Bhagavad-Gita: 18 Chapters in Sanskrit


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May 17, 2022. The Madras High Court on Monday ordered maintenance of status quo as on Saturday with respect to recitation of hymns inside the Devarajaswamy Temple in Kancheepuram since an order passed on Sunday by the Executive Trustee, permitting the Tenkalai sect alone to recite hymns in praise of Manavala Mamunigal and preventing the Vadakalai from reciting hymns in praise of Vedanta Desikar, had been put to challenge.



Introduction: The Theological Dichotomy in Srivaisnavism into Vadakalai (வடகலை) and Tenkalai (தென்கலை)  was a post-Ramanuja (1017-1137) phenomenon, late in coming and not the making of Vedanta Desika (VD) or Manavala Mamuni (MMM).  Desika--1268-1369 and Manavala Mamuni--1370-1444. It appears to me that Desika, the Vedic constructionist, philosopher, and Sanskrit Scholar was reborn months after his death as Manavala Mamuni to emphasize devotion and piety in the context of Nalayira Divya Prabhandam of Tamil Alvars. Some race-oriented devotees (an oxymoron) call the Vadakalai the Sanskritic Aryan Srivaishnava theology and Tenkalai the Tamil Dravidian. The above image should bring some sanity and dousing of flames of wrath and pride, help devotion to Narayana, and set an example to BhAgavatAs (Devotees of Vishnu) as to what it is to be a true Vaishnava and cultivate Uttama Bhaktas (Highest Devotees). In SriVaishnavism, the prospective candidate for Vaikuntam or Paramapadam (Vaishnava heaven) dips into Vraja River to remove the subtle body and Airammadian Lake (Ayiramadha Pushkarini) to purify himself or herself (Muktātmā ) and transform oneself into eligible Moksa Purusa for the rare privilege of Karavalambam ( = ராவலம்பம் = Support for hand = करालम्ब = Kara ālamba = support for the hand; Stretching out one's hand to support or raise another. Protection from Lord's Hands); Bhagavan's lotus hand touching the Moksa Purusha; Granting of Grace by the hand of Bhagavan). The Mukta-Jiva acquires a body made of Suddha-Sattvam similar to that of Bhagavan with four hands. Bhagavan does not demand to see your union card and party affiliation before He welcomes you in Paramapadam. That being so, why bother with sub-sects. Let us be tranquil monkeys and cool cats here on earth. Vadakalais pronounce that Kaivalyam (soul realization) is not Paramapadam (God Realization). 



Viraja River

Virajā is a river that divides the material world from the spiritual world. On one side of the river Virajā is the effulgence of Brahmaloka and innumerable Vaikuṇṭha planets, and on the other side is this material world. It is to be understood that this side of the Virajā River is filled with material planets floating in the Causal Ocean. The name Virajā indicates a marginal position between the spiritual and material worlds, but the Virajā River is not under the control of the material energy. Consequently it is devoid of the three guṇas.  (Viraja = Free from passion)

"Beyond the river Virajā is the spiritual nature, which is indestructible, eternal, inexhaustible and unlimited. It is the supreme abode, consisting of three fourths of the Lord"s opulences. It is known as paravyoma, the spiritual sky.'--

December 1, 2013


We the people are made of Prakritic substance, which consists of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas (Virtue, passion and darkness), while Bhagavan is made of Suddha Sattvam (Pure Goodness or virtue = Empyreal substance). Once the human is liberated and accepted into Vaishnava heaven, he goes through purificatory passages, thus leaving behind Rajas and Tamas and emerging only with Sattva.  Sattva constitution is the sine qua non of residents of Vaikuntam. It is like slurry becoming pure gold after purification. As we go through purification, we lose all our connections to earth including caste credentials, sectarianism and other divisive elements that separate people on earth.

Instead of waiting to drop Rajas and Tamas in the Vraja River, we should be able to do it on earth and become Suddha Sattvam.


 3986. Nammalvar, a Sudra by birth experiences entry into Vaikuntam in the form of Madhavan.

குடி அடியார் இவர் கோவிந்தன் தனக்கு என்று

முடி உடை வானவர் முறை முறை எதிர்கொள்ள,

கொடி அணி நெடு மதிள் கோபுரம் குறுகினர்

வடிவு உடை மாதவன் வைகுந்தம் புகவே. 10.9.8 Nammalvar

He is the one belonging to the family of servitors of Govinda. The gods in a ceremonial welcome approached and climbed on the flagged and festooned high walls of the tower to witness the servitor (Nammalvar) enter Vaikuntam in the form of Madhavan (Krishna).


  Sri U. Ve Velukkudi Krishnan Swamy

All the nitya suris (Immortals residing permanently in Viṣṇu's Heaven) have the same ayudhas (weapons) and abharanas (garments) as Sriman Narayana. Jaya and Vijaya are the dvara palakas (guards at the gates of Vaikuntam) in Vishnu loka (World) and they too possess the same ayudhas. In fact all of us would also get the right to possess them when we become muktas (= முத்தன் = One who has attained salvation). The (deities of) azhvars (= ஆழ்வார்கள் = saint-poets of Srivaishnava persuasion) whom we worship in the temples are archa forms (image or icon worship) of their vibhava tirumeni (sacred body of Secondary emanation) and so they do not hold sankha and chakra (Conch and discus). Amongst many merits of moksha (liberation) one is saroopyam (சாரூப்பியம் = form similar to Sriman Narayana in Vaikuntam) in which we are blessed with the same form as Sriman Narayana.  



Kamsa, by losing to and being killed by Krishna, gained liberation and Vaikuntham. He attained Saaruupya Mukti, meaning that he was of the form of Narayana Himself. In Vaikuntha, all have the same appearance as Narayana.  Yes, if you walk into Vaikuntham, all look alike.

Here is a depiction of the Empyreal Highway to Vaikuntam or paramapadam.



In modern parlance, the Empyreal Highway to Vaikuntam has many stops. The soul carries a toll-free E-Z pass at entry and exit to reach Narayana.  At every stop from one to twenty-four (see the chart), the soul is greeted and felicitated by a god or gods. At some stops the soul has to wade through a river or lake to wash off all the accretions and residuals gathered during life on earth so that the soul emerges in a purer form. At stop 19, the soul receives the message that it has entered the world of Narayana (SAlOkya = சாலோக்கியம்). One view is that in the Highway, all souls are Striyah (female) meaning that they are females in relation to Narayana; it does not matter what gender they belonged to on earth. Narayana is the only Purusa (Man). At stop 20, the soul enters The Tower, takes a seat (at stop 21-Vichaksana Peetam) and  enjoys a great fanfare from the assembled gods who tell the soul  that it has attained the state of Samipyam (= சாமீப்பியம் = சமீபம் )--nearness to Narayana. A few more stops only remain before reaching Narayana. At exit 24, the soul is in the purest form, ready to merge with Narayana. Amitoujas is His divine couch which the pure soul approaches with humility; this is known as Sayujya, a state of intimacy and union. It is not a physical union. It is spiritual and yet it is not a fusion. It is like a family gathering; you are all in one place and yet you are separate; the patriarch is at the top of the heap. It is like the difference between heavy water and light water. All the pure souls are light water particles and Narayana is heavy water. In a typical lake there is plenty of light water and very little heavy water and yet they are mixed together and the chemistry of both is the same. Though we are one with Narayana, we cannot create, maintain and destroy the universe; only Narayana has that exclusive power. This merger is the end point in the centripetal movement of the soul to Paramatman. We are the chips off the Old Block and now the atomic Atma is back to its source. It is like the salmon coming back to its origin (redd) after a long arduous trip upstream, dying to its flesh and rising in spirit. The atman assumes its original nature (Atma SvarUpa) with the restoration of its eight special qualities (guna VisEsha), freedom from sin, old age, death, sorrow, hunger, thirst, want, weakness of will.  Yet this free soul cannot create, maintain and destroy the world.  It enjoys company of God, Lakshmi, Bhudevi, Nila, Nithyasuris, muktas and others of Parmapadam, which is the abode of True Bliss.

This following excerpt is from Ramanuja's Teachings in His Own Words by Yamunacharya, page 128-29. His successors Vedanta Desika and Lokacharya wrote commentary on the three Rahasyas: Rahasyatrayasāra and Mumukuppadi

Ramanuja's gospel of self-surrender (Prapatti) finds ecstatic expression in his prose-poem known as Saraṇāgati Gadya. It is a dialogue of communion with God in which the soul of Ramanuja voices forth its innermost aspirations calling forth from the depths of his consciousness a response from his Lord who assures his devotee of His living presence with him in the consciousness of which and in the perennial joy of whose service he may live content and happy. It is a dialogue between the soul and the Over-soul, the Jivātman and the Paramātman. There is a sense of certainty, an atmosphere of utter serenity, that prevails in the Saraṇāgati Gadya, the hymn of self-surrender which is said to have been poured forth from Ramanuja's heart on seeing a beatific vision of the Lord on the occasion of a temple festival. The fervour of the human soul throbbing with deep love and surrender to its Master has rarely found elsewhere such beautiful and sublime expression as in this Saraṇāgati Gadya, which may be considered as the Swan Song of Ramanuja. The theme of the Gadya expresses the consummation devoutly wished for by every true devotee. In analysing the Saraṇāgati Gadya the traditional commentators aver that it falls into three divisions, each division representing a rahasya or secret and altogether demonstrative of the three rahasyas or Rahasyatraya of Śrivaiṣṇava theology. Vedanta Desika, the great exponent of one of the Schools of Sri vaishnavaism known as the Vadagalai, has written a very learned treatise known as Rahasyatrayasāra dealing with the three Rahasyas. Similarly Pillai Lokacarya, the exponent of what is known as Tengalai or Southern School has also written his own commentary of the Rahasyatraya in a treatise of his, called Mumukuppadi or the steps of the Salvation-seeker. Both these Sri Vaishnava theologians have derived their original inspiration from Ramanuja.

  Sayings of Ramakrishna.


Resignation To God  page 143

Sri Ramakrishna leans towards Tenkalai.

519. There is no path safer and smoother than that of Ba-kalam (power of attorney). Here Ba-kalam means resigning oneself to the will of the Almighty and having no feeling that anything is one's own.


520. The young of a monkey clings to its mother tightly when she moves about. The kitten on the other hand does not do so but mews piteously, and the mother grasps it by the neck. If the young of the monkey lets go its hold of its mother, it falls down and gets hurt. This is because it relies upon its own strength. But the kitten runs no such risk, as the mother herself carries it about from place to place. Such is the difference between self-reliance and entire resignation to the will of God.


521. A father was once passing through a field with his two little sons. He was carrying one of them in his arms while the other was walking along with him holding his hand. They saw a kite flying, and the latter boy, giving up his hold of his father's hand, began to clap with joy, crying, "Behold, papa, there is a kite!" But immediately he stumbled down and got hurt. The boy who was carried by the father also clapped his hands with joy, but did not fall, as his father was holding him. The first boy represents self-help in spiritual matters, and the second self-surrender.

   My question: Does this mean that Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is a Tenkalai proponent?


Read on for more information.

Saying 592, Page 160. . There are two kinds of Siddhas (perfect men/women) Sadhana-siddhas and Kripa-siddhas (those who have gained perfection through religious discipline and those who have gained perfection through grace). To get a good crop, some have to irrigate their fields with great labour by cutting canals, or by drawing water. But some others are lucky enough to be saved all this trouble of getting water; for there comes the rain and floods the whole field. Almost all have to perform devotional practices assiduously in order to get freedom from the shackles of Maya. But Kripasiddhas are saved from all this trouble; they attain perfection through the grace of God. Their number, however, is extremely small.

Krishnaraj: Sadhana-siddhas = Vadakalai = வடகலை.  Kripa-siddhas = Tenkalai = தென்கலை.


Here is a link on Vadakalai and Tenkalai:


Professor Patricia Mumme in her book "The Srivaisnava Theological Dispute: Manavalamamuni and Vedanta Deskia" (2008)by Publishers Navabharat Enterprises in Bangalore,India comments this way. In their own ways, both men were above all seeking to promote the integrity of the Srivaisnava faith and the closeness of the community of those following tradition of Ramanuja's Ubhaya Vedanta. Unfortunately, history shows that the extreme loyalty and dedication that each man inspired in his followers worked against that aim. In their faithfulness to each man and his doctrines, these two groups of followers lost sight of the primary value that both Manavalamamuni and Vedanta Desika gave to the unity and harmony of the Srivaisnava community. The bitter struggle between the Tenkalai and Vadakalai sects that broke out in the 18th century would have certainly dismayed both the men in whose names it was carried out.  Professor Patricia Mumme received her Ph.D on her thesis based on the above.

My opinion: VD and MMM accept Visistadvaita philosophy of Ramanuja. The Soul (paramatman) of VD and MMM is One and only One. Desika was flying high in the form of Hamsa among the birds of the same feather, while his reincarnate Manavala Mamuni was the same Hamsa incubating the spiritual andas (முட்டை-- eggs) on the earth plane and fostering the newly-hatched devotees of Narayana. Desika lived in philosophical Ether, while Manavala Mamuni lived on pious Earth. From Ether came Earth and from VD came MMM. They and we belong to Narayana, who is Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.  Ether gave rise to earth and so on; philosophy forms the basis for devotion and piety; VD came down as MMM.  All five elements, that is Narayana, live in them and us and so are their philosophy, devotion and piety. VD is the philosophical supporting framework on which MMM built devotion and piety. Vedic Vaishnava Philosophy and doctrine (Visistadvaita) are the foundation; devotion and piety are the Vaishnava edifice built for the glorification of Narayana.  The Fire of philosophy with the help of air (devotion and Prapatti) burns down the sylvan Karma; the downpour of rain (water) from heavens douses the redundant fire; the seeds of devotion take root in the renewed earth; Parijata tree grows giving us the Mumuksus, Moksa (வீடு = Home = heaven = Liberation).

Sir Monier Monier-Williams, KCIE (12 November 1819 – 11 April 1899), born in Bombay, was the second Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University, England. Here is his observations in the 19th century on the two Kalais of Srivaishnavism. 

posted July 17, 2014

Hence arose irreconcilable differences of opinion, which resulted in two, one called the northern school, Vada-galai (வடகலை =for Vada-kalai, Sanskrit kalā), the other the southern school, Ten-galai (தென்கலை for Ten-kalai1). They are far more opposed to each other than both parties are to Śaivas. The northern school accept the Sanskrit Veda. The southern (Ten-galai) have compiled a Veda of their own, called ’the four thousand verses’ (Nālāyira ), written in Tamil, and held to be older than the Sanskrit Veda, but really based on its Upanishad portion. According to Pandit N. Bhāshyāćārya, this work is called Divya-prabandha. In all their worship they repeat selections from these Tamil verses.

lAn important difference of doctrine, caused by different views of the nature of the human spirit’s dependence on Vishnu, separates the two parties. The view taken by the Vada-galais corresponds, in a manner, to the Arminian doctrine of ’free-will.’ The human spirit, say they, lays hold of the Supreme Being by its own will, act, and effort, just as the young monkey clings to its mother. This is called the monkey-theory (markaṭa-nyāya). The view of the Ten-galais is a counterpart of that of the Calvinists. It is technically styled ‘the cat-hold theory’ (mārjāra-nyāya). The human spirit, they argue, remains passive and helpless until acted on by the Supreme Spirit, just as the kitten remains passive and helpless until seized and transported, nolens volens (whether willing or not), from place to place by the mother-cat.  

lAgain, the Ten-galais maintain that the Śakti (Lakshmi), or wife of Vishnu, is a created and finite being, though divine, and that she acts as a mediator or minister (puruṣa-kāra), not as an equal channel of salvation; whereas the Vada-galais regard her as, like her consort, infinite, and uncreated, and equally to be worshipped as a channel or means (upāya) by which salvation may be attained.


தென்கலை for Ten-kalai1‘ The Sātāni branch of the Rāmānujas is not a separate school. It consists of a body of Śūdras who are opposed to Brāhmanical usages. It represents, in fact, the low-caste or out-caste converts to Vaishnavism. It is among the Rāmānuja Vaishṇavas what the Lingāits sect is among Śaivas (see p. 88).


Dictionary Notes below appended by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

          Arminianism —Arminian, adj., n. /ahr min"ee euh niz'euhm/, n. Theol.  (Corresponds to Vadakalais- வடகலை.

the doctrinal teachings of Jacobus Arminius or his followers, esp. the doctrine that Christ died for all people and not only for the elect. Cf. Calvinism (def. 1). [1610-20; J. ARMINI(US) + -AN + -ISM]

       Calvinism Calvinist, n., adj. Calvinistic, adj. Calvinistically, adv. Corresponds to Tenkalai தென்கலை.

              /kal"veuh niz'euhm/, n. [1560-70; CALVIN + -ISM]

1. the doctrines and teachings of John Calvin or his followers, emphasizing predestination, the sovereignty of God, the supreme authority of the Scriptures, and the irresistibility of grace. Cf. Arminianism.

2. adherence to these doctrines.

         nolens volens /noh"lens woh"lens/; Eng. /noh"lenz voh"lenz/, Latin. whether willing or not; willy-nilly.

   Monier-Williams continued...

I heard it remarked by a learned Ten-galai Brahmin that no educated men believe Vishnu to be really married.’ What most Ten-galais hold he said,’ is that Lakshmī is an ideal personification of the deity’s more feminine attributes, such as those of mercy, love, and compassion; while some philosophers contend that the Hindu gods are only represented with wives to typify the mystical union of the two eternal principles — spirit and matter — for the production of the Universe. The central red mark, therefore, is, in the one case, the mere expression of trust in God’s mercy; in the other, of belief in the great mystery of creation and re-creation.’  

No Arminians and Calvinists have ever fought more rancorously over their attempts to solve insoluble difficulties than have Vada-galais and Ten-galais over their struggles to secure the ascendancy of their own theological opinions. The fight has ended in a drawn battle. The two opposite parties, exhausted with their profitless logomachy (a dispute about or concerning words) and useless strivings after an impossible unity of opinion, have agreed to differ in abstruse points of doctrine.  

