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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Nirjala Ekaadasi - June 19/ June 20, 2013

Nirjala Ekaadasi on June 19/ June 20, 2013


Dear Members:


This is regarding the Nirjala Ekaadasi on June 19/ June 20, 2013.

Schedule of the ekaadasi fast for different regions in the world:


1)
Those living in U.S., Canada, and other countries of American continents should observe this ekaadasi on June 19, 2013. This applies to persons subscribing to both Smaartha and Vaishnava traditions in these countries.

2) Smaarta ekaadasi - for people subscribing to smaartha traditions in observances and living in U.K. and other western European Countries: June 19, 2013.

3) Vaishnava ekaadasi - for people subscribing to vaishnavite traditions in ritual observances and living in U.K. and other western European Countries: June 20, 2013.

4) For persons living in other part of the world - including INDIA, it is to be observed on June 20, 2013.



Significance of the Nirjala Ekaadasi:
Nirjala Ekaadasi is also known as Paandava Nirjalaa Ekaadasi. Sage Vyaasa was extolling the virtues of the Ekaadasi fast and also the sins associated with not keeping the ekaadasi fast. The other Paandava brothers and Draupadi who were observing Ekaadasi vrattam scrupulously were very happy to listen to the exposition on the glories of Ekaadasi; however, the Great Warrior Bheema who was known for his gluttony and who could not fast on Ekaadasis (fasting twice a month was almost unthinkable for him!!!) was worried on hearing the sins associated with not keeping ekaadasi vrattam. So, he requested Sage Vyaasa to tell an alternative instead of fasting on all ekaadasis.


Sage Vyaasa clarified that if the Nirjalaa Ekaadasi fast is observed scrupulously, it will give the result of having observed ekaadasi fast throughout the year, and so Bheema can observe that ekaadasi alone to get the results of all other ekaadasis thus escaping the sins associated with not observing other ekaadasis. This was at least tolerable to Bheemasena (he just needed to fast once a year which was at least okay rather than at least 24 days per year on each ekaadasi the very thought of which was intimidating to him!). Thus, this Nirjala Ekaadasi is also known as "Bheema Ekaadasi" or "Paandava Ekaadasi"


Procedure for observing Nirjalaa Ekaadasi


One should take bath early in the morning and declare that he/ she is undertaking the Ekaadasi fast for escaping all sins - known and unknown and for the Grace of Lord Hari. Meditation should be done upon Lord Naaraayana reclining on His Bed of Seshaa in the midst of the Milk Ocean (Jala Saayi Perumaal). We should also remember Sage Vyaasa's words that observing this single Ekaadasi will give the merits associated with the other ekaadasis of the year also.


Usually ekaadasi fast can be done as per one's wishes and convenience, like - fruit only fast, milk only fast, water-only fast, abstaining from grains but eating other ritual pure items/ vegetables, etc. However, Nirjala ekaadasi - as the name implies - should be a complete fast where the observer of the fast should abstain from even plain water!


Many scrupulous observers of Ekaadasi fast usually keep a complete fast (including abstaining from water) on all ekaadasis. Even those who are not so strict about abstaining from water on normal ekaadasis should abstain from water during the nirjala ekaadasi. Of course, there is exemption applicable for old-aged, the physically infirm, those who are in sick bed, pregnant women, lactating women with very young infants, etc. Others who are physically fit but fail to observe this ekaadasi are missing a very good karmic opportunity because, just observing this one ekaadasi can exempt you from all other ekaadasis (and also gives you the merit that could accrue from observing all other ekaadasis!!!!).

On dwaadasi day (the next day) while breaking the fast, it is auspicious to make some charitable donation to any deserving cause to get the full results of the observance. It is customary to offer umbrellas, sandals, or water pot to pious brahmins on this day. If you are not able to find suitable pious persons who deserve such dhaanaas, you may just contribute what little you can to any charitable cause of your choice or to any temple.


