Monday, September 22, 2008

The Family deity and Guardian Deity of all people!


While on the topic of Kula deivam (refer previous post),

I am tempted to write about it from what I understand

from my most endearing verses of Nalayira Divya Prabhandam –

the 'Senniyongu' pasurams of Periyazhwar.


These 10 verses (Periyaazhwar Thorumozhi, 5-4 > 1 to 10)

are recommended for nithya paarayanam (to be recited everyday)

The verses are simple to understand and the message of these verses is

how the Supreme Consciousness is pervading the consciousness of Azhwar (any individual soul).

The Lord has abandoned his other abodes such as

milky ocean, dwaraka, Thriuvenkatam etc and has made Azhwar’s mind as His abode.

Acharyas have identified these verses as explaining the process of Moksha or

Liberation and that one who lives through these verses will be liberated.




The verses have a powerful effect on the one who recites in that,

the meaning of the simple Tamil words of these verses can be felt as one recites.

In my personal experience,

I can feel the effect of every word of these verses on my body and mind,

as I recite them everyday.




Some words of these verses have always stirred up my thoughts.

These are about the 3 Gods besides ‘kula deivam’, spoken by the aazhwar,

Though he makes references to other names of Sriman Narayana,

he has specifically mentioned about

Thiru Venkatavan (Srinivasa of Thirumalai)

Kula deivam,

Rama and

Krishna.




The 1 st verse starts with a reference to Thiruvenkatavan .

The azhwar then proceeds to glorify Sri Rama in the 6th verse

and completes with worshiping Sri Krishna in the phala-pasuram in the 11th.

In between, he calls up ‘Kula daivam’ in the 3 rd verse.

emmanai, en kula deivamE, ennudai nayaganE”.


Who is this kula deivam that periyaazhwar is referring to?


It is obvious that it is some Vishnu- deity as he was born in a family of Vishnu-worshippers.

From ‘Pallandu’ pasuram (6th verse)

we understand that it must be that deity worshiped by his parents,

grand parents and all those in his previous generations.

(endai, thanthai, thantahi tham mootthappan..Thirupplaandu -6)


Then who is this specific deity?

The clue to this question lies in the first verse.

Any act or worship must begin with the worship of kula deivam.

In the first verse, Azhwar begins with a salutation to Thiruvenkatavan

(Srinivasa of Thirumalai).

So the kula deivam he mentions must be Thiruvenkatavan only.



One information of importance is that Srinivasa of Thirumlai

is the kula deivam for many people or for all people.

This is known from Naanmugan Thiruvandhathi and

the vyakhyaanam (commentary) by Periyavaachaan pillai.


The 48 th pasuram 'venkatame vinnor' tells

how Thirumalai is the abode for everyone including nithya suris

and ordinary persons.

The Lord of this abode protects them all,

removes the physical ailments and karma afflictions as well and

enables them to live happily by suppressing the asura vargas. (Periya vachaan pillai).

He protects all for generations and is therefore the Kula daivam for all.

('sarvarkum Thirumalaiye praabhyam' - Appillai urai).


Periyazhwar recognises Thiruvenkatavan as Kula daivam in the 3rd pasuram

after concurring with the above notion (that He removes all Vinai) in the 2nd pasuram.

Kula daivam is the Lord who protects one for many births or

protects the kulam for many generations

from afflictions of the body and of karma-vinai

('vemkatangal mei mel vinai muttravum' - Nammazhwar).


Even the name “Venkadam” means churning out the heat (vemmaiyai –k- kadaithal)

The Lord in this abode churns out the heat of bad karma from us and frees us off them.


After praying to Kula deivam,

Periyaazhwar prays to Rama in the 6 th verse.

On reading this verse,

I used to wonder whether Rama was the phalana deivam

(Guardian God) of periyaazhwar.




It is because the description found in the 6th pasuram (Unnudaiya vikramam..)

wherein the azhwar prays to Lord Rama,

is more to do with how Rama giving rakshakam (protection) to the devotee.

The mention about valor and victory over Lanka (victory over evil),

if read with Periya vaachaan pillai urai (commentary) for the 47 th pasuram of

Nanmugan Thiruvandhathi gives the lead about

how one has to fashion one's life while living.


