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Re: Significance of KumKum

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Aug 25 1998 - 18:04:31 PDT

A BhakthA from Australia wanted quickly information
on the significance of Kumkumam in our tradition .
My reply to him is attached . If you have additional
information , please share it with the other members of 
our list . It may be useful to all of us .


>Hello Sri Rajan :
>I will sum up  a few points to focus on the significance
>of Kumkumum .Literally Kumkumum means saffron . For our use ,
>it is the vermillion used on the forehead of Sumangalis 
>to indicate their SoumAngalyam. This is one of the five 
>items(entities ) used to refer to their SoumAngalyam 
>or auspicious wedded state . The other four are ManjaL ,
>Ear Rings, Bangles and ThAli ( mangala sUthram ) . 
>A Sumangali is never without tilakam on her forehead . 
>It has manjal and SuNNAmphu heated together to 
>produce that color .
>From the VaishNava Point of view , Sri ChUrNam represents 
the SoumAngalyathvam of a Jeevan wedded to the Lord . 
Sri ChUrNam along with PunDram worn on the 12 sites of 
the body of a Sri VaishNavA is assoicated with our salutations 
>to the 12 UpavyUhA forms of the Lord with His consort
>( KamalA NirapAyan = one who is never separted from 
>Her Lord ) .It starts with Sri Kesava and ends with 
>Sri VaasudEvA .The wearing of the PuNDram and 
>Sri ChUrNam is part of the purificatory ceremonies
>after pancha SamskAram by AchAryA . Our body is formed
>of Prakrithi , which forms also the body of the Lord in 
>Sri VisishtAdvaitha SiddhAntham . The 12 UpavYuha forms
>of the Lord reside in the  12 sites of our body , where we 
>wear Sri ChUrNam and ThirumaNN and our wearing the 
>12 Urdhva PuNDrams is an external display of reverence for
>those UpavYuha forms of Sriya: Pathi and His consorts
>associated with each of the 12 forms .Swami Desikan's
>Panniru ThirunAmam  rahasya grantham provides details.

Sri K.Anand has written an excellent account of the significance 
of the pancha SamskAram rituals earlier and he has also
released it in the latest issue of Nrusimha priyA of 
North America. Please refer to those articles for 
the finer details . 
>For the needs of the Asia Week fest , all of the above details
on the wearing of the Sri ChUrNam as an important part of 
the daily rites of a Sri VaishNavA may not be important .
Emphasis on SoumAngalyam will be the best approach .
>Best wishes ,