Sri Ranganatha on Vaikunta Ekadasi
Today is the auspicious occasion of Sri Vaikunta ekadasi. This day is the birth of the ekadasi tradition. According to the Padma Purana, Lord Vishnu battled the Mura demon for a long time. The Lord took rest during the battle, and Mura, thinking that this was his chance to vanquish the Lord, attacked Him. From the Lord’s transcendental form emerged a goddess, resplendant, with eight arms brandishing various weapons. She battled and killed Mura. The Lord awoke from His nidra, and asked the goddess who she was. She said that her name was Ekadasi. She desired the benediction that those who would fast on the occasion of her appearance would be free from sinful reactions, and would attain devotion to Lord Vishnu. The Lord granted her desire, and to this day, 24 ekadasis are celebrated throughout the year.
Vaikunta Ekadasi in Sri Rangam
Today’s ekadasi is not only special as it is the day the ekadasi fast came into existance, but it is also the day when the doors to Vaikunta are believed to open. Those who fast on this day, and visit a temple a Vishnu are assured a place in Vaikunta, free from future rebirths. This ekadasi is celebrated most notably in Sri Rangam. Lord Ranganatha is processed in a palanquin in the early hours of the morning, through the Vaikunta dwara (a door in the temple kept close throughout the year, and opened on this one day). Throngs of devotees, priests, policemen, and the media follow the Lord through the doors of the Vaikunta dwara (watch the short video clip below).
Translation of Paasuram #25 by M.K. Srinivasan:
Oh Lord (nedumaal), who was born (piRandhu) one (Or) night (iravu) as a son (magan) of one lady (oruththi) and grew up (vaLara) hiding (oLiththu) as the son (magan) of one other lady (oruththi); You made the idea (karuththu) of Kamsa (kanchan), who could not withstand (tharikkilaan aagi) you and thought of (ninaindha) harming (theengu) you (thaam), useless (pizhaipiththu) and stood (ninRa) like a fire (neruppenna) in his belly (vayitril). We have come (vandhOm) with a vital desire (aruththi, arundhu = drink, absorb) towards you (unnai). If you emancipate us (paRai tharudhiyaagil), we will be free of (theerndhu) our sorrows (varuththam) and we (yaam) will happily (magizhndhu) sing (paadi) about your service (sEvagam) and about the beauty (selvam) of your suitable (thakka) match Lakshmi (thiru).
The essence of Paasuram #25 according to Sri Mukkur Azhagiyasingar:
This paasuram asks us to consider “VaasudEva: Sarvam” and “ninrathellAm nedumAl,” to deeply identify all chetanas and achetanas as Bhagavan’s sareeram. It asks us to wonder where the Lord is hiding and how He tests us from there. To cope with these anxieties, we should consider Vasudeva as everything, and achieve peace of mind.