Saturday, 2 July 2011

Vaikunta Ekdasi - History

Vaikunta Ekadasi ( MOKSHDHAA) In Kerala, they call it as "Guruvayoor Ekadashi" It is believed that the Gates to heaven open on this day - People fast completely this day - They break their fast the next day morning on the occasion of Mukkoti Dwaadashi.

In Guruvaayur, thousands of devotees go through out the day to have the Darshan of Lord Sri Krishna. The music virtuoso late Chambai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar has constructed a Hall inside the temple wherein, music concerts by various musicians are arranged like Thayagaraja Aradhana celebrations, the whole day, singing in praise of Lord Sri Krishna, in different languages......     One could observe here that all male musicians and male accompanists will sing/ render accompaniment respectively, wearing a Uttareeya (Shalya) / Ponnadai like Chambai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar . The Tiruvananathapuram TV Station normally telecast these programmes live.

Falling in moon’s waxing phase sukla paksha in Marghazhi (December-January), this is an austerity everyone knows about. There are two ekadasis each month, but this one in Marghazhi is considered special. This is what Padma Puranam says about this austerity. In Krita Yuga there was a demon called Muran who harassed both Devas and mortals. Unable to bear his tyranny, the Devas sought refuge in Shiva. He directed them to approach Vishnu. Consoling the Devas, Vishnu went out to battle with Muran. As, during the battle, Vishnu rested awhile in a cave in Badrikashrama, his shakti – female energy – assumed the form of a beautiful damsel, fought Muran, and slayed him. Vishnu, waking up, saw her, named her Ekadasi and issued the boon that people worshipping her would reach Vaikunta. Thus, it is said, was born the first ekadasi. That was a Marghazhi sukla paksha ekadasi. Sages and immortals began observing the ekadasi vrata regularly since then. The demon Muran represents the qualities tamas and rajas. Vishnu represents the life principle. The import of the ekadasi vrata is, therefore, that one can conquer rajas and tamas through fasting and go on to a better life. There are two ekadasis each month, but the year as a whole has one more, making for 25 in all. The Dhanur month sukla paksha ekadasi is Vaikunta Ekadasi. Shaivaites call this Nanjunda Ekadasi. Some believe it was on this day Shiva consumed nanju, the poison that emanated from the churning of the ocean. There is a temple to Shiva as Nanjundeswara in Nanjangud in Karnataka. Now consider all ekadasis occurring in a year. The ekadasi in Marghazhi krishna paksha (waning moon) – in December-January – is Mokshai; the one in sukla paksha (waxing moon) Utpathi. Forefathers of those who observe these vratas attain salvation.

The Padma Purana says: "ekadasi vrata samam vrata nasti jagattraye anicchaya'pi yat krtva gatir evam vidha'vayoh ekadasi vratam ye tu bhakti bhavena kurvate na jane kim bhavet tesam vasudeva anukampaya" ,

 which translates as: In the three worlds, there is no kind of fasting which is even comparable to the Ekadasi fast. Even if one performs this fast without a proper attitude, he achieves the Supreme Abode. If one fasts on Ekadasi day, with full devotion, what happens to him by the mercy of the Supreme Lord, I cannot say (the merit he achieves cannot be described).    While Vaikunta Ekadasi is observed in all Vaishnava temples, the day is very special at the Sri Ranganatha temple at Srirangam in Tamil Nadu. On this auspicious day, Lord Ranganatha in all His glory and resplendence enters the Parama Padha Vaasal (the gateway to salvation) at the sacred precincts of the temple at Srirangam, and showers His blessings and grace on mankind.

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