Nirjala Ekadashi is the eleventh day from the Amavasya day (Shukla Paksha Ekadashi) of Jyeshta month. In the year 2021, it occurs on Monday, 21st June 2021. The exact duration of the Ekadashi Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.
As the name suggests, this Ekadashi is observed by foregoing even water. This Ekadashi Vrat is the toughest of all the twenty four Ekadashis.
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Nirjala Ekadashi – Legend
The significance of Nirjala Ekadashi is said to be mentioned in Brahma Vaivartha Puran.
As per the legend, Bhima, the first younger brother of Yudhishtra was keen on observing all the twenty-four Ekadashi Vrats. But practically, he could not follow them. Hence he asked Sri Ved Vyas about his predicament. Sri Vyas had advised him to observe just Nirjala Ekadashi and said that it would give benefits equal to observing all the Ekadashis.
Nirjala Ekadashi – rituals
The general rituals followed for Ekadashi Vrats are given below:
-The exact time of dawn of Ekadashi tithi is ascertained either from family elders / astrologers. It is mentioned in the Holy Almanac (Panchang) as well. Even daily Calendars provide the information.
-The idol or picture of Sri Vishnu is decorated with flowers. Incense sticks are burned. Diyas are lit. Pujas are done with tulsi leaves. Slokas or stotras of Sri Maha Vishnu including Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama are recited with devotion. Srimad Bhagavad Gitaa is also recited.
-The Vrat Katha is to be read and recited.
-At the end of the puja, aarti is done. Prasad is distributed to the family members.
-Devotees of Lord Maha Vishnu observe strict fasting from the dawn of Ekadashi.
-They do not sleep on the night of Ekadashi. At this time, tales of Sri Maha Vishnu are recited by the elders. Others listen to the stories.
-Various bhajans and kirtans are held.
-The fast shall continue till the sunrise of the next day, i.e., Dwadashi.
-Those devotees who cannot do fasting due to medical or other reasons can take sattvic food. Mostly prasadams and fruits are partaken.
-Making daan / donation to the needy on Ekadashi day is believed to please Sri Maha Vishnu.
-On Dwadashi day, unless it happens to be another Vrat day, a nutritious meal is partaken to balance the internal physical effects of fasting on the previous day.
Especially for Nirjala Ekadashi, the ritual starts on the Dashami day evening itself with Sandhya Vandanam. It lasts upto the sunrise of Dwadashi day. It is considered auspicious to forego even consuming of water to get the virtuous benefits.
Nirjala Ekadashi – other names
This Ekadashi Vrat is also called as Pandava Bhima Ekadashi, Pandava Nirjala Ekadashi and Bheema Seni Ekadashi.
It is believed that the observance of this Ekadashi grants the virtuous benefits equal to observing all the twenty four Ekadashis of the year.
Alleviation of all the sins, past and present.
Bestows happiness and prosperity.
Importance should be given to the sincere prayers to Sri Maha Vishnu.
The synopsis of Kamada Ekadashi, Varuthini Ekadashi, Mohini Ekadashi and Apara Ekadashi are narrated in the previous articles. The rest of the Ekadashi Vrats shall be dealt with in the subsequent articles of the series.