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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Vaikunta Ekadasi (or) Swarga Vathil Ekadashi (or) Mukkoti Ekadashi

Vaikunta Ekadasi:-

Vaikunta Ekadasi, , is considered to be the most important Ekadasi in the Sri Vaishnava tradition.According to one Vishnu Purana, observing the
Ekadasi Vrata on Vaikunta Ekadasi day confers the benefit equivalent to observing all the Ekadasis during the year. Fasting (according to one's
capacity), chanting the names of the Lord, visiting Vishnu temples are some of the ways this festival is observed.
Vaikunta Ekadasi or Mukkoti Ekadasi- dedicated to Lord Vishnu-is the Krishna Paksha Ekadasi that occurs during the Dhanurmasa period in the Hindu calendar. “Vaikunta Dwaram” or “The Gateto Lord's inner Sanctum" is opened between 4 to 6 am.The sanctum’s northern gate is opened during this time (i.e. Bramha muhurtham). This time is very auspicious because God accepts all types of people with Bhagavath Smarana(chant : Om namo narayana) and takes them to Vaikuntam, whether he be a sinner or non-sinner. Vaikunta Ekadasi gives the sinner a chance to become a non-sinner from that day, only if his prayers are perfect i.e completely dedicated.Changes in his character will definitely appear for the good.  Even a crow bathes knowing the significance of this day.

It is said that the Vaikunta Dwara[Heavenly door] opens on this day. Basically it means that on this day a door opens to reach the gates of Vaikunta. In all Vishnu temples the Utsava Murthi is brought out early in the morning and people go early in the morning to have a darshan of the Lord. Even if a person does not observe Ekadasi through out the year, but observes fast on Vaikunta Ekadasi day, one can attain salvation.

Legend:-

The significance of Vaikunta Ekadasi is mentioned in the 'Padma Purana'. During the Krita Yuga, also termed the golden age, an asura called Muran harassed both devas and mortals. Unable to bear his tyranny, the devas sought refuge in Shiva, who directed them to Lord Vishnu. A battle which lasted one thousand celestial years,ensued between Lord Vishnu and the demon and the Lord realised that a new weapon was needed to slay Muran.In order to rest and create a new weapon, the Lord retired to a cave called 'Himavati' in Badrikashrama. When Muran tried to slay the Lord in his sleep, the female energy that emerged from the Lord burnt him to ashes.Lord Vishnu who was pleased, named the female energy 'Ekadasi' and asked her to claim a boon. Ekadasi, instead beseeched the Lord saying "O Lord, if you are pleased with me and wish to give me a boon, then give me the power to deliver people from the greatest sins if they fast of this day". The Lord thus declared that people who observed a fast on that day and worshiped Ekadasi, would attain Vaikunta. Thus came into being the first Ekadasi, which was a Dhanurmasa sukla paksha ekadasi.

It is also said that on this day the ksheerasagara manthana (churning of the ocean) took place and the nectar of immortality (amritha) was distributed to the gods. This divine event is interpreted in the following manner. The ocean of milk is the human heart filled with satvic tendencies (kindness, purity and goodness). However, in all of us there exist both types of inclinations, good (devas) and bad (asuras). Only Sadhana or the churning process will throw out the poison in us and we can procure the sweet nectar, which will liberate us from the cycle of birth and death. Shaivaites call this day as Nanjunda Ekadasi, as it was on this day Shiva consumed nanju, the poison that emanated from the churning of the ocean. Some schools of thought believe that Sri Krishna gave the Gitopadesam to Arjuna on the day of Vaikunta Ekadasi.

Vaikunta (or Vaikuntam as it is spelt in Telugu), is the abode of the Lord Vishnu. The Lord sleeps on a three-folded serpent called Sesha Nagu. Many Indian Mythological pictures and paintings depict Vaikunta with the picture of the Lord on Sesha Nagu in the Kshira Sagar (the Ocean of Milk), his consort Lakshmi at his feet and Lord Brahma sitting on a lotus that emerges from the navel of the Lord. One of the main doors i.e., Vaikunta dwara which is normally kept closed throughout the year is thrown open only on the day. Devotees believe that taking the darshan of the Lord on this day would pass through the door of the Lord to reach the Vaikunta

Story behind Ekadasi:-

The austerity is associated with much deeper aspects. This is explained in the Padma Puranam (the second amongst the eighteen puranas), which tells us about the beginnings of Ekadasi with this legend.
The Padma Purana says: “ekadasi vrata samam vrata nasti jagattrayeanicchaya’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).
During the Krita Yuga, also termed the golden age, an asura called Muran harassed both devas and mortals. Unable to bear his tyranny, the devas sought refuge in Shiva. He directed them to approach Vishnu. Vishnu agreed to help the devas and went out to battle with Muran.
During the long battle, which lasted one thousand celestial years, Vishnu needed to rest for a while. He entered a beautiful cave called Himavati in Badarikashrama to sleep in. Muran wanted to strike Vishnu while he was sleeping. However, Shakti – Vishnu’s female energy – emerged out of his body and assumed the form of a beautiful damsel who fought Muran and vanquished him. When Vishnu awoke he was very pleased and named this maiden as Ekadasi and granted her a boon. The maiden said, “O Lord, if You are pleased with me and wish to give me a boon, then give me the power to save people from the greatest sins if they fast on this day”. Vishnu granted her the boon and declared that people worshipping her would reach Vaikunta. Thus, was born the first ekadasi, which was a Dhanurmasa sukla paksha ekadasi. Sages and devout people have been since, observing the ekadasi vrata regularly. Here, the demon Muran represents the tamasic and rajasic qualities in us. The import of the ekadasi vrata is that one can conquer rajasic and tamasic tendencies in us through fasting. This helps us reach our ultimate destination, Vaikuntha, which is the place or stage of no ‘kuntitha’ or dullness, stupidity and misery.
It is also said that the cave where Sri Vishnu took rest is Badri Kashramam. Vadhari means dates (Elandhai) in Sanskrit. And as the years passed on, Vadhari became known as Badri.

A Belief:-

No rice should be taken on Ekadashi days and this is very important. It is said that the sweat that fell down from the head of Brahma assumed the form of a demon and he asked the Lord to provide him an abode to dwell. Brahma said to the demon to go and dwell in the rice particles eaten by men on Ekadashi day and become worms in their stomach. For this reason rice is prohibited on Ekadashi.
If one observes the Ekadashi fast regularly, Lord Hari is propitiated. All sins are destroyed and the mind is purified. Devotion gradually develops and love for God becomes intense. Orthodox people in South India observe complete fasting and vigil even on ordinary Ekadashi days. For the devotees of Lord Vishnu, every Ekadashi is a very sacred day.

Significance of Vaikunta Ekadasi:-

Of all Ekadasis , The one connected with Dhanur Maasa Sukla Paksha Ekadasi is the most exalted and is known as Sri Vaikunta Ekadasi .There are number of reasons Assoicated with the special significance of this Ekadasi:

According to Padma Purana, the female energy of Lord Vishnu killed demon Muran in the form of a damsel named “Ekadashi” to protect Devas. This occurred during the month of Marghazhi (Margashira or Margashirsha) (mid December – mid January). Hence anyone who worships Lord Vishnu on this Ekadasi day would reach Vaikunth.

Hindu Puranas say that it was on this day that the churning of the ocean occurred and the Amrit (nectar of immortality) emerged out of the ocean and Bhagavan Dhanvanthri appeared thereafter with the Amrutha Kalasam (Nectar Pot) and Was distributed to the Gods. Hindus believe that those who die on this day are freed from the cycle of birth and death and that they would directly reach Vaikunta.

The most exalted of auspiciousness that happened on this day is the appearance of Maha Lakshmi.She appeared with the golden color.

Another importance of Vaikunta Ekadasi is that the Bhagavad Gita Upadesh of Lord Krishna to Arjuna during Kurukshetra War is said to have done on this day.

This day is also observed as “The Bhagavad Gita” Jayanthi. The Bhagavad Gita (in Sanskrit, "Song of the Lord") is the most famous poem in all of Hindu literature and part of the Mahabharata, the Indian epic masterpeice. The Gita consists of a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Prince Arjuna on the morning of a climactic battle. The main teachings of Bhagavad Gita are it teaches us the theory and values of path towards God. The Bhagavadgita teaches how to escape from this predicament, not by escaping from the burdens of the worldly life, or avoidance of responsibilities.

It is also said that on this day the ksheerasagara manthana (churning of the ocean) took place and the nectar of immortality (amritha) was distributed to the gods.
This divine event is interpreted in the following manner.
The ocean of milk is the human heart filled with satvic tendencies (kindness, purity and goodness).
However, in all of us there exist both types of inclinations, good (devas) and bad (asuras).
Only Sadhana or the churning process will throw out the poison in us and we can procure the sweet nectar, which will liberate us from the cycle of birth and death.
Shaivaites call this day as Nanjunda Ekadasi, as it was on this day Shiva consumed nanju, the poison that emanated from the churning of the ocean.

