According to Hindu tradition, there are total of 24 “Ekadashi” fasts. All of these have various significances and numerous people follow these in order to fulfill their desires.
“Nirjala” Ekadashi is considered as the most important of these 24 Ekadashi, because it is said to be equivalent to the other twenty-three. It is called as “Nirjala” because the devotee has to restrict drinking water on this day.
This fast is allowed for both men and women. On this auspicious day, the person has to show his devotion and pray to Lord Vishnu. Donation of clothes, fruits and Godaan, that is donation of cow, is considered as an auspicious act on this day.
There are two legends associated, both of them refer to the epitome of strength, Bheem.
- Maharshi Vyas suggested the Pandavas to have fast of Ekadashi to attain “dharma”, “artha”, “kaam”, “moksha”, meaning religion, money, attraction and freedom. Upon this, Bheema was disturbed. He had extensive hunger due to the flame of “Vrika”, in his stomach. Therefore it would have been extremely difficult for him to completely devote himself towards it. And that is when Maharshi Vyas suggested him regarding the “Nirjala” Ekadashi. Hence it is also called as “Bheemseni Ekadashi”.
- When Maharshi Vyas was visited by the Pandavas, Bheem needed an advice regarding the Ekadashi fasts. He was worried that he might miss out on the fruits of the fasts, as he was unable to do them. That is how Maharshi Vyas suggested him of the “Nirjala Ekadashi”. He told Bheem that doing this fast would be equivalent to all the other fasts of the Ekadashi, and would bless him with all the boons.
It is since then, people faithfully keep this fast to fulfill their desires and to get the fruit of equivalent of all the Ekadashi fasts.
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