According to his urai (commentary),

Thirumalai is the place that protects one.

But it is Rama who protects one wherever that one is.

Wherever that one lives, that place must be considered as Ayodhya

('ayodhya matavim viddhi').

(Interepreted as – if you worship Rama in your pooja room, that place is the Ayodhya)


Raman must be considered as one's father who leads, guides and protects.

('Ramam dhasaratham viddhi').


Sita must be considered as the mother, so tells Sumithra to Lakshmana.

(Maam viddhi janakaathmajaam')


Periyavaachaan pilaai says that all these apply to the nithya suris who live in Thirumalai.

The inference is that Rama is in the image of Srinivasa at Thirumalai,

protecting everyone.


To explain this in today’s parlance,

worship at Thirumala comes like a package.

Srinivasa ensures that your ‘vinai’ (karma)of body and mind of

previous birth and present birth are burnt off

and in addition, Rama’s protection also is assured!

Rama is the 'kaakkum deivam'.

In other words, the ‘Guardian God’ for everyone!



The jiva thus protected has to aim for the final fruit.

Who else, but 'Ayar yeru' (11th pasuram) leads us all to make us 'anukkargal'.

This is corroborated in the 50th pasuram of Nanmugan Thiruvandhathi,

"kootramum saara.." that speaks about

'kannan kadal kidakkum maayan urai kidakkum'.

The Mayan urai is nothing but the Charama slokam of Mayan, the Gitacharyan.

(sarva dharmaan ….

The sloka asking us to renounce even the fruits of our action and surrender unto His feet)

When the jivas realize that it is only by taking refuge in His feet

by giving up all dharmas,

they can be said to be moving in the right direction.



Thus in my opinion, though Sriman Narayana had been the object of worship

for Periyazhwar in his pasuramas,

he has also indicated Srinivasa as his Kula deivam (rather the kula deivam for all)

and the glory of the two forms of Narayana, namely,

Rama as Protector (phalana deivam for all) and

Krishna as Liberator (Moksha sadhanam for all)


There is no mincing of words as to who his or everyone's Kula daivam is.

It is Thiruvenkatavan for all,

to protect one, for all generations to come and in all births to come.

His chief concern is protection of one in body (mei) and in karma (vinai)


There is no mincing of words as to who his or everyone's phalana deivam is

It is Rama who is to be worshipped as the protector in life.

Krishna is the upaya (means) for moksha.

In worship, Periyaazhwar sees Him as Jyothi in his heart

('sudaroliyai nenjinulle thondrumen Jyothi nambhi' -10th pasuram).




But if we attempt to find out who his ‘Ishta devatha’ (God he desired)

could have been,

we may think that it was Vatapatra saayi

to whom he did daily kainkaryam!

The Lord whom he and his daughter Andal saw every day and

paid personal adorations and worship was

Vatapatra saayi of Srivilliputtur.


I may perhaps be right in referring this Lord as his Ishta devatha.


6 comments:

Aishu said...

Dear Ma'am,
I would like to know that if a female gets married, will her kula daivam change? I am born into a family that has kula daivam for last 5 generations or more. My in-laws donot have kula daivam or they have no knowledge about it. So, will my paternal kula daivam be my kula daivam, by default? When it comes to my kids, who will be their kula daivam?

jayasree said...

A good question Ms Aishu.

Generally people - even those who are familiar with scriptures - say that once a girl gets married she will have to start following the husband side habits only. An impression is there that the daughters cease to get influenced by her parental side issues / commitments.

But it is not so - as per astrology and also texts. The loss of connection with parental home for the girl was recommended more for practical purposes. But if you look at verses on inheritance and pithru tarpan, the girl also shares equal responsibility / right.

In other words the rules that govern a boy with reference to his duties to his parents are the same for the girl also with reference to her parents. The girl can not avoid duty to he parents in the pretext that her brothers will take care of them. If the situation demands that she has to go to the help of her parents, she has to. Otherwise she will invite ill-karma due to that.

