Devotees can decide the type of Ekadashi fasting during Sankalp according to their will power and physical strength. In religious texts four types of Ekadashi fasting has been mentioned.
1. Jalahar (जलाहर) i.e. Ekadashi fasting with only water. Most devotees observer this fasting during Nirjala Ekadashi. However devotees can observe it on all Ekadashi fasting.
2. Ksheerbhoji (क्षीरभोजी) i.e. Ekadashi fasting on Ksheer. Ksheer refers to milk and milky juice of plants. But in Ekadashi context it should be all products made of milk.
3. Phalahari (फलाहारी) i.e. Ekadashi fasting on fruits only. One should consume only high class of fruits like mango, grapes, banana, almond, and pistachios etc. and should not eat leafy vegetables.
4. Naktabhoji (नक्तभोजी) i.e. having single meal in a day just before sunset. Single meal should not have any variety of grains and cereals including beans, wheat, rice and pulses which are forbidden during Ekadashi fasting.
Staple diet for Naktabhoji during Ekadashi fasting includes Sabudana, Singhada (Water caltrop and also known as Chestnut), Shakarkandi, Potatoes and Groundnuts.
For many Kuttu Atta (BuckWheat Flour) and Samak (Millet Rice) is also staple diet during single Ekadashi meal. However validity of both items as Ekadashi food is debatable as those are considered semi-grains or pseudo grains. It is better to avoid these items during fasting.
Since years we get queries related to Ekadashi fasting across the globe. Although, for someone born in religious Hindu family, such queries might look basic but there are Lord Vishnu devotees who get confused with basic Ekadashi timings given on Drik Panchang to observe Ekadashi Vrat.
These are Tithi timings given in Panchang (just similar to weekdays Sunday, Monday, etc. which begins at midnight and ends at next midnight) and help to decide the correct date to observe Ekadashi fasting. As Ekadashi Tithi might begin at any time of the day and mostly split over two days, on the basis of these timings one day is preferred over the other to observe fasting. Once you have fasting date you don't need them and we list them just for information. These timings are not needed to observe fasting.
No. As we mentioned above Tithi begin time is not needed for Ekadashi fasting. Ekadashi fasting always begins with Sunrise and mostly ends after next day Sunrise. Ekadashi is usually 24 hours fasting observed form local Sunrise to next Sunrise.
Having said that, it is also important to mention that devotees skip dinner made of all sorts of grains on previous night to avoid any residual food/grain in stomach when they begin fasting with Sunrise. In other words some devotees begin Ekadashi fast with sunset on previous day as per their devotion to Lord Vishnu.
When we list two dates for Ekadashi, to keep it simple, you take the first date and observe the fast for single day. First date is preferred over the second date when you decide to keep the fast for single day only. It is quite normal to have single day fasting even it is listed for two consecutive dates. If one has stamina, one can keep the fast for two days.
You begin the fast with local Sunrise which continues to next Sunrise. However fast is not always broken with next Sunrise. To get the full credit of fasting, Ekadashi fast is broken at an appropriate time after next day Sunrise which might prolong the fasting up to afternoon and beyond. Hence one can notice that for few fasting Parana time (i.e. time to break the fast) on next day is during lunch time.
Hari Vasara time is prohibited to break Ekadashi fast. If one cannot continue fasting till noon or in case of urgency one can break the fast, after Hari Vasara ends. However more appropriate time is after few hours of Hari Vasara end time.
Notes: All timings are represented in 12-hour notation in local time of Ashburn, United States with DST adjustment (if applicable).
Hours which are past midnight are suffixed with next day date. In Panchang day starts and ends with sunrise.
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 or Bhimseni Ekadashi 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.
Time - Nirjala Ekadashi fasting falls during Shukla Paksha of Jyeshtha month and currently falls in month of May or June. Nirjala Ekadashi falls just after Ganga Dussehra but in some years Ganga Dussehra and Nirjala Ekadashi might fall on the same day.
Parana means breaking the fast. Ekadashi Parana is done after sunrise on next day of Ekadashi fast. It is necessary to do Parana within Dwadashi Tithi unless Dwadashi is over before sunrise. Not doing Parana within Dwadashi is similar to an offence.
Parana should not be done during Hari Vasara. One should wait for Hari Vasara to get over before breaking the fast. Hari Vasara is first one fourth duration of Dwadashi Tithi. The most preferred time to break the fast is Pratahkal. One should avoid breaking the fast during Madhyahna. If due to some reasons one is not able to break the fast during Pratahkal then one should do it after Madhyahna.
At times Ekadashi fasting is suggested on two consecutive days. It is advised that Smartha with family should observe fasting on first day only. The alternate Ekadashi fasting, which is the second one, is suggested for Sanyasis, widows and for those who want Moksha. When alternate Ekadashi fasting is suggested for Smartha it coincides with Vaishnava Ekadashi fasting day.
Ekadashi fasting on both days is suggested for staunch devotees who seek for love and affection of Lord Vishnu.