Nirjala Ekadashi usually falls on the 11th lunar day of the waxing fortnight in the month of Jyestha, as per the Hindu calendar. There are 24 Ekadashis in a year and Nirjala Ekadashi is considered as the most important and sacred. Nirjala means without water and on this day the devotees observe fast without even taking a drop of water. Ekadashi Vrat is observed to seek blessings of Lord Vishnu.
This year as per the Panchang, the Nirjala Ekadashi fast will be observed on June 10. The Ekadashi Tithi will begin at 7:25 am on June 10 and it will continue till 5:45 am on June 11.
Significance of Nirjala Ekadashi
As per Hindu beliefs, observing fast on Nirjala Ekadashi day gives you the benefits of fasting on all the Ekadashis in a year. If you are unable to observe fast on all the 24 Ekadashis in a year you should observe only one Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat and the benefits will be the same.
It is also known as Bhimaseni Ekadashi due to a legend associated with Bhima, the second brother among the Pandavas as described in the epic Mahabharat. Bhima, known for his insatiable hunger, was not able to keep fast on all the 24 Ekadashi days throughout the year while all his other brothers were observing the fast.
He was upset as he was not able to control his hunger on Ekadashi days and it was considered as disrespect to Lord Vishnu. So, he approached Maharishi Vyasa to find out a solution.
The famous saint advised him to observe fast only on Nirjala Ekadashi and it would give him the same benefits of keeping fast on all 24 Ekadashi days in a year. Since Bhima also observed fast on this day, Nirjala Ekadashi is known as Bhimaseni Ekadashi or Pandav Ekadashi
Practices in India
Nirjala means without water and the devotees on this day don’t take water or any food. It is considered most difficult fast because it always falls on summer days in the month of June and is observed for 24 hours. Parana or breaking the fast is done after sunrise on the next day of Ekadashi fast. Also for Ekadashi Paran the devotees are not allowed to take rice or any grain.
On Nirjala Ekadashi day the devotees also donate clothes, food grains, pitchers filled with water and fruits to Brahmins.