Significance of Uttara Dwara Darshana:-


On this day 33 crores of devathas (Muppattu Mukkoti) will have darshana of Maha Vishnu. There is also another spiritual and yogic significance for the meaning of Mukkoti Ekadashi. Like we have geographical directions (North, South, East, & West) to the world, we also have similar directions to our body. North is towards our Head, South is towards our Feet, Front portion is East and back portion is West. We have on the top of the head (skull) a hole called Brahma Randhra (door) that is towards the Northern Direction which is not visible. Since it is on the northern direction it is called Northern door of the human body.

It is said that one should visualize the image of Sriman Narayana through the route of Ida, Pingala Naadi (left and right nostril) concentrated at the centre of the eyebrows called Sushumna Naadi (Gnana Nethra) and take it further upwards to the centre of the head where we have Brahma Randhra and have darshana of the Sriman Narayana through the door that gets opened. This is how one should have darshana of Sriman Narayana in daily prayers (dhyana) or whenever visits a temple. Since it is through the route of confluence of three naadis (Ida, Pingala and Sushumna) taken further northwards it is called Mukkoti and Northern Entrance darshana.

On this most auspicious day of Mukkoti Ekadashi one should have darshana of the Lord in this form and to give a meaning to this concept probably all the temples provide darshana of the Lord on this day through the Northern entrance.

There are 14 lokas in this Universe seven above the earth and seven below the earth. Seven above the Earth are called Uurdhwa Lokas in the Northern direction and Vaikunta is in the Northern direction. Darshana of the lord of Vaikunta Sri Maha Vishnu on this day which is very nearer to the Uttarayana the most auspicious time also catches significance for Uttara dwara darshana.

Prayer & Paarayana:-

Vishnu Sahasranama, Vishnu Ashtothara, Purusha Sooktha, Vishnu Sooktha, Narayana Upanishad, Sree Sooktha, Lakshmi Ashtothhara can be recited on this day. Those who cannot read them can chant at least, Om! Namo! Narayanaya, Om! Namo! Bhagavathe Vasudevaya as many number of times as possible

It is said that “na Gaayathraya para manthra, na Mathru para dhaivatham, na Kaasya param theertham, na Ekadasya samam vratham”

That means there is no Manthra that is superior to Gaayathri Manthra, there is no dhaiva superior to Mother, there is no celestial and sacred Theertha better than Kaasi, and there is no vratha that is more sacred than Ekadashi vratha. Hence, so much of significance for Ekadashi and it is related to Maha Vishnu.

Special festivals are celebrated on this occasion in all the temples especially at Tirumala which is called Bhooloka Vaikunta. Lord Sri Maha Vishnu stays in Ananda Nilaya at Tirumala by name Srinivasa during this Kaliyuga. Hence, lot of significance for this festival at Tirumala Hills.

Vaikunda Ekadashi fasting:-

Vaikunta Ekadashi, or Mukkoti Ekadasi, is the most important of the twenty four hour Ekadashi observances in South India. Fasting and all night prayer dedicated to Lord Vishnu is the main observance of the day. It is believed that venerating Lord Vishnu on Vaikunda Ekadasi will help to free soul from cycles of rebirth and grant moksha. Another important belief is that Vaikunta Dwara, the doors of heaven, will open on this day and give easy access to Lord Vishnu.
Those visiting Vishnu Temples like Tirupati or Srirangam on Vaikunta Ekadashi can pass through the Vaikunta Dwara, the door through the inner most sanctum sanctorum. In South India, Vaikunta Ekadashi is also known as Mokshada Ekadasi.

Things to do:-

Wake up early in the morning. Take bath and offer prayers.
You can perform a simple puja to Lord Vishnu at home by offering fruits and Tulsi leaves.
You can just light the lamp and prayer or meditate for few minutes – or the normal ritual you do daily. Only difference is that today it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
If there is a Vishnu temple nearby visit the temple and witness morning pujas and rituals.
Complete fast or upavasam on the day is the main observance.

Fasting follows:-

Fasting for 24 hours. It is believed that a partial or total abstinence from food on Ekadasi is rewarded with bliss.
If you have any health problem or are taking medicines, please consult your doctor before deciding on fasting. You can also opt for a partial fast by avoiding food made of rice.
Do not eat food made from rice on Ekadashi.

Staunch devotees who observe Vaikunta Ekadasi fasting do not sleep on the day. They spend the whole night at Vishnu temples or by singing prayers or listening stories dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

The fast is broken on the next day (Dwadashi) after taking bath. Offer prayers to Lord Vishnu by lighting a lamp and then you can break the fast.

