According to Hindu calendar, there are 24 ekadashi in a year, which are observed and out of these the Nirjala Ekadashi is the most crucial one. Nirjala Ekadashi is devoted to Lord Vishnu; devotees from across India worship the almighty in order to seek his blessings for good fortune.
The term “Nirjala” means being without consuming water. Nirjala Ekadashi falls on the 11th lunar day on the shiny fortnight in the month of Jyeshta (June-July). On this day devotees observe Nirjala fast (waterless) and it is considered to bring good fortune. Nirjala Ekadashi is believed to be the toughest one in all twenty four ekadashi.
Nirjala Ekadashi Legend
Nirjala Ekadashi is also commonly called as Pandava Bhima Ekadashi , as the legend behind this day is connected with Bhima, the strongest of the five Pandava brothers. All the four Pandav brothers ‘Yudhishthir’, ‘Arjuna’, ‘Nakul and Shahdeva’ along with their Consort ‘Draupadi’ and mother Devi Kunti used to observe 24 ekadashi fasts. But Bhima was extremely fond of food and he could not be able control his hunger. He was also afraid of dishonoring God Vishnu for whom the fast was observed. So, Bhima went to Rishi Vyasa for a way out. Sage Vyasa told advised him to observe one day’s fast on Nirjala Ekadashi and with this he would be able to gain the virtue of all the 24 ekadashi.
Nirjala Ekadashi Rituals
In normal ekadashis, one can observe fast without food but can intake water. On Nirjala Ekadashi one can’t intake water as well. Food and Water is strictly prohibited for full 24 hours.
Many devotees observe fast from dawn to dusk. Along with this, evening rituals are also performed by the devotees.
To observe this fast Worshippers get up early in the morning to offer prayers to Lord Vishnu for whom the fast is observed. One needs to prepare a ‘Panchmrita’ consist of curd, milk, ghee, sugar and honey.
Lord Vishnu’s idol is then given a bath in panchamrita and dressed in majestic clothes. On this day, male devotees also perform ‘achamana’, a purification ritual. While commencing this they can have just one drop of water. As a part of Charity it is important to offer Melon, Fan and water to Brahmins.
Nirjala Ekadashi’s Significance
In Hindu tradition, Nirjala Ekadashi is celebrated to offer prayers to God Vishnu. It is believed that by keeping this fast one gets free from all the sins he did in his part life. Lord Vishnu blesses all the devotees with happiness and a blissful life.
By popular belief observing Nirjala Ekadashi fast one can also achieve salvation (moksha) as the person at the time of death is not judged by Yama (God of Death). The one who observes this particular fast is taken by the messengers of Vishnu straight to Vaikuntha, an abode of Vishnu after death.