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  1. #1
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    A Case for Tamil Archanai தமிழில் அர்ச்சனை செய்வது தவறா ?

    This is a topic which has been discussed very often in so many forums and magazines. In general it has been portrayed as if the Brahmin community is against performing Archanai in Tamil.

    This discussion is not about whether the government has the authority to dictate Hindu practices and whether they are right in doing so. These are the points discussed threadbare in many forums. So no politics in this discussion and rants about government interference in temple affairs. We have all been through that.

    Here I would like to discuss the following.

    1. The practice of Archanai in Tamil Nadu temples. Is the practice as per the Sasthras? How the practice has been modified due to popular demand.

    2. Whether there is any bar on doing Archanai in Tamil or for that matter in languages other than sanskrit.

    3. Is it a new practice? History of Tamil Archanai among the Brahmins.

    I am making out a case for the Brahmins to approve the practice of performing Arcchanai in Tamil in temples. Again it is a point to be discussed whether all the Tamil Brahmins are against it?
    யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்.

    நச்சினார்க்கினியன்.
  2. #2
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    The practice of Archanai (Namavali) in Tamil Nadu temples.

    This is a custom which is prevalent in Tamil Nadu, A.P, and Karnataka. Typically the devotee pays money to get the Archanai done. The priest performs a sankalpa in the name of the devotee and then praises GOD in a namavali. 108 or 1008 names are most common. At the end of the namavali the priest performs a Karpura Aarti to the deity and that completes the ritual. Coconuts and fruits are many a time added.

    Where does this fit in the procedure laid down in the Agamas? Generally it is an accepted practice that there should be a tri-kala puja at all temples. Morning, afternoon, and evening. The Pujas could be more. But tri-kala is the bare minimum. During these pujas upacharas are performed for the deity. Normally shodopachara or sixteen upacharas. Namavali and Karpura aarti are two of the upacharas.

    Now these pujas are supposed to be done for the benefit of all the devotees. There was no sankalpa naming individuals. But a change was made later that an individual sankalpa was made in the name of the King or the ruler. Later this was expanded to include the name of the donors who donated for the privilege.

    This is the system which is prevalent in Kerala. You buy a Archanai ticket in Guruvayoor for example. When is it done? It is supposed to be done during one of the Pujas. In smaller temples individual names are mentioned, But in bigger temples it is just placing of the slip. This is called Vazhipadu. But in colloquial terms a vazhipadu has come to mean an empty ritual.

    In most of these cases only the sankalpa is different. The Namavali (Archanai) is common. Practices may differ but the common strain is that namavali is part of the tri-kala Puja.

    The concept of archanai in Tamil Nadu took the namavali out of the tri-kala puja. It became an end by itself. Priests perform namavali throughout the day and show karpura aarthi. Again Karpura Arthi is to be performed only during the tri-kala puja.

    In effect the entire Archanai business in Tamil Nadu temples is against laid down Agamic practices and not approved by any sasthras. This practice came into vogue to satisfy the devotees who paid money for the privilege.

    When the entire practice of archanai is against the laid down procedures of the Sasthras, where is the question of language?
    யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்.

    நச்சினார்க்கினியன்.
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  4. #3
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    Sir,

    About the last sentence in the previous post, i think it is not the TBs but the non-tamilbrahmins who are against it (surprise, surprise but i know of tamil friends who too are against it). Also perhaps you may wish to look at it from the point of view of political pressure; since i don't think archanai is performed in kannada, telugu or malayalam in other states. Everyone is happy with Pasurams in Tamil, i don't think anyone wants them translated to Sanskrit. God understands and loves all languages. It is those who do not understand God that make trouble. If someone wants archanai in Tamil, so be it. If someone wants archanai in Sanskrit, i suppose a provision could be made to allow that as well (hopefully people can have a choice or option in choosing the language ?).
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  6. #4
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    wow...

    sir, then what would be the right procedure for a devotee going to a temple to follow? can we perform or not perform archanais? If not, then what form of prayer can we perform?
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  8. #5
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    HH,

    As I said earlier let us keep politics out of this. I am aware that the non-brahmins are also opposed to it. But the political parties make it out that only Brahmins are opposing it. The reason why it is happening only in Tamil Nadu is not because of politics. Tamil has been an integral part of Hinduism in Tamil Nadu. You do not have the equivalent of Thevaram and Nalayira Divyaprabhandam in other languages. They are older than many of the Puranas.

    The Tamil Brahmins have a very old history of praying in Tamil. We are proud of that. It is the Nayanmars of Tamil Nadu ( Brahmin Nayanmars were there) who started the Bhakthi movement in Hinduism.
    யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்.

    நச்சினார்க்கினியன்.
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  10. #6
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    When we place a sea shell (sangu in tamil) in our ears we hear a sound. What is that sound, anyone relates it to the sound of ocean and extrapolating it to the sound of aaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmm.