Astrologically speaking, the dosha from the girl's side also can get manifest in her children. The manifestation of dominant genes in in girl's lineage are known from Genetics. The switching on of certain genes in certain ages also are now known. These tally with what astrology says. Sometimes the genes may not actually get activated at that age. We consider it as the effect of pariharas / good karma done deliberately as parihara or done voluntarily on one's own volition. But such a gene may or may not get transferred to the next generation. This is also decided by how a person manages to ward off a karma.

What I am coming to say form all these is that there is every chance of a defect from the girl's side to pass on to her off- springs. Such a defect may be linked to an offense to a deity / family deity. The same is possible with the boy's side also. So we have to see that both sides must be problem free. This can be checked from the 9th house significances and the association of Rahu or Ketu with them. Rahu stands for paternal ancestors and Ketu for maternal ancestors.

Affliction of these show whether a defect of dosha is passed on from mother's side or father's side. So it is imperative that deities of both sides are worshiped well.

In your case I advise you to worship your side deity. Better to find out the deity of your husband side also. If they do not know, find out their ancestral place where your husband's grand father lived. Any defect done in his period is likely to get manifest from the generation of your child onwards. So Find out the place where that grand father lived for a long time and find out the main deity of that place. Consider that deity as the ancestral deity of your husband's family and worship it. In addition worship Lord Srinivasa and Alamelu manga of Thiruppathy as they are regarded as the family deities for everyone.

Send your husband's and child's birth details to me. I will check anyway.

Aishu said...

Dear Ma'am,
Thank you for the detailed reply. Since marriage I was worried thinking if my kula daiwams have deserted me just like that because some people say that kula daiwams change. My father says that Kula daivams are always there to take care even if one is too busy to remember them, they are like parents :)

My husband's DOB: 28th Sept 1978, 2.30am, Ernakulam, Kerala
My daughter's DOB: 21st Dec 2007, 10:00 am, Thrissur/Trichur, Kerala.
Mine: 25th Nov 1981, 3:37pm, Palghat, Kerala.

As far as I have asked for details on my husband's kuladaivam is that they have given away their deity to a temple long back. They are not sure about when it was done, because my father in law has not seen it even in his childhood.
Thank you for helping me with this.

jayasree said...

Dear Ms Aishu,

For all the 3 of you Vishnu along with Lakshmi is indicated in the horoscopes. The deity has sesha also in the combine. So I infer Anantha Padmanabha swamy is the deity who guards your side and your husband's side also. There is no difference in the family deity for both side families. So the deity you follow on your parental side can be worshiped by all of you. In your horoscope a specific form of Vishnu is indicated in addition. It is Lord Krishna. Worship that deity also.

However there is a wrath of a female person in your husband's maternal side indicated in his horoscope. There is also some pending parihara with reference to Goddess Bhagawathi indicated in his horoscope. I suggest you do Varalakshmi puja every year and honour sumangalis on that day. After your daughter reaches her puberty, conduct a Sumangali Puja and honour the elderly Sumangalis from your husband's side. Conduct Sumangali puja on all occasions of Shubha kaarya in your family such as marriage of daughter.

As a family all the 3 of you pay a visit to Chottanikkara Bhagawathi amamn and offer do puja in the name of your husband. Offer Pal payasam to the deity and distribute the same to devotees and women in particular. Do puja on the day of your daughter's birth day (birth star) at that temple. You can do this for her as a life time puja by paying a deposit for a day's puja. Enquire in the temple and do that.

There is nothing bad and inauspicious in the horoscopes and the worships you do. So have no worry and do the above pariharas and keep up the worship for all times with deep faith in God. If there is a tradition of Guru to your or your husband's family, worship his also.

jayasree said...

One more thing Aishu.
The best kind of charity for your entire family is to offer whitened and sweetened food to people after offering it to Goddess Lakshmi / Vishnu. It could be sweet pongal made of sugar or paal payasam or any white and sweetened or milk mixed food. The ideal day to offer is Friday.

Aishu said...

Dear Ma'am,
It is so kind of you to take your valuable time and let me know who my KulaDaivam is. I will follow your guidance. Thank you for the detailed reply.