Brief answers – English – Part 1

SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

These are some of the English Questions, which SrI sArathy thOthAthri swAmy has answered for some devotees in our whatsapp group. There may be minor variations in practices/opinion based on the place where one is residing and the mutt/thirumALigai one may belong to. Further, one can become familiar with these principles with the help of this information available here and learn deeper meanings from scholars and AchAryas and follow them.

For morning thiruvArAdhanam and sARRumuRai, during anadhyayana kAlam, what is the order in which upadhEsa rathina mAlai and thiruvAimozhi nUtrandhAdhi are to be recited?

First upadhEsa rathina mAlai and then thiruvAimozhi nUtrandhAdhi are recited. Same order is for sARRumuRai.

Why do vaishNavas  wear kamal gatta mAlA?

yE kaNta lagna thuLasi nalinAksha mAlA; yE bAhu mUla parichinnita sankha chakrA; ye vA lalAta phalakE lasadh Urdhva puNdrA; thE vaishNavA bhuvanam Asu pavithrayanthi.

This purana sloka explains who a vaishNava is from a physical appearance perspective and what does he do to the place where he lives.

One who wears mAlAs (necklace) that is made out of thuLasi and lotus stems (also includes pavithra mAlai which was adorned by perumAL, thAyArs, AzhwArs, AchAryas); one whose shoulders are decorated with the unique symbols of SrIman nArAyaNa – Sankham and chakram (as part of the pancha samskAram process); one whose forehead is decorated with Urdhva puNdram (an authorized symbol applied by mixing the clay that is found in holy pilgrimages and that represents the holy feet of SrIman nArAyaNa) – while it talks about forehead specifically, our pUrvAchAryas always applied 12 Urdhva puNdrams at various places of the body as per SAsthram; such vaishNava quickly purifies the world (the place where he is present).

Is it mandatory that our thiruvArAdhana perumAL is same as our AchAryan’s?

No such compulsion.

It is said that chaithanya mahAprabhu is an incarnation of rAdhA-krishNa in mahAbhAratham and some SrIvaishNava AchAryas also accept this. How to understand this?

SlOkams can be misinterpreted. Our pUrvAchAryas have not said chaithanya mahAprabhu is an incarnation of rAdhA-krishNa. If some individuals (even SrIvaishNavas) promote other sampradhAya views – it’s on their own personal interest. It is not based on our sampradhAya principle.

Are Agamas from vEdham or are they written by maharishis? What is present in Agamas? Can anyone read Agamas? As a SrIvaishNava, what Agamas should we be familiar for doing kainkaryam to perumAL? What is the difference between vaikAnasa and pAncharAthra agama?

bhagavAn explained SrI pAncharAthra Agama to 5 sages who brought it forward. SrI vaikAnasa Agama was explained by bhagavAn to sage vikanasa and was further propagated by him. They are different ways to worship bhagavAn. Agamas are generally restricted to brAhmaNas and also its a hereditary process.

perumAL is guNapUrNan and we are blessed to cherish His qualities. Is there any such guNams for jIvAthma? Are SaraNAgathi and bhakthi guNams of jIvAthma? Are there any common guNams for paramAthma and jIvAthma? If yes, are those guNams pramAnams for adhvaita vEdha vAkyams?

jIvAthmA also has many qualities – in SrI gIthA from https://githa.koyil.org/index.php/13-7/ in 4 slOkams, krishNa explains the qualities which are expected in karma yOga nishtas (the same qualties will be expected by prapannas too). These guNams has nothing to do with vEdha vAkyams which are tilting towards adhvaitha concept.

White sugar, brown sugar, palm sugar, kalkaNdu, panangkalkaNdu, nAttu sakkarai, karupatti, jaggery – Is there an order of preference amongst these according to our pUrvAchAryas that can be used/not used in our nithya thaLigai?

Jaggery and nAttu sakkarai are officially allowed. Others are not preferable – especially anything from palm tree, we cannot consume.

Why is it said that we should not keep ugra rUpam of perumAL like SrI Narasimha? It is said that if we keep him in this rUpam He will show His ugram (anger) on us and instead of blessing, He will harm us. Please clarify.

I have not seen such statement in SAsthram. Nothing like that – SrI narasimha appeared with ugra form only but was very loving towards prahlAdhAzhwAn. His anger is only towards enemies, not towards devotees.

At our homes, which photo of narasimha can we keep?
yOga narasimha, lakshmi narasimha or the one in which he’s holding prahlAdhAzhwAn? And also is it advisable to keep ugra narasimha?

Any picture is fine – even ugra narasimha is fine.

Should we offer tharpaNam to bhIshma on bhIshmAshtami?

No.

What is the meaning of ‘rAma’? Please explain.

rAma means one who is very beautiful.

emperumAn has weapons like Sankham, chakram, gadhai, etc. We do pUja, hOmam and archanai for sudarSana bhagavAn. It seems there is not much significance for Sankham and gadhai. Please explain swAmy.

sudharSana chakram is the primary weapon. All his weapons are explained as an amSam of chakram. There is also importance given in Agamas for him. Hence, he is worshipped separately also.

If we are away from home, does the rule of carrying the Lord with us and doing ordained worship apply for photos of bhagavAn too, or only for mUrthis?

Only for murthis with prathishta or SAlagrAma shila – we have ordained worship.

What should we do in suthak when someone dies. How to do deity worship at that time?

We need to arrange someone else to take deities to their home or they should come and do the worship here.

While offering thAmbUlam and sambhAshanam, should we say adiyEn dhAsan or abhivAdhanam?

Saying ‘adiyEn dhAsan’ is the norm.

After pancha samskAram when should one tell / not tell abhivAdhanam?

Only during sandhyAvandhanam and vaidhIka rituals, we should do abhivAdhanam. In other times, just saying “adiyEn rAmAnuja dhAsan” and offering obeisances is sufficient.

Please tell us what to do on samASrayaNam day. Should we celebrate the date or same star? What are the proceedings on samAsrayaNam day?

That day can be considered as the real birth star and one can show gratitude to one’s acharya for making that happen. Please see – https://ponnadi.blogspot.com/2015/12/simple-guide-to-srivaishnavam-pancha-samskaram.html

In thirumala, malayappa swAmy has 7 vAhana puRappAdu on ratha sapthami. What is the significance of ratha sapthami for SrI vaishNavas at homes?

As per Agama, it is celebrated in certain temples – in different ways. At homes, there is no specific celebration.

Is sUrya dhEvar the avathAram of perumAL according to SrI vaishNavas?

Not specifically. But sUrya maNdalam is said to be a special abode of nArAyaNa – he is known as sUrya nArAyaNa in that place.

Most of us in this day and age of kali yugam are ordinary human beings who are constantly suffering, as our karmas continue to torment us, we even fear that our faith in bhagavAn can shake anytime. Even after surrendering to bhagavAn, we are still struggling for the basic needs of life. What is the way forward for people with such experiences and merely living off making ends meet in this modern world of inflation and soaring prices by the day?

You are not alone in this aspect of suffering. Everyone goes through some kind of suffering – the level and intensity may be different. As explained before, how can we keep blaming bhagavAn if we have accumulated so much karma. If we are steadfast in our devotion we will overcome such sufferings. Even if we have to suffer throughout our life – we need to have the heart to face it. Just think about the sufferings of great sages, saints, AchAryas. Even bhagavAn had to go through so much hardship when he was in SrI rAmAvathAram.
Imagine bhagavath rAmAnujar who was living in SrIrangam happily with so many disciples – one day had to leave everything and go to mElkOte, with just a few followers. Can we imagine being exiled in forest for 14 years as rAma had to do? Can we imagine losing everything and going to a new place like bhagavath rAmAnujar had to do? Can we imagine losing our eyes like AzhwAn had to go through?

What is the difference between red nAmam and yellow nAmam?

Traditionally, most SrIvaishNavas irrespective of different kalai, use SrIchUrNam (red). Some in vadakalai and few others use turmeric (yellow).

What actually is the meaning of kainkaryam?

kainkaryam is loving service to bhagavAn, bhAgavathas and AchArya.

As devotees following SrI vaishNava sampradhAyam, is it correct to pray sarasvathi dhEvi for education, since sarasvathi dhEvi herself named swAmy rAmAnujar as ‘SrI bhAshyakArar’?

No – we should not be praying to anyone else for anything. sarasvathi dhEvi was inspired by bhagavath rAmAnuja’s work – just because she did that, we need not worship her. Our prayers should only be to bhagavAn for eternal kainkaryam as the only benefit.

Is it true that pArvathi dhEvi is sister of Lord SrIman nArAyaNa?

In krishNAvathAram, dhurgA came as krishNa’s elder sister. In leelA vibhUthi such relationship between different forms of dhurgA and bhagavAn are shown in SAsthram and pUrvAchAryas’ commentaries.

We are in this material world and we have to get educated in materialistic things. How to tackle those as a devotee following SrI vaishNava sampradhAyam?

