Ekādaśī Instructions From Srila Prabhupada
“In the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa it is said that one who observes fasting on Ekādaśī day is freed from all kinds of reactions to sinful activities and advances in pious life. The basic principle is not just to fast, but to increase one’s faith and love for Govinda, or Kṛṣṇa. The real reason for observing fasting on Ekādaśī is to minimize the demands of the body and to engage our time in the service of the Lord by chanting or performing similar service. The best thing to do on fasting days is to remember the pastimes of Govinda and to hear His holy name constantly.”
(NoD 7: Evidence Regarding Devotional Principles : Observing Fasting on Ekadasi)
“From the very beginning of His childhood life Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu introduced the system of observing a fast on the Ekādaśī day. In the Bhakti-sandarbha, by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, there is a quotation from the Skanda Purāṇa admonishing that a person who eats grains on Ekādaśī becomes a murderer of his mother, father, brother and spiritual master, and even if he is elevated to a Vaikuṇṭha planet, he falls down. On Ekādaśī, everything is cooked for Viṣṇu, including regular grains and dahi, but it is enjoined that a Vaiṣṇava should not even take viṣṇu-prasāda on Ekādaśī. It is said that a Vaiṣṇava does not accept anything eatable that is not offered to Lord Viṣṇu, but on Ekādaśī a Vaiṣṇava should not touch even mahā-prasāda offered to Viṣṇu, although such prasāda may be kept for being eaten the next day. It is strictly forbidden for one to accept any kind of grain on Ekādaśī, even if it is offered to Lord Viṣṇu.”
(Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 15.9)
Prabhupāda: Yes. Ekādaśī is meant for fasting, either Bhīma or Arjuna. But we cannot fast, therefore we have to take little fruits and…. Otherwise, ekādaśī means fasting.
Disciple: If it is possible, should we go without eating at all?
Prabhupāda: Yes. But don’t lie down and sleep.
(Morning Walk. June 7th 1976. Los Angeles, CA)