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SrI VEdAnta DESika on tApa-mudrAs

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SrImatE nigamAnta mahAdESikAya namaH


namO nArAyaNa!


Dear devotees,


Forwarding aDiyEn's response to a question on SwAmi DESikan's

work :


> A friend of mine is translating some excerpts from the

>Hari-bhakti-vilasa (a Gaudiya Vaishnava text), and has asked my

> help with a passage discussing

> the practice of branding the body with the emblems of the Lord.

> The author, after presenting various scriptural statements in

> favour of this practice,

> states:


> bahvaz ca ve " nka.taacaarya-paada-prabh.rtibhir budhai.h /

> zrutaya.h sm.rtayo 'py atra vikhyaataa likhitaa.h paraa.h //



> 'In this connection, many other famous srutis and smritis have

> been presented by wise men, headed by the honourable Acharya

> Venkata.'


> The commentator identifies this Venkata as belonging to the

> Sri-sampradaya‚ and being 'foremost of the knowers of sruti and

> smriti', from which I assume that he is referring to Vedanta

> Desika. Now, my friend wishes to know:


> 1. Whether the practice of accepting tapta-mudras has been

> discussed by Desika;

> 2. If so, in which of his works, and from where it may be available.


> Any information on this would be most welcome.


> Ramanuja Dasa,


SrI VEdAnta DESika's Saccharitra-raksha deals with this

issue. It has three chapters :


1. SudarSana-aadi-dhAraNa-adhikAraH {Chapter on the bearing

of SudarSana <chakra> etc <symbols on the body> }.


In this chapter, lots of objections are considered against the

tApa-samskAra <as practised by SrI-VaishNavas> and appropriate

refutations are presented. It is filled with Copious quotations

(actually " mind-boggling " will be the befitting adjective for

this case) from all the four vEdas with the explanations as

found in the upa-brahmanas like pAn~carAtra samhitas, many

smrutis, purANas, HarivamSa/IthihAsa and even from upa-purANas.


My article on SamASrayaNam contains a sub-set of these



2. OordhvapuNDra-dhAraNa-adhikAraH {Chapter on the bearing of

Oordhava-puNDra (Vertical Tilak) }. Its treatment is similar

to that of the first chapter. All the possible types of

puNDras are considered and categorized esp. wrt even the

Oordhva-puNDras. SiddhAnta on the type of puNDra to be worn

by mumukshus {aspirers for moksha} is established. Even the

possibilities of the different materials to be used for

the puNDra is considered and the siddhAnta is made.Interestingly,

light discussion on the types of puNDra Lord can bear is also



3. BhagavannivEdita-upayOga-adhikAraH {Chapter on the intake/usage

of the food offered to Lord} : Though SrI YAmunAchArya has dealt

with this in Aagama-PrAmANya, SwAmi DESikan adds more possible

objections to this practise even citing some examples of practise

as narrated in IthihAsa-purANas. They are then refuted

appropriately through pramANas alongwith the explanations for the

texts taken for objection.


" Abhinava DESika " {New SwAmi DESika} SrI UtthamUr T VIrarAghavAchArya

Swami has added his insightful comments for important texts of this

work of the " previous SwAmi DESika " . It was published by

ViSishTAdvaita PrachArini Sabha,Chennai during 1969, under the

title " RakshA Granthas " {inclusive of some more owrks by SrI VEdAnta

DESika. Its no more available. I have one personal copy.



These days, we have Indexed Publications of VEdas, Smrutis

etc and one can easily locate what one want and make use of

it - Be a small article on that topic as presented in VEdas

Or some connecting links etc. It is really amazing to see

SwAmi DESikan effortlessly quoting from nook and corner of

all sorts of authoritative texts for any given context in

hand. During debates, SwAmi DESikan produced such mind-boggling

quotations at his will. Its not a surprise that everyone revered

SwAmi DESikan as " VEdAnta-AchArya " alias " VEdAnta-DESika " {DESika

being a synonym of AchArya} - The title given by Lord Ra~nganAtha.

The effect is that his original name " VE~nkaTanAtha " is almost

forgotten and infact not known to some SrI VaishNavas also :-).

The primary meaning for " VEdAnta-DESika " got associated with our

SrI VE~nkaTanAtha!


SrI Abhinava DESika SwAmi was also similar - on finger tips

with many pramANas which distinguished him again in the galaxy

of scholars apart from his other lofty credentials.


aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,


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