The importance of paran.
Student: How important is it to break fast the day after Ekadasi? Is it very important to break fast in the early morning?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: There are three constituent parts of the vrata [rite]. Paran [breaking the fast] is one of them. Everything is service. Nothing is enjoyment or aggression. So, paran is considered to be a part of the vrata. Such importance is attached to it that on the birthday of Vamana or Varahadev, the paran time remains fixed, and the respect that is shown to the Lord’s birthday must be offered earlier, before the end of the paran time. It is not the paran is extended to later on. Such importance is given to the paran because observance of Ekadasi in toto is very important. That importance is given by the sastra.
Student: Sometimes the paran time is calculated to be very early in the morning.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: According to the combination of the tithi [lunar phase], the naksatra [lunar house], and other things, the paran time is calculated.
Student: In England, the paran time in India sometimes occurs before sunrise, but it says in the calendar: “Break fast after sunrise and before a certain time.”
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: That should be adjusted. Even when calculating the almanac for Nabadwip and Vrndavan, 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 mileage. America is in just the opposite position as India. When it is day here, it is midnight there. So, how could they follow the paran times given for India? As there is differentiation between Vrndavan and Nabadwip, so that should be observed in England.
Student: Sometimes paran time comes before we are finished with our morning programme.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Yes. It can.
Student: Then we should break fast before morning programme is finished?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Yes.
Spoken on 20 February 1982.
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 Vamana and Varaha, who both appeared at noon on Dvadasi, this rule is overridden by the rule that paran for fasting on Ekadasi should be observed within the first one-third of the day on Dvadasi. Thus, worship is offered to Vamana and Varaha in the morning (hours before the time of Their appearance), and the paran for Ekadasi is observed at the standard time. One does not fast until noon of these two days, and, typically, one breaks the Ekadasi fast with sweet rice that has been offered to Vamana or Varaha that morning.