If we pray for kainkaryam, bhagavAn will grant everything we need – as he knows everything about us.

What is abhigamana kAlam? What is its significance?

abhigamana kAlam means early morning, when we wake up and do our early morning anushtAnams such as dhyAnam, snAnam, sandhyAvandhanam, etc.
As far as I know – it is part of our everyday routine. vaidhIkas (followers of vEdham) are known as panchakAla parAyaNas – those who split the day into 5 parts and perform the deeds in the apt times.

a) abhigamana – waking up and early morning routines
b) upAdhAna – gathering materials for thiruvArAdhanam
c) ijjA – doing thiruvArAdhanam
d) svAdhyAya – engaging in SAsthram/pramANams
e) yOgam – going to sleep (dhyAna)

What is the significance of 74 simhAsana-adhipathis in our sampradhAyam? Is there a significance to the number – 74? Should we offer obeisances to them?

They were established by bhagavath rAmAnujar for the propagation of our sampradhAyam and initiating disciples in our sampradhAyam. While most of them were gruhasthas some were sanyAsis too – but all were male – brAhmaNa SrIvaishNavas. Their lineages have the responsibility to continue and establish the mission of bhagavath rAmAnuja. Out of the 74 lineages, we may have about 30 active now. It is said that the vIrANam lake near kAttu mannAr kOyil (vIra nArAyaNa puram) which is the birth place of SrIman nAthamunigaL, had 74 outlets. bhagavath rAmAnujar may have been inspired by that.

Also, as part of our guruparamparA manthram, when we say asmath sarva gurubhyO nama: – it covers all AchAryas up to rAmAnuja from our paramAchAryas (2nd level of AchAryas).

What is meant by sARRumuRai?

sARRumuRai is the conclusion of any routine – dhivyaprabandha pArAyaNam, vEdha pArAyaNam, kAlakshEapam, etc., will have a concluding portion – that is in known as sARRumuRai.

I see similarities in the dyadic relationship between madhurakavi AzhwAr-nammAzhwAr, and kaNikaNNan-thirumazhisai AzhwAr.
Is there a reason that kaNikaNNan isn’t given the same status as madhurakavi AzhwAr by our pUrvAcharyAs? Or maybe he is and I am ignorant about it. He also worshipped his AcharyAr with the same devotion.

Interesting question. historically, as per guru paramaparA prabhAvam, we see madhurakavi AzhwAr carrying out nammAzhwAr’s mission fully and establishing his glories. Same thing is not seen in kaNikaNNan’s life – that may be the reason.

My yajnOpavItham just broke. What should I do now?

For now, you can knot it where it is broken. As soon as possible, get a new one and change it with the appropriate manthram.

Can dhivyaprabandham be learnt by people who have not undergone pancha samskaram/samASrayaNam yet? If yes, which prabandhams can be learnt?

There are few variant views.
a) Some scholars say that dhivyaprabandham must be learnt only after pancha samskAram
b) Some scholars say that dhivyaprabandham must be learnt only after pancha samskAram, but for children born in SrIvaishNava families (both brahmaNa and non-brahmaNa), they can be taught even before pancha samskAram, since they will be having pancha samskAram sooner or later.
c) Some scholars say that dhivyaprabandham can be learnt by all, since that is by nature the difference between vEdham and dhivya prabandham – vEdham is very restrictive while dhivya prabandham is very open.


adiyEn feels that option b) is reasonable and it can be extended to even those who are not born in SrI vaishNava families, but will eventually get pancha samskAram done.

During theetu/aSoucham, can pUrvAchArya sthothrams or dhivyaprabandham be recited?

No – we cannot recite any prabandhams, sthothrams etc. during theetu. They can be meditated upon and recited in mind.

swAmy, what are dhEvarIr’s views on those who have not undergone pancha samskAram, and not born in SrIvaishNava family and yet recite selective dhivyaprabandhams including thaniyans daily?

If there is no intent to get pancha samskAram, one may not fully be in line with SrIvaishNava thought process. Simply learning the dhivya prabandhams without implementing the meanings in their life, will be a wasted opportunity. But adiyEn feels that coming in contact with AzhwArs’ divine words and practicing them will help in upward progress of the jIvAthmA for the next birth.

In our sampradhAyam, we worship SrIman nArAyaNa in aiSvarya bhAvam. Shall we worship Him or different avathArams, especially krishNa in sakhya bhAvam or other bhAvams like vAthsalya bhAvam, mAdhurya bhAvam, etc.?

Different AzhwArs have enjoyed SrIman nArAyaNa in different bhAvam. For example:
nammAzhwAr, thirumangai AzhwAr et al – mAdhurya bhAvam;
periyAzhwAr – vAthsalya bhAvam.
So, yes, bhagavAn can be enjoyed in different moods.

Please explain why thirunArAyaNapuram chellappiLLai is known as kiNaRRangaraik kuzhandhai?

The name chellappiLLai itself means sweet/pampered child. bhagavath rAmAnujar went to thirunArAyaNapuram and totally reformed the place after establishing mUla mUrthi and uthsava mUrthi. He spent a long time there and was personally looking after all kainkaryams of perumAL. Hence, when he was returning to SrIrangam he ordered the SrIvaishNavas to take care of emperumAn with great care, like caring for a child sitting on the fence of a well (kiNaRRangaraik kuzhandhai).

Kindly elucidate how varavaramuni indicates maNavALa mAmunigaL.

vara means ‘beauty’. vara also means ‘bridegroom’. Both meanings are present in samskritham. That is why azhagiya maNavALa is translated to vara vara (beautiful bridegroom). This is the name of SrI ranganAtha – azhagiya maNavALan – this name is given to many in our SrIvaishNava families.

If a prapanna is mentally ill/ignorant who can’t control his actions and mind, will his moksham still be cancelled in the case of vaishNava apachAram and bhagavath apachAram?

When vaishNava apachAram is done, one should seek sincere atonement/forgiveness from that vaishNava. If that is done, the mistake will be forgiven and will not be a blocking factor for mOksham. So, if something is done uncontrollably, when one comes back to senses, one should seek atonement/forgiveness.

Who is thiruvEngadamudaiyAn?

SrInivAsa perumAL in thiruppathi is known as thiruvEngadamudaiyAn.

Is SrIman nArAyaNa still pleased when we listen to dhivya prabandhams, nArAyaNIyam, etc., even if we don’t know samskritham and thamizh and don’t understand the meanings?

Yes – language is not relevant – the words of AzhwArs and our AchAryas have great potency. Still, we need to try and learn the language so that we can appreciate the deep meanings.

There are different avathArams of Lord SrIman nArAyaNa. How do we concentrate our mind only on one avathAram of Lord nArAyaNa? In ArAdhana, mind moves from rAmA to krishNa, krishNa to narsimha to vEnkatESwara, and unable to concentrate upon the lord to worship? How do we know our ishta dheivam from all these avathArams?

No need to concentrate on one avathAram only – even while reciting pAsurams, sthOthrams during thiruvArAdhanam, they may be for different forms of perumAL – it is ok to let the mind go through different forms of perumAL and experience different emotions.

Is it true that just by doing dhivya sAkEtham parikrama, we are doing parikrama of all dhivya dhEsams?

If we have the real bhakthi, that can be said even to our home perumAL.

How to surrender to perumAL and thAyAr?

In our sampradhAyam, we surrender unto bhagavAn, through AchArya with the process named pancha samskAram.

Is garuda the primary vAhanam for mahAlakshmi thAyAr too?

There is no separate vAhanam for her – she travels usually with perumAL in garuda. In temples, she has many different vAhanams.

What is the difference between white chandhan and thirumaN?

thirumaN is prepared from soil in holy dhAms (dhivya dhEsams) such as SrI ayOdhya, thirunArAyaNapuram etc – there is a long process in preparing the solid blocks. I think chandhan is prepared by grinding sandalwood.

If we want to keep SrInivAsa idol in home, do we need to have it along with SrI and bhU dhEvi together or SrInivAsa alone is enough, since lakshmi is present in the vakshasthala of SrInivAsa?

Ideally, we can have with SrIdhEvi and bhUdhEvi.

Does any AzhwAr have any descendants today? Are any of them upanyAsakars, AchAryas or involved in temple kainkaryams?

periyAzhwAr has descendants in SrIvillipuththUr. madhurakavi AzhwAr has descendants in AzhwArthirunagari. Both families are engaged in temple kainkaryam.

A non-brahmin who does not have yajnOpavItham, but has taken pancha samskAram from SrI vaishNavism, is he qualified to worship SAlagrAma perumAL?

Yes – without reciting vEdha manthrams, with AzhwAr pAsurams and pUrvachArya sthOthrams, thiruvArAdhanam can be done.

In what context AzhwArs and bhagavAn are so connected? And why people conceive AzhwArs to be the bhagavAn?

bhagavAn blessed AzhwArs to be his pure devotees and because of that they were totally dedicated to him only. Our pUrvAchAryas gave greater importance to AzhwArs than perumAL, because they are the ones who showed perumAL to us.

Is samASrayaNam still valid if it is done to children who doesn’t know what it means?

It is certainly valid – but as they grow up, they should be taught about its significance.

Can we throw away spoiled prasAdham? What can we do?

Yes – if prasAdham becomes spoilt, it can be thrown away. But we can try to use it by placing on ground as fertilizer, if possible.

vaishNavas don’t consume onion, garlic and mushrooms. But can we consume drugs/remedies which contains them?

We can try our best to avoid such medicines also. But if we have to take medicines for survival, we may not have any other choice.

What is the difference between charama SlOkam and thaniyan slOkam?

thaniyan slOkam is a slOkam in glorification of the AchArya. charama SlOkam for a particular person, narrates his ascending to paramapadham, highlighting his identity.

How can I get perumAL to worship at our place? Can I purchase permuAL mUrthis from a dhivyadhEsam and worship in my pUja room?

He will come to us. We just need to keep longing for his arrival. But purchasing with money is not allowed. He will come through some elders or co-SrIvaishNavas.

Can AchAryan thaniyans be recited by kids at home who have not yet been performed with pancha samskAram by AchAryan?

Yes.

In nAchiyAr thirumozhi it’s said that nAchiyAr observed nOmbu and she prayed for kAma dhEva in first padhigam first pAsuram. So, do we have the vyAkhyAnam of periyavAchAn piLLai for this? This seems to encourage us to worship dhEvathAntharams.

Due to overwhelming devotion towards bhagavAn, in separation, ANdAL becomes bewildered and prays to manmatha. It is something for us to cherish, not to follow. A crude example in materialistic terms – A man may be in deep love with a woman and may commit suicide if that woman rejects him. In such case, people will be amazed at his love for that woman, but no one will suggest to follow in his way, because it is not good to take one’s life like that.

In vishNu purANam it’s said that the motto of writing the purANam is that all beings can benefit from this. But why do some AchAryas say that SlOkams like sahasranAmam and many others shouldn’t be recited by women?

One need not directly read to benefit from it. Anyone can listen to those who have read.

It is said that in prathama parvam, we have thirumanthram, dhvaya mahA manthram and charama SlOkam for emperumAn. Like that in charama parvam, we have the manthrams for emperumAnAr too. If that is the case, can we, prapannas chant this dhvayam of emperumAnAr like dhvaya mahA manthram?

Yes – there is rAmAnuja rahasya thrayam. But for us, the main rahasya thrayam, is compulsory to understand and practice. Though charama parva nishtai is glorified, in pUrvAchArya granthams, specific usage of manthrams is not emphasised.

When the body of a soul perishes, do the same indhriyams carry on to paramapadham? In paramapadham, there are no feelings except for joy. However, to experience joy we need to have manam (mind). But it would not be logical to only have manam.

Except for AthmA, nothing else from this samsAram enters paramapadham. While gross body is left behind during death, the AthmA travels with mind and senses up to virajA river. While bathing in virajA river, mind and senses also get washed away. AthmA then gets a new divine form and serves bhagavAn with that new spiritual form.

Is it mandatory to perform pUjas for nithya sUris or worship lakshminArAyaNa alone is enough?

AchAryas, AzhwArs and nithyasUris can be worshipped along with lakshminArAyaNa. if archA mUrthis are not present for them, pictures can be used. Otherwise, we can worship them mentally before worshipping lakshminArAyaNa.

Quoting swAmy AlavandhAr’s sthOthra rathnam, it is mentioned that vishvaksEnar controls ubhaya vibhUthi. At the same time, in our sampradhAyam it is also said that udayavar SrI rAmAnujar gets control of both. How should we view the above two things that appears to contradict each other?

sEnai mudhaliyAr is the commander-in-chief – hence manages administrative tasks at the behest of emperumAn.
For udaiyavar, it was an honorary position given by periya perumAL. This way, udaiyavar can choose who can be granted mOksham. This is not specific to administrative tasks.

We generally don’t take photos and videos of “mUla mUrthi”. Is this allowed in ayOdhya because it’s a North Indian temple? Or is it because its followed only in southern dhivya dhEsams?

Yes – in the north, they are not too restrictive about it.

Taking photos of mUla mUrthi is a contentious issue because the purpose is to remain inside and not move around. So, only those who go inside the temple can have his dharSan. Hence, the argument that we should not take photos.

