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Vijya Ekadashi - Sunday 11th February

Vijya Ekadashi - Maha Vad Ekadashi

King Yudhishthir asked, "O merciful Lord Vaasudev! What is the name of the Ekadashi that falls on the dark fortnight of month of Magh? What is its significance?"

 Bhagwan Shree Krishna replied, "O king! This Ekadashi is called Vijya Ekadashi and as the name suggests, anyone undertaking the Vrat of this Ekadashi becomes victorious. Once, Sage Narad approached Brahma and asked him to narrate to him the Mahatmya of Vijya Ekadashi. Brahma said, 'O Son! This Vrat is very ancient, holy and dispeller of all evils. I have not revealed its secret to anybody as yet. Anyone observing this Vrat can easily annihilate his enemies and become victorious in a battle. This Vrat instils new confidence in a disheartened man."

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Maha Shivratri - Tuesday 13th February

Shivratri: Maha Vad Chaudash

Shiva is one element of the holy triumvirate along with Brahma and Vishnu. Brahma creates, Vishnu sustains while Shiva destroys the universe. All three remain constant as long as the cosmos exists. In that sense, Shivratri is not his birthday as such. The legend has it that the great Asp Shesha, on whose head the universe is held steady, felt lonely on his own. Therefore, Visnu and Shiva agreed to give him company in turn for six months each. When Shivji stays with Shesha for six months, the underground water turns warmer than the surface water. It is on Shivratri i.e. Maha Vad Chaudash that Shiva comes back to earth from netherworld. Hindus undertake special veneration to welcome Him back among them.

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Aamlaki Ekadashi - Monday 26th February

Aamlaki Ekadashi - Falgun Sud Ekadashi

King Mandhata asked Sage Vashishtha, "O guru! Please tell me about Ekadashi that falls in the bright fortnight in the month of Falgun."

Vashishtha Rishi replied, "O king! This Ekadashi is called 'Aamlaki Ekadashi' which is capable of dispelling one's all sins including five (Maha) major sins and bestow Moksha. Moreover, one earns Punya equivalent to donating thousands cows to a Brahmin by observing a fast on this Ekadashi. I shall narrate a tale of a hunter who attained Moksha as a result of observing Vrat of Aamlaki Ekadashi."

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Holi - Thursday 1st March

Holi Falgun Sud Purnima

There was a demon king named Hiranyakshipu. He considered God his enemy. He had a son named Prahallad. Though born in demon clan, he was a true Bhakta and was totally devoted towards God. His father asked, cajoled and threatened him to give up the worship of God, but Prahallad had none of it. He continued on the path of devotion without worrying about the consequences. Hiranyakshipu tried to kill Prahallad by many means but God always protected him.

Hiranyakshipu had a sister named Holika. She had a shawl, wearing which the fire could not burn her. She advised her brother to prepare the pyre. She would sit on this fire holding Prahallad in her lap. The flames will burn Prahallad while she would not be harmed.

This plan was put in the action. The pyre was lit up. But who can kill the one whose protector is God Himself. The shawl that Holika was wearing dropped on Prahallad sitting in her lap. As a result, Holika was turned to ashes while Prahallad emerged unscathed. From this day we celebrate Holi by lighting the symbolic pyre to burn the evil influences. People offer coconut to AgniDev (demigod of fire) as a token gift for protecting Prahallad from his flames.

Like the external symbolic fire, we should light an internal fire to burn the evil influences on our sense and purify them.