badly because of this. Yesterday I fasted but unable to tolerate pain I took tablet and slept. Everytime I can’t tablets prabhuji. My parents are scolding me. I really wanna fast for Krishna . I fear if Don’t fast I can never become pure devotee and reach Krishna. Please suggest what to do prabhuji.
Fasting is recommended for those who like to Go back to Krishna and to develop further in devotion to Krishna.
Nothing is compulsory in devotional practices. If a devotee likes to come up in devotion through Vaidhi bhakti (devotion through rules), he should follow a certain set of devotional practices.
(Can Vaidhi Bakthi lead one towards Raganuga bhakti? (ie, Can the devotional rules make us Perfect Devotees?) READ HERE!)
If we do not follow the recommended practices, the elevation will take more time. That’s all.
Will a devotee be punished if he does not fast?
No and Yes.
NO means, no punishment in this birth. YES means, he will get another birth that itself is a punishment.
You say that fasting on ekadasi gives headache for many. If they have acidic body, when they fast, the produced acid will create gas inside his stomach that goes up and cause headache.
(What sin we acquire if we do not follow 4 regulative principles and Ekadasi fasts? READ HERE!)
Fasting will cause acidity for many.
Ha Ha. For me too. I too have acidic body. But still I fast. I was fasting for Nirjala ekadasi. But, from this year, as advised by my doctor when I suffered with hospitalization in February 2019, I stopped following Nirjala Ekadasi.
Now, I follow Partial fasting for all the ekadasis. Since I have to take tablets till I die, I can not follow complete fast. So, I had to give up Nirjala fast that I was following for the past 8-9 years. Though this is painful for my heart, I had to stop as advised by the doctors. The doctors have advised me to take normal food with vegetables and fruits more. So, I am taking vegetables and fruits on ekadasi too. I avoid just grains. This is not difficult for me.
Who said that you should follow total fast for all ekadasis?
No such compulsion.
(My parents object my ekadasi fasting. What to do? READ HERE!)
Fasting means sacrificing something for Krishna. Nothing else.
On the day of fasting, we sacrifice our regular food and take limited varieties of food like vegetable soups, vegetable curry, fruits and milk.
Instead of taking rice and wheat, we can take Moria rice and Sago (both should be of good quality). Moria rice can be used to prepare delicious Kichchadi. Sago can be used instead of rice by boiling it in the rice cooker. You can mix anything with boiled sago and make your menu delicious. But, cook them for Krishna’s pleasure, offer to Him and then honour it.
Take a cup of milk in the morning and evening. Add red coloured jaggery to the milk. It will be wonderful.
Prepare Moria rice kitchadi in the morning and evening. Take Sago rice in the afternoon.
Wow. Fine. You will not feel that it is fasting day.
Of course, I do not support taking full stomach of varieties in ekadasi. Since you felt head ache, I recommended these delicious alternatives.
(Ekadasi stories say that my karma will be cleared if I fast. But, I am still struggling even after fasting regularly. Why? READ HERE!)
Something is better than nothing.
So, Partial fasting is better for you instead of totally avoiding fasting.
Take fruits, vegetables, milk, moria rice and Sago to the half of the stomach. Take water sufficiently.
This will not cause headache for you. Only empty stomach will cause acidity and head ache.
In this kaliyuga, everyone has to work hard. So, partial fasting is recommended for all.
You can avoid full fasting.
By taking tablets, you are actually eating grains. Of course tablets are exempted and one can take tablets even during fasting. But, if you follow partial fasting, you can avoid those tablets also.
Hope this helps.
(My family cooks meat on ekadasi and I am unable to fast . What to do? READ HERE!)