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Ashtaaksharam on Thirukkoviloor Gopuram

From: Madhavakkannan V (
Date: Tue Jan 26 1999 - 03:43:07 PST


Dearest Sisters and Brothers,

Few of us were discussing on the glory of  "ashtaaksharam" and its 
sacredness and secretness.

It reminded me of an incident during my last vacation and I narrated 
that. I am posting here also in bhakti list (as "order"ed by a dear 
Srivaishnava friend of mine)

I noticed on top of Gopuram of Thirukkoviloor temple, a big metal plate 
having our Great "AshtAkahsram" in full, including PraNavam. When I read 
it, my son also noticed; (nothing escapes his eyes; and there as usual 
arises a string of questions in him) 

He asked "thaattha and you were talking regarding this astaaksharam, 
dwayam and charama slokam, and all three should be kept a secret sacred 
manthra etc.. Why "they" have allowed this displayed like this?

I just smiled and answered (I don't know if it is right even- but I need 
to silence him on the street) "No doubt, they are all sacred secret 
mantra; and they need to be learnt from AchAryans; etc.. etc.. But, how 
many people are bequeathed with the AchArya sambhandham; Take for that 
matter this vendor (a vegetable seller who was walking, and who 
prostrated to the Gopuram on that very road itself in my presence); he 
prostrates and reads this ashtaaksharam loud; Is it wrong? Do you think, 
Sriman Narayanan will NOT be pleased? Do
you think He will get angry and punish for going against AchAryAs' 

This vendor does not even know that this is to be kept secret; For this 
guy, Sriman Narayanan is the Lord; and this ashtaaksharam is like 
uttering "GovindhA". 

That's all! My son nodded and at that moment kept quiet.

In fact, my doubt intensified further when I was glancing Sri Nrusimha 
priya later, wherein a sponsor had advertised on a page (inside) with 
"Ashtaaksharam" printed on the top. How Sri Ahobila Muth permits this? - 
I was wondering. 

Srirangam temple puts this manthra and Dwayam in Public address system; 
No doubt, it is secret; But, when I listen that slow, divinely 
utterance, in PA system in the temple, IT IS SO BLISSFUL and satisfying. 

NamO Narayana


Narayana dAsan Madhavakkannan

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