Vaikuntha Chaturdashi is a Hindu holy day, which is observed on chaturdashi, the 14th lunar day of the waxing moon fortnight (shukla paksha) of the Hindu month of Kartik (November–December). The day is sacred to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. They are worshipped individually or together in different temples in Varanasi, Rishikesh, Gaya and Maharashtra.

According to Shiva Purana, Once, Lord Vishnu, Lord of Vaikuntha, left his abode and went to Varanasi to worship Lord Shiva on this day. He pledged to worship Shiva with one thousand lotuses. While singing hymns in glorification of Shiva, Lord Vishnu found the last or ‘thousandth’ lotus missing. Vishnu, whose eyes are often compared to lotuses, plucked one of them and offers it to Shiva. Lord Shiva becoming intensely pleased with His love, restored Vishnu’s eye and rewarded Him the Sudarshana chakra, Vishnu’s discus and sacred weapon.

According to legend of Vaikuntha Chaturdashi related to the Varanasi festivities, a Brahmin named Dhaneshwar who had spent his lifetime committing several sins, visited the bank of the Godavari River to take a bath and wash off his sins, when Vaikuntha Chaturdashi was being observed by a large number of devotees by offering earthen lighted lamps and batti (wick) to the sacred river. Dhaneshwar mingled with the crowd. When he died, his soul was taken by Yama, the god of death, to hell for punishment. However, Shiva intervened and told Yama that Dhaneshwar’s sins were cleansed due to the touch of the devotees on Vaikuntha Chaturdashi. Then Dhaneshwar was released from hell and got a place in the Vaikuntha.

Vaikuntha Chaturdashi Rituals

  1. Chant or listen to Vishnu Sahasranama. You can also offer lotuses to Lord Vishnu while chanting.
  2. Light an earthen lamp 🪔 and offer it to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
  3. Offer Tulsi leaves to Lord Shiva and Bael Leaves to Lord Vishnu. As on this day both the deities are duly worshipped as though they are worshipping each other.
  4. Make a donation to the Kashi Vishwanath temple which is considered Vaikuntha (abode of Lord Vishnu) on this day.
  5. Listen to and meditate on the Sri Rudram.

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