History of Fasting:-

Ekadasi, or Ekadashi, is an important Upvaas (fast) dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Millions of Hindu devotees observe Ekadasi, which is considered highly auspicious by Lord Vishnu devotees. The traditional approach is to abstain from food completely on the day. But nowadays a complete fast is not possible for many people. Such people consume certain food items on the Ekadasi day and observe only a partial fast.

It is believed that demon Mura found a dwelling place in the rice and Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Ekadasi to annihilate Mura. Therefore devotees who fast on the Ekadashi day avoid food made from grains.
Many devotees due to several reasons – like health and job commitments – observe partial fast on the day. Such people avoid non-vegetarian and food items made from beans, pulses and grains, especially rice.

Viradham is said to be a Sanskrit word and this viradham means what we get (or) what we expect. There are three types of viradhams and they are :-
 Vasika – This kind of viradham is followed by chanting slokams and doing Parayanams (explaining the slokas and the greatness of Sriman Narayanan).
 Dhyanam – This is another kind of viradham and it should be done without Speaking (Mounam) to anyone and expressing our Bhakti in terms of slokams in our mind and heart itself.
 Kaayika – This is yet another kind of Viradham and should be done without even taking water.

Vaikunta Ekadasi in Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple:-

In the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, the Vaikunta Ekadashi celebrations last for 21 days. The festivities are divided into two main parts, the pagal pathu or morning part and the Ira pathu or night part. The deity Vishnu, in the form of Ranganatha, is decorated with an armor of diamonds called rathnaangi. The northern gate called Paramapada Vasal is opened and the deity is brought from the sanctum to the Thousand-Pillared Hall.


Vaikunta Ekadasi in  Tirumala:-

The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple also hosts grand ceremonies and festivities during Vaikunta Ekadasi. The Vaikunta Dwaram is a special entrance encircling the sanctum. This passage is opened only during this festival and it is believed that devotees passing through the Dwaram attain salvation. The Tirumala temple is flooded with devotees, pilgrims and dignitaries from all over India during the Vaikunta Ekadashi festival.


Vaikunta Ekadasi in Bhadrachalam:-

Mukkoti Ekadasi, also known as Mukkoti Festival or Vaikunta Ekadashi, is observed on Dhanurmasa Shukla Paksha Ekadashi day in Andhra Pradesh. Teppotsavam 2012 date during Mukkoti Festival is January 4. Mukkoti Ekadasi is celebrated in a grand manner at Bhadrachalam Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy temple in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh.

Teppotsavam is the major event along with Dashavatara Alankaram rituals. During Vykunta Ekadasi which is celebrated for 10 days during December-January, Teppotsavam attracts a large number of devotees from all over India, mainly from surrounding states like Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

During Teppotsavam, the presiding deities of Bhadrachalam Sri Sita Ramachandra swamy temple are decorated with jewelries and flower garlands and taken on Hamsa Vahanam or a boat designed like swan. Teppotsavam is a float festival or celestial cruise of the presiding deities in Godavari waters. Temple priests recite vedic hymns during Teppotsavam festival.

Vaikunta Ekadasi in Guruvayur:-

The most important festival during the Mandalam period, lasting for a month. It was on the Guruvayur Ekadasi day that Lord Krishna revealed the Gita to Arjuna.

Chembai Sangeetholsavam

This carnatic music festival is held for 11 days in the memory of Sri Chembai Vaidyanadha Bhagavathar, as part of the Ekadasi celebrations.

According to our Indian puranas/epics, it is said that on this auspicious day,
1)the churning of Ocean Milk(KsheeraSagara Madhanam) took place,
2)Lord Shiva consumed Nanju(Poison that was emanated from the churning of the milk ocean). Hence Shaivaites celebrated this day as Nanjunda Ekadasi.
3)Nectar of Immortality(Amrutam) was obtained.
4)Lord Krishna delivered Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna on the battle of Kurukshetra.

4 comments:

  1. It is said pulses and grains to be avoided. It means we should not consume chappatis made of WHEAT ? Does it come under grains? Please reply. I am on fasting but only have chappatis in my tiffin box.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You should not eat wheat or rice products today. It would be advisable to have some fruit instead if needed. Hare Krishna!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice Blog.Thank for detail about Vaikunta Ekadasi.On this auspicious day performMargazhi Special Ritual to get the blessings of 10 avataras of Lord Mahavishnu.

    ReplyDelete