Vaikunta Ekadashi

Vaikunta Ekadashi
Vaikunta Ekadashi

Vaikunta Ekadashi is the prominent and foremost of the Ekadashi Vrats observed for every Ekadashi day in the year.

This Vrat occurs on the eleventh day from the new moon day of Dhanur / Margazira / Margazhi (Shukla Paksha Ekadashi). For the Year 2022, it occurs on Thursday, 13th January 2022. The exact duration of the Ekadashi Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.

The festival is also called as Guruvayurappan Ekadashi and Mukkoti Ekadashi.

Table of Contents

Legend

There are several beliefs attached to this festival.

It is believed that Bhagan Maha Vishnu had opened the gates of Sri Vaikuntam to two demons on this day and they had requested that their day of entry should be observed as a festival.

Another belief was that there was a demon named Muran who was tyrannical towards Devas. As directed by Bhagwan Shiva, the Devas approached Bhagwan Vishnu for help.

Sri Vishnu pondered that a new weapon was needed to kill Muran and thinking thus, He took shelter in the cave belonging to the Goddess Haimavathi of Badarikashrama.

The demon Muran tried to kill Sri Vishnu who was asleep. At that time, the female energy in Sri Vishnu rose and had burnt Muran into ashes with Her glance.

That female energy was named Ekadashi and Bhagwan Vishnu had granted that whoever worships Ekadashi would attain Vaikuntam.  The day when the Deity Ekadashi had slain the demon Muran is celebrated as Vaikunta Ekadashi.

Rituals

The general rituals followed for Ekadashi Vrats are given below:

-The exact time of dawn of Ekadashi tithi is ascertained either from family elders / astrologers. It is mentioned in the Holy Almanac (Panchang) as well. Even daily Calendars provide the information.

-The idol or picture of Sri Vishnu is decorated with flowers. Incense sticks are lit. Diyas are lit with ghee. Pujas are done with tulsi leaves.

– The items such as Jambira fruit (goose berry), Pomegranate, Mangoes, Guava, Betal nuts and leaves, Coconut, Varieties of nuts and Cloves and other aromatic spices are offered in Puja subject to availability.

Slokas or stotras of Sri Maha Vishnu including Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama are recited with devotion. Srimad Bhagavad Gitaa is also recited.

-Special Puja is done for Sri Lakshmi Devi as well.

-The Vrat Katha is read and recited.

-At the end of the puja, aarti is done. Prasad is distributed to the family members.

-Devotees of Lord Maha Vishnu observe strict fasting from the dawn of Ekadashi.

-They do not sleep on the night of Ekadashi. At this time, tales of Sri Maha Vishnu are recited by the elders. Others listen to the stories.

-Various bhajans and kirtans are held.

-The fast shall continue till the sunrise of the next day, i.e., Dwadashi.

-Those devotees who cannot do fasting due to medical or other reasons can take sattvic food. Mostly prasadams and fruits are partaken.

-Making daan / donation to the needy on Ekadashi day is believed to please Sri Maha Vishnu.

-On Dwadashi day, unless it happens to be another Vrat day, a nutritious meal is partaken to balance the internal physical effects of fasting on the previous day. It is considered pious to forego eating of brinjal on Dwadashi day.

Benefits

It is believed that the doors of Sri Vaikuntam, the abode of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu opens on this day only. Similar to Shiv Rathri, people observe fasting on this day and forego sleep in the night. It is believed that observing fasting on this day is equivalent to observing the other 23 Ekadashis (both Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha).

People take holy dips and visit Vishnu temples on this day.  It is believed that observance of Vaikunta Ekadashi provides liberation from birth / death.

In all Vishnu temples, a special door named Swarga Vasal or Swarg Dwar is erected and the procession of the Deity is taken through the door. It is believed that whoever crosses the threshold of that door would reach Sri Vaikuntam.

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