Paandav Nirjala Ekadasi comes in the month of jyestha in Sukla Paksa. The following pastime of the Pandava Nirajal Ekadasi is narrated in the Brahmavaibhava Purana. Let us understand the importance of Pandava Nirjala Ekadasi.
Troubles of Bhimasena in following Ekadasi:
Once, the younger brother of Yudhisthira Maharaj, Bhimsena, approached his Pitamaha, the great sage Vyasadev and asked, “Without obeying the rules of Ekadasi, is it possible to go back to Godhead? You are very intelligent, and my elder brother Yudhisthira Maharaj, my mother, my wife and my other brothers, Arjuna, Nakul and Sahadeva, all of them obey the rules of Ekadasi very perfectly. But I’m not able to follow the rules of Ekadashi! As my whole family is religious, so they all tell me to obey the Ekadashi. But O! Pitamaha, I want to tell you that I can’t stay without eating! My stomach’s digestion fire is so huge that I cannot stay without eating. I can give as much as needed in donations! I can worship Lord Krishna with any condition, but I cannot obey the rules of Ekadashi. So please have mercy on me and enlighten me that how can I get that same fortune without obeying the rules of Ekadashi?”
When Vyas Deva heard all the questions of Bhimsena, he replied, “Two Ekadashis are observed in a month, one in the Sukla Paksa and one in Krishna Paksa. One who does not follow both these Ekadasis, he can never go back to the Godhead; rather, he is being punished in hell. If you want to back to Godhead and don’t want hellish punishment, then you will have to follow both Ekadasi.”
When Bhīma heard this answer from Vyasadeva, he became utterly disappointed and again pleaded his condition to Vyasadeva that he couldn’t stay without eating as his stomach had a special fire in his stomach, which was Vrika Agni.
There are three types of fires:
- Davagni, which is in the wood and burns down the entire forest.
- Vdavagni, by which the fog and steam are being created.
- Jitagni, which is also called Vrikagni, which present in our stomach.
And if we see the Bhagwad Gita, Bhima was, also known as Vrikodar, means one who eats very much. So, when Bhīma heard that there was no eating on days in a month, then he got frightened and requested Vyasadeva that
“Please tell me the solution to my problem; please tell me how I may get the fortune of going back to Godhead. I can obey only one Ekadasi in a year; please tell me a day an Ekadasi by which I can get the advantage of following all Ekadasi.”
Now Srila Vyas dev replied, “The Kaliyuga humans are very lazy in their responsibility, in penance and the devotion; therefore, scriptures say that we should strictly obey both the Ekadashis, Sukla and Krishna paksha in a month. Srimad Bhagwatam also states that ‘we should surrender onto Krishna and by observing Ekadasi, we can enhance our devotion for Krishna. Ekadasi helps us surrender to Krishna; therefore, obeying Ekadasi is paramount. One who obeys Ekadasi never has to go to lower planets.”
When Vyasadeva thus described the importance of Ekadashi, Bhīma the great warrior, by whose name alone great kings and warriors would begin to tremble, trembled like a leaf of Banyan Tree by a strong wind. He was fearful and again requested Vyasa deva,” I cannot obey two Ekadasi in a month. Please! Tell me the solution by which, an Ekadasi by which I can get the advantage of all Ekadasi.”
Vyasadeva’s Advise To Bhima:
Hence Srila Vyasa Deva gave him a solution, “If one observes the Ekadasi of Sukla paksa in Jyestha month without even drinking a drop of water, then he will get the same advantage that you are seeking. On this day, a devotee should rise early in the morning, he should take a bath, and after doing achaman, he should engage himself in devotional activities. Achaman should equal to taking water equal to the size of a mustard seed, and if someone takes more water than that, then it is almost equal to drinking liquor. For sure, one should not eat anything on this day; if anything is eaten on this day, then the fast will break.
This fast will start with the sunrise of Ekadasi and end with the sunrise of Dvadashi. If one obeys this Ekadasi very strictly for the pleasure of Krishna, then one will get all the advantages of all Ekadasi of a year. On the day of Dvadashi, a devotee should wake up, and after taking a bath, he should worship the lord, and after donating to the Brahmanas, he should break his fast. Undoubtedly, one who obeys this Ekadasi with all rules will surely get the advantage of all Ekadasi of a year. Lord Krishna has declared, surrender your all onto me and obey my teachings; this type of man never has to see yamdutas; rather, always Vishnudutas come from Vaikuntha to take this type of man, who will take him to Vaikuntha by a transcendental Viman. If you want to get this fortune, then you will have to obey this Nirjala Ekadasi strictly.”
When Vyasa dev thus described the importance of observing Nirajala Ekadasi, all the Pandavas pledged to observe this Ekadasi without drinking water.