Merits associated with observing nirjala Ekaadasi:


1) The merit accruing out of performing shraadha during solar eclipse.
2) The merit accruing out of observing all other ekaadasis of the year (it does not mean that we should not maintain the other ekaadasi fasts if we observe this; just think....if you observe this in addition to all other ekaadasis, you will be getting twice the benefit is it not? For those who cannot fast on all ekaadasis due to practical considerations, this ekaadasi is a boon; they can observe just this ekaadasi with full devotion and perfection - without water!)


May our members observe this Holy Fast and gain the Grace of Lord Hari.
Blessed be.
Pandit R. DAKSHINAMOORTHI.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Apara Ekaadasi - June 3/ June 4th, 2013



The Holy Apara Ekadasi for this year (2013) is to be observed on June 4, 2013throughout the world, except by those living in U.S.A., Canada, and other countries of American continents. Those living in U.S.A., Canada, and other American countries must observe this on June 3rd itself.

Significance of this Apara Ekaadasi:
This Ekadasi is specifically recommended for those who are suffering from pangs of anxiety arising out of past short-comings in performing one's rightful duties (out of negligence or other pressing practical circumstances). If you have committed some major sins knowingly or unknowingly and are suffering from remorse for those sinful activities, and want to be freed from the psychological pangs now, observance of this Ekadasi will help. This Ekaadasi can free one from sins like Brahmahati (that can cause depressive tendencies and may even lead to more serious psychological disturbances as a consequence of one's sins), Gohatya and other major sins.
Apara Ekaadasi punya is equivalent to all the following meritorious religious activities taken together!....
1) Bathing in the Holy Pushkara thrice a day, everyday throughout the lunar month of Kaarthika;
2) Having Maagha snaana at Holy Prayaag.
3) Performing Seva to Lord Shiva at Vaaranaasi kshetra during shiva Raatri;
4) Gaya shraddam for one's ancestors;
5) Bathing in the Holy Gautami River during Jupiter's transit into Simha rashi;
6) Having Shri Kedaarnaath darshan.
7) Having Badrinaath darshan during the kumba maasa (sun in kumbha raashi)
8) Taking a bath in Kurukshetra during solar eclipse and donating cows, elephants, and gold in charity to worthy Brahmins.
9) Donating a pregnant cow, along with gold and fertile land.
Method of observing Ekaadasi vratham:
Try to limit intake of food slowly starting from the previous day (dasami) itself. Avoid consuming honey, onion, garlic, and such ritually impure items on dasami day (the day before ekaadasi fast) itself and also prepare yourself mentally too by meditating on Lord Hari.
On the day of Ekaadasi fast, you must get up early in the morning, take a bath, and with full intent maintain the fast. Ideally, the fast should be complete - avoiding even drinking water. However, if this is not possible, you may water-down the intensity of the fast like - a fruit-only fast, juice-only fast, milk-only fast, or whatever depending on your health condition. On Ekaadasi day, pulses and grains should be strictly avoided (especially Rice). This Ekaadasi is mandatory for all believers with good health between the ages 7 and 70. (Pregnant women, old aged persons, and ailing persons are exempt these; even women in their monthly periods can fast on ekaadasi and meditate on Lord Hari silently without chanting mantras!)
On the night of Ekaadasi fast, it is recommended to keep a whole night vigil - listening to Lord's wonderful leelaas from various scriptures, or reading Bhagavat Gitaa, or simply chanting Lord's names like Hari, Raam, Krishna, Hare Ramakrishna, etc.
On Dwaadasi - the day after the fast, the fast should be broken within 2 hours 24 mins. after sunrise at your place, at an auspicious time. Those who have maintained a full fast (without even water) can break the fast by just consuming Tulsi teertham (Tulsi-soaked water). Others can break fast by eating fruits.
On Dwaadasi thithi, tamarind and chillies should be avoided while cooking. Lemon can be used instead of Tamarind; pepper can be used instead of chillies to flavour the food-items.
It is good to consume Amla on dwaadasi thithi as this endears one to Lord Krishna.
One who maintains this fast of Apara Ekaadasi will win fame and reknown besides cutting off the roots of all negative karmaas.
May all our members undertake this Holy Fast and relieve themselves of all negative karmaas.
Blessed be.
Pandit R. DAKSHINAMOORTHI.
www.liveperson.com/pandit-dakshinamoorthi

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