Srivaishnava lakshanam - 1

Srivaishnava - External appearance/qualities

srimathe ramanujaya nama:
srimad varavaramunaye nama:
sri vaanaachala mahamunaye nama:

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

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 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).

Our 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 appearance.

With this beginning we will go thru pramaanams from various granthangal of our purvaacharyas.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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