Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat 2019
While on other ekadashis abstinence of food is observed, on Nirjala Ekadashi, an absolute fast is observed, without partaking even water.The water-less fast is considered extremely difficult to follow as the day falls in the hot Indian summer and thus, it is deemed as very pious austerity.The fast is observed 24 hours from sunrise on Nirjala Ekadashi to sunrise the next day. Some observe it from sunrise to sunset. On the day before Nirjala Ekadashi, the devotee performs the evening prayer and takes only one meal, without rice – as rice eating is prohibited.The devotee is however permitted to have a single tiny drop of water as part of the Achamana purification ritual. Water more than that equals breaking the vow.
Like other ekadashis, puja is offered to Shri Hari Vishnu, for whom ekadashis are sacred, to seek his grace. An image of Vishnu or a Saligrama stone (an iconic fossil stone in the form of Vishnu) is bathed with Panchamrita, a mixture of five foods: milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar. It is then washed with water and then dressed in royal finery. A hand-fan is also offered. Flowers, incense, water and arati are also offered. Devotees meditate on the image of God. In the evening, they worship Lord Vishnu with durva grass in their hands. Devotees remain awake the whole night and sing praises of Vishnu or meditate on his image.
Another characteristic of ekadashis is charity to Brahmins . Clothes, food grains, umbrellas, hand-fans, pitchers filled with water, gold etc. are prescribed to be donated on Nirjala Ekadashi.
According to the Markandeya Purana and the Vishnu Purana, the day of Ekadashi is itself a form of Lord Vishnu. The vrata observed on this day is said to wash away all sin. One who completes the vrata of Nirjala Ekadashi is mentioned to gain the favour of Shri Hari Vishnu, who grants him happiness, prosperity and forgiveness for sins. The devotee is described to receive the merit gained by the observance of all 24 ekadshis in the year. It is most popular and strictly observed by the Vaishnavas, in particular.
The observer gains longevity and salvation. Usually, the messengers of the god of death Yama are described to fetch the person’s soul after death. Yama then judges the person’s deeds and sends him to Swarga or Naraka .However, one who observes the Nirjala Ekadashi rituals is believed to be excused Yama’s judgement and taken by messengers of Vishnu to Vaikuntha, the abode of Vishnu, after death