maNavALa mAmunigaL identifies that our SrIvaishNava sampradhAyam is emperumAnAr (rAmAnuja) dharisanam as declared by namperumAL (SrIranganAthan). Together we can explore the depths of this glorious sampradhAyam in this blog site. This website is a humble samarpaNai at mAmunigaL's ponnadi (his thiruvadi [lotus feet] is called ponnadiyAm sengamalam - representing ponnadikkAl jIyar - 1st pontiff of vAnamAmalai/thOthAdhri mutt).
In the previous article we discussed the unique relationship between acharya and sishya.
will ask - "Why do we need an acharya between us and emperumaan? Has
there not been cases where emperumaan directly acknowledging individuals
like Gajendraaazhwaan, Guha perumaal, Sabhari, akrUran, thrivakraa
(kooni in Krishna avathaaram), maalaa kaaran, etc?".
this our pUrvaachaaryaas explain that, while emperumaan is svathanthran
and he will occassionally choose to pour his mercy on some souls, he is
also bound to give results by an individual's karma. This is where an
acharya comes into the picture. Emperumaan out of his constant sukrutham
tirelessly creating opportunities for a jIvaathma to ultimately reach a
sadaacharya who will impart the real knowledge and prepare the
jivaathma to reach him. Acharya being a recommendation authority like
piraati (who is purushakaara bhoothai) ensures to emperumaan that the
jIvaathma is ready to give up worldly attachments and is purely
depending on emperumaan's mercy to reach him.
is said that while emperumaan will grant samsaaram or mOksham according
to one's own karma, acharya will always ensure that the surrendered
jIvaathma gets mOksham. It is also explained that going directly to
emperumaan is like trying to reach out to his hands to hold on and going
through an acharya is like reaching out to his lotus feet to hold on
(since achayas are his thiruvadi nilai - representing his lotus feet).
Emperumaan directly acknowledging jIvaathmaas are rare and him accepting
jIvaathmaas through an acharyan is the most common/appropriate process
as explained by our pUrvaachaaryaas.
in to srivaishnava lakshanam, since we are discussing about acharyas it
is very appropriate to understand our own acharya paramparai. This will
help us fully appreciate how we got this knowledge down to us from
emperumaan. Most of us will probably already know this, but still
sharing this since without this acharya paramparai - we would also be
like so many other samsaaris in this world today.
(also known as sanaathana dharmam) is an eternal sampradhaayam and many
great personalities have propagated it throughout the history. Towards
the end of dvaapara yugam, azhwars started appearing in southern part of
bhaaratha varsham at the banks of various rivers. The last aazhwar
appeared in the early part of kali yugam. Vyaasa rishi, in sri
bhaagavatham identifies that exalted bhakthas of Sriman
Narayanan will appear in the banks of various rivers and will enrich
every one with the divine knowledge of emperumaan. Azhwaars are 10 in
number - Poigai Azhwaar, bhoothathaazhwaar, peyaazhwaar, thirumazhisai
aazhwaar, nammaazhwaar, kulasEkaraazhwaar, periyaazhwaar, thondaradi
podi aazhwaar, thirumangai aazhwaar and thiruppaanaazhwaar. Madhurakavi
azhwaar is an aaacharya nishtar and Andaal is avathaaram of Bhoomi
piraati. Azhwaars (except Andaal) are all jIvaathmaas hand picked by
emperumaan from samsaaram. Emperumaan gave the Azhwaars the most perfect
knowledge about tattva trayam (chit, achit, isvara) through his own
sankalpam and through them he re-established the bhathi/prapaththi
maargam when it was lost. He also made them realize past, present and future events fully and clearly. Azhwars sung 4000 divya prabhandham (popularly
known as arulicheyal) which were direct outpourings of their bhagavad
anubhavam. The essence of arulicheyal is in the divine verses of
thiruvaaimozhi which was rendered by nammaazhwaar.
the time of aazhwaars, acharyas started appearing. Several acharyas
such as NAthamuni, Uyyakkondaar, manakkaal nambi, aalavanthaar, periya
nambi, periya thirumalai nambi, thirukkOshtiyur nambi, thirumaalai
aandaan, azhwar thiruvaranga perumal arayar, emperumaanaar, embaar,
koorathaazhwaan, mudhaliaandaan, arulaala perumaal emperumaanaar,
thirukkurugai piraan pillan, engalaazhwaan, nadaathur ammaal, bhattar,
nanjeeyar, nampillai, vadakku thiruveedhi pillai, periyavaachaan pillai,
pillai lOkaachariar, azhagiya manavala perumaal naayanaar,
koorakulOthama daasar, thiruvaaimozhi pillai, vedhaanthaachariar,
manavaala maamunigal appeared and propagated our sampradhaayam. This
acharya paramparai continues through the 74 simhaasanadhipathis and
jeeyar mutts (established by emperumaanaar and manvala maamunigal) until
today. These acharyas wrote several commentaries on arulicheyal,
explaining the meanings of the paasurams in great detail. These
the great wealth they have left behind to us - for us to read them for
ourselves and immerse in the bhagavad anubhavam. The acharyas, by the
mercy of the aazhwaars were able to exactly understand the exact message
in the paasurams and explain them from different angles.
upadhEsa rathina maalai, maamunigal explains that we are able to
understand these arulicheyal as it is only because of the existence of
these commentaries (vyaakyaanamgal). If there were no commentaries, our
arulicheyal would have also become like other Tamil literature (which
are only learnt by a few elite group of people). Since our
pUrvaachaaryaas understood the message, they even made arulicheyal as
part of nithyaanusandhanam at both homes and temples. To see it
practically, we can visit thiruvallikeNi divya dEsam - during siriya
thirumadal gOshti on fridays, we can even see 5 year olds and 6 year
olds chanting out louder than the older ones. Also, every one of us
Thiruppaavai - every where, atleast during maargazhi month we can see
even 3 year olds and 4 year olds singing the glorious paasurams of
This article ended up being another slight
deviation from original topic - but again a very important aspect that
is to be understood and appreciated clearly.
In the next article,
we will continue with the original topic and move on to Pillai
lOkaachariar's presentation of the qualities of a vaishnava adhikaari.
the previous article we saw how Pancha samskaaram begins ones journey
as a srivaishnavan. We also saw the beginning of a unique relationship
named "acharya-sishya" relationship. This is actually a small diversion
from the original topic - but since this is such an important aspect in
our sampradaayam, let us understand a little bit more about this
relationship based on purvaachaarya sri sookthis.
literally means "one who has learnt saastras, applying it in his own
life and teaching it to others". It is also said in the sastras that
"Even a sanyaasi, if he does not accept vishnu parathvam, he must be
considered to be a chandaalan only". So it is imperative that acharya
must be a vaishnava - i.e. one who accepts Sriman Narayanan as the
supreme god and is trying to please him every moment in his every
have insisted that one who performs the thirumantra upadesam (along
with dvayam and charama slOkam) during pancha samskaaram is the direct
Sishya means one who undergoes sikshai
(correction/purification). It is generally translated as disciple in
English - which means one who is to be disciplined. Here the sishya gets
himself/herself shaped into a proper mould under the guidance of the
Our purvaachaaryas have discussed the qualities of
achaya and sishya in a very detailed manner. To start with they have
established based on the saastras that acharya-sishya relationship is
exactly the same as father-son relationship. Just like the son is always
totally subservient to the father, sishya must also be totally
subservient to the acharya.
