Monday, January 20, 2020

Lord Ranganatha passes through Vaikuntha Dwar on Vaikuntha Ekadashi

Vaikuntha Dwar opens once a year only on Vaikuntha Ekadashi

10-day Vaikuntha Utsava at Rang Ji Temple begins on Vaikuntha Ekadashi

The presiding deity of the famous and one of the biggest Temples of North India Rang Ji Temple in Vrindavan, Lord Ranganatha and Goda Amma started their journey to the Vaikuntha Dwar early in the morning on the auspicious day of Vaikuntha Ekadashi. Vaikuntha Ekadashi also marks the beginning of the 10-day Vaikuntha Utsava that is celebrated only at a few temples throughout India. In South India Vaikuntha Utsava is celebrated with much pomp at temples belong to Sri Sampradaya, especially, at the famous Ranganathaswamy Temple of Srirangam, but in North India, the festival is celebrated only at the Rang Ji Temple in Vrindavan. Vaikuntha Utsava is one of the biggest events that Rang Ji Temple conducts in a calendar year. Other important events at Rang Ji Temple are Vivahotsava and Brahmotsava.

Vaikuntha Dwar

On the day of Vaikuntha Ekadashi, Lord Goda-Rangamannar leaves the Garbhagriha in a golden Rath to reach the Vaikuntha Dwar. Here, with Vedic Mantrochhara priests conduct Puja of Lord Ranganatha, Goda Amma, Ramanuja Swami, Shathkopa Swami, Nath Muni Swami, Madhur Kavi Swami and other Alwar saints. After resting for half an hour at the Vaikuntha Dwar, Lord Ranganatha passes through the Vaikuntha Dwar seated in a gold chariot with his divine consort Goda Amma. Thousands of devotees while chanting the name of Lord Ranganatha follow the golden chariot through the Vaikuntha Dwar and reach Vaikuntha Mandapam situated at the Paundanatha Temple where Lord Ranganatha is rested for Darshan. At the Vaikuntha Mandapam, thousands of devotees who arrived at the temple early morning in the chilling winter of January get benefitted from the Darshan of their beloved Lord Ranganatha.

The legend behind the celebration of Vaikuntha Utsava is associated with Saint Shathkopa and Lord Vishnu. Shathkopa also known as Nammazhvar in South India was the greatest devotee of Lord Vishnu and one of the 12 Alwars. Lord Vishnu seeing Shathkopa’s devotion wanted to take him to Vaikuntha Dham. But, other saints such as Madhur Kavi and Nath Muni Swami wanted Shathkopa to stay in the mortal world for the benefit of humanity. Shathkopa Swami also wanted to hear various Rama Leela and Krishna Leela from Lord Vishnu Himself. Thus, Lord Vishnu granted him 10 more days to live on Earth and then took him to Vaikuntha. Following this, the tradition of celebrating Vaikuntha Utsava began in the temples of Sri Sampradaya.

Idols of Shathkopa Swami, Nath Muni Swami and Madhur Kavi Swami during the Vaikuntha Utsava

Vaikuntha Ekadashi falls during Dhanur solar month in Hindu calendar. Dhanur month or Dhanurmasa is known as Margazhi month in Tamil Calendar. Vaikuntha Ekadashi is Shukla Paksha Ekadashi out of two Krishna Paksha and Shukla Paksha Ekadashis in a month. Vaikuntha Ekadashi is observed according to Solar Calendar and because of that it might fall either in Margashirsha or in Pausha month in Hindu Lunar calendar. In Gregorian calendar there might be none, one or two Vaikuntha Ekadashis in a year.
Benefits - Vaikuntha Ekadashi is also known as Mukkoti Ekadashi. It is believed that Vaikuntha Dwaram or the gate of Lord's inner sanctum is opened on this day and devotees who observe fast on Vaikuntha Ekadashi attain salvation by going to Heaven.
Vaikuntha Ekadashi is very important day for Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati and Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam. Vaikuntha Ekadashi is known as Swarga Vathil Ekadashi in Malayalam Calendar followed by people of Kerala.


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