Today ~ 5th day of Margazhi; 21st day of December is of supreme significance as today is “Vaikunda Ekadasi”. 1st of Jan by Gregorian calendar heralds the New Year and for Sri Vaishnavaites it was a day to remember as it was Vaikunda Ekadasi ~ yes, in 2015 we have 2 Vaikunda Ekadasis.
At the Bhooloka Vaikundam of Srirangam Divyadesam, it begins from Suklapaksha Ekadasi and celebrated for 23 days whence Namperumal listens to the vedas and Nammazhvar's Thiruvaimozhi as rendered by the Araiyars. The festival is divided into two parts, ten days before Vaikunda Ekadasi known as Pagalpathu and 10 days from today, known as Raapathu. The Vaikunta Ekadasi festival is an occasion when the Paramapada vaasal is opened for devotees. Paramapada Vasal, colloquially Sorga vaasal is the Gateway to Heaven.
Paramapada vasal at Thiruvarangam
The divine Thirumamani mandapam is representative of the abode of Sriman Maha Vishnu, the “Sri Vaikuntam” itself. For Sri Vaishanavaites, the ultimate in life is attainment of moksha [salvation] by reaching Vaikuntam, the ultimate destination, the abode of Lord Himself. This is The place of no return and the human soul is free from the ills of the World and gets the supreme opportunity of nithya kainkaryam [daily service] to Lord.
At Thiruvallikkeni, with Swami Nammalwar waiting, the Presiding Deity Sri Parthasarathi Swami @ around 4.15 am entered the Paramapada vassal to the great delight of hundreds of devotees waiting to have the glimpse. As Perumal entered – Veda vinnappam, Thirupallandu, Kanninun Sirumthambu and the 1st pasuram of Thiruvaimozhi were rendered by the Adhyapaka goshti. From today, the Vaikunda vasal will be kept open till 30th Dec 2015. Today, it will remain throughout and in other days in the evening. Similar would be celebrations in most divyadesams and Vishnu temples. The 10 days starting from Vaikunda Ekadasi are celebrated as “Iraapathu uthsavam” in which the hymns of Sri Nammazhwar (Thiruvoimozhi) are chanted. This religious order was given to us by Thirumangai Azhwar. Later Acharyan Nathamuni introduced festival of 10 days preceding the Vaikunda Ekadasi, known as Pagal pathu when Nalayira divyaprabandham (pasurams of Muthalayiram and Thirumangai mannanin Thirumozhi) are recited.
Thousands of people throng the temple today to have darshan of Sri Venkata Krishnar in muthangi and Sri Parthasarathi embellished with so many jewels. Devotees feel enlightened and blessed, when they cross the entrance - Vaikunda door ~ the paramapada vasal. Here are some photos of the special occasion. Devotees can have darshan of Sri Parthasarathi at Thiruvoimozhi mandapam in the Vimanam throughout today.
திருவல்லிக்கேணி வாருங்கள் ! ஸ்ரீ பார்த்தசாரதி பாதம் பணியுங்கள் !!
21st Dec 2o15.