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Sri Narayanan's message on Yali

From: M.K. Krishnaswamy (
Date: Wed Jan 17 2001 - 19:14:21 PST

Dear Sri Narayanan,
         Joseph Campbell, in one of his books on myths to live by, tells this story of KIRTHI MUKHA, the face that is referred to as Yali in your Message 12 in Digest Number 235:
To destroy a powerful demon roaming the earth, Shiva once created another lean and powerful giant with a voracious appetite.  Terrified on seeing him, the first demon immediately surrendered to Shiva and was given protection. But Shiva was faced with the problem of dealing with the hungry one created by him.  

Not finding any work for him, Shiva instructed him to eat himself up, commencing with the limbs.  The giant obediently started on the job and soon reached up to his neck!  Thrilled at the sight of the trunkless giant with the ugly face, the Lord commanded him to stop and granted him this boon: "Henceforth, you shall be known as Kirthi Mukha, the famous face.  Your face shall appear at all places of worship."  Ever since, the ugly and terryfying face of Kirtimukha stares at us through his fierce protruding eyes everywhere in our temples -- on the ramparts, the Gopurams and even from the center of the arch over the idol that we worship in the Sanctum Sanctorium.  

The face is perhaps symbolic of our thoughtless persuit of worldly possessions and pleasures even at the cost of damaging/destroying ourselves.  The intention behind placing this figure in our temples  may be to remind us constantly : "You know this face very well; it is the likeness of your own mind with its unbridled passions and aggressive desires.  Like this demon, you too have a voracious, unlimited appetite for wealth, power, glory and the pursuit of pleasure.  You have become acquisitive, arrogant and cruel even like the demon's nature.  Become truly aware of this and of the raging fire residing in you which is consuming you.  Put out this fire before it is too late.  Only then can you really see the Lord in the idol whom you have come to worship and realise true happiness and Bliss."


M.K. Krishnaswamy 

The original message:

Grateful if I am enlightened on the following : 
1. We find the figure of "Yali" on the arch (on the top of arch)  - almost on all the Perumals' arch 
(moola murthis) what is this ?   
2. Even Yali vahanam sevai is done. 
thanks and regards
Adiyen Ramanuja Dasan

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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