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Re: sri vaishnavite practices(3)

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sat Apr 17 1999 - 16:30:20 PDT

Dear Friends : One of our members of the Bhakthi
list requested my comments on some of the traditional
practises of Sri VaishNavites . I thought this subject
might be of interest to number of you as well .
Hence I am sending an edited coipy of my response .
You are welcome to add other complimentary information 
related to these three questions listed below with 
my responses .
V.Sadagopan    
>
>At 07:09 PM 4/7/99 -0700, you wrote:
>Dear Dr. Sadagopan:
>
>I would like to ask your opinion on a point made by one of my relatives
>regarding sri vaishnavite practices.  Could you please comment on whether
these >are truly sri vaishnavite practices or the figment of someone's
imagination ?


>1. sri vaishnavites do not use a karpooram arati - they use 
>an oil flame instead .

There are specific places for oil ( wicker) lamps in Bhagavadh 
AarAdhanam .Pancha mukha deepam , Tiered rows of lamp have
structured places . In some temples only ghee lamps are used 
inside the sannidhi for DheepAradhanai ( Dheepam samarpayAmi 
is associated with one of the ShOdasOpachArams to the Lord ). 

Camphor is a late comer .Its use is mostly confined to temples .
Its medicinal properties ( a counter irritant for infections 
and in the treatment of pain and itching ) has a place
in crowded garbhagrahams , where  a lot of people assemble
close to each other for the darsanam of the divya dampathis
at their  sanctum sanctoriums . From  a hygenic point
of view , it has a place in crowd management and disease 
control .

The fact that it burns without leaving a residue ( other 
than the subliming soot) has mystified the minds of philosphers
and mystically minded .Chemistry of a a Terpene ( ringed ketone),
permits it to become very hot and luminous , while lit .
Combustion forms steam and Carbon Dioxide quickly 
and the lumens are of a high grade that help us 
appreciate the divya aabharaNams of the Lord .

Camphor from  a pharmaceutical chemistry point of view 
is a plesant smelling , white , transluscent , terpene 
Ketone (C10 H 16 O )obtained from the Camphor Tree .
It is used in manufacture of celluloid and as mentioned
before as medicine for treating pain and itching . When 
Lord of Thirumalai caught the blow of an irate BhakthA (?) 
on his chin , camphor ( pacchai kaRpUram ) was pressed
against the wound to mitigate the pain and help the wound heal .          


>2. sri vaishnavites do not "otthufy" their palms to 
>a karpooram arati since the palms represent shankha 
>and chakram .

This is correct . More than the Shankam and Chakram 
incorporated in their hands in a mystical sense ,
the hand of a Yajnam performing Brahmin has Agni 
due to the tending of the Gaarhapathya , DakshiNa and 
AahavanIya Agnis every day .The great Appaya Deekshithar had 
peformed many Soma Yajnams . One day , when a king 
appeared before him and felt insulted , when the Deekshithar
did not raise his right hand to bless him. The king was 
angry and demanded to know , why the great Dikshithar
did not bless him " properly ". Deekshithar demurred .
When pressed , he raised his right hand in the traditional 
fashion of uplifted right palm pointing to the body of the king 
standing before him . The king's robes caught fire from
the VaidhikAgni concentrated in the right palm of Deekshithar.
The king understood now the reasons behind the gesture
of the compassionate AgnihOthri . None of us are in that 
class of sanctity today .

Today , as the Container having the burning KaRpUram goes 
around , there is a general sense of anxiety felt by 
the Archakar and the sEvArthi ( samarpaNam on the Thattu )
and the pressure to reach out to press the warmth of the flames 
on to the palms and the eyes. Where there is a group 
of Sri VaishNavAs , the archakars will use the camphor deepam 
for MangaLaaratthi and then will discard the half-burning 
camphor aside .The archakar will not take the Thattu with 
Burning camphor outside the grabhagraham .     
 
>3. sri vaishnavites visiting saivite temples do not bring back 
>any vibhooti with them since it is considered temple property.

First of all, no theevra Sri VaishNavite will go inside 
a Shiva Temple . if they  are not EkAnthins or paramaikAnthins ,
they will not bring the VibhUthi outside due to an ancient
belief " Shiva Sotthu Kula Naasanam ".

In today's practise of" stealing " from the temples 
in broad day light by the temple sippanthis/adhikAris  , 
there is not much of a fear about kula naasam . For instance ,
the famous temple at ThiruvArUr has(had) huge landed property
donated by the ChOLA kings .The concentrated pilfering and 
deflection of the revenue form the Shiva Sotthu has resulted
in not having enough revenue for conducting even regular pUjAs 
on a daily basis . 

V.Sadagopan