Their disputes are now chiefly confined to externals of the most trivial kind. It is the old story repeated. The Sibboleths are intolerant of the Shibboleths. The Vada-galais contend that their frontal mark (puṇḍra, pp. 66, 118, 400) ought to represent the impress of the right foot of Vishnu (the supposed source of the Ganges), while the Ten-galais maintain that equal reverence is due to both the god’s feet. It is certainly convenient from a social point of view that a man’s religious idiosyncrasies should be stamped upon his forehead. Accordingly, the two religious parties are most particular about their frontal emblems, the Vada-galais making a simple white line between the eyes (curved like the letter U) to represent the sole of one foot, and adding a central red mark — emblematical of Lakshmī; while the Ten-galais employ a more complicated device symbolical of both feet, which are supposed to rest on a lotus throne, denoted by a white line drawn half down the nose.  

 The complete Ten-galai symbol has the appearance of a trident, the two outer prongs (painted with white earth) standing for Vishnu’s two feet, the middle (painted red or yellow) for his consort, Lakshmi, and the handle (or white line down the nose) representing the lotus throne. The worst quarrels between the two divisions of the sect arise from disputes as to which mark is to be impressed on the images worshipped in the Vaishnava temples, to which all Rāmānujas resort indifferently. Tedious and expensive law-suits are often the result.  

Both sects, however, agree in stamping or branding the same emblems of Vishnu — the discus, the conch-shell, the club, and the lotus — but more generally the former two only, on their breasts, shoulders, and arms (p. 118).

 Another point which distinguishes the Ten-galais is that they prohibit their widows from shaving their heads. Every married woman in India rejoices in long, fine hair, which she is careful to preserve intact. In the case of men, regular shaving is not only a universal custom, it is a religious duty. But for women to be deprived of any portion of their hair is a shame. A shorn female head is throughout India the chief mark of widowhood. The general rule is that every widow should submit her growing locks periodically to the family barber, though child-widows among the Marathas are exempt. I believe also that in Northern India widows are not obliged to shave. It is certain that the Ten-galai widows are exempted from all obligation to dishonour their heads in this manner1 (compare 1 Cor. xi. 5).

 Again, a peculiarity common to both Rāmānuja sects is the strict privacy with which they eat and even prepare their meals.

1 The Ten-galais quote a verse of Vṛiddha-Manu, which declares that if any woman, whether unmarried or widowed, shave her head, she will be condemned to dwell in the hell called Raurava for one thousand times ten million ages.


 Between the two Kalais, there are differences, which are Astadasa-Bheda (Eighteen-Point difference):

The following list is the basis of Monkey's choler (U Namam) and Cat's ire (Y Namam) against each other.

U = Vadakalais of Kanchi. Y = Tenkalais of SriRangam.

1) Divine Grace (Difference in).

2) Moksa-phala (Difference in). = The Fruit that is Heaven.

3) UpAya (types of). = ways, Means, path. உபாயம்

4) Sri (Status of). = Consort of Narayana.

5) Sri as UpAya for Moksa. Sri as the Means for Liberation of the soul.

6) VAtsalya--its meaning. = Great affection; Parental affection

வாத்ஸல்யம் vātsalyam , n. < vātsalya. Great affection, as parental affection; மிக்க அன்பு.

7) DayA--its meaning. tayai =  தயை, தயா Mercy, compassion.

8) Prapatti—its nature. = taking refuge.

பிரபத்தி pirapatti, n. < pra-patti. Taking refuge, as in God; சரணமாக அடைகை. பிர பத்தியென்னும் பேருடை நெறியால்.

9) Prapatti—Eligibility.

10) Dharma as Anga of Prapatti (renunciation of). Anga = Limb = Tenet

தருமம் = Dharma = 1. Virtuous deed; Statute, ordinance, law, sacred, law; Usage, practice, customary observance or prescribed conduct; Duty; Justice, righteousness.

11) UpAyaMeans and its Incompatibility with....

upAyam உபாயம்
1. That by which a person realizes his aim; means, stratagem, artifice.

12) VarnAsrama-Dharma by Prapanna—Observance of codes according to one's Varna (4 classes).

13) Prapatti—Compliance with its tenets and prerequisites.

14) Prapatti as SAdhana for Moksa.  Sadhana = சாதனை = Accomplishment of an object  

15) Means of expiation of intentional sins of Prapanna.பிரபன்னன் = He who accepts God as his sole refuge.

16) BhAgavata—worship of low-caste BhAgavata by a Brahmin.

17) The Nature of Pervasion of God in Monadic souls.

18) Kaivalya—its nature.

கைவல்லியம் kaivalliyam  or கைவல்யம் Final emancipation; மோட்சம் =   detachment of the soul from matter or further transmigrations; soul in free pure form released from bondage. (Soul is free but does not reside in Vaikuntam. Kaivalyam is the free state of the soul wandering far away from the Viraja river.  Kaivalyam guarantees freedom from rebirth but the soul does not enjoy the inner sanctum of Paramapadam and the company of Vishnu, Sri, Bhu, Nila and Nityasuris.)  Viraja = without Rajas (Rajas = passion and action). Once subtle body immerses and wades through the Vraja River, it is cleansed of Rajas and Tamas and shines with Sattva. When the gross body is left behind at death, the subtle body goes on the Arciradi path, wades through the Vraja river and sheds the subtle body and gains a divine body. 

Before the mukta-jIva enters the MaNi-maNtapam, he has been provided with a divine body made of Suddha Sattvam just as the Lord’s, with four hands and two hands holding the conch and the discus and adorning shining yellow garments and spreading fragrance all around. This special body is given to him to show that he is no more a bonded jIva who is caught in the cycle of births in the material world.


      Sri U. Ve Velukkudi Krishnan Swamy Speaks

A kaivalyarthi does not travel through arciradi margam at all. He lives for ever in a place outside of  the viraja without entering Tirumaa mani mandapam. He neither serves the Lord at Srivaikuntha nor returns to this material world. (Kaivalarthi is the liberated soul with no entry or Visa permit to enter Viakuntham--Krishnaraj).

Sri Ranganatha would certainly elevate all the baddha atmas (Bound souls) from this mundane world. Not the kaivalyarthis who have been blessed what they wanted and left this leela vibhuti. Kaivalyarthi would not reach Sri Vaikuntham and bhagavat kainkaryam (as per Sri Pillai Lokacharya).

Atma gnanam is a prerequisite to bhakti. It is gained by learning the scriptures and listening to the acharyas. All the upadesams and sastras are to prevent any one from desiring kaivalyam. We should only try and educate them about the blemishes of kaivalyam and the merits of bhagavallabham.

kaivalyam = Liberation of the soul without entry into Vaikuntam. Tenkalai stance.

bhagavallabham = God's Love, Strength, might, power in Vaikuntam.

September 6, 2013. Krishnaraj: Everyone needs a Visa to enter Vaikuntam. Besides, baggage of any kind is disallowed into Vaikuntam. You have to pass through a security check by wading in the Vraja River. During security check, your guns, water bottles, knives...(Rajas and Tamas) are removed. You are now Suddha Sattvam, the pure Empyreal Substance, the same as Bhagavan. You are declared safe. You can now enter Vaikuntam.

Take the other soul (Kaivalyarthi, the soul without Visa to Vaikuntam). He hangs around the airport and not anywhere near the ticket counter or security check point. He does not know that he cannot carry baggage of any kind to Vaikuntam. Kaivalyarthi is soul-realized but not god-realized, not good enough for entry into Vaikuntam.

, n. < Kaivalya. 1. Absolute oneness, perfect isolation; ஏகமான தன்மை. நிர்விஷய கைவல்யமாநிஷ்கள (தாயு. கருணா. 1). 2. Final emancipation; மோட்சம். (திவா.) 3. Success, gain; அனுகூலம். Loc. 4. An Upanisad, one of 108; நூற்றெட்டு உபநிடதங்களுள் ஒன்று.

Out of these, five seem to be important.

1) Sri and Her status.

2)  Prapatti—its nature; as UpAya (உபாயம்) to Moksa.

3) Divine Grace—its concept: Arul (அருள்)

4) Nitya-naimittika Karma by Prapanna (பிரபன்னன்) —its observance.

   Sri Krishnan Swamy, the leading exponent of Srivaishnavism says,

"Karma yogam is ancillary to bhakti yogam. Performing ones karma burns his papam (sin). This is a prerequisite to the dawn of bhakti (devotion). Both karma and bhakti are categorized as saadhya upaya (சாத்திய உபாயம் = - i.e. which is accomplished by human efforts). Prapatti is siddha upaya where the responsibility to do anything to attain moksham ceases with humans and gets switched to Bhagavan. It is His effort that reaches (takes) us to moksham in this."

saadhya upaya = சாத்திய உபாயம் = Attainable Means

சாத்தியம் cāttiyam  n. < sādhya. 1. That which is practicable, possible, attainable.

siddha upaya சித்த உபாயம் = established or perfected path or means. Spiritual discipline as means to attain God or realize Brahman.


Comment by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj Reference: many sources.

Karma Yoga:  Union through action; the science of achieving perfection in/by action; yoga of selfless (altruistic) service; Realization through one's Dharma or duty of his varna without attachment to the fruits of such actions, which are surrendered to Krishna (God).

Jnana Yoga ज्ञान-योग

1)    Viveka = Discrimination: Ability to differentiate between the Real and the Unreal (the temporal).

2)    Vairagya = वैराग्य: Dispassion.

3)    Shad-Sampat: The Six Virtues: Sama1 =Tranquility; Dama2 = Control of the senses; Uparat3 = Cessation or relinquishment; Titiksha4 = Endurance or patience; Shraddha5 = Faith; Samadhana6 = Mental Concentration

4)   Mumukshutva = Desire of Liberation.


Bhakti Yoga consists of 1.Manana = मनन = மனனம் = meditation, cogitation, contemplation. The unceasing meditation on the feet of God; 2. Yajana = यजन  = யசனம் = yacaṉam = Sacrificing; 3. Namana = நமனம் = नमन  = bending = Salutation to the Deity.

Bhagavata Purana refers to Bhakti Yoga as nine-part discipline: 1. šravaṇa = श्रवण = சிரவணம் = listening to the glory of God; 2. Kīrtana = कीर्तन கீர்த்தனம் = enumeration or singing His glory; 3. Smaraṇa = स्मरण = ஸ்மரணம் = Remembrance or memory = Remembering His greatness. 4. Pādasevana =  पादसेवन பாதசேவை (pāta-cēvai) = Service to God at His feet; 5. Arcanā = अर्सन = அர்ச்சனை = worship and offering of flowers, recitation of His names; 6. Vandana = वन्दन = வந்தனம் = respectful salutation of God, Prostration before god; 7. Dāsya = दास्य = தாஸ்ய = servitude = feeling utter dependence on God; 8. Sakhya = सखीय = சகாயம் = Friendly disposition towards God; 9. Ātma-nivedana = आत्मनिवेदन = ஆத்மநிவேதனம் = self-dedication, offering oneself to God.

Compiled by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


Here is a verse by Nammalvar that references to the Yogas

நோற்ற நோன்பு இலேன் நுண் அறிவு இலேனாகிலும்
இனி உன்னைவிட்டு ஒன்றும்
ஆற்ற  கிற்கின்றிலேன்; அரவின் அணை  அம்மானே,
சேற்றுத் தாமரை செந்நெல் ஊடுமலர் சிரீவர மங்கலநகர்,
வீற்றிருந்த எந்தாய்! உனக்கு மிகை அல்லேன்  ங்கே. 5.7.1

(3407 by Nammalvar)

O Amman (Emperuman) lying on the bed of a snake! I have not undertaken performance of Karma Yoga. I am not in possession of subtle knowledge (Jnana Yoga). Though I have not pursued (unable to) these paths, I am unable to stay away from You even for a moment. You are the Resident of Srivara-mangala Nagar wherein are Lotus flowers blossoming in the midst of muddy paddy fields. Therein, I am not one too many for You.

Nammalvar, the realized soul, speaks of his lack of qualification to perform Karma and Jnana Yogas because he was Sudra by birth. Bhakti Yoga supplemented by Karma and Jnana Yogas provides the direct path to Vaikuntam.


  1. Prapannan =  He who accepts God as his sole refuge; கடவுளே சரணாகவுள்ளவன்

A Prapanna is he who has resigned himself absolutely to God. He is sure of his soul's safety in the keeping of the Lord. He is divested himself of all concern with regards to his soul or body. That resigned attitude of the mind amounts to Prapannan (பிரபன்னன் = He who accepts God as his sole refuge.) We are in Him and He is in us. It means, He is bound by His Grace to save us and we trust Him wholly for our welfare.  --Ramanuja

நைமித்திகம் naimittikam  Nitya-naimittikam = daily performance of rites

, n. < naimittika. That which is occasional or periodical, as rite, ceremony, festival, etc.; விசேஷகாலங்களில் நிகழ் வது. நைமித்திகத்தொடு கூடிய நித்தியம் (குறள், 18, உரை).

5) Kaivalya.

 V = Vadakalai.  T = Tenkalai   

vadaka9.jpg is replaced with  vadaka9ABCD.jpg              


1)      Sri and Her Status: The main point of argument centers on Sri.  

Vadakalai is of the belief that Sri and Sripathi (Lakshmi and Narayana = Consort and Bhagavan) form one integral unit. They are two ontological entities though equal and integral with each other in all divine actions. Both of them confer Grace and Moksa.

Tenkalai is of the belief that Sri is not equal to Sripathi (woman-god is not equal to man-god: some would say.), but is an exalted soul, a monad, and the consort of the God. Sri serves as PurusakAra (Mediator on behalf of devotees, Intercessor).

புருஷகாரம் purua-kāram

, n. < purua- kāra. 1. See புருஷத்துவம். (யாழ். அக.) 2. Endeavour, exertion, effort; முயற்சி. (யாழ். அக.) 3. Intercession, recommendation; இடைநின்று பரிந்து பேசுகை. 4. Intercessor; இடைநின்று பரிந்து பேசுபவ-ன்-ள். இவள் புருஷகாரமானா லல் லது ஈச்வரன் காரியம் செய்யானென்கை (அஷ்டாதச. முமுக்ஷு. 4).  Tamil Lexicon

The view of the Alvars is that Sri is inseparable and integral with the Lord and that she serves as UpAya (means) to Bhagavan's feet as refuge and VIdu (வீடு--Moksa-- Vaikuntam or Paramapadam--Vaishnava heaven) by expunging Vinai (வினை--Karma). Alvars do not say that Sri is monadic (anu) like the individual soul roiling in the sea of Samsara ( = Closed Loop of birth and rebirth or Circuit of mundane existence, Metempsychosis).

2)      Prapatti: Prapatti is SAdhana (human effort) to obtain God’s Arul (அருள்--Grace) and Moksa.

பிரபத்தி pirapatti

, n. < pra-patti. Taking refuge, as in God; சரணமாக அடைகை. பிர பத்தியென்னும் பேருடை நெறியால் (பிரபோத. 45, 10).

Vadakalai recommends Prapatti, surrender with observance of six-fold tenets (1 primary-- Angi-அங்கி = principal;  and 5 secondary Angas = அங்கம் = part, secondary). Prapatti entails ritualistic and prescribed behavior patterns to obtain Arul. Vadakalai says that an effort is necessary on the part of the individual to obtain God’s Grace. This is where the Monkey Analogy (Markata Nyaya School of Vadakalai) comes. The baby monkey clings on to the underbelly or the back of the mother monkey for transportation. That act of the baby monkey is the active effort it puts in for its transportation, security and nursing on the mother. Human effort is necessary for grace to descend on the individual. Vadakalais don’t like the CAT idea of passive transportation to Moksa. Cat takes its kitten by the nape of the neck. Kitten is passive and spends no effort in its transportation. The Vadakalais demand some work on the part of the individual.  One has to observe Prapatti  to obtain Moksa; that is self-effort on the part of the devotee. If God were to confer Moksa without rituals, prayer and Prapatti, He could be accused of arbitrariness- so say the Vadakalais. One has to do SAdhana (Spiritual discipline as means to attain God or realize Brahman).


Tenkalai is of the belief that God confers unconditioned Krpa (கிருபை--Krupai- Grace) to the individual without a need for ritualistic and conditioned behavior in Prapatti. This is where the Cat Analogy (Marjara Nyaya School of Tenkalai) comes. The kitten does not have to cling on to the mother cat. The mother cat picks up the kitten by the nape of the neck and carries it. God carries the individual (the elect) to Moksa without the latter’s effort. God's Grace is causeless (Nirhetuka Krpa) and so there is no need to observe Prapatti in its six-fold form.

n. the elect,

a person or the persons chosen or worthy to be chosen.

Theology. a person or persons chosen by God, esp. for favor or salvation.


Desikan says according Jaganath Bharadwaj:

Swami Desikan says that only one who has been glanced at by Sriman Narayana at the time of his birth will make rapid progress toward moksha.  This glance which results in moksha katAksham has happened long before most samskaras are performed, long before the soul meets the Acharya that will guide him towards moksha, long before any punya karmas are performed by the individual.



The Bhagavadgītā page 63-64.   Dr. Radhakrishnan.   November 2, 2013

What are Bhakti and Prapatti?

To fit God's pattern, all our claims are to be surrendered. The difference between bhakti and prapatti is symbolized by the ape way (markaṭakiśoranyāya) and the cat way (mārjārakiśoranyāya). The young ape clings fast to the mother and is saved. A little effort on the part of the young is called for. The mother cat takes the young in her mouth. The young one does nothing to secure its safety. In bhakti the grace of God is earned to an extent; in prapatti it is freely bestowed. There is no reference in the latter to one's own worthiness or the service performed.

prapatti has the following accessories: good will to all (ānu­kūlyasya saṁkalpaḥ); (ii) absence of ill will (prātikūlyasya varjanam: (iii) faith that the Lord will protect (rakṣisyatīti viśvāsaḥ,); (iv) resort to Him as saviour (goptṛitva varaṇam); (v) a sense of utter help­lessness (kārpaṇyam); (vi) complete self-surrender (ātmanikṣepaḥ). The last is traditionally regarded as equivalent to prapatti which is the end and aim aṅgin while the remaining five are accessories aṅgas. Cp, the statement ṣaḍvidhā śaranāgatiḥ which is explained on the analogy of aṣṭāṅga-yoga where samādhi is really the end and the other seven are aids to it.




