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Re: Vaikanasa srivaishnava

From: suderson (
Date: Wed Aug 01 2001 - 22:55:16 PDT

Thanx for the lucid expression. I have a humble
I differ from your views on one issue. How can we not
call the Vaikhanasa as "strictly speaking, they are
not sri vaishnavas"? They are 100% sri vaishnavas!!
May not be ramAnusanadiyAr.
The ritual of panchasamskara started later,as some
construe. Though, there is reference to samashrayanam
in Thiruppallandu of PeriyAlwar, there seem not to be
evidence of this in the older epics.
Thirumalai Nambi - Was he a Vaikhanasa or not? If no,
then how did he live as the priest at Thirumalai. Or
was he a smArtha, since he is the maternal uncleof
Swami Ramanuja (who was born in Smartha lineage as we
Can anyone please clarify?

--- Mani Varadarajan <>
> suderson writes:
> > adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan.
> > anantha pranAmama to all bhAgavathAs.
> > I am told that vaikanasa srivaishnava do not
> undergo
> > panchasamskara. The archakas in tirumala also
> belong
> > to to the same sect / cult.
> > Can some one through more light about the
> vaikanasa
> > srivaishnava sampradaya. Is it different from
> > emberumanar darisanam?
> > dasan
> > Suderson
> Dear Suderson,
> You are correct -- vaikhAnasa vaishnavas are not
> formally
> affiliated with the tradition of Ramanuja.  They
> also do not
> follow the pAncarAtra Agama which dictate the ritual
> of
> samASrayaNam or panca-samskAra.  As their name
> indicates, they
> follow the vaikhAnasa Agama, which is a different
> set of
> Vaishnava ritual texts. The vaikhAnasa Vaishnavas
> trace
> their guru-paramparA to Vikhanas Muni. In fact, in
> the place
> of 'SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH' which is
> characteristic of 
> all Sri Vaishnava correspondence, they typically
> write
> 'SrImate vikhano munaye namaH' (or some variant). 
> Their
> doctrines claim origin from Atri, Bhrigu, Kasyapa,
> and
> Marici, four rishis who according to their texts
> were
> taught directly by Vikhanas Muni, an incarnation of 
> Vishnu. The vaikhAnasa Vaishnavas are strictly
> hereditary -- 
> one must be born (or adopted) into a vaikhAnasa
> family to be 
> considered a vaikhAnasa Vaishnava.
> As you are aware, the pAncarAtric rite of
> panca-samskAra 
> establishes a formal link between the initiate and
> an acharya
> of the tradition of Ramanuja.  The vaikhanasas as
> stated above
> do not have such a ritual, and do not formally have
> a connection
> with Ramanuja.  However, while they are not branded
> with the
> insignia of Vishnu, they believe that Vishnu himself
> comes
> to the womb in the third month of pregnancy and
> brands the
> child with the sankha and cakra. This is known as
> 'garbha-samskAra'
> and is dictated once again by the vaikhAnasa texts.
> The vaikhAnasa texts are overwhelmingly concerned
> with 
> the details of temple ritual and largely do not
> contain 
> philosophy. Most of the philosophical teachings are
> similar
> to the pAncarAtra, including a parallel five-fold
> manifestation
> of Vishnu.  They also have a notion of the
> 'nishkala' form
> of Vishnu -- the formless, primeval Vishnu which is
> perceived
> only by the highest of yogis and which is beyond
> even Brahma --
> and the 'sakala' form, which is figured, divisible,
> and emanated.
> It is in this form that Vishnu responds to devotion
> and meditation.
> There is also 'sakala-nishkala' combination of the
> two, which is
> found in the sAlagrAma. (These details may also
> exist in some
> pAncarAtra texts).  
> People often confuse vaikhAnasas with Sri Vaishnavas
> because
> of their similar outward resemblance.  While the
> vaikhAnasas
> are strict vaishnavas, they do not revere the Alvars
> and they do not 
> even follow Ramanuja's Sribhashya the same way we
> do. Many people 
> also assume that the Tirumalai temple (Tiruvengadam)
> is a Sri Vaishnava 
> shrine.  In fact, the shrine is a vaikhAnasa one
> with strong 
> Sri Vaishnava association, but is not really a Sri
> Vaishnava shrine.  
> Due to the influence of Periya Tirumalai Nambi
> (uncle of Ramanuja), 
> Ramanuja, Tirumalai Anandaan Pillai, the Sri
> Vaishnava influence 
> increased over the years.  The shrine took a more
> pAncarAtric tilt 
> (more festivals, recitation of Alvar paasurams,
> etc.) after the utsava 
> mUrti of Lord Ranganatha took refuge along with the
> Srirangam priests 
> in the 13th century. The cross-pollenation has led
> to the mixture of 
> vaikhAnasa with Sri Vaishnava touches we have today.
> Note that there are no shrines to the Alvars on
> Tirumalai beyond the
> dhvaja stambham, and even the shrine to Ramanuja is
> a rather
> late one. Apparently the vaikhAnasa Agamas do not
> permit the
> installation of idols of human beings inside their
> temples. The 
> shrine to Ramanuja is a remarkable exception.
> Tirumalai is the purest example of a vaikhAnasa
> temple we have today.
> There are many other vaikhAnasa temples in Tamil
> Nadu and elsewhere,
> (Tiruvallikkeni, and Vaanamaamalai for example) but
> most of them have 
> been significantly influenced by pAncarAtra
> practices due to the 
> surrounding Sri Vaishnava community, so much so that
> the temples
> are virtually indistinguishable from pAncarAtra
> temples in style
> (the rituals may vary somewhat). In addition, many
> temples that
> were once vaikhAnasa were converted to pAncarAtra
> during Ramanuja's
> days, mostly because of a more liberal ritualistic
> attitude.
> aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
> Mani
>            - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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