Nirjala means without water and actually nirjala ekadashi is one of the toughest ekadashi fasts of the year. In total there are two dozen or twenty four ekadashis in the entire calendar year. This year i.e. 2017 the nirjala ekadashi is being celebrated on 5 June. Let us find out about the significance and methodology of this fast.
It has been said that doing a proper nirjala ekadashi fast is equivalent to keeping all the twenty four ekadashi fasts in the entire year. A person doing so gets rids of many negative karmas and attains a higher state of spirituality. However it is not easy to go without a single drop of water or grain of food for entire day.
It is suggested that the normal worldly people should keep fast for 24 hours and sanyasis should keep fast for two consecutive days. It is very difficult if not impossible for a normal person to fast 48 hours in one go.
There are many legends associated with this fasting. One of them says that Bhima, one of the pandavas, who was fond of eating wanted to get rid of his weakness. So he was advised to keep a fast of nirjala ekadashi and since then this has also been known as Bhima ekadashi
It is suggested that the fast is broken on the next morning and the process is known as parana. The dwadashi date which ends on next day morning of nirjala ekadashi needs to be taken into account for breaking the fast and it has to be done before the tithi or date ends. Not doing so amounts to nullifying the effects of the fast, so it has been stated.
However the first quarter of dwadashi tithi is known as Hari Vasara and it is also important not to break the fast in that time. So basically the fast has to be broken after the Hari Vasara ends and before Dwadashi tithi ends and also before sunrise. In case due to some reason all these conditions are not met, one should strive to fulfill at least two of these else the benefits of the difficult fast will be minimized.
Image Courtesy: Shri Madhusudan Bapuji Ashram