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THIRUMAN KAAPU

‘Sree Choornam’ is the image of goddess Mahalakshmi who symbolizes


the ‘Mind’ of God Himself. The Thiruman on both sides of the Sree
choorNam are the two feet of Lord Mahavishnu Himself. It is in Urdhwa
mukham – that is, upward going. This symbolizes the upward movement
of the Self in meditation and in attaining Brahman-hood. This is also
called Urdhwa pundaram. Urdhawa means going upward. Pundaram
means lotus flower. The heart is personified as lotus flower and Lakshmi
resides on this flower. By thinking of Her, the person goes upward in
mind to reach Bhagawan.

Chandoghya upanishad (VIII – vi- 6) says that there are 101 arteries
(called as naadi) of the heart. The heart is not the heart in the literal sense.
It is personification of the seat of upasana on which rests the feet of
Bhagawan.

Bhagawan is always accompanied with Lakshmi –( as Sree choorNam)


the Power that directs the self to the ‘lakshyam’ or goal. The goal is to
reach Him. The meditation or worship rises the self through 100 arteries
of the lotus- personified heart and reaches the head / forehead.
There the 101st naadi is situated. That naadi is protected by the ThirumaN-
Sree ChoorNam. This mark is called as ThirumaN kaapu! Kaapu means
‘protection’. The ingredients used for this, suck the water content in that
part of the forehead and keeps the naadi protected. The ThriumaN – Sree
choorNam protects the 101st naadi as it gets activated.

By wearing it always, the person is also said to become the home for the
divinities

On significance of ThirumaN – Sree choorNam :-

http://www.ibiblio.org/sadagopan/oa/oa9.htm

The Vaishnavite Paribhasha(colloquial) for wearing ThirumaN (Auspicious


Clay) is ThirumaN Kappu Saatal. The key word here seems to be Kaapu or
Protection. That protection is achieved thru the Lord"s weapons celebrated
in Panchaayudha Sthotram. Like Dig Bhandhanam before Mantra recitation,
the request for protection of the limbs of one body and protection from above,
behind, sides etc is a well known practise in Ahnikaas (Performance of Daily
rituals prescribed).Hence ,ThirumaN Kappu can be viewed as a Kavacham ,
that confers protection on the Vaishanavaas wearing that by invoking the
weapons and the power of the Lord. The freedom from fear of the ThirumaN
kappu wearing Vaishnavas referred to in Eswar's note relates to the
Mahaviswasam of the Vishnu Bhaktas in Lord"s protection from the three kinds of
afflictions of life.

The 12 names associated with 12 Urdhva Pundarams have been elaborated


upon by Swami Desikan in his work known as "Panniru Thirunaamam" dedicated
to the celebration of the holy feet of Kanchi Perumaal.

Examples of that are:


Forehead, Presiding lord is Kesavan. His color is invoked as Golden. His
weapons are 4 Chakrams. The direction assigned to him is East.` Centre Portion
of Stomach, the next site to wear Urdhva Pundram has Sriman Narayana as the
presiding deity. His Color is visualized as Blue.His Weapons are 4 Conches .The
direction of protection offered by him is West.Thus it goes on for the rest of the
10 Urdhva Pundram.
Incidentally, Urdhva Pundram is associate with Urdhva Rethas celebrated
in the Vedic Passage "Urdhva Retham virupaksham Viswaroopaya Nama:"
Urdhva Pundaram is also symbolic of Sattvika Guna by Lord Krishna In
Bhagavat Gita ( Urdhvam Gacchanti Satttwasthaa:).Reference to this is
from Naaradheeyam.In this context, this souce says that the Vishnu
Bhaktaas should not wear Tiryak Pundram(cross , horizontal wearing of the
Pundram) even as a playful matter. Vishnu Dharmottaram establishes
guidelines as to which finger to use in applying ThirumaN. Pavitram
wearing finger and the middle finger are taboo. One should apply ThirumaN
, while sitting. The Thirucchornam used must be sanctified. Any vermillion paste
wont do. The thirumaN wearing has to have the White two lines and the Red line
at the center, housing the Divine couple, who are never seperated. The two white
lines are like temple for them. Lord Himself says that he and his consort love to
reside in the temple created by the two broad white lines of ThirumaN. Narrow
crowding of the two lines are not desirable to him