But uthsava mUrthi ventures out to give his dharSan to everyone, for the sake of those who cannot come to have his dharSan. Hence, there is no specific restriction, in general.

But the reality is most of the mUla mUrthis in dhivyadhESams and other temples have already been captured through cameras. It could either be officials or some influential bhaktha or the archaka or kainkaryapara who would have done it. Also, during bAlAlayam there will be more scope for taking pictures.

In those days, before cameras were prevalent, artists would sit and draw based on their grasp of mUla mUrthis – the drawing would mostly be accurate. In one way, these pictures or drawings when well preserved, will help us identify the changes in thirumEni if done.

I’m just not able to concentrate on my devotion to perumAL (it’s without my intention). I really don’t know why this is happening. I too remained patient thinking everything will get sorted with time but I don’t see any improvement.

Number of factors are there – whether there is clean environment, good sath sangam, etc. Also, some discipline should be brought in our routine, that we allocate daily a specific time for listening to lectures, reading books etc. Whether there is full involvement of mind is there or not, one should push through the routine – soon, it will become a habit to like the routine.

adiyEn ‘s father-in-law has not taken pancha samskAram. But he was chanting ashtAkshara manthram. adiyEn listened to one upanyAsam where the upanyAsakar swamy said that chanting ashtAkshara manthram is fruitful only when we have done samASrayaNam and it has many restrictions. So adiyEn told adiyEn’s view about that. Now to chant something, he has started chanting another dhEvathAntharam’s manthram. Now adiyEn doesn’t know how to make him understand swAmy. But he has made a point to recite vishNu sahasranAmam daily. Kindly guide adiyEn swAmy.

Any vaidhIka manthra, should be chanted only after personally getting instructed from a guru only. You can inform him that. Reciting the nAmams from sahasranAmam is fine. He can be encouraged to recite SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: – bhagavath rAmAnujar will guide him soon to an AchArya.

Whenever we eat, fruits, dry fruits, etc., can we offer to SAlagrAma perumAL by opening the box? Is it not like disturbing a person who is in Sayanam?

Some of us have the habit of keeping kOyilAzhwAr (perumAL sannidhi) open till night and do Sayanam, and then close the doors. In such case, we can offer anytime. If we have the habit of keeping the sannidhi closed immediately after thiruvArAdhanam, then food items can be offered from outside the sannidhi or to perumAL pictures.

Why during brahmOthsavams in SrIrangam, namperumAL is covered with cloth fully in the front and not adorned with dhOthi unlike adhyayana utsavams or AsthAnams?

namperumAL is considered as very tender and hence not exposed to external atmosphere usually. Inside the temple, it is somewhat controlled environment – so not much covering. Due to his tender nature, if it rains even a little bit, his procession will be cancelled.

Is there any grantham in which complete process of pancha samskAram / samASrayaNam with steps and details is mentioned?

SrI pAncharAthra Agama, parASara dharma SAsthram, etc., explains about it.

Is there any SlOkam for perumAL that I can chant to get rid of fear and negative thoughts?

Usually, in our sampradhAyam, we recite pAsurams and chant manthrams (specifically guruparamparA manthrams and dhvaya mahA manthram) as kainkaryam only. If we did this sincerely, as a side effect, all negative thoughts and fear will slowly disappear.

Can adhvaithis be called as kaivalyArthis?

In the commentary for 49th sUthram of piLLai lOkAchArya’s thathva thrayam, maNavALa mAmunigaL explains that those who claim that there is only one AthmA (we can equate them to adhvaithis) have misunderstood the equanimity of AthmAs shown in SAsthram. So, adhvaithis are not the same as kaivalyArthis. kaivalyArthis as per SAsthram, are those who perform gyAna yOgam, and pray to SrIman nArAyaNa for enjoying the self eternally.

In which book SrI rAmAnujAchArya has explained that “vaidhika himsa is not actually himsa”?

SrI bhAshyam – it is quoted in other granthams by other AchAryas also.

How can any jIvAthma choose kaivalyam, once he is in full knowledge in SrIvaikuntham?

As AthmA has freewill, the goal is already chosen by the AthmA while here in samsAram. bhagavAn is the means for him to attain the goal. Usually, gyAna yOgam is the means for kaivalyArthis. bhagavAn is the one who has to grant the goal. He tries his best to convince an individual to choose kainkaryam. But if Athma still chooses kaivalyam – once chosen, he cannot change. This is the way it is explained.

