Jai Shri Krishna
Nice Article in Ekadashi and its importance from Brahma puran.
The Story of PANDava NirjalA EkAdasii: PANDava NirjalA EkAdasii -
Jyeshtha-shukla EkAdasii - from Brahma-vaivarta PurANa.
Once Bhimasena, the younger brother of Maharaja Yudhisthira, asked
the great sage Shrila VyAsadeva, the grandfather of the PANDavas, if
it is possible to return to the spiritual world without having
observed all the rules and regulations of the EkAdasii fasts.
Bhimasena then spoke as follows, "Oh greatly intelligent and learned
grandfather, my brother Yudhisthira, my dear mother Kunti, and my
beloved wife Draupadi, as well as Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva, fast
completely on each EkAdasii and strictly follow all the rules,
guidelines and regulative injunctions of that sacred day. Being very
religious, they always tell me that I should also fast on that day
too. But, Oh learned grandfather, I tell them that I cannot live
without eating, because as the son of VAyudeva - Samanaprana, (the
digestive air) hunger is unbearable to me. I can give widely in
charity and worship Lord Keshava properly with all manner of
wonderful upacharas (items), but I cannot be asked to fast on
EkAdasii. Please tell me how I can obtain the same merits result
Hearing these words, the grandsire of Bhima, Srila VyAsadeva
said, "If you want to go to the heavenly planets and avoid the
hellish planets, you should indeed observe a fast on both the light
and dark EkAdasiis."
Bhima replied, "Oh great saintly intelligent grandfather, please
listen to my plea. Oh greatest of munis, since I cannot live if I
eat only once in a day, how can I possibly live if I fast
completely? Within my stomach burns a special fire named Vrika, the
fire of digestion. Agni the fire-god, descends from Lord Vishnu
through BrahmA, from BrahmA to Angirasa, from Angirasa to
Brihaspathi, and from Brihaspathi to Samyu, who was Agni'' father.
He is the gatekeeper in charge of Nairritti, the south-eastern
direction. He is one of the eight material elements, and Parik****
MahArAja, he is very expert at examining things. He examined
MahArAja Shibi once by turning into a dove.
Agni is divided into three categories; DavAgni, the fire in wood,
JatharAgni, the fire in the digestion in the stomach, and VadavAgni,
the fire that creates fog when hot and cold streams mix in for
example the ocean. Another name for the fire of digestion is Vrika.
It is this powerful fire that resided in Bhima's stomach.
Only when I eat to my full satisfaction does the fire in my stomach
become satisfied. Oh great sage, I might possibly be able to fast
only once, so I beg that you tell me of an EkAdasii that is worthy
of my fasting and that includes all other EkAdasiis. I shall
faithfully observe that fast and hopefully still become eligible for
Shrila VyAsadeva replied, Oh king, you have heard from me about the
various kinds of occupational duties, such as elaborate Vedic
ceremonies and pujas. In the Kali-yuga, however, no one will be able
to observe all these occupational & functional duties properly. I
shall therefore tell you how, at practically no expense, one can
endure some small austerity and achieve the greatest benefit and
resultant happiness. The essence of what is written in the Vedic
literatures known as the PurANas is that one should not eat on
either the dark or light fortnight EkAdasiis." As stated in Srimad
Bhagavatam (Mahabhagavat PurANam) 12:13:12 and 15.) the Bhagavat
PurANam is itself the essence or cream of all VedAnta philosophy
(sara-vedAnta-sAram), and the Srimad Bhagavatam's unequivocal
message is that of full surrender to Lord Sri Krishna and the
rendering of loving devotional service to Him. Observing EkAdasii
strictly is a great aid in that process, and here Shrila VyAsadeva
is simply stressing to Bhima the importance of the EkAdasii
vratam. "IOne who fasts on EkAdasiis saved from going to the hellish
Hearing Shrila VyAsadeva's words, the son of VAyu, Bhimasena, the
strongest of all warriors, became frightened and began to shake like
a leaf on a banyan tree in a strong wind. The frightened Bhimasena
then said, "Oh grandfather, what should I do? I am completely unable
and ill equipped to fast twice in a month throughout the year!
Please tell me of the one fasting day that will bestow the greatest
benefit upon me!"
