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SamAshrayanam - part 4

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (
Date: Thu Jan 15 1998 - 13:00:37 PST

                                  Sri :
             Srimate  Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Para Brahmane Namaha
             Srimate Sri Lakshmi - Nrusimha Divya PAdukA Sevaka - 
         Srivan  Shatagopa  Sri NArAyana Yateendra MahAdesikAya Namaha      
                  Srimate NigamAntha MahAdesikAya Namaha 
                  Srimate  Bhagavad   RAmAnujAya  Namaha      
                    Sriyai Namaha ; SridharAya  Namaha

     Dear  Bhakti Group Members ,
     Namo NArAyanA . kindly accept adiyens pranAmams. 
      Let us now discuss about the second samskAram . 

    2. Pundra SamskAram : 

               The achAryA makes the disciple aware of the places in the
body where the 'upavyUha' forms of the Supreme Lord Sriman NArAyanA, are
to be saluted.The sishya becomes fortunate enough to know the names of the
Lord and piratti ,associated with each 'upavyUha' form of NArAyanA and
also comes to know about the way in which he has to offer his salutations.

    From the para-vAsudevA ( Sri Vaikuntam) form ,nArAyanA emanates
into the four vyuha forms namely VAasudevA ( Vyuha VAsudevA) , SaNkarshaNA
, PradyumnA and AniruddhA . From each of these four vyuha forms , nArAyanA
emanates into three sub-vyuha forms known as 'upavyuha'(vyuhAntarA) forms.

    VAsudevA     -> KeSavA  ,NArAyanA, MAdhavA
    SaNkarshaNA  -> GovindA , Vishnu , MadhusUdhanA
    PradyumnA    -> TrivikramA, VAmanA, SridharA
    AniruddhA    -> HrusIkeSA, PadmanAbhA, DAmodarA

  There are some minor differences in these forms of Sriman NArAyanA.All
these different forms of our merciful Lord are highly relished by
different Yogis deeply meditating upon Sriman NArAyanA. For instance ,
let us take the case of sweets .Each one relishes a particular variety of
sweet more than the other ones .Similarly ,the taste of the Yogis
/BhakthAs also differs .Each one gets attracted to a particular feature of
Sriman NArAyanA.     

   Each  'upavyUha' form of Sriman NArAyanA is  externally represented by
the  'OOrdhva pundram'(Thiruman kaapu).The 'thiruman' represents the
Lord and  the 'Sri Choornum' represents PirAtti.The salutation to the Lord
has to be done with folded hands ( Anjali Mudra ) : "KeSavAya Namaha"
prefixed by pranavA, "MAdhavAya Namaha" prefixed by pranavA etc. The
salutation to the pirAtti is also done in a similar way : "Sriyai Namaha"
, prefixed by pranavA , "AmrutodhbhavAyai Namaha" , prefixed by pranavA

      The thiruman (white color) should be like the outline of NArAyanAs
Lotus foot. Sri choornum is yellow in color since the pirAttis thirumeni
(divine body) is Golden in color. Since Red Color is for mangaLam
(pirAtti) , some do wear red colored Sri Choornum. There are minor
differences between sampradAyams in the way of wearing Thiruman .SishyAs 
should follow their respective AchAryAs.     

OOrdhva Pundram is vertical and faces upwards denoting that it helps one
in reaching 'Sri Vaikuntam' , the spiritual abode of Sriman NArAyanA.These
twelve OOrdhvapundrams are known as the 'DvAdasa OOrdhvapundram '.

     According to the varnA of the sishyA , there are also differences in
the number of OOrdhvapundrams he has to wear.    

 The location of the Thiruman kaapu , forms , names and colour  of all the
UpavyUha NArAyanA are as follows :

  Location           Forms of Lord                      
 (Part of           for  Meditation        Name & Colour   Name of PirAtti 
  Human Body)                                of Lord 

1. Forehead    ChakrA in all four hands       KeshavA           Sri 

2.Lower Abdomen   Conch(Sanka) in all         NArAyanA      AmruthodhbavA 
  (Middle)             four hands           (blue cloud)

3.  Chest       Mace in all four hands        MAdhavA          KamalA

4.Front Neck    Bow  in all four hands        GovindA      Chandrasodari   
  (Middle)                                     (Moon)              

5.Lower Abdomen  Ploughshares in all          Vishnu       Vishnu Patni
   (Right)            four hands          (Lotus Filament) 

6.Right Arm      Pounding Rod in all        MadhusUdhanA    Vaishnavi 
                     four hands               (Lotus)

7.Neck(Right)   Sword in all four hands      TrivikramA     VarArohA     
                                         (sparkling fire)

8.Lower Abdomen    Thunder Bolt in all         vAmanA      Hari VallabhA     
   (Left)             four hands            (rising sun)  

9.Left Arm      Axe in all four hands         SridharA      shArngini          

10.Neck(Left)   crow-bar in all four hands    HrusIkeSA     Deva DevikA 

11.Back         all weapons in eight hands    PadmanAbhA    MahALakshmi    
(Lower Spinal)                             (Lustre of Sun)

12.Back          whip in all four hands        DAmodarA     Soorasundari    
(Upper Spinal)                               (Silk-worm)


       The upavyUha forms of NArAyanA also represent the twelve suns in
the Universe corresponding to the twelve zodiacs of the universe . KeSavA
is  the presiding deity of month MArghazhi, NArAyanA is the presiding
deity of month 'thai' and so on.They are the presiding deities of the
twelve AdityAs.

