Ekadashis are the eleventh day of the shukla paksha or the bright phase of the moon or Krishna Paksha or the dark phase of the moon, occurring in every month according to the Hindu astrological calendar.
Amongst these Ekadashis, the most potent is Nirjala Ekadashi which is observed in the month of Ashad during shukla paksha.
Yogini Ekadashi, which is also not as Ashadhi Ekadashi, as it falls in the month of Ashad ; is not as potent as Nirjala Ekadashi in terms of fasting rules, but equally important.
- Time frame of Yogini Ekadashi
Yogini Ekadashi falls during the 11th dsay of the waning phase of the moon in the month of Ashada according to traditional Hindu calendar. As per the Gregorian calendar, this occurs during the month of June or July. The importance of this Ekadashi was explained in great detail to Yudhisthira by Sri Krishna. This Ekadashi helps one in redeeming their sins and also getting rid of all ailments. In 2016 the Yogini Ekadashi or Hari Vasara falls on the 30th of June, Thursday.
- Importance of Yogini Ekadashi
The importance of Yogini Ekadashi and its significance was recounted to Yudhisthira, the eldest Pandava was Lord Sri Krishna. It is one of the most significant ekadashis to be observed in all the three lokas. As per Hindu traditional beliefs, Yogini Ekadashi is the most important and significant of all the Ekadashis in terms of getting rid of all ailments and leading a healthy and prosperous life. Observance of this vrat or ritual is said to lead a devotee to the path of attaining moksha or salvation. Observance of the Yogini Ekadashi is said to be equivalent to the feeding of 88 thousand of Brahminsand is considered to be an extremely auspicious and a pious day.
- Legend of the Yogini Ekadashi
Lord Sri Krishna recounted the legend of Yogini Ekadashi. Long ago, the King of Alakapuri, and the royal treasurer Kuber was an ardent Shiva devotee. He had a personal gardener called Hema Mali to provide him with the choicest of flowers. Hema mali would get these beautiful flowers from the Manas Sarovar lakes for Kuber, with which he would do the Shiva Puja.
Hema Mali had an angelically beautiful wife called Swarupavatii, who had large, enchanting and beautiful eyes.
One day after plucking the flowers, Hema Mali went to his wife Swarupavatii, instead of taking the flowers to Kuber. Kuber had already started his puja when he realized that an important item of the Upachara, or ingredients was missing. Kuber sent a Yaksha messenger to find out what was keeping Hema Mali. The Yaksha messenger returned with the news that Hema Mali was busy in spending time with his wife in various activities and had thus omitted his responsibilities. When Hema Mali approached his master in trepidation, the extremely angry Kuber punished him. His punishment was that he will be afflicted with the terrible white leprosy, will be separated from his beloved wife and also will be banished from the heaven.
With this curse, Hema Mali fell from grace from the Alakapuri and found himself in a deep dark forest with no food and no amenities. He continued to weather this through all the seasons, but because he was a Lord Shiva devotee himself, he never forgot about his past life and pined to be reunited with his wife.
One day after wandering through various places, he came across the great Rishi Markendeya upon the mountain ranges of the Himalayas. Mankendeya seeing the agony of the poor leper enquired after his past sins, which had reduced him to the state of a leper. Hema Mali recounted his shameful deed and also pleaded to the great sage to suggest him a way out of this inauspicious and cruel curse that had sent him away and made him fall from grace. Markendeya, taking pity on him then replied that he indeed will tell him a way out of this terrible curse. He told Hema Mali to keep a fast on the eleventh day of the month of Ashada to free himself of the terrible affliction of leprosy. Hema Mali wept at his feet for giving him a new lease of life and kept the fast. By diligently observing the fast, Hema Mali became the handsome Yaksha once again and was reunited with his wife in Alakapuri.
- Rituals of the Yogini Ekadashi Vrat
The rituals of Yogini Ekadashi vrat are not extremely complicated. The devotee should keep a fast from the night of the Dashami till the morning of the Dwadashi, which is the next day. The devotee should awake early and have a ritual cleansing bath with a paste of til, which is sesame or neem, following which a peepal tree should be worshipped. A puja in the evening should be done with incense, flowers and lamp. An entire night of Jagaran or staying awake is mandatory for this Ekadashi. Vishnu Sahasrastotram and other mantras should be chanted. Charity towards the needy or the Brahmins is prescribed.
- Benefits of Yogini Ekadashi
- This vrat is one of the best means of praying to Lord Vishnu for the removal of all ailments and health hazards.
- Observance of this vrat frees a person from all kinds of sins and past misdeeds.
- This ritual arouses a spiritual consciousness in the devotee.
- Observance of the Yogini Ekadashi increases the devotees’ devotion for Lord Vishnu.
- Observance of this vrat or ritual leads to fulfillment of all wishes and paves the way for attaining moksha or salvation.
- Observance of this Vrat is equivalent to feeding of 88 thousand of Brahmins.