Isn’t it emphasized in many places in our tradition that pirAtti sambandham is required during surrender? Many pUrvAchArya SrIsUkthis cite the kAkAsura/rAvaNa example as proof for this. But then, pirAtti does not appear to be present at the time of vibhIshanAzhwAn’s surrender, but the surrender was still accepted. How is this possible?

pirAtti’s presence in lankA is said to have given him her blessings. The fact that vibhIshaNAzhwAn spoke for her sake towards rAvaNa, implies his acceptance of her as purushakAram.

How thenkalai AchAryas accept kaivalya mOksham as permanent isolation from perumAL enjoying the bliss of the individual jIvAthma only? If there is no agyAnam in the state of mOksham, how does an individual jIvAthma remain isolated forever from the personal kainkaryam of perumAL in SrIvaikuntham?

As far as adiyEn knows, kaivalyam is something the AthmA chooses. He chooses because it is a valid goal available for the Athma. Hence, it is permanent. In any case, in this day and age, there are not many kaivalyam seekers as per the process explained in SAsthram.

adiyEn was listening to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bZxD7z3wng 

adiyEn would like to ask two questions:

  1. Because this is perumAL thIrtham and pavithram, should we receive this with vasthram, so this won’t fall on floor and be stepped on?
  2. adiyEn heard that one of the reasons not to touch eyes, hair etc., after thIrtha prasAdham is, these parts of the body are considered excretory organs and hence should not be touched. Is it ok to say Sri SatAri instead of plain SatAri?

a. Yes – we should receive with vasthram so that it doesn’t spill on the floor.

b. prasAdhams such as mAlai, vasthram, thIrtham and food items etc are commonly placed on eyes and head. So, no need to worry about any other aspect. Ideally, we have to say SrI SatAri or SrI SatakOpam.

Why vEdham allows multiple marriages for men and only one for women apart for exceptional cases like that of dhraupathi?

This is how it is defined in SAsthram. If we say it is because men have more strength and more ability to be active for many years (say from 20 years old to 70 years old), some will say even women have more strength etc. Certain things, we just have to accept what is in SAsthram and move on.

At what age did ANdAL write thiruppAvai?

5 years old.

As a SrIvaishNava are we allowed to observe new year?

Yes – but it varies from region to region. Generally, chithrai month (starting around April 15th in gregorian calendar) is considered as the first month in our native calendar.
The way new year is celebrated can be seen from one incident in bhagavath rAmAnujar’s life. Once when SrI rAmAnujAchArya was informed about new year, he became joyous and told “We are getting closer to reaching bhagavAn as we have shed one more year in our life”.

For a prapanna, new year begins only in aippasi thiruvOnam. Please explain.

Yes – this is said considering the appearance of first AzhwAr happened on that day as it dawned a new era for us, SrIvaishNavas.

How many authentic upanishaths are there? And what are they? What is the pramANam for their authenticity?

Number may not be important – while all sidhdhAnthis accept 10 or so primary upanishaths, different sidhdhAnthis consider different upanishaths as important.

In SrIvaishNava sampradhAyam, is thuLasi vivAham performed? Could dhEvarIr give your thoughts on this from a SrI vaishNava perspective?

Such practice is not found in our granthams or pUrvAchArya anushtAnams.

Which pasurams should we recite 2 times in thiruppAvai?

mArgazhi, Ongi, nAyaganAy, undhu, mAri, anRu, kUdArai, kaRavai, siRRam, vangam.

In the month of mArgazhi, do we refrain from consuming milk and ghee?

Though that was part of the vratham of the gOpikAs, we are not performing the same vratham – our focus is only to engage in bhagavath anubhavam and kainkaryam.

Is ex-vaishNava aparAdham also a sin?

Hurting anyone unnecessarily through mind, speech and body, is a sin.

There are some instances where we find garudAzhwAr being a mukthAthma, he himself got hungry to eat a snake and also did some apachAram to perumAL. How do we understand this?

These are leelAs which emperumAn enacts through his dear devotees to drive a particular point. We can also learn how powerful our senses are in binding us from such instances.

Is narasimha avathAra thithi thraoyOdaSi or chathurdhaSi?

It is generally said to be chathurdhaSi.

Why thiruvallikkEni vEnkatakrishNar doesn’t have moustache and wear kavacham after thaila kAppu? Kindly clarify the reason.

It is said that in the past, there was no moustache for mUlavar in thiruvallikkEni and subsequently it was added. Hence, during a few days in a year during thaila kAppu, perumAL actually gives dharSan in his original form. Not sure about the authenticity of this information though.

