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|Goddess Hemavati kills demon Muran. gayathrifoodbytes.blogspot.com|
To understand the origin of Vaikuntha Ekadashi, we have to turn the pages of Padma Purana. The legend has it that Devas (celestial), having fed up with the atrocities and tyranny of demon Muran', sought the help of Trinity God Shiva, who advised them to approach another Trinity God Sri Vishnu. Being sympathetic to their pain and suffering, Sri Vishnu declared war on the demon, When the war was on, Sri Vishnu realized he was facing a powerful and ferocious warrior and his weapons were not enough to defeat demon Muran. Sri Vishnu retired to a cave of goddess Haimavati in Badarikashrama for rest and to come up with a powerful weapon to slay the demon. Realizing the impending danger to his life, demon Muran followed Sri Vishnu to the cave to kill the lord. No sooner had Muran tried to slay the lord, who was fast asleep, than the female power emerged from Vishnu and burned Muran to ashes with her fiery look. When Vishnu woke
up he realized that he had been saved by the female power. Pleased as he was, with her timely action, he named the goddess'Ekadashi' and asked her what she wanted. Upon which she requested the lord that people who observed a fast on that day should be freed of their sins. Vishnu thus declared that people who observed a fast on the Ekadashi day and worshipped the goddess, would attain Vaikuntham - the abode of God Vishnu (salvation; free from the cycles of birth and death). This way the first Ekadashi-Dhanurmasa Shukla Paksha Ekadashi came into being.
Here, if you go to the bottom of this mythology, you will realize what the lord of the world is trying to portray to humans in all Yagas by his divine acts. The god subtly conveys the demon Muran stands for the Rajasic and Tamasic qualities- all bad qualities
lust, passion, arrogance, evil mindedness, abuse of power, etc.These bad qualities will ultimately take him to the path of annihilation. Ultimately, no purpose is served. Satva is the most indispensable one for attaining moksha and this can only be archived if one gets rid of Rajasic and Tamasic qualities - all bad traits in us that will, one stage, take us to abysmal depth from which redemption is impossible. Purity of mind and action is to be inculcated that will take us to the path of self-realization. Fasting, keeping awake whole night, meditating on God or engaging in Bhajans, etc., will balance our wavering mind and put a strong hold on it. This way you can concentrate on your family duties by being detached from those transient worldly, materialistic pleasures. At the same time you should chase your goals and aspirations in your life without having to deviate from Dharmic path.
Vaikuntha Ekadashi fasting, keeping vigil whole night, meditation, special prayers are essential for our mental well being to improve concentration and focus. Fasting here implies just taking only lunch. Visiting the Vishnu temple in the wee hours of the morning on the Ekadashi day has been vogue for centuries. Taking the Prathakshana path and going through the Vaikuntha Vassal (paramapada Vassal) in the temple is done by devotees. At Srirangam Ranganathar temple, a few lakhs devotees, on this auspicious day, walk through the paramapada vassal with religious fervor strong faith that the almighty will absolve them of their sins, guide them in th right direction here on and ultimately give them a place under his divine shadow in his abode upon leaving this mortal body.