|Soorga vaasal, Sriangam temple, TN Triposo|
The area around the garbagraha / Srikovil (Sanctum) is referred to as Vaikuntha Vaasal and devotees walk through the vaassal (gate) to gain entry into the temple to seek Lord Vishnu's blessing.
The Ekadashi festival has links with two Asuras - demons who received a boon from Lord Vishu according to which
whoever patiently listens to their story with true devotion and sees the image of Vishnu emerging out of the door ( Dwar), called Vaikunth Dwar (in Tamil Soorga Vaasal or Paramapada Vaasal), for him the gate of Vaikuntam (heaven) will remain always open. This is the reason why at many Vishnu Temples there is door called Paramapada vaasal through which people are allowed to pass through so that they will be blessed by the God almighty. In some Vishnu temples where there is no Paramapa Vaasal, they jerry-build a Soorga Vaasal temporarely for the benefit of the devotees.
|Srirangam Temple GopuramWikipedia|
This popular temple festival brings out the three qualities of a human mind and they are: Rajas, Tamas and Satva as revealed by Sri Krishna to Arjuna on the battle ground at Kurushetra. People regardless of race, origin and country have one of these mind sets or a combination of two qualities. People with Rajasic mind experiences both good and bad qualities. In this case undharmic mind overpowers the dharmic mind. - (a mix of both bad and
good qualities - tamasic and satva; example Ravana and Duriyodana) and Tamasic mind is mostly confined to adharmic mind dominated by lust, arrogance, selfishness. They are mostly cunning, ignoble and unscrupulous. (example; Sahuni of Mahabharata). Satva is confined to dhamic mind, no deviation from rightneousness and people with satvic mind use discretion and act according to their conscience (example: Sri Rama). The demon Muran is a god example of Rajasic mind, a combination of both Rajas and Tamas. When one conquers the mind and attains self realization, one will come closer to God. The advantage of fasting is people can keep a distance from unwanted thoughts which could be triggered by consuming certain foods. Japa and prayer at night merge the mind with the self. This will instil confidence in us and will help us get rid of negative thoughts that may hamper our progress.
Vaikunta Ekadashi is celebrated on a gand scale at Srirangam Rnganathar temple, near Tiruchirapalli city, Tamil Nadu where the celebrations are held for 20 days. At Tirupati, Andhra, on the Ekadashi day, there will be unusual crowd to seek the Lord's blessings. It is celebrated with devotion at temples like Sri Villiputhur, Saragapani temple, Kumbakonam and Triplicane Parthasarathi temple, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and at Vishnu temples in Melcote, Mandya district, Karnataka and other places.