The lord on the day of Shukla Margazhi Ekadasi day opens the door to Vaikunta and anyone who enters the entrance of Vaikunta [Vaikunta Vasal, Uttara Dwaram], on this day is said to reach Vaikunta and be in the lord’s company. Since Vaikunta Ekadasi falls in the Hindu calendar of Maargazhi, the Uttara Dwaram in all Sri Vaishnavite temples is open before daybreak. The lord in Srirangam dresses up as Mohini Devi and goes around the sanctum sanctorum of the divine mother to show that he is indeed more beautiful than the divine mother who never comes out of her sanctorum in Srirangam. She simply disregards the lord who is dressed in the form of Mohini since no one can even dare to compare to the beauty and elan of the divine mother.
Interestingly, it is believed that the lord is the first one to enter the Vaikunta Vasal verily because he always desires to be in the company of his devotees. It is only secondary for the lord to reside in Vaikunta.
Atha vaishnava chiteashu drshtva bhaktim aloukikam
Nijalokam parithyajya bhagavAn bhakthavathsalaha [Srimad Bhagavatha Mahatmyam 4.1]
The Lord comes as Bhakthavatsala, who is verily Muralidhara with a flute wherever he sees his devotees in a divine communion [aloukika bhakti].
Vanamali Ganashyamaa Pitavasa Manoharaha
While the lord desires to be with his devotees who revel in satsang, the human mind wants to be with the lord in a different world.
Andal begins her fasting [pavai nombu]. In her second pasuram – “Vayathu Vazvirgal” she refers to the list of things she would abstain during the fast, ghee, milk, collyrium for eyes, jewelry. She does the Vrata only for 26 days even though she had earlier wanted to do it for the entire Margazhi month and the reason she stopped at 26th day was verily because the lord had already blessed her with his darshan as Manivanna in front of her which is the fruit of fasting; ‘Malae manivanna margazhi ni raduva’.
She prays to the Pavai to bless them with Krishna, the son of Nandagopa as her Prananatha.
She requested the lord to bless with five paraphernalia (conch, flag, canopy, drums and flag) to complete the fasting ritual in a grand manner in her pasuram –
“Palanna vaNnathu un panchajaNniyame
Polvana sangankal poyppadudaiyanave
Salapperum paraiye pallandu isaippare
Kola vilakke kodiye vithaname
Aalin ilaiyaay ! arulelor empavai”
The lord on the 26th day presented himself in front of Andal and wanted to bless her with boons. Since she prays the lord in Srivilliputur, the lord then presented himself as Vadabhatra sayi in Srivilliputur. When Andal prayed to the lord in Srivilliputur, he showed himself as “Aalin ilayai” and on the 27th day the lord showed himself as Giridhari to Andal – “Koodarai Vellum Seer Govindha”.
“Kadaravindena padAravindam mukharavinde viniveshayantam
Vatasya patrasya pute shayanam balam mukundam manasa smarami” [Sri Bala Mukundashtakam]
The next day, Andal praises the lord as the one who unites the ones who cannot be united in a satsang [kudArai vellum Seer GovindA]. From the life-history of Lord Sri Krishna one can perceive that he bestowed his grace on many Asura . In addition to the Asura clan, he also showered his grace on Lord Brahma and Lord Indra. In Brahma Mohana Leela , lord Brahma separated the Gopas from the lord and took them to his abode for an year. When Brahma realized his mistake, he immediately asked for forgiveness from the lord and praised the lord in few verses [stuthi] and he perceived Krishna everywhere as Lord Naryana with four arms. The lord however never turned back to Lord Brahma and went away. However in the case of Govardhana Leela, Lord Indra rained cats and dogs in Gokula for seven days. When Indra realized his mistake and pleaded to the lord for forgiveness the lord turned back to him and said – “may Ate kari maghavan makha bhangO nugrnata
mad anusmrithaye nithyam maTtasyendra shriyA bhrisham” [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.27.15]
If we ponder as to why the responded to Indra while he simply walked away from Brahma, when both of had committed a mistake, Sri Swamiji beautifully shares a precept for this act of the lord.
It is verily because, Brahma when doing the mistake, separated the Gopas from the lord, whereas Indra who also committed a mistake, united the lord with the Gopas and Gopis for seven days by raining cats and dogs. This goes to say that the lord very much likes to be with his devotees all the time. All the Gopas and Gopis were under one roof for seven days and Indra helped him accomplish this and hence the lord was very happy with him.
So Andal in her pasuram says – “[kudArai vellum Seer GovindA]. Here in her pasuram she refers to the satsang that the lord bestowed to the Gopas and Gopis. Andal refers to the great Bhagavatas as KudAr who they have their own devotion to the lord. The lord unites them in a satsang .
Each Gopa and Gopi was very possessive of Lord Krishna and they never mingled with other Gopas and Gopis. They were devoted to Lord Krishna in their own way and they never got an opportunity to be in a Satsang. Sage Sukha in Venu Gitam describes the exalted state of the Gopis that when they come together and start to reminisce the divine exploits of Lord Krishna they would swoon and fall down the next second – “ tadh varṇayithum ArabdhA smarantyaḥ kṛiṣhṇa ceṣṭitam “. The lord wanted to bestow satsang to all Gopas and Gopis and hence united them in a satsang for seven days. Lord Indra helped the lord accomplish this and hence he was very happy with him. It is verily in a satsang that the lord is extolled and his glories are glorified. The lord also performed Rasa Leela to bless the Gopis with satsang. The Gopis along with Yamuna Devi, being a special Gopi all sang the divine glories of the lord when they were in a satsang.
“tan manaskAs tad AlApAs tad vicheṣṭAs tad AtmikAḥ
tadh guṇAn eva gAyantyo nAtmAgArAṇi sasmaruḥ” [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.30.43]
punaḥ pulinam Agathya kAlindyAḥ kṛiṣhṇa bhAvanAḥ
samavetA jaguḥ kṛiṣhnam tad Agamana kAnkṣhitAḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.30.44]
Andal prays to the lord to bestow her with a satsang “kudi irudhu kulirdaelo embhAvai” , the very satsang that the lord himself wants to be with his devotees on the day of Vaikunta Ekadasi. In her pasuram Andal also says that she will give up her fasting only when that wish is bestowed on her and that she will also start to adorn herself with flowers, jewelry and consume milk and ghee, the ones that she abstained during the fast.
“Naadu pugazhum parisinAl nandrAga
SOodagame tholvalaiye thode seviPpOove
Padagame yendranaiya palkalanum yAm anivOm
Aadai yuduPpom adhan pinne pAr soru“
Mucukunda, prays to the lord to bless with the highest and greatest benediction called Satsang.
“bhavApavargO bhramatO yadA bhaveJ janasya tarhy acyuta sath samAgamaḥ
sat saNgamo yarhi tadaiva sad gatau parAvareSe tvayi jAyate matiḥi “ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.51.53]
When one is in a satsang, it will automatically turn the mind towards the lord by growing the seeds of devotion in one’s heart and all one needs to do is to park one’s own body in a place called satsang.
The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.