The week started with a buzz !! There were posters, pamphlets in print media & the powerful of all – word-of-mouth....everyone on a overdrive publicizing the arrival of the D-day…Vaikuntha Ekadashi, Vaikunta Dwaram ‘opening of the gate to the Lord's Inner Sanctum! I was intrigued! Although I'm not a theist, I cannot claim I’m 100% non-believer in existence of God. I do acknowledge that God is a divine power and resides in our subconscious mind. But the over-abundance of religious rituals, deity's birthdays and n number of religious practices has made me aloof to understand the significance of these beliefs. So, here I was, in my Monday morning blues, hurriedly swallowing 3 chapathis before hitting the road. While crossing our neighbourhood temple, I noticed it was all decked up & ready for the big million "offering" on Vaikuntha Ekadashi... I became zealous and went about surfing. I found some interesting stuffs when the mythology says… a) Every human being has a chance for REDEMPTION; that Almighty Vishnu would forgive & welcome all people to his abode Vaikuntha, who have done wrong, as long as they have understood their mistakes / errors / crimes and are ready to undergo the punishment for them. b) Another version says - Ekadashi, the female power of Lord Vishnu slayed demon Muran and instead of claiming her boon, she beseeched Vishnu that people who observed a fast on that day should be redeemed of their sins. Lord Vishnu thus declared that people, who observed a fast on that day and worshipped Ekadashi, would ATTAIN Vaikuntha. c) Fasting on Ekadashi is considered holier than any other religious observation. It is an ancient system of "DETOX", detoxifying the body's organs, the heart, the brain, the mind, and the SOUL. Thought came pouring in when I read these and hit me hard. Was this a case of one stone and two birds if I’m able to fast this day? For one, it’s a great chance for me to be knocking the door of Vaikuntha, a heavenly abode of liberated souls. Secondly, with my liberated lifestyle, I surely would welcome some kind of Detox, if it can benefit my health. I was in office by now and the intention was benign but absolute !! Without thinking twice, I made a pompous announcement that I would observe fast on this special day!! There were few stares, bewildered looks … I began to think…Was this a blunder?? Can I survive without food for 24 hours ?? My mind began to crack but somehow I held on, drawing strength with water and fruit juice. My target was to visit the temple on this holy day and survive the evening till I hit the bed for I had no control there on!! :) :) As dawn broke over, I had a fulfilling sentiment of having achieved something albeit very small, insignificant. The heart elated for I had completed the registration to Vaikuntha & Detox done!! Then came my wife serving breakfast egging me to have food after my life's first fasting of 23 hours…:)

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