Vaikunda Ekadasi, the most holy day of supreme significance for all Sri Vaishnavaites, was celebrated in a grand manner at various thirukkoils including Sri Parthasarathy Thirukkoil, Tiruvallikeni.
In the year 2012, we have two Vaikunda Ekadasis ~ last year it was on January 5th 2012 and now it is on December 24th 2012. 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 known as Sorga vaasal is the Gateway to Heaven. At Bhooloka Vaikundam of Thiruvarangam, Lord NamPerumal enters the Thirumamani mandapam [Paramapatham] through the Vaikunta Dwaram, the Paramapatha vasal. 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, as also in most divyadesams, the Presiding Deity would enter through the Paramapada vasal in the morning and in the evening in the subsequent nine days. The 10 days starting from Vaikunda Ekadasi are celebrated as “Iraapathu uthsavam” in which the hymns of Sri Nammazhwar (Thiruvoimozhi) are chanted. This religious system is believed to have been started 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 thronged the temple to have darshan of Sri Venkada Krishnar and Sri Parthasarathi. Devotees feel enlightened and blessed, when they cross the entrance – Vaikunda door ~ the paramapada vasal ` the sorga vasal’. Yesterday morning around 0430 am Lord Sri Parthasarathi had purappadu inside the temple and with Sri Nammalwar welcoming from the other side, entered the Paramapada vasal.
Yesterday morning, at Sri Parthasarathi Swami Temple at Thiruvallikkeni, Chief Minister of Tamilnadu Ms J Jayalalithaa had darshan of Lord Parthasarathi at the paramapada vasal.
The following are some of the photographs taken during the utsavam yesterday…
For related video, please visit http://anudinam.org/2012/12/24/vaikunda-ekadesi-at-tiruvallikkeni-and-srirangam/
Write-up and Photo Courtesy: Sri S. Sampathkumar
Photo Courtesy: Sri Kasthuri Rangan