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Azhwars and Urdhvapundram

From: Kasturi Varadarajan (kvaradar_at_cs.uiowa.edu)
Date: Sat May 13 2000 - 14:27:52 PDT

Dear Balaji,
   Thanks for your response. I did get two responses in private 
which I'm appending.

-Kasturi

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here are a couple from periyAzhvAr's pAsurams -

1. in senniyOngu - first pAttu - "ennaiyum en udaimaiayum un chakkarap pori
oRRik koNdu"
2. in thiruppallANdu - "kOyil poriyaalE oRRuNdu ninRu"

The above two generally refers to sanku chakram and thirumaN - though srI
P.B.aNNaNgarAchAriAr svAmi uses the former to talk about thirumAN, snaku
chakram being put on everything even remotely connected to perumAL (i.e.
vessels in our home  used for making prasAdam etc..)

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There are references in azhwar pasurams where azhwar talks about
Pancha-Samskaram (which also includes 12 UrdhavaPundra Dharanam).
Shree VishnuChittha PeriAzhwar in "Tiru Pallandu" says "Teeyil
poligindra Chen Cudar Azhi ... Kolil Poriyaale Otrundu Kudi Kudi
Aat Seygindrom". The Urdhava Pundra Dharanam is well celebrated
in Sruti and Smruthi. The outward appearance of Shree Vaishnavas
in very ancient times are as follows:
1. Brahmacharya Asrama: White Veshti (not panchakatcham), Yanjnopavitam, 
KrishnaJeenam, Samit, Gowpeenam, Munji, 12 UrdhavaPundrams with Sikha 
(Kudumi) and Shanka Chakra Mudras. (Can use silk, gold and fire)
2. Grahasta Asrama: White Veshti in Panchakatcham, Gowpeenam,
Yanjnopavitam, Krishnajeenam, Samit, 12 UrdhavaPundrams, Sikha
and Shanka Chakra Mudras.(Can use silk, gold and fire)
3. Vaanaprasta Asrama: Yanjnopavitam, Safron/white Veshti (panchakatcam),
Gowpeenam, 12 UrdhavaPundrams, Sikha and Shanka Chakra Mudras with
Jata Mudi.(Can use fire)
4. Sanyaasa Asrama:Yanjnopavitam, Cotton Safron Veshti(no panchakatcham),
Gowpeenam, 12 UrdhavaPundrams, Sikha and Shanka Chakra Mudras,
Tridandam, Kamandalam and a piece of safron cloth.(Cannot use fire).

These outward apprearance of Shree Vaishnavas is as ancient as the
Vedic Visistaadvaita Shree Vaishnava Philosophy. These dress codes also 
are Vaidikam. For details, I suggest reading of smruthis, Ahnika grantas.
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