Srivaishnava Urdhva Pundra
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The Srivaishnava Urdhva Pundra (also known as Thiruman Srichurnam or the Shricharanam) is the tilaka used by followers of Sri Vaishnava. The figure drawn is representative of the feet of Narayana with Lakshmi in the middle. It is adorned by members of the Sri Vaishnava tradition (including Pancharatra, Vaikhanasa, and Bhagavada Srivaishnavas).
The full form
The two Iyengar subsects, Thenkalai and Vadakalai, wear the Thiruman Srichurnam in slightly different ways. The Thiruman in the case of the Thenkalai extends to the bridge of the nose, forming a Y shape.
Priests traditionally wear the Thiruman Srichurnam at 12 places on their body (dvadasa pundram). See: Samashrayanam.
Full forms of the Urdhva Pundara are shown in the gallery.
Iyengar Vedic students in Tanjore, sporting the thenkalai srIcharaNaM. Source:The National Geographic Magazine, Nov 1909
|The Vadakalai As an emblem.
The abbreviated form
The abbreviated Thiruman is more commonly used by Iyengars in daily life. It consists of a single thin, vertical red or yellow line in the middle of the forehead. Although the Smriti forbid wearing the Srichurnam without the Thiruman, it has become a common practice due to convenience.
Etymology and meaning
The Parashara Smriti gives a very detailed explanation on the Thiruman: where, when, and how to wear it, as well as what should be chanted while wearing the same.
Srichurnam is the yellow/red line in the middle of the white marks. The white marks are called ThirumaN in Tamil. The word Srichurnam is often referred with the Thiruman and is called as Thiruman Srichurnam (or Oordhva Pundram). Particularly for the followers of Sri Sampradayam Srivaishnavas, Sriman Narayana (Vishnu) is always seen as being inseparable from his divine consort, Lakshmi, and hence the marks on the forehead will always represent the Lord's lotus feet (ThirumaN) and his divine consort in the middle at his service.
The etymology of Srichurnam is as follows: Sri refers to Lakshmi, while churanam literally means powder. The Srichurnam - the red/yellow line in the middle - represents Lakshmi. Thiruman (tiru = holy, maN = clay) represents the feet Vishnu.
Apart from the main ingredients described below, several auspicious substances are added, such as Tulasi, rice, turmeric, camphor, flowers.
The yellow mark is worn using turmeric, or using sandal wood paste. (Sandal is forbidden from use for bachelors in Vedic tradition).
The red mark is made of turmeric mixed with lime (churNa).
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