     Thus , the sishyA gets the unique previlege to wear the Thiruman
kAppu. So, only after SamAshrayanam should one wear the dvAdasa OOrdhva
pundram .From then onwards, the sishyA WITHOUT FAIL should wear them. All
the evils fly away on seeing the thiruman kApu  (kAApu => protection). 

   Materialistic  people apply powder,cream etc  to their faces,hands etc
.They keep on polishing this temporary body with their deep materialistic
attachment towards it.They more over put many more ornaments over the lump
of flesh(body) and foolishly think that they look beautiful. The very
basic understanding is that one is a jIvAtmA ( soul) who is ever
subservient to the Divya Dampati, and not the lump of matter surrounding

    The BEST ORNAMENT for the body is THIRUMAN KAAPU. This should be
applied with great humility , thanking the achAryA and Sriman NArAyanA for
their mercy . One should be really proud of the fact that he is a servant
of NArAyanA .He should be highly enthusiastic to wear the thiruman kAApu
for the reason that it reminds him of the servant - master relationship
eternally  existing between himself and the Supreme Master Sriman
   Materialistic people take pride in identifying themselves as a 'fan' (
follower) of some other materialist ( cinema star , sports hero etc)
, who is also a jIvA suffering  in this whirlpool of samsArA . These
so-called 'stars' of the material world are going to take bodies like
donkey,cat etc in their future births .They are followed by thousand fools
who are also going to take such bodies in the next births.Materialists are 
 highly ignorant fools because, their level of understanding that someone 
is 'great' is highly limited. Once one becomes a fan of the greatest of
all greats 'Sriman NArAyanA' , he CANNOT become a fan of any other person
(except NArAyanAs staunch devotees).Even the greatness of demigods like
BrahmA ,SivA , IndrA  in comparison with the greatness of nArAyanA is
like the brightness of a small spark of light in front of the brightness
of billions of suns.

      A Sri VaishnavA is thus never attracted to even any of the demigods
( what to speak of tiny materialists in earth). One who gets attracted to
NArAyanAs divya mangala vigraha ; kalyAna gunAs ; avatAra lIlAs as in NrusimhA ,
RAmA and KrishnA avAtAra ; Holy Names etc can never turn back to anything
short of it.

     It is furthermore a duty of a Sri VaishnavA to follow what the
AchAryA has taught him during samAshrayanam.Some may feel that they are 
ignorant about these facts .But , they also see so many Sri VaishnavAs,
wearing the thiruman kApu and thus should automatically enquire into
it.But , there are some who even after knowing  that they should wear the
DvAdasa OOrdhva pundram daily , doesn't wear them out of shyness.Actually
,this is due to their ignorance. Any   devotee of Sriman NArAyanA is never
a cheap personality . He is the most glorifiable one. So , one should wear
them with love and enthusiasm without any hesitation. Once one understands
about the glories of Sriman NArAyanA and the eternal connection existing
between himself and the Lord , he will automatically wear the dvAdasa
OOrdhva pundram.  

    One can talk a lot about VedAs ,upanishads etc. If he doesn't put them
into practice, there is no use in learning them.NArAyanA  gets pleased
when one follows the sAstrAs .Moreover , if it is a upadeshA from an
AchAryA and is followed by the sishyA , NArAyanA gets pleased to a much
greater extent.At the same time , if a sishyA  doesn't follow the AchAryA,
NArAyanA will never be pleased with him. So, if a Sri VaishnavA
doesn't wear the OOrdhva pundrams , he is obviously not following the
AchAryA and thereby becomes avaishnavA in practice . In extreme
circumstances ,when one is not able to wear the dvAdasa OOrdhvapundrams ,
salutations to Sriman NArAyanA with Anjali MudrA , should be performed
without fail as explained above (AchAryAs Upadesam) .

         The katA portion in YajurvedA says " One who prays to the Supreme
Lord Vishnu by wearing the OOrdhvapundram and by accepting the hot chakrA
on the shoulder , reaches the Supreme Lord Himself ". Such is the glory of
pundram and thApa samskAram.  

    Namo NArAyanA

   Anantha PadmanAbha dAsan  

                      Sarvam  Sri KrishnArpanamastu