What can we do for a mentally ill person who is suffering a lot as a SrIvaishNava? Is there any prayer or other way that we can make their condition easier?

We as SrIvaishNavas should not be praying for any materialistic remedies. We can pray for anyone to be happily engaged in kainkaryam.

Is SrI hayagrIva swAmy pUrNa or amSa avathAram? Did he display all 6 kalyANa guNams?

Not much discussion is available regarding this in our pUrvAchArya granthams. But my understanding is – hayagrIva is pUrNAvathAram only.

Should SrIvaishNavas worship dhaththAthrEya avathAram of bhagavAn?

dhaththAthrEya avathAram is an AvESa avathAram. AvESa avathArams of bhagavAn are not meant for worship for mumukshus.

How many authentic upanishaths are there? What is the pramANam for their authenticity?

Number may not be important. While all sidhdhAnthis accept 10 or so primary upanishaths, different sidhdhAnthis consider different upanishaths as important.

Is new year (not Christmas) celebrated in SrIvaishNavam?

Yes – but it varies from region to region. Generally, chithrai month (starting around April 15th in Gregorian calendar) is considered as the first month in our native calendar. The way new year is celebrated in SrIvaishNavam can be seen from one incident in rAmAnujar’s life. Once when SrI rAmAnujAchArya was informed about new year, he became joyous and told, “We are getting closer to reach bhagavAn as we have shed one more year in our life”.

But for a prappanna isn’t new year aippasi thiruvONam?

Yes. This is said considering the appearance of first AzhwAr happened on that day as it dawned a new era for us, SrIvaishNavas.

For my son during this rAhu kEthu peyarchchi, it seems rAhu is not in a good place and will cause harm. He is also having health issues. Is there any parihAram to be done for rAhu? Is there any perumAL temple worship particularly for this situation?

For SrIvaishNavas, there is no involvement with other dhEvathAs. Whatever has to happen due to karma, we need to face it boldly and get over with it. We cannot do any parihAram.

Please explain why we cannot marry a person from another varNam?

Each varNam person should only marry in the same varNam. This is what is explained in SAsthram such as gIthA, etc. Because the culture, traditions, etc., will match.

Why does vEdham allow multiple marriages for men but only one for women except for exceptional cases like that of dhraupadhi?

This is how it is defined in SAsthram. If we say it is because men have more strength and more ability to be active for many years (say from 20 to 70 years old), some will say even women have more strength, etc. For certain things, we just have to accept what is in SAsthram and move on. Anyway, men are also not marrying more than once, these days, as per the law of the land.

In which text or sthOthram, the text “sarva dhESa dhasA kAlEshvavyAhatha parAkramA…” is found?

It is part of our sARRumuRai – a SlOkam recited by our pUrvAchAryas like kUrESa.

What is kOyil thiruvAimozhi?

kOyil thiruvAimozhi is a collection of important padhigams (dhaSakams) from thiruvAimozhi.

While mAlai, thIrtham, vasthram and other prasAdhams are all received with vasthram on head or hands, some AchAryars/jIyars are not seen to touch them over eyes or head. Please explain.

They are all received on hands. If they are offered to someone else (like one’s elder, AchArya, etc.) – then they will not place them in eyes, head, etc. If it is directly for them, it is quite common to place them on eyes and head.

How can any jIvAthma choose kaivalyam once he is in full knowledge about SrI vaikuntham? Wrong choice only occurs when there is a lack of full knowledge isn’t it?

As Athma has free will, the goal is already chosen by the Athma while here in samsAram. bhagavAn is the means for him to attain the goal. Usually, gyAna yOgam is the means. bhagavAn is the one who has to grant the goal. He tries his best to convince the individual to choose kainkaryam. But if he still chooses kaivalyam – once chosen, he cannot change. This is the way it’s explained. Please see – https://divyaprabandham.koyil.org/index.php/2015/09/thiruvaimozhi-1-7-1-piravith-thuyar/

As for the vadakalai sampradhAyam view of kaivalyam, they believe kaivalyam to be within the leela vibhUthi only, and that is therefore only a temporary and not a permanent destination. Please clarify how they can classify kaivalyam as mOksham, if they do not believe it is permanent (following the vEdhAntha sUthram: no return, no return) and not leading to paramapadham?

The kaivalyam debate is quite complicated. I am not quite capable of explaining the different viewpoints. adiyEn feels it is not much relevant for this time and age. There are various other practical aspects which we need to learn and practice in our day to day life in our sampradhAyam.