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Yogini Ekadashi is amongst the most important fasts observed by the followers of Hindu religion. The Ekadashi fast, a day dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is normally a bimonthly affair in Hindu culture, and is observed on the 11th day of every fortnight according to the traditional Hindu calendar. However, Yogini Ekadashi is celebrated annually and falls in the dark fortnight of the Ashad month of which coincides with the month of June-July according to the Georgian calendar. In 2013, Yogini Ekadashi was celebrated on the 3rd of July.
The Legend of Yogini Ekadashi
According to the Puranas, Lord Krishna narrated the following tale to King Yudhishthir to explain the significance of observing the fast of Yogni Ekadashi.
Kubera, the treasurer of Gods and the king of Alkapuri, once employed a Yaksha named Hema, as his gardener. Kubera, who was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva, assigned Hema with the primary duty of visiting the Mansarovar Lake everyday and bringing back flowers to worship the supreme deity. However, Hema had a drawback, and that was his lustful desire for his beautiful captive eyed wife, Svariipavati.
It was this desire that one day forced Hema to neglect his duty and rather than going back to his master after collecting the flowers from the lake, he returned to his wife to enjoy her pleasurable company. When Kuber learned about this, he became infuriated and cursed Heam to suffer from leprosy and sent him to the lowly world. There Hema remained for a long a time and endured his sufferings silently all the while offering prayers to Lord Shiva.
Then during his wanderings, he reached the ashram of Rishi Markandeya. The great sage upon spotting Hema summoned him and asked him the cause of his sufferings. Hema narrated the tale of his misfortune and requested the Rishi to help him gain respite from his sufferings. The Rishi then advised Hema to observe the Yogini Ekadashi fast, which the latter abided by strictly. Soon under the influence of his penance, Hema gained freedom from his curse and not only regained his handsome body, but was also able to return to his world and unite with his wife.
Significance of Yogini Ekadashi
According to Hindu mythology, observing the fast of Yogini Ekadashi rids the devotees from various diseases and illnesses. Donating to the poor people during the fast also redeems the past sins of the observers and blesses them with good health and well being.
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