Vaikuntha Ekadashi, also known as Mokshada Ekadashi, holds profound significance in the hearts of millions of devotees across the globe. Falling on December 22nd and 23rd, 2023, this sacred Hindu festival marks the opening of the Vaikunta Dwaram, the gateway to Lord Vishnu’s heavenly abode. Ekadashi Tithi for this celestial event begins at 08:16 AM on Dec 22, 2023, and concludes at 07:11 AM on Dec 23, 2023. Let us delve into the spiritual essence of Vaikuntha Ekadashi and explore the customs and rituals that make this day so special.
Overview of Vaikuntha Ekadashi
Vaikuntha Ekadashi falls during the auspicious Dhanurmasam, observed in the Margali Month as per the Tamil Calendar. This sacred day is dedicated to Bhagvan Srihari Vishnu and is celebrated with great fervor by Vaishnavites, particularly in South India. The festival is renowned for its significant observances, including fasting, night vigil, and the symbolic passage through the Vaikunta Dwaram.
Significance of Fasting
The spiritual journey of Vaikuntha Ekadashi begins with the observance of Ekabhuktam on Dasami, where devotees take food only once. On Ekadashi, a rigorous fast is observed, symbolizing control over the senses and purification of the body and mind. For those unable to observe a complete fast, a partial fast is recommended, allowing the consumption of water, milk, and fruits. This austereness is believed to bring devotees closer to the divine.
Vaikuntha Ekadashi is celebrated with grandeur in temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu, such as Tirupati Balaji Temple, Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple, and Bhadrachalam Sita Ramachandra Swamy Temple. The highlight of the day is the opening of the Vaikunta Dwaram, a door leading to the heavenly abode of Vishnu. Devotees line up to pass through this symbolic gate, seeking divine blessings and spiritual elevation.
Vaikuntha Ekadashi in 108 Divya Desams
All the 108 Divya Desams, sacred temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu, actively participate in the celebration of Vaikuntha Ekadashi. Lord Vishnu adorns a diamond-studded armor, and the Northern gate of the temple, representing the entrance to Vaikunta, is kept open. The Utsava idol, known as ‘Namperumal,’ is paraded through the Paramapada Vasal, the gateway to heaven.
The Opening of Vaikunta Dwaram
The most significant ritual of the day is the opening of the Vaikunta Dwaram, the gateway to heaven, in Vishnu Temples. Devotees believe that passing through this gate on Vaikuntha Ekadashi ensures a path to the divine abode. The ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ is a passage encircling the innermost sanctum of the Lord, and its opening symbolizes the gates of heaven unfolding for devotees.
Vaikuntha Ekadashi and Charity
Beyond the rituals and observances, Vaikuntha Ekadashi emphasizes the importance of charity and selfless service. This sacred day provides a unique opportunity for devotees to extend their hands towards those in need. Considering the spirit of the festival, contributing to charitable causes, and helping the less fortunate can add a layer of divine grace to one’s spiritual journey.
Spread the light of compassion and charity…
Vaikuntha Ekadashi or Mokshada Ekadashi, the auspicious day dedicated to Lord Srihari Vishnu, is a spiritual odyssey that transcends the material realm. As we celebrate this divine festival on December 22nd and 23rd, 2023, let us embrace the customs, rituals, and spirit of charity associated with Vaikuntha Ekadashi. May this sacred occasion bring peace, prosperity, and spiritual enlightenment to all devotees, unlocking the gates to the heavenly abode of Lord Vishnu.
In the spirit of Vaikuntha Ekadashi, let us not only seek divine blessings but also spread the light of compassion and charity, making a positive impact on the lives of those in need.