Nirjala Ekadashi 2019: Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Toughest Ekadashi
The nirjala ekadashi fast should be observed without drinking any water and it lasts for 24 hours, starting from sunrise of the Ekadashi tithi to the sunrise of the Dwadashi tithi.
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The most important of all twenty-four Ekadashis in a year, the Nirjala Ekadashi, signifies a fast without water. The Nirjala Ekadashi also sees devotees abstaining from any kind of food. It is the toughest among all Ekadashis due to strict rules that one needs to follow. Devotees abstain from both food and water while observing the Nirjala Ekadashi vrat.
When does Nirjala Ekadashi fall?
Nirjala Ekadashi falls on the Ekadashi (11th day) during the Shukla Pakshya of Jyeshtha month, which incidentally is sometime between May and June. This year, Nirjala Ekadashi has fallen on Thursday, June 12. While Nirjala Ekadashi falls just after Ganga Dussehra, during some years Ganga Dussehra and Nirjala Ekadashi fall on the same day. Since it falls in Jyeshtha, it is also
known as Jyestha Shukla Ekadashi.
The story behind Nirjala Ekadashi
Also known as Pandava Ekadashi or Bhima Ekadashi, there is a legend associated with the fasting ritual. Bhima, the second Pandava brother, who was a voracious eater, was unable to fast because of his voracious appetite and love for food. Excepting Bhima, all the other Pandava brothers and their consort Draupadi would observe all Ekadashi fastings. Upset at his lack of determination and dishonour to Lord Vishnu, the Mahabharata warrior met with the sage Maharishi Vyasa in the hopes of a solution. Sage Vyasa advised Bhima to observe a single Nirjala Ekadashi in a year to compensate for not observing the Ekadashis during the rest of the year. Thus the Ekadashi came to be known as Bhima Ekadashi.
Rituals of Nirjala Ekadashi
The fast should be observed without drinking any water and it lasts for 24 hours, starting from sunrise of the Ekadashi tithi to the sunrise of the Dwadashi tithi. The Nirjala Ekadashi vrat starts with ‘Sandhyavandanam’, a ritual that is practised on the 10th day. Later after finishing this prayer, the observer eats one meal (without rice) before sunset. The fast then continues all throughout the Nirjala Ekadashi day. The observer of the vrat ends the fast on the 12th day after worshipping Lord Vishnu.
On the Nirjala Ekadashi day, Lord Vishnu is worshipped with Tulsi leaves, flower, fruits and sweets. Devotees also read the Vishnu Sahastranaam and other Vedic mantras dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
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