Nirjala Ekadashi is the most austere of all the 24 Ekadashis followed by the devotees of Maha Vishnu. It falls during Shukla Paksha in the Vaikasi month(May-June). It is also known as Bhima Ekadashi, Bhimseni Ekadashi and Pandava Nirjala Ekadashi. Observing this Ekadashi vrat brings the merits of observing all the 24 Ekadashis by a Vishnu devotee.
Nirjala Ekadashi falls on June 5 this year.
‘Nirjala’ means without water. The Ekadashi which is observed without even drinking water is known as Nirjala Ekadashi. It is very difficult to observe Nirjala Ekadashi vrat without even sipping water, that too, during the hot summer.
The penance brings the most beneficial effect upon the devotee as it opens the direct gateway to Vaikuntam for the observer. The devotee directly ascends to the feet of the Lord in Vaikuntam after his death and is taken to the abode of Lord Vishnu by the messengers of the Great God. He is not quizzed by the iron rules of Yama but reaches Vaikuntam straightaway after death if he observes Nirjala Ekadashi.
On reading the name of Bhima, one may understand that the story is linked with Mahabharata. Bhima is one of the five Pandavas. We all know that the Pandavas are close associates and ardent devotees of Lord Krishna. All the family members excluding Bhima used to observe Ekadashi vrat as per the rules and regulations stipulated. Bhim, the son of Vayu Bhagavan could not control his hunger and hence abstained from observing Ekadashi vrat.
Bhima wanted to gain the merits of all 24 Ekadashi vrat and wanted a means to do that. When he approached his grandfather Vedavyasa with this query, he was advised by the great Sage that he had to observe Nirjala Ekadashi without even drinking water. Bhima would be able to reap the benefits of all 24 Ekadashis by observing this single fast. Bhimsena did it and was able to get rid of his sins and seek the feet of Lord on a day’s fasting. So, this Ekadashi has been named after him as Bhimseni Ekadashi or Bhima Ekadashi.
On knowing the good merits of Bhima Ekadashi, the other four Pandavas and Draupadi followed the stringent measures prescribed for observing it and got the merits of their Ekadashi vrat to the core. So, this Ekadashiis called Pandava Nirjala Ekadashi.
Nirjala Ekadashi vrat should be observed from the sunrise of the Ekadashi to the sunrise of the Dwadashi.
Only sipping achamana water (a drop of water taken for pratiprokshana purification) is allowed. There should be no other intake of water.
In the evening of Ekadashi, the devotee should bathe the idol of Vishnu in milk.
On the morning of Dwadashi after donating pots of water to a Brahman along with gold and other kinds of charities like giving food, umbrella, hand fan etc., the devotee can break the fast.
Meditating on the values of Lord Vishnu and singing in praise of Him the whole night would bestow great benefits upon the devotee.
ü Those who observe Nirjala Ekadashi are received by the messengers of Vishnu after death and not by the messengers of Yama
ü They reap the merits of observing all 24Ekadashis by observing a single Ekadashi fast
ü They reap prosperity, health and wealth in life
ü They get liberated from all their sins and also from the cycle of birth and death and become purified in life
ü The vrat palan is equivalent to offering all kinds of charities and bathing in all pilgrim spots
ü If the devotee is not able to donate a cow, he should at least donate a cloth and pot of water to a Brahmin.
ü Offering water by way of a charity on this day is equivalent to the charity of giving 10 million gold
ü A devotee gets rid of the sins of killing a brahmin, becoming jealous of his spiritual guru and ignoring his instructions, telling lies continuously and taking wine and liquor
ü Not only a person who fulfils all these rules becomes free from sins, but also his one hundred previous generations get absolved of their sins and reach the abode of Lord Vishnu.
ü A person who hears the narration of this Ekadashi Katha and merits reaches the heavenly abode.
ü A listener to the account of the merits of Nirjala Ekadashi vrat obtains the merit equivalent to doing shraddham to the ancestors on an Amavasya thithi especially when it occurs during a solar eclipse.
This is the narration as recounted in Brahma Vaivatra Purana about Nirjala Ekadashi or Jyeshtha –Shukla Ekadashi.
Let us reap the best benefits of Ekadashi vrat by following this austere Ekadashi and seek the feet of Lord Vishnu.
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