In bhagavad gItA, Krishnan says "tad
viddhi pranipAthEna pari prasNena sEvaya, upadEkshanthi tE jnaanam
jnaaninas tattva darshinah". This nicely summarises the qualities of
the first line, he says that "a sishya should submissively approach an
acharya, do some service to him and ask him questions submissively
(about athma/bhagavad vishayam)". In the second line "since the acharya
has seen/understood the real tattvam (emperumaan), he will instruct the
sishya in that jnaanam".
Some of the qualities that are expected out of an acharya are:
Acharyas are generally equated to piraatti (sri mahalakshmi) - their
main job is to do purushakaaram (recommendation as done by piraatti) to
* Just like piraatti, they should also accept that they
are only subservient to emperumaan, they accept emperumaan as the only
upaayam and their acts are for the enjoyment of emperumaan only.
They should be full of krupai - to accept sishyas, develop their athma
jnaanam and vairaagyam, and involve the sishyaas in bhagavad/bhaagavatha
* Per maamunigal's divya srisookthi, acharya must only be focussed on
* Pillai lOkaachariaar says "An acharya should have proper knowledge about self, sishya and the result".
* He should think that he is not the acharya but his acharya is the acharya.
* He should think that his sishya is not his sishya but his acharya's sishya.
* He should think the result is to create a well matured sishya who
will constantly perform mangalaasaasanam to emperumaan - nothing else.
Per vaarthaa maalai grantham and sistaachaaram (per elder's practices),
Acharya should treat his sishya with great respect - since the sishya
has come to him for total protection purely based on injunctions in
saastra - without analysing the qualities/capabilities of the acharya.
It is explained by our purvaachaaryas that even emperumaan being an
acharaya - that is why he chose to be in the beginning of our OrAN vazhi
guruparamparai. He also likes to have an acharya for himself - that is
he chose the most perfect acharya for himself - Sri Azhagiya Manavaala
Some of the qualities that are expected out of a sishya are:
Pillai lOkaachariar says, "A sishya's focus should completely be in
emperumaaan, ready to serve anytime in anyway to the acharya,
looking at this material world, desire in bhagavad vishayam, free of
jealosy when hearing about bhagavad/bhaagavatha glories".
* A sishya
must think all his properties are really his acharya's properties. He
should only take as much is required for him for dEha dhaaranam (to run
the basic livelihood).
* A sishya should also think that his acharya
is everything for him as explained by aalavandhaar in "maatha pithaa
* He should take care of his acharya's livelihood.
Maamunigal also explains in upadEsa rathina maalai that "one should not
stay away even for a moment from his acharya when he is in this world".
A sishya should glorify his acharya in his presence and always have
upakaara smrithi (gratefulness) for the knowledge that is given by his
acharya to him.
It is also explained that it is inappropriate for
the sishya to do athma rakshanam of acharya (i.e., sishya should never
perform athma sikshai to acharya)
and inappropriate for the acharya to do dEha rakshanam of sishya (i.e.,
sishya should not except that the acharya will take care of his day to
As explained by pillai lOkaachariar, it is very
difficult to be a sishya (and also we dont really understand no matter
how much we learn about being a sishya) - that is why emperumaan himself
took the form of "Nara" rishi and became the sishya of "Narayana" rishi
(who is an avathaaram of emperumaan as well) to learn thirumanthram.
With this background, we can also try to understand the different categorizations of acharyas.
* anuvritthi prasannaacharya and krupaa maatra prasannaacharya
the days before Emperumaanaar, the acharyas were testing the
prospective sishyas for their level of dedication before accepting them.
It was customary for a prospective sishya to go to his acharya's
residence, stay with him and serve him for a full year before being
accepted. This type of acharyas are called anuvritthi
krupaa maatra prasannaacharya
when Emperumaanaar saw the nature of kali, he determined that if
acharya's are to be like this, only very few will be motivated towards
giving up worldly attachments and many will not be able to satisfy the
demands of the acharyas. So, out of his unbounded mercy, relaxed the
rules and gave this most valuable knowledge to the ones who had the true
desire to learn bhagavad vishayam. So the qualification was changed
from deserving to desiring candidates. He also laid the guidelines for
his sishyas to follow the same methodology and brought in several
thousands of people into the fold of srivaishnavam out of his grace.
Starting with Emperumaanaar, our acharyas are called krupaa maatra
Maamunigal, explains this concept wonderfully in
his upadEsa raththina maalai paasuram "OrAN vazhiyaai upadEsitthaar
munnOr, erAr ethiraasarar innaruLal
paarulagil aasai udayOrkkellaam koorum enRu pEsi varambharuththaar
pin"- "ஓராண் வழியாய் உபதேஸித்தார் முன்னோர், ஏரார் எதிராசர் இன்னருளல்
பாருலகில் ஆசை உடையோர்க்கெல்லாம் கூறும் என்று பேசி வரம்பறுத்தார் பின்".
* uththaaraga acharya and upakaaraga acharya
In charama upaaya nirnayam -a work done by naayanaar aachaan pillai explains these two types of acharyas.
is the one who is capable of taking some one from samsaaram and placing
him/her in paramapadham easily. It is explained that Sriman Narayanan,
Nammaazhwaar and Emperumaanaar are the 3 uththaaraga acharyas.
Sriman Narayanan is the prathamaacharya
(first acharya) and being sarvajnan, sarvasakthan, etc. - he can easily
give mOksham to anyone. But since he is going to act based on saastram,
he will either give mOksham or keep some one in the samsaaram - based
on the individual's desire and karma.
* Nammaazhwaar who was hand
picked by emperumaan to give knowledge to samsaaris and correct them is
also capable of giving mOksham to anyone. This is understood from his
own words in thiruvaaimozhi - "ponnulagu aaLirO, bhuvani muzhuthu
aaLiro" - "பொன்னுலகு ஆளிரோ, புவனி முழுது ஆளிரொ". He is asking the birds
which he is sending thuuthu (as messenger) to emperumaan, that he can
give both nithya vibhUthi and leela vibhUthi to them as sambhaavanai for
their help. But after receiving this knowledge, as he is an aazhwaar -
even though he did parOpadhEsam a little bit, he got so immersed in
bhagavad anubhavam and out of his aarthi left the
material world at a very young age.
* Emperumaanaar was declared
as udayavar - the controller of ubhaya vibhUthi - by SriRanganathan and
ThiruvEnkatamudayaan. Not only, he was immersed in bhagavad anubhavam,
he also lived in leela vibhUthi for a long period (120 years) and served
emperumaan's mission fully. He established proper temple worship,
created 1000s of sishyaas, created 74 simhaasanaadhipathis to carry
forward his message, etc. So, naayanaar aachaan pillai concludes that
Uththaaragathvam is complete in emperumaanaar.
is the one who is capable of leading us to an uththaaraga acharya. In
our sampradaayam, all acharya paramparais coming under emperumaanaar
upto our own acharya is classified under upaakaaraga acharya. Whenever
we undergo pancha samskaaram, our acharya requests emperumaanaar through
his guru paramparai to hand over that jivaathmaa to emperumaan as a
person with the desire of leaving samsaaram and reaching paramapadham.
uththaaraga acharya and upakaaraga acharya are equally respectable -
though Emperumaanaar has a special place in our sampradaayam. Even
maamunigal in his upadhEsa raththina maalai starts with thiruvaimozhi pillai and ends with emperumaanaar.
