By Swami Harshananda
Great devotees of God have often been subjected to severe tests. But, by the very grace of God Himself, they also come out successful. King Rukmāṅgada is one such glorious example. An ardent devotee of Viṣṇu, the king Rukmañgada was fastidious in the observance of ekādaśi as a vrata consisting of total fasting and worship of God Viṣṇu. Once, as ill-luck would have it, he fell in love with a beautiful woman named Mohini promising her to do whatever she wanted.
On an ekādaśī day when Rukmāṅgada was fasting, she demanded that either he should break his fast or kill his son Dharmāṅgada. Rukmāṅgada was not willing to do the first and was hesitant to do the second, when his son voluntarily offered to sacrifice himself. Just as he was about to behead his son, Viṣṇu appeared on the scene and took away the whole family to Vaikuṇṭha, his celestial abode. Mohinī had been specially sent by Brahmā, the creator, to subject the king Rukmāṅgada to this test. The ekādaśī day on which this happened is observed as Vaikuṇṭha Ekādaśī.
- Ekādaśi means eleventh day after full- moon or new-moon.
- Vrata means religious vow.
- Dharmāṅgada was the son of the chief queen Sandhyāvalī.
- It falls on the eleventh day of the bright fortnight in the month of Mārgaśira, usually in December.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore