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» Informational Articles » Festivals » Nirjala Ekadashi

Meaning of Ekadashi

The word Ekadashi means the eleventh day of Hindu Lunar calendar of every month. The two Lunar cycles are Shukla Paksha or bright fortnight of waxing Moon phase and the Krishna Paksha or dark fortnight of waning Moon phase. On the eleventh day of each of these two cycles, devotees observe the meritorious Ekadashi fast or Vrat please Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna. The fast is a day and night long fast, with the rule for devotees to keep awake through the night, without dropping off to sleep for a single moment.

It is said that even hearing the names of the 24 Ekadashis of the year can remove all sins of the individual. Ancient texts speak highly about the many benefits of observing the Ekadashi Vrat. Along with Hinduism, Jainism too considers Ekadashis to be holy, which has spiritual connotations.

What is Nirjala Ekadashi and When is Nirjala Ekadashi

Every year Nirjala Ekadashi or Nirjala Gyaras falls on the 11th day of the waxing Moon fortnight or Shukla Paksha of the Jyeshtha month (Hindu calendar) which is the month of May- June. Nirjala Ekadashi is also known as Bhimaseni Ekadashi/ Bhimaseni Nirjala Ekadashi and Pandava Nirjala Ekadasi.

The word Nirjala meaning is, 'Nir' which means no and 'Jala' means water, compounded it means no-water or water-less. As all Ekadashis are about observing a fast, the Nirjala Ekadashi is about observing dry-fast or fasting without drinking water. Observing fast on Nirjala Ekadashi or Nirjala vrat/upvas is done by abstaining from consuming food and drinking water for the duration of the 24 hours.

The fast begins on Ekadashi sunrise and ends on the next day (Dwadashi) Sunrise.

The month of Jyeshtha or May-June, in India is the peak of the summer season, so observing the Nirjala Ekadashi ka vrat may be tough for devotees. However, the importance of Nirjala Ekadashi and the benefits of Nirjala Ekadashi is so extensive that devotees willingly and courageously observe Nirjala fast and eagerly look forward every year with the question in mind Nirjala Ekadashi kab ki hai?

Nirjala Ekadashi in 2021 or Nirjala Ekadashi/Gyaras kab hai or Nirjala Ekadashi date


Nirjala Gyaras/Ekadashi 2021 is on June 21,Monday.
Ekadashi Tithi Begins - 12:51 PM on Jun 20, 2021
Ekadashi Tithi Ends - 10:01 AM on Jun 21, 2021
On 22nd June, Parana Time - 05:47 AM to 06:52 AM

Note: Those with family should observe fasting on the first day only. The two-day Ekadashi fasting is only suggested for Sanyasis, widows and those who want Moksha.

Those who observe the fast must break it after sunrise the next day of Ekadashi. It is to be noted that one should break the fast (Parana) within Dwadashi Tithi. Dwadashi ends at 10:22 AM on 22nd June. Another important consideration is that one must not break the fast during Hari Vasara which is the fourth duration of Dwadashi. The best time to break the fast is pratah kala (morning).
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Significance of Nirjala Ekadashi

The Nirjala Ekadashi/ Gyaras is said to be the most important of all the 24 Ekadashis. Even if any of the other 23 Ekadashis have not been observed, just by observing the Nirjala Ekadashi a devotee can gain all the fruits which would have been garnered by observing fast on any other Ekadashi or observing all the other Ekadashis. This is the holiest Vedic (Hindu) occasion and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Nirjala Ekadashi ki Katha explains beautifully about the importance of Ekadashi Nirjala along with the rules and Nirjala Ekadashi vrat vidhi.

Due to its strict fasting rules, Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat is the hardest amongst all Ekadashi Vrats. However, if observed religiously, it is one of the most rewarding occasions. This fast is the strictest of all as anyone observing the fast is supposed to stay without food or water for 24 hours at least if not observing the 2 days fast. Staunch Vishnu devotees undertake this fast, and they do not drink water or any food while fasting on the day.

The ancient text has Lord Krishna explaining to Yudhisthira (Pandava brother of Mahabharata)about the importance where the Lord has said it is greater than all sacrifices or charity to the needy or the sacrifice of Horses(Ashvamedha) or even seeing Lord Vishnu Himself.