* samaasrayana acharya and jnaana acharya
* samaasrayana acharya is the one who is performing pancha samsakaaram to us.
* jnaana acharya is the one from whom we hear grantha kaalakshEpams, etc which develops our athma jnaanam.
we are always indebted to our samaasrayana acharya and should be
totally surrendered to him, jnaana acharya should also
be respected equally. For some, both samaasrayana and jnaana acharyas
will be the same person. In fact, every srivaishnava must be respected
as ones own acharya as per srivachana bhushanam.
To summarize, a
sishya must depend on his/her acharya for totally. He/She also have the
responsibility to taking care of livelihood of the acharya. One must
constantly be in touch with the acharya (it is not that the acharya does
samasrayanam and we go back to him after several years to invite him
for our wedding as it happens nowadays) and also provide assistance in
There were many wonderful incidents in our pUrvaacharyaas lives between acharya and sishya. We will see some of them here:
* Manakkaal nambi used to do menial services at his acharya's (uyyakkondaar) residence.
* Manakkaal nambi took so much efforts to bring aalavandhaar into srivaishnavam.
* emperumaanaar treated kooraththaazhwaan with utmost respect even though he
(emperumaaanaar) was the acharya.
* once, when emperumaanaar got
upset with kooraththaazhwaan. at that time azhwaan said, "adiyen is
emperumaanaar's property - he can do whatever he wants with me".
embaar use to test his acharya's bed by lying down on it first. When
asked if it is not a sin, he said he wont mind those, as long as his
acharya's bed is made sure to be most comfortable for the acharya.
* emperumaanaar says to ananthaazhwaan that parasara bhattar is just like himself and should be treated the same.
bhattar and nanjeeyar had excellent conversations. nanjeeyar gave up
everything and became a sannyasi. He said once, "if my ashramam comes in
as an interference for my service to bhattar (his acharya), I will
break my thrithandam."
* nanjeeyar encouraged nampillai's view points even though they were some times different from his own for some paasurams.
pinbalagiya perumal jeeyar said he wanted to stay in this leela
vibhUthi just to observe/enjoy nampillai's (his acharya) thirumuthugu
(back shoulders,etc) while coming back from cauvery after bathing.
* koorakulOththama dasar took so much efforts to bring thiruvaimozhi pillai into srivaishnavam.
manavaala maamunigal took thiruvaaimozhi pillai's (his acharya) orders
as his only goal in life. He learnt sribhashyam once and gave lectures
on it but then he focussed during the whole time in arulicheyal and
* SriRanganathan with sridhEvi and bhoodhEvi
listened to eedu kaalakshEpam in front of his sannidhi for a whole year
and at the end gave his own sEsha paryankam as his acharya sambhaavanai
and a thanian to manavaala mamunigal which is chanted every where both
at the beginning and end of any arulicheyal gOshti even today per his
* Manavaala maamunigal gave his own seat, thiruvaazhi and
thiruchangu (chakkaram/sangu) to ponnadikkaal jeeyar and asked him to do
for appaachiaar anna.
There are many such incidents but just
listed some to understand how acharyas and sishyas dealt with each other
in their real lives.
With this in mind, we will move onto a very
important topic. Pillai lOkaachariar in Mumukshupadi's dvaya
prakaranam, 1st sutram, explains the attributes that a vaishnava
adhikaari should develop in his life time. This sutram explains the
qualities that we should aspire to have in a crystal clear way.
Mamunigal has done an excellent vyaakyaanam for this sutram and we will
see it in our next article.
We have seen the physical attributes of a Srivaishnava in the first article of this series.
one may ask "Why is the physical appearance is important? Why cant I be
a srivaishnava without the physical appearance specified in the
saastra?". It is possible for some advanced srivaishnavas in some rare
cases but generally for everyone saastra recommends certain rules and
regulations and we are suppose to follow them. A loukika example is -
when a police man is properly dressed in his uniform, the law of the
land gives certain capabilities to him. He cant ask "Well, I am a police
man but why should I be dressed in my uniform when I am in duty?".
There may be exceptions, but if he is not dressed as a police man he
would not get the same respect (except from the ones who can recognize
him as a police man).
Also, we feel nothing indifferent if we have to dress up (uniforms,
shoes, hanging ID cards) in a particular way for our work (because it
provides us our livelihood) - but will question when the saastras
instruct us to do the same thing for our svarUpam - such is the state
Let us move on to the next aspect.
A brief description of Srivaishnavam
is the eternal philosophy which centers around the supreme God Sriman
Narayanan. He is full of auspicious qualities with many beautiful forms.
He is the owner of both nithya vibhUthi (paramapadham - spiritual world
- never changing) and leelaa vibhUthi (samsaaram - material world -
ever changing). This is a tattva traya phiolosophy - i.e. there are
three entities Isvara (God), chit (souls) and achit (matter). Isvara is
the owner of both chit and
achit. There are infinite number of souls in both spiritual and
material worlds. This philosophy/siddhaantha is based on saastras
(vedas, upanishads, ithihaasas, puraanas, paancharaatra agamam and
azhwar/acharya srisookthis). The saastras are meant specifically for
chit (souls) and saastras help a soul from leaving the material world
(which is defined as asaasvatham - temporary and dhukkaalayam - place
filled with sorrows by Krishnan in Bhagavad GIta) and reaching the
spiritual world (vaikuntam - place where there is no sorrows - i.e.,
full of joy only). The process that initiates this journey of the soul
from samsaaram to paramapadam is called pancha samskaaram which will be
discussed in the next sections.
How do we become a Srivaishnava?
According to our purvaachaaryas, there is a proper mechanism through which one becomes a srivaishnava. This process is
called "pancha samskaaram". Samskaara
means the process of cleansing or purifying. It is the process which
transforms one from an unqualified state to a qualified state. It is by
this process one first becomes a srivaishnava. Just like taking birth in
a braahmana family makes it easy for some one to become a braahmana by
going through the brahma yajna process, taking birth in a srivaishnava
family makes it easy for some one to become a srivaishnava through the
pancha samskaaram process. The beauty/distinction here compared to the
braahmana family example is, one need not be born in a srivaishnava
family to become a srivaishnava - because srivaishnavam is associated to
the soul while braahmanyam is just associated with the body.
Pancha samskaaram or samaasrayanam is the process that is explained in
saastras to prepare an individual to become a srivaishnava. The following sloka explains the parts of panch samskaaram - "thApa: pundra: tathA nAma: mantrO yAgas cha panchama:". The five activities which happen during the pancha samskAra are:
thApa (austerity) - shanka chakra lAnchanam - heated impression of shanka and chakra on our shoulders. This identifies that we are property of emperumaan - just like a vessel is marked with the symbols of the owner, we are marked with the symbols of emperumaan.
punDra (symbol) - dwAdasa urdhva pundra dhAranam - wearing of Urdhva pundram (Thiruman and SriChUrnam).
nAma (name) - dAsya namam - a new name given by the AchAraya (rAmAnuja dAsan, madhurakavi dAsan, srivaishnava dAsan).
mantra - mantrOpadesam - learning the secret mantra from
the acharyan; mantra - that which relieves the chanter from grief -
thirumanthiram, dwayam and charamaslokam which releases us from samsara.
yAga - dEva pUja - learning the thiruvArAdhanam process.
