Nirjala Ekadashi Brat
The Ekadashi date of the Jestha Shukla Pakchya is called Nirjala Ekadashi. As Ekadashi is the most popular date of Lord Shrihari, Lord Narayan is worshiped on this day. On Nirjala Ekadashi, there is a provision of bathing in the Ganges or other sacred rivers, abstaining from even drinking water and performing the fasting. On this day, by fasting completely and donating a jug full of water or juice to a righteous Brahmin, the scriptures tell the Donor will attain the nearness of Lord Srihari. Similarly, there is a scriptural saying that donating cows and grains will bring more meritorious deeds.
There are 24 Ekadashis throughout the year and all have their own glory and importance. The number of Ekadashis becomes twenty-six adding two more during intercalated months. Nirjala is that Ekadashi, which is considered to be completely fruitful even for those who are unable to fast during other Ekadashis.
Towards the end of the Dwapar era, in the Mahabharata period, Lord Krishna told Dharmaraj Yudhisthira the glory of all Ekadashis. Soothing Yudhisthira’s curiosity, Lord Krishna mentions that Vedavyasa advised Bhimsen to fast on Nirjala Ekadashi. According to the story, one day Veda Vyasa tells the Pandava family regarding the resolution of Ekadashi fast, which provides one of religion, meaning, work and salvation but, Kuntinandan (son of Kunti) Bhim could not fast on Ekadashi due to his inability to calm down the stomach fire he posses called ‘Vrik’. After seeing other Pandavas, Draupadi, and Mata Kunti and all his family fasting during Ekadashi, Bhim also wanted to observe the Ekadashi fasting but is unable to do so thus, Vedavyas suggested Bhima observe the fast on Nirjala Ekadashi.
Vedavyasa says:- Even by following the minimum rules in religion, one can become a partner of salvation in this world and the latter life by gaining wealth, happiness, fame, knowledge, wisdom, etc. Therefore, O Kuntinandan, if you methodically fast on Nirjala Ekadashi, which has all the virtues of Ekadashi, then the effect of this fast will get you the fruits of other Ekadashi vows as well and in the end, that is, in the Hereafter, you will get nearness to God.
All men and women should observe the fast on Ekadashi. Even if one is not able to fast without drinking water, one should fast by eating fruits and cow’s milk only one time on that day. After observing the Bratopasana, reciting and listening to the story of Lord Srihari at night by staying awake, and feeding the Brahmins the next day, giving them alms in a methodical manner, all sins are destroyed and great virtue is attained, Bhima after listening to this rule of Nirjala Ekadashi fast, he too following the rules observed the Nirjala Brat with great courage. This Ekadashi is also known as Bhimsen Ekadashi as observing the Ekadashi fasting he controlled all the senses, thus Bhima becomes unconscious at night, then the Pandav brothers gave him Gangajal, holy basil, and Charanamrit to revive him from the state of unconscious this is the reason this Ekadashi is also known as Bhimsen Ekadashi.
On this day, Lord Sri Hari’s beloved/dear, basil seeds are planted in every household. The provision is that the basil planted on this day can be re-planted on the day of Harishyani Ekadashi. To Read this article in the Nepali Language please click here.