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From: sadagopan iyengar (
Date: Sun Dec 30 2001 - 06:18:06 PST

Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatindra
Mahadesikaya Nama:

Having dealt with kainkaryas to be performed with the
tongue and the mind, Sri Kulasekharazhwar turns next
to the good work that idle hands could be put to.
 “JihvE keertaya Kesavam, Mura ripum chEtO bhaja
  Sridharam PANi dvandva samarchaya”
.. Archana usually means a floral tribute with the
hands to the Lord.  Azhwar’s use of the word
“samarchaya” is noteworthy, for it means comprehensive
worship (samyak archanam). This is perhaps intended to
convey that while the hands are engaged in showering
the Lord’s tiruvadi with flowers and tirutthuzhAi,
simultaneously the lips should be chanting His praise
and the mind concentrating on His innumerable
auspicious qualities, with the eyes fixed on His
glorious form. Given the fickleness of our minds and
other sensory organs, it is usual that while our hands
are busy performing archana to Bhagavan, our minds are
miles away, thinking quite unrelated thoughts. Azhwar
insists that all our organs should function in unison,
while worshipping the Lord.

And another function that hands are meant for is to
fetch and  carry –carry water, flowers, incense, etc.,
meant for Emperuman’s worship. This is clear from Sri
Nammazhwar’s sreesookti,
“Sumandu mAmalar neer sudar dhoopam koNdu
  amarndu vAnavar vAnavar kOnodum
 namandrezhum Tiruvenkatam nangaktku
 saman koL veedu tarum tadam kundramE »
.. These lines remind adiyen of an instructive episode.
When Sri InjimEdu Azhagiasingar and Sri Madhurantakam
Swamy were before Sri Parthasarathy ‘s sanctum
sanctorum for mangalasasanam, they had to wait for a
few minutes outside, as the Lord was adorning Himself
after tirumanjanam, perhaps trying to look His best to
the two mahAns who were awaiting His audience.
Noticing Srimad Azhagiasingar bearing in his hands the
rather heavy garland intended for Perumal, Sri
Madhurantakam Swamy requested the former to put down
the garland in a suitable place, till the sannidhi
opened for worship. With his usual smile, Srimad
Azhagiasingar replied, “adiyen would rather carry this
garland, as this too is a form of kainkaryam, for
didn’t Sri Nammazhwar say, ‘sumandu mAmalar’?”

The Mudalazhwars too agree with Sri Kulasekharaperumal
that the hands are indeed meant for Emperuman’s
Says one-
“tozhudu malar kondu dhoopam kai Endi 
  ezhudum ezhu vAzhi nenjE”

“painkamalam kaiyAl aNindEn un sEvadi mEl anbAi” etc.
This is true not only of human beings but of other
species too, as is proved by Sri Gajendrazhwan, whose
practice it was to gather lotus flowers every day for
the Lord’s archanam.
Sri Peyazhwar elevates this archanam to a level much
beyond penance (tapas) performed with considerable
torture of one’s physique. He wonders,” why do you
strain yourself so much, performing tapas standing on
steep mountains, immersed in the coldest of waters and
in the midst of the five fires, when you have a much
easier and effective way to cleanse yourself of your
sins? All you have to do is to worship the Lord at
TiruvekkA (a divyadesam in Kancheepuram) with flowers,
which are easily available.” Here is the beautiful
“poruppidayE nindrum punal kuLitthum-aindu
  neruppidayE nirkavum neer vENdA-viruppudanE
  VekkAvE sErndAnai meymalar tooi kai tozhudAl
  AkkAve teevinaigal Aindu”.

As archanam constitutes worship of such high order, it
cannot be accorded to all and sundry. According to Sri
Nammazhwar, only Emperuman Sriman Narayanan is
entitled to such worship, and none other- “dEvan
Emperumanukku allAl poovum poosanayum tagumE?” he
enquires rhetorically. 

“tOL avanai allAl tozhA”-Sri Poigayazhwar rules out
worship of others with his hands. “mandirangaL
karpanavum MAl adiyE kai tozhuvAn” reiterates the
Azhwar in another Mudal Tiruvandadi pasuram. 

Discerning bhaktas would also detect the benign shadow
of the Dvaya mantram in the sloka we are currently
While there is no dispute about Emperuman being the
sole recipient eligible for such archana, Sri
Kulasekharazhwar’s use of the tirunamam “Sridharam ”
(Emperuman who sports Tirumagal on His chest), while
allocating the kainkaryam for the hands, is
significant. This denotes that all kainkaryam is to be
performed to the Divine Duo- the Lord and His Consort-
and not merely to Emperuman.
What is the periodicity of this archanam? Is it to be
performed on special days, monthly, yearly, or once in
a few years? Sri Nammazwar says it should be
continuous, without even a second’s interval-“kaigaL
Ara tozhudu tozhudu unnai, vaigalum mAtthirai pOdum Or

The hands are versatile instruments of kainkaryam, as,
unlike other organs, they can be put to multifarious
use, like fetching and carrying for the Lord, for
preparing garlands for Him, cleaning and decorating
His temples, and any number of kainkaryas, according
to one’s capability, aptitude and ruchi.

 While we have only one tongue, mind, nose and head,
we have been blessed with two hands, which is not
without significance. It means perhaps that the
quantum of kainkaryam expected of the upper limbs is
more than that of its singular counterparts. Ipso
facto, while closing the current instalment of
“kainkaryam”, it struck adiyen that the hands, being
two, deserve two instalments devoted to them. In the
next part, adiyen shall try to show more of my hand.

Srimate Sri LakshmiNrsimha divya paduka sevaka Srivan
Satakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya Nama:

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