Nirjala Ekadasi is one of the most popular and toughest Ekadashi Fasting days. Ekadasi fasting is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is observed on the 11th day of a fortnight in a traditional Hindu calendar. Nirjala Ekadashi is also known as Pandav Bhim Ekadasi fast. The difference from other Ekadasis and Nirjala is that devotees do not drink water on the day. In 2009, the date of Nirjala Ekadashi is June 3.
Legend has it that Bhima, the second of Pandava brothers, wanted to observe Ekadasi fasting but still eat food. But fasting and eating was not possible. So Sage Vyasa advised Bhim to observe Nirjala Ekadasi fasting which falls during the waxing phase (Shukla Paksha) in Jyeshta month as it has the benefits of observing all the 24 Ekadasis. Thus Bhim was able to get the benefits of all Ekadasis by observing Nirjala Ekadasi.
Nirjala Ekadasi is one of the strictest fast in Hindu religion and among all Ekadasis.
Nirjala means ‘without water.’ Staunch Vishnu devotees who undertake this fast does not drink water while fasting on the day. No food is also consumed on the day. The fast begins on Ekadasi sunrise and ends on next day (Dwadasi) sunrise.
It is believed that observing Nirjala Ekadashi provides the benefit of all the other Ekadashis observed in a year. Observing it is also equal to going on pilgrimage. It is believed that after death people who have observed Nirjala Ekadashi are received by messengers from Vaikunta, abode of Vishnu, and not by Yama, the god of death.
Ekadasi Fasting is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is observed on the 11th day of waning and waxing phase of moon in a traditional Hindu calendar. This is one of the most popular Vrat observed in Hinduism. How to observe Ekadashi was narrated to Arjuna by Lord Krishna and is found in the Bhavisyottara Purana.
When to start Ekadasi Fasting?
Lord Krishna advices Arjuna to begin the Ekadasi fasting in the autumn season with Utpanna or Uttpatti Ekadasi occurring during the waning phase of the moon in November – December.
Ekadashi Vrat Fasting Method
Ekadasi is the name of the Goddess that arose from Lord Vishnu to defeat Demon Mura. Happy with her divine act, Lord Vishnu blessed her that anyone who observes Ekadasi fast will be freed of their sins and will attain Moksha.
Some people only take a single meal on the Dasami day, the day before Ekadasi.
Things needed for Ekadasi Puja and Prayer
A picture or photo or idol of Lord Vishnu
Tulsi leaves (The tulsi leaves should not be picked on the day but on the previous day)
And other normal puja items
Wake up early in the morning. Take bath and offer prayers.
Perform a simple puja to Lord Vishnu at home by lighting a lamp and offering fruits and Tulsi leaves.
Pray or meditate for few minutes.
If there is a Vishnu temple nearby visit the temple and witness morning pujas and rituals.
Complete fast or Upavas on the day is the main observance.
Fasting is for 24 hours. It is believed that a partial or total abstinence from food on Ekadasi is rewarded with bliss.
If you have any health problem or are taking medicines, please consult your doctor before deciding on fasting. You can also opt for a partial fast by avoiding food made of rice.
Do not eat food made from rice on Ekadashi.
Strictly avoid eating rice and grains, honey, meat and eating on a bell metal plate. Do not apply oil on the day. (What food can be eaten on Ekadasi for those observing partial fast?)
Those taking partial fast can consume fruits and milk.
Take bath and offer prayers to Lord Vishnu
Take a bath in the evening.
Repeat the morning puja to Vishnu
Visit Vishnu temple and witness the evening puja and rituals.
Prayers for Ekadashi
Simple Chanting of – Om Namo Narayana
Or any prayers dedicated to Lord Vishnu or Sri Krishna
No Sleep of Keeping Vigil at Night
Staunch devotees who observe Vaikunta Ekadasi fasting do not sleep on the day. They spend the whole night at Vishnu temples or by singing prayers or listening stories dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
But those devotees who have health problems sleep at night. Those people who work, take rest at night and avoid keeping vigil at night
Next Day Morning
The fast is broken on the next day (Dwadashi) after taking bath. Offer prayers to Lord Vishnu by lighting a lamp and then you can break the fast.