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Re: Some questions regarding some of our customs ...

From: sampath kumar (
Date: Tue Oct 12 1999 - 05:37:58 PDT

--- Raja Krishnasamy <> wrote
> > > I have had certain questions regarding some of
the> customs that we > follow, and have tried to list
them below.  > 
>  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.

If the line of vision between 'moolavar' and
'garudAzhwAr' is left clear by devotees everyone will
have unobstructed view of the Deity. Otherwise, as is
the unfortunate case in almost all temples in India
today, devotees will compete and keep shoving each
other around to have 'darshan'. It is a very selfish
way of having 'darshan' but 'free-for-all' is what
happens in most our temples today.

> 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 ?

Whether one likes it or not, it is a
'vadagalai'/'tenkalai' difference. Vaadagalais stick
to 2 or multiples-of-2 method of prostration.I guess
it has something to do with the doctrinal emphasis on
paying equal obesiance to both 'perumal' and
'pirAtti'.The tenkalais do not place 'pirAtti' on the
same plane as 'sarvEshwaran'.
> 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 ?

There must be something in the 'agama-sAstra' in this;
a thing or two perhaps in the 'silpa-sAstra' too. But,
quite significantly, the deities you mention as facing
all 4 directions ("dik") include "lakshmi" in every
instance.I suppose it symbolises "all-round
auspiciousness" such as what Desikan describes in the
stanza 15 of "sri-stuthi":
"yasyAm yasyAm dishi viharatE devi-dhristas-tvadeeya
 tasyAm tasyAm-aham-ahameekAm tanvatE sampadOgAha!"
("Whichever direction Thou cast eyes, O Devi,
qualities of auspiciousness scramble to be there!") 

> 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 ?

I think the word is to be pronounced as "pradakshanam"
not "pradakshinam". Hence nothing to do with

> 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 ?
If you prostrate between the sanctum and the
dvajhastambam you will be forced to turn your
posterior on not only the dvajhastamba but also
garudAzhwAr. To avoid such an unseemly situation it is
advisable to prostrate past the dvajhastambam so that
'perumal', 'garudAzhwAr' and the 'stambam' are all
ahead of us and all 3 are in position to receive our
> Raja Krishnasamy> begin:vcard 



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