Out of all the twenty four Ekadashis in a year, Nirjala Ekadashi is the most important and significant. This holiest Hindu occasion is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is observed on the 11th lunar day (or Ekadashi) of the waxing fortnight in the month of Jyestha, as per traditional Hindu calendar.
Nir-jala means water-less or without water and the fasting on Nirjala Ekadashi is observed without water or any type of food. Due to its strict fasting rules, Nirjala Ekadashi Vratam is the hardest amongst all Ekadashi Vrats. However if observed religiously, it is one of the most rewarding occasion.
This fast is the strictest of all in the in Hindu religion. Staunch Vishnu devotees undertake this fast, and they do not drink water or any food while fasting on the day. The fast begins on Ekadasi sunrise and ends on next day (Dwadasi) sunrise. It is believed that observing Nirjala Ekadashi is also equal to going on pilgrimage. People believe that observers of this fast, after death, are received by messengers from Vaikunta, abode of Vishnu and not by Yama, the god of death.
Those who are not able to follow the other twenty four Ekadashi fasting in a year must observe a fast on Nirjala Ekadashi. It is believed that observing a single fast on Nirjala Ekadashi bestows the blessings and benefits of all twenty four Ekadashi fasting in a year.
When is Nirjala Ekadashi 2016? & The Legend of Nirjala Ekadashi
In the year 2016, Nirajala Ekadashi falls on 16th June.
Nirjala Ekadashi is also known as Pandava Bhima Ekadashi or Bhimseni or Pandava Nirjala Ekadashi or Bhima Ekadashi, based on the legend of Bhima, the second and strongest of the five Pandava brothers.
Based on the story from Brahma Vaivarta Purana, it is said that Bhima wanted to keep all ekadashi fasts, but being a lover of food, he could control his hunger. His entire family of four brothers, Yudhishthir, Arjuna, Nakul and Sahadeva, along with their wife Draupadi and mother Kunti, used to observe the Ekadashi fast without fail. He was scared of dishonoring Lord Vishnu, for whom the fast is observed, hence, he approached sage Vyasa for a solution. Sage Vyasa advised Bhima to observe Nirjala Ekadashi, once a year and this way he can attain the virtue of all 24 ekadashis.
As per this Nirjala ekadasi story, one is able to get the benefits of all Ekadasis by observing one Nirjala Ekadasi.
Nirjala Ekadashi Parana
On 17th, Parana Time - 05:27 to 08:13
On Parana Day Dwadashi End Moment - 12:09
Ekadashi Tithi Begins - 07:26 on 15th June
Ekadashi Tithi Ends - 09:54 on 16th June
Parana is the breaking of the fast. The Ekadasi Parana is carried out on the next day of Ekadashi fast. The best time to break the fast is Pratahkal or daybreak. Yogis and sages observe a fast for two days as they believe it leads them to Mokasha.
Ruling Gods: The deity of Nirjala Ekadasi fast is Lord Vishnu. A person who listens to the glories of Vishnu and offer dan dakshina to Brahmins attains the transcendental abode of Supreme Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Lord Vishnu transformed himself into Ekadashi to redeem the humanity from sins.
Things to Do on Nirjala Ekadashi:
- Offer prayers to Lord Vishnu early in the morning.
- Perform a simple puja to Lord Vishnu at home by lighting a lamp and offering fruits and Tulsi leaves.
- Visit a Vishnu temple and witness and participate in the morning pujas and rituals.
- Observe a waterless fast or Upavas on the day.
- Image of Vishnu or a Shaligrama stone is bathed with Panchamrita, a mixture of five foods: milk, curd, ghee (clarified butter), honey and sugar.
- The Shaligram or image is washed with water and dressed in royal finery.
- Donate clothes, food grains, umbrellas, hand-fans, pitchers filled with water, gold etc. to Brahmins.
- Sleeping at night on Nirjala Ekadasi is not advised; hence people perform Jagratas to perform night vigil.
- Next morning, after bath, donate food, clothes, fruits, sherbet and milk etc. to the needy. The person can break fast by drinking water.