|Regions with significant populations|
Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh
|Brahmin Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Sanskrit|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Vadama, Madhwas, Thenkalai|
Vadakalai, meaning Northern school or Northern culture, are a subsect of the Vaishnavite Iyengar community of Hindu Brahmins. In Sanskrit the Vadakalai are referred to as Uttara Kalārya. Vadakalais are followers of Ramanuja and Vedanta Desika.
Ethnicity and origin
The Vadakalai community consists of the following groups, based on the sampradaya followed:
- Pancharatra – Followers of Ahobila Mutt. Majority of Vadakalais belong to this group.
- Parakala – They are mostly followers of Parakala Mutt, Mysore. Founded in 1399 by Brahmatantra Parakala Jeeyar, the peetadhipathis of this mutt are the preceptors of the royal family of Mysore Kingdom, Wadiyars. This has stayed as a royal mutt of the kings since then, and is a mutt for all Iyengars under this category.
The Tilak (Urdhva Pundra) mark of the Vadakalai men is a symbolic representation of Vishnu's right foot. Since Vishnu's right foot is believed to be the origin of the river Ganges, the Vadakalais contend that his right foot should be held in special veneration, and its sign impressed on the forehead. They also apply a central mark (Srichurnam) to symbolize the goddess Lakshmi (Vishnu's wife), along with the thiruman (urdhva pundra). The Urdhva Pundra which is vertical and faces upwards denotes that it helps one in reaching Vaikunta (the spiritual abode of Lord Vishnu), and is also considered to be a protection from evil. Vadakalai women apply a red central mark only, symbolizing Lakshmi, on their foreheads.
Religious practices and tradition
The Vadakalai Iyengars believe in practising Karma yoga, Jnana yoga and Bhakti yoga along with Prapatti, as means to attain salvation. Vedanta Desika emphasizes the practise of the three yogas in his work Rahasya Trayasarah, where he describes Karma and Jnana yogas to be prerequisites of Bhakti yoga.
Mutts (monasteries), and places of significance
The Vadakalais are generally followers of the Ahobila Mutt, Parakala Mutt, Srirangam Srimad Andavan Ashramam and Poundarikapuram Andavan Ashramam. Among these, Parakala Mutt is more than 700 years old, and the oldest. The Ahobila Mutt is a 600+ year old monastic order, and the second oldest. Srirangam Srimad Andavan Ashramam is a 300+ year old organisation, which came into existence by the 18th century, while Poundarikapuram Andavan Ashramam is 100+ years old.
Traditionally, places of high importance with significant Vadakalai populations included Kanchipuram, Kumbakonam, Tiruvallur, Mysore and Kurnool district. However, today much of the people have moved to the big cities.
Absolutely no need to worry about the differences. Though Vadakalai and Thenkalai were non existent during Raamaanuja period, the opinions were formed later.These opinions merely opined to Strengthen the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya but not to inequate either Thenkalai or Vadakalai(neither vedanta desika nor pillai lokacharya have an intention to lessen each other).Though existing with two opinions the mutual respect and recognition for both existed till a certain point of time until the British Rules/ Court System came to existence. This led to the formation of Fanatics in both the sects as Power and control were distributed among them. Both the Tenkalai sampradaya and Vadakalai sampradaya are the strong pillars of the Sri Raamaanuja Sampradaya.None of the 18 differences with formed the two sects can actually be proved or disproved by either of the sects.
The Vadakalai follow the doctrines of Vedanta Desika and Ramanuja, while the Thenkalai follow the doctrines of Manavalamamunigal and Ramanuja. Vadakalai Iyengars sport the U naama, rather than the Thenkalai Y naamam. Compared to the Thenkalai Iyengars who thrived in Srirangam, their tradition developed around Kanchi. The Vadakalai group follow the Sanskrit Vedas, unlike the Thenkalai who follow the Tamil prabhandams.
- Gopala Bhatta Goswami (1503–1578), born a Vadakalai Iyengar, one of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan in Chaitanya Vaishnavism, and a highly revered Guru in ISKCON.
- Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1878–1972), Indian politician and activist of the Indian independence movement. Premier of Madras (1937–1939), Governor of Bengal (1946–1948), Governor-General of India (1948–1950), Union Home Minister (1950–1952) and Chief Minister of Madras state (1952–1954). Founder of Swatantra party.
- C. V. Rungacharlu (1831–1883), Diwan of Mysore kingdom from 1881 to 1883.
- T. S. S. Rajan (1880–1953), Indian politician and freedom-fighter. Member of the Imperial Legislative Council (1934–1936), Minister of Public Health and Religious Endowments (Madras Presidency) (1937–1939), Minister of Food and Public Health (Madras Presidency) (1946–1951).
- Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888–1989), an influential Yoga teacher, healer and scholar.
- Agnihotram Ramanuja Tatachariar (1907–2008), renowned vedic scholar, and recipient of two national awards for his contribution to Vedic studies and Sanskrit literature.
- R. Madhavan (b. 1970), Indian film actor.
- Sri N Srinivasachariar, MA, LT, Head Master Sri Ramakrishna Mission High School, North Branch, T Nagar and retired from the Main School at Panagal Park. Established Ahobila Mutt Oriental Matriculation High School. Great Vedic scholar and philanthropist. Dies at his age of 100.
