Nirjala Ekadasi, or Pandav Bhim Ekadashi, is observed during the Jyeshta Shukla Paksha – waxing phase of moon in Jyeshta month, which falls during (May end or June beginning). The Ekadasi fasting method for Nirjala Ekadashi is different from the usual practice. In 2011, the date of Nirjala Pandav Bhim Ekadasi is June 12.
Nirjala Ekadasi is one of the toughest fasting in Hinduism. ‘Nirjala’ means without water and devotees do not drink water on the day of fasting. The greatness of Nirjala Ekadasi was explained to Bhima, the second of the Pandava Brothers, by Sage Vyasa.
It is said that one should not drink water from the moment of sunrise on the Ekadasi day and should drink water only on the sunrise on the day of Dvadasi (next day morning). Devotees also do not eat food on the day.
In the scriptures, it is said that a devotee should perform the purification ritual by drinking water that can immerse a single mustard seed.
Devotees spend the day at Vishnu temples or listening to stories from Bhagavad Purana or by chanting bhajans dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu Sahasranama and other sholkas dedicated to Lord Vishnu are chanted on the day.
It is strongly advised that those who are under medications and have some ailments should not observe Nirjala Ekadasi.
Those devotees who want to observe this particular Ekadasi but can’t follow the rule of not drinking and not eating on the day can observe a partial fast. What is more important is devotion and not the severity of the fasting.
This Ekadasi fasting happens before the starting of the monsoon season and therefore it is also meant in helping in cleansing the body.