The Vaishnavites wear a Y or U mark on the forehead: Tiruman Sacred Earth. See the photo for the visual. The mark consists of two white outer vertical stripes on the forehead; the outer vertical lines are joined in the bottom with a U or Y and the midline yellow or red stripe. The white line ingredient is clay; the yellow or red line ingredient is yellow or red-dyed turmeric or sandalwood paste mixed with saffron. The white lines represent Brahma,  purity and Vishnu and the red line brilliance, wealth and Lakshmi. Thus the lines represent the inseparable togetherness of Vishnu and Lakshmi (Sriman Narayana).  Some say that vertical white lines are Vishnu and the midline is Lakshmi. Vadakalais regard the verticality of Lakshmi and Vishnu (as horizontal, meaning they are) equal. The Tenkalais regard Lakshmi is a monadic soul like any other human soul with some exceptions in that she is the divine and a mediator on behalf of the individual soul.

Tiruman  = Tiru + Man = திரு + மண். Sacred + earth, dust, sand. Man rhymes with Run.

திருமண் tiru-ma

, n. < திரு +. 1. White earth used by Vaiṣṇavas in marking their foreheads; திருநாமந்தரித்தற்குரிய வெள்ளிய மண்கட்டி Vaiṣṇava. 2. Vaiṣṇava religious mark;

Some devotees wear the Namam on the crown, forehead, the upper arms, forearms, front of the neck and chest.  Wearing Namam (Tiruman) on various parts of the body by the devotees is to obtain protection from Vishnu and His weapon systems and also to demonstrate that their body is the temple wherein reside Vishnu and Sri. Vishnu wears Tiruman on His forehead to demonstrate to his devotees His omni-pervasiveness and the omnipotence of His weapons to protect them from all directions. The yellow streak in the midline between the two white streaks indicates a priestly or pious tradition. Vaishnavite women do not wear the white stripes except the red or yellow midline stripe, which  is called Sri-churnam-- the power of the Goddess. The white goes with the white garb of man and the red goes with the red sari of a woman (kusumba--red / saffron).  (In Saiva tradition Siva is White (white stripes) and Sakti is red [red Bindu]). Saivites wear their three white stripes horizontally over the forehead.


śrīcūram = Sri-Churnam

n. < id. + id. Yellow or red paste of turmeric and rice flour, used in Vaiṣṇavaite sectarian marks; திருமண் பாதங்களின் இடையிலிடப்படும் செம்மை அல்லது மஞ்சள நிறமான பொடி.

    The Vallabha followers wear one midline vertical line which represents Yamuna Devi.

    The white powder mixed with water for the vertical stripes comes from chalk; red Kumkum comes from mixing turmeric with limestone. Kumkum means a lot of things: Hindu by birth and or practice; the third eye of wisdom and power in Siva; simple beauty mark; married status; mark of devotion to female deities, Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Parvati, Durga, Mother Goddess. Sakti is Mother Goddess and redness associated with fire goes with Sakti. Kumkum application on the forehead of a guest is a sign of invitation into a household. Kumkum can also be streaked along the midline partition of the hair in women. Nowadays stickers of many colors and shapes are applied to the forehead as a woman would wear lipstick.

Lord Krishna wears the yellow U mark on his forehead made of sandalwood and saffron paste (Kasturi Tilakam). Sandalwood paste used during Puja is distributed to the devotees at the end of the ceremony in Guruvayur Temple of Krishna. Madhavacharya sect uses sandalwood paste for Namam. Sandalwood marks of Discus (Chakra) and Conch (Sanku) are worn on the deltoids, while some have permanent burn-impressions of Discus and Conch on their deltoids as a mark of initiation into Vaishnava Dasan community (the Servitor of Vishnu, Servitor of the servitor of Vishnu).

Alvars say that God’s Arul is necessary for expunging Vinai (Karma = வினை) and attain Moksa. They recommend an effort like Prapatti or Bhakti.

 Once a Pundit asked Ramakrishna Parmahamsa about Mahatmas, Astral, Devayanic, solar, lunar planes of existence for the subtle body. The Master replied that all these spheres and planes are trivial and one should develop, practice and intensify one's Bhakti (devotion), pray to Him with intense devotion and practice Sadhanas.  -  adapted from Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna page 25.

Prapatti: The main Angi or principal resolution is Atma-niksepa  (Atma Samarpanam = Soul dedication, surrender to God for protection).  The other five are Angas, secondary resolutions of Prapatti based on Atma Samarpanam.  Saranagati is Prapatti in intense form as practiced by Alvars.

Angi = Primary limb. Anga = secondary limb.

ஆத்மநிவேதனம் ātma-nivētaam  = Atma Niksepa = Atma Samarpanam

, n. < id. +. Self-dedication, offering oneself; தன்னை அர்ப்பணஞ்செய்கை.

Prapatti is like a tree. The main trunk is Atma Samarpanam, soul dedication. The others are the branches of the trunk. Without the Main Trunk of Atma Samarpanam, the five branches do not exist. see the presentation of diagram as a pentagon-star.

1) Ānukūlya-Saṅkalpa = God-pleasing acts. = இறைவனுக்கு என்றும் அனுகூலமாய் இருக்கும் உறுதி.  2) Prātikūlya-Varjana  = avoidance of God-displeasing acts.= இறைவனுக்கு உகவாத செயல்களில் ஈடுபடாதிருத்தல். 3) Kārpaṇya = Humility from helplessness to resort to other means of salvation. உபாயம் இல்லாத எளிமை. 5) Mahā-viśvāsa  = Great Faith in God. பெருமானிடம் முழுமையான நம்பிக்கை. 5) Goptṛatva-Varaṇa = Request God for protection. இறைவனிடம் காத்திடும்படி கோரும் நிலை. 6) Main Trunk: Ātmanikṣepa = Soul dedication, surrender to God for protection. தன்னை இறைவன் திருவடிகளில் ஒப்படைத்துக் கொள்ளல்.  The last one is the Angi or principal resolution; the other (first)  five are Anga, secondary resolutions of Prapatti. Saranagati is Prapatti in intense form as practiced by Alvars. Tamil text excerpts from sgtprabhandam.pdf



KArpanya: Sudras and others not belonging to twice-born Varnas are prohibited to practice Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga or Karma Yoga. They are left to their own alternate devices to obtain Moksa. This is where  Karpanya comes. The Sudra simply throws in the towel, so to speak, goes to God in humility, tells Him of his pitiful unqualified condition, promises to practice Prapatti in all forms and seeks His Grace. There were Alvars belonging to Sudra and other lower classes or castes who obtained Grace from God. Nammalvar, the most beloved and the most prolific poet-devotee among Alvars is a Sudra by Varna.

Nammalvar, the Srivaishnavas believe, was the incarnation of Visvaksena,  the Commander in chief of Vishnu. At various times he was regarded the incarnation of Kaustabha jewel of Vishnu or Vishnu Himself. Srivaishnava devotees receive the feet of Vishnu on their head in the form of Sadari. Nammalvar is  the premier Srivaishnava saint-poet who had visions of Sriman Narayana and in whom Sriman Narayana revealed Himself as the devoted poet-singer. Sadari is the corpus of  his devotional work (Tiruvaymoli) and Nammalvar holding the feet of Narayana on his head. Receiving Sadari with bowed head and humility is getting the essence of His devotional poetry, attaining and holding onto the feet of Sriman Narayana for the express purpose of Mukti (liberation).  Here again the monkey analogy applies. Holding on to the feet of Sriman Narayana is the effort the devotee puts in for his salvation.

Tiruvaimozi 7.9.5 (DP3653). by Nammalvar. He indicates that Vishnu sang sweet songs of praise for His own glorification through the medium of Nammalvar, though he neither had fitness or excellence of mind.

சீர் கண்டுகொண்டு திருந்து நல் இன்கவி

நேரபட  யான் சொல்லும் நீர்மை இலாமையில்

ஏர்வு இலா என்னைத்  தன்னாக்கி என்னால் தன்னைப்

பார் பரவு இன் கவி பாடும் பரமரே. (DP 3673/Tiruvaimozi 7.9.5)

I have neither fitness, nor excellence for singing poems on Emperuman. He accepted me, though lacking in beauty and brains. For singing about Him, He made use of me or made me Himself. O The Ancient one, You, for your  glorification all over the world, sang the sweet panegyric poems through me.

By the way, In Vaishnavism, worship of Impersonal Brahman (Parabrahman = unbranded God = attributeless God) is discouraged. Only personal God (Krishna, Vishnu, Narayana...) is worshipped. Yogis worship impersonal Brahman (Jnana Yoga).   Parabrahman, among Srivaishnavites, means Narayana with auspicious attributes; the Parabrahman of Monists (Advaitins like Sankara) is attributeless.

One of the main contentions is the link between Grace and SAdhana or human effort.

Tenkalai is of the view that Prapatti is not necessary because Nirhetuka-krpA (unconditioned grace, causeless grace) is the modus operandi of God.  (Just a wild imagination as an analogy: God looks at a humongous confluence of people from high up in Vaikuntam. Then He whistles His counting rhyme:

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe
Catch a cat (Tenkalai = தென்கலை) by the toe
If he hollers let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

God picks one from among a million, trillion or myriad people when He is in the mood and takes him to Vaikuntam, the High Heaven of Srivaisnavites. This is what I believe the Tenkalais (தென்கலை) essentially say. It is like lotto (Lottery, Mega millions or Powerball); only one wins big; the rest go home with altruistic satisfaction that they made a generous contribution for education.

We are Markata and Marjara (monkey and cat); one day we behave like clinging simians and another day we behave like lazy felines. There is no need for the monkey and the cat fight it out in a closed cage or in the open.

The Alvars mention two types of Grace: Sahetuka-krpA and Nirhetuka-KrpA (Caused Grace and Causeless Grace) but recommend some effort from the individual. Vadakalais think that Tenkalais want to collect unearned wages and paycheck/salary (Moksa) by holding no-show or phantom jobs.

 sa-hētukam  = ஸஹெதுகம்

, n. < sa- hētuka. That which has a cause; காரணத்துடன் கூடியது.

Nirhetuka = nirhētukam = நிர்ஹெதுகம்

, n. < nir-hētuka. That which is without cause or reason; காரண மற்றது. இன்று நிர்ஹேதுகமாகக் கிட்டப் பெற்றோம். (திவ். திருப்பா. வ்யா.).

Kaivalya: detachment of the soul from matter or further transmigrations; soul in free pure form released from bondage.  Nammalvar opines that Kaivalya is inferior state of liberation as compared to Paramapadam. Kaivalyas may not go up the ArcirArdi marga (the path of Light- see the staircase in the flow chart). See the diagram.  If they are below the Path of Light, they will not reach Paramapadam. (In Kaivalya, one is a free-floating soul wandering in the outskirts of Paramapadam at best and not being in the very presence of Narayana inside Paramapadam.) It is like seeing through a glass ceiling; It may be Bamboo or Iron Curtain..

கைவல்லியம் kaivalliyam , n. < Kaivalya. 1. Absolute oneness, perfect isolation; ஏகமான தன்மை. நிர்விஷய கைவல்யமாநிஷ்கள (தாயு. கருணா. 1). 2. Final emancipation; மோட்சம். (திவா.) 3. Success, gain; அனுகூலம். Loc. 4. An Upaniṣad, one of 108; நூற்றெட்டு உபநிடதங்களுள் ஒன்று.

The ultimate aim of Samkhya-Yoga and Vedanta is to attain liberation (Mukti) which is isolation (soleness, Kaivalya). Samkhya Yoga helps isolation of the soul from Prakrti; Vedanta from Māyā. In Srivaishnava tradition, Kaivalya has an added import. It is liberation of the soul from matter, karma and rebirth but it has not earned its right to live in Paramapadam or Vaikuntam, the Ultima Thule of the soul in Srivaishnava tradition. This is one of the divisive issues between Ten Kalais and Vada Kalais of Srivaishnavism. It appears that Ten Kalais are satisfied with Kaivalyam, a lower achievement; the Vada Kalais insist that Vaikuntam or Paramapadam is the Real Thing. Below, read Nammalvar's opinion on Kaivalyam and Paramapadam (Soul realization Vs God realization).

Nammlavar opines that Kaivalyam is inferior to God-realization (Brahma- or bhagavat-sākşātkāra). Kaivalyam is ātma-sākşātkāra, equable resolution of Punyam and Papam, supreme happiness, self-realization... Kaivalya is the existence of the soul enjoying the bliss of Jivatman (S.M.S.Chari) and NOT Paramatman or Bhagavat.  That is serious. What is better?  Soul realization or God Realization. Kaivalya is NOT the Real Thing in modern parlance, according to Nammalvar.

 October 16, 2012. Dhyāna of the formless (Nirākāra) and attributeless (Nirguṇa) is Suksma  Dhyāna. The latter again is of two kinds: (a) Bindudhyāna, (b) Sūnyadhyāna,  The Bindu or Point has neither length nor height nor depth nor  breadth. It is however united with Māyā (Māyāyukta); It is from this  Bindu that Brahma, Visnu and Mahdvara and others originated. Meditation  on that which is undifferentiated (Aparicchinna), attributeless,  changeless, incomprehensible Sat Cit Ananda is Śūnya-Dhyāna. This is  beyond the scope of mind and speech. When by Yoga practice another  "sense" is awakened then Yogīs by Yoga-power experience the Bindu or  Sūnya, This is called Brahma-sāksātkāra (= God-realization by Tarkālaṁkāra). Woodroffe The Great Liberation  page 116.

The Bindu or Point has neither length nor height nor depth nor  breadth. This means that the concept of Singularity and Black hole was already present in India of past.--Krishnaraj


 Nammalvar compares Kaivalyam to Bhagavad Saksatkaram.

குறுக மிக ணர்வத்தொடு நோக்கி எல்லாம் விட்ட,

இறுகல் இறப்பு என்னும் ஞானிக்கும் அப் பயன் இல்லையேல்,

சிறுக நினைவது ஓர் பாசம் உண்டாம் பின்னும் வீடு இல்லை,

மறுகல் இல் ஈசனைப் பற்றி விடாவிடில் வீடு அஃதே --3240

Controlling the wandering of his mind, becoming one with Atman with self-knowledge, abandoning all, and desiring for the Sankosa Moksa's Kaivalyam, the jnani without the benefit of the Bhagavad realization would develop passion for the mudane desires. Moreover, there is no liberation for him.  There is no true liberation, if he does not get hold of the deathless Lord and not let go of Him.

Kaivalyam in Srivaishnava Ten Kalai tradition is like a glass ceiling wherein you look through the glass but cannot get into Vaikuntam.

Kaivalyam is living below the glass ceiling, Bamboo or Iron Curtain.  glass ceiling: An unacknowledged discriminatory barrier that prevents women and minorities from rising to positions of power or responsibility, as within a corporation. In this instance,  glass ceiling means Tenkalais look up, and see a glass ceiling separating them from Sriman Narayana, Sri, Bhu, Nila and Nityasuris in Vaikuntam. The Tenkalais are liberated (Kaivalyam) but not in close proximity with Narayana: that is the view of Vadakalais.

ஆராதிப்பார்க்கு மிக இனியன்


பிறவித்துயர் அற ஞானத்துள் நின்று,
துறவிச் சுடர்-விளக்கம் தலைப்பெய்வார்,
அறவனை ஆழிப்படை அந்தணனை,
மறவியை இன்றி மனத்து வைப்பாரே. 1.7.1

To cut off suffering from births (பிறவித்துயர்) they practice Jnana Yoga, renounce all, seek enlightenment of the soul and freedom from rebirth and death and contemplate on the discus-bearing Lord.

 ஞானத்துள் நின்று : Practice of Jnana Yoga.

Freedom from rebirth is Kaivalyam and the liberated soul does NOT go to Parmapadam. Kaivlayam has no destination such it is, Paramapadam. In Kailvalyam the soul wanders around the periphery of Paramapadam and is not in the very presence of Narayana in Paramapadam, performing Nitya-Kainkaryam (eternal service) to Bhagavan.

Jnana Yoga is not recommended  for salvation; it leads to enlightenment and bliss of the soul. and freedom from metempsychosis. All this amounts to Kaivalyam and not God-realization. Kaivalyam is Atma-anubhavam and  NOT Bhagavat-saksatkara. Atma Anubhavam is the realization of the knowledge of one's own soul and not God realization. It is knowing oneself and NOT the God. Kaivalyam guarantees complete release from mundane existence and thus lets the individual soul enjoy its true nature. Kaivalyam is not enjoying the Universal Soul (Bhagavan). The true Moksa is to serve God without any interruption in Vaikuntam or Parmapadam.  Real Moksa is simply not a state of negation (which is Kailvalyam ), absence of bondage. Real Moksa has a positive aspect to it in that one gets close to Bhagavan, gets touched by Bhagavan, and perform interminable eternal service (Nitya-kaikarya) to Bhagavan. In modern parlance, the Moksa Purusa has earned his tenure and no one can fire him from Vaikuntam. There is no mention in Divyaprabhandam that these liberated Kaivalya souls take the Arcirādi path to Vaikuntam. (see the chart elsewhere.) Arciradi path is the Empyreal Highway to Paramapadam or Vaikuntam.

அற்றது பற்று எனில்--

உற்றது வீடு உயிர்

செற்றது அது மன் உறில்--

அற்று இறை பற்றே.  1.2.5 (2914)

All attachment are torn asunder; the soul has reached Vidu (வீடு = moksa = Kaivalya). Abandoning even that, seek the unattached Lord.

Abandoning Kaivalya, one should go for Paramapadam, the Real Moksa.  

