You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : June 1999

On the worship of Vedic Gods and anya-devatas

From: Venkatesh K. Elayavalli (
Date: Tue Jun 01 1999 - 12:32:43 PDT

Dear Members

On the topic of worshiping anya-devatas, I would like to add the
following based on Sri Pillai Lokacharya's Tatvatrayam (TVT)

According to TVT all devatas are created by Narayana. There are
two types of such creation: mukhya and guna (main and subsidiary)
TVT further explains that the subsidiary incarnation comes by HIS
will only and not based on HIS nature.

The incarnations of Rama and Krishna are by HIS nature, while that
of Varaha, Kurma,etc are by HIS will.

The further clarification provided by TVT is based on the purpose
of the incarnation, where the mukhya avataras are for the purpose
of the salvation (moksa) of the jivas involved, while some of the
subsidiary avatars are for the same purpose. On this topic Pillai
lokacharya says that, the subsidiary avatars like varaha,kurma,
hayagriva etc are for the purposes of moksa. BUT the avatars
like Vyasa, Brahma, Siva are not intended to provide moksa.

TVT 192:
   "The forms of BrahmA, Siva, VyAsya, JAmadagni (or ParasurAma),
   Arjuna (either KArtaviraya or the PAndava) and Kubera are
   unimportant  manifestations where the Lord presides over a soul
   which has egoism. Hence they are not proper forms of meditation
   for the aspirants for salvation."

This is the reason why most Sri Vaishnavas do not worship anya

However, Pillai Lokacharya does not address the Vedic Gods directly
and some present day scholars have included Indra, Agni etc as well
as Buddha, (with respect to non-worshipable forms of Narayana),
which, in my opinion, is incorrect.

To the question on why perform rituals to Agni, Indra, etc:

First, as Sri Mani had  pointed out,  the gods mentioned in Rig Veda
should be treated as  manifestations of  Narayana, leading to Narayana

Second, most acharyas require all Sri Vaishnavas to go through various
stages of life, such as brahmachari, marriage and procreate, provide
for the children's education, etc before  taking up Prapatti. For
example, Ramanuja and Manavaala maamuni  took up Sanyasam after
marriage, while others  like Swami Desikar  stayed married. There are
some exceptions, like Pillai Lokacharya,  who stayed unmarried but did
not become a Sanyaasi s(Jeeyar).

Periyavacchaan pillai mentions that an acharya should be the one
         who has no interest in artha and kAma but yet lives
         within the world and follows  the dharma, artha,
          kAma (lokaparigraha) [and hence practices dharma, artha
          and kAma]
                   - maanikka maalai

 He further explains prapatti as "giving up one, and catching hold of
another" So, in order to perform prapatti, one has to give up their own
effort and catch hold of  Narayana.  This does not mean that you stop
doing what you do. instead all it means is you perform the regular
duties, free of any worry or apprehension that you will not be saved.

Sorry if I digressed too much on the second part of the email



Venkatesh K. Elayavalli             Cypress Semiconductor
Data Communications Division        3901 N. First St. MS 4
Phone: (408) 456 1858               San Jose CA 95134
Fax:   (408) 943 2949