Yogini Ekadashi – Story and Significance

Yogini Ekadashi – Story and Significance

Yogini Ekadashi occurs in the Jyeshtha or Ashadha (June-July) Krishna Paksha (waning phase of the moon. This Ekadashi comes after Nirjala Ekadashi, which occurs in the Jyeshtha Shukla Paksha tithi and begins before Dev Shaymin.

In the Brahmavaivarta Purana, the vrat of Krishnapaksha in the month of Ashadha is described in Mahatma Yudhisthira-Sri Krishna Sangbad. Yudhisthira Maharaja said, “O Supreme Lord, I have heard the glories of Nirjala Ekadashi, which occurs during the Shuklapaksha (light fortnight) of the month of Jyestha. Now I wish to hear about the Ekadashi that occurs during the Krishnapaksha (dark fortnight)of the month of Ashadha (June-July). Please describe it to me in detail, O killer of the Madhu demon.”

The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, replied, “O king, I shall tell you about the best of all fasting days, the Ekadashi that comes during the Krishnapaksha of the month of Ashadha. Famous as Yogini Ekadashi it removes all kinds of sinful reactions and awards supreme liberation.

O best of kings, this Ekadashi delivers people who are drowning in the vast ocean of material existence and transports them to the shore of the spiritual world. In all the three worlds, it is the chief of all sacred fasting days. I shall reveal this truth to you by narrating a story recounted in the Puranas.”

In Alka Nagar there was a king named Kuvera who was a devotee of Shiva. He used to worship Shiva every day. He had a gardener named Hem. Every day Hem would pick flowers from Manasarovar and give them to Yaksharaj Kuvera for Shiva worship. Hem had a beautiful wife named Bishalakshi. Oneday when Hem went for his routine work, he was enticed by his wife, Vishalakshi’s beauty. As a result, he lost complete control over himself and forgot all about his duty. The king was angry when he saw that the time for worship was passing.

The king sent a messenger to investigate the cause of the delay. The messenger found Hem with his wife in Manasarovar and he informed it to the king. On hearing the messenger’s words, Kuvera became very angry and ordered Hem to appear before him (king). Meanwhile, Hem was terrified when he realized that the time for Kuvera’s worshiping had passed. So he went to the king without taking a bath.

As soon as the king saw him, he (king) fumed with rage and said, “You sinner, wicked one!” And in a fit of rage, the King cursed Hem and expelled him from heaven.

Due to this curse of Kuvera, Hem lost his life with his wife and started suffering from leprosy for a long time. He never found happiness day or night in the pain of anger. Thus, in the winter and summer, he began to live with great pain.

One day while traveling, Hem came to the ashram of the sage, Markandeya in the Himalayas. Markandeya asked her, ‘By whose curse are you suffering from such a disease?’ He replied: “O sage! I was the gardener of king Kuvera. My name is Hem. Every day I would pick flowers from Manas Sarobar and give them to Kuvera for Shiva worship. But unfortunately one day the flower was delayed due to my wife’s lust. I have suffered so much under the curse of the king. O sage! I am extremely guilty. Please be pleased with me.”

Then Markandeya said, “O gardener! I am advising a vrat that will bring good results for your welfare. You should observe the great Ekadashi vrat called ‘Yogini’ of Ashadha Krishnapaksha. Due to the virtuous effect of this vrat, you must be free from leprosy.”

Lord Krishna said, “Hearing the sage’s advice, Hem bowed to the sage. Later, Hem observed Yogini Ekadashi properly and got rid of the curse. Then he returned home, where he lived very happily with his wife.”

Lord Krishna concluded, “So you can readily see, O Yudhisthira, that fasting on Yogini Ekadashi is very powerful and auspicious. Whatever merit one obtains by feeding eighty-eight thousand pious Brahmins is also obtained simply by observing a strict fast on Yogini Ekadashi. For one who fasts on this sacred Ekadashi, she destroys heaps of past sinful reactions and makes him most pious. O king, thus I have explained to you the purity of Yogini Ekadashi.

Observe Ekadashi vrats yourself and encourage others too.

By Krishna Das

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