Note: All ceremonies are free to attend.
Contributions are optional, and help cover Temple expenses.
Panditji reads contributors’ names as part of the ceremony.
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According to scripture, Vaikunta Ekadashi is the day that Lord Krishna manifested his viswarupa (divine universal form with a body that contained the total universe), and explained the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna.
On this day, the Ksheerasagara Manthana (churning of the ocean of milk) took place, providing the nectar of immortality and amrita that was distributed to the gods. This divine event can be interpreted in the following manner: The ocean of milk is our ocean of being, the depth of who we are, filled with sattvic tendencies (kindness, purity, and goodness). However, in all of us, there exist both types of inclinations: good (e.g., devas, our divinity) and bad (e.g., asuras, demons, our identities). Only our inner churning process gives us the amrita or nectar of immortality.
Vaikunta Ekadashi occurs in Dhanurmasa, the Vedic month that falls from mid-December to mid-January. "Ekadashi" means eleventh. The night before the 11th day of the Vedic month is called Ekadashi. On this most significant and auspicious day, Lord Vishnu will enter into the gateway of salvation at Vishnu temples.
There are many reasons to celebrate Vaikunta Ekadashi in the Padma Purana. A demon named Muran lived in the Krita Yuga. He obtained superpowers and started harassing devas and mortals. The devas prayed to Lord Vishnu and sought his help. The female energy of Lord Vishnu (Ekadashi) slayed the demon, Muran, and protected the devas and human beings. Impressed by this act, Lord Vishnu gave the boon that those who worship Ekadashi on the day of her victory over Muran will reach Vaikunth (the place where Vishnu lives – the moksha place).
From this story, the demon Muran stands for the rajasic (agitated) and tamasic (promoting darkness and destruction) qualities in people – lust, inertia, arrogance, hot temper, etc. When one conquers these tendencies, one attains the purity of mind, sattva, essential for attaining moksha, liberation, or realization of the Self. Pure awareness and purity of mind is required to realize the Self. On Ekadashi, if we worship Lord Vishnu, we gain the support to reach our ultimate destination, moksha.