His lower right hand represents the revolving or creative tendency. This hand holds conch, symbol of the five elements (panchajanyam). When blown, it produces a sound that is associated with the primeval sound from which creation developed.
His upper right hand represents the cohesive tendency. This holds the discus (sudarshana chakra) or the wheel. This has six spokes and symbolizes six-petalled lotus. It represents the limitless controlling of all the six seasons and is the fearful weapon that severes the head if demons.
The upper left hand represents the tendency towards dispersion and liberation. This holds the lotus, symbol of the causal power of illusion from which the universe rises.This lotus is called Padma. It is the symbol of purity and represents the unfolding of creation.It is the truth from which emerged the rules of conduct and knowledge.
The lower left hand holds Gada ( Mace), the symbol of primeval knowledge . It represents the notion of individual existence. This is named Kaumodaki and is the elemental force from which all physical and mental powers are derived.
Vishnus preserving, restoring and protecting powers have been manifest on earth in a variety of forms called Avatars or incarnations which are ten in number.
In all pictures Vishnu is shown blue-skinned and seen in rich ornaments and regal garments. His consort Lakshmi ( Sri) is the goddess of wealth and fortune. His place of abode is known as Vaikunta and his vehicle is Garuda, a giant-sized eagle, which is often shown as a winged, human-shaped figure having a beak-like nose. He is the infinite ocean from which the world emerges. Hence his symbol is water (Nara) and he himself is called Narayana- the one who dwells upon the waters.
Thus, Lord Vishnu has
First His formless aspect as the supreme
His cosmic form as the Creator and Sustainer of the world
His third aspect is as a particular incarnation
and, fourthly, His form, as chosen by the devotee for worship.
"ekadasi vrata samam vrata nasti jagattrayeanicchaya'pi yat krtva gatir evam vidha'vayoh ekadasi vratam ye tu bhakti bhavena kurvate na jane kim bhavet tesam vasudeva anukampaya",
Which translates as:
In the three worlds, there is no kind of fasting which is even comparable to the Ekadasi fast. Even if one performs this fast without a proper attitude, he achieves the Supreme Abode. If one fasts on Ekadasi day, with full devotion, what happens to him by the mercy of the Supreme Lord, I cannot say (the merit he achieves cannot be described).
In Brahma-vaivarta Purana it is said that one who observes fasting on Ekadasi is freed from all kinds of reactions to sinful activities and advances in spiritual life. The basic principle is not just to fast, but to increase one's faith and love for Govinda,Krishna. The real reason of observing fast is to minimize the demands of the body and to engage our time in the service of the Lord by chanting His holy name etc. The best thing to do on Ekadasis is to remember the pastimes of the Lord and hear His holy name constantly.The Brahma Vaivarta Purana states, "In this world there are only two concreteproceduresfor attaining liberation and atoning for one's sins. These two things are-- fasting on the Ekadasi days and chanting of the names of Supreme Lord Sri Hari."
Of all Ekadasis , The one connected with Dhanur Maasa Sukla Paksha Ekadasi is the most exalted and is known as Sri Vaikunta Ekadasi .There are number of reasons Assoicated with the special significance of this Ekadasi:
According to Padma Purana, the female energy of Lord Vishnu killed demon Muran in the form of a damsel named Ekadashi to protect Devas. This occurred during the month of Marghazhi (Margashira or Margashirsha) (mid December mid January). Hence anyone who worships Lord Vishnu on this Ekadasi day would reach Vaikunth.
Hindu Puranas say that it was on this day that the churning of the ocean occurred and the Amrit (nectar of immortality) emerged out of the ocean and Bhagavan Dhanvanthri appeared thereafter with the Amrutha Kalasam (Nectar Pot) and Was distributed to the Gods. Hindus believe that those who die on this day are freed from the cycle of birth and death and that they would directly reach Vaikunta.
The most exalted of auspiciousness that happened on this day is the appearance of Maha Lakshmi.She appeared with the golden color.
Another importance of Vaikunta Ekadasi is that the Bhagavad Gita Upadesh of Lord Krishna to Arjuna during Kurukshetra War is said to have done on this day.
This day is also observed as The Bhagavad Gita Jayanthi. The Bhagavad Gita (in Sanskrit, "Song of the Lord") is the most famous poem in all of Hindu literature and part of the Mahabharata, the Indian epic masterpeice. The Gita consists of a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Prince Arjuna on the morning of a climactic battle. The main teachings of Bhagavad Gita are it teaches us the theory and values of path towards God. The Bhagavadgita teaches how to escape from this predicament, not by escaping from the burdens of the worldly life, or avoidance of responsibilities.
In his Gitopadesam to Arjuna, Sri Krishna describes the threefold path of austerity and says
Which means one must worship the Supreme Lord, the Brahmans, the spiritual master, and superiors like the father and mother. Cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and nonviolence are also austerities of the body (Bhagvada Geeta 17.14).
Truthful speech, which is not offensive to others and the regular recitation of scriptures, is austerity of speech (Bhagvada Geeta 17.15).
Serenity of thought, compassion, gravity, self-control, purity of purpose, are all austerity of the mind (Bhagvada Geeta 17.16).
This threefold path of austerity, practiced by men whose aim is not to benefit materially but to please the supreme, leads to a nature of goodness. Sri Krishna finally says that penances and austerities which are performed foolishly, by means of obstinate self-torture, or by destroying or injuring others, are the approach of the ignorant. It is also recommended that one must not perform austerities beyond his capabilities, lest the austerities become mechanical or offensive.
Fast has to begin on the previous day - Dasami-restrict yourself to one meal and milk & fruits at night. On Ekadasi, wake up early and after bath, and daily pujas etc, visit the temple to see Swarga Vathal. Avoid rice & urad dhal that day in the lunch (if at all you cannot manage without eating anything, have milk, fruits, coconut water etc.
On this auspicious day let us pray Vishnur He who pervades every thing , for whom the sacrificial versus are uttered in the yagyas, the one who is the master and beyondthe past, present and the future.The creator and destroyer of all existences in the universe.One who supports or sustains or governs the universe.Pure existence.The essence of all beings.He who originates and develops all Elements.
Yatra Yogeshwarah Krishno, Yatra Partho Dhanurdhara:
Tatra Shreer Vijayo Bhooti:, Dhruvaa Neetir Matir Mama. "
Where there is Yogeshwar Krishna and Dhanurdhar Arjuna,
there exists prosperity, success and justice.
Aano bhadra krtavo yantu vishwatah.(- RIG VEDA)
"Let noble thoughts come to me from all directions"
Miss.Shaija Vallikatri Bhaskaran
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