23 June 2018 — Nirjala Ekadashi
The discription of Nirjala Ekadashi which occures during the month of May/June is found in Brahma Vaivarta Purana in the conversation between Vyasa Deva and Bhimasena.
Once Bhimasena, the younger brother of Yudhisthira, asked the great sage Shrila Vyasa Deva, "O, most learned and worshipable grand father, please, hear my request, my elder brother Yudhisthira, mother Kuntidevi, brothers Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva and Draupadi do not eat anything on the day of Ekadashi. They, especially Yudhisthira, always tells me that I should also fast on Ekadashi. But I always tell them though I know that to fast on Ekadashi is an injunction of the scriptures. Yet I can not bear my hunger therefore I am unable to fast. I can give in charity as per my capacity, I can worship Lord Kesava with proper rules and regulations, but I cannot fast. So, please, instruct me how can I obtain the result of Ekadashi with having to fast?"
On hearing these words of Bhimasena, Shri Vyasa Deva said, "O, Bhima! If you want to go to the heavely planet and avoid the hellish planets, then you must refrain from eating on both the Ekadashis of each month".
Bhima said, "O, great sage! It is impossible for me to observe fast on 24 Ekadashis every year as instructed by the Lord. What to speak of fasting day and night I can not even tolerate my hunger for a movement. The fire of hunger known as ‘brika’ is always present with in my stomac and it is extinguished only by voracios eating. But with great endeavour I can fast only one day in a year. Therfore, please, instruct me about a vow by duely following of which I can attain auspiciousness both in this life and next".
Shri Vyasa Deva said, "O, King! You have already heard from me the about the vedic religious principles and the duties of the human beings. But in this age of Kali every one is not capable of following those rules and regulations. Therefore, I will tell you a sublime method by which you can achieve great results. This method is the essence of all the Puranas. Any one who observes the Ekadashis of wanning and waxing moons by fasting never goes to hell".
Hearing Vyasadevas words the strongest warrier Bhimasena became frightened and shievered like a leaf on a Banyan tree and said, "O, grand father! Then what should I do? I am totally unable to fast twice a month throught the year. Therefore, O, my lord! Kindly instruct me about observing one vow which awards the most amount of merit and following of which I can achieve all benefits".
Then Shri Vyasa deva replied, "The Ekadashi which occures during the waxing moon in the month of May/June during the suns present in either Taures or Gemini Rasi is called as Nirjala Ekadashi. One should observe total fast even from drinking water in this Ekadashi. On this day one should perform Acamana for purification by drinking that amount of water in which a single mustered seed or a drop of gold can be immersed. One should place the said amount of water in his palm which he should form to resemble a cows ear. If one drinks more or less water, then this then it wil amount to drinking of wine.
One must not eat anything at all on this Ekadashi otherwise his vow will be broken. One should not drink even water from the movement of sunrise from the day of Ekadashi until the sunrise on the day of Dvadasi. In this way if one strictly observes this Ekadashi without drinking water then he can attain the results of observing all the Ekadashis of the year.
In the early morning on the day of Dvadasi one should take bath and give gold and water in charity to the brahmins. Thereafter the follower should gladly eat with the brahmins.
O, Bhimsena! Now. please, hear the about the piety one accumulated by observing this Ekadashi. By following this Ekadashi one can achieve the result of following all the Ekadashis throughout the year. Once Lord Vishnu who holds a counch, a disc, a plough and a lotus flower in his hand told me that if a person gives up all varieties of religion and surrounders unto me and follows this Nirjala Ekadashi which is very dear to me is certainly relieved from all sinful reactions. One cannot supreme destinationt by giving wealth in charity or attain any benfit by following smartha rules and regulations in the Kali yuga. Infact the vedic religious principle have been extinct in this age of Kali which is poluted with various faults.
O Son of Vayu! What more can I tell you? Actually eating is prohibited on all the Ekadashis and even the drinking of water is prohibited on Nirjala Ekadashi. By observing this Ekadashi one achieves the piety of visiting all the holy places. At the time of death such a person is not approached by the fierce looking Yamadutas rather he is appraoched by the divine looking Vishnuduta’s to be tranfered to the abode of Vishnu. If one gives water and cows in charity after observing this Ekadashi then he is freed from all his sinful activities".
When the other Pandavas heard about the glories of this Ekadashi they resolved to observe it. Since Bhimasena began observing this Nirjala Ekadashi from that day onward this Ekadashi became famous as Pandava Nirjala or Bhimseni Ekadashi. By following this Ekadashi sinful activities as huge as Sumeru or Mandra Mountain is atonce burnt to ashes. O, King! Lord Krishna has declared that any pious activities such as taking bath in a holy place, giving in charity. Chanting vedic mantras and performing sacrifices are carried out on this Nirjala Ekadashi day become inexhaustible.
One who reads or hears the glories of this Ekadashi with devotion goes back to the abode of Vaikuntha. The result one attains by observing the vow of Amavasya conjoined with pratipada and offering oblations to the forefathers during the solar eclipse is attained simply by hearing the glories of this Ekadashi.
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