Nirjala Ekadasi is considered one of the toughest and most popular of all twenty-four Ekadashi fasts. This day is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is observed on the 11th lunar day (Ekadashi) of the waxing fortnight in the month of Jyestha, as per the traditional Hindu calendar. This fast derives its name from the water-less (Nir-jala) fast being observed on this day. It is one of the rewarding and virtues granting fast, if observed religiously.
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.
Nirjala ekadasi story
Nirjala Ekadashi is also known as Pandava 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 Shahdeva, 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 thefast 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.
When is Nirjala ekadasi 2013?
In 2013, the date of Nirjala Ekadashi date is 19th June. However, a smaller sect of people would be observing the day on 20th June, 2013.
The God of Nirjala ekadasi fast is Lord Vishnu. People who listen to the glories and offer dan dakshina to Brahmins attains the transcendal 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 ekadasi:
• 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 Saligrama 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 in night is prohibited, hence people perform Jagratas to perform night vigil.
• Next morning, after bath, donate food, clothes, fruits, sherbet, milk etc. then person can break fast by drinking water.