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Re: Archa thirunakshatram

schakrav_at_gators.de.sc.ti.com
Date: Tue May 23 2000 - 12:12:15 PDT

> I think it becomes patently obvious as one researches
> the various sthala-purANas that they are of relatively
> recent date, concocted by patrons or priests of a 
> particular shrine to enhance its antiquity and ancestry
> in the eyes of the believing public.  The sthala-purANas
> usually are an amalgamation of local legend and pure
> fantasy.  Many were probably not intended as serious
> histories of the deity or temple at all.

I've always wondered why (or how come, rather) there is
such a proliferation of divya sthalams in the southern
part of the Indian subcontinent - especially when almost
all the vibhava avataras existed in the north.  Certainly
appears to have more to do with history than with divinity,
i.e. the revival/evolution of certain religious traditions
during the last two millennia, coupled with the constant
threat of Moslem invasions after the first millennium A.D.

In any event, I was reminded just recently that Srivaishnavism
recognizes only SEVEN svayamvyakta archa forms, including the
SAlagrAmam.  All the other divyasthalams have been consecrated
through pratiSThai/samprokshaNai.  I would appreciate it if
knowledgeable members could list those seven svayamvyaktas.

Personally I would be content with obtaining authentic
information about just the svayamvyakta khSetras - the other
sthala purANas although well intentioned, could be simply a
result of devotional fantasies.  Therefore I request some
help in finding out "true" origins of svayamvyakta kShetras.
Along the same lines, it would be very useful to "investigate"
the sthalapurANas of various other divyadesams and determine
how much of those (if any) derives from ancient sources like
Vishnu PurANa, prabandham etc.

Where does all this leave our 108 divyadesams (and perhaps)
all their sthalapurANas?  Are we questioning the legends of
certain kShetrams outside the fold of the 108 only, or does
our inquiry extend into every temple town including the
svayamvaktas?  If and when we do separate the wheat from 
the chaff, what will we be left with?

I believe that Sri. Vijayaraghavan wrote in response to
Sri. Sadagopan's reply to me about the archa thirunakshatram
of Kanchi Varadaraja PerumaL.  I was quite curious to know
in the first place, how an archAvatara could have a thiru-
nakshatram, what that really meant, and if it was based on
the Vishnu purANa.  I will appreciate any responses to my
questions.  Thanks in anticipation,

aDiyEn
-Srinath Chakravarty
email: xsrinath@ti.com 

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