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Vaikunta Ekadashi is an auspicious day among all Vaishnavites (followers of Vishnu). This is commemorated on the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi that occurs during the Dhanu month in the Hindu calendar. This corresponds to the Gregorian calendar from December to January. On this day, the doors of the heaven ofVishnu’s inner gate is said to be opened. This day is very special in South India across all Vaishnava temples. In Kerala, Vaikuntha Ekadashi is celebrated as 'Swargavathil Ekadashi'.
Vaikunta Ekadasi (Mukkoti Ekadasi) is one of the most important among Ekadasi days throughout the year. According to scriptures, fasting and praying on the Ekadasi makes one reach Vaikuntha Dwaram (Heaven). Devotees observe complete fast throughout the day and stay awake the whole night chanting Vishnu Ashtotharam and Vishnu Sahasranamam Stotra. While some follow a complete fasting ritual, others follow a diet of fruits and milk. Food made from rice must be avoided during the fast. Hindus believe those who die on Vaikunta Ekadasi, will be freed from the cycle of birth and death.
According to Padma Purana, there was a Demon named ‘Muran’ was tormenting Devas in heaven. Unable to bear the atrocities of the demon, Devas approached Lord Vishnu. Aiming to solve the issue, Lord Vishnu fought the demon, but he soon realized that the demon will be killed only witha new weapon or a female energy. He immediately moved into the cave and decided to take rest. When Muran tried to slay Lord Vishnu, who was sleeping, a female power emerged from Vishnu burned Muran to ashes with her glance. Then Lord Vishnu pleased and named the energy as ‘Ekadasi' and promised her to ask for a boon. Ekadashi asked the Lord Vishnu that devotees who observed a fast on that day should be removed of their sins reach Vaikunth (Heaven).
Muran is the representation of human’s pleasures and characters like greed, lust, inertia, arrogance etc. When people want to destroy the bad things in them, it is equal to killing the fierce demon. After negating all the bad qualities, the positive aura enhances and it will be easier to reach newer horizons of success. Vaikuntha Ekadashi is also celebrated for an important event that took place during the Kurukshetra War. Lord Krishna gave the discourse onBhagavad Gita for the first time, which is considered as one of the most sacred texts of humans.
Ekadashi comes twice a month, a bright one and a dark one, which happens on the 11th day of every fortnight in a lunar month. Therefore there are 24 Ekadashis a year. This day creates the highest impact on humanminds and positive effects. That’s why meditation, prayer, and anything to connect with spirituality takes a higher prominence.
On Vaikunta Ekadasi, the impact of fasting and meditation would bear greater results. People would visit Lord Vishnu’s shrine. Some people would also meditate at home. People would also fast rigorously, to slay negativity and bless the family benevolently. Fasting starts a day prior to Ekadasi, with just one meal a day. Only fruits and milk can be taken during that night. There is another belief that rice should be avoided as it is considered to be the dwelling place of the demon Muran. Chanting special prayers, offering “prasadam” made of milk, saffron and fruits are followed.
Vaikunta Ekadasi is a day of spiritual cleansing. It protects humans from negative energy and enhances positivity. Not only spiritual enhancement, but this day also enhances the body, by taking part in the Vrat. While combing the factors of physical and spiritual cleansing, it paves the way to the overall enhancement of a person.
The sacred scriptures prescribe fire ceremony, Abishekam (hydration ceremony), Pooja/Archana (Light and Sound ceremony), Yantra and Mantra (special sounds) as the ways to offer your prayer to the divine. Out of these, fire ceremony is the most evolved spiritual technology on earth to connect with the divine beings. Participate in the remedial services to clear your karma and receive the blessings.