Nirjala fast/vrat or dry-fast is scientifically very good too as it cleanses and detoxifies the body. So even though staying without consuming water or food on Nirjala Ekadashi is a religious observance but nirjala fast benefits the physical body too.About the importance of Nirjala Ekadashi, Vyasadeva has said that observing nirjala fast has the power of ensuring that the individual, after death, will never go to hell and Vasu-Dutas(messengers of Lord Vishnu) come to receive the soul to escort the soul to Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu.

Nirjala Gyras/Ekadashi Puja Vidhi

Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat Katha Puja is an essential part of this Ekadashi. It is said that on this day if one performs this puja, all their misgivings or sins are washed off. This puja includes Ganpati invocation mantra, invocation mantras of all major deities, Dhyaan, Katha of Vishnu (the most important part), Aarti, Pushpaanjali and Prasada distribution.

Benefits of Nirjala Gyaras Vrat Katha

● For health, wealth and success
● For fulfilment of wishes
● For spiritual growth
● For the blessing of Lord Vishnu

Nirjala Ekadashi Special Products

Nirjala Ekadashi ki Vrat Katha - Nirjala Ekadashi Story or Nirjala Gyaras ki Kahani

The Nirjala Ekadashi vrat Katha or Nirjala Ekadashi story is from the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana. Nirjala Ekadashi vrat ki Katha comes through in a conversation between Bhimasena, better known as Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers of Mahabharata and the great Sage Vyasadeva or Sage Veda Vyasa, who was the grandfather of the Pandavas. Bimasena asks Vyasadeva whether it is possible for His soul to transcend to the spiritual realm even if all the rules of the Ekadashi vrat/fast are not followed strictly.

Bhimasena or Bhima was extremely fond of eating and it is said He could eat huge quantities of food. So, in the Nirjala Ekadashi ki, Kahani Bhima tells Vyasadeva that His mother Kunti, wife Draupadi and His other brothers, i.e. King Yudhistira, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva observe the Ekadashi fasts meticulously and have many a time suggested to Him to observe the Ekadashi vrats. But it was impossible for Him to think of fasting for 24hrs, or rather Bhima says that the mere thought of abstaining from eating food is scary and makes Him shiver as He was incapable of controlling His hunger. Bhima says that He can easily do any amount of charity and worship Lord Krishna with lavish offerings but to fast was unthinkable for Him. Bhimasena pleads with His grandfather to tell Him of any way to earn the merits of Ekadashi in the easiest way without fasting.

On hearing His grandson's request, Sage Vyasasena tells Bhima about the many merits one can earn on observing Ekadashi fasts strictly and above all get abundantly blessed by Lord Vasudeva. But understanding the plight of His grandson, Sage Vyasasena said that observing the Nirjala Ekadashi vrat/fast by maintaining a nirjala vrat (dry fast), along with not eating any food would make it possible to earn all the merits equivalent to that earned by observing fast on all the other Ekadashis. He further specifies in the Nirjala Ekadashi Katha that if anyone observes the Nirjala Ekadasi by following all the specified rules and by being completely immersed in chanting the name of Lord Vishnu/Krishna and sing praises of the Lord, on the day and throughout the night of Nirjala Ekadashi, that devotee is sure to be liberated and get a place at the Lotus feet of Lord Vishnu.

Hearing the Nirjala Ekadashi kahani and benefits of nirjala fasting from the great Sage Vyasasena, Prince Bhima was satisfied and agreed to observe the nirjala vrat on the auspicious Nirjala Ekadashi.The Nirjala Ekadashi mahatmya/importance is said to have been told directly to Sage Vyasasena and the Nirjala Gyaras ki katha clearly shows that.

Mantra for Ekadashi:

"Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya"
I offer my obeisance to or bow down to Lord Vasudeva or Lord Krishna.

Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat Vidhi - What to do on Nirjala Ekadashi and How to do Nirjala Ekadashi fast

The Nirjala Ekadashi ki vidhi is specified in the ancient Hindu texts and is said to have been specified by Lord Sri Krishna while answering King Yudhishthira's(the eldest Pandava brothers from Mahabharata) query. The Nirjala Ekadashi benefits are actually innumerable if the nirjala fast/upvas is observed sincerely and with pure intention.

The Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat Vidhi are

1) Observe a waterless fast or Upavas. The fast begins on Ekadasi sunrise and ends on next day (Dwadasi) Sunrise. However, fasting for the two days is not possible for everyone. One may fast on 1st. June, Tuesday, beginning at Sunrise and ending it between 6:00 AM and 12:04 PM on 2nd June (Wednesday). For advanced devotees, they may fast on 2nd June (Tuesday) onwards until the morning of 3rd. June and the Nirjala Ekadashi fast breaking time is during Nirjala Ekadashi Parana time between 6:03 AM and 8:39 AM in Nirjala Ekadashi 2021.

