How to observe Vaikunta Ekadasi? - Vaikunda Ekadashi fasting

Vaikunta Ekadashi, or Mukkoti Ekadasi, is the most important of the twenty four Ekadashi observances in South India. Fasting and all night prayer dedicated to Lord Vishnu is the main observance of the day. It is believed that venerating Lord Vishnu on Vaikunda Ekadasi will help to free soul from cycles of rebirth and grant moksha. Another important belief is that Vaikunta Dwara, the doors of heaven, will open on this day and give easy access to Lord Vishnu.

Those visiting Vishnu Temples like Tirupati or Srirangam on Vaikunta Ekadashi can pass through the Vaikunta Dwara, the door through the inner most sanctum sanctorum. In South India, Vaikunta Ekadashi is also known as Mokshada Ekadasi. In 2015, Vaikunta Ekadasi is on January 1.

How to observe Vaikunta Ekadasi?
Vaikunta Ekadashi falls on the eleventh day in Margazhi Shukla Paksha in Tamil Calendar and in Telugu Calendar the same period is Pushya Shukla Paksha.

Things needed for Puja and Prayer
  • A picture or photo or idol of Lord Vishnu
  • Fruits
  • Tulsi leaves
  • Betel leaves (optional)
  • Betel nuts (optional)
  • Yellow bananas
  • Unbroken coconut (optional)
Observance
  • Wake up early in the morning. Take bath and offer prayers.
  • You can perform a simple puja to Lord Vishnu at home by offering fruits and Tulsi leaves.
  • You can just light the lamp and prayer or meditate for few minutes – or the normal ritual you do daily. Only difference is that today it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
  • If there is a Vishnu temple nearby visit the temple and witness morning pujas and rituals.
  • Complete fast or upavasam on the day is the main observance.
Fasting
Fasting for 24 hours. It is believed that a partial or total abstinence from food on Ekadasi is rewarded with bliss.
If you have any health problem or are taking medicines, please consult your doctor before deciding on fasting. You can also opt for a partial fast by avoiding food made of rice.
Do not eat food made from rice on Ekadashi.

Evening Prayers
  • Take a bath in the evening.
  • Repeat the morning puja to Vishnu
  • Visit Vishnu temple and witness the evening puja and rituals.
Prayers for Vaikunta Ekadasi
  • Vishnu Ashotharam
  • Vishnu Sahasranamam
  • Or Simple Chanting of – Om Namo Narayana
No Sleep
Staunch devotees who observe Vaikunta Ekadasi fasting do not sleep on the day. They spend the whole night at Vishnu temples or by singing prayers or listening stories dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Next Day Morning
The fast is broken on the next day (Dwadashi) after taking bath. Offer prayers to Lord Vishnu by lighting a lamp and then you can break the fast.

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