Veda Dharma

Friday, July 27, 2007

Vaikhanasa Agama( Alaya nirmana vidhi)

According to the Vaikhanasa agama, before the main temple is built a temporary temple should be built and the Lord should be worshipped there. This is called " Taruna Alaya". It is important to build a Tarunalaya first and worship the Lord there for for sometime before the main temple is built. The main temple is known as "Baala Alaya". Now onwards whenever we refer to the main temple let us use the word "Balaalaya". When the Baalaalaya is built without a tarunaalaya it is called "Harakam". When the balaalaya is built after tarunaalaya it is called "samrutam" . Vaikhanasa agama strongly suggests that a tarunalaya should be built first. ( The rules and worship for tarunalaya are not very complicated. This technique helps in gathering spiritual power slowly and then after substantial amount is collected then the installation of the power into the main idol an be easily done. It also helps in understanding and settling all temple administration issues.) And Vimanarchana Kalpa by Marichi says that the tarunalaya should be built in the north-east/north-west/indra direction of the main temple site in the same premises. The size of this temple can be found from the agamas.(Not very big and is generally around 10 sq feet, I guess )

The images of the Lord can be made in three ways: Sthanaka, Asana and Sayana postures. Vimanarchana Kalpa gives the importance of using suitable architecture for the vimana consistent with the type of image viz. sthanaka/asana/sayana. We will talk about the different types of Vimanas in later posts. Sthanka is the standing posture whereas asana and sayana are sitting and reclining posture respectively. (Examples are Tirumala Venkateswara for sthanaka, Ahobila Narasimha for asana and Ananta Padmanabha of Trivandrum/Ranganatha of Srirangam for sayana) In each of these styles, the Lord can exhibit different bhavas like Yoga/Bhoga/Vira. Some scriptures divide Vira further into Vira and Abhicharika.
In the yoga sthanaka posture, the right hand will show either abhaya/varada posture. The left hand can be in kati posture.( This is from Atri Samurtarchanadhikarana chapter 20 whereas marichi gives abhaya for right and varada/kati for left. Both are acceptable) Also the Lord will be accompanied by Brahma,Sankara,Pujaka and sages in appropriate directions as mentioned by the agamas. Building without sankara,brahma is mediocre and building without pujaka,sages is least desirable. (Not prohibited though). It is important to note that Lord is not accompanied by devi in the yoga posture. In addition right upper hand will hold chakra and left upper hand will hold sankha and the Lord is made in black colour.
In the bhoga sthanaka posture, the lord has the same posture but he is acompanied by Sridevi on the right side and Bhudevi on the left side. Sridevi holds a lotus in her left hand and leaves her right hand free. She should also have a slight side glance towards the Lord. She bends her left leg little bit and keeps her right leg straight. Bhudevi stands on the right side and has to be made in the reverse manner to the above. Any mistake in the hands/feet posture is very dangerous. Similar rules for other parivara like Brahma, Iswara are given and in addition there are others like Narada, Vidyadharas,Tumbura, Sanakadi rishis, Surya and Chandra etc accompanying the Lord with all paraphernalia. I will not describe the Vira/Viraha/Abhicharaka which are minor variations and the devis do not accompany the Lord in these postures. Also viraha postures constitute of Lord without sankha and chakra. Abhicharika postures resemble some vamachara kind practises and are used only for destruction of enemies and so on. Lord may hold a mace in Vira postures.
The asana postures are similar to the above sthanaka postures in terms of who the Lord is accompanied by and other such details. The Lord remains seated with his right leg folded and left leg left hanging. The hands can show either Varada/Abhaya postures or can remain on the knees as if meditating. In yoga postures they generally remain on the knees( Anka posture). In bhoga postures if seated along with devis then he may show abhaya/Varada postures. In yoga postures sometimes he might not even hold sankha and chakra. (As mentioned in Vimanarchana) . In bhoga postures devis will remain seated and fold one of their legs depending on which side they are seated.( Sridevi on the right folds her left leg and holds lotuses in both the hands. One can easily form rules for Bhu devi similarly) . In the Vira asana postures Lord is without devis and holds sankha and chakra. Other details can easily be inferred from above. There is also mention of simhasana, Padmasana, Bhadrasana, bhadrasimhasana in Vimanarchana Kalpa. Similar details can be found about the different ways of making sayana postures images can be found easily from the Vaikhanasa scriptures. One point to note is that if the Lord is in standing posture then the parivara devas should be made in standing posture. If the Lord is in sitting posture then the parivara devatas can be made in standing/sitting postures. But sayana is an exception and the parivara devas will have to be made in sitting/standing postures. These rules are very important and any violation might spoil the servant-master relation between the Lord and His servants and might cause negative results. But the only exceptions are Vishwaksena, Vignesa, Jyestha, Matara and Rohini who should always be made in sitting posture. (These details are available in Bhrigu's kriyadhikara) . After discussing the various postures let us understand the effects of these. Yoga images should be worshipped for yogic perfection whereas bhoga images should be worshipped if materialistic prosperity is desired. Vira and other images are worshipped if courage/valour are desired.
I have read in some website that the image in the Tirumala does not confirm to the Agamas as it is a swayambhu. I do not think it is true as from the above description one can clearly see that the Lord of the seven hills is a classic example of a Yoga Sthanaka posture. But there is something very special about this Lord that makes Him grant bhoga also. This is the presence of Mahalakshmi on his heart on the right side which gives Him a tinge of Bhoga posture attributes viz. bestowing prosperity. ( I am not talking about the Swarna Sri and Bhu images he wears on His heart but I am talking about the carved image of Sri on the Sila on the right side of His bosom) Thus an analysis of Agamas reveal that the Lord of seven hills may grant His devotees bhoga when they are in initial stages but will ultimately grant moksha as that is the very nature of a Yoga sthanaka image. More details on the Vaikhanasa agamas in teh next post.


  • At 11:27 PM , Blogger Dhanvanthri S. Deevi said...

    Dear Vamsee,

    I am very happy to see your comments on Vaikhanasa Agama at

    Please send me your email for further contacts.

    I am a Vaikhanasa living in New Jersey, USA.

    -Dhanvanthri S. Deevi

  • At 10:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It is extremely heartening to see somebody of my generation taking so much of intrest on the agamas.I myself am a trustee of a vaikhanasa temple striving to maintain and develop a 200 year old temple, please give me your e mail id mine is,

    Naganand S.R.

  • At 3:53 PM , Blogger Kumar Yagnaraman said...

    Hi Vamsee

    Can you explain the choice of colour for Manikka Pattai(The red and white colour painted on the outer walls of temples). I am told its explained in the Agama Vidhi, but i am not sure where and why this colour.
    Could you please tell me if you know the reasons.
    Many Cheers



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home