Srila Vyasa dev advised Bhīma, “If you want to be safe from all the sins and want to be safe from all hellish punishment and go back to Godhead, then obey this Ekadasi. Before obeying this Ekadasi, take the resolution in the morning that today I’m going to obey this nirjala Ekadasi, pray to Krishna, and begin the fast after taking blessings from Lord Krishna. If one observes this Ekadasi and if he has sins equal to Sumaroo Mountain, then all that sins will convert into ash.
On this day, after a bath, one should chant the holy names on chanting beads; if someone is doing this, he does not need to follow any religious rituals. Many types of donation are prescribed, which get destroyed with time, but if someone donates on this Ekadasi, it will never be destroyed. On this day, one should donate cows, gold, water etc., but if someone is unable to donate these items, he should donate a Kalash filled with water and clothes to a qualified Brahmana.
If one engages in these kinds of donations, then he gets billion times advantage. If anyone eats anything on this day, then he is actually eating all sorts of sins, and that is also equal to eating the flesh of a dog, and he gets the hellish punishments till many births, and if someone follows the fast of this Ekadasi then many of heinous sins will get destroyed like:
- To kill Brahmana
- Telling a lie to a spiritual master
- To not obey the orders of a spiritual master
- Drinking liquor
All these types of heinous sins get destroyed who strictly follow the fast of this Ekadasi. One who obeys this Nirjala Ekadasi and with that if he devotedly worships Sri Krishna then his 100 generations go back to GodheadGodhead, and for that person, the Viman will come from Vaikuntha to take him back to GodheadGodhead. O! Bhimsen, after obeying this Ekadasi, one should, according to his strength, donate to qualified Brahamans then he should take some food. I request that you obey this Ekadasi fast. There is no fast that purifies and does well to that extent as this fast does. By obeying this fast, all your sins will be destroyed, and you will return to Godhead.
Benefits of observing Nirjala Ekadasi:
In the Padma Puran, it is related that:
SAMVATSARASYA YA MADHYTE
HITASAM PHALAM AVAPNOTI
PUTRA ME NA ATRA SAMSAYAH
ITI MAM KESAAVAH PRAHA
SANKA GAKRA GADADHARA
Lord Keshav, who contains Shanka, Chakra, Gada, and Padma in his hands, has told me personally that the advantage which we get by obeying all Ekadasi of a year that eligibility we can get by obeying Pandava Nirjala Ekadasi.
In Padma Puran, it is also told that:
ATMADROHAH KRTASTES TU
YAIR ESA NA HY UPOSITA
DUSTAS TE NA SAMSAYAH
Srila Vyasa dev has told Bhishma dev that if someone doesn’t obey the Nirjala Ekadasi, then without any doubt, he should be considered as a sinner, corrupt and suicidal.
How to observe this fast:
This day is very special and very dear to Krishna; that’s why on this day, devotees should accept only devotional activities, which are a helping hand of us to take us near to Krishna:
- More Chanting of the holy names
- Reading scriptures
- Association of Devotees
- Attending arti in temples
- Ratri Jagran
- Whole night Katha
- Kirtan the whole night
So, we can make our whole day Krishnamay.
But we should avoid and completely stay away from non-devotional activities. On this day, we may feel weakness, and we will remember all the verses of the Bhagwat Gita, songs or poems related to water, but after leaving all the non-devotional works, we should only hear the Krishnakatha, we should remember Krishna. As much we sleep extra, we can avoid it, and we should also avoid useless talks. We should inspire ourselves and others to devotion. We can try to take a holiday from our job so that we can make our whole day, Krishnamay. If one feels more weakness so he can stay in A.C. but we should constantly chant the holy names, and if we will have to take charnamrit or we have to do acaman then as Vyas dev ji told, we should take water as equals to mustard seed, not more than it.
Queries related to Nirjala Ekadasi:
Q1. When should we start the fast?
Ans1. At many places, it is said that before sunrise or Bharmamuhurta, we can take water till 2.30 o’clock, but after this, we will have to continue our Nirjala Ekadasi fast.
Q2. If one will obey this Ekadasi, is there a need to obey all other Ekadasi?
Ans2. Yes, we will have to obey all 24 Ekadasi of a year, but on this day, we will have to follow it as Nirjala.
The Real Purpose of observing Nirjala Ekadasi:
Nirjala means without water, so we should not eat or drink anything today. We should take attention to one thing that sometimes we see that we are observing Nirjala fast, and if any devotee breaks the Nirajal fast, then we should pray to Krishna that ‘You have me strength by which I’m able to obey this fast’. If, by observing Nirjala Ekadasi, our arrogance is increasing and we are finding faults in devotees, then our obeying fast is wasteful; so, we should be saved from these mistakes. This is the day of mercy, and we have to collect grace on this day by doing Vaishnava service by chanting the holy names of the devotees who are having Vigrah at their homes. They should give baths to Vigrah and decorate them, and they should worship them. If there is no Vigrah at home, then one can perform worship on the lamination of god and can make a full day as Krishnmay.