- Pg 205 Students' Britannica India. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- T. V. Kuppuswamy (Prof.), Shripad Dattatraya Kulkarni (1966). History of Tamilakam. Darkness at horizon. Shri Bhagavan Vedavyasa Itihasa Samshodhana Mandira. p. 166.
- Pg.129 Sociology of religion, Volume 1 – by Joachim Wach, University of Chicago press, 1944. Google Books. 3 November 1958. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.107 Kabir, the apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity: interaction of Hindu-Muslim ideas in the formation of the bhakti movement with special reference to Kabīr, the bhakta – Muhammad Hedayetullah, Motilal Banarsidass publication, 1977. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "Astadasabhedanirnaya". Adityaprakashan.com. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist shrine, Sanjivan Publications, 1991. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "Vadakalai Srivaishnava Festivals' Calendar – The source mentions Pancharatra & Munitraya Krishna Jayantis celebrated by Ahobila Mutt & Andavan Ashrams respectively". Trsiyengar.com. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "Ahobila Mutt's Balaji Mandir Pune, Calendar – The calendar mentions Ahobila Mutt disciples celebrating Krishna Jayanti as "Pancharatra Sri Jayanti"". Sribalajimandirpune.com. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.100, The Cultural Heritage of India: Sri Ramakrishna centenary memorial, published by – Sri Ramakrishna centenary committee. Books.google.co.in. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.31 Rāmānuja sampradāya in Gujarat:a historical perspective, Somaiya Publications. Google Books. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.82, Srivaishnavism and social change – by K.seshadri, K.P.Bagchi & co publishers. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- The Cultural Heritage of India:The Religious. Ramakrishna Mission, Institute of Culture. 1956. p. 182.
- Pg.194 – Modern India and the Indians ,by M.Monier Williams. Books.google.co.in. 26 July 2001. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg 31 Std 7 Social Science textbook printed by the TamilNadu textbook corporation[dead link]
- Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture – by K.V.Raman. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.199 Philosophy of Nārāyaṇīyam, Dharma, Nārāyaṇabhaṭṭapāda, Study of Nārāyaṇīya of Nārāyaṇabhaṭṭapāda, verse work on Krishna, Hindu deity; Nag Publishers. Google Books. 1 February 1996. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "www.munitrayam.org(An exclusive vadakalai website) – ''Srimad Rahasya Traya Sara'' by Vedanta Desika – under the subtopic ''Upaya Vibhaga Adhikara''". munitrayam.org. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.150 Dimensions of national integration: the experiences and lessons of Indian history – by Nisith Ranjan Ray, Punthi-Pustak & Institute of Historical Studies, 1993. 28 November 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.65 The Indian historical review, Volume 17 – Indian Council of Historical Research, Vikas Pub. House.,1990. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- History of Sri Vaishnavism in the Tamil country post Ramanuja – by N.Jagadeesan, Koodal Publishers. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "Invitation document from Poudarikapuram Ashramam – It is a Vadakalai Ashram – the invitation bears the Vadakalai Caste Mark with salutes to Ramanuja and Desika". Google. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "Projects". Parakala Matham. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "HoparoundIndia, Andhra Pradesh, Ahobilam Attractions". Hoparoundindia.com. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "Ahobila Mutt". Chembur.com. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "Sri Balaji Mandir, Pune". Sri Balaji Mandir, Pune. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "ssapsribalajimandir". ssapsribalajimandir. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.30 Vaiṣṇavism: its philosophy, theology, and religious discipline – By S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, ISBN 81-208-1098-8. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "Biography of Poundarikapuram Ashramam". Munitrayam.org. 20 October 1934. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- PG.14 Studies in history, Volume 1, Issue 1; Jawaharlal Nehru University. Centre for Historical Studies, Sage, 1979. Books.google.co.in. 1 June 2002. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.561 Gazetteer of South India, Volume 2 – By W. Francis, Mittal Publications. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.33 Indian philosophy & culture, Volumes 3–4; Vrindāvan (India) Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Vaishnava Research Institute, Vrindāban, India. Books.google.co.in. 1 January 1984. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.240 Ontological and morphological concepts of Lord Sri Chaitanya and his mission, Volume 1; Bhakti Vilās Tīrtha Goswāmi Maharāj, Navadwīpa Dhām Prachārini Sabha; Pub' – Sree Gaudiya Math, 1994. Books.google.co.in. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.129 Studies in social history: modern India; O. P. Bhatnagar, India. University Grants Commission, University of Allahabad. Dept. of Modern Indian History; St. Paul's Press Training School, 1964. Books.google.co.in. 1 January 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Pg.70 Social change in village India: an Andhra case study – by Y. Subhashini Subrahmanyam, Prithvi Raj Publishers, 1975. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "The Life of Srila Gopala Bhatta Goswami; His Vadakalai origin is mentioned in the article, where Vadakalai is spelled as "Badagalai"(Some in Northern India often substitute the alphabet V with B)". Prabhupadanugas.eu. 22 January 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "TimesContent – Photo of Rajagopalachari – He wears the Vadakalai Tilak on his forehead". Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya (1896). Hindu Castes and Sects: An Exposition on the Origins of Hindu caste system. Thacker, Spink & Co. p. 78.
- Jawaharlal Memorial Fund (1972). Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru. Orient Longman. p. 440.
- "A Vedic scholar enters his 100th year". The Hindu. India. 30 March 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- 15/06/2010 (15 June 2010). "ReelshowInt MAG". Mag.reelshowint.com. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brahmins.|