B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

. (page 29 of 98)
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S'rivaishnava ...









All three sects are composed of either Vaidikas or I^aukikas, the
former, those who have devoted themselves entirely to religion, and
live on charity ; the latter, those who attend to worldly affairs. The

' Somewhat on the same principle that the Press in England calls itself the l-'ourth
Estate, supplementary to the three recognized governing estates of king, nobles and


distinction is merely an individual one, as different members of the
same family may be either Vaidikas or Laukikas according to inclina-

The Smarta derive their name from s/iiriii\ the code of revealed or
traditional law. They worship the triad of Brahma, S'iva, and Vishnu
under the mystic syllable 6>w, and while admitting them to be equal,
exalt S'iva as their chief deity. They hold the pantheistic Vedanta
doctrine of Advaita or non-dualism, believing God and matter to be
identical, and everything but an atom of the divinity, they themselves
being parts of the Supreme Being. The founder of the Smarta sect
was S'ankara or S'ankaracharya, the Hindu reformer of the eighth
century, and their guru is the S'ringeri Swami, designated the Jagad
Guru. The probably very ancient sect of the Bhagavata, or the
Bhagavata sampradaya, numbering 12,788, are reckoned as Smartas,
but they incline more to Vishnu worship, and follow the Tengale in
the time of observing the Ekadas'i fasts. The guru of the Bhagavatas
is at Talkad. The distinctive marks of a Smarta Brahman are three
parallel horizontal lines of pounded sandalwood, or of the ashes of cow-
dung, on the forehead, with a round red spot in the centre, but the
Bhagavatas wear perpendicular Vaishnava marks.

The Madhva are so called from Madhva or Madhvacharya, the
founder of the sect, who arose in South Kanara in the thirteenth
century. They worship both Vishnu and S'iva, but more particularly
the former. They profess the doctrine of Dvaita or dualism, consider-
ing the Creator and the created to be distinct, and their final absorption
to be in the future. It appears that they may be divided into the
Vyasakiita and the Dasakuta. The former adhere strictly to the
religious teachings of the founder, which are entirely in Sanskrit. The
latter base their faith on hymns and writings in the vernacular, which
they can understand, of persons of their sect distinguished as Dasas or
servants of God, and they go about with musical instruments singing
these in honour of the Divine Being. A Madhva Brahman is known
by a black perpendicular line from the junction of the eyebrows to the
top of the forehead, with a dot in the centre. A Smarta may become
a Madhva, and vice versa, but the former happens oftener than the
latter. In such cases intermarriages between persons of the same
circle are not prohibited, though they embrace different doctrines, but
the wife always adopts the tenets of her husband.

The S'rivaishnava, also called Aiyangar, are worshippers of ^'ishnu,
as identified with his consort Lakshmi or S'ri, whence their name.
The founder of their sect was Ramanuja or Ramanujacharya, who lived
in the Chola and Mysore countries at the beginning of the twelfth


century, and after him they are also called Ramanujas in some parts of
India. Their creed is the Vis'ishtadvaita, which differs from the Dvaita
in attributing both form and qualities to the Deity. In Mysore their
guru is the Parakalaswami of Melukote. They are the most exclusive
of all the Brahmans in points of food and intermarriage, the
orthodox among them requiring curtains to screen their food from the
gaze of others, even their own relations and fellow-sectarians. They
form two principal divisions, the Tengale, or southern, numbering 7,161,
and the ^'a(jagale, or northern, numbering 12,914. The distinction
between the two arises from dispute as to certain doctrinal points, said
to be eighteen in number,' which were formulated some four centuries
back, in Sanskrit and Tamil verses, by Manaval Mahamuni on the side
of the Tengale, and by Vedanta Desikar on the side of the Vadagale,
and the dispute has placed a gulf between the parties ever since.
There are some differences also in social observances. The Tengale,
for instance, do not subject widows to the tonsure, which is usual
among other Brahman sects. They also give more prominence
to the vernacular versions of their Sanskrit sacred writings. The
S'rivaishnava are known by the ndimi or trident on the forehead,
the centre line being yellow or red, and the two outer ones white.
The Tengale distinguish themselves from the Vadagale by continuing
the central line of the trident in white for some distance down the

The three main sects above described contain nearly eighty recorded
subdivisions, distinguished by names which are mainly territorial or
numerical in origin. The derivation of many of the names appears to
l)e unknown even to those who bear them.

Those included under Smarta and Madhva, in alphabetical order,
are :вАФ Adi S'aiva, Aruvattu-wokkalu, A'ruvelu, A'ruvelu Niy6gi, Ashta-
sahasra, Badaganad, Bhagavata-sampradaya, Bodhayana, Brihach-
charana, Chitpavan, Des'astha, Devalaka or Sivaradhya, Dnivida, Hale
Karnataka or Hala Kannadiga, Havika or Haiga, Hoysaniga, Kambalur,
Kamme (Babbiir, Kannada, Ulcha and Vijayapura), Kandavara,
Kardfle, Karnataka, Kasalnad, Katyayana, Kavarga, Ki'lnad, Konkan-
astha, K6ta (or Kaikota and Ippatnalkaravaru), Koti's'vara, Kus'asthala
(or Senve), Madhva (Waishnava and Pennattur), Mulikinad or Muri-
kinad, Nambilri, Nandavaidika, Niyogi, Panchagrama, Praknad,
Prathamas'akhe (Kanva, Madhydnjana or Yajnavalkya), Sahavasi,
Sanketi, Sarvarya, S'lrnad, S'is'uvarga, S'ivalli (or Kurus'ivalli), S'ukla
YajusVakhe, Telaghanya, Totada Tigala, Tulava, Uttraji (or Uttradi),
Vadama, Vadhyama, ^'anglpuram, Veginad, Velna

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 29 of 98)