Observance in Toto

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains the importance of pāraṇ.

Student: How important is it to break fast the day after Ekādaśī? Is it very important to break fast in the early morning?

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: There are three constituent parts of the vrata [rite]. Pāraṇ [breaking the fast] is one of them. Everything is service. Nothing is enjoyment or aggression. So, pāraṇ is considered to be a part of the vrata. Such importance is attached to it that on the birthday of Vāmana or Varāhadev, the pāraṇ time remains fixed, and the respect that is shown to the Lord’s birthday must be offered earlier, before the end of the pāraṇ time. It is not the pāraṇ is extended to later on. Such importance is given to the pāraṇ because observance of Ekādaśī in toto is very important. That importance is given by the śāstra.

Student: Sometimes the pāraṇ time is calculated to be very early in the morning.

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: According to the combination of the tithi [lunar phase], the nakṣatra [lunar house], and other things, the pāraṇ time is calculated.

Student: In England, the pāraṇ time in India sometimes occurs before sunrise, but it says in the calendar: “Break fast after sunrise and before a certain time.”

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: That should be adjusted. Even when calculating the almanac for Nabadwīp and Vṛndāvan, where there is a difference of one thousand miles, differences in the timings of observances are calculated. That should be extended to the West according to the milage. America is in just the opposite position as India. When it is day here, it is midnight there. So, how could they follow the pāraṇ times given for India? As there is differentiation between Vṛndāvan and Nabadwīp, so that should be observed in England.

Student: Sometimes pāraṇ time comes before we are finished with our morning programme.

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Yes. It can.

Student: Then we should break fast before morning programme is finished?

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Yes.


On the appearance days of the Supreme Lord, the general rule is to fast until the time of the day that the Lord appeared, but in the cases of Vāmana and Varāha, who both appeared at noon on Dvādaśī, this rule is overridden by the rule that pāraṇ for fasting on Ekādaśī should be observed within the first one-third of the day on Dvādaśī. Thus, worship is offered to Vāmana and Varāha in the morning (hours before the time of Their appearance), and the pāraṇ for Ekādaśī is observed at the standard time. One does not fast until noon of these two days, and, typically, one breaks the Ekādaśī fast with sweet rice that has been offered to Vāmana or Varāha that morning.


Spoken 20 February 1982.