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Why of the U and Y Namama
Date: Sat Sep 23 1995 - 16:53:13 PDT

A note on the why of the U and Y namams
 Only the Tengalai namam is extended (Y), whereas the Vadagalai namam is U.
 I read the difference for this in one of the  books (Antharagange or Dharma
SamrakshaNe ) of Sri Masti Venkatesha Iyengar, a noted Kannada writer and
scholar (commonly known as MASTI is KANNADAdA AaSTI= Masti is the wealth of
Kannada literature),  belonging to the Tengalai  Sri-Vaishnava sect.  

The  reason for this is that the earlier  sampradayam, prior to the
Vadagalai(V)-Tengalai(T) split ( I don't recall the reference), indicates
that the Namam shall extend to the end  of the nose, without specifying which
end (upper or the lower).  Vadagalais have read it as the upper end of the
nose and Tengalais understand it as the lower end of the nose. Thus the
Tengalai's  try to extend their namam to approach the lower end of the nose.
Thhus we have a Y shape.

During the British rule, V's and T's fought for numerous
 years on the issue of which style namam should be applied
 on the Kancheepuram  Temple elephant. I don't know the outcome
of the court verdict . In any case it is obvious that a true Tengalai
 namam on an elephant would incur quite a bit of an added
 effort compared to the Vadagalai namam.  This will definitely
speed up the depletion of the irreplacable  sacred ThirumaN.
Unlike the SriChurnam, the natural ThirumaN is irreplacable.

Differences in Namams perhaps throws light on another isssue:
 Sashtanga pranams (SP).
T's do it only one per recipient, whereas V's do it a minimum
 of two times and more often than not, they pour in a many more
 ignoring the shower of Porums from the reciepient. You know
you are in a V-crowd if you here udgarams such as porum-porum,
 porumpa-porumpa, porum aNNa-porum aNNa, porumDa-porumDa.
 All this workout puts a heavy toll on the namam. The marking
on the nose is especially more vulnerable and perhaps this is why
the T's do only one SP per reciepient lest at the end of this excercise
their namams may end up looking like that of the Vadagalais.

In general T's appear to pay more attention to the Tamil scriptures, atleast
in Karnataka. The V's stress Sanskrit more in Karnataka.
It is also not uncommon for a V to look down on a T and vice versa. A V-U
alliance in wedding is considered more as a compromise and whenever possible
it is avoided.

A friend of mine made the observation that there is some
similarity between Iyengars and Muslims.  The similarity
being that, if they are present in a group you will know it.

Perhaps the V-T split can also be looked upon as another similarity, akin to
 the Sunny
-Shia split in Islam, which occurred after the time of Prophet Mohamad.

K. Sreekrishna

PS: Any info on the primary chemical of ThirumaN? I know it is a Calcium
salt. Calcium plays a very important role in our body everywhere and
particularly in the brain. 
Perhaps we can extend Mr. Sadagopan's info on scientific significance from
this angle as well.

-K. Sreekrishna.