miinalochanii paashamochanii miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM
Tue Oct 23 17:44:47 CDT 2001

My understanding was that they are a class of brahmins and  only they
can become the temple priests of shiva temples in TN. They are not
shaiva veLLaala-s. But they are shaiva-s and not smarta-s like rest of
the aiyars. As paramacharya says they are indeed brahmana-s at least at
social standing.

But there are some hidden social tensions in relationships between them
and aiyars in marriage etc. If I am not mistaken, aiyars consider them
slightly at a lower level than them on social standing. Also they not
do not give that great a status to shankarAchArya-s like aiyar-s. (this
para may be wrong).

 I did a www search and following is from the book "Dancing with Siva"
written by shivAya subramuniyaswami who belongs to shaiva siddhanta
tradition. This is to support my first paragraph, my second para may be
wrong. Long ago I tried to find something about this as my nADi
predicted that I will become a temple priest in my next birth. Which
reminds me of my friend's comment (from R.K. Narayanan) "that most
indians plan elaborately for next birth, forgetting the current" :-))