3328 The difference between சிற்றின்பம்1  and பேரின்பம்2  (mundane (low trifling) pleasure1 and Heavenly Bliss2

கண்டுகேட்டு உற்று மோந்து உண்டு உழலும் ஐங்கருவி
கண்ட இன்பம், தெரிவு அரிய அளவு இல்லாச் சிற்றின்பம்,
ஒண் - தெடியாள் திருமகளும் நீயுமே நிலாநிற்பக்,
கண்ட சதிர் கண்டொழிந்தேன் அடைந்தேன் உன் திருவடியே. 4.9.10 (3328 Nammalvar)

I enjoyed and gave up all earthly pleasures  of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting and the limited joy of heaven beyond the senses (Kaivalyam) . Only Tirumagal (Sri = Consort of Vishnu) wearing bright bracelets and You are eternal. Having given up both pleasures (Sensual and Kaivalyam), I attained and abide in Your sacred feet.

What we enjoy on earth are the pleasures of the senses. Having given up sense pleasures, one obtains release from rebirth, enjoys self- realization (Atma Anubhavam), and attains Kaivalyam, freedom from rebirth.  Kaivalyam is not reaching Paramapadam, being in the presence of Bhagavan and rendering Nitya Kainkaryam to Him in Vaikuntam. Sense pleasures and Kaivalyam are Cirrinbam (சிற்றின்பம்  = low trifling pleasures = worldly pleasures = "Cheap thrills") as opposed to Heavenly Bliss (பேரின்பம) in Paramapadam.

Apart from the low utility of Kaivalyam, Nammalvar makes it a point to link Sri with Bhagavan. This linkage tells that both are equal.

The Vadakalais are of the belief that Kaivalya is not Paramapadam and it is outside Paramapadam. The Tenkalais say that Kaivalya is on the periphery of Paramapadam and it is an eternal existence.

Eternal existence in the periphery of Paramapadam, the Vadakalais say is a state of Limbo; it is neither life on earth nor life in Paramapadam.

What is SAdhana? SAdhana is Jnana1 , Sravana2, Manana3 , NidhidhyAsana4 , UpAsana5 (Spiritual Knowledge1 , Study of Sacred Texts2, Contemplation3 , Meditation4 , Worship5), which are the UpAya (உபாயம்) or means to attain Moksa. This is also known as Bhakti Yoga. Prapatti is the easier alternative to Bhakti Yoga, entails complete surrender to God and is suitable for those who do not possess the ability or eligibility to perform Bhakti Yoga.
Commentators say that Nammalvar recommends Bhakti Yoga and or Prapatti for the spiritual aspirants as the means to attain Paramapada Moksa. He adopted Prapatti as the means to attain the feet of Lord of Tiruvenkatam Hills. Nammalvar, being a Sudra (4th down the totem pole: Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaishya and Sudra),  is prohibited from performing Jnana, Bhakti, Raja, and Karma Yogas, which are the prerogative of the first three Varnas. And yet he is the most prolific writer and explicator of SriVaishnava philosophy and made a journey to Paramapatham so he did write the 'Tour Book' to Vaikuntam.

Nalayira Divya Prabhandam (NDP) Verse 3559 (Thiruvaimozi 6.10.10)


அகலகில்லேன் இறையும் என்று அலர்மேல் மங்கை உறை மார்பா,

நிகர் இல் புகழாய். உலகம் மூன்றும் உடையாய். என்னை ஆள்வானே,

நிகர் இல் அமரர் முனிக்கணங்கள் விரும்பும் திருவேங்கடத்தானே,

புகல் ஒன்று இல்லா அடியேன் உன் அடிக்கீழ் அமர்ந்து புகுந்தேனே. 3559  6.10.10

O God! You hold on your chest the Lotus-damsel; You are of inimitable fame. You own the three worlds. You are my Ruler. You, of the Tiruvenkatam Hills, are the desire of the inimitable Munis. I the Servitor, having no other refuge, abide at (below) Your Feet and attain refuge.

NDP Verse 2910 (Thiruvaimozi 1.2.1)

வீடு செய்து உம் உயிர்

வீடு உடியானிடை

வீடு செய்ம்மினே

வீடுமின் முற்றவும்;

Give up all; having given up, dedicate your life to the One who confers Moksa (House of liberation)

Here is what Bhagavan says to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita about the importance of offering NamaskAra (தொழுதல்) to the Lord. NamaskAr implies Bhakti Yoga, according to commentators. Arjuna, being Ksatriya, is qualified to perform Bhakti Yoga.

Bhagavadgita 9.34: 

मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु ।

मामेवैष्यसि युक्त्वैवमात्मानं मत्परायणः ॥९- ३४॥


manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣ
yasi yuktvaivam ātmānaṁ matparāyaṇa 9.34 

Always think of Me, become My devotee and worshipper, and offer Namaskar (homage) to Me. Having your atma (self or soul) fully engaged in Me, you would come to the Supreme Me.



  This sentiment is expressed by Periyalvar in 5.4.5 Tirumozi (Divyaprabhandam verse 467).


பொன்னைக் கொண்டுஉரைகல் மீதே நிறம் எழ உரைத்தாற்போல்
உன்னைக் கொண்டு என் நாவகம்பால் மாற்றின்றி உரைத்துக்கொண்டேன்
உன்னைக் கொண்டு என்னுள் வைத்தேன் என்னையும் உன்னில் இட்டேன்

என்  அப்பா! என் இருடீகேசா! என்  உயிர்க் காவலனே. 467


Like rubbing the gold on the touchstone to reveal its color, I rubbed your name completely on my tongue.   You in me, and me in You I took. O my Father, my Hrishikesa, my Life-Guardian.


Bhakti Yoga is the UpAya to attain DAmodara (Vishnu, Narayana, Krishna)  Verse DVP: 3924. TVM 10.4.1


சார்வே தவநெறிக்குத் தாமோதரன் தாள்கள்;

கார் மேக வண்ணன் கமல நயனத்தன்,

நீர், வானம், மண், எரி கால் ஆய் நின்ற நேமியான்,

பேர் வானவர்கள் பிதற்றும் பெருமையனே. 3924



Emperuman is of the color of the dark Nimbus clouds. He is of the lotus eyes. He abides in water, sky, earth, fire, and air. He holds the discus. He is famous among the celestials who out of reverent nervousness babble His name.  Damodara's feet are worthy of our Tapas (தவநெறி = tavaneri, austerity, penance, Bhakti Yoga).


Samsara, Moksa and the Empyreal Highway to Parmapadam (Vaikuntam, Vaisnava's heaven)


Everyday we talk about crossing the sea of Samsara for the express, intense and ultimate purpose of Moksa (Paramapadam or Vaikuntam. What is Samsara? 

Here is the definition of Samsara in the words of Candidasa in Jaiva Dharma by ThAkura, page 173-174.

The jiva is an eternal servant of Krsna, but he forgets this and takes on a material body. Influenced by the qualities of material nature, he derives happiness and distress from material objects. For the privilege of enjoying the fruits of his material activities, he must wear a garland of birth, old age, and death.

The jiva sometimes takes birth in a high position and sometimes in a low position, and he is led into innumerable circumstances by his repeated change of identity. Hunger and thirst spur him to action in a body that may perish at any instant. He is bereft of the necessities of this world, and is cast into unlimited varieties of suffering. Many diseases and ailments appear, which torment his body. In his home, he quarrels with his wife and children, and sometimes he goes to the extent of committing suicide. His greed to accumulate wealth drives him to commit many sins. He is punished by the government, insulted by others, and thus he suffers untold bodily afflictions.

He is constantly aggrieved by separation from family members, loss of wealth, theft by robbers, and countless other causes of suffering. When a person becomes old, his relatives do not take care of him, and this causes him great distress. His withered body is ravaged by mucus, rheumatism and a barrage of other pains, and is simply a source of misery. After death, he enters another womb and suffers intolerable pain. Yet despite all this, as long as the body remains, his discrimination is overpowered by lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride, and envy. This is samsara.  

Here is a depiction of the Empyreal Highway to Vaikuntam or Parmapadam. Once you go past Vivekam, Nivedam, Virakti and Beeti, the devotee has to take Archradri Marga (The Path of Light) starting from the time one leaves the physical body.

Arcis = Flame; Name of the deity, Fire-god

 அர்ச்சிஸ்  arccis

, n. < arcis. Name of the deity met with first on the way to the supreme heaven, who leads on to the next, and who presides over light; மோக்ஷத்திற்குச் செல் வோரை முதலிற்கண்டு உபசரித்து வழிநடத்துந் தெய் வம். (அஷ்டாதச. அர்ச்சி.)


                   Layout of Empyreal Highway to Vaishnava Heaven (Vaikuntam): mapped and simplified.

Arciradi Marga.



Bhagavan Krishna says in BG 8.24 the following:


अग्निर्ज्योतिरहः शुक्लः षण्मासा उत्तरायणम् ।

तत्र प्रयाता गच्छन्ति ब्रह्म ब्रह्मविदो जनाः ॥८- २४॥

agnir jotir ahaḥ śuklaḥ ṣaṇmāsā uttarāyaam
tatra prayātā gacchanti brahma brahmavido janā
ḥ 8.24


8.24: The paths of the departing souls, who attain the Brahman because of Brahman knowledge, are the fire, the day, the bright half of the month and the six months of sun’s northern passage.

The guides (the relay: Adhi Vahikas-- Superior Transporters) are Fire,  Ahas (deity of the day),  Suklapaksha (presiding  deity of bright fortnight of the moon), Uttarayana (deity of Northern passage of the sun), Varusha (deity of the Year), Vayu (wind god), Surya (sun god), Chandra (moon god),  Varuna (rain  or water god), Indra (the chief of gods), Prajapati (the Primary progenitor), AmAnavan (presiding incorporeal deity of MAnasa lake).  Manavan is Man. Amanavan is NOT man and so a deity.

Vidyut Purusha**: AmAnavan = Name of a god said to be on the banks of the river Viraj, who by his touch purifies souls on their way to heaven (Vaikuntham).
The mystic poets have described this journey of the soul. Nammaazhvaar (Nammalvar) describes the journey in the following verses in Tiruvaimozhi of Divyaprabhandam.

10.9.1 (3979).

சூழ்விசும் அணிமுகில் தூரியம் முழக்கின

ஆழ்கடல் அலைதிரை கை  எடுத்து ஆடின;

ஏழ் பொழிலும் வளம் ஏந்திய என் அப்பன்

வாழ் புகழ் நாரணன் தமரைக் கண்டு உகந்தே. 3979

Seeing the liberated souls, the clouds played the drums, the ocean waves slapped and clapped with raised hands, and danced; the seven worlds extended their help to the devotees for their onward journey. --3979

10.9.3 (3981).

3873 தொழுதனர் உலகர்கள் தூப நல் மலர் மழை

பொழிவனர் பூமி அன் அளந்தவன் தமர் முன்னே

எழுமின் என்று இமருங்கு இசைத்தனர், முனிவர்கள்

வழி இது வைகுந்தர்க்கு என்று வந்து எதிரே. 3981

The Munis of different worlds appeared before the devotees of Narayana, smiled lusciously, poured a rain of flowers, worshipped, praised and welcomed them, and pointed the way to Vaikuntham standing on either side of the AdiyArs-- those who serve at the feet of Narayana. --3981

10.9.5 (3983).

மாதவன் தமர் என்று வாசலில் வானவர்
போதுமின் எமது இடம் புகுதுக என்றலும்
கீதங்கள் பாடினர் கின்னரர் கெருடர்கள்
வேத நல் வாயவர் வேள்வி உள்மடுத்தே.--3983

Devas standing on their assigned locations, greeted the devotees and asked them to take their seats and rule them. Kinnars and Garudars  sang songs of praise, while Vedic Munis lit their Holy fires. --3983

10.9.8 (3986)

குடி அடியார் இவர் கோவிந்தன் தனக்கு என்று
முடி உடை வானவர் முறை முறை எதிர்கொள்ள
கொடி அணி நெடு மதிள் கோபுரம் குறுகினர்
வடிவு உடை மாதவன் வைகுந்தம் புகவே. 3986
Enthused deities with crowns scaled the high walls and the tower decorated with festoon and flag to see the devotees. They said that there went Govinda's own AdiyArs, who, having the same form as Madhava, were entering the gates of Vaikuntha.-- 3986
10.9.9 (3987).
வைகுந்தம் புகுதலும் வாசலில் வானவர்
வைகுந்தன் தமர் எமர் எமது இடம் புகுத என்று
வைகுந்தத்து அமரரும் முனிவரும் வியந்தனர்
வைகுந்தம் புகுவது மண்ணவர் விதியே. 3987
As the devotee entered the doorway (gates) of Vaikuntham, the gods and the Munis welcomed them, offered him their places; gods and munis expressed their admiration, saying Mannavar (= earthling = human being) entering Vaikuntham earned his privilege. --3987
10.8.10 (3988).
விதிவகை புகுந்தனர் என்று நல் வேதியர்
பதியினில் பாங்கினில் பாதங்கள் கழுவினர்
நிதியும் நல் சுண்ணமும் நிறை குட விளக்கமும்
மதிமுக மடந்தயர் ஏந்தினர்- வந்தே.--3988
The Vedic celestials, saying that it was their fortune that the devotees entered Vaikuntham, washed their feet. Moon-faced young girls welcomed them with footrests, Tiruchunnam (sacred dust for sprinkling over guests), sacred lamp, Purna Kumbha (ceremonial water-pot)....3988This is SAlokya, being in the world of Bhagavan.

The purification of the soul, auspicious Mutation of Subtle body, advent of Suddha Sattva, infusion of Tejas into Jiva

பரமபத சோபானம் = Paramapata cōpāṉam = Staircase to heaven.

Once the soul has come to the end of the Path of Light, it has to ascend a staircase of nine steps, Paramapada SOpAnam ( steps, stairs, gradations, tier). The journey starts with the passage of the subtle body through a river called Viraja (cleansing River). When the soul wades to the opposite bank, it sheds the subtle body and becomes the aprAkrita divya mangala svarupa-- matterless, ageless, divine, auspicious, natural state of quality or form. The soul now is free from any trace of matter; it is divine, auspicious and pristine. This state is also known as Suddha Sattva -Pure goodness or Pure Spirit.  It goes through another immersion in another body of water (airammadeeyam--Great Lake) and goes to an Asvatha tree in Somasavana--forest. Under the tree, 500 Apsaras adorn the Pure Soul with garlands, perfumes, eyeliner, ornaments and clothes. At this moment Brahma Tejas (Brahma splendor) enters the soul along with Brahma Gandha (divine fragrance)  and Brahma Rasa (divine flavor). The  Pure Spirit is all Sattva devoid of Tamas and Rajas. There is complete severance with the mundane world; the Pure Spirit arrives at Paramapada Loka -- SAlokya (present in the world of Paramapadam).  The soul as it makes the centripetal movement towards God, it enters the world of God (SAlokya).  It enters the hall below a tower and sits in a seat which indicates acquisition of  Vichakshana (discriminating Intellect). This is the stage of Samipya--nearness to God. Superior to this stage,  the soul acquires Brahma Yasas and Prajna (splendor, fame and discernment). The soul approaches the Divine Sesa bed of Vishnu, calls out, begs Him to wake up, open His eyes, grant spiritual wisdom, and make him the purest of the pure. At this juncture Hari allows him to come near His Divine Bed or couch (Amitoujas) and reveals his Blissful form to the soul. This union of the soul with Bhagavan is the final stage: SAyujya. Finally the arduous centripetal journey of the soul has ended in union with Mass of Bliss.

Let me give you a coordinate variant but interesting description of how the devotee meets Bhagavan. The humor here is intentional and done in love and reverence.

He goes beyond the Aditya Mandalam. He is heading towards the Viraja River, the greatest river.  The Suksma Sariram enters the River which removes all fears. At the other side of the river the soul transforms into appearance of Paramatma with Conch, Discus, Pitambharam....  Five hundred Apsaras come running towards him; 100 of them carry flower garlands; 100 of them Sandal paste; 100 of them Dhupam; 100 of them silk garments. They decorate the Mukta Purusha with all these accouterments. (By the time, the Apsaras are done with me, I would be drowning in a sea of flowers, sandal paste and silk. O Celestial Ladies, please go easy on me. -Thanks! I have seen Alankaram in the temples. The Alankar priest spares none and applies sandal paste an inch thick on the deity all over the body sparing the nostrils and eyes.  It looks beautiful for us. But I think god is choking under the weight of Sandal paste. Since He can hold the breath until the paste comes off, He is safe.)  Upanishad says that this is the best and the highest Alankaram.  After dipping in Vraja River, one obtains eternal sacred body. All decorations are eternal and therefore called Brahma Alankaram (Am I allowed to take a bath once in a while?). He continues on his journey to Vidyud Purusha, the lightning Purusha. His name is AmAnavan, meaning that he is not man but a Deva Purusha who takes him by hand past the Dvarapalakas to where Paramatma, Adisesa, Sridevi, Bhudevi, Niladevi are seated in splendor. Paramatman sits with one leg bent at the knee and the other hanging down. Nityasuris (நித்யசூரி = permanent residents of Srivaishnava Heaven) are worshipping Him. Satyam, Asatyam, Dharmam, Adharmam-ItyAdhi Devadais serve Him with Chamara fan (Spare the fan, I want my AC!). He is seated on Adisesa.  This is what the Moksa Purusha sees. He sits far off and falls prostrate before Him many times. He is afraid to go near Him. Bhagavan smiles and bids him to come near Him. This is what Alvar says as கூவிக்கொள்ளும் காலம்--the Time of His Call in Vaikuntam. Bhagavan is seated on Sesa Paryankam and does Karavalambam (touching the Moksa Purusha with His lotus hands). He picks him up, stands him on Sesa, sits him on Sesa (It feels creepy to sit on a snake!), later on His own lap, smells his head, and endearingly asks him, "where had you been all these days?" The Mukta Purusha tells him all that happened in his life (Bhagavan knows your life already; He is being nice; Keep it short, stupid.). Bhagavan puts His foot on his head as a sign of acceptance (I hope He doesn't mistake me for Bali!) and grace and experiences the Moksha Purusha, who experiences Bhagavan (in modern parlance, meeting of the minds and feelings and mutual divine congress).

