Saturday, June 23, 2018

Brahmins with Vaishnavite Marks in Palakkad villages

Brahmins  with  Vaishnavite   Marks in Palakkad villages

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    Strangely most of the people who migrated to Kerala were  iyers (Though I have seen an iyengar family  in my own village   and when enquired they   said, they migrated from Andhra) . While most of these  iyers wore Vibhuthi  (a smartha custom) , some of them wore  Gopi  crescent   like Madhwas   and some  single red Oordwa pundra line    like   the Vaishnavites of Tamil Nadu .(Oordwa Pundra   has been mentioned in Vasudeva Upanishad  and was in   existence from time immemorial)
A.Palakkad Brahmins   wearing Namam
 It is also interesting to note  that  the majority of people wearing Oordwa Pundra are      from two  of the eighteen villages  in Palakkad viz  Thirunellai (also called as Thiruvilla kadavu)    and Pallipuram . Sri Narayana Murthi belonging to Palakkad had written ( ) that these  Vaishnavites “ came to these villages from Srirangam, Conjeevaram, Srivalliputhur and other centres of Vaishnavism. They were used to the pure Vaishnavite traditions of living, such as Namam, names of individuals, worship of dieties etc. Basically, they were  Vadama Smartha brahmins, who worship all Gods, but primarily in the Vishnu aspect. The Thirunellai people also worship Sankarshana, an aspect of Vishnu. All these are external, since they "wanted to be Romans, while in Rome" and they chose   to live like Smarthas  Some of them   said  that they  also owe allegiance to the Jeear in Srirangam or other Vaishnavite Acharyas and   the  Sankaracharyas are not welcome in those villages, even to-day. Mostly, they marry only between these villages, until 50 years ago.This has changed completely, now.” From another of my friend, I understand   that  once upon a time, they never used to say in mamo Partha “Parameshwara  preethyartham”  but say  “Narayana  Preethyartham”
B.Palakkad   Brahmins    wearing  Gopichandana
There are   also  Palakkad Brahmins who wear  crescents  of  Gopi Chandana of  yellow colour .All   the Brahmins of a small   village called  Pulakode   belong to this category They all wear   short crescent    with Gopi chandana .Possibly they might have belonged to Madhwa families in Kumbakonam.
Even   among those who normally wear a crescent  with Gopi Chandana  , there are a few   who wear  long  gopis like  the North Indian Vaishnavas .  Being very much interested  in the  history of Kerala Brahmins  , I had enquired   from those who wear   Gopi whether    they are Vaishnavite Madhwas  and they told   they were but followed all the Acharas, manthras  and  ceremonial dress  of Smarthas  .For all practical  practical purposes   except for Oordwa pundra they were  Smarthas.
C.Palakkad  Brahmins  specialised  in Vishnu  worship
   There   is another   small group  of people called Azhvars  in Palakkad  and they do pooja (at least on festival days)   in  most of the  Vishnu/Krishna/Rama temples  managed  by the  Tamil Brahmin. My friend Anantha Narayanan who is a Vaishnavite Palakkad Brahmin says “Regarding azhvar, they are called to do "dwaja arohanam", "avarohanam" in ratholsavam and certain pujas only. “.

 Note- I also do not know whether such Brahmins wearing Namam   or Gopi Chandanam  are there among the Pondi Brahmins  and the Trivandrum Brahmins

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