Nirjala EkadashiDate : | Author : Astrologer Pt Umesh Chandra Pant
Nirjala Ekadashi or Bhimseni
This is one of the most significant and religiously special vrat festivals. Connected with it include our own religious vrats/fasting, festivities, worships, Anushthan etc. Among them, Nirjala Ekadashi or Bhimseni Ekadashi vrat holds a special position. A person diverted from his own path of humanity, when gets swamped by many evil experiences like anger, attachment, and greed, then he needs to climb upon the ladder leading to Godward. Ekadashi vrat is said to be the best remedial cure for all temporal sufferings and sins that a human experience, according to different Puranas, such as Padma Purana, Narad Purana, Garur Purana, and Varah Purana. Even lord Krishna told about this to Yudhishthira, that devotees, who perform Ekadashi vrat with sheer devotion, would gain its sacred result equal to the holy results of thousands of yagnas and other vrats. Nirjala Ekadashi vrat is celebrated in every year of eleventh date of Jyeshtha Shukla Paksha. This time, the festival is slated on June 02, 2020. As per religious books (Shastras), Nitya, Naumittika and Kamya are three types of vrats. According to Maharishi Ved Vyas, Ekadashi vrat is a continuous fasting, which results in a sinful outcome, if not performed. Therefore, all pious people; male or female, must observe Ekadashi vrat, so that their sins are eradicated and they should be a part of piousness and salvation.
Why Nirjala Ekadashi Is Called Bhimseni?
According to the legend, once saint Ved Vyas was preaching the importance of Ekadashi vrat to Pandeva, in which Yudhishthira, Arjuna and other Pandava, including Mata Kunti, said that they follow Ekadashi vrat, which comes twice in a month or sometimes it amounts to 26 when the number of months exceeds. However, Bhima doesn’t follow it. At which, Bhima reasoned that he is helpless to starve himself on Ekadashi vrat of both the Paksha in a month. It’s very painful for me, as Bhima said, adding further that a fire named Vrukodar resides in his stomach which can’t be pacified but with foods. Therefore, as Bhima said, he couldn’t stand even a single moment without eating anything, let alone starving on mere thinking of observing Ekadashi vrat in every month. Therefore, Bhima requested the saint to suggest another vrat requiring not so much suffering because of hunger. At this, Maharishi Ved Vyas recommended Ekadashi vrat to Bhima. Since the vrat came into existence because of the question raised by Bhima, it, therefore, is famed as Bhimseni vrat.
Why Drinking Water Is Prohibited In Nirjala Ekadashi?
As Maharishi Ved Vyas said to Bhima, Ekadashi vrat is a continuous fasting; therefore, not maintaining the ritual by abstaining from foods would earn the culprit worst evil (Mahapatak). In fact, the culprits are condemned to the fire of hell. Hearing this, Bhima got scared and consoled himself to follow Ekadashi vrat anyhow in a year, despite living on hunger. Thus, Maharishi Ved Vyas talks about importance of observing Ekadashi vrat on both Pakhas. When Bhima expressed his inability to perform the vrat on both Pakshas, Maharishi Ved Vyas, then, instructed him to follow Ekadashi vrat on Shukla Paksha of Jyeshtha month, without drinking water or eating a single corn of food. Since then the vrat is known as Nirjala Ekadashi, considering Bhima did this vrat without drinking water. This Ekadashi is called Nirjala because it involves no water to drink. Devotee can drink water on Dwadashi tithi (after Ekadashi). In other words, the water must be taken in a tiny measure, similar to the one you take as Achamana. More than of it is akin to a liquor. Since then the ritual of observing Nirjala Ekadashi vrat without water has been in practice.
How To Donate And Take a Bath During Nirjala Ekadashi?
Maharishi Ved Vyas told Bhima about the importance of Ekadashi vrat on Jyeshtha month of Shukla Paksha, saying, devotee must exercise the practice of being abstemious, right on Dashami’s evening time. On next day (Ekadashi), after doing daily routines like attending washroom etc. they should take a bath in holy water like Ganga or something like that. Take vrat Sankalp. Worship lord Vishnu. To the best of your capacity, offer to lord fineries, sweets, fruits, flowers and other gifts. However, if observing fast, do not accept donation from others. This may damage your vrat. Donation given on this day can earn you sacred results in your life.
Methods & Vrat of Nirjala Ekadashi
Devotees observing Ekadashi vrat must be self-disciplined and perform celibacy since Dashami itself. Do not drink liquor, or stuffs like garlic, onion, etc. Avoid consuming lentil and carrot before day one. Don’t lie, and avoid the company of depraved and loafer guys. Worship lord Vishnu. Take vrat Sankalp by invoking the lord. Pray, “O the savior of the world! Bless me the power with which I can continue this vrat without water.” Then worship lord Vishnu, as per the shodashopchar method or get it done by a priest. Worship and do kirtan in the name of the lord with total devotion. Offer the lord sweets, leaf of basil, and other necessities with devotion. Adorn the lord with all fineries you have. To make this vrat work for you, stay away from evil thoughts like injustice, impurity, anger, violence, day-sleeping, masturbation, and bad company. Recite the mantra of lord Vishnu – Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya Namah! Or “Om Namo Narayanaya Namah!” Do not show wrath on anyone. Make sure no violence done on any animal. Next day on Dwadashi, after attending your daily routines like attending washroom etc. including evening pray, accept water. Now feed the brahmans the feast cooked in a sanctimoniously sacred kitchen in remembrance of lord Vishnu. Thereafter, you can have your food to break off the vrat. Any mistake done wittingly or unwittingly, during the course of observing Ekadashi vrat, say sorry to lord Vishnu.
Significance of Nirjala Ekadashi
God Vyas told the importance of Ekadashi vrat to Bhima, that if you can’t do additional Ekadashi vrat in a month consisting 24 or more vrats in an upcoming year, then you can observe Ekadashi vrat that starts on the 11th day of Jyeshtha Shukla Paksha that falls within the day of Gemini Sankranti. Follow that vrat and you will attain the result equalizing the outcome of all Ekadashi vrats. You will also attain heaven by doing this vrat. To say otherwise, the pious effects of Ekadashi vrat will save you from the condemnation of hell. Because, Ekadashi vrat contains enormous sacred values equalizing the worth of thousands of yagnas. Because of that effect, all evils done wittingly or unwittingly by you, like blasphemy of teachers, the sin of killing cows, etc. get eliminated. This is what Purana says. The effect of Nirjala Ekadashi is so enormous that it gives you sacred results consisting of all Ekadashi.
Story of Nirjala Ekadashi
Brief story of Nirjala Ekadashi is as follows – Lord Ved Vyas tells the enormous importance of Ekadashi vrat to Pandeva, that Ekadashi tithi which falls in Krishna and Shukla paksha respectively can remove the worst of sins of a devotee, if he does the vrat without eating foods. At this Bhima expressed his concern, saying he won’t continue the vrat like other members of his family, in light of the fact that he can’t survive even a day without foods. Then Ved Vyas said, according to Shri Hari, those, male or female, who eat foods during Ekadashi, can be condemned to the fire of hell. Hearing this, Bhima requested Vyas to suggest an easier course of action not requiring him to observe fast whole year and can attain the fruit of the same by doing vrat in a single day. Then lord Ved Vyas, discerning the concern of Bhima, suggested him to follow Ekadashi vrat of Jyeshtha Shukla Paksha, without eating foods, and that vrat would give him (Bhima) sacred results equal to the whole Ekadashi vrats.