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Re: Significance of namam

From: Mohan Sagar (
Date: Sat Nov 24 2001 - 09:35:19 PST

Dear Sri Ranganath,

Discussions on the significance of thiruman have taken place in Bhakti
several times, so you may wish to peruse these to get a more erudite
understanding of the nuances behind the wearing of the "nAmam."  But,
here are
my two-cents worth, as an introduction:

The ability to don the sacred mark of thiruman on our foreheads, and
traditionally, on twelve other places on our body, is a sacrament that
gifted to us by the AchAryas during the time of samAsrAyanam. 
while it cannot be denied that it demarcates a member of the
faith, there are far more philosophical and religious implications to
wearing it than just that.

Key to experiencing this deeper meaning is to understand what the
represents.  The twin white vertical lines represent the twin Lotus Feet
Sriman Narayana.  The red/yellow mark between these two represents the
Compassionate Grace of the Divine Mother, Sri.  And, the white base that
completes the nAmam into its U or Y shape is the achArya.  In all, the
thiruman represents the essence of the devotee's connection to the
Sriman Narayana's Twin Feet which are the way, the goal, and very
essence of
all souls is reachable to the Grace of the Divine Mother through the
intercession and guidance of the lineage of AchAryas that finds its
source in
Bhagavad Sri Ramanuja.

Once this meaning is understood, the true bliss of having this sacrament
gifted to us quickly becomes known.   Sriman Narayana's Lotus Feet are
refuge of all souls, the object of meditation of all the gods and
rishis, and
the very home of all the nitya sUris and our AchAryas.  There are souls
are spending veritable lifetimes trying to realize these Feet through
meditation; and yet we bhAgavathas, with just the compassionate glance
of our
AchArya, receive them with virtually no effort.  One can only began
just how, among all the souls in the universe, a few less than deserving
soul caught the glance of the Lord to be able to adorn His Feet in this

This Treasure of Treasures, then, must be carefully guarded and
nurtured, just
as we would a prize possession.  Ideally, we must feel that we are
placing the
most purest, most delicate and and most sacred thing in the Universe on
bodies, consequently every effort must be maintained to make our body,
and spirit conducive to being a receptacle for this.  So, at least while
wearing the thiruman, if not always, one must attempt to maintain good
thoughts, good words, good actions, and at a minimum, must refrain from
things that go against sAstra.

When jewels are proudly displayed in a museum or store, the display case
that treasure is decorated in such a way as to highlight and accentuate
beauty of the treasure, such that the attention of the public is drawn
it.  Similarly, we, as servants and "display cases" of  Sriman
Lotus Feet must make an effort to behave in a way that would accentuate
draw people to Him and His SiddhAntam.  Particularly while wearing the
thiruman, if not at all times, we must behave in way that reflects the
qualities of a SriVaishnava, treating all with forebearance and respect,
making every effort to put the needs of other devotees over our own.  
Such a
respect and humble mood of servitude must be extended to everyone,
irrespective of race, caste, gender, or linguistic group.

If taken to this ideal, this mood of respect and humility reveals to us
those around us what is our True and Natural State, as simple servants
receptacles to the Lord's Boundless and Unconditional Grace.

I hope this helps.

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan

Sree Ranganath Kuntimaddi wrote:

> Keeping namam on your forehead is only to state that one is a srivaishnava
> or is there any special significance of the namam?

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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