Though we are alike to Bhagavan in mutual experientialism in Vaikuntham, we cannot create, maintain and destroy the universe.  They are  His exclusive domain. However Great He is, He condescends to the level of His devotee so as to let the devotee experience Him (Didn't I tell you Bhagavan is a Gentleman.). By His condescension only we come to know of His Greatness by our limited intelligence.சௌலப்ய சௌசீல்யாதி குணம் = Easy access -- easy association -- quality. He showed these qualities during His Avataras. The experience of the Prapannan in Paramapadam consists of the following: 1) Mahavishnu and Mahalakshmi are eternally inseparable; 2) Bhagavan has divine qualities, unknown in others; 3) Bhagavan has a divine form.

 The Tattvas from The Garland of Letters (Page 99) by Woodroffe

This passage is vigorously contested by Srivaishnavas.

Sadāśiva is He whom the Vaiṣnavas call Mahāviṣnu, and the Buddhists, Avalokiteśvara who sheds compassion on all. According to tradition, this is the source whence the Avataras come. It is in this Tattva that there is what the Mantra-Śāstra calls Nāda-Śakti.

The following verses tell us about the Empyreal Highway, (and  the bliss in immersion in and wading through River Vraja). As evidence of pervasion of the Spirit, the soul gets an infusion of  the splendor, fragrance, flavor, Sattva, and form of the Lord.

What sets the Supreme Person (Bhagavan) above everybody else?

Man, male and female Devatas, Brahma, Siva, Narayana share many qualities. Krishna has qualities that are exclusive to Him. There are a total of 64 qualities of which the first fifty are in unlimited quantity in Bhagavan, and graded quantity in other gods and deities; man has them in limited quantity. Qualities from 51 to 55 are in unlimited quantity in Bhagavan Krishna and are deemed special to Brahma, Siva and other gods and goddesses.  Listed between 56 to 60, Narayana has still higher qualities which are not shared by the preceding entities. Qualities listed between 61 to 64 are the exclusive domain of Bhagavan Krishna, the Supreme Person.  This is a modified list as depicted in Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 13.

Qualities of individual souls, deities, Brahma, Siva and Bhagavan

 Qualities of Bhagavan include all 64 of them.

1) Beautiful limbs; 2) All- auspicious qualities; 3) Beauty; 4) Radiance; 5) Strength; 6) Eternal youth; 7) Linguist; 8) Truth Sayer; 9) pleasing speaker; 10) eloquence; 11) Intelligent; 12) Learned; 13) good conversationalist; 14) connoisseur; 15) clever and dexterous; 16) Expert; 17) Gratitude; 18) Keeper of vows; 19) Knowledge of place, time and circumstance; 20) Seer through Sastric eyes; 21) Purity; 22) Self-control; 23) steadfast; 24) forbearance; 25) forgiveness; 26) Inscrutability; 27) Forgiveness; 28) equipoise; 29) Munificence 30) Dharma; 31) Chivalry; 32) Compassion; 33) respectful; 34) Amicability; 35) Modesty; 36) Shyness; 37) Saranagata Raksaka- Surrender-protector 38) Happiness; 39) protector of devotees; 40) Controlled by Prema (love) of devotees; 41) Benefactor of all; 42) Tormentor of enemies; 43) Fame; 44) Beloved by all; 45) Partiality to Sadhus; 46) Enchanter of women's mind; 47) Worthy of worship by all; 48) All opulence; 49) Superior to all; 50) The Controller.

All these above qualities are in unlimited quantity in Bhagavan and in a limited quantity in Jivas, Individual souls.

Five qualities are in Brahma, Siva and other Deities but in unlimited amount in Bhagavan.

51) One's own divine form (Svarupa);

52) Omniscience; 

53) Eternal Youth;

54) Being, Knowledge and Bliss (SatCitAnanda);

55) Possessor of all Siddhis (special powers like levitation, omnipresence etc;


The above 55 qualities are present in lesser amounts in Deities.


Lakshmipati Narayana has the following additional exclusive qualities.

56) Inconceivable great qualities and powers;

57) Myriad universes abide within His Body;

58) He is Bija or seed of all Avatars;

59) Giver of higher destination to those He killed;

60) Enchanter of the ones who attained the Delight of their souls.


The following qualities (61-64) are in the exclusive domain of Sri Krishna not present in anyone other than HIM.


61) He is like the vast ocean with incessant waves of wonderful Lilas;

62) His adoration is Madhurya Prema (Sweet love and affection) showered by His devotees;

63) He enchants the three worlds with inimitable sounds of His flute;

64) The resplendent beauty of His transcendental form is enchanting to all mobiles and immobile forms. 


Nammalvar: 10.6.1--3946; 10.6.2--3947; 10.6.3--3948; 10.6.5--3950; 10.6.7--3952; 10.6.8--3953; 10.6.10--3955

 3946. 10.6.1
அருள்பெறுவார் அடியார்தம் அடியனேற்கு ஆழியான்
அருள்தருவான் அமைகின்றான் அது நமது விதிவகையே
இருள் தரு மா ஞாலத்துள் இனிப் பிறவி யான் வேண்டேன்
மருள் ஒழி நீ மட நெஞ்சே! வாட்டாற்றான் அடி வணங்கே. --3946
The One holding the discus serves and confers grace on His devotees. I will not take birth in a world of ignorance. O Mind, Go the way of the Lord and worship Him. 3946
வாட்டாற்றான் அடிவணங்கி மா ஞாலப் பிறப்பு அறுப்பான்
கேட்டாயே மட நெஞ்சே!- கேசவன் எம் பெருமானைப்
பாட்டு ஆய பல பாடி பழவினைகள் பற்று அறுத்து
நாட்டாரோடு இயல்வு ஒழிந்து நாரணனை நண்ணினமே. 3947 (10-6-2)
By worshipping the One in Vaattaarru, one cuts off the thread of birth, (death and rebirth). Did you hear that, O stupid Mind? By praising Kesava and cutting asunder the connection to the karmic deeds and the world, we attained Narayana. 3947
நண்ணினம் நாராயணனை நாமங்கள் பல சொல்லி
மண் உலகில் வளம் மிக்க வாட்டாற்றான் வந்து இன்று
விண் உலகம் தருவானாய் விரைகின்றான் விதிவகையே
எண்ணினவாறு ஆகா இக் கருமங்கள் என் நெஞ்சே. 3948 (10.6.3)
 O my Heart and Mind, we attained Narayana by reciting his many names. The One at Vattaarru of immense wealth in this world came in a great hurry to give us heaven. These (auspicious) incidents happened against our thoughts and (dire) expectations. 3948
வான் ஏற வழி தந்த வாட்டாற்றான் பணிவகையே
நான் ஏறப் பெறுகின்றென் நரகத்தை நகு நெஞ்சே!
தேன் ஏறு மலர்த் துளவம் திகழ் பாதன் செழும் பறவை
தான் ஏறித் திரிவான தாள் - இணை தன் தலைமேலே. 3950 (10.6.5)
Bhagavan showed me the Empyreal Highway. O Heart and Mind , Laugh at perdition. Emperuman's feet adorned with Tulasi and flowers with honey-seeking bees. He, whose feet rest on my head, is the Rider of Garuda.3950
குரை கழல்கள் குறுகினம்; நம் கோவிந்தன் குடிகொண்டான்;
திரை குழுவு கடல் புடை சூழ் தென் நாட்டுத் திலதம் அன்ன
வரை குழுவு மணி மாட வாட்டாற்றான் மலர் அடிமேல்
விரை குழுவு நறும் துளவம் மெய்ந்நின்று கமழுமே. 3952 (10.6.7)
We reached the feet of Bhagavan adorned with anklets. Our Govinda abiding in our heart lives in Vaattaarru which is the resplendent Thilakam (திலகம் = Tilka, a small circular mark on forehead.) of ocean-girt South Country (Tamil Nadu) with its jeweled mansions. My body is fragrant from Tulasi adorning His lotus feet. 3952
மெய்ந்நின்று கமழ் துளவ விரை ஏறு திருமுடியன்
கைந்நின்ற சக்கரத்தன் கருதுமிடம் பொருது புனல்
மைந்நின்ற வரை போலும் திரு உருவ வாட்டாற்றாற்கு
எந் நன்றி செய்தேனா - என் நெஞ்சில் திகழ்வதுவே? 3953 (10.6.8)
Tulasi giving fragrance to His body adorns His head also. His discus comes to rest on his hand after His will is fulfilled. He is of the hue of dark mountain and blue ocean. I offer my thanks to Him. He remains in my heart and mind. 3953
பிரியாது ஆட்செய் என்று பிறப்பு அறுத்து ஆள் அறக் கொண்டான்
அரி ஆகி இரணியனை ஆகம் கீண்டான், அன்று;
பெரியார்க்கு ஆட்பட்டக்கால் பெறாத பயன் பெறுமாறு
வரி வாள் வாய் அரவு - அணைமேல் வாட்டாற்றான் காட்டினனே. 3955 (10.6.10)
He cut the thread of birth and rebirth, and bade me to remain His eternal slave. He in the form of Narasimhan split the body of Hiranyan. For absolution, He reclines under the hood of a serpent. He showed that becoming a slave to the elders (and great men) begets unobtainable benefits. 3955

He cut the thread of birth and rebirth, and bade me to remain His eternal slave.

Krishna says: My devotees come to Me.

In modern parlance, the Empyreal Highway has many stops. The soul carries a toll-free E-Z pass at entry and exit to reach Narayana.  At every stop from one to twenty-four, the soul is greeted and felicitated by a god or gods. At some stops the soul has to wade through a river or lake to wash off all the accretions and residuals gathered during life on earth so that the soul emerges in a purer form. At stop 19, the soul receives the message that it has entered the world of Narayana (SAlOkya). In the Highway, all souls are Striyah (female) meaning that they are females in relation to Narayana; it does not matter what gender they belonged to on earth. Narayana is the only Purusa. As a matter of fact they do not carry any anatomical identity. At stop 20, the soul enters The Tower, takes a seat (at stop 21-Vichaksana Peetam) and  enjoys a great fanfare from the assembled gods who tell the soul  that it has attained the state of Samipyam --nearness to Narayana. A few more stops only remain before reaching Narayana. At exit 24, the soul is in the purest form, ready to merge with Narayana. Amitoujas is His divine couch which the pure soul approaches with humility; this is known as Sayujya, a state of intimacy and union. It is not a physical union. It is spiritual and yet it is not a fusion. It is like a family gathering; you are all in one place and yet you are separate; the patriarch is at the top of the heap. It is like the difference between heavy water and light water. All the pure souls are light water particles and Narayana is heavy water. In a typical lake there is plenty of light water and very little heavy water and yet they are mixed together and the chemistry of both is the same. Though they are one with Narayana, they cannot create, maintain and destroy the universe; only Narayana has that exclusive power. This merger is the end point in the centripetal movement of the soul to Paramatman. We are the chips off the Old Block and now the atomic Atma is back to its source. It is like the salmon coming back to its origin after a long arduous trip upstream, dying to its flesh and rising in spirit. The atman assumes its original nature (Atma SvarUpa) with the restoration of its eight special qualities (guna VisEsha), freedom from sin, old age, death, sorrow, hunger, thirst, want, weakness of will.  Yet this free soul cannot create, maintain and destroy the world.  It enjoys company of God, Sri, Bhu, Nila, Nithyasuris, Muktas and others of Parmapadam, which is the abode of True Bliss.


More on the Arciradi marga from SMS Chari, Philosophy of Theistic Mysticism of Alvars.

This concept of moksa has influenced considerably the later Vaisnava Acaryas as is evident in the Vaisnava sampradiiya-granthas which have accorded greater importance to nitya-kainkarya than to the philosophic concept of mere Brahmiinubhava.

The last but one decad of the tenth centum of Tiruvāymoli and its two concluding hymns substantiate the view of Nammalvar as explained in the preceding paragraph. In this decad, Nammalvar offers a picturesque description of the march of the liberated soul (muktātmā) through the arcirādi miārga (the spiritual path) to the abode of God. The Upanisads speak of the presiding deities of the selected celestial beings-jyotis or flame, ahas or the day, sukla-pakşa or the bright half of the year, savatsara or the year, vāyu or the air, mārtāṇḍa or the sun, tārakeśa or the moon and vidyut or the lightning accompanied by three deities named as Varuna, Indra and Prajāpati-who serve as guides on the way to the Paramapada. Nammalvar does not mention each one of it by name but refers in a general way to avar (Celestials; வானவர்) and imaiyavar (இமையவர் imaiyavar = Celestial having characteristic eyelids), which imply the celestial deities stated in the Upanisads. He excels the Upanisadic description by including in his account how the waves of the ocean dance, the thick clouds in the sky roar like drums, the celestial deities hail with offerings, all expressing their great joy for the individual soul proceeding towards the Vaikuṇṭha as a dedicated devotee of Visnu (mādhava tamar = மாதவன் தமர் = Relatives of Madhavan or Vishnu). In the penultimate hymn (X.10.10) he says that his ardent craving (avā) for the direct vision of God , which metaphorically is described as greater than the extensive Prakrti, the all-pervasive knowledge of muktātmā and even that of Paramātman, is at last quenched with the direct communion to be attained in the state of moksa soon after the total liberation from the beginningless karma. This sums up the central theme of Tiruvāymoli viz., that the attainment of God through the total cessation of bondage is the supreme goal of human endeavour and that the means of achieving such a goal is Paramātman Himself since He alone can confer it out of His grace.


Here is what Krishna tells Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita about Bliss.


14.27:   I am the abode of Brahman, immortal and imperishable, and eternal dharma and absolute bliss.


According to Brhad-aranyaka Upanishad 4.3.33, Bliss has been unitized. He, who is healthy, wealthy, lordly, and opulent, enjoys one unit of the highest bliss of man. From a previous to the succeeding stage, the bliss is greater by 100 times.


The multiplier effect is listed below:


Highest human bliss is (one).

1 Unit of Bliss

Man* who won over his world

100 Units of Bliss

Ghandharava’s Bliss,1 Unit = BlissX1X100X100

10,000 = ten K

God’s bliss by action = BlissX1X100X100X100 =1,000,000

1 million

God’s bliss by birth = BlissX1X100X100X100X100 =100,000,000


Prajapati’s bliss = BlissX1X100X100X100X100X100 =10,000,000,000

10 billion

Hiranyagarbha’s bliss = BlissX1X100X100X100X100X100X100(Also Brahma’s bliss Br UP 4.3.33)

1,000,000,000,000 =

1 Trillion

Brahman's Bliss incalculable
BG14.27:   I am the abode of Brahman, immortal and  imperishable, and eternal dharma and absolute bliss.


        Taittiriya Upanishad (2.8.1) talks about bliss in the following manner. Youth with erudite knowledge of the Vedas, perfect in action, firm in mind, and sturdy in body enjoys one unit of human bliss. Human fairy enjoys one hundred times the human bliss. Divine fairy enjoys one hundred times the bliss of human fairy. Father enjoys one hundred times the bliss of divine fairy.  One hundred times the father’s bliss is god’s bliss (by birth). One hundred times the bliss of god by birth is the bliss of god earned by meritorious work  Indra’s bliss is one hundred times the bliss of gods. Brhaspati’s bliss is one hundred times Indra’s bliss. Prajapati enjoys one hundred times Indra’s bliss. Bliss of Brahma is one hundred times Prajapati’s bliss. Brahman’s bliss is beyond calculation.


Man* who won over his world is the one who practiced sacrifices, charity and austerity. Br. Upanishad

Bhaktas come in three flavors according to the degree of purity of Bhakti: Kanishtha = greenhorn, freshman or neophyte, youngest, novice,  Madhyama = middling, intermediate), and Uttama = greatest, highest, first, uppermost . All these three can be householders and yet realize their goal.

All Bhaktas or BhAgavatAs are expected to be humble and compassionate.  Pride that "I am a Brahmana,"  "I am wealthy..." and such egoistic attitudes have no place in the life of a Vaishnava Bhakta, who should consider himself as "worthless, insignificant, destitute and lower than a blade of grass." -Jaiva Dharma Page 205. Truth, humility, compassion, and forgiveness are integral parts of Vaishnava Bhakti.

Kanishtha Bhaktha is the beginner before he graduates to Madhyama stage.  He is at the doorway of Bhakti whose forte is confined to worshipping of the Deity in Vigraha (image form) in the spirit of ordinary faith (Laukika Sraddha).  He lacks faith based on Sastra (Sastriya Sraddha). He engages in hearing, reciting and remembering the names of Bhagavan and offering prayers to Him.  He does not have Sambandha Jnana: knowledge of quadrilateral interrelationship between world of matter, Isvara, Krishna and Bhakta (Isvara-Cit-Acit-Bhakta).  Because of rudimentary status of his Bhakti development, he lacks finesse, does not pay respect, hospitality and friendship to Hari Bhakta, shows no compassion to other living beings in whom the Lord is Antaryamin, Antarvarti, Antaratman and Paramatman. He is regarded as childish and innocent (Balisa) until he graduates to Madhyama Bhakthi.  Kanishtha Bhakta’s chanting of Hari Nama is robotic, and shows more habit, more semblance, less Sraddha, less substance and less worthiness; thus clouded by ignorance and desires, there is less brilliance- ChAyA-nAmA-bhAsa = shadow-name-likeness = Shadow-name- likeness of the pure name.  In everyday idiom, it is not the real thing, but an imitation.  BhAsa also means reflection; It is like the difference between seeing Balaji in person in the temple and seeing him in a picture.

He becomes a Suddha Bhakta in Madhyama level when he gets rid of contaminants such as Karma and Jnana Margas and acquires Ananya Bhakti (exclusive love and devotion to Krishna).

Sastriya Sraddha = reading and hearing Bhagavan's pastimes, knowing Vishistadvaita Vaishnava philosophy and truths.

