Out of all the 24 Ekadashis in a year, Nirjala Ekadashi is considered to be the most sacred this holiest Hindu fast is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is observed on the 11th lunar day (or Ekadashi) of the waxing fortnight in the month of Jyeshtha, as per traditional Hindu calendar.
Significance of Nirjala Ekadashi – Prernamurti Bharti Shriji
Nir-jala means water-less or without water and the fasting on Nirjala Ekadashi is observed without water or any type of food. Due to its strict fasting rules, Nirjala Ekadashi fast is the toughest amongst all Ekadashi fasts. However if observed religiously, it is one of the most rewarding occasion. Staunch Vishnu devotees undertake this fast, and they do not drink water or consume any food while fasting on this day. The fast begins on Ekadasi sunrise and ends on next day (Dwadasi) sunrise. It is believed that observing Nirjala Ekadashi is also equal to going on pilgrimage. People believe that observers of this fast, after death, are received by messengers from Vaikunta, abode of Vishnu and not by Yama, the god of death.Those who are not able to follow the other twenty four Ekadashi fasting in a year must observe a fast on Nirjala Ekadashi. It is believed that observing a single fast on Nirjala Ekadashi bestows the blessings and benefits of all twenty four Ekadashi fasting in a year.
When is Nirjala Ekadashi 2016? & The Legend of Nirjala Ekadashi
In the year 2016, Nirajala Ekadashi falls on 16th June. Nirjala Ekadashi is also known as Pandava Bhima Ekadashi or Bhimseni or Pandava Nirjala Ekadashi or Bhima Ekadashi, based on the legend of Bhima, the second and strongest of the five Pandava brothers. Based on the story from Brahma Vaivarta Purana, it is said that Bhima wanted to keep all ekadashi fasts, but being a lover of food, he could control his hunger. His entire family of four brothers, Yudhishthir, Arjuna, Nakul and Sahadeva, along with their wife Draupadi and mother Kunti, used to observe the Ekadashi fast without fail. He was scared of dishonoring Lord Vishnu, for whom the fast is observed, hence, he approached sage Vyasa for a solution. Sage Vyasa advised Bhima to observe Nirjala Ekadashi, once a year and this way he can attain the virtue of all 24 ekadashis. As per this Nirjala ekadasi story, one is able to get the benefits of all Ekadasis by observing one Nirjala Ekadasi. Benefits – Devotees who are unable to observe all twenty fours Ekadashi fasting in a year should observe single Nirjala Ekadashi fast as fasting on Nirjala Ekadashi brings all benefits of twenty four Ekadashi fasting in a year.