Nirjala Ekadashi is the most important and significant Ekadashis out of all twenty four Ekadashis in a year. Nirjala means without water and Nirjala Ekadashi fasting is observed without water and any type of food. Nirjala Ekadashi Vratam is the toughest among all Ekadashi fasting due to strict fasting rules. Devotees abstain not only from food but also from water while observing Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat.
Benefits – Devotees who are unable to observe all twenty fours Ekadashi fasting in a year should observe single Nirjala Ekadashi fasting as fasting on Nirjala Ekadashi brings all benefits of twenty four Ekadashi fasting in a year.
Nirjala Ekadashi is also known as Pandava Ekadashi and Bhimseni or Bhima Ekadashi due to one legend associated with Nirjala Ekadashi. Bhimsen, the second Pandava brother and voracious eater, was not able to control his desire of having food and was not able observe Ekadashi fasting. Except Bhima, all Pandava brothers and Draupadi used to observe all Ekadashi fasting. Bhima, being upset due to his weak determination and doing a dishonor to Lord Vishnu, met Maharishi Vyasa to find some solution. Sage Vyasa advised Bhima to observe single Nirjala Ekadasi fasting to compensate for not observing all Ekadashi fasting in a year. Due to this legend Nirjala Ekadashi is also known as Bhimseni Ekadashi or Pandava Ekadashi.
The fifth month of the Hindu calendar is called ‘Shravan’ which means ‘to hear’. This is one of the sacred months dedicated to Lord Shiva. As per Astrology, the Shravan constellation is visible in the sky; hence the name is appropriate for the month. The divine and pious month is the best occasion to appease Lord Shiva and her consort Goddess Parvati, which can bring numerous blessings and success among the lives of devotees. In 2016, Shravan month is from 20th July to 18th August.
Story behind Shravan month:
As per renowned stories, the auspicious ‘Samudra Manthan’- war between Gods and demons, took place in this sacred moth. Lord Shiva drank the poison ‘Halahal’ to save the entire humanity from evil destruction; and stored it in his throat. It is also said that to reduce the effect of the poison, all the Gods (Devs) offered the holy water of Ganges to Lord Shiva.
Since then the Shivling, which radiate immense energy gathered during samudra manthan, is offered Ganges water by the devotees throughout the month. It is believed that offering water to Lord Shiva’s symbol leads to the relaxation of the high negative effect of the consumed poison and it pleases Him. As you shower water on the Shivling, the malefic effects of the high radiated heat is prevented on the worshipper.
Significance of each day in Shravan month:
- Monday is the day of Lord Shiva worship.
- Tuesday Goddess Parvati is worshipped by females for the good health of their family.
- Wednesday are dedicated to Vithala, avatar of Lord Vishnu.
- Thursday is the day to worship Lord Buddh.
- Friday Devotees worship Goddess Lakshmi and Tulsi.
- Saturday is for Saturn (Shani). It is also known as Shravan Saturdays, with the object of object of obtaining wealth. These days are known as Sampat Sanivara (wealth Saturdays).
- Sundays are for worshipping the Sun god.
Fasting and adoring Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is considered highly propitious during Shravan month. Performing Rudrabhishek Puja and chanting Maha Mrityuanjay mantras dispels ignorance by spreading the light of knowledge, and blesses the beings with wisdom and happiness.
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The pious fasting of Karwa-Chauth, where married women fast for the long life of their husbands and maintain peace and prosperity among the family relations is considered a huge event. Numerous beliefs and sentiments have been attached to this festival, varying as per geographical relevance and traditions. The women perform the auspicious karwa chauth puja before breaking the fast and the following story is narrated.
Long time ago, in the city of Indraprasthapur there was a Brahmin named Vedsharma married to Leelavati. They both had seven sons and one daughter named Veeravati. Being the only sister of seven brothers she was highly pampered by everybody in the family.
As she got matured, she was married to a suitable Brahmin boy. After marriage, when Veeravati was with her parents, she observed Karwa Chauth fasting for the long life of her husband along with her sisters-in-laws. During the fasting of Karwa Chauth Veeravati couldn’t bear the hunger; and due to weakness she fainted and fell on the ground.
The brothers couldn’t bear the miserable condition of their little sister. They knew that Veeravati, a Pativrata, would not take any food unless she sights the moon even if it costs her life. All the brothers collectively made a plan to trick the sister to break her fast.
Two brothers went to the forest and burnt cow dung coal. The other two brothers went home and informed his sister that the moon has risen. Veeravati believed that the moon has risen and made offerings to the fake moon. When Veeravati sat for her meal she could feel all sorts of bad omen and she immediately got the news that the king was dead.
Goddess Parvati informed her that the king had died because the queen had broken her fast by watching a false moon. However, when the queen asked her for forgiveness, the goddess granted her the boon that the king would be revived but would be ill.
When she reached the palace, she found the king lying unconscious with hundreds of needles inserted in his body. Each day, the queen managed to remove one needle from the king’s body. She faithfully served his husband and adored Goddess Parvati for the wellness of his husband. Next year, on the day of Karwa Chauth, only one needle remained embedded in the body of the unconscious king.
The queen observed a strict fast that day and when she went to the market to buy the karwa for the puja, her maid removed the remaining needle from the king’s body. The king regained consciousness, and mistook the maid for his queen. When the real queen returned to the palace, she was made to serve as a maid.
However, Veeravati was true to her faith and religiously observed the Karwa Chauth vrat. Once when the king was going to some other kingdom, he asked the real queen (now turned maid) if she wanted anything. The queen asked for a pair of identical dolls. The king obliged and the queen kept singing a song ” Roli ki Goli ho gayi… Goli ki Roli ho gayi (the queen has turned into a maid and the maid has turned into a queen).
On being asked by the king as to why did she keep repeating that song, Veeravati narrated the entire story. The king repented and restored the queen to her royal status. It was only the queen’s devotion and her faith that won her husband’s affection and the blessings of Goddess Parvati.
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