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Story of Vaikunta Ekadasi
With Maha Lakshmi by His side, Sri Maha Vishnu reclining on the huge serpent bed of Adisesha in the milky ocean is a divine sight to behold. Reaching the Vaikunta Lokam and clinging on to His lotus feet is the ultimate goal and purpose of one’s life.
Vaikunta Ekadasi’ is one such divine opportunity to achieve this goal. The day, which is most revered among several significant events in a Hindu calendar year, plays a very important role in letting every individual ascend the path of liberation. Of the 24 Ekadasis witnessed in a year, this Ekadasi observed in ‘Shukla Paksha’ in the Dhanurmasam (falling in the months of Margasira/Pushya)is called ‘Vaikunta Ekadasi’. This is also called ‘Mukkoti Ekadasi’.
According to mythology, it is on this day that the celestial beings led by Brahma rushed to Vaikunta and pleaded with Maha Vishnu to save them from the demonic acts of Ravana. It is on this occasion that Maha Vishnu made an appearance before the crores of residents of Devaloka and assured them help. This shows that the God, who is full of mercy towards His devotees, offers unconditional support to alleviate their problems.
Another reference pertains to the slaying of the twin-demons ‘Madhukaitaba’ by Maha Vishnu. After they were killed, the demons attained a divine form and appealed to the God to offer liberation to all those performing ‘Ekadasi Puja’ and approaching Him through the northern entrance (Uttara Dwaram) on this day. God, who is synonymous to kindness, readily accepted the proposal and gave the word ‘Thathasthu’. Hence this day ‘Vaikunta Ekadasi’ came to be known as the golden moment for every devotee wishing to avoid rebirth and attain salvation.
The day is generally known for fasting and staying awake. The devout all over the world attach utmost significance to undertaking fast on this day and pray to the Almighty for liberation. In the real sense, undertaking fast does not only mean staying away from food and enduring hunger and sleep. The inherent meaning is to keep away from worldly pleasures and mundane activities by chanting ‘Hari Nama’ to stay connected with the power within.
Not only humans, even the Devas and Asuras observed fast on this auspicious day before churning the milky ocean. It was then their ‘Ksheera Sagara Mathanam’ led to the appearance of Goddess Mahalakshmi from the ocean to bless them.
An interesting tale associated with the day is the appearance of ‘Ekadasi Devi’. Once upon a time in Krutha Yuga, a demon called ‘Murasura’ defeated the Devas and tortured them. Upon the request of Devas, Sri Maha Vishnu entered the battlefield, fought with him for a thousand years and got thoroughly exhausted. On an Ekadasi day, he entered a cave and slept inside due to fatigue. Coming to know of Maha Vishnu’s location, Murasura rushed to the spot to kill him. It was then that a divine beam of light came out of Maha Vishnu’s body and attained the shape of a young girl, armed with an array of lethal weapons. When Murasura reached the spot, the protective girl killed the demon. On waking up, Vishnu found the demon dead and offered a boon to the girl.
As she came out of the Lord’s body on ‘Ekadasi’ Day, she is called ‘Ekadasi Devi’. She requested Him to grant the boon of salvation to all those praying to her on this sacred day. Since then, those praying to ‘Ekadasi Devi’ are assured of a place in Vishnu Lokam.
Also Read Vaikunta Ekadasi At Tirumala