VyAsadeva replied, "Without drinking even water, you should fast on
the EkAdasii that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of
Jyeshtha (May-June) when the sun travels in the sign of Taurus
(Vrishabh) and Gemini (Mithun), According to learned personalities,
on this day one may bathe and perform Achamana for pratiprokshana
purification. But while performing Achamana one may drink only that
amount of water equal to a drop of gold, or that amount it takes to
immerse a single mustard seed. Only this amount of water should be
placed in the right palm for sipping, which one should form to
resemble a cow's ear. If one drinks more water than this, he might
as well have drunk wine - despite the soaring heat of summer (in the
northern hemisphere and cold in the southern hemisphere).
"One must certainly not eat anything, for if he does so he breaks
his fast. This rigid fast is in effect from sunrise on the EkAdasii
day to sunrise on the DwAdashii day. If a person endeavours to
observe this great fast very strictly, he easily achieves the result
of observing all twenty-four other EkAdasii fasts throughout the
"On DwAdashii the devotee should bathe early in the morning. Then,
according to the prescribed rules, guidelines and regulative
injunctions, and of course depending on his ability, he should give
some gold and water to worthy brAhmaNas. Finally, he should
cheerfully honour prasAdam with a brAhmaNa.
"Oh Bhimasena, one who can fast on this special EkAdasii in this
manner reaps the benefit of having fasted on every EkAdasii during
the year. There is no doubt of this, nor should there be. Oh Bhima,
now hear the specific merit one gets by fasting on this EkAdasii.
The Supreme Lord Keshava, who holds a conch, discus, club and lotus,
personally told me, `Everyone should take shelter of Me and follow
My instructions.' Then He told me that one who fasts on this
EkAdasii, without taking even drinking water or eating, becomes free
of all sinful reactions, and that one who observes the difficult
nirjalA fast on Jyeshtha-shukla EkAdasii truly reaps the benefit of
all other EkAdasii fasts.
"Oh Bhimasena, in the Kali-yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy,
when all the principles of the Vedas will have been destroyed or
greatly minimised, and when there will be no proper charity or
observance of the ancient Vedik principles and ceremonies, how will
there be any means of purifying the self? But there is the
opportunity to fast on EkAdasii and become free of all one's past
"Oh son of VAyu, what more can I say to you? You should not eat
during the EkAdasiis that occur during the dark and light
fortnights, and you should even give up drinking water (nir = no
jalaa= water) on the particularly auspicious EkAdasii day of
Jyeshtha-shukla EkAdasii. Oh Vrikodara (veracious eater), whoever
fasts on this EkAdasii receives the merits of bathing in all the
places of pilgrimage, giving all kinds of charities to worthy
persons, and fasting on all the dark and light EkAdasiis throughout
the year, in one go. Of this there is no doubt.
Oh tiger among men, whoever fasts on this EkAdasii truly becomes a
great person and achieves all manner of opulence and wealth, grains,
strength, and health. And at the fearful moment of death, the
terrible YamadUtas, whose complexions are yellow and black and who
brandish huge maces and twirl mystic pAsha ropes in the air for
binding their victims, will refuse to approach him. Rather, such a
faithful soul will at once be taken to the supreme abode of Lord
Vishnu by the Vishnu-dUtas, whose transcendentally beautiful forms
are clothed in gorgeous yellowish garments and who each hold a disk,
club, conch and lotus in their four hands, resembling Lord Vishnu.
It is to gain all these benefits that one should certainly fast on
this very auspicious and important EkAdasii, even from water."
When the other PANDavas heard about the benefits to be gained by
following Jyeshtha-shukla EkAdasii, they resolved to observe it
exactly as their grandfather Srila VyAsadeva had explained it to
their brother, Bhimasena. All the PANDavas observed it by refraining
from eating or drinking anything, and thus this day is also known as
PANDava NirjalA DvAdashii (technically it is a Maha-DvAdashii).
Shrila VyAsadeva continued, Oh Bhimasen, therefore you should
observe this important fast to remove all your past sinful
reactions. You should pray to the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Lord Sri Krishna in this way making your sankalpa declaration, `Oh
Lord of all the devas (demigods), Oh Supreme Personality of Godhead,
today I shall observe EkAdasii without taking any water. Oh
unlimited Anantadev, I shall break fast on the next day, DwAdashii.'
