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Vaikunta Ekadashi

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Vaikuntha Ekadashi (Kannada: ವೈಕುಂಠ ಏಕಾದಶಿ)(Tamil: வைகுண்ட ஏகாதசி) (Telugu: వైకుంఠ


ఏకాదశి)or Mukkoti Ekadashi is the Shukla paksha Ekadashi that occurs during the Dhanurmasa period in
the Hindu calendar (corresponding to late December - January in English calendar). Vaishnavism (Worship
of Lord Vishnu) culture believes that ‘Vaikuntha Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to Lord's Inner Sanctum’ is opened on
this day. The Margashirsha shukla paksha ekadashi in lunar calendar is known as a 'Mokshada Ekadashi'.
Special prayers, yagnas, discourses and speeches are arranged at Vishnu temples across the world on this
auspicious day.

Contents

[hide]

 1 Legend

 2 The Legend

 3 Vaikuntha Ekadasi Fasting

 4 Vaikuntha Ekadasi Significance

 5 In Srirangam

 6 In Tirupati

 7 References

 8 External links

[edit]Legend

According to Vishnu Purana, fasting on Vaikuntha Ekadashi is equivalent to fasting on the remaining 23
Ekadashis of the (Hindu) year.[1] However according to Vaishnava tradition fasting is mandatory on all Ekadashi
of both Shukla paksha and Krishna paksha. Fasting on Ekadashi is considered holier than any other religious
observation.

Lord opened the gate of Vaikuntham (his abode) for two demons in spite of them being against the Lord. They
also asked for the boon that who ever listens to their story and see the image of Lord coming out of the door
(called Dwar) called Vaikunth Dwar they reach Vaikunth as well. Temples all over the India makes a door kind
of structure on this day for devotees to pass through that.

According to Padma Purana, the female energy of Lord Vishnu slayed demon Muran and protects
`Devas'. This happened on the eleventh day of lunar month during the sun's journey in the Dhanur
rasi.Impressed by the act, Lord Vishnu names her as `Ekadashi' and gives her the boon that those who
worship `Ekadashi' on the day of her victory over Muran would reach `Vaikunth' (His abode).[2]
Vaikuntha Ekadasi is one of the important and auspicious days for Hindus. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It
occurs in the Hindu calendar, in the month of Margashirsha (Between December and January). Also called the
'Mukkoti Ekadasi', when observed, it bestows liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

[edit]The Legend

The significance of Vaikuntha Ekadasi is mentioned in the 'Padma Purana'. As per the legend, the Devas
unable to bear the tyranny of 'Muran', a demon, approached Lord Shiva, who directed them to Lord Vishnu. A
battle ensued between Lord Vishnu and the demon and the Lord realised that a new weapon was needed to
slay Muran.

In order to take rest and create a new weapon, the Lord retired to a cave named for the goddess Haimavati in
Badrikashrama. When Muran tried to slay the Lord, who was sleeping, the female power that emerged from the
Lord burnt Muran to ashes with her glance.

Lord Vishnu, who was pleased, named the goddess 'Ekadasi' and asked her to claim a boon. Ekadasi, instead
beseeched the Lord that people who observed a fast on that day should be redeemed of their sins. The Lord
thus declared that people who observed a fast on that day and worshiped Ekadasi, would attain Vaikuntha.
Thus came into being the first Ekadasi, which was a Dhanurmasa sukla paksha ekadasi.

[edit]Vaikuntha Ekadasi Fasting

Vaikuntha Ekadasi Fasting is an important aspect of those associated with it. People fast the whole day and
keep vigil. Special prayers are offered to Lord Vishnu and devotees engage in Japa (Chanting of the Lord's
name) and Dhyana (Meditation). On 'Dasami', the previous day of the observance, devotees who take up
Vaikuntha Ekadasi fasting are to take only lunch. On Ekadasi, the next day, they have to maintain a complete
fast and engage in prayers and meditation of the Lord. They are strictly prohibited from taking rice. That night,
people keep vigil the whole night and visit the temple of Lord Vishnu, mostly in the wee hours of the morning.

On this day, the Vaikuntha Dwaram or the Swarga Vaasal, 'The Gates of Heaven' are believed to be kept open.
The area encircling the sanctum is referred to Swarga Vaasal and devotees throng to gain entry into the
temple, to seek the Lord.

[edit]Vaikuntha Ekadasi Significance

It is important to look at the significance of this auspicious day from the spiritual angle.

The demon Muran stands for the rajasic and tamasic qualities in people, which attributes to lust, passion,
inertia, arrogance etc. When one conquers these tendencies, one attains the purity of mind, Sattva,
indispensable for attaining moksha, liberation or realisation of the self.
For realising the self as pure awareness, purity of mind is required. Fasting helps to keep tendencies at bay,
which could be triggered by intake of certain food. Keeping vigil in the night is symbolic of awareness, or being
watchful of the contents of the mind. When the mind is looked at, it becomes still. To abide in the stillness is to
attain freedom or peace, acquired through merging of the mind with the self. This is symbolic of the mind
automatically being absorbed at the sight of the Lord after the arduous fast and vigil.

The belief that rice is prohibited, because Muran dwells in it, symbolically signifies the fact that eating of rice
could get one feel heavy and hamper the vigil to be kept up. This signifies that entertaining negative tendencies
could hamper one's progress towards awareness or consciousness.

Observance of the rituals on this auspicious day even without understanding its importance is beneficial. Hence
the merits accrued through observing it with piety is believed to be immeasurable.

In Mahabarata, Bhagavad Gita - the conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna at the beginning
of Kurukshetra War is said to have occurred on this day.

[edit]In Srirangam

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam Vaikuntha Ekadashi celebrations in Srirangam lasts 21 days and is
divided into two parts of pagal pathu (morning part) and Ira pathu (night part). Lord Vishnu as Lord Ranganatha
is adorned is an armor of diamonds (rathnaangi) and is brought to the Thousand-Pillared Hall from the sanctum
sanctorum through the northern gate known as Paramapada Vasal, the gate to Vaikunta. This gate is opened
once in a year, only on the Vaikuntha Ekadashi day.

[edit]In Tirupati

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple also has a similar concept. Thirumala has a special entrance called Vaikuntha
Dwaram that encircles the sanctum sanctorum. The dwaram (passage) is opened only on Vaikuntha Ekadashi
and it is believed that any person who passes through this `Vaikuntha Dwaram' on this particular day attains
salvation.[3] The temple witnesses heavy inflow of pilgrims and dignitaries for Vaikuntha Ekadashi.