Thursday, January 5, 2017

Unknown Facts Of Vaikunta Ekadasi

Vaikunta Ekadasi is one the important and auspicious days to the Hindus. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It occurs in the Hindu calander, between 1st and 2nd week of January
Also called the 'Mukkoti Ekadasi', when observed, it bestows liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

The Legend
The significance of Vaikunta 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 called 'Himavati' in Badrikashrama. When Muran tried to slay the Lord, who was sleeping, the female energy that emerged from the Lord burnt him to ashes in one look.
Lord Vishnu who was pleased, named the female energy '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 Vaikunta. Thus came into being the first Ekadasi, which was a Dhanurmasa sukla paksha ekadasi.

Vaikunta Ekadasi Fasting
Vaikunta Ekadasi Fasting is an important aspect of the dos 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 Vaikunta 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 Vaikunta 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.

Vaikunta 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, owing to the fact that 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 he merits accrued through observing it with piety is believed to be immeasurable.
So let us understand the significance and attain the Grace of the Lord.

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