2) Early morning of Nirjala Ekadashi, the devotee should have a bath and should intend on keeping the fast meticulously.
3) Perform Achamana but be careful not to put more than just one drop of water to sprinkle in the mouth during Achaman as then the purpose of observing Nirjala Ekadashi is not going to be served.

4) You may visit a Vishnu/Krishna temple and offer prayers. If a temple is not around, you can worship Him at your home in the early morning. The idols of Lord Vishnu should be worshipped with sandalwood, flowers, fruits, lighting Ghee Lamp and dhoop. You can worship Lord Vishnu by using energized Vishnu Yantras. Offering delicious Bhog to the Supreme Lord Vishnu is a part of the Nirjala Gyaras/Ekadashi vrat vidhi.

5) One can simply meditate on Lord Vishnu and chant His mantra: "Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya". This powerful mantra was given by Sage Narada to Dhruva Maharaja as described in the Bhagavata Purana (4.8.54).

You can also chant the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra on the Tulsi bead.

6) You can offer flowers and chant Vishnu Sahasranamam (Thousands name of Lord Vishnu). Chanting a thousand names of Vishnu or Vishnu Stotram has a purifying effect on the mind and the body. You can also play it in the morning while you engage in daily work. More details here.

You can also perform a Vishnu Sahasranama Puja under qualified Brahmins. It is a highly recommended activity on this day. The puja includes Vishnu- Lakshmi Abhishek and Pujan, Vishnu mantra Japa- 1100 times, Vishnu Sahasranama Strotra followed by Homa and Aarti.

7) You can wear a Ten Mukhi and a Nineteen Mukhi Rudraksha beads for they are ruled by Lord Krishna and Narayana, respectively. Wearing these Rudraksha beads on this day purifies your inner self and strengthens your will power. They work like a shield on one's body and the wearer gets immense protection from negative energies, evil eye and psychic attacks.

8) Sleeping at night on Nirjala Ekadasi is not allowed and against the Nirjala fast rules, hence people perform Jagratas to perform night vigil. Chanting of Lord Vishnu's name can also be done through the day and night.

9) Next morning, after the bath, donate food, clothes, fruits, sherbet and milk etc. to the needy. Donating is an important part of Ekadashi. As per ancient Hindu texts, donate clothes, food grains, umbrellas, hand-fans, pitchers filled with water and any other items to Brahmins. The devotee can have breakfast by drinking water.

Nirjala Fast Rules

As per specifications in the ancient texts, to get the benefits of the fasting on Nirjala Ekadashi the person should adhere to the rules strictly.

  • Beans and grains are prohibited to eat on Ekadashi if the complete fast is not possible to observe.
  • The killing of any animal is prohibited on this day for the devotee.
  • Sleeping during the day is not allowed on Nirjala Gyaras/Ekadashi and the next day that is on Dvadashi.
  • The devotee keeping fast should not meet or interact with any cheats, frauds or people involved in any nefarious activity. The scriptures even say that if by chance the devotee comes into proximity of such a person then one should purify by standing under the sun and looking directly at it.
  • Abstinence from sex, gambling, drinking alcohol on Ekadashi and Dwadashi.
  • On Dwadashi (the day after Ekadashi), devotees are not to eat in another person's house, have only one meal, Honey and Urad-dal(black lentil) is not to be consumed, eating on Bell metal plate or cutlery, and should not massage oil on the body.
  • As per the ancient text, if the devotee has to speak to a person from the lower cast, then he/she will have to purify the self by eating Tulsi leaves or an Amalaki fruit.
  • If due to any reason the devotee is not able to break the fast on the next day, then he/she should have water to signify the completion of the fast and later have food when convenient.

Nirjala Kashi - In Kashi or Varanasi, the Nirjala Ekadashi is celebrated with a special ceremony which includes Kalash Yatra from the Ganga Ghat to Kashi Vishwanath temple.
Nirjala Ekadashi Iskcon - The Iskcon temples around the world have special puja and ceremonies on Nirjala Ekadashi/Gyaras and devotees throng to participate in the puja.
We wish all the devotees Happy Nirjala Ekadashi 2021.

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