Bhagavatam (11.2.46) says that Madhyama Bhakta loves Isvara, shows mercy (kripa) to the neophyte, ignores the hate mongers, and serves others with friendship. Madhyama = middle)

Madhyama Bhakta shows compassion and mercy to the novice, ignores the ones with jealousy and hatred for God and serves all others with friendship.  Love (Prema) for Krishna is the prime mover of Madhyama Bhakta; compassion, mercy and friendship for others (in whom God exists) are his noteworthy qualities; deliberate ignorance and benign neglect of qualities such as jealousy and hatred in non-believers are his strength.  He is friendly to Suddha Bhaktas, submissive to Krishna’s will. He should induce Ananya Bhakti (exclusive devotion to Krishna) in the ignorant.  Ignorance here covers faith in Karma Kanda, Jnana Yoga, belief in Varnasrama, negligence of and dissociation from pure Vaishnavas….  Bhakti Marga to the exclusion of other margas (Yoga, Karma and Raja) is the forte of a true Vaishnava. Mayavadi is of the opinion that the Lord has no form or attributes and the icon is a mere image; Kanishtha Bhaktas may fall in to this trap. The Madhyama Bhakta should rescue them from this pitfall.  He should pull them before they graduate (deteriorate) to meditation on nameless and formless Para Brahman. Isvara, as against nameless Brahman, is the centerpiece of Vaishnava worship.

Jaiva Dharma talks about four primary attitudes of Madhyama Bhakta towards other Bhaktas: 1. Atma Buddhi, 2. Mamata Buddhi, 3. Ijya Buddhi, 4. Tirtha Buddhi.

1. Atma Buddhi: The Bhaktas are dearer to him than he is to himself.

2. Mamata Buddhi: He is very possessive of Bhaktas.

3. Ijya Buddhi: He feels the Bhaktas are worthy of his worship.

4. Tirtha Buddhi: He feels the Bhaktas are places of pilgrimage.   --Jaiva Dharma, page 201-202.

He surrenders his life to the will of Krishna. He is firm in his conviction that whatever happens to him is His will and desire and that he does not have to have an independent desire and aspirations.

Lack of faith in Isvara, belief that Isvara is formless and nameless, conviction that Jivas are not subservient to Isvara and want of mercy come under the inauspicious banner of Dvesa (hatred, enmity) of Mayavadis; these are the very people Vaishnavas should avoid (Upeksha).  Upeksha has a special meaning here. When such a person is in distress, a true Vaishnava should provide succor and support and yet should not have any association, arguments, and interaction of spiritual nature with them. Relationship with other Bhaktas is proportional to their Bhakti development; mercy and compassion  to all should rule one’s behavior.

When his Sadhana and Bhava (accomplishment, and being and becoming) amount to Prema (love), condense and congeal, the Madhyama Vaishnava becomes Uttama Bhakta.

Uttama Bhakta is the consummate servitor of Bhagavan Krishna, not concerned, not enveloped and not obsessed with knowledge of impersonal Brahman, sees the Supersoul in all objects (matter and embodied souls) and regards BhagAvat (Bhagavan) is the Soul that exists in all beings. Bhagavatam, 11.2.45

Uttama Bhakta loves Krishna to the exclusion of all others and other desires, does not sport the shroud of impersonal knowledge of Para Brahman, does not perform action with expectation of fruits, and exhibits favorable mood to serve Krishna.  

A true Vaishnava evokes spontaneous chanting of Hari Nama in a devotee.  All his actions proceed from that transcendental love of Bhagavan; he sees no difference between Vaishnavas and others at this stage of his spiritual development.  

Among the three categories of Vaishnavas, Kanistha Vaishnava does not serve the Vaishnavas because of his neophyte status and Uttama Vaishnava makes no distinction between a Vaishnava and a non-Vaishnava because all are servants of Krishna.  The Uttama BhAgavatA (Bhakta)  treats all types of Bhaktas and non-Bhaktas equally. That leaves the Madhyama Vaishnava rendering service to the Vaishnavas of all types, though his service is proportional to the spiritual standing of the recipient.

        According to Yoga Sutras, there are personality types, fit for yoga. You heard about personality types like type A and type B. Yogis studied the minds of people and divided them into five types: Kshipta Chitta (Addlehead, Scatterbrain); Mudha Chitta (Muddlehead); Vikshipta Chitta (Rattlehead); Ekāgra Chitta (Laserhead); Niruddha Chitta (good head). Go to BG04 for more details. The epithets used here are for entertainment only and no insult is intended. The Laserhead and the Good Head are suitable for Yoga or Jnana Marga.  Remember that Personal Devotion to Bhagavan is superior to Yogas.

Kshipta Chitta = distracted Mind, absent mind. Mudha = useless, to no purpose. Viksipta = scattered, distorted, agitated. EkAgra = one pointed. Niruddha = restrained. For more details go to BG04

The Mind lake

Chitta is the mind (as a lake) where thoughts rise and fall like waves; these waves in the mind lake are called Vrittis. Every time a thought rises it is a thought wave; there are many thought waves rising and falling every minute. Thoughts sometimes translates into actions. When a Yogi restrains the mind he can effectively suppress and abolish these thought waves in the mind lake. The tranquil mind lake without waves is a prerequisite for merging with the Object of meditation. The subject, the object and perception become one, meaning that the tranquil reflecting surface of the mind lake takes the color of object; it is like the crystal taking the color of the juxtaposed object.  The Yogi becomes one with One. That is absorption.   

Maxim of Wasp and Worm

You (embodied being) are made of your thoughts; what you think, you become: love, fear or hate. The body belongs to that which devours it in life. Time is the great devourer. Time owns our body. Avadhuta says knowing that his body, subject to birth, death, disease and rebirth, does not belong to him, he wanders renouncing all.

A lowly worm is in constant fear of the wasp and thus meditates (thinks of) on the wasp, not knowing when the dreaded fate of wasp sting will become a reality. The worm is so possessed of the image of the wasp, that its consciousness is reposed only in the thought and form of wasp. The worm becomes a wasp in its mind's image.  Similarly, an Avadhuta or Yogi  is constantly meditating on Brahman, not knowing when The Reality will strike (the blessed event of knowing and transforming himself to Brahman would take place). He thus becomes Brahman himself by dwelling in his mind on Brahman, (when the finality of  sting strikes.)

            This union (reunion, reintegration, reintegration of the chip into the Old Block, Brahman) is called Laya. Laya = clinging, dissolution, absorption) By laya, the Jiva (individual soul) clings, dissolves and gets reabsorbed into Brahman. Laya and Lysis are cognate words. This Laya are of three types: Bhakti laya, Karma Laya, Jnana Laya. Raja Yoga is the most difficult path. Patanjali  is the formulator of Raja Yoga and lived some 2000 years ago. It is the Royal path leading to Laya. He wrote it in Sutras or aphorisms. Remember that Sanskrit Sutra meaning  thread and English Suture are cognate words. It deals with Yoga, mental functions, and many gradations of Samadhi (Intense contemplation of an object so as to identify the contemplator with the object meditated upon; simply becoming one with One or That). 

    Bhakti Yoga is for qualified one inclined to devotion to and close relationship with his Ishtadevata. Jnana Yoga is for the one with intellectual bent; Karma Yoga is for the ritualist; Raja yoga is for the disciplined mind with intellectual and scientific bent; Bhakti Yoga is for the devotee who has an emotional approach to God. The devotee assumes the role of a child, a slave, a friend, a spouse in relation to his Ishtadevata. A feminine role towards god is common among devotees. Action generates Karma which is good, bad or neutral. Bhakti Yogis, by their personal devotion, believe that God's grace will erase all Karma and take them into His bosom.

    Bhakti seems to have originated in Rg Vedic times. Bhakti movement had taken a detour off the Brahmanical Hinduism. Bhakti Yoga as advocated by Krishna existed before the Bhakti movement in Tamil Nadu . This reactive movement was a response, when Buddhism and Jainism in South India were perceived as an alien metastatic growth in the cultural milieu of Tamil Country. They had to be excised and ousted somehow: that was the view of Nayanars and Alvars, the proponents and practitioners of Bhakti movement. Tamil Bhakti movement follows the Great Tradition of Bhakti advocated by Krishna to Arjuna; Alvars became the strong inveterate practicing Bhaktas.

  It is obvious from this that each of the four states of consciousness is presided by one of four emanations (Vyūhas) of the Lord: Aniruddha, Pradhyumna, Samkarshana, and Vāsudeva. (Note: The fifth entity is Prakrti (the Bhutas) which is not an emanation of Vāsudeva as the other three are. This fifth entity is a material complement to the spiritual side. (Aniruddda is the son of KAma (son of Krishna and Rukmini) and Rati and the grandson of Krishna. Pradyumna is the incarnation of god of love, KAma.  (The story goes like this. The Devas had an enemy, TAraka.  The Devas recruited Kama to entice Siva and Parvati to come together to give birth to a son who would defeat Taraka. Kama, the god of love shot arrows of love at Siva in meditation. Siva became angry at the interruption and burnt KAma with the fire from His third eye.  Kama's wife Rati begged Siva to let her husband be incarnated again as Pradyumna.)

Vasudeva is the first and the most important presiding Lord over Citta (reason); next comes Sankarsana, the serpent (Ananta, Balarama) manifestation of the Lord, who presides over ego and destroys the universe at the time of dissolution. Pradyumna, the son of Krishna, is the third Vyuha presiding over knowledge of the universe, intellect and comprehension, and creation. Aniruddha is the fourth Vyuha presiding over the mind and the senses and sustenance of the universe of beings.

The primary Vyuhas are arranged from your left to right without regard to order in the lineage but with centrality of importance given to Krishna (Vasudeva) and His brother, Sankarsana (Baladeva): Pradyumna-Sankarsana-Vasudeva-Aniruddha, (Krishna’s emanations or manifestations). Pradyumna is the creator; Aniruddha is the protector; Sankarsana is the destroyer; and Vasudeva is the supervising and the controlling authority.  There are other configurations depicted in literature.

The foursome Vyuhas are available for worship only by the heavenly beings and liberated souls in Vaikuntham. The Vibhava (omnipresent) forms of incarnations are realized only by perfected souls. The Archa (image or idol) forms are consecrated images and idols in the temples for worship by the faithful.  The Vibhava and Archa forms are the same, the former for the spiritually perfected ones and the latter for devotees.

The Vyuhas (Pradyumna-Sankarsana-Vasudeva-Aniruddha), the West asserts, 'appear to have been introduced subsequent to the composition of Bhagavadgita, as it makes no reference to them.'-page 151, Harpers dictionary of Hinduism.





Vāsudeva expansions are Keśava, Nārāyaṇa and Mādhava. The expansions of Sańkarṣaṇa are Govinda, Viṣṇu and Madhusūdana. This Govinda is different from the original Govinda, for He is not the son of Mahārāja Nanda. The expansions of Pradyumna are Trivikrama, Vāmana and Śrīdhara. The expansions of Aniruddha are Hṛṣīkeśa, Padmanābha and Dāmodara.

 "These twelve are the predominating Deities of the twelve months. Keśava is the predominating Deity of Agrahāyana, and Nārāyaṇa is the predominating Deity of Pauṣa. "The predominating Deity of the month of Māgha is Mādhava, and the predominating Deity of the month of Phālguna is Govinda. Viṣṇu is the predominating Deity of Caitra, and Madhusūdana is the predominating Deity of Vaiśākha. "In the month of Jyaiṣṭha, the predominating Deity is Trivikrama. In Āṣāḍha the Deity is Vāmana, in Śrāvaṇa the Deity is Śrīdhara, and in Bhādra the Deity is Hṛṣīkeśa. "In the month of Āśvina, the predominating Deity is Padmanābha, and in Kārttika it is Dāmodara. This Dāmodara is different from Rādhā-Dāmodara, the son of Nanda Mahārāja in Vṛndāvana.

"When putting the twelve tilaka marks on the twelve places of the body, one has to chant the mantra consisting of these twelve Viṣṇu names. After daily worship, when one anoints the different parts of the body with water, these names should be chanted as one touches each part of the body.

"When one marks the forehead with tilaka, he must remember Keśava. When one marks the lower abdomen, he must remember Nārāyaṇa. For the chest, one should remember Mādhava, and when marking the hollow of the neck one should remember Govinda. Lord Viṣṇu should be remembered while marking the right side of the belly, and Madhusūdana should be remembered when marking the right arm. Trivikrama should be remembered when marking the right shoulder, and Vāmana should be remembered when marking the left side of the belly. Śrīdhara should be remembered while marking the left arm, and Hṛṣīkeśa should be remembered when marking the left shoulder. Padmanābha and Dāmodara should be remembered when marking the back."

From Vāsudeva, Sańkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, there are eight additional pastime expansions. O Sanātana, please hear Me as I mention Their names. The eight pastime expansions are Puruṣottama, Acyuta, Nṛsiḿha, Janārdana, Hari, Kṛṣṇa, Adhokṣaja and Upendra. Of these eight expansions, two are pastime forms of Vāsudeva. Their names are Adhokṣaja and Puruṣottama. The two pastime forms of Sańkarṣaṇa are Upendra and Acyuta. The pastime forms of Pradyumna are Nṛsiḿha and Janārdana, and the pastime forms of Aniruddha are Hari and Kṛṣṇa.'

All these twenty-four forms constitute the chief prābhava-vilāsa pastime forms of the Lord. They are named differently according to the position of the weapons in Their hands. Of all these, the forms that differ in dress and features are distinguished as vaibhava-vilāsa. Of Them, Padmanābha, Trivikrama, Nṛsiḿha, Vāmana, Hari, Kṛṣṇa and so on all have different bodily features. Vāsudeva and the three others are direct prābhava pastime forms of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Of these quadruple forms, the pastime expansions are twenty in number. All these forms preside over different Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual world, beginning from the east in consecutive order. In each of the eight directions, there are three different forms. Although They all have Their residences eternally in the spiritual sky, some of Them are situated within the material universes. There is an eternal residence of Nārāyaṇa in the spiritual sky. In the upper portion of the spiritual sky is a planet known as Kṛṣṇaloka, which is filled with all opulences. The planet of Kṛṣṇaloka is divided into three sections — Gokula, Mathurā and Dvārakā. Lord Keśava eternally resides at Mathurā, and Lord Puruṣottama, known by the name Jagannātha, eternally resides at Nīlācala. At Prayāga, the Lord is situated as Bindu Mādhava, and at Mandāra-parvata, the Lord is known as Madhusūdana. Vāsudeva, Padmanābha and Janārdana reside at Ānandāraṇya. At Viṣṇu-kāñcī there is Lord Viṣṇu, at Māyāpur Lord Hari, and throughout the universe a variety of other forms.

All of these forms are mūrti forms, and They are worshiped in the temples. Their names are Keśava at Mathurā, Puruṣottama or Jagannātha at Nīlācala, Śrī Bindu Mādhava at Prayāga, Madhusūdana at Mandāra, and Vāsudeva, Padmanābha and Janārdana at Ānandāraṇya, which is situated in Kerala, South India. At Viṣṇu-kāñcī is Lord Varadarāja, and Hari is situated at Māyāpur, Lord Caitanya's birth site. Thus in different places throughout the universe there are various Deities in temples bestowing Their causeless mercy upon the devotees. All these Deity forms are nondifferent from the mūrtis in the spiritual world of the Vaikuṇṭhas. Although the arcā-mūrti, the worshipable Deity form of the Lord, appears to be made of material elements, it is as good as the spiritual forms found in the spiritual Vaikuṇṭhalokas. The Deity in the temple, however, is visible to the material eyes of the devotee. It is not possible for one in material, conditioned life to see the spiritual form of the Lord. To bestow causeless mercy upon us, the Lord appears as the arcā-mūrti so that we can see Him. It is forbidden to consider the arcā-mūrti to be made of stone or wood.





An exception in Thirunaraiyur

Naachiyar Koil at Thirunaraiyur near Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu shows the Moolavar Thirunaraiyur Nambi (main deity of Vishnu) in His ceremonial wedding stance marrying Vanchulavalli Thaayaar (Lakshmi). The legend has it that Goddess Lakshmi was born of Sage Madhava in the shade of Vanchula tree.  Bhagavan appeared in Pancha Vyuha form (Sankarshana-Pradyumna-Aniruddha-Purushotama-Vasudeva) and married Goddess Lakshmi. These forms are seen in Garbha Graham (Sanctum).

  The configuration of Aniruddha-Pradyumna-Samkarshana-Vasudeva is as follows: Grandson-son-brother-Himself.

Pradyumna-Samkarshana-Vasudeva-Aniruddha from your left to right is the configuration.






Son of Lord Krishna and Rukmini

Brother of Lord Krishna, aka Baladeva

Lord Krishna Himself, son of Vasudeva and Devaki

Grandson of Lord Krishna and Son of Pradyumna (incarnation of KAma, god of love)

Dream sleep

Deep Sleep









All qualities

Sustenance (Protector)

Knowledge and Intellect



Mind and senses

Presiding deity: Brahma


Presiding deity: Rudra

Presiding deity: The Soul

The presiding deity: Moon












Jnāna (Wisdom)





Aisvarya (Auspiciousness)

Aisvarya (Auspiciousness)





Sakti (Energy/Power)





Bala (Strength)





Virya (Valor)





Tejas (Splendor)



The Rays of the Sun




Color of  Raiment





Weapons in four hands

Bow, Arrows, Conch, and abhaya mudra

Plough, Pestle, Conch, and Abhaya mudra

Discus and Mace, Conch, and Abhaya mudra

Sword, club, Conch, and Abhaya mudra

Special weapons

Bow and arrows

Plough and pestle

Discus and mace

Sword and club

Alternate configuration

Right upper: Mace

Right lower:Conch

Left upper:Lotus

Left lower:Discus

Right upper: Lotus  

Right lower: Conch

Left upper: Discus

Left lower:  Mace

Right upper: Discus  

Right lower: Conch

Left upper: Lotus  

Left lower: Mace

Right upper: Discus

Right lower: Lotus

Left upper: Mace  

Left lower: Conch

Banner, Emblem

Makara (crocodile)

Tala  (palm tree)

Garuda (Eagle)

Mrga (deer)


Vishistadvaita Vedanta

Consciousness and Knowledge of the Lord

Vishistadvaita Vedanta lays stress on Jnana or Knowledge of Bhagavan (the Lord). Jnana is the Svarupa (சொரூபம் = தன்னியல்பு  = Inherent Nature; one's own Nature). He is Vijnanaghana (விஞ்ஞான கனம் = True Knowledge abundance) and omniscient (Sarvajnana = சர்வஞ்ஞானம் = Omniscience). Omniscience means that Bhagavan knows all things at all times simultaneously as it is and happens. He does not need sense organs for perception. Alvars call Bhagavan Jnana-Murti (ஞானமூர்த்தி = God, as the embodiment of wisdom). Nammalvar sings His praise as follows in Divya Prabhandam.

