Nirjala Ekadashi in India
The Nirjala Ekadashi is a holy day celebrated by Hindus in India. As the name suggests, on this day the worshippers keep a nir jala fast, i.e. without water. This day is celebrated on the eleventh day of Jyeshtha (June) every year. This fast is considered to be the most rewarding of all the Ekadashi fasts that the Hindu culture has, it is also one of the toughest as the devotee is required to not only go without food but also without water for an entire day.
The fast is broken at the completion of a day which may be observed from sunrise on the day of the Ekadashi to the sunrise next morning or sunrise on the Ekadashi day to the sunset on the very same day. This becomes the toughest fast as no water is allowed, the devotees can consume a drop of water on the day of the fast but a little more than that breaks the fast.
Celebrations of Nirjala Ekadashi
As the day falls on the eleventh day, it is followed right after Ganga Dussehra, for this reason a lot of holy places like Allahabad, Garhmukteshwar, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Varanasi where the holy river Ganga flows saw a massive turnout of devotees and priests. They took a dip in the holy river in order to wash away their sins and in the hope of a better life.
A lot of charities and donations were also made as offerings to please the Gods. This year the celebrations were observed for two days.
The Legend of the Fast
The fast is also called the Pandava Bhima Ekadashi which has been taken from the Mahabharata. Bhima was the strongest of the five brothers and the second to Yudhishthir. Bhima was a lover of food, but despite his love for food he wanted to observe all the Ekadashi fasts, but he could not control his hunger.
Out of his devotion and determination, he approached the sage Vyasa, who was also their grandfather, for a solution. Vyasa, who was a very learned man, advised him to observe an absolute full day fast on the Jyeshtha Ekadashi. He did as he was told and observed the fast but he ultimately passed out as he hadn’t eaten any food or drank any water. The following morning the holy water of the Ganga was given to him to break his fast. By performing this fast he was not only purged but also won the favour of Lord Vishnu.
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