Vaikunta ekadasi is considered as most auspicious of all the ekadasis. It is said that the gates of Vaikunta open on that day. One who fasts on the day of Vaikunta ekadasi will reach Vaikunta - the abode of Lord Narayana. Let us understand the spiritual significance of the festival.
Fasting and Ekadasi
Fasting is considered as one of the best spiritual practices. Periodic fasting helps one to overcome the deeprouted impressions (vasanas) for food and also cleanses the body. Ekadasi stands for eka-dasi (one direction). 10 sense organs which are outwardly directed towards food are directed with one pointed focus towards Self - Atman.
Vaikunta stands for Vai+kunta which means where there is no deficiency (kunta). The ego self "i" suffers from a feeling of deficiency. Because of identification of infinite self with limited body mind complex, the ego self always feels lacking. When the ego self drops in total surrender to the Lord, we attain Vaikunta - deep bliss and peace of the Spirit - Atman. Vaikunta Ekadasi is the fasting done for attaining liberation from the ego self.
Vaikunta is our Real Home
The place we are at rest is called home. Place where we are comfortable and peaceful. This is our inner Self - Atman. When the mind drops ego sense and rests in Atman, we have reached our home.
Gates of Vaikunta
It is said that on the day of Vaikunta Ekadasi, gates of Vaikunta open. On the day of Vaikunta ekadasi, Lord Shri Krishna taught Bhagavadgita. Eighteen chapters of Bhagavadgita present the moksha shastra - secrets of Liberation. Through the path of Jnana, Bhakti and Karma, one reaches liberration. Bhagavadgita is the key to open the locks of gates of Vaikunta. Study of Bhagavadgita, teaching of Bhagavadgita, practicing Bhagavadgita opens the Gate of Vaikunta.
On the day of the Vaikunta ekadasi, devatas and asuras churned milky ocean. Milky ocean represents the satvik mind. Devatas and asuras represent the positive and negative thoughts.
Churning produces the halahala - poison of deep routed samskaras and vasanas in us. Many powers of the mind - siddhis manifest represented by jewels coming out of Milky ocean, Dhanvantari -Divine doctor appearing (representing the healing abilities of sadhak),
and Mahalaxmi (representing Divine qualities - shat sampatti) appearing. Finally, amrita - nectar appears. Nectar of wisdom. Nectar of enlightenment. Nectar of liberation. This is the day Shiva drank poison and hence ekadasi is also called nanjunda ekadasi. Shiva represents - adi Guru. Sadguru who drinks the poison of the samskara and vasanas of the student.
Ekadasi - Energy of Lord Vishnu
As per Pdma Purana, Shri Vishnu was fighting with a demon Muran. Energy from Shri Vishnu in the form Ekadashi maiden kills Muran. Shri Vishnu gives the boon to Ekadashi - whoever fasts on that day gets liberated. Muran represents our "ego self" which fights with the world - embodiment of cosmic form of Lord Vishnu. Ekadashi - one pointedness which is energy of Lord kills the ego - bestowing liberation.