Goals of Pancha samskaaram
As sAstrAs say, tattva JnAnAn mOksha lAbha: - by gaining
knowledge about the brahmam, one gets mOKsha. By getting valuable
knowledge from an AchAryA in artha panchakam (brahmam - God, jIva -
soul, upAyam - means to attain God, upEyam - the result, virOdhi -
hurdles which are stopping souls from getting the result) which is part
of the mantrOpadesam, we become eligible to secure the ultimate goal -
performing kainkaryam in nitya vibhUthi to Sriya:pathi.
While in the current life, performing kainkaryam to our AchAryan
and Srivaishnavas (by doing in many possible ways) and ArchAvatAra
emberumAn - through thiruvArAdhanam at home and divya dEsa kainkaryam.
as explained above, this philosophy of srivaishnavam is to leave this
samsaaram to go to paramapadham to perform uninterrupted kainkayam to
sriya:pathi (Sriman Narayanan).
Who can perform pancha samskaaram?
although is an eternal philosophy was rejuvenated by Azhwaars and
Achaaryaas. Sri Ramanuja studied the saastraas and re-established the
norms which were lost over time based on the instructions from his
preceptors - Nathamuni, Alavandhaar, etc. He established 74
simhaasanaadhipathis (acharyas/spiritual teachers) and authorized them
to perform pancha samskaaram to the individuals who understands this
goal of life (leaving samsaaram to go to paramapadham). Anyone who comes
in those lineages can perform pancha samskaaram. He (as well
as Sri Manavala Mamunigal) established certain Mutts (Monastries) and
jeeyar swamys (sanyaasis) whose lineages are also authorized to perform
pancha samskaaram to individuals aspiring to become a srivaishnava.
There is no distinction done based on caste, creed, nationality, sex,
financial situation, family situation, etc - whoever desires to be put
on the path of salvation can be included in this fold.
Is pancha samskaaram the beginning or the end?
is common misunderstanding that, this process of samaasrayanam is a
simple ritual and is the end. But that is completely wrong. This is the
beginning of our journey in srivaishnavam. The ultimate goal is set (to
leave samsaaram to go to paramapadham) and the process is given by our
purvaacharyaas (which we will see in subsequent articles) - it is up to
the individual to follow this process and
accomplish the goal. This also brings in a wonderful relationship
between acharya (master) - sishya (disciple). We will see the nature of
this relationship in the next article.
So, so far, we have seen the physical attire of a srivaishnava, what is srivaishnavam and the process of panchasamskaaram.
There are several places in our purvacharya granthas where srivaishnava
lakshnam is explained. In this series, we will see many of those
references from our purvaacharya works - one at a time.
Let us start with a very basic pramaanam from padma puranam which is referred by our purvacharyas in their works.
ye kaNTha lagna tulasi nalinaaksha maalaa
ye baahu mUla paricihinnita shankha cakraa
ye vaa lalaata phalake lasad Urdhva pundraa
te vaishnavaa bhuvanam aashu pavitrayanti
purana sloka explains who a vaishnava is from a physical appearance
perspective and what does he do to the place where he lives.
who wears maalaas (necklace) that is made out of Tulasi and Lotus stems
(also includes pavithra maalai which was adorned by perumal, thaayaars,
azhwars, acharyas), One whose shoulders are decorated with the unique symbols of Sriman
Narayana - shankam and chakkaram (as part of the pancha samskaaram 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 purvaacharyas always applied 12 urdhva pundrams at various places of the body per sastras, That vaishnava quickly purifies the world (the place where he is present).
purvaacharyas have always emphasised the importance of physical
appearance and always ensured that they maintained their physical
appearance according to the sastraas even at dire situations. After all
we are also driven by our senses - so the easiest way we can identify a
vaishnava is thru the sense of vision. Only advanced vaishnavas can
identify another vaishnava (who may not be physically appearing so).
That is why this pramaanam from padma puranam puts emphasis in physical
With this beginning we will go thru pramaanams from various granthangal of our purvaacharyas.
The principle of dos and donts for a Srivaishanava per koorathalvan's words in athimaanushastvam (slokam 53): Yat tvat priyam tadiha punyam apunyam anyat - Whatever is pleasing to Emperumaan is to be done and the rest are to be avoided.
We have tried to summarize with our little knowledge some of the
dos and donts based on various pramaanams in ubhaya vedantham. Please
enquire learned srivaishnavas and come to proper conclusions.
First and foremost follow the foot steps/activities of our poorvacharyas as much as we can (not as much as we want to).
Respect other Bhaagavathaas (Irrespective of their birth, position, social status, etc.)
Perform Nitya and Naimithika karmas without fail (Emperumaan says
"Sruti Smriti mamaivaagya, aagya cheti mama drohi") - This includes
primarily Sandhyaa vandahanam, Tharpanams, etc.
Perform thiruvaaradhanam daily for the deity at home and atleast
recite Thirupallandu, Thirupallieluchi, Thirupaavai, Kanninun
Chiruthambu and Saatrumurai Pasurams)
Listen to upanyasams and kalakshebams. For srivaishnavas, these
are considered as the way to spend the time usefully and also to make
our faith very strong. This is actually parama bhogyam (very much more
enjoyable) also, when we have the ruchi/taste for it compared to all
other forms of entertainment such as movies, dramas, sports, politics,
Perform kaayika (by body), vaachika (by speech), and maanasa (by
mind) kainkaryam to Emperumaan, azhwars, acharyas, srivaishnavas and
divya desams. There are so many divya desams which literally have 1
archaka and 1 person doing sevakalam. If we can visit those divya desams
that will bring joy to emperumaan and srivaishnavas.
Help others with the knowledge we acquire from our poorvAchAryas.
Emperumaan and the knowledge about the sampradAyam is not only for a
select few. Everyone should be given an opportunity to benefit out of
the works of our poorvachAryAs.
The following list is defined as Srivaishnava lakshanam in Mumukshupadi Sutram #116:
Give up attachments to anything but bhagavat/bhaagavata vishayam including its vasana/ruchi (taste)
Accept Emperumaan as the only protector
Strong conviction on the achievement of the ultimate goal (by the grace of acharya)
Longing for the ultimate goal every moment
While in samsara, for the rest of the days, engage in bhagavat, bhaagavata, acharya, divya desa kainkaryams as the main activity
Serve the srivaishanvas who are having the above qualities with the understanding of their greatness
Have faith in Thirumanthiram and Dvayam
Have strong attachment for the acharya
Having a service attitude towards emperumaan and acharya
Associate with the vaishnavas who have true knowledge, detachment and peace
First and foremost is avoiding any bhagavat/bhaagavata apachaaram
bhagavat apachaaram (Artha panchakam 5.1)
Considering Emperumaan has no vibhuti (qualities, properties, etc) and lingam (form)
considering archaa moorthy's as just stones/metal
considering rama/krishna as normal human beings or even just
exalted/super human beings. We should always think them as Emperumaan
himself and out of his kindness he has come down.
Considering other devataas (brahma, siva, indra, shakthi, GANESH, etc) to be equivalent or higher to him.
disrespecting bhagavataas based on their birth, wealth, social position, etc.
talking ill of other bhaagavataas/acharyas or anyone.
considering acharyas thirumeni to be similar to ours.
Dont indulge in any devataantara (demigod) worship. That will
only cause svarupa naasam. (Thiruvaaimozhi 4.10 - onrum thevum
Dont perform any kaamya karma (such as doing praarthanai to get some benefit, etc.)
Dont consume anything that is not prasadam (prasadam - offered to
emperumaan first) (Bhagavad Gita 3.13). Avoid items which are not fit
to be offered to Emperumaan, such as:
cool drinks, icecreams, chocolate, biscuit, bread, cakes, etc which are prepared in the store.
food prepared and served at hotels/restaurants.
