Nirjala Ekadashi is an Ekadashi dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu. It is celebrated on the day of Ekadashi in the Hindu Shukla Paksha of Jyeshtha. Nirjala Ekadashi fast observed by devotees on this day is known for harsh penance. Nirjala Ekadashi fast in the year 2021 is on 21 June, Monday.
The word Nir-Jal means without water and hence it is considered very beneficial to drink and eat food without fasting on this Ekadashi fast. Nirjala Ekadashi is the most difficult and sacred of all Ekadashi and observing this fast with full devotion and penance is equivalent to observing all the other Ekadashi fasts during the year and is also the most fruitful.
Nirjala Ekadashi rituals
As the name suggests, devotees should keep water without drinking on Nirjala Ekadashi fast. Therefore, this fast is the most strict and holy. This Ekadashi falls in the summer season. People keep Nirjala Ekadashi fast for 24 hours, which starts from sunrise of Ekadashi date to sunrise of Dwadashi date. People with any kind of disease or taking medicines are advised not to follow Nirjala Ekadashi fast. Such devotees can keep partial fast because devotion to God is more necessary than rigid fasting rules.
The Nirjala Ekadashi fast begins with Sandhyavandanam, a ritual that is performed on the 10th day. Later, after completing this prayer, the fasting devotees eat food (without rice) once before sunset. The entire Nirjala fast is observed on Ekadashi. The fast is concluded on the 12th day after worshiping Lord Vishnu and feeding the Brahmins.
On the day of Nirjala Ekadashi, Lord Vishnu is worshiped with full dedication. Devotees offer basil leaves, flowers, fruits and mouth watering sweets to their masters. The idol of Lord Vishnu is beautifully decorated and worshiped with dhupas and incense sticks in the evening. Devotees who observe Nirjala Ekadashi fast should stay awake all night and hence they visit the temples of Lord Vishnu to participate in bhajans and kirtans organized for the occasion.
Reciting 'Vishnu Sahastranam' and other Vedic mantras dedicated to Lord Vishnu is considered auspicious on this day. On Nirjala Ekadashi, donating clothes, food, water and other essential items to the poor and needy is a good deed.
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