Vaikuntha Ekadashi is on 29 Dec 2017 that falls on Shukla paksha Ekadashi in Pushya/Dhanu month
Vaikuntam is abode of Vishnu and on this day Vishnu devotees believes that ‘Vaikuntha Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to Lord’s abode – Vaikuntam is opened.
People visit temples on this day to have glimpse/ darshan of Lord Vishnu (Venkateswara, Balaji, Srinivasa, Ranganatha, Rama, Krishna, Jagannatha, ISKCON temples).
- People fast on this day and do vrat or oath rituals on this day, Special prayers, yagnas are performed. Fasting on Ekadashi is considered holier.
- In an year 12 months and 24 ekadasis (11th day of fortnight) happen and Vaikuna Ekadasi is having great significance.
Lord Vishnu opened the gate of Vaikuntham for two demons in spite of their being against him. They also asked for the boon that whoever listens to their story and sees the image of Vishnu coming out of Vaikunth Dwar, will reach Vaikunth as well.
Temples all over India make a door kind of structure on this day for devotees to walk through.
Ekadasi goddess: According to Padma Purana, the female energy of Vishnu slayed the demon Muran and protects the ‘Devas’ on the eleventh day of lunar month during the sun’s journey in the Dhanurrashi or Dhanu Rashi. Impressed by the act, 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).
The demon Muran stands for
- The Rajasic and Tamasic qualities in people, attributed to lust, passion, inertia, arrogance etc.
- When one conquers these tendencies, one attains the purity of mind, Satva, indispensable for attaining of moksha, the liberation or realization of the self.
- For realizing the self as pure awareness, purity of mind is required.
- Fasting helps to keep at bay tendencies which could be triggered by intake of certain foods.
- 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 Vishnu after the arduous fast and vigil.
Observance of the rituals on any auspicious day without understanding their importance is not fully beneficial.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Tirupathi
Vauknta Ekadasi festival observation:
- People believe that who visit temple and walk through Vikunta dwaar (door) and have glimpse of lord Vishnu will reach Vaikuntam after life.
- Philosophy of life and birth.
- Entry to Vikuntam will stop birth cycle. Soul is liberated from the cycle of birth and death merges with supreme being.
- Fasting will make more dedicated to lead moral, ethical life.
- Vaishnava temples see rush on this day and 90% of the people don’t know why they are visiting this day but to seek mortal pleasures.
- I asked randomly many people (young and old) waiting in the queue why they are there on this special day and I heard all kinds of wishlist except to seek salvation and reach Vishnu’s abode.
- We pray lord everyday almost for wordly pleasures and this day is not meat for that, but to seek salvation and correct our ways to lead life full of values.