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Some questions regarding some of our customs ...

From: Raja Krishnasamy (
Date: Mon Oct 11 1999 - 15:57:07 PDT

I have had certain questions regarding some of the customs that we
follow, and have tried to list them below.  Would the learned people in
this group help me understand these customs please.

1.  I have heard people tell me that we are not supposed to walk across
the Sanctum Sanctorum in a way to block visibility for Shri Garudazhvar
to the Mulavar.  Accordingly a lot of temples are constructed in a way
where it is not possible for one to do that - such as Shri Sarangapani
Koil in Thirukkudanthai.

However, this architecture is not prevalent in all the temples - example
- Shri Uppiliappan Koil.  Is there any significance in this belief ?  If
so what ?

2.  There are certain ShriVaishnavas when prostrating, perform the act 4
times or in multiples of 2.  However, there are certain other
ShriVaishnavas who do it just once (such as the people belonging to
"thenKalai" <- Please do not turn this question into a "kalai" fight). 
What is the significance here ?

3.  Most of our temples on the Maha Gopuram of the sanctum have specific
dieties facing specific directions.  Such as Shri Lakshmi Narayanar
always is described on the east facing side of the Sactum Gopuram.  Shri
Lakshmi Varahar on the South facing side, Shri Lakshmi Narasimhar on the
West facing side and Shri Lakshmi Hayagrivar on the North facing side. 
I might have the directions and the dieties mixed up, but I did notice
the last time when I was in India, that all temples are pretty much
consistent with respect to this matter.  Any significance ?

4.  A very fundamental question.  Why is it that when we go around in a
"pradakshinam", we go around the sanctum in the direction we do it as
opposed to doing it the other way ?  Does the word "dakshin" in the word
have any significance ?

5.  Lastly, why is it that we are told to prostrate ourselves in a
temple past the dvajasthambam and not in between the sanctum and the
dvajastambam ?

Thanks in advance for educating me on this matters and more.


Raja Krishnasamy