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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.