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Title: Pandava Bhima Nirjala Ekadashi May-Jun
User: Damodara Svarupa dasa Date: 2005-02-18 16:08:54
Pandava Nirjala Bhima Ekadashi
From Brahma-Vaivarta Purana
During the hottest season (northern hemisphere), if one can perform
upavasa without water one is performing a great feat. One may take only
charanamrita and achman water. Bhima requested one vrata day by which he
could obtain the fruits of all the other days of vrata that he was incapable
Vyasadeva advised him to follow this difficult vrata.
One should worship the Lord in the evening by bathing him in milk. On the
dvadasi one should give full pots of water to Brahmanas and feed them before
breaking one's fast.
SAMVATSARASYA YA MADHYE EKADASYO BHAVANTI HI TASAM PHALAM AVAPNOTI PUTRA ME
NA ATRA SAMSAYAH ITI MAM KESAVAH PRAHA SANKHA CAKRA GADADHARAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 15/25 from PADMA Purana Vyasadeva speaks to Bhimasena)
Oh son, Lord Keshava, Who holds the club, disk, conch and lotus flower in
His hand, personally told me that all of the merit achieved by fasting on
whatever Ekadashis fall in one year can be attained by fasting on this one
Ekadashi (nirjala Ekadashi). Of this, there is no doubt.
The Story of Pandava nirjala Ekadashi: Pandava nirjala Ekadashi -
Jyeshtha-shukla Ekadashi - 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 Ekadashi 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 Ekadashi 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 Ekadashi.
Please tell me how I can obtain the same merits result without fasting."
Hearing these words, the grandsire of Bhima, Shrila 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 Ekadashis."
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 Parikshit Maharaja, he is very expert at
examining things. He examined Maharaja Shibi once by turning into a dove
(for further information on this incident see Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupada's Shrimad Bhagavatam commentary to 1:12:20. Purport.)
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 Ekadashi that is worthy of my fasting and that
includes all other Ekadashis. I shall faithfully observe that fast and
hopefully still become eligible for liberation's release."
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 Ekadashis." As stated in Shrimad
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 Shrimad Bhagavatam's unequivocal message is that of full surrender to
Lord Shri Krishna and the rendering of loving devotional service to Him.
Observing Ekadashi strictly is a great aid in that process, and here Shrila
Vyasadeva is simply stressing to Bhima the importance of the Ekadashi
vratam. "One who fasts on Ekadashis 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
Ekadashi 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
This rigid fast is in effect from sunrise on the Ekadashi day to sunrise on
the dwadashi day. If a person endeavours to observe this great fast very
strictly, he easily achieves the result of observing all twenty-four other
Ekadashi fasts throughout the entire year.
"On dwadashi 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
"Oh Bhimasena, one who can fast on this special Ekadashi in this manner
reaps the benefit of having fasted on every Ekadashi 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 Ekadashi. 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 Ekadashi, 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 Ekadashi truly reaps the benefit
of all other Ekadashi 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 Vedic principles and ceremonies, how will there be any means of
purifying the self? But there is the opportunity to fast on Ekadashi and
become free of all one's past sins.
"Oh son of Vayu, what more can I say to you? You should not eat during the
Ekadashis that occur during the dark and light fortnights, and you should
even give up drinking water (nir = no jala= water) on the particularly
auspicious Ekadashi day of Jyeshtha-shukla Ekadashi. Oh Vrikodara (veracious
eater),whoever fasts on this Ekadashi 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 Ekadashis throughout the year, in one
go. Of this there is no doubt.
Oh tiger among men, whoever fasts on this Ekadashi truly becomes a great
person and achieves all manner of opulence and wealth, grains, strength, and
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 Ekadashi, even from water."
When the other Pandavas heard about the benefits to be gained by following
Jyeshtha-shukla Ekadashi, they resolved to observe it exactly as their
grandfather Shrila 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 Dwadashi
(technically it is a Maha-Dwadashi).
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 Shri Krishna in this way making your
sankalpa declaration, `Oh Lord of all the devas (demigods), Oh Supreme
Personality of Godhead, today I shall observe Ekadashi without taking any
water. Oh unlimited Anantadev, I shall break fast on the next day,
Thereafter, to remove all his sins, the devotee should honour this
Ekadashi fast with full faith in the Lord and with full control over his
Whether his sins are equal in volume to Mount Sumeru or to Mandarachala
Hill, if he or she observes this Ekadashi, the sins that have been
accumulated all become nullified and are burned to ashes. Such is the great
power of this Ekadashi.
"Oh best of human beings, although a person should also give water and
cows in charity during this Ekadashi, if for some reason or other he cannot,
then he should give a qualified Brahmana some cloth or a pot filled with
Indeed, the merit achieved by giving water alone equals that gained by
giving gold ten million times a day.
"Oh Bhima, Lord Shri Krishna has said that whoever observes this Ekadashi
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 Ekadashi fast alone promotes one to the supreme abode of Shri 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 Ekadashi 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 Ekadashi and gives something in charity certainly
achieves liberation from the cycle of repeated birth and death and attains
to the supreme abode. Observing this Ekadashi, which is merged with
dwadashi, 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 Jalashayi (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 Ekadashi 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 Ekadashi.
"One should clean his teeth properly and, without eating or drinking,
observe this Ekadashi to please the Supreme Lord, Keshava. On the day after
Ekadashi 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 Ekadashi 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 dwadashi in just the way I have
outlined. Thus you will be completely freed of all sins and reach the
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Jyeshtha-shukla Ekadashi, or
Bhimaseni-nirjala Ekadashi, from the Brahma-vaivarta Purana