Dont use leather products. All our azhwars and acharyas had shri
krishna very dear to their hearts, and krishna had the cows of vrindavan
dear to his heart. And most leather is coming from cow. So, it is one
of the biggest apachaaram to use leather products being vaishanvas.
(thiruvaaimozhi 10.3.10 - Thivathilum pasu niray meppu uvathi - Krishna
likes Tending cows more than being in Srivaikunta, puraana vakyam - namo
bramanya devaya go brahmana hitaya ca jagat ditaya krishnaya
Dont discuss/indulge in matters other than Emperumaan, azhwar,
acharyas. Imagine the time we will save if we dont watch TV for 2/3
hours a day, if we dont watch a cricket match which is 8 hours long,
etc. All these time spent on nonsensical things could be effectively used in the
service of emperumaan.
This article is a humble effort in highlighting the importance of
nithya thiruvArAdhanam at srIvaishNava homes. This aspect (along with
other vaidhika anushtAnams such as sandhyA vandhanam) is slowly losing
importance amongst srIvaishNavas who have ubhaya vEdham (samskritha and dhrAvida vEdham) as the top most authority and emperumAn as the only
achievable goal. srIman nArAyaNan out of his causeless mercy manifests himself in five different forms - para (in srIvaikuNtam), vyUha (vAsudhEva, pradhyumna, anirudha, sankarshaNa and kshIrAbdhi nAthan), vibhava (srI rAma, krishNa, etc), antharyAmi (in-dwelling super-soul) and archai (deity form). For full details on the five different forms, please read http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2012/10/archavathara-anubhavam-parathvadhi.html. Of these, archAvathAra emperumAn is the most magnanimous. Even amongst the archAvathAra emperumAns, the ones who descend right into individuals home are even more merciful. It is every srIvaishNava's important duty to properly worship the emperumAn at their homes.
As part of becoming a srIvaishNava, we undergo pancha
samskAram (samAsrayanam as generally known) under an AchArya. samskAram means purificatory process - a process which converts an
unqualified entity to become qualified to perform a particular task.
pancha samskaram is understood from the following pramANam - "thApa: puNdra: tathA nAma: mantrO yAgas cha panchama:". The five activities which happen during the pancha samskAram are:
thApa (heat) - sanka chakra lAnchanam - heated impression of chakra and Sanka on our shoulders.
puNdra (symbol) - dhwAdhasa (twelve) Urdhva puNdra dhAranam - wearing of Urdhva puNdram (thirumaN and srIchUrNam) in twelve parts of the body.
nAma (name) - dhAsya namam - a new name given by the AchArya (rAmAnuja dAsan, madhurakavi dAsan, srIvaishnava dAsan) to highlight our connection with bhagavAn/AchArya.
manthra - manthrOpadhEsam - learning the secret mantra from
the acharyan; manthra - that which relieves the chanter from grief -
here manthra refers to thirumanthram, dhvayam and charama slOkam which release us from samsAram (material world).
yAga - dhEva pUja - learning the thiruvArAdhanam process.
As it is explained by our pUrvAchAryAs, the goal of of pancha samskAram is two fold:
As sAsthrAs say, "thathva gyAnAn mOksha lAbha:" - by gaining
knowledge about the brahmam, one gets mOKsha. From an AchAryA, the sishya learns artha panchakam (brahmam - God, jIva - soul, upAyam - means to attain God, upEyam - the result, virOdhi -
hurdles which are stopping souls from getting the result) as part of rahasya thrayam (thirumanthram, dhvyam and charama slOkam) and becomes eligible to secure the ultimate goal -
performing kainkaryam in nitya vibhUthi to sriya:pathi.
While in the current life, performing kainkaryam to bhagavAn, bhAgavathas and AchArya. In the present situation, one can easily serve bhagavAn in his archAvathAra (deity) form - especially through thiruvArAdhanam at home and by performing kainkaryams divya dhEsa emperumAns.
In this article, we will go through various pramAnams that highlight the importance of daily thiruvArAdhanam at each srIvaishNava
thirumALigai (home). Current (and sad) situation is - the daily thiruvArAdhanam is seldom happening in many srIvaishNava homes. Even though there may be
sALagrAma emperumAns (also known as sri mUrthy, thIrtha nAyanAr) at home, often times they are
ignored completely. Many are busy in their lives and have even
forgotten the ultimate act of emperumAn's saulabyam (easy accessibility), i.e., he is descended into each of our homes and residing there irrespective of AchAram/anushtAnam are followed in that home. The reasons for not performing thiruvArAdhahnam is mostly due to
lack of proper understanding of the thiruvArAdhanam process and the importance of the same for a srIvaishNava. In the following sections, we will see the importance of
thiruvArAdhanam as observed in various pramAnams such as vEdham,
ithihAsam, purANam, bhagavath gIthA, dhivya prabhandham, pUrvAchArya
anushtAnams/upadhEsams/aidhihyams and finally in rahasya granthams. vEdham One who accepts vEdham as authority must try to follow the
instructions in vEdham as much as possible. In this day and age, we have
pretty much lost majority of AchArams/anushtAnams (except for a few
who may be consciously attempting to follow them). But as outlined in vEdham, all vaidhikas are called pancha kAla parAyanas - one who divide the day in to 5 sections and perform certain activities in each section of the day. The whole day is focussed on the middle section which is thiruvArAdhanam. The five sections are:
abhigamanam - waking up (before brahma muhurtham - approx 4am) and preparing ourselves - by doing all morning anushtAnams such as relieving ourselves from wastage, cleaning teeth, taking bath, sandhyA vandhanam, etc
upAdhAnam - collecting raw materials for thiruvArAdhanam
ijjA (yAgam) - Use the raw materials in the process of thiruvArAdhanam - this is suppose to be done just after noon at home.
svAdhyAyam - learning and teaching vEdham, dhivya prabhandham, etc (as applicable to ones own varNam)
yOgam - resting our consciousness on brahmam through meditation and sleep
Here, ijja (yAgam) is the process of dhEva pUja (worshipping a deity) and srivaishnavas are
suppose to perform thiruvArAdhanam to their personal deities at home. Along with thiruvArAdhanam, we also engage in learning about emperumAn, discussing his glories and meditating on the same. Only after going through the pancha samskAram, one is allowed
to perform the formal thiruvArAdhanam process, since that is the purificatory step
which prepares us to carry on our duty through out our current life. It is interesting to note that periyavAchAn piLLai in vyAkyAnam for perumAL thirumozhi 1.7 pAsuram - "maram thigazhum...", for "iru-muppozhudhu" (2 + 3) - he identifies that as "pancha kAlangal" (5 sections of the day). ithihAsams/purANams - upa brahmaNams - through which we can understand vEdham In srI rAmayanam, srI rAma himself performs thiruvArAdhanam to
his kula dhanam/dhaivam - srI ranganAthan (named nArAyNan at that time) - who was first worshipped by brahmA and subsequently by all raghu vamsa kings (starting from ikshvAku
until srI rAma). The famous rAmAyaNa slOkam "saha pathnyA visAlAkshyA nArAyaNam upAgamathu" even shows how sIthA pirAtti also accompanied/helped srI rAma in the thiruvArAdhanam.