    If one decided to make it understandable to listerner who has never kept a sea shell in his ears and so they wanted to explain it in let's say native language Tamil. So they can call it "sangu satham". So the listener was asked to explain the sound from a sea shell he said, "sangu satham". Now can we say by saying the words "sangu satham" you are actually reciprocating the sound of a sea shell? The sound from the sea shell remains the same and cannot be changed even if we claim to want to express it in our own language.

    Similarly, the world by nature has/operates with various sounds in various frequencies. The correct pronunciation of certain sounds would help in certain changes. Some lead to positive changes. A bunch of words pronounced in a particular way provides certain vibrations which lead to positive changes.

    If some one does not believe in sound Vs change, they can take examples of glass reverberating for certain sounds in certain frequencies and even breaking. You can take the example of sound waves affecting our ear drum if the frequency is unfavorable. You will find many such examples.

    A bunch of words creating specific positive vibrations are categorized by a name or purpose definition. This is called a mantra or stotra. Archana is enacting mantra(s) or stotra(s). So if we decided to change the words into native language how can we get the specific vibrations intended? Then how does the archana benefit at all?

    If someone said the intent is more important then why do the archana at all. Why don't we just think about the purpose and skip the archana?

    Someone can say by performing the archana in native language, we can understand the meaning and where by be able to achieve the intent. Well, then why don't we first take effort to understand the meaning and then perform the archana in the very sounds that would really create the vibrations required?
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  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyhindu View Post
    wow...

    sir, then what would be the right procedure for a devotee going to a temple to follow? can we perform or not perform archanais? If not, then what form of prayer can we perform?
    The Brahmins did the sankalpa and the Namavali when the knowledge was restricted. Now that we all know Stotras and Slokas why do you need a middle man. Let the Brahmins cater to those who do not have this knowledge. You do not even need slokas. What you need is devotion. Bhakthi.

    You can do your own sankalpa and then recite slokas/stotras/mantras. The sankalapa can be specific unlike the general AyurArogyaAisvarya abhividyartam said by the priests. Why do want to introduce yourself? Does not the creator know you already?

    Do we not all place our specific demands to GOD at the end of the temple visit? Is it not in your own language. Like when my children were very young they wanted to know whether GOD knows English so the they could make specific requests. GOD is omniscient and Omnipotent.
    Last edited by Nacchinarkiniyan; 27-02-2009 at 01:33 PM.
    யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்.

    நச்சினார்க்கினியன்.
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  14. #8
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    The namavali part in the shodapachara does not emphasize on the sound part of it. If you see the shodapachara ritual in detail, it is the treatment of GOD who is on a visit to your house. Washing the feet, offering a seat, giving water to wash mouth etc. etc. We believe that this would please GOD. The we praise GOD in the Namavali. MAA is called Stotra Priyayai and Studhi Priyayai. We call the Upachara Raja Upacharam.

    The entire idea is to please GOD. The language of the Namavali does not matter at all. This is part of Bhakthi and not Mantra Yoga. What is required is Shraddha and Bhakthi.

    In individual and temple Pujas mantras are recited by the priests or the devotee performing the Puja. The priest is expected to recite the MoolaMantra of the Deity with which the original Avahanam was done. Sadly in most of the cases even the Moola Manra is forgotten.
    யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்.

    நச்சினார்க்கினியன்.
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  16. #9
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    There are various forms of addressing God and my salutations to all of them, simply because they at least accept the presence of an omnipotent one. But, here talking about "Archanai" in native language IS the context and so was my previous posting related only to it.

    If we want to talk about which form of worship is better, I am not for it. Each will come up with a new one and I guess that is the freedom of our religion.

    But, coming to speak of archanai as a combinations of actions which constitute mantras and stotras, I understand what I have earlier posted is relevant.

    In one of your postings below, you have said that we can pray to God in any language. True. If I were to comment my views on it without any offense meant...why pray to God at all, because it is God that has created everything, maintains everything and destroys too. Then when we decide to pray we also are deciding to make specific requests that we believe would make God change the course of action or events already designed for us.

    The question of pleasing God by worship comes only when we want a specific outcome from God. Devotion/Bhakthi is supposed to be unconditional love. Then how can there be a request for specific outcome? Then where is the question of pleasing God who has everything? Where is the question of doing anything to one who contains us and everything?

    Just for fun, when someone can forget what is Moola dhaara, they can also tend to forget Moola mantra. In your case, you have forgotten the "t" in the mantra word on your posting, making it a "Moola Manra". The play of God also constitutes making us forget things so we undergo what God wants us to each moment....each life.
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  18. #10
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    Sri N-ji,

    For the benefit of NBs or those who wud require an archanai to be performed by a priest, please can you guide if we can ask the priest to perform archanai in a certain murai. What should we tell the priest so that he can understand that we need it to be performed in the right way? I don't think ppl like my mum know more than a few slokams / stotrams.
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