மனன் அகம் மலம் அற மலர்மிசை எழுதரும்
மனன் உணர்வு அளவு இலன், பொறி-உணர்வு அவை இலன்
இனன் உணர, முழு நலம், எதிர் நிகழ் கழிவினும்
இனன் இலன், எனன் உயிர், மிகுநரை இலனே. 1.1.2 (2900)

He removes all impurities of the heart. makes it blossom and is beyond the reach and grasp of inner thought, feelings and the senses. He is eternal, plenitudinous, of Pure Consciousness, and peerless. He is my life.

உணர்  = Unar = Consciousness1 , perception, understanding, Knowledge1 , feeling. He is Consciousness and Knowledge.  Unarvu or Unar (உணர்) consists of 1) Sankalpa [சங்கற்பம் = mental resolve, Will], 2) Anugraha (அனுக்கிரகம் = Grace), 3) Nigraha (நிக்கிரகம் = punishment, destruction), and 4) Moksa (மோட்சம்= Liberation, freeing the soul from rebirth.).

Alvars give examples for each quality of Bhagavan.

His qualities are Jnana1 (Knowledge), Sakti2 (Absolute Power),  Bala3 (strength), Tejas4  (splendor), Virya5  (Energy), Aisvarya6 (sovereignty, opulence), Saulabhya7 (Easy Accessibility), Sausilya8  (Gracious Condescension), Vatsalya9 (parental love), Krpa10 (Compassion), Audarya11 ( Generosity), and Bandhuttva12 (Friendship).


Jnana1 : Jnana was discussed already.

Sakti2 : Sakti is Power by which Bhagavan created this universe by mere Will or Sankalpam. Alvars mention Baby Krishna having swallowed the whole universe (Singularity of the black hole) and floating on the Banyan leaf in the illustration elsewhere. Another example they give is His lifting of the Govardhana Hill to protect the cowherds from the heavy downpour of rain caused by irate Indra.

Bala3:  Alvars cite His strength by mere Will power in the creation of many universes, their relative configurations, stability and the destruction of various demons by many Avatars.

Tejas4 : He is the light of lights and the Light and Luster in all the luminous objects, the light in the spiritual heart....

Virya5 : He is undiminished after all the Great Feats He performed, and unchanged after He wrought all these changes in the material universe.

Aisvarya6:  He is the Lord and Sovereign of the Universe. His freedom has no limits.

Saulabhya7:  Easy Accessibility. In Verse 2921 Nammalvar says: பத்து உடை அடியவர்க்கு எளியவன். பிறர்களுக்கு அரிய வித்தகன். = He is easy of access to the Bhaktas (Devotees); for others (who revile Him) He is inaccessible. He is accessible to ordinary mortals in the sanctified images in the temples.

Sausilya8 : சௌளில்யம் or ஸௌளில்யம்: Excellence of disposition; virtuous conduct; நற்குண நல்லொழுக்கம். 2. The quality of moving freely and on terms of equality with persons lower in status than oneself; மிகத் தாழ்ந்தாரோடும் ஒப்பக் கலந்திருக்கும் நற்குணம். This quality of felicitous and ease of association is hard to achieve by human beings. Can a king come down to the level of a pauper and make the latter feel comfortable with the king? Only God can do that and He does that. Bhagavan Krishna incarnated among the cowherds and moved with them freely. The Alvars quote several examples of His excellent disposition.

Vatsalya9: Vatsa means calf. The cow has love and affection to the calf and cleans the calf with its tongue soon after its birth. That is true love. That is parental love. That is the love Bhagavan shows to his devotees. The licking of the newborn calf by the cow is euphemism for the expiation of sins of the devotee by Bhagavan.

Krpa10 : Kirupai (கிருபை) is compassion and carries the same meaning as Grace (அருள்) in Tamil. It is Compassion that leads to Grace by Bhagavan on His devotees. In post-Ramanuja period Krpa was dichotomized into Nirhetuka-krpa and sahetuka-krpa (Causeless Compassion and Grace and Caused Compassion and Grace. Hetu means cause. Causeless Grace does not demand any effort from the devotee.

Bhagavan takes whomever He pleases and gives him Grace or liberation, whether the devotee has put in any effort or not to deserve Grace.  The link between a known cause and Consequent Grace is cut by the Tenkalais.

Nammalvar (Verse: 3744/VIII.7.8) says the following in support of Causeless Grace. (Tenkalai = தென்கலை)

அறியேன் மற்று அறுள்; என்னை ஆளும் பிரானார்,
வெறிதே அருள்செய்வர் செய்வார்கட்கு உகந்து,
சிறியேனுடைச் சிந்தையுள் மூவுலகும் தன்
நெறியா வயிற்றில் கொண்டு நின்றொழிந்தாரே. 8.7.8 (3744)

I have known no other Grace. My sovereign Bhagavan grants His Causeless Grace to any one He pleases. Insignificant person that I am, containing the three worlds in His abdomen He abides in my heart and mind.

Caused Grace demands an effort on the part of the devotee to deserve Grace from Bhagavan, such as Prapatti, Bhakti, Jnana, and or Karma Yoga. This concept led to the bimodal SriVaishnava sect: Tenkalai and Vadakalai.  Alvars are of the belief that Bhagavan confers both kinds of Grace to His devotees.

Nammalvar says in this verse that He obtained Caused Grace (வடகலை = Vadakalai), though there was no sincere devotion and he uttered disingenuous vacuous words of praise.


 Here is a parallel in Bible that speaks about No-show laborers (TenKalias) putting in very little effort received wages equal to (working) laborers (Vadakalais) putting in a day's work.  This piece depicts that God chooses whom He likes for salvation--many are called; few are chosen.

  Matthew Chapter 20 Verses 1-16

20:1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.

20:2 He agreed to pay them a denarius (coin) for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

20:3 "About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.

20:4 He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.'

20:5 So they went. "He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing.

20:6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'

20:7" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered. "He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'

20:8 "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'

20:9 "The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. Compare these laborers to Tenkalais--they (at No-show jobs) put in very little effort; and yet received a day's worth of wages.

20:10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. Compare these laborers to Vadakalais who put a hard day's work and yet were paid only a day's worth of wages.

20:11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.

20:12 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'

(The Tenkalais put in one hour work; we Vadakalais put in one day's worth of work. The Tenkalais were paid a day's wages equal to ours, though they worked only for one hour.)

20:13 "But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius?

20:14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.

20:15 Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'

20:16 "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."  (For many are called, but a few chosen. )


கை ஆர் சக்கரத்து என் கருமாணிக்கமே! என்று என்று,
பொய்யே கைம்மை சொல்லி புறமே புறமே ஆடி,
மெய்யே பெற்றொழிந்தேன்; விதி வாய்க்கின்று காப்பார் ஆர்,
ஐயோ! கண்ணபிரான்! அறையோ இனிப் போனாலே. 5.1.1 (3341)

O Black Gem who bears the discus!  O Kanna! Thus I called You in falsity. I danced, indulged in sensual pleasures and uttered untrue disingenuous words (of praise). You took my falsity as sincerity and truth, You showered on me Your Grace. In that sense, I received the Grace meant only for Your devotees. O Kannapiran! If You leave me now, will I let You go?

திருமாலிருஞ்சோலை மலை என்றேன்; என்ன
திருமால் வந்து என் நெஞ்சு நிறையப் புகுந்தான்
குரு மா மணி உந்து புனல் பொன்னித் தென்பால்
திருமால் சென்று சேர்விடம் தென் திருப்பேரே. 10.8.1 (3968)

So I said Tirumalirumsolai Malai. Tirumal entered my heart and filled it with plenitude (of Grace). Grace-giving Bhagavan abides in Ten-Tirupper. This country is on the southern bank of Kaveri, where the floods are awash with excellent gems and wherein abide Tirumal and His consort.

Tirumalirumsolai malai = Tirumal (Vishnu) abiding in the mountain-grove. Ten-Tirupper = name of a place.

In the last two verses, Nammalvar makes a confession. Bhagavan filled his heart with Grace, though Nammalvar's  words were uttered in vain and carried very little effort. God rewards His devotees however small their efforts are. This is Krpa (compassion) connected with Hetu (sahetuka) or effort.  As a Sudra, Nammalvar was ineligible to perform Jnana or Bhakti Yoga.

Alvars did not specifically tell that the Fruit (பலன்) should be linked with some kind of endeavor. He certainly praises the Lord for having filled him with Grace for very little effort. The Alvars sing the glory of God in offering both Causeless and Caused Grace without saying the two types of Grace are in conflict with each other.

Audarya11:  Audarya speaks of the munificence of Bhagavan far beyond what is asked for and even when not requested.

Bandhutva:  Bandhu is blood relative. பந்துத்வம் or Bandhutvam means relationship. Relationship with blood relatives lasts as long as the relation lives. Thus, it is conditioned relationship, SopAdhika1-bahdhutva. The relationship with God is nirupAdhik 2 bandhutva.  God is the relation to all beings.  God is called Attan (அத்தன்) by Alvars, meaning Father or a Person of eminence. Nammalvar in his verse 3781 (9.1.1) points to the ephemeral nature of relationship among blood relatives.

sôpâdhi mfn. restricted by some condition or limitation or stipulation, qualified, by some condition (as liberality by the desire of receiving something in return) MW ; • having some peculiar attribute or distinguishing title ib • (ind.) with limitations, conditionally
nirupAdhika 2
nirupAdhika (BhP. ) mfn. without attributes or qualities , absolute.

Nammalvar in his verse 3 (9.1.1) points to the ephemeral nature of relationship among blood relatives.


கொண்ட பெண்டிர் மக்கள் உற்றார், சுற்றத்தவர், பிறரும்,
கண்ட தோடு பட்டது அல்லால் காதல் மற்று யாதும் இல்லை,
எண் திசையும் கீழும் மேலும் முற்றவும் உண்ட பிரான்,
தொண்டரோமாய் உய்யல் அல்லால், இல்லை கண்டீர் துணையே. 9.1.1 (3781)
Wedded wife, sons and daughters, relatives, friends and servants, and others show love as long as one has wealth. Penury brings lovelessness. Therefore you hold on to Piran (God), who swallowed (in Him contains) the eight directions, the sky and the earth. Become His devotee-slave (தொண்டர்) for salvation (உய்யல்). He is our succor and support (துணை).

Divine Nature of God: Savisesa connotes the following qualities. (Vaishnava Theology)

Brahman is Purussottama (Supreme Person), possessor of auspicious qualities (ananta Kalyana gunas), and a sacred body (Divyamangala vigraha

Nammalvar sings in praise of the Lord.

உயர்வு அற உயர் நலம் உடையவன் எவன்? அவன்.
மயர்வு அற மதி- நலம் அருளினன் எவன்? அவன்.
அயர்வு அறும் அமரர் கள் அதிபதி எவன்? அவன்
துயர் அறு சுடர்-- அடி தொழுது எழு என் மனனே!-- (1.1.1) 2899 Divyaprabhandam
Who is of Higher virtue than the highest? It is Him.
Who is the One who removes ignorance and grants knowledge? It is Him.
Who is the Chief of all indefatigable gods? It is Him.
O my mind! Worship His grief-removing effulgent feet and rise.
உயர் நலம் உடையவன் = possessor of Highest Virtue.

Vaishnava Theology

The divine body of the Lord is called திவ்யமங்களவிக்கிரகம் (Divyamangala Vigraham, meaning the image of a deity used as a sacred object of worship. Though the image is made of matter, He is not made of the five elements as is the case with the human body. He is Pure Sattva (Suddha Sattva = சுத்தசத்துவம் = Absolute purity of character as depicted in Vishistadvaita Vedanta) or Pure Consciousness. Vishnu Purana (H.H.Wilson, Volume 1, page 11) says that Vishnu is AvikAra, not subject to change; SadaikarUpa, one invariable (Changeless--immutable) nature. He is Liberator (tAra) or He bears the mortals across the ocean of existence. he is both single and manifold (ekAnekarUpa). He is Avyakta (Unmanifest, indiscrete) cause of the world as well as the Vyakta (discrete or manifest) effect (Invisible Cause and Visible Creation). He assumes a body for the benefit of His devotees. Vishnu sports different body colors: white in Krtayuga, red in Tretayuga, green in Dwaparayuga, and blue-black in Kaliyuga. Nammalvar calls Him Meghavannan (மேகவண்ணன் = Vishnuu, dark in color like a rain-cloud). Clouds shower rains voluntarily and give bounty of earth; He is called Meghavannan on account of His UdAra gunam or UdAra svabhAva (உதாரகுணம் = Liberality, munificence).

Bhagavan is red lotus, according to Alvars.


அந்தாமத்து அன்பு செய்து என் ஆவிசேர் அம்மானுக்கு,
அம் தாமம் வாழ் முடி சங்கு ஆழி நூல் ஆரம் உள,
செந்தாமரைத்தடம் கண்; செங்கனி வாய் செங்கமலம்;
செந்தாமரை அடிகள்; செம்பொன் திரு- உடம்பே. 2.5.1 (3053)

How could I ever describe the beauty of Amman. He showed the love reserved for the celestials. He, having become one with my soul, bears a garland, crown, conch, discus, sacred thread, and pearl necklace. His eyes are like the red lotus. His mouth is like the red lotus. His feet are lotus blossoms. His sacred body is is red gold. What a beauty is His body!

Amman = அம்மான் = God as Father.

The Lord is sweetness in all things sweet. He is nectar, honey.., always non-satiating. He is of Bliss (Nalam Udaiyan = நலம் உடையவன்).
3031 Divyaprabhandam, Nammalvar
ஊனில் வாழ் உயிரே! நல்லை போ! உன்னைப்பெற்று,
வான் உளார் பெருமான் மதுசூதன், என் அம்மான்,
தானும் யானும் எல்லாம் தன்னுள்ளே கலந்து ஒழிந்தோம்,
தேனும் பாலும் நெய்யும் கன்னலும் அமுதும் ஒத்தே. 2.3.1 (3031)

O life abiding in body! Go, Be good. I have you as my succor and support. Because of you, like Peruman and Madhusudhanan joined together, I merged with and dissolved in you as honey, milk, clarified butter, and sugarcane juice would mix. It is sweet like the ambrosial mixture.

Tirumangai Azhvar--திருமங்கை ஆழ்வார் [776 AD]-- belonging to Tribal Kallar (கள்ளர்) community was a military commander to Chola king. The king gave him a territory (Ali Nadu) for his military services and thus the commander earned the name Tirumangai Mannan (திருமங்கை மன்னன்), the chief or ruler of Thirumangai. He became a SriVaishnava on marrying Kumudavalli, who demanded that he should feed 1008 Vaishnavas daily for one year. He lost all his wealth and declaring penury, descended into a life of highway robbery to support his habit of feeding 1008 Vaishnavas daily.  In one of those thieving excursions on the highway, he met an attractive newly married couple laden with jewels,  the bride bejeweled head to toe.  He thought this was the most opportune moment in his life to gather enough jewels to pay for the feeding of the Vaishnavas. He went about removing the jewels from head to toe and secreting them in a sac. When he came down to the toe rings, the task of removing them proved impossible.  As he was struggling, the couple revealed themselves in the form of Vishnu and Lakshmi.  Vishnu initiated him in Astakshara Mantra (8-syllable 'Om-Na-mo-na-ra-ya-na-ya.' This revelation converted a robber into a saint, who broke out in a song as follows.

This secret Mantra is again revealed to us (We the people, the common folks) by Thirumangain Alvar.


பெரிய திருமந்திரத்தின் மகிமை = the greatness of Tirumantram (Om Namonarayanaya)

வாடினேன்; வாடி வருந்தினேன் மனத்தால்;1

பெரும் துயர் இடும்பையில் பிறந்து2

கூடினேன்; கூடியிளையவர் தம்மோடு3

அவர் தரும் கலவியே கருதி,4        

ஓடினேன் ஓடி உய்வது ஓர் பொருளால்5

உணர்வு எனும் பெரும் பதம் திரிந்து,6

நாடினேன்; நாடி நான் கண்டுகொண்டேன்7

நாராயணா என்னும் நாமம்.8 (2) 1.1.1 (948)

I wilted; Wilting, I suffered pain in my mind and soul;1
born in a world of great pain2
(with which) uniting; I united with young girls.3
Regarding (high of) their offering of sex4
I ran (after them); I ran seeking redemption from the Supreme Substance5
coming to my senses and setting my foot on the path.6
I sought Him; By seeking I found for myself7
Narayana is such a name.8



Sri U.Ve.Krishnan Swami is a repository of Srivaishnava sacred lore.

In a reply to a question touching on the subject of menstruation, his answer is as follows.

Ladies, during periods, cannot enter the kitchen or Perumal room or what (for) that matter any place in the house. You can allot one room in your house for those days. Of course she can take care of her child but you will have to provide her and the child with everything. Fourth day she can enter the house but again cannot cook. Fifth day she has to take bath in a pond and then can enter all the places. Life is merrier only when we obey to the dharma sastra. It is His merry that makes us merrier. ---Sri U.Ve.Krishnan Swamy.

I respectfully ask him this question.

