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About Thirunakshatthiram

From: Satyan, Nagu (MSMAIL) (Nagu.Satyan_at_lmco.com)
Date: Wed May 21 1997 - 10:42:03 PDT

From: Satyan, Nagu on Wed, May 21, 1997 11:41 AM
Subject: About Thirunakshatthiram
To: bhakti digest

According to our parents family traditions, most Sri Vaishnavas 
observe Birthdays based on Stars (Nakshatthiram).  This applies to 
mortals like us as well as our respected Acharyas, Azhwars, and 
Avatharams of Sriman Narayana.  In the latter case the prefix "Thiru"  
connatating special is added to convey the importance of both the 
observances as well as the Acharyas and God being prayed to.  As most 
of you are aware, we observe Sri Jayanthi, the birthday of Sri Krishna,
 when star Rohini appears, where as Smarthas observe on Ashtami day 
hence the festival called Gokulashtami.  I recognize traditionally we 
observe Rama Navami on Navami day which does not always coincide with 
star Punar Poosam (Punar Vasu).   However, at home we observe the 
auspicious day on Punar Poosam day also.  Lord Srinivasa Perumal's 
Thirunakshatthiram is observed when star Thiruvonam (Sravana) occurs.  
Lord Ranganatha birthday is based on Revathi star, Panguni Utthiram 
for Ranganayaki Thayar, Andal's is Adi Pooram (Pubba) etc.

To apply a broad generalization, auspicious days are observed by most 
SVs based on Stars.  Even now in our family we celeberate children's 
and adults birthdays based on the birth star.  In fact, it may be a 
surprise to a few--even our wedding anniversaries are celebrated by 
our parents based on the Indian calendar month and star when it was 
performed (though I have to admit that it is easy to remember the 
birthdays and wedding days based on the normal calendar).  

I have relatives who are Madhavas who observe their birthdays based on 
Thithi.  However, most Sri Vaishnavas follow thithis for Ceremonial 
rites and observances.  The reason I use the word "most" is that I 
have noticed that depending on the state that they are settled in 
India, the local traditions have and continue to influence.  One 
example is the start of the New Year.  Since my parents follow Solar 
calendar (Suryamana), we observe New Year in mid April.  However some 
SVS from Karnataka and Andhra observe in March on Ugadi Day.  Again, 
Smarthas from Tamil Nadu observe in mid April where as Smarthas from 
Karnataka and Andhra celebrate Ugadi which is based on Chandramana 
calendar.

There is rationale supporting whatever one follows and it is a 
question of traditions.  Howevr, I have pondered about the tradition 
at temples when we perform Archanas.  The priests ask for the 
individual's name, gothram and star.   I have not yet been asked what 
thithi I was born.  May be one of you can expound on this subject.

Nagu Satyan