srI rAma handing over srI ranganAthan to vibhIshaNAzhwAn
In purAnams also, the importance of thiruvArAdhanam is shown in several places. The famous verse in srI bhAgavatham which highlights the instruction of srI prahaladhAzhwAn as follows: sravaNam kIrthanam visNO: smaraNam pAdhasEvanam
archanam vandhanam dhAsyam sakhyam AthmanivEdhanam This explains the various ways to worship emperumAn. Many of the aspects directly relate to various angas (parts) of thiruvArAdhanam
process. As part of thiruvArAdhanam, we sing the names of bhagavAn, we perform archanai to him, we hail the glories of emperumAn, we serve him in different ways, etc. In gAruda purAnam, while explaining the eight qualities of his bhaktha, emperumAn himself says, madh bhaktha jana vAthsalyam, pujAyAm anumOdhanam, svayam api archanam chaiva .... The two important points here are pujAyAm anumOdhanam - one who
supports/feels happy when others worship me and svayam api
archanam - one who himself worships me. This is quoted by maNavALa mAmunigaL in vyAkyAnam for AchArya hrudhayam 85th chUrNikai. There are many other such incidents recorded in various purANAms and ithihAsAm. bhagavath githA - direct words of krishNa In many slokAms krishNa himself stresses the importance of thiruvArAdhanam.
Twice he says "man manA bhava madh bhaktha: madh yAji mAm namaskuru"
- indicating the need for us to always be engaged in remembering him, having devotion towards him and worshipping him. Our pUrvAchAryAs also identify "yE yathA mAm prapadhyanthE thAms
thathaiva bhajAmi aham" slOkam with archAvatharam. This slOkam indicates
that emperumAn assumes the forms in which the devotee desires to
worship him - same meaning as in "thamar uganthathu evvuruvam avvuruvam
thAnE" (mudhal thiruvanthAdhi). In "pathram pushpam palam thOyam yO mE bhakthyA prayachchathi ..." (9.26) slOkam, emperumAn says even if one offers leaf (tulasi), flower, fruits and
water with love he will accept that. In the next slOkam he says "yath karOshi ... madh arpaNam" - whatever you do, do it as an offering to me. These are all naturally part of our thiruvArAdhanam process and it shows emperumAn's most magnanimous nature in accepting anything from us if submitted with devotion. He further says in "yagya sishtAsina:..." (3.13) slOkam, that any food
that is cooked for the pleasure of the individual without being submitted to emperumAn first and eaten, that is verily like eating sin. He
clearly states that we should only eat prasAdham and nothing but
prasadam. yAgam is thiruvArAdhanam and anu yAgam is the activity of accepting prasAdham. aruLicheyal (dhiyva prabhandhams which are of great importance for us): In aruLicheyal, there are many pAsurams which directly/indirectly
talk about the thiruvArAdhanam process - in general worshippingemperumAn. thamar uganthathu evvuruvam (mudhal thiruvanthAdhi) poigai AzhwAr beautifully highlights emperumAn assumes the forms (and names) in which his bhakthas want to see him. Many incidents are cited from the lives of pUrvAchAryas in the vyAkyAnam for this pAsuram.
sUttu nan mAlaigaL - thiruvArAdhanam of nithyasUris (thiruviruththam)
In thiruvirutham, nammAzhwAr vividly describes the
thiruvArAdhanam performed by nityasUris in paramapadham. In this
pAsruam, he says, when nityasUris offer dhUpam and when emperumAn is
covered in the smoke, he takes the opportunity to slip away,
comes to leela vibhUti as kaNNan emperumAn
engages in stealing the butter and eating it as much as possible and
kills 7 bulls to marry nappinnai pirAtti.
dances his favourite kuda koothu (dancing with pots in hands, head, and a drum in the waist).
comes back to paramapadham when the smoke clears and sits there as if nothing happened.
parivathil Isanaip pAdi (thiruvAimozhi) In thiruvAimozhi, nammAzhwAr explains the svAradhathvam (easily
worshippable nature) of emperumAn. In eedu vyAkyAnam, nampiLLai brings out beautiful aspects such as the conversation between bhattar and nanjIyar, where bhattar says any flower can be offered to
emperumAn. He even says in one place that bring some leaves and burn it,
emperumAn will accept that as wonderful fragrance. Another important point is also brought out here, unlike other
devathAs which ask for difficult activities such as - "Attai aRuththu thA" (offer me a goat), "piLLaik karRi
thA" (offer me your child as food), etc., srIman nArAyaNan just asks for the loving devotion of
cheyya thAmaraik kaNNan padhigam (thiruvAimozhi)
This padhigam is fully focussed on bringing out the glories of gruhArchai. nammAzhwAr clearly establishes that emperumAn at ones own home is the most magnificient manifestation. mAmunigaL highlights AzhwAr's divine emotions in thiruvAimozhi nURRanthAdhi 26th pAsuram "eythumavarkku innilaththil archAvathAram eLithu" (For the ones in this world, archAvathAra emperumAn is the most easily approachable).
theriththu ezhudhi vAsiththum kEttum vaNangi vazhipattum pUsiththum pOkkinEn pOthu (nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi) This is called as thirumazhisai AzhwAr's dhina chariyai (daily
routine). He himself says how he spends his day - learn, write, read emperumAn and worship emperumAn everyday. pUrvAchArya anushtAnams (practices), upadhEsams (instructions) and aidhihyams (incidents)
anushtAnams (practices) Many Acharyas have themselves performed thiruvArAdhanam to divya
dhEsa emperumAns/AzhwArs/AcharyAs even beyond their worship at their own
nAthamunigaL - In kAttu mannAr kOil, it is said that nAdhamunigal himself was performing thiruvArAdhanam to mannanAr.
emperumAnAr wrote nithya grantham (samskritham) explaining
the thiruvArAdhanam process in a very detailed manner. This is one of
his nava rathnam (each grantham of swAmy is a rathnam and this was the
As we can see from both anushtAnams and upadEsams, these are really meant for us - srivaishnavAs. aidhihyams (incidents) There are many instances where pUrvAchAryAs demonstrated the practice and importance of thiruvArAdhanam. emperumAnAr- vangi purathu nambi
periya thirumozhi 6.7.4 – periyavAchAn piLLai vyAkyAnam – In this pAsuram, thirumangai AzhwAr talks about kaNNan emperumAn
(supreme god himself) was scared of yasOdhai and started to cry as soon
as he was caught stealing the butter. In this connection, a beautiful
incident is explained. vangi purathu nambi requests emperumAnAr to teach him thiruvArAdhana kramam
(how to perform daily worship at home). emperumAnAr was unable to spend
the time and teach him the same due to his busy schedule. But once in
nambi’s absence, emperumAnAr starts teaching thiruvArAdhana kramam to AzhwAn
and mAruthi siriyAndAn (hanumath dhAsar). At that time vangi purathu
nambi enters the room and seeing him emperumAnAr feels great emotions.
