Yogini Ekadashi (Skt. – “eleven”) is the eleventh day after the full moon and new moon of each lunar month. These days are considered especially auspicious for performing austerities. Observance of Ekadashi is one of the established Vedic scriptures of purification ceremonies designed for a person to be spiritually elevated. The best fasting on Ekadashi is complete abstinence from food and drink.
In our world, a person is confused now by material pleasures, which are temporary and insignificant, now by material sufferings, which are inevitable for a soul that is limited and unaware of its rights and responsibilities, now by foggy prospects that loom and flicker on the land of possibilities. Like a squirrel in a wheel, the soul revolves in this cycle. Yogini Ekadashi is called upon to break this vicious circle .
There are three main motives for observing Yogini Ekadashi. First, this is fasting for the sake of cleansing from everything that is defamatory (passion and ignorance, that is, from material desires and such shortcomings as envy, anger, greed, etc.). Secondly, it is the fulfillment of duty out of a sense of gratitude (altruistic actions for the benefit of living beings without the desire to receive anything in return). Thirdly, it is the desire to bring joy to the Protector Deities and all those who need care and help.
As a result, observing Yogini Ekadashi is a direct path to that perfection that was once forgotten by us.
Yogini Ekadashi falls on the waning moon in the month of June / July and is described in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana in a conversation between Krishna and Maharaj Yudhisthira.
“Once Maharaja Yudhisthira said to Krishna, ‘O Supreme Lord, O Madhusudana! I heard about the glories of Nirjal Ekadashi. Now I wish to hear about the Ekadashi that occurs during the waning moon in the month of June / July. ”
Lord Krishna said, “ O king! I will tell you about the Ekadashi that occurs in the month of June / July. The name of this Ekadashi is Yogini . This Ekadashi immediately destroys all grave reactions of sinful activities and frees one from the ocean of material existence. O best of kings! Now I will tell you a story from the Puranas to illustrate this truth.
Kubera, King of Alokapuri, was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He regularly worshiped Lord Shiva. The king had a gardener, a yaksha named Hema. Hema’s wife was named Vishalaksha. The beauty of Vishalaksha was unparalleled, and Hema was very attached to her. He regularly collected flowers on the lake of Manasa Sarovara and gave them to Kubera, the lord of the Yakshas, so that he would worship Lord Shiva with them.
Once, as usual, he collected flowers, but instead of taking the flowers to Kubera, he stayed at home, bound by love for his wife. O king! On that day, Kubera was left without flowers. He waited in vain for Hema to appear for six hours. Without flowers, he could not complete the worship of Lord Shiva. The angry king immediately sent a messenger to Hema, wanting to know what was the reason for their absence.
After some time, the messenger returned and said to the king: “Oh, Vladyka, Hema enjoys the company of his wife at home.” When Kubera heard these words of the messenger, his anger knew no bounds. He immediately ordered his servants to deliver Hema to him. Realizing that he had made a mistake, Hema Mali felt ashamed and, in awe, appeared before Kubera. At first the gardener bowed to him respectfully.
Kubera, whose whole body was trembling and his eyes were red, said: “Oh, sinful! O destroyer of religious principles, you have neglected my Lord Sri Shankara, preferring your own sense gratification to him, and therefore I curse you. You will be struck by white leprosy, and you will forever be deprived of the company of your dear wife. O low fool! You will get out of here immediately. ”
Cursed by Kubera, Hema Mali immediately left Alokapuri and was born on earth. White leprosy struck him, and he suffered terrible suffering. In such a state, experiencing extreme mental agony, deprived of food and water, he found himself in some kind of dense terrible forest. In that forest, he suffered from hunger and thirst. During the day he did not experience any happiness, and at night he could not sleep. He suffered unbearably both day and night. However, since he helped in the service of Lord Shiva, his memory remained intact. Although he committed all sorts of sins, he remembered his past actions, and his mind remained pure and alert.
After wandering in the forest for a long time, Hema finally reached the Himalayan mountains, fortunately for himself. Wandering there, by the will of providence, he found good luck to meet the sage Markandeya, the best of the ascetics, who lived for seven kalpas. Hema Mali, feeling like a great sinner, stood at some distance from the sage and offered him siren obeisances.
The kind-hearted sage Markandeya called the leper to him and asked him: “How did you get sick with this terrible disease? What sins have you committed to find yourself in such a miserable state? ” Hema Mali replied: “O great sage! I am the gardener of Kubera, the king of the Yakshas. My name is Hema Mali. I regularly picked flowers at Lake Manasa Sarovara and offered them to my Vladyka Kubera. With these flowers Kubera worshiped Lord Shiva. ”
Further, Hema Mali told the sage the whole story of his misadventures and remarked: “But now I do not know why this unfortunate soul suddenly found the good fortune to meet a great person like you. I have heard that the hearts of saints are always compassionate, and these saints are always busy serving people. Oh great sage! Desiring to gain good, this fallen soul surrenders itself to you. Please be kind and save her. ”
The great sage Markandeya compassionately replied, “Oh, gardener! I will give you instructions on the most auspicious and beneficial vow. You must observe the vow of Ekadashi known as Yogini during the waning moon in the month of June / July. By virtue of the merit of keeping such a vow, you will surely get rid of the curse of leprosy. ”
Hearing this instruction from the great sage, Hema Mali rejoiced and bowed gratefully to Markandeya. Thereafter, he duly observed the sacred vow of Ekadashi, following the instructions of the sage, thereby regaining his divine form. He then returned home and was reunited with his wife. The result achieved by distributing food to 88,000 Brahmins is achieved by observing this Yogini Ekadashi. This Ekadashi destroys all reactions of sins and bestows great piety. ”
You can read more about the days of Ekadashi in this section .
part of the text is taken from the site about Ekadashi