The House of Misery and dystopia

There is a custom in Brahmana and other households in India that the menstruating woman is ostracized, segregated, shunted, secluded and secretes herself out of sight in a room. This is a very discriminatory practice in my opinion and this burden is placed on the woman and the family by inconsiderate men, who wrote the injunctions many eons ago. Did they touch base with Sri, Uma, Valli, Devayanai and other women, before they wrote the injunctions? No, they did not. This is called ThIttu (தீட்டு in Tamil = Pollution). The woman is polluted for 5 days every month and after childbirth. Consider similar injunctions in Christianity and Judaism. The Sastraic code writers branded themselves the Pollution Control Board to stem the tide of pollution emanating from a menstruating woman in the household. Look around the house: the mosquito infested puddles, dog-dos, all kinds of garbage. That is pollution they are willing to live with. Many post menopausal old wives, who went through the rigorous punishment themselves before, figuratively flog the younger women and drive them into the impure isolation room or to the platform on the verandah (திண்ணை). The passersby know the lady of the house is polluted for 5 days. If she happens to be a widowed menstruating woman, she is further punished to shave her head, wear white sari, cover her head out of shame, shed jewels and sit on the verandah. The dead men, not wanting the women married again, established these injunctions against the women. The idea is that the widow looks as unattractive as possible so the eligible men would avert their eyes. Discriminating and liberal men of this age can see misery and the beauty through the veil. Most people walking on the street particularly avoid seeing the widow for fear that a widow is a sphinx spreading bad luck. Heartless people call them by the pejorative word Mundai (முண்டை = a widow with a shaven head).  Even the crows lose respect for such a widow and constantly cry and assemble a mob of cawing and mocking crows before the poor widow. The crows look at her with their heads cocked to one side and the beaks turned up in an act of supreme condescension. She is showered not with homilies but with contumelies for her silent suffering. The widow is compelled to mourn until her death, submit herself to humiliating head shave once a month, forgo chewing Pan, makeup, fun things, and flowers excepting sectarian marks on the forehead, shed all her jewels, wear only white saris, and desist from attending festivities, marriage and Upanayana ceremonies. The widow is barely tolerated, and regarded as a bad omen. Soon after attaining widowhood (thank god, Sati -ascending the funeral pyre of the dead husband- is no more, thank the British), the now newly-minted widow is surrounded by well-meaning womenfolk exhorting her to tolerate her widowhood with fortitude. They embrace, grab, push her, and shed rivers of tears on her. They make her sit on a stool; a near, dear and close female relative utters words of wisdom and Mantra of solace and rips (cuts) the marriage badge and chain (மாங்கலியம், தாலி) off the widow's neck. The next sacerdotal ceremony of humiliation is a visitation from a barber, who dutifully shaves the beautiful locks of the angelic woman with the eyes of doe; this inhumane transformation makes her two year old cry all day long, who hesitates and withdraws from his or her shaved mother out of primal fear. The men and the colluding old wives are smug in their belief they followed the Sastras without one hair out of place. Mercifully, a saivite widow is allowed to wear the sacred ashes and the Vaishnavite woman red Srichurnam.

Coming back to the menstruating woman with a live husband, she is allowed to attend to the baby.  The poor husband is left high and dry on the now-deserted marital bed with a pining woman, her color drained from head to toes, in a desolate room. This five day hiatus takes a toll on the forlorn wife, and deprived husband esp. after a hard day's work in the office. The Sastras inflict on them injunctions as to when they can and when they cannot consort, which is marked on a mental calendar with an YES or NO on each box; with all the restrictions, it is a miracle, the couple lead a normal married life. Tensions build and spill on other household members and the office co-workers. The other men, women and in-laws keep a tab on the married couple's strict adherence to Sastraic injunctions. They scrub and clean the room (rarely with cow dung) once the monthly periods are over. Cow dung is purifying and menstruating woman is polluting. Go figure that. It is a common occurrence that infants sometimes with attached umbilical cords come into the emergency room of the hospital with florid case of tetanus because infants were sleeping on bare floor smeared with cow dung. It is not uncommon that the sticklers and imbibers of Panchagavya with a heavy dose of cow dung come down with diarrhea, and kidney ailments. All these things go unnoticed or conveniently ignored in the name of religion in a country, where health is compromised in the name of injunctions. The believers take dips in the unchlorinated temple tanks with stagnant water in the name of injunctions and vociferously defend the sacredness and purity of water in the tank, and Ganges river polluted with sewage, dead bodies and other flotsam.

 (Panchagvya [பஞ்சகவ்யம்]: cow dung, Cow urine, Cow milk, Cow curds, Cow ghee. I am positive that the religious people and strict followers of Sastras stopped eating the cow dung panchagavya. Nowadays, the informed gave up on cow dung and substituted it with other hygienic edible product.)

 If there are teenage girls in the household or if it is joint family, this room becomes the 24/7 refuge almost everyday of the year for the fair sex. The room may hold a few women in the joint family as tradition-bound outcasts. Many educated woman in high positions in modern families both in India and abroad conveniently ignore this age old custom and keep pace and peace at work and home. The indigent women go to work no matter what their menstrual situation is. They have  no choice but to work through the menstrual periods to make  a living. The Sastras did not have forethought that things would change over eons, women would be going to work, they could not afford to take off 5 days every month, esp. when they are the main bread winners.... The college girls cannot afford to take off 4 or 5 days a month from attending classes during the menstrual days. Their studies would suffer.

Where am I going to find a pond for my wife and daughters in the city of Chennai so they can take the ritual purifying ablutions after the monthly periods come to an end? There are umpteen dirty puddles and no clean ponds for ritual ablution of my wife and daughters. Tell me who would want to bath in and drink water from the pond if all the town's menstruating women regularly dip themselves and inconsiderate men wash their bottoms after defecation. Why don't we try a nice shower or in the worst case scenario use the roadside tap water? What about the menstruating Brahmana-student woman living abroad with four roommates in a one room shared apartment or in a hut in India? The woman taking a ritual ablution abroad in a clean pond will invite the ogling men, and police ready to issue a summons. There may not be a pond for miles. Now that the woman has all the modern conveniences and feminine hygiene products in the market, why don't we dispense with these restrictive Sastraic injunctions which demand ostracization, isolation, confinement and compliant comportment? I never heard of a Brahmana women or any other women belonging to other castes infect anyone in or outside the family with any diseases. There is an exception: A woman with Aids or venereal diseases can infect consorting men during periods or even otherwise.

If we allow her to take care of children, we are letting a polluted women [தீட்டு] take care of them. How is it that our children do not deserve a clean woman but adults do? The two year old child does not have a clue why his or her mother is shunted and secretes herself in a room for five days every month. You cannot hold a two year old in the polluted room for more than five minutes; he would be running around the house spreading the pollution, when he or she seeks the comfort of  father, grandmother or grandfather. I want to ask the rule makers whether this lady in the isolation room has her own toilet facilities. Middle income people cannot afford to have attached bathrooms in India. She may have to sneak into master bathroom when no one is looking. Forget about the ubiquitous Indian-style squat toilets with no support handles on the walls. They are a misery; one with creaky joints cannot squat, defecate, wash the posterior with water from the 16-ounce mug and get up to a standing position. Recently built houses and good hotels have western style toilets. Indians have a code in washing the butt: left hand for washing and right hand juggling the 16-ounce mug. Sometimes the water tap is placed on the left hand side, which makes it that much more difficult. If there are stainless steel handles, they are contaminated with bacteria because of contact with the left hand. Thus the tradition is to eat with your fingers on the right hand and wash the posterior with the left hand. The left hand (பீச்சைக்கை pīccai-k-kai) is polluted and the right hand is the pure hand. One should not use the left hand to handle things esp. prayer accouterments. Since most people in India do not use soap and water after posterior ablution, the cleanliness of the hands are suspect.

Medically speaking, she is clean as long as she washes her hands with a detergent of any kind.  I know of a Brahmin family where the husband under treatment for tuberculosis moved around the house with children and adults and yet the menstruating wife had to sit out for four days in an isolation room. The wife and children of this person with TB took prophylactic anti-tuberculous medication because of their intimacy with the said person. With due high regard, respect and empathy, I am asking who the potential polluter is in this family. Who wrote the rules? It is the men who did.

The high priests should not hide behind Sastras and injunctions. I have a question. Vishnu is Srinivasa; His body is the abode of Sri, who lives very close to Him on His chest. Vishnu holds His consort close to His chest all the time irrespective of Her menstrual periods. Where is She going to go and secrete Herself for 5 days every month or every year as the case may be? Yes, Her body is consubstantial with Bhagavan (made of the same Suddha Sattvam = Pure Empyreal A-prakritic Parakritic substance) and yet She is a woman, whose sine quo non is menstruation. Lakshmi asserts She would never leave Bhagavan even for one nanosecond. Did Sastras think of it?  Take Lakshmi Narasimha; I never saw Lakshmi leave Her perch on His left thigh and secrete Herself in a nook. I am seeing Valli and Devayanai standing by Skanda and never saw them leaving Him for 5 days at a time.

In bad old days, a long long time ago, there was child marriage among Brahmanas and others. We by conscience, compassion for the girls and law fight child marriages. It is still taking place. We stopped Sati, thank the British. We are trying to eliminate caste among us, going against the Laws of Manu. We are up against unsavory, unfriendly, deleterious, and defunct Sastric injunctions, which are against egalitarian principles. Why don't we eliminate this notion that a woman is polluted and unclean during her normal physiological menstruation? Some of these Sastraic injunctions are the product of the polluted minds of the bygone era. It also shows and perpetuates the notion that women were and are second class citizens, who have no say in what men mete out to them. To adhere to irrelevant and harmful practices in the name of a religion is foolish indeed. This isolation of the mother definitely plays a havoc on the psyche of the two year old youngsters. Sacred Texts of other religions too consider menstruating women polluted.

It is common knowledge that the original Sastras underwent modifications, deletions, additions and interpolations by zealots. The Sastraic content is not wholly genuine but an adulterated product. We have to pick and choose what is good in the interest of humanity at large. Sri Krishnan Swamy says that the division in Srivaishnavism into Vadakalai and Tenkalai has no currency anymore. In like manner, the ostracization and isolation of women during their monthly periods do not apply anymore.

I am thankful that the menstruating women had not to take a dip in the ocean; that would have been catastrophic in view of the fact that a shark can apprehend one drop of blood in the ocean a mile away. Pond is no different, because the fish come after blood, crusted impetigo and other skin sores and nibble on them. In villages, it is a common sight that boys in villages play and swim in the lakes with open impetiginous sores, so the fish eat the crust and leave the wound clean. That boy was me in my childhood days in the village.

Besides these, why does not our Sastra think of people beyond the Indian subcontinent? Obviously, the code writers of Sastras were not aware of the Eskimos, the Europeans, the Chinese....Obviously, Manu did not know they existed. The most orthodox Indian men during the British Raj took orders from and had to serve under British men; they never had the audacity to tell the women of the British officers to go and jump in a lake to purify themselves before showing up with their husbands in the office or public functions. It appears that sastraic injunctions are fungible. Fungibility (flexibility) is woof and warp of Hinduism, which is its strength. Rama's backbone is ethical, moral and legal; Krishna's backbone is fungible. Krishna stole the Parijata tree from Indra's garden. If you think Krishna needs a tree desperately for Himself or Sathyabama, you are wrong. It just goes to prove that what you own is not yours but Bhagavan's; you have a temporary custody of it. What He giveth, He taketh away.

Sastras were written neither on stone nor on water. They came down by word of mouth, which demanded prodigious memory. Memory sometimes fails and a wrong word substitutes for the right word. This process continues over generations and Sastras change with unintended meanings and consequences. There were and are charlatans in Hinduism; they rewrote some texts in Sastras, interpolated many verses and interpreted some wrongly.

Whose fault is it that a woman menstruates?

Comment: Here is how a woman had the physiology of menstruation inflicted on her.  Indra the chief of gods killed a Brahmana and ran to women for protection. Indra asked the women to take a third of the guilt of killing a Brahmana. The women asked for something in return: We want to enjoy freely intercourse with our husbands until the baby is born (even during pregnancy). So be it: said Indra.  The assumed guilt of not of their own making shows up every month as menstruation.

Menstruation-guilt involuntarily forced on them for protection of god Indra for Brahmin killing- in turn casts restrictions: no one can eat the food of a menstruating woman, who shared a third of the guilt of Brahmin killing which they did not do.] 

Comment: Monthly exsanguinations of the women for four days as life-long punishment for Brahmana murder they did not commit. In the meantime, Indra, the self-confessed murderer was sipping soma, keeping company with his sweet wife Indrani in heaven and presiding over the galaxy of gods. No one is sure whether Indrani suffered the curse of monthly bleeding.


Blame somebody else, (pass the buck, Share the blame) 

I did not do this.

“Oscar Wilde told me to do it!”

Noel Coward on Blaming Somebody Else

“No one knows what it's like, To feel these feelings, Like I do, And I blame you!”

The Whom on Blaming YOU!

Just like with unexploded bombs, Blame is best dealt with by passing it as quickly as possible to someone else. To blame someone, therefore, is the right and proper action of assigning your blame to another. That way, you can relax and get on with your golf game. This activity of blaming is basic to hominid behaviour, and that seems a bit wrong, which you are so quick to point out, oh yes, aren't you? As always.



 The Brahma Sutra devotes a whole section (9) 1.3.34 to 38 on the topic of disqualification of Sudras for Brahma-knowledge.  Janasruti, a previously documented Ksatriya (warrior caste) but now mistaken for a Sudra (menial worker) was grief-stricken to hear words of disrespect. Of all birds, a flamingo derided Janasruti for lack of Brahma-knowledge and he ran to Raikva in grief.  When Raikva saw grief written all over the face of Janasruti, Raikva called him a Sudra for the word Sudra also means "grief."  The Sudras are prohibited from offering  sacrifices, but not acquiring Brahma-knowledge.  A well-known Sudra of Mahabharata is Vidura, born of  Vyasadeva and a palace maid and is known to have mastered Brahma-knowledge.  

It is common in Hindu mythology that elements, birds, beasts, trees... can talk. A talking flamingo is one of those articulate birds.

A case of interpolation in Brahma Sutra as opined by none other than Swami Sivananda, a Tamil Nadu-born True Brahmana Doctor who became a Samnyasi with utmost credentials and who took fencing lessons from an untouchable, known undeservedly, disparagingly and  disrespectfully in the past a Pariah (பறையன்), at whose feet Swami Sivananda fell to the surprise of many for the simple reason the Untouchable was his Guru.

Sugasya tadanadarasravanat

tadadravanat suchyate hi                                          I.3.34 (97)

Suk: grief; Asya: his; Tat: that, namely that grief; Anadarasravanat: from hearing his (the Rishis) disrespectful speech; Tada: then; Adravanat: because of going to him i.e. to Raikva; Suchyate: is referred to; Hi: because.


Swami Sivananda's Comment.


The discussion on the privilege of divine meditation begun in

Sutra 25 is continued.

The whole of this Adhikarana about Sudras together with the preceding one about the Devas appears to be an interpolation of some later author.  page106 Brahma Sutra translation by Swami Sivananda.

Swami Vivekananda who introduced Hinduism to America (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), says the following: (Supreme tenets of Hinduism originated from the ruling kings of different eras. The ritual Hinduism is the product of Brahmins. The kings freely gave away and popularized their teachings. The Brahmins (priests) kept their rituals and their purported meaning under wraps and practiced them for a livelihood. The Hindu is burdened with these mindless rituals. The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda Volume 1 [ Page : 452- 453 ] THE GITA I


Take Bhagavadgita: It came from the mouth of Krishna, a king and an incarnation of Vishnu, the God. Take Buddha: He was a prince. He gave away all his teachings free of charge.) Nowadays marketeers have taken over the religion and are selling CDs depicting religious discourses. They do not put all their discourses on the web and in print. Just a few are on the web just to tease the devotees. Now religion is business. What a shame!--Krishnaraj


Yours humbly,

Submitted by

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

Differences with Vadakalai Srivaishnavas

The main difference lies in doctrine i.e. the relation of divine grace to human response. Thenkalais are more adept in the Tamil language than their counterparts. The main views of Thenkalais that are not in line with Vadakalais are:
Thenkalai Iyengars lay more emphasis on worship of Vishnu while Vadakalais assign an equally important place to Vishnu's consort Lakshmi.
Thenkalais do not ring bells during worship.
Though both Vadakalais and Thenkalais revere Sanskrit, the Thenkalais place a higher important (sic) to Tamil shlokas than Sanskrit.
Unlike Vadakalai Iyengars, Thenkalai Iyengars forbid widows to shave (tonsure) their head. While Vadakalais support the tonsure quoting the Manusmriti,[2] Thenkalais oppose it quoting the Parashara Smriti.[3]
Thenkalais accept that kaivalya is in an eternal position within the realm of Vaikuntha. They say, however, that kaivalya only exists at the outer most regions of Vaikuntha.
Thenkalais say that God's seemingly contradictory nature as both minuscule and immense are examples of God's special powers that enable Him to accomplish the impossible.
Thenkalais take prapatti as the only means to attain salvation;[4] while the Vadakalais believe in Karmayoga, Jnanayoga, Bhaktiyoga and Prapatti as means to salvation.[5][6]
Thenkalais accept Prapatti as an unconditional surrender, while the Vadakalais consider prapatti as an act of winning grace.[7]
According to Thenkalais, exalted persons need not perform duties such as sandyavandanam; they do so only to set a good example.
Thenkalai iyengars (sic) follow Manavala Mamunigal and Pillai Lokacharya, while the Vadakalai Iyengars follow Vedanta Desika.[8]

Additionally, it is believed that while the Vadakalai society was rigid, the Thenkalai society, on the contrary, accepted a significant proportion of the non-Brahmin population into its fold.[9]


Comment by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

One of the reasons why everyday Hindu does not understand and sidesteps the religious lectures is that the preceptor talks in coded language which only the insiders understand. Have you ever listened to a lecture chock-full of Manipravalam in a காலக்ஷேபம் kāla-kṣēpam = Exposition of devotional stories with music? You do not hear everyday words. You have to carry an instant dictionary. I understand there is no Manipravalam-Tamil or -English dictionary. That makes it all the more difficult. Manipravalam = a mixture of Sanskrit and Tamil.

So the people with no specialized knowledge of Manipravalam, though very devout are turned off. The preceptor is talking to the language-enlightened audience.  In the other extreme, Tamil scholars talk in Pure Tamil and engage in obscure words, that no one except Tamil Scholars understand. I read Tamil expositions and interpretations of Tamil devotional poetry. The comments in Tamil are more difficult to comprehend than the poetry itself. I could understand Tamil poetry but the simple Tamil words of the poetry undergo terminal rigidity and becomes deathly stiff. If you cannot be supple and simple in your expositions, you loose the audience. The audience is not there to admire the preceptor's arcane language and erudition.

 I listened to Thiru Muruga Kirupanandha Variyar in person. He is erudite, simple, straightforward and understandable.


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