On the Sampradhayam(tradion) side, there are number of mantras to create the


paste of clay with water in one"s palm.Nrsimha Beejam is to be drawn at the
center after completing the preparation of the paste.The Veda Mantras used in
the preparatory rituals are 7 in number.Panchopanishad Mantra,
Ashtaaksharam,Vishnu Shadakshara Mantram, Dwaadasaaksharam,
Dwayam(Mantra ratnam), Vishnu Gayatri are to be included in the appropriate
phases of the Pundram wearing ceremony. In between the 12 Names of the Lord
to be recited at the time of the decoration of the individual parts of the body, the
12 names of Sri Devi are to be added. They are: Sriyayai nama:.,
Amrutothbhavaayayai Nama:, Kamalaayayai Nama:,Chandra Sodharyayai
nama:, Vishnupatnyayai nama:, Vaishnavyayai nama:, Varaarohayayai
nama:,Harivallabhyayai Nama: , Saarnginyayai nama:, Devadevikaayayai
nama:, Surasundaryayai nama:. Maha Lakshmyayai Nama:,
Sarvaabhishtapalapradhaayayai nama:. Guru vandanaams are also involved.

ThirumaN is some salt of Calcium . Chalk- Clay has many versions. Mostly,
they are made of Calcium carbonate, Sulfates, Oxalates et al in admixture with
salts of Magnesium , Barium , Strontium et al. For instance the Kimmergidian
Chalk belt ( craie a Belemnites extending from the white Cliffs of Dover in UK
across the English channel to Northern France and there on to Champagne
district) is said to contain 50 different kinds of Chalks These Chalks are remains
of the cephalopods, crustaceans and shell fish that lived and died 600 million
years ago, when these regions were covered by sea water.The chalk- clay here
is at places 600 feet deep and drains subsurface water and in dry times releases
the moisture held by them to the vines.Thus their role in draining of moisture ,
holding it and releasing it has implications for the ThirumaN, which according
to Tradition has to be worn thick, so that the underlying skin is not seen.
Thirunarayanapuram and regions a round it might have been under the sea
in earlier geological times and the chalk origin might come from that.
Geologists specializing in Karnataka can comment on that better.

Chemistry of ThirumaN
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As indicated by Srteekrishna, calcium salts have important effects on
Circulatory and Brain functions. One can speculate on the Osmosis of
Calcium thru the skin to surface blood vessels - and then on to main arterries-
during the days, months and years of Thiruman wearing Vaishnavites. It can be a
cumilative beneficial effect from the health point of view.

We can connect the Calcium effects to Calcium"s role at large as a Calcium


channel blocker used in many modern day drugs such asn Dilitazem, Nifedipine
and Verapamil. These drugs thru their Calcium channel blocking activity gives
the benefits of (1) antiarrhthymic (2) anti anginal (3) stabilizing of regular heart
beat (4) control of high blood pressure (5) increased flow of Oxygen to heart
muscle (6) control of sasm of Esophagus (6) check on Osteomalecia/Ricketts
and (7) arrest of Osteoporosis.

It is interesting to observe that many of our ancestors and particularly our revered
Acharyas lived long lives, the Vedic prescribed age of 100 or more. Ramanuja
lived for 120 years; Swami Desikan lived for 101 years. Their dietary restrictions,
Sattvic way of life and observance of daily rituals such as Naama Dharanam
( Cumulative effect of Calcium) might be factors in it.

I doubt that our Thiruman dissolves quickly in acids (HCl, etc) and release
Carbon dioxide since it may be not strictly Calcium Carbonate. In all probability ,
it is a Carbonate bound together with Silicates and sulfates. Our Chemist friends
can establish this analytically.