Nirjala Ekadashi is the most popular Ekadashi or Ekadasi Vrata among Hindus.
When is Nirjala Ekadashi celebrated?
Ekadashi Vrata comes on Eleventh of both Paksha of every month therefore 24 times in a year. Ekadashi of Shukla Paksha of Jyaishtha (May-June) month of Hindu calendar is called Nirjala Ekadashi. This Vrata is the toughest and most fruitful of all Ekadashi Vrata. In 2010 Nirjala Ekadashi is on June 22nd.
Nirjala Ekadashi Rituals & Customs:
Nirjala means sans water. Nirjala Ekadashi Vrata demands that devotees don’t consume food or water throughout the whole day. In Jyaishtha month, days are long and weather is hot and it is quite natural to feel thirsty and keep Nirjala Vrata on this day is very difficult. So Ekadashi Vrata requires patience and tests your resolve.
Ancient scriptures state that everyone older than eight years and younger than eighty years must observe Nirjala Vrata on this day.
After successful completion of Vrata one should donate Gold and Water Kalasha as per once capacity.
Nirjala Ekadashi Legend:
Once upon a time Bhima (2nd of Pandava Brothers) heard the importance of Ekadashi Vrata from great sage Shri Vyasa and also that one must do Nirjala Vrata on the day. Hearing this he said to the Sage “O Highness, everyone in my family fasts on every Ekadashi according to prescribed rules and rituals and also ask me to do the same. But I cannot observe such an Ekadashi fasts as hunger becomes unbearable for me so I cannot fast on every Ekadashi. Please tell me about a Vrata which has the same effect as of all the Ekadashi fasts.” Sage Vyasa said to him “There is only one Vrata that can absolve the sin of eating on all other Ekadashi. That is the Nirjala Vrata on Ekadashi of Shukla Paksha of Jyeshtha month.” Bhimasena fasted on this day and didn’t consume water or food the whole day. That is why Nirjala Ekadashi is also called a Bhimsena Ekadashi.