Thereafter, to remove all his sins, the devotee should honour this
EkAdasii fast with full faith in the Lord and with full control over
his senses. Whether his sins are equal in volume to Mount Sumeru or
to MandarAchala Hill, if he or she observes this EkAdasii, the sins
that have been accumulated all become nullified and are burned to
ashes. Such is the great power of this EkAdasii.
"Oh best of human beings, although a person should also give water
and cows in charity during this EkAdasii, if for some reason or
other he cannot, then he should give a qualified brAhmaNa some cloth
or a pot filled with water. Indeed, the merit achieved by giving
water alone equals that gained by giving gold ten million times a
"Oh Bhima, Lord Sri Krishna has said that whoever observes this
EkAdasii should take a Holy bath, give charity to a worthy person,
chant the Lord's Holy names on a japa-mAla, and perform some kind of
recommended sacrifice, for by doing these things on this day one
receives imperishable benefits. There is no need to perform any
other kind of religious duty. Observance of this EkAdasii fast alone
promotes one to the supreme abode of Sri Vishnu. Oh best of the
Kurus, if one donates gold, cloth, or anything else on this day, the
merit one obtains is imperishable.
"Remember, whosoever eats any grains on EkAdasii becomes
contaminated by sin and verily eats only sin. In effect, he has
already become a dog-eater, and after death he suffers a hellish
existence. But he who observes this sacred Jyeshtha-shukla EkAdasii
and gives something in charity certainly achieves liberation from
the cycle of repeated birth and death and attains to the supreme
abode. Observing this EkAdasii, which is merged with DwAdashii,
frees one from the horrible sin of killing a brAhmaNa, drinking
liquor and wine, becoming envious of one's spiritual master and
ignoring his instructions, and continually telling lies.
"Furthermore, Oh best of beings (Jivottama), any man or woman who
observes this fast properly and worships the Supreme Lord JalshAyi
(He who sleeps on the water), and who on the next day satisfies a
qualified brAhmaNa with nice sweets and a donation of cows and
money - such a person certainly pleases the Supreme Lord Vasudeva,
so much so that one hundred previous generations in his family
undoubtedly go to the Supreme Lord's abode, even though they may
have been very sinful, of bad character, and guilty of suicide, etc.
Indeed, one who observes this amazing EkAdasii rides on a glorious
celestial airplane (vimAna) to the Lord's abode.
"One who on this day gives a brAhmaNa a waterpot, an umbrella, or
shoes surely goes to the heavenly planets. Indeed, he who simply
hears these glories also attains to the transcendental abode of the
Supreme Lord, Shri Vishnu. Whoever performs the Shraddha ceremony to
the forefathers on the dark-moon day called amAvasya, particularly
if it occurs at the time of a solar eclipse undoubtedly achieves
great merit. But this same merit is achieved by him who simply hears
this sacred narration - so powerful and so dear to the Lord is this
"One should clean his teeth properly and, without eating or
drinking, observe this EkAdasii to please the Supreme Lord, Keshava.
On the day after EkAdasii one should worship the Supreme Personality
of Godhead in His form as Trivikrama by offering Him water, flowers,
incense, and a brightly burning lamp. Then the devotee should pray
from the heart, `Oh God of gods, Oh deliverer of everyone, Oh
Hrishikesha, master of the senses, kindly bestow upon me the gift of
liberation, though I can offer you nothing greater than this humble
pot filled with water.' Then the devotee should donate the waterpot
to a brAhmaNa.
"Oh Bhimasena, after this EkAdasii fast and donating the recommended
items according to his ability, the devotee should feed brAhmaNas
and thereafter honour prasAdam silently."
Shrila VyAsadeva concluded, "I strongly urge you to fast on this
auspicious, purifying, sin-devouring DwAdashii in just the way I
have outlined. Thus you will be completely freed of all sins and
reach the supreme abode."
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Jyeshtha-shukla EkAdasii,
or Bhimaseni-nirjalA EkAdasii, from the Brahma-vaivarta PurAN.
Jai Shri Krishna.