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Re: prostrating four times.

From: M.S.HARI Madabhushi Sarangarajan Hari (
Date: Mon Mar 05 2001 - 14:36:20 PST

Dear Members,

The responses regarding the number of praNAmams are very interesting. I 
would like to write the following points regarding the same. 

On the count of doing praNAmams, it has to be done only in even numbers like
2, 4 because it is SAstra vidhi. The following pramANams may be noted 
down in this context:

"PradakshiNAn praNAmAnScha yugmAnEva samAcharEth na vishamAn"

manthraiScha vaishNavaissthOthrai: sthuthvA dEvam janArdanam |
praNamEd dviSchathurvA(a)pi anyathA kilbishi bhavEth || 
(prapancha sAram, deekshA prakaraNam)

"After worshiping SrIman nArAyaNa: by chanting vaishNava mantras, one has 
do praNAmams in count of two or four in even numbers."

Therefore, the vidhi for proper number of praNAmams in even numbers like 
2, 4 is clear from this.

I have seen SrI Vaishnava scholars correcting those who do single praNAmam
with the correct performance of the same in counts of two or four...

I also like to mention when praNAmam can be done and when it should not be
done as follows:

"apUjyA: yathra pUjyanthE pUjyA: yathrApamAnithA: |
thathra thrINi vivardhanthE durbhiksham maraNam bhayam ||" (dharmasAram)

"One has to praNAmam etc before only those who are worthy to be 
worshiped. If some one worships those who are not worthy, then three 
evils namely scantiness, death and fear will grow there" 

This means that only SrIman nArAyaNa: and SrI VaishNavas are to be worshipped
by followers of parama Vaidika matham. 

Even if a person is a qualified brAhmaNa, if he does not know/do
prathyabhivAdanam, then he must not be considered for sEviththAl, abhivAdanam

(prathyabhivAdanam - when a person does abhivAdanam, the other person
who receives the abhivAdanam must do ASeervAdam "AaushmAn bhava" etc
and then tell the name of the person who did abhivAdanam with the 
last letter in the name in pluthaswaram - neettal)

If a person is knowing the above prathyabhivAdanam but if he is carrying
samith (logs used for vaidika yagnya etc), flower, Tulasi, darbham (a
particular grass considered to be very sacred and used in certain vaidika
karmas), agni (fire), water, soil, cooked rice then he must be avoided at the
moment of he carrying these things. Once he keeps these things in a suitable
place, we can do praNAmams to him.

Similarly, we must not do praNAmams to a person at the time of he performing
vaidika karmas like japam, homam etc. After he finishes these things, then he
is fit for us to do praNAmams. Similarly, we must not do praNAmam when a
person is eating or sleeping.

"yagnyE rAjagruhE sangrgE praNamEnnAbhivAdayEth"
We can do praNAmams to bhAgavathAs in yAga-sAla, king's court, sabhA etc but
at these places, one must not do abhivAdanam to a person. 

If a tridandi sanyAsi  is younger to another tridandi sanyAsi in terms of
chAturmAsyam, anushtAnams etc., then the younger tridandi sanyAsi can do
praNAmam to elder tridandi sanyAsi.

"swadharmasthAn yathIn vrudhdAn dEvAnScha praNAmEdyathi: |
nAnyamASamiNAm kinchith praSasthamapi namEth ||"
(prapanna dharma sAra samuchchaya: yathi vishayE 
yathi dharma samuchchaya prOktham viSEsham)
Even if a grahasta is well qualified and doing his swa-dharma perfectly,
tridandi sanyAsi must not do praNAmam to the grahasta. Here it is
observed that SrI Bhagavath rAmAnuja yatirAja swAmi (sanyAsi) did
praNAmams to grahastas who where swAmi's AchAryas. I consider this
as exception because it is the case of doing praNAmams to AchArya. 
I would appreciate inputs from scholars in this regard.

A grahasta who is well qualified and doing his swa-dharma perfectly, on seeing
a true tridandi sanyAsi, must immediately do three praNAmams chanting the
SrImath AshtAkshara mantra. Otherwise, he becomes impure. Here the SAstra has
specifically mentioned "namaskAra-
-trayam charEth" & "namaskAra-trayam kuryAth". Therefore, this count 
is in this special case.

One must strictly NOT do praNAmams to a person who thinks SrIman NarAyaNa is
equal to anya-dEvathas. Similarly, one must strictly not do praNAmams to
kudrushtis like prachanna-bowdhas, Veda-bhAyas, anti-vedic (avaidika)
vEsha-bhUsha-dhAri persons and pAshAndis. If these people who are 
prohibited are worshiped, then prAyaschiththam has to be done.

I would like to mention that the Tenkalai VaishNavas differ from the
count of praNAmams as told in this mail ie., 2, 4... But I suggest
that this difference of opinion in this regard between both the
schools may not be considered as a subject of serious debate. Instead
of considering this difference in count of praNAmams between the two 
schools as 'difference', I request you all to consider it this way - doing 
praNAmam or praNAmams is common to both the schools. I feel that this is a
good approach for being united in this regard also.

Thanks & Regards
M.S.HARI rAmAnuja dAsan (

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