You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1997

vaikuntha ekadashi

From: Parimala Rangarajan Ranga 61-8-899 96674 (prangara_at_dme.nt.gov.au)
Date: Tue May 27 1997 - 10:16:32 PDT

Martin's Qn regarding Vaikutha Ekadashi:

As I understand, every Vaishnavaite temple has a door that faces the cardinal
North, considered to be the "Swarga Vaasal" -- the doors of heaven. On the 
day of Vaikuntha Ekadashi, the lord is usually placed at this entrance, and at
a auspicious moment, in the wee hours of the morning, the Doors of Heaven are 
opened and the devotees have darshan of the lord, usually in Garuda Sevai, as 
though in heaven. If the presiding deity of the temple is Vaikunthanathar, then a elaborate Garuda Sevai is conducted in the temple.

Philosophically, I believe that the Vaikuntha Ekadashi is an annual day of
penitence, where the devotee seeks forgiveness of the Lord for all his 
misconduct and holds a fast through the day.

Fasting seems to be a part of most religions. The periods of Lent, Ramaadaan 
are good examples of this in non-Hindu traditions. Yoga also prescribes regular 
fasting for the upkeep of the alimentary system.

The ekadashi fast is well worth the dwadashi feast that follows. The various
dishes prepared, which I remember from my Great-Grandmothers' culinary expertise
is simply mouth watering. The simple "shundakkai" with rice is glorious. And
the "pulli kirrai" with "kalli" is also great. 


On a different note, replying to Sri Mohan's reply on Sampradayam:

I like Sri Mohan's views but on the matter of the importance and poignance of 
Samasrayanam I would like to say that:

Although I agree that tradition is a part of religion, I disagree that it is 
the means to realisation. 

I understand that the karma yoga that Krishna extols in the Geeta is 
achieved by good deeds done by anyone, initiated or un-initiated. 

And the famous quote that "Nara seva is Narayana seva" requires only simple
acts of compassion and love. 

One may argue that what happens to identity. Well, Whats in a name? Why do 
we need to be recognised as a Sri Vaishnavaite, if our acts do not reveal
any duty of care towards humanity?

Culture and tradition have been entwined for years. The former should be 
dynamic and should receive impetus from the latter.

We need to rationalise these traditions. We have to read the fine print in our 
scriptures. 

I'm not saying that what our elders are doing or saying is wrong, all I am 
saying is that following a tradition blindly is not what Hinduism is about. We 
have to look beyond the strict adherence to sampradayam and see what we can do 
to elevate ourselves by our kind actions.

Sadly, what I have noted of sapradayam is that it immediately creates a 
barricade between us and "them" and then we are seen to be snobbish and 
isolatory. We have to be inclusive and not exclusive. 

I hope I am not hurting anyone who is a strict follower of sampradayam. All I'm
trying to do is to look beyond sampradayam and use sampradayam as a tool 
rather than a goal.

Regards,
Ranga