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Ekadashi is a very sacred day and so fast is observed on every eleventh day of the bright and dark half of the month. The eleventh day of the moon is especially set apart for devotional exercises and fasting. It is a day dedicated to the worship of Vishnu. The Vishnu and Markandeya Puranas give detailed benefits flowing from the observance of Ekadashi. Vratas( fast )and vow. It is believed that Lord Vishnu transformed himself into Ekadashi to redeem the mankind from sins. If is a day of the days since it is looked upon as Lord Hari himself.

In all 24 Ekadashi fasts are observed in a year, but there are some Ekadashi which are relatively of greater significance. Nirjala Ekadashi is one of these. Complete fast is observed on this day (Jyaishtha Sudi Ekadashi) with even water not being taken. Both men and women observe strict fast and offer puja to Vishnu to ensure happiness, prosperity and forgiveness of transgressions and sins. On the preceding day that is on the 10th lunar day; Sandhya is performed and only one meal is taken. In the evening Vishnu is worshipped holding some durva grass in the hand. The night is spent in meditation and prayer. On Ekadashis rice eating is totally prohibited.

During the Nirjala Ekadashi Panchamratas is prepared by mixing together milk, ghee, curds, honey and sugar, and then offered to the image of Vishnu or poured over the Shaligram.

Then, the deity is adorned with rich raiment, ornaments and jewels and a fan is placed beside it. Then Vishnu is meditated upon as the Supreme Lord of the Universe and puja done with flowers, lamps, water, incense, etc.

The faithful observance of the fast and other rituals on this day ensures happiness, salvation, longevity and prosperity. After the completion of the vow clothes, grains, umbrellas. Fans, pitchers filled with water, etc., are given in charity to the Brahmins according tones means and capacity. In Jyaistha it is very hot and the day is long, and so observing fast, without even taking a drop of water from dawn to dusk,. Means a great act of piety and austerity. Ekadashi vow and vigil enhances mental equipoise, tolerance and spiritual powers and grants great religious merit both here and hereafter.

 

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