Today 16th June 2016 is Pandav Nirjala Ekadashi, and Prarayan or Fast-breaking time is the next day 17th June from 04:50 to 09:22 am.
Nirjala Ekadashi falls on the 11th lunar day of the waxing fortnight of the Hindu month of May/June. Ekadasi fasting is very dear to Lord Vishnu or Lord Krsna. This is a very important fasting day for Vaishnavas. According to the Markandeya Purana and the Vishnu Purana, the day of Ekadashi is itself a form of Vishnu. The vrata observed on this day is said to wash away all sin. The importance of observing fast on Ekadashi is given in Shri Hari Bhakti Vilas. it is said :
Ekadashi vratam nama
sarva kama phala pradam
kartabyam sarvada viprair
Vishnu prinana karanam’
” Just by observing a fast on Ekadasi day, all your desires will come true, and one who follows the fast becomes very dear to Lord Vishnu”
Therefore, one will have to observe the vow of Ekadashi to satisfy the lord. Happiness and prosperity will automatically follow. As stated in Brihat Naradiya Purana “if everyone including the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Sudras, and the women observe Ekadashi then they will certainly attain liberation”. As per the teachings of the Vedic Literature ‘paap-purusha’ (sin) resides in grains on Ekadashi and so it should be avoided in any form. I will post the Story of how Ekadasi Originated according to Padma Puran separately.
Origin of Nirjala Ekadasi
The description of Nirjala Ekadashi occurs in Brahma Vaivarta Purana as a conversation between Vyasa and Bhima. One of the Pandava Brothers.
Once Bhima asked the great sage Vyasa that my brothers fast on Ekadasi day. They also ask me to fast as well, which I always tell them though. I know that fasting on Ekadashi is an instruction from the scriptures. But I cannot bear my hunger and so I am unable to fast. I can give in charity as per my capacity, and I can worship Lord Kesava with proper rules and regulations, but I cannot fast. So please instruct me on how can I obtain the result of Ekadashi without having to fast.
Bhima also confessed that It was really impossible for him to observe fast on 24 Ekadashis every year as instructed by the Lord. He could not even tolerate hunger for a movement. But then he said I can try to fast for a day in a year. Vyasa replied that the Ekadashi which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of May/June during the sun present in either Taurus or Gemini Rasi is called Nirjala Ekadashi. One should observe total fast even from drinking water in this Ekadashi. On this day one should perform Acamana for purification by drinking that amount of water in which a single mustard seed or a drop of gold can be immersed. One should place the said amount of water in his palm which he should form to resemble a cow’s ear. If one drinks more or less water than this then it will amount to the drinking of wine.
One must not eat anything at all on this Ekadashi otherwise his vow will be broken. One should not drink even water from the movement of sunrise from the day of Ekadashi until the sunrise on the day of Dvadasi. In this way, if one strictly observes this Ekadashi without drinking water then he can attain the results of observing all the Ekadashis of the year.
In the early morning on the day of Dvadasi, one should take a bath and give gold and water in charity to the brahmins. Thereafter the follower should gladly eat with the brahmins.
By following this Ekadashi one can achieve the result of following all the Ekadashi s throughout the year. Lord Vishnu once told me that if a person gives up all varieties of religion as stated in Bhagavad Gita 18.66 ” sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo, moksayisyami ma sucah: Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. and follows this Nirjala Ekadashi which is very dear to me and is certainly relieved from all sinful reactions.
By observing this Ekadashi one achieves the benefits of visiting all the holy places. At the time of death, such a person is not approached by the fierce-looking Yamadutas. Instead, he is approached by the divine-looking Vishnuduta to be transferred to the abode of Vishnu. If one gives water and cows in charity after observing this Ekadashi then he is freed from all his sinful activities.
When the other Pandavas heard about the glories of this Ekadashi they resolved to observe it. since Bhima began observing this Nirjala Ekadashi from that day onward this Ekadashi became famous as Pandava Nirjala or Bhimseni Ekadashi.