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Re: Who is this deity?

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_alum.calberkeley.org)
Date: Sun Jun 04 2000 - 01:15:40 PDT

Sri J. Venkatanathan wrote:
> Dear Members: 
> 
> In some Vaishnava temples, a vinayakar-like deity is 
> installed near temple entrance. The deity has Vaishnava 
> oordhva pundram on its forehead. 
> 
> Would anyone please identify this deity and whether the 
> deity is a Nithya-soori and why it is installed etc? 
> 
> Thanks 

This person is indeed a nitya-sUri and is known in
Tamil is 'tumbikkai-AzhvAr'.  In Sanskrit, he is sometimes
referred to as 'gaja-vaktra' or the elephant-headed
one and is a significant member of the entourage of
Vishvaksena (sEnai mudaliyAr).  Sri Parasara Bhattar
refers to this nitya-sUri in the second verse of 
his sahasranAma-bhAshya in the Sloka beginning with
'Om namO gajavaktrAdyaiH'.

As for the exact kainkaryam performed by this nitya-sUri
and the reason for his installation, I leave it to
more knowledgable members to write; but I believe he
may be thought to be a 'kOyil-kAppAn' (dvAra-pAlaka) 
of sorts.

aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
Mani

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