Vaikunta Ekadashi is the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi which falls in the Month of Dhanur maasam, in the Hindu calendar (in late December – January in English calendar)
The Vaishnavas (Worshiper of Vishnu) believes that ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ is opens on this day. The Margashirsha Shukla Paksha Ekadashi is also known as a ‘Mokshada Ekadashi.’ Special prayers, Yagnas, discourses and speeches are arranged at Vishnu temples across the world on this auspicious day.
As per the Vishnu Purana, fasting on Vaikuntha Ekadashi is treated equal to fasting on the remaining 23 Ekadashis in the Hindu year. However, in Vaishnava tradition fasting is compulsory on Shukla paksha and Krishna paksha Ekadashi.
Ekadashi fasting is considered auspicious than any other religious observation. Vishnu opened the gate of Vaikuntham (his abode) 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 the door (called Dwar), called 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.
According to Padma Purana, the female energy of Vishnu slayed the demon Muran to protect the ‘Devas’ This was happened on the eleventh day of lunar month of when Sun’s “Gochar” in the Dhanu Rashi. After this act, Vishnu named her as ‘Ekadashi’ and blessed as those who worship ‘Ekadashi’ on the day of her victory over Muran should reach ‘Vaikunth’ (His abode).
Vaikuntha Ekadashi is observed, to get salvation from the cycle of birth and death.
The significance of Vaikuntha Ekadashi is mentioned in the Padma Purana. The myth says that the Devas, were unable to bear the domination of ‘Muran’ – a demon, approached Shiva, who directed them to Vishnu.
In order to create a new weapon, Vishnu retired to a cave for the goddess named Haimavati in Bhadrikashrama. While Muran tried to slay Vishnu, who was sleeping, the female power that emerged from Vishnu burned Muran to ashes with her fleeting look. Vishnu, who was satisfied, named the goddess as ‘Ekadashi’ and blessed her that, people who observes a fast on Ekadshi Day should be redeemed of their sins. Vishnu thus declared that people, who observes a fast and worships Ekadashi, would attain Vaikuntha. Thus came into being the first Ekadashi, which was a Dhanurmasa Shukla Paksha Ekadashi.
The demon Muran represents the Rajasic and Tamasic guna peoples, attributed to lust, passion, inactivity, arrogance etc. On concurrence of these tendencies, one attains the purity of mind
Fasting helps to keep away certain tendencies which could otherwise trigger up by intake of certain foods. Keeping vigil (Awaking during the time of asleep, especially to watch or pray) in the night is symbolic of awareness, or being alert for the stuffing of the mind.
When the mind is looks somewhat, it becomes still, and stand for in the stillness is to attain self-determination or peace, acquired through integration of the mind with him-self. This symbolic of the mind automatically being absorbs the sight of Vishnu after the tough fasting and vigil.
It is believed that, rice is strictly prohibited during this Ekadashi Fasting, because Demon Muran lives in it, and symbolically it signifies that eating rice makes one feel heavy and hampers the vigil. Which also signifies that, entertaining in to negative tendencies could hamper one’s progress towards awareness of self-esteem consciousness?
Observing certain rituals on this auspicious day even without knowing their importance is beneficial.. In the Mahabharata, “Bhagavad Geeta” the conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna at the beginning of Kurukshetra War is said to happen on this auspicious day.
Vaikuntha Ekadashi fasting is a vital aspect for those associated with it. People keep fasting the whole day and keep vigil. Special prayers, Puja are offered to Vishnu and devotees engage in Japa (chanting of Vishnu’s name) and Dhyana (Meditation). On Ekadashi,day, people maintain a complete fast and engage in prayers and meditation of Vishnu.
On this day, the Vaikuntha Dwaram or the Vaikuntha Vaasal, ‘The Gates of Vaikundam’ are believed to be keeping open. The area surrounding the sanctum is referred to Vaikuntha Vaasal and devotees in large, with packed crowd enters into the temple, to seek blessings of Lord Vishnu…
Tirumala Tirupati Devsthanam, (TTD) Venkateswara Temple also celebrates this concept as a Mukkoti Ekadashi, as it is known as in the Telugu-speaking regions.
Tirumala Devsthanam Temple has a special entrance called Vaikuntha Dwaram that surrounds the sanctum sanctorum. This dwaram (passage) is open only on Vaikuntha Ekadashi day, and it is believed that any person who passes through this `Vaikuntha Dwaram’ on this Vaikuntha Ekadashi day will attain salvation. The temple witnesses heavy inflow of pilgrims and dignitaries for Vaikuntha Ekadashi.
All Arjitha sevas are cancelled on this day, including VIP darshan.
Only Sarva Darshanam is allowed on Vaikunta Ekadashi except VVIP’s. Online Bookings are not permitted on this day. Honored darshan formats are stopped during this period.