Ekadashi is an auspicious tithi associated with Bhagwan Sri Hari Vishnu. There are two Ekadashi tithis every month and the one that falls in the Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) in the Hindu solar month of Dhanur (Marghazi in Tamil) is known as Vaikuntha Ekadashi. Today is also the Margashirsh Shukla Ekadashi which is known as Mokshda Ekadashi.
Since Vaikuntha Ekadashi is fixed on the basis of the solar calendar, it falls either in the month of Margashirsh or Paush of the Hindu Lunar calendar. It is also known as Mukkoti Ekadashi. As the belief is that the doors of Vaikuntha are opened today, those observing the Vaikuntha Ekadashi fast are believed to attain moksha or salvation. By fasting on Vaikunta Ekadashi one is said to obtain the fruits of fasting for 23 Ekadashis.
As per the Padma Purana, a fight had ensued between Bhagwan Vishnu and a demon name Mura. During the course of the battle, Bhagwan is said to have tired out and retired to a cave to take rest. The demon attacked a sleeping Bhagwan Vishnu when Devi emerged from Sri Hari Vishnu’s chest and slayed Mura.
Devi who slew Mura was named Ekadashi by Bhagwan Vishnu who granted Her the boon that those observing a fast on Ekadashi day and worshipping Bhagwan Sir Hari Vishnu on this auspicious day will be blessed with liberation and a place in Vaikuntha.
The doors of Vaikuntha in all Vaishnava Mandirs including the famous Tirumala Tirupati and Sri Rangam, are kept open today. Devotees passing through the Swarga Dwar are said to gain liberation. Besides observing a fast all through the Ekadashi tithi, devotees also stay awake at night doing nama japa and kirtans. Many devotees avoid rice on Vaikuntha Ekadashi due to the belief that the Asura Mura resides in it.
The vrat-Katha of Mokshda Ekadashi as told to Yudishtir by Bhagwan Sri Krishna narrates the tale of Raja Vaikanas who ruled over a kingdom by the name of Champaknagar. Vaikanas was a just and fair ruler who cared for his subjects and treated them as his children. Learned scholars having knowledge of all the four Vedas resided in his kingdom and were patronized by him.
Once he had a nightmare where he saw his ancestors suffering in hell. He then approached the Brahmins asking them for a solution to free his ancestors from their pain and suffering. They directed him to the ashram of a rishi who could help him as the rishi was a very knowledgeable person.
The king reached the rishi’s ashram and narrated his problem. He told him about the nightmare where he saw his ancestors suffering in hell and asked the Rishi for a solution. After hearing the king out patiently the rishi replied “O king, if you observe fast and pray to Bhagwan Sri Hari Vishnu on the Ekadashi day that falls in the Shukla paksha of the month of Margashirsh, your ancestors will be liberated”.
The king did as he was told and the souls of his ancestors were released from hell and obtained liberation. Therefore, it is said that those observing a fast on Margashirsh Shukla Paksha Ekadashi will attain a place in heaven and the souls of their ancestors will be liberated concluded Bhagwan Sri Krishna.
Hindu Dharma has many such fascinating tales and the Puranic stories are meant to inspire people to adopt whatever form of worship they can to find relief from the stress of life.
Today is also Srimad Bhagvat Gita Jayanti as it was on this day that Bhagwan Sri Krishna gave the Bhagvat Gita upadesa to Arjuna to solve his dilemma on the Kurukshetra war field. Bhagvat Gita is the foremost Hindu Grantha that answers several questions that plague the human mind.
The eighteen chapters of Srimad Bhagvat Gita is dharma, karma, management lessons, and life lessons all comprised into one grantha. It is one grantha every Hindu must definitely read as also those who intend to make their life better.
Introducing Srimad Bhagvad Gita to children is equally important if not more because, as the wise say, we must catch them young. In keeping with this Samskara Foundation is conducting online Gita sessions for everyone above the age of 6 years for five days. Those interested may attend the sessions (zoom link).
On this auspicious day of Vaikuntha Ekadashi, Mokshda Ekadashi and Srimad Bhagvat Gita Jayanti may Bhagwan Sri Hari Vishnu bless everyone with happiness and good health. The secret to this lies in reading the Bhagvat Gita – a one-stop solution to life’s most complicated issues.
- Vaikuntha Ekadashi (source)
- Padma Purana Story (source)
- Mokshda Ekadashi Katha (source)
- Gita E-booklet (Download here)