Srivaishnavam - Do's and Dont's

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.

Do's (Aanukulyam)

  • 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, etc.
  • 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

Dont's (Prathikulyam)

  • 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.
    • bhaagavata apachaaram (Thirumaalai, Artha panchakam, etc)
      • 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 padhigam).
  • 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:
    • coffee, tea
    • 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 govindhaya....)
  • 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.

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