Panchangam, Vedic Astrology, Kundli
Yogini Ekadashi

Panchang Ganita, Panchanga Siddhanta, Panchang Author: Pundit Mahesh Shastriji, Seattle, WA USA
Inspiration: Late Pundit Maganlal Devshanker Shastriji


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Yogini Ekadashi

What is Yogini Ekadashi?

Yudhisthira Maharaj said, “Oh Supreme Lord, I have heard the glories of the NirjalA EkAdasii, which occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha (May – June). Now I wish to hear from You about the suddha EkAdasii that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Poornimant month of AshADha / Amavasyant Jyeshta (June – July). Kindly describe to me all bout it in detail, Oh killer of the Madhu demon (Madhusudana).”

The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, then replied, “Oh king, I shall indeed tell you about the best of all fasting days, the EkAdasii that comes during the dark part of the month of AshADha. Famous as Yogini EkAdasii, it removes all kinds of sinful reactions and awards supreme liberation". Lord krishna continues.

Oh best of kings, this EkAdasii 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 now reveal this truth to you by narrating a history recounted in the PurANas.

The king of AlakApuri – Kuvera, the treasurer of the devas (demigods) – was a steadfast devotee of lord Shiva. He employed a servant named HemamAli as his personal gardener. HemamAli, a Yaksha like Kuvera, was very lustfully attracted to his gorgeous wife, SwarUpavatii, who had large, enchanting eyes.

HemamAli’s daily duty was to visit MAnasarovara Lake and bring back flowers for his master, Kuvera, with which he would use them in the puja offerings to lord Shiva. One day, after picking the flowers, HemamAli went to his wife instead of returning directly to his master and fulfilling his duty by bringing the flowers for the puja. Absorbed in loving affairs of a bodily nature with his wife, he forgot to return to the abode of Kuvera.

Oh king, while HemamAli was enjoying with his wife, Kuvera had begun the worship of lord Shiva as normal in his palace and soon discovered that there were no flowers ready to be offered in the midday pUjA. The lack of such an important item (upachara) angered the great Koshad-yaksha (treasurer of the devas) even more, and he asked a Yaksha messenger, ‘Why has dirty-hearted HemamAli not come with the daily offering of flowers? Go find out the exact reason and report back to me in person with your findings.’ The Yaksha returned and told Kuvera, ‘Oh dear lord, HemamAli has become lost in freely enjoying coitus with his wife.

Kuvera became extremely angry when he heard this and at once summoned lowly HemamAli before him. Knowing that he had been remiss and dawdling in his duty and exposed as meditating on his wife’s body, HemamAli approached his master in great fear. The gardener first paid his obeisances and then stood before his lord, whose eyes had become red with anger and whose lips trembled in rage. So enraged, Kuvera cried out to HemamAli, ‘Oh you sinful rascal! Oh destroyer of religious principles! You are a walking offense to the devas! I therefore curse you to suffer from white leprosy and to become separated from your beloved wife! Only great suffering is deservedly yours! Oh lowborn fool, leave this place immediately and betake yourself to the lower planets to suffer!

And so HemamAli fell at once from grace in AlakApuri and became ill with the terrible affliction of white leprosy. He awoke in a dense and fearful forest, where there was nothing to eat or drink. Thus he passed his days in misery, unable to sleep at night due to pain. He suffered in both winter and summer season, but because he continued to worship lord Shiva himself with faith, his consciousness remained purely fixed and steady. Although implicated by great sin and its attendant reactions, he remembered his past life because of his piety.

After wandering for some time here and there, over mountains and across plains, HemamAli eventually came upon the vast expanse of the HimAlayan mountain ranges. There he had the wonderful good fortune to come in contact with the great saintly soul MarkanNDeya Rishi, the best of ascetics, whose duration of life it is said, extends to seven of the days of BrahmA.

MarkaNDeya Rishi was seated peacefully at his Ashrama, looking as effulgent as a second BrahmA. HemamAli, feeling very sinful, stood at a distance from the magnificent sage and offered his humble obeisances and choice prayers. Always interested in the welfare of others, MarkaNDeya Rishi saw the leper and called him near, “Oh you, what sort of sinful deeds have you done to earn this dreadful affliction?

Hearing this, HemamAli painfully and ashamed replied, ‘Dear sir, I am a Yaksha servant of lord Kuvera, and my name is HemamAli. It was my daily service to pick the flowers from the MAnasarovara lake for my master’s worship of lord Shiva, but one day I was negligent and was late in returning with the offering because I had become overwhelmed with lusty passion for enjoying bodily pleasures with my wife. When my master discovered why I was late, he cursed me in great anger to be as I am before you. Thus I am now bereft of my home, my wife, and my service. But fortunately I have come upon you, and now I hope to receive from you an auspicious benediction, for I know that devotees such as you are as merciful as the Supreme Lord (Bhakta Vatsala) and always carry the interest of others uppermost in their hearts. That is their – your nature. Oh best of sages, please help me!

Softhearted MarkaNDeya Rishi replied, ‘Because you have told me the truth, I shall tell you about a fast day that will benefit you greatly. If you fast on the EkAdasii that comes during the dark fortnight of the month of AshADha, you will surely be freed of this terrible curse.

HemamAli fell to the ground in complete gratitude and offered him his humble obeisances again and again. But MarkaNDeya Rishi stood there and lifted poor HemamAli u to his feet, filling him with inexpressible happiness.

Thus, as the sage had instructed him, HemamAli dutifully observed the EkAdasii fast, and by its influence he again became a handsome Yaksha. Then he returned home, where he lived very happily with his wife.

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

Ekadasi (From Vaisnava text)

The importance of Ekadasi for worshippers of Sriman Narayana cannot be emphasized enough. Ekadasi is also called "Hari-Vasara" (Lord Hari's day).

All our elders have steadfastly observed the Ekadasi-Dwadasi vratam or "Upavasam" on this sacred day. Upa means near and Vasam means stay. Stay close to Hari contemplating on His kalyana gunas. This is the summum bonum of Ekadasi vratam.

Do we need to fast on Ekadasi

Since upavasam does not (directly) connote fasting, a question may be asked as to the need to fast on Ekadasi. Shastras give unequivocal answers. The following quotes from our shastras should clear any doubts in this regard:

ekAdashyAM tu yo bhuN^kte mohenAvR^itachetasaH |
shuklAyAmatha kR^ishhNAyAM nirayaM yAti sa dhruvam.h

One who eats on ekAdashI on account of an intellect clouded by delusion; be it the shukla- or the kR^ishhNa-paxa, (s) he goes to hell, this is certain. ashhTavarshhAdhiko yastu ashItirnahi pUryate
yo bhuN^kte mAnavaH pApo vishhNorahani chAgate

One who is greater than eight years of age, but has indeed not completed eighty; the human who eats when Vishnu's day arrives, consumes verily sin itself.

In addition, several scientific findings go to prove the benefits of fasting on one's health. This should further reinforce one's determination to fast.

How to break your fast on Dwadasi

Timely breaking of the fast on Dwadasi is as important as observing the fast on Ekadasi. Normally, the fast must be broken before trayOdasi arrives. If there is insufficient time, the fasting can be broken with water. From the ShastrAs we find:

pArayitvodakenApi bhuJNjano naiva dushhyati |
ashitAnashitA yasmAdApo vidvadbhirIritAH |

aMbhasA kevalenaiva karishhye vratapAraNam.h

[If there is insufficient time] there is no flaw if water is consumed for pAraNe; for it is stated by the learned that water has the property that when consumed, it is still as if one has not consumed; thus, with only water, do I perform the ceremonial paraNe. If there is not enough time for a proper pAraNe, then the fast may be broken merely by sipping water; there is no flaw of multiple pAraNe-s on this account, as the wise have decreed that such a procedure does not count as multiple pAraNe-s. Having performed the ceremonial pAraNe in this manner, one may have a proper meal later, although the time later may not be appropriate for pAraNe itself.

dvAdashI na pramoktavyA yAvadAyuH pravartate |
archanIyo hR^ishhIkesho vishuddhenAntarAtmanA

The dvAdashI is not to be neglected, as long as life goes on; Hrshikesha is to be worshipped [for so long] with a clean psyche. Concerning the food for Dwadasi pAranE, one should avoid using anything related to plantains (vazhai kaay, ilai etc.), also avoid chilies and tamarind. One can substitute pepper for chilies and lemon or dry mango powder for tamarind. Include sundaikaay , nellikaay, and akathik keerai.

An Instance from the Life of Swami Desika

Swami Desikan, who we all know lived a full veda prayam, in his old age was observing Ekadasi vratam. The head priest of the Sri Ranganatha temple seeing swami in a very weak condition offered him the koil prasadam and told Swami that Lord Ranganatha Himself had ordered him to offer the prasadam. To this Swami replied that the Lord would not have said that and politely refused to partake the prasadam. Such was the steadfastness of our Acharya in observing the sastraic codes.

Ekadasi – Supreme of all Vratas

There is a saying that: " Na DwadasyAt param Vratam". Therefore observing the Ekadasi vratam is equivalent to performing many Yagnyas. Most of us are familiar with the story of Ambarisha. What's more, one becomes dear to our Lord Narayana.

ekAdashIsamutthena vahninA pAtakendhanam.h |
bhasmIbhavati rAjendra api janmashatodbhavam.h

With the ekAdashI as fire, and sin as fuel; [the latter] gets incinerated, O King, even if it be obtained of hundreds of lifetimes (From Bhaghavatam). Therefore, while other actions can bring some benefits, none of them quite matches up to the power of an ekAdashI in terms of removing the accumulation of sins, which brings one misery.

When is Yogini Ekadashi in 2009?
  • USA, Canada: June 18th 2009
  • Rest of world: June 19th 2009
When is Yogini Ekadashi in 2008?
USA / Canada (Hawali, Alaska, Pacific Time Zones): Smarta and Vaishnava: June 29th 2008
USA / Canada (Mountain, Central, Eastern Time Zones):Smarta and Vaishnava: June 29th 2008
West Indies:Smarta and Vaishnava: June 29th 2008
Europe: Smarta and Vaishnava: June 29th 2008
Gulf Countries: Smarta and Vaishnava: June 29th 2008
India: Smarta and Vaishnava: June 29th 2008
Bangla Desh / Burma/ Singapore: Smarta and Vaishnava: June 29th 2008
Malayasia, China, Australia, Japan: Smarta and Vaishnava: June 29th 2008
Fiji: Smarta June 29th and Vaishnava: June 30th 2008

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yaj jagrato duram udaiti daivam tad u suptasya tatHaivaiti|
duramgamam jyotisam jyotir ekam tan me manaH shivasankalpam astu||
||shri shukla yajurveda vajasaneyi samhita (madhyandina sakha) 34.1||

The divine essence that goes far away, from the waking, and likewise from the sleeping, and that one far-traveling Light of lights, on that-the auspicious will of the divine-may my mind dwell.

.. sarve janA sukhino santu ..
kriShNa! kriShNa!! kriShNa!!!

I bow down to the supreme personality of godhead Lord kriShNa who makes incomplete complete.
Pundit Mahesh Shastriji
Seattle, WA, USA
shastrijii at mypanchang dot com


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