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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Nirjala Ekaadasi on June 11/ June 12, 2011


Dear Members:


This is regarding the Nirjala Ekaadasi on June 11/12, 2011.

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 11, 2011.

2) Persons living in all other regions of the world except the American continents should observe this ekaadasi on June 12, 2011.

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.


Hari Om.
Blessed be.


Pandit R. DAKSHINAMOORTHI



Astrological and Remedial consultant.

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