Today June 12, 2011 is Nirjala Ekadasi. Nirjala Ekadashi is very popular fasting dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu and it is performed by many Hindus without even drinking water. This fasting is very tough and different from the usual Ekadasi fasting method. Devotees do not drink water on the day. Neither do they eat anything for the entire day. The fasting is from sunrise to next day (Dwadasi) morning sunrise.
The popular belief is that observing this Ekadasi vrat is equal to observing all the 24 Ekadasis in a year.
How to observe Nirjala Ekadasi or Pandav Bhim Ekadashi?
Nirjala Ekadasi, or Pandav Bhim Ekadashi, is observed during the Jyeshta Shukla Paksha – waxing phase of moon in Jyeshta month, which falls during (May end or June beginning). The Ekadasi fasting method for Nirjala Ekadashi is different from the usual practice. In 2011, the date of Nirjala Pandav Bhim Ekadasi is June 12.
Nirjala Ekadasi is one of the toughest fasting in Hinduism. ‘Nirjala’ means without water and devotees do not drink water on the day of fasting. The greatness of Nirjala Ekadasi was explained to Bhima, the second of the Pandava Brothers, by Sage Vyasa.
It is said that one should not drink water from the moment of sunrise on the Ekadasi day and should drink water only on the sunrise on the day of Dvadasi (next day morning). Devotees also do not eat food on the day.
In the scriptures, it is said that a devotee should perform the purification ritual by drinking water that can immerse a single mustard seed.
Devotees spend the day at Vishnu temples or listening to stories from Bhagavad Purana or by chanting bhajans dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu Sahasranama and other sholkas dedicated to Lord Vishnu are chanted on the day.
It is strongly advised that those who are under medications and have some ailments should not observe Nirjala Ekadasi.
Those devotees who want to observe this particular Ekadasi but can’t follow the rule of not drinking and not eating on the day can observe a partial fast. What is more important is devotion and not the severity of the fasting.
This Ekadasi fasting happens before the starting of the monsoon season and therefore it is also meant in helping in cleansing the body.
Pandav Bhim Ekadasi Vrat Katha – Nirjala Ekadashi Fasting Story
Pandav Bhima Ekadashi, also known as Nirjala Ekadasi, falls on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha in the Jyeshta month (May – June). The story of Pandav Bhim Ekadasi is associated with Bhima, the second Pandava brother. The importance of Pandav Bhim Ekadasi is mentioned in the Brahmavaivarta Purana. In 2011, Nirjala Ekadasi is observed on June 12.
The four Pandava brothers – Yudhisthira, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva – Kunti, mother of the Pandavas, and Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, used to observe Ekadasi fasting without fail. Bhima, the second of the Pandavas, used to never fast as he could not control his hunger. He always had a guilt feeling of not observing the Ekadasi Vrat.
Once Bhima asked Veda Vyasa, who is also the grandfather of the Pandavas, to help in observing the Ekadasi Vrata. He said that Yudhishitra, his eldest brother, always asks him to observe fasting. He is ready to pray and give charity and observe all the rules but not fasting. And if there is no other way out he is ready to fast on one Ekadasi out of the 24 Ekadashis.
Sage Vyasa then suggests that he can observe the Ekadasi which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of Jyeshta (May – June) during the sun’s presence in either Taurus or Gemini Rashi is called Nirjala Ekadasi. One should observe total fast and should not even drink water.
Observing this Ekadasi is equal to observing all the 24 Ekadashis.
From that day onward Bhimasena began observing Nirjala Ekadasi and it came to be known as Pandava Nirjala, or Bhimseni Ekadasi.
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