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Ekadashi is the eleventh day of the fortnight. It is the most auspicious day to worship Lord Vishnu. Nirjala Ekadashi is the Ekadashi which falls during the Shukla Paksh of the month of Jyeshtha as per the Hindu Calender.
A day observed as a fasting day among all the Hindus, it becomes more important during the Adhika Masa. This year, the Nirjala Ekadashi fast will fall on June 23rd, Saturday. People who keep a fast do not even drink water the whole day. That is why, it is also believed that this fast is equivalent to all the other Ekadashi fasts that come throughout the year.
How To Observe The Fast
Early morning, during the Brahma Muhurat, one must wake up and take bath. Clean the place of worship, bathe the idol or the Shaligram stone with Panchamrit. The God is then offered prayers, with diyas, incense sticks, flowers, etc. Yellow colour is more dear to Lord Vishnu, therefore you may offer him yellow-coloured flowers. Offering food to a priest on this day is believed to bring knowledge and prosperity in the house. People also take bath in a holy river, so that their sins are washed away. One may visit the temple of Lord Vishnu on this day.
Observe a fast for the whole day and break the fast in the evening. People observe a whole night vigil and offer prayers to the deity.
The day before the Ekadashi Day, people perform a ritual in which they take a drop of water before sleeping and consume food which does not include rice. This ritual is known as Achamana Purification.
It is believed that one should avoid eating rice on the day of Ekadashi. Other beliefs say that cutting your nails and hair must also be abstained from. One must also not eat non-vegetarian food, as believed by many.
Fasting on the day of Ekadashi is considered as beneficial as making more than a thousand donations.
Maharishi Vedvyas Suggested This Fast To Bhimasena
There is a story which narrates the importance of Nirjala Ekadashi. It goes like this. Once while Guru Vedvyas was explaining the importance of observing the Ekadashi fasts to the Pandavas, he told them that observing the Ekadashi fasts is a way you can get rid of all the sins you have ever made in the past.
He told that these will benefit them with the fulfilment of all the four goals, Dharma, Artha, Kaam and Moksha. Just then, hearing that the fasts are to be observed once every fortnight, Bhima asked Maharishi, how it was possible for him to fast every fifteen days, who can not even skip a single meal. It would not be easy for him to fast the whole day, every fifteen days.
The sage then advised him to observe just a single fast for the whole year. This fast is known as Nirjala Ekadashi, which falls in the Jyeshtha month, during the Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight of the month/waxing phase of the Moon). He added that it would bless him with Sukha (fulfilment), Yashas (fame, success), and Moksha (salvation). Thus, it is believed that whosoever observes the Ekadashi fast gets the blessings of Lord Vishnu, who is the giver of salvation as well as fulfilment.
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No fast is considered complete without having made some donations. Therefore, one must offer items of need to the poor on this day. This Ekadashi is also known as Pandava Ekadashi or Bhimasena Ekadashi.