Vaikunta Ekadasi is the day for seeking highest spiritual divinity that can be achieved only by transcending the material universe. Dec. 19, 2018 (IST), is the 11th day (ekadasi) of waxing Moon (shukla paksha) when humans on Earth strive to win over Vishnu and get access to His abode.
Every year on this special Ekadasi day the search for heaven or Vaikunta is renewed with pure devotion to Vishnu and his different manifestations. It is an attempt to secure a place on the spiritual planets of Vaikunta loka – located far beyond Satyaloka – our Universe otherwise known as the Brahmanda.
Vaikunta loka is the world of Vishnu:
Vaikunta loka is the world of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of this world. Krishna who is an avatar of Vishnu, therefore Vaikunta loka is also called Krishna loka. Though He presides over all manifested and unmanifested energies on Earth, his abode is far beyond the Earth. Ardent devotees such as the Alwars immersed themselves in singing hymns in praise of Vishnu to achieve Vaikunta. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also asked people to lift their hands up and dance in utter joy while chanting the name of Hari – another way to realize Krishna and achieve that eternal bliss.
In Hindu Vedic literature, the Cosmos is divided into 14 worlds or lokas, and each loka has a religious or spiritual significance. In the text of Srimad-Bhagavatam, 5 lokas above the Bhuloka or Earth have been mentioned as Dhruvaloka, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka and Satyaloka. 26,200,000 yojanas above Satyaloka are the planets of Vaikunta. Sri Caitanya caritamrta mentions that anyone who tries to surpass planetary systems of material universe spiritually through perfection of human soul can reach Vaikunta loka.
Seeking Vaikunta through various practices:
In spiritual world there are innumerable Vaikunta planets. One who attains God or Vishnu can only enjoy a place in Vaikunta. Vedic scriptures mention that God is supreme goal of life – the ultimate truth. An acharya or devotee of Vishnu can gain his or her place in Vaikunta through devotional practices - He or she should have compassion towards human beings or any creatures of Nature, liberate them from being stuck in the material world and also sufferings of diseases and old age. The supreme knowledge can be achieved through various forms of austerities: performing sacrifices please the God and performing yoga helps in realizing God. Chanting hymns of Gods or His name and living a livelihood with His consciousness as the prime goal of life are definite ways of finally reaching the planets of Vaikunta. Fasting is one of the austerities followed strictly by devotees as a means to achieve God. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, one of the greatest disciples of Krishna reached Vaikunta chanting the name of Hari repeatedly and dancing in exaltation.
Enjoyments in the world or planets of Vaikunta:
Vaikunta is a world of bliss and knowledge. Emotions such as envy, anger, jealousy are forbidden; only happiness pervades every heart. There is abundance of happiness, knowledge and wealth. Inhabitants sing the glory of Lord and enjoy beauty of Nature but above the fragrance from flowers, and songs of birds, Lord Vishnu lives as the fragrant and beautiful being in every heart. People there laugh with open heart, love and respect each other dearly, ladies are beautiful and families reside amidst joy of Vishnu consciousness. Srimad Bhagavatam gives a vivid description of the Vaikunta loka. Reading its description is an eye opener and opens any heart that is clogged with earthly emotions and thoughts. Realizing the beautiful world of Vaikunta loka on Vaikunta Ekadasi day is an endearing practice that any devotee treasures in his or her heart.