India is a land of festivals and Poojas and we don’t leave a stone unturned when it comes to invoking the blessings of the supreme power. The significance behind every festival and pooja is to thank the Lord for everything he blesses us with and to propitiate him to continue showering his blessings on us. One such famous occasion is the Vaikunta Ekadasi celebrated by the Vaishnavites in dedication to Lord Vishnu. It is celebrated on Shukla Paksha Ekadashi that comes during the Dhanu month in the Hindu calendar. The significance of this Ekadasi is that the door to heaven (Vaikunta Dwaram), which is also Lord Vishnu’s abode open on this day. This is called ‘Sorga Vaasal Thirapu’ which literally translates to ‘the opening of the doors of heaven’. People throng the temples of Lord Vishnu to witness this as it is believed to relieve the devotees from the usual cycle of birth and death.
Observance of the Vaikunta Ekadasi is equal to observing the rest of the 23 Ekadasis that occur in a year. Why is it so? What is its significance? There is an interesting story behind this. Once, the Devas became helpless in dealing with the atrocities of the demon Muran and they approached Lord Shiva. He directed them to Vishnu who took up the responsibility of slaying the demon. He was planning to make a weapon and in the process he became tired and wanted to take some rest. While the Lord was takin rest, the demon tried to slay the Lord. Witnessing this, a female energy emerged from Vishnu's body and slayed the demon Muran. Pleased by this, the Lord Vishnu named her Ekadasi and asked her to seek a boon from him. For this, Ekadasi requested Vishnu to grant a place in Vaikunta for those who fast on this day.
There is one more strong belief with respect to Ekadasi. Reading of Bhagavad Gita on Vaikunta Ekadasi can open the door to heaven for the devotees. Also, it was on this Vaikunta Ekadasi day that the Samudra Manthan was churned for fetching the nectar of immortality. This is a symbol of victory og good over evil. Hence, observance of Vaikunta Ekadasi can also provide relief from negative thoughts.