He says at that time “I had this doubt in my mind for a long time. Now I
realize/understand why emperumAn
(even though being supreme) was feeling scared after being caught
stealing butter. I am going through the same emotions now – when you
requested, I did not teach you this but some how I started teaching them
the same. Even though I am AchAryan and you are sishyan and I dont have
to fear for you, because of my deed, I am feeling scared looking at
bhattar - sOmAsiyANdAn sOmAsiyANdAn asks bhattar to teach the thiruvArAdhana kramam, and
bhattar teaches him a very elaborate process. But when one day sOmAsiyAndAn comes to bhattar's thirumALigai, bhattar is ready to eat and
after everything is served for him on his plantain leaf, bhattar asks
one of his sishya to bring his thiruvArAdhana perumaL and offers the
food right there and starts eating. When asked by sOmAsiyANdAn, bhattar says for him even this is elaborate and for sOmAsiyANdAn whatever taught
to him was small. The inner meaning is bhattar for his state of mind,
if he starts the real thiruvArAdhanam he will melt, but sOmAsiyANdAn
(being a sOma yAji - performer of sOma yAghams) whatever (elaborately)
was taught to him was small since he was used to long yAgams. eRumbi appA - maNavALa mAmunigaL
When eRumbi appA comes to visit srIrangam to take shelter of mAmunigaL, at that time, he listens to the wonderful kAlakshepam, etc., but
leaves to his home town without taking the prasadham of mAmunigaL. After returning to his thirumALigai, his thirvArAdhana
perumal (Sri rAma) does not let him open the door of the kOil AzhwAr (thirvArAdhanam room) and
orders him to go back to maNavALa mAmunigaL.
In pUrva/uththara dhina chariyai (daily routine of mAmunigaL)
grantham, eRumbi appA also hails mAmunigaL's thirvArAdhanam as part of his daily
rahasya granthams There are many places that talk about gruha archai (home deities) specifically
in rahasya granthams. Let us look at a couple of them now: mumukshuppadi dhvaya prakaranam - sUthram 141 - ivaiyellAm namakku namperumAL pakkalilE kANalAm
- In the vyAkyAnam, mAmunigaL says, All of these divine qualities (vAthsalyam, swAmithvam, sauseelyam,
saulabhyam, gyAnam, shakthi, etc) in nam (our) perumAL. Note: While namperumAL generally refers to srI ranganAthan, in
this context it refers to all archAvathAra emperumAns, including the ones
at our own homes. AchArya Hrudhayam chUrNikai 75 - vIttinba inbap pAkkaLil dhravya bAshA nirupaNa samam inbamAriyil ArAichi
- In the vyAkyAnam, mAmunigaL says, vIttinbam means archAvathAra emperumAn in the homes of those heart and thoughts are situated in emperumAn fully. This is specific reference to the greatness of gruha archAvathAra
mUrthy (deity form at homes). Conclusion From all of the above we can clearly see the imporatance given
for thiruvArAdhanam in vEdham, ithihAsAms, purANams, dhivya prabhandham, pUrvachArya
anushtAnam/upadhEsam/aidhihyams and finally rahasya granthams. It is the
duty of every srIvaishNava to atleast spend a little bit of their time every day in performing
thiruvArAdhanam to the emperumAns at their homes and partake in the
prasAdham (and prasAdham only) after the completion of thiruvArAdhanam. It is recommended by our elders that this thiruvArAdhana
kramam is learnt from an AchAryan properly. There are many books
that are available nowadays which explains the thiruvArAdhana kramam in a
simple way for additional insight after learning the thiruvArAdhana kramam properly. Doing the thiruvArAdhanam daily with love is one way we can
reciprocate bhagavAn's unconditional grace towards us (if not in the same quantity/quality atleast to
some extent) to him who is manifesting his ultimate saulabhyam by entering
our home. It is also customary in the olden days that every day once the
thiruvArAdhanam is complete to emperumAn, the prasAdham is offered to
bhAgavathAs as thadhiyArAdhanam. People who go on yAtrAs depend on
these thadhiyArAdhanam and they were readily offered by srIvaishNavas at
home on a daily basis. It is also considered as an important aspect in
our life. But nowadays we can hardly see this happening. We can also try
to practice this whenever possible.
Annexure: Quick guide/steps for thiruvArAdhanam Preparation
Urdhva puNdra dhAraNam - wearing 12 thirumaN/srIchUrNam (chant guruparamparA slOkam, AchAryas thanians, dhwAdhasa nAma manthrams for both perumAL and thAyAr).
mAdhyAnhikam (depending on the time of the day) - Ideally
thiruvArAdhanam should be done around noon time, but it may not be
practical for most of us nowadays. All we can do is we can try our best
to follow sAsthram and wherever we cannot, we can ask for forgiveness
Preparation of pancha pAthram (utensils), dhUpam, dhIpam,
thiruviLakku (lamp - dhiyA), pushpam, thIrtham, thIrtha parimaLam (ilAichi/krAmbu
- fragrance powder), etc.
AchAryan srI pAdha thIrtham (charaNAmrutham)
- it is ideal to keep AchAryan's pAdhukA (sandals) or thiruvadi
vasthram (cloth with imprints of AchAryan's lotus feet) as part of our
thiruvArAdhanam. One can offer thIrtham to pAdhukA or
thiruvadi vasthram reciting the guru paramparA manthram (asmadh gurubhyO nama:, ...), thanians of the AchAryans and consume the srIpAdha thIrtham. This is an important step in the thiruvArAdhanam routine.
Others at home (including women) can participate in the
thiruvArAdhanam in various ways such as - preparing flowers, cleaning
the place where thiruvArAdhanam is done, preparing bhOgam, etc.
Note: Utensils and their purpose
1 - arghyam - water for emperumAn's hand washing
2 - pAdhyam - water for washing emperumAn's lotus feet
3 - AchamanIyam - water for cleansing emperumAn's mouth
4 - kaNdUsham (rinsing), snAnIyam (bathing), madhuvargam (honey etc), pAnIyam (water for bhOjyAsanam), kaNdUsham- for each Asanam respectively
5 - sudhdha udhakam - water for purifying anything to be offered to emperumAn
6 - padikkam - vessel to receive thIrtham offered to emperumAn
7 - thIrtham for AchAryan
8 - thirukkAvEri - utensil to hold fresh thIrtham (to be used in thiruvArAdanam)
An important aspect in thiruvArAdhanam is to constantly remember that ones own AchAryan is doing the thiruvArAdhAnam to emperumAn and one is just an instrument in the hands of the AchAryan.
It is emphasised by elders that one should first perform same steps for AchAryan, mAmunigaL, emperumAnAr, nammAzhwAr (and other AzhwArs), vishwaksEnar (and thiruvananthAzhwAn, garudAzhwAr, sudharsanAzhwAr, pAnchajanyAzhwAr) before worshipping emperumAn and pirAttis.
For example, arghyam, pAdhyam, AchAmanam should be first offered to
AchAryan, etc., and finally to emperumAn. We should have separate utensil to worship
AchAryan. bhOgam, pushpam, sandal wood, etc., should first be offered to
emperumAn followed by AzhwArs, AcharyAs and finally to ones own AchAryan in sequence.
The following steps show a brief and somewhat simplified version.
This may not be complete and it may be different for each
thirumALigai, family, dhivya dhEsam, etc. Please enquire with the elders
on the proper steps. But these give a brief idea of the general
thiruvArAdhana kramam that can be followed by any one who is eligible to
Get thiruthuzhAi (thuLasi) after offering respects, chant "thulasyamrutha janmAsi..." slOkam
Add thIrtham to thirukkAvEri (main thIrtham utensil).
Chant uththara vAkyam of dhvayam (srImathE nArAyanAya nama:) - with thIrtham and thiruthuzhAi (thuLasi) and purify all materials (vattils, flowers, etc) by sprinkling thIrtham on them.
Add thIrtham to various vattils (utensils).
Open the kOil AzhwAr door after mildly clapping hands (to awake emperumAn) by chanting jithanthE (1st 2 sthOthrams), kausalyA suprajA slOkam, kUrmAdhIn dhivya lOkAn slOkam, nAyaganAi ninRa nandhagOpanudaiya, mAri malai muzhainjil, anRu ivvulagam aLandhan and anganmA gyAlaththu arasar pAsurams.
perform sAshtAnga praNAmam (full obeisances).
At the beginning of each Asanam, fresh water should be poured from the thirukkAvEri into each vattil with sankalpam (dedicating the water for that purpose). Also after offering argyam, pAdhyam, AchamanIyam etc, please wipe emperumAn's face with thiruvoththuvAdai (wiping cloth).
manthrAsanam - inviting emperumAn to accept the thiruvArAdhanam
remove flowers from the previous day - chant "uduththuk kaLindha" pAsuram.
offer arghyam (water to wash his hands), pAdhyam (water to wash his lotus feet), Achamanam (water to rinse his mouth) to emperumAn - while offering chant Om
arghyam samarpayAmi, Om pAdhyam samarpayAmi, Om Achamaniyam samarpayAmi
respectively or chant thirukkaigaL viLakkiyaruLa vEndum, thiruvadigaL viLAkkiyaruLa
vEndum, Achamanam kandaruLa vEndum respectively.
invite all emperumAns (108 divya dhEsa emperumAns) to accept the thiruvArAdhanam
Emphasise that the thiruvArAdhanam is done by one's own AchAryan and us being the hands of the AchAryan.
place the sAlagrama emperumAns into a suitable place (thirumanjana vEdhikai or a plate).
offer arghyam, pAdhyam, Achamanam.
offer snAnIyam - Om snAnIyam samarpayAmi or snAnIyam kandaruLa vEnNdum.
perform thirumanjanam - chant purusha sUktham, nArAyaNa sUktham,
vishNu sUktham, srI suktham, bhU sUktham, NILA sUktham - as much as time
permitting. End with "veNNai aLaintha kuNungum" pathigam and
additional thirumanjana kAla pAsurams.
place the sAlagrama emperumAns at their original place.
Fill fresh thIrtham in to all vattils (utensils).
offer arghyam, pAdhyam, Achamanam.
offer sAththuppadi (chandhanam) and flowers - chant "gandhadhvArAm
dhurAdharshAm..." slOkam and "pUsum sAndhu en nenjamE" pAsuram. Note: Generally Urdhva puNdram is not applied for sAlagrama emperumAn - only sAththuppadi.
manthra pushpam, vEdhArambam (starting of vEdham).
dhvAdhasa nAma archanai.
dhivya prabhandham recital
podhu thanians starting from "srisailEsa dhayApAthram"
thiruppallANdu, thiruppaLLiyeLuchi, thiruppAvai, amalanAdhipirAn, sthala
pAsuram (divya desam where one is from or where one is staying now),
kaNNinuN chiRu thAmbu, kOil thiruvAimozhi, rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi, upadhEsa
rathina mAlai, etc.
depending on the available time chant as much as
rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi is called prapanna
gAyathri/sAvithri - it is mentioned by mAmunigaL that just like gAyatri
mantram is chanted daily without fail by a brAhmaNa, a prapanna should
atleast chant rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi once.
It is also customary to recite 4000 dhiya prabhandhams in a cycle every month reciting pAsurams based on the nakshathram of every day. Please view http://kaarimaaran.com/sevakalam.html for full details.
Prepare bhOgam (food) in the mean time. We should use separate
utensils/vessels for preparing the bhOgam. Also bhOgam should not be
offered in the same vessel it was cooked - it should always be
transferred to a different vessel. We should not use these vessels for
our personal use, these vessels should be exclusively kept for emperumAn.
bhOjyAsanam - offering food
perform sAshtAnga pranAmam (full obeisances), chant "upachArApadhEsEna" slOkam (sincerely asking for forgiveness for mistakes committed during the thiruvArAdhanam)
close the door of kOil AzhwAr (thiruvArAdhanam room) - chant "uragal uragal uragal", "panikkadalil paLLi kOLai pazhagavittu" pAsurams.
anuyAgam - completion of yAgam/thiruvArAdhanam
recite dhEvarAja ashtakam or varavaramuni pUrvA/uththara dhina charyai or vAnamAmalai jIyar prapathi/mangaLAsAsanam according to ones own mutt/thirumALigai practice
offer prasAdham to srIvaishNava athithis (guests)
accept prasAdham (meals)
During anadhyayana kAlam, we dont
recite AzhwAr pAsurams. During opening the kOil AzhwAr, we recite
jithanthE sthOthram (first 2 slOkams), kausalyA suprajA rAma slOkam,
kUrmAdhIn slOkam and open
the door. There is no restriction to remembering/meditating on AzhwAr
pAsurams in heart/mind while opening the door.
thirumanjanam, we just stop with sUkthams.
In manthra pushpam, in place of "chenRAl kudaiyAm", recite
"emperumAnAr dharisanam enRE" pAsuram.
sARRumuRai, we recite upadhEsa rathina mAlai and thiruvAimozhi
nURRanthAdhi pAsurams which are followed by "sarva dhEsa sadhA kAlE..." routine and
laghu thiruvArAdhanam (less than 30 minutes)
open kOil AzhwAr (temple room)
arghya, pAdhya, Achamanam
thiruppallANdu, thiruppAvai, etc - whatever we can recite in the available time. During anadhyayana kAlam, we can recite dhivya prabhandham thanians, upadhEsa rathina mAlai, etc.
offer bhOgam to emperumAn, AzhwAr/AchAryas
srI pAdha thIrtham
close the kOil AzhwAr
As shown in pUrva/uththara dhinacharyai, thiruvArAdhanam is done 3 times a day. We can do as much as possible.
Simple thiruvArAdhanam in the morning after morning sandhyAvandhanam
Elaborate thiruvArAdhanam after mAdhyAhnikam
Simple thiruvArAdhanam after evening sandhyAvandhanam
On EkAdhasi day, usually full alankAra thaLigai (meals) is not prepared. Some fruits/nuts or simple bhOgam can be prepared and offered according to the family situation (presence of children, aged, etc).
On dhvAdhasi day, thiruvArAdhanam is done quite early and perform pAraNam (breaking of fast by accepting thIrtham, thiruthuzhAi (thuLasi) and prasAdham).
anadhyayana kAlam, we usually refrain from reciting 4000 dhivya
prabhandhams. Instead we recite pUrvAchArya sthOthrams, upadhEsa rathina
mAlai, thiruvAimozhi nURRanthAdhi, AzhwAr/AchArya thanians, vAzhi
thirunAmams, etc. Once mArgazhi month begins, thiruppaLLiyeLuchi and
thiruppAvai can be recited.
travelling, it is either advisable to carry the emperumAns along with us
or make arrangements for his thiruvArAdhanam even in our absence.
emperumAns can also be safely handed over to other srIvaishNavas who
can perform thiruvArAdhanam.
During Asoucham (theettu) when we cannot perform thiruvArAdhanam, alternate arrangements should be made.
Finally, having emperumAn at home and not performing thiruvArAdhanam is like inviting some one to our house and turning away.
By following the injunctions of sAsthram and pUrvAchAryAs instructions in performing thiruvArAdhanam at home sincerely, one can be fully and naturally engaged in bhagavath/bhAgavatha/AchArya kainkaryam and thus become very dear to emperumAn, AzhwArs, AcharyAs and ones own AchAryan.