Ekadashi means the eleventh day of a fortnight. There are 24 Ekadashis as per the annual Hindu Calendar, Nirjala Ekadashi being the most significant. The day falls on the Shukla Paksha of Jyeshtha month and coincides with May or June in the Gregorian calendar.
The day of Nirjala Ekadashi is an extremely auspicious one with people observing fast and not consuming even a single drop of water. The meaning of the word Nirjala is 'without water'. On all the 24 Ekadashis, devotees keep a fast and consume food items that are considered to be ideal for vratas. Those people who are unable to fast for all 24 Ekadashis can fast on Nirjala Ekadashi. The day is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and all Ekadashis are very important days in the calendar.
Here are a few important facts to know about Nirjala Ekadashi:
1. Devotees stay up all night and pray to Lord Vishnu. This is considered to be extremely beneficial and said to bring about positive changes in one's life. Sleeping is prohibited because it adversely affects the human system.
2. As per popular belief, by observing fast on Ekadashis, one can counteract the negative influence that the influence of the moon generates. Fasting helps the mind to gain better meditation capacity.
3. People believe that by fasting on Nirjala Ekadashi, one can get the fruits of all 24 Ekadashis that people observe throughout the year.
4. Donating clothes, umbrellas, milk, fruits, tulsi leaves etc to Brahmins are considered to be auspicious.
5. The Mantra "Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya" is chanted by devotees.
6. Eating rice is strictly prohibited on this day
This year, Nirjala Ekadashi falls on June 23, 2018. According to drikpanchang.com, the Tithi will begin at 03:19 on June 23 and will end at 03:52 on the following day.
The Parana Time (ideal time to break the fast) is on June 24 between 13:55 to 16:33 and Hari Vasara Ends at 10:08.