Yogini Ekadashi is the eleventh day from the Pournami day (Krishna Paksha Ekadashi) which occurs on the Krishna Paksha Ekadashi Tithi of the Jyeshta month as per Amantha and the Ashada month as per Purnimantha Calendars.
In the year 2023, it occurs on Wednesday, 14th July 2023. The exact duration of the Ekadashi Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.
Yogini Ekadashi – Legend
There are a few legends pertaining to Yogini Ekadashi.
It is believed that Bhagwan Krishna had told Yudhishtra, the eldest of the Pandavas that observation of Yogini Ekadashi Vrat would result in alleviation and elimination of sins and grant of salvation or mukthi. He also told Dharma that this Vrat is the holiest of the Vrats observed in all the three worlds.
There was King named Kuber who was devout Shiv Bhakth. He used to worship Sri Shiv with flowers daily.
Hem Mali was the gardener who used to send flowers to the King for Shiv-Puja. He used to obtain the flowers from Mana Sarovar.
One day, though Hem Mali did receive flowers from Manasarovar, he failed to send the same to the King. Hem Mali was pre-occupied with his wife who was lovely.
The King had sent messengers to ascertain the cause of delay. When he heard that Hem Mali had forgotten his duty, he cursed him to be afflicted with leprosy and be separated from his wife.
Effect of curse
The curse took effect. Hem Mali was down with leprosy and he had gone off to the forest. He kept roaming hither and thither.
On his wanderings, he sighted the ashram of Sage Markandeya. He prostrated before the Sage and requested for the redemption of his curse. The Rishi advised him to observe Yogini Ekadashi Vrat.
Hem Mali had sincerely observed the Vrat and was instantly alleviated of his illness and sins.
Yogini Ekadashi – rituals
The general rituals followed for Ekadashi Vrats are given below:
-The exact time of dawn of Ekadashi tithi is ascertained either from family elders / astrologers. It is mentioned in the Holy Almanac (Panchang) as well. Even daily Calendars provide the information.
-The idol or picture of Sri Vishnu is decorated with flowers. Incense sticks are lit. Diyas are lit with ghee. Pujas are done with tulsi leaves.
– The items such as Jambira fruit (goose berry), Pomegranate, Mangoes, Guava, Betal nuts and leaves, Coconut, Varieties of nuts and Cloves and other aromatic spices are offered in Puja subject to availability.
Slokas or stotras of Sri Maha Vishnu including Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama are recited with devotion. Srimad Bhagavad Gitaa is also recited.
-Special Puja is done for Sri Lakshmi Devi as well.
-The Vrat Katha is read and recited.
-At the end of the puja, aarti is done. Prasad is distributed to the family members.
-Devotees of Bhagwan Maha Vishnu observe strict fasting from the dawn of Ekadashi.
-They do not sleep on the night of Ekadashi. At this time, tales of Sri Maha Vishnu are recited by the elders. Others listen to the stories.
-Various bhajans and kirtans are held.
-The fast shall continue till the sunrise of the next day, i.e., Dwadashi.
-Those devotees who cannot do fasting due to medical or other reasons can take sattvic food. Mostly prasadams and fruits are partaken.
-Making daan / donation to the needy on Ekadashi day is believed to please Sri Maha Vishnu.
-On Dwadashi day, unless it happens to be another Vrat day, a nutritious meal is partaken to balance the internal physical effects of fasting on the previous day. It is considered pious to forego eating of brinjal on Dwadashi day.
-Improvement of health and healing of ailments
-Alleviation of all the sins, past and present.
-Bestows happiness and prosperity.
Importance should be given to the sincere prayers to Sri Maha Vishnu.