Nirjala Ekadashi:The Auspicious Day of Fasting and Devotion

Nirjala Ekadashi:The Auspicious Day of Fasting and Devotion

Nirjala Ekadashi, also known as Pandava Ekadashi, Bhima Ekadashi and Bhimaseni Ekadashi, holds a special place in the Hindu calendar. This auspicious day falls in the waxing fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha (May-June). It is a significant day of fasting and devotion observed by devotees around the world. The word “Nirjala” means without water, signifying the strict fasting practice undertaken on this day. Nirjala Ekadashi occurs after Apara Ekadashi and followed by Yogini Ekadashi. This essay explores the legend behind Nirjala Ekadashi, its spiritual significance, and the customs associated with it.

Legend of Nirjala Ekadashi

According to Hindu mythology, the legend of Nirjala Ekadashi is associated with the Pandavas, the heroic figures from the Indian epic, Mahabharata. It is believed that Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers, was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu but found it extremely difficult to observe regular Ekadashi fasts due to his immense appetite. Troubled by his inability to fast, Bhima approached the sage Vyasa for guidance. Understanding Bhima’s devotion, sage Vyasa advised him to observe a single Ekadashi fast with complete dedication and sincerity, known as Nirjala Ekadashi.

Accepting the sage’s advice, Bhima observed Nirjala Ekadashi, abstaining from food and water for a full day and night. Pleased with his unwavering devotion, Lord Vishnu blessed Bhima with the virtues and benefits equivalent to observing all the Ekadashi fasts throughout the year. Hence, Nirjala Ekadashi is considered the most significant and powerful among all the Ekadashi vratas.

Significance of Nirjala Ekadashi

Nirjala Ekadashi holds immense spiritual significance for devotees. It is believed that observing this fast with utmost devotion and sincerity brings great benefits, including the forgiveness of sins, spiritual purification, and blessings from Lord Vishnu. Additionally, it is said to bestow good health, prosperity, and longevity. Devotees also believe that by observing this fast, they can attain moksha (liberation) and be absolved from the cycle of birth and death.

Customs and Observances

Nirjala Ekadashi is marked by rigorous fasting, which is considered more stringent than regular Ekadashi fasts. Devotees abstain from consuming food, water, or even a drop of water for the entire day and night. The fast begins at sunrise on Ekadashi and concludes the next day on Dwadashi, after offering prayers and performing rituals.

On this auspicious day, devotees visit temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and offer prayers, flowers, incense, and sweets. They engage in bhajans (devotional songs) and recite sacred texts, such as the Vishnu Sahasranama (thousand names of Lord Vishnu) and the Bhagavad Gita. Some devotees also observe an all-night vigil, spending the night in spiritual contemplation and devotional activities.


Nirjala Ekadashi is a revered day of fasting and devotion, carrying deep spiritual significance for Hindus. By observing this fast, devotees seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu and strive to purify their body, mind, and soul. The legend of Bhima’s dedication and Lord Vishnu’s blessings exemplify the power and rewards associated with Nirjala Ekadashi. This sacred day serves as a reminder of the importance of devotion, self-discipline, and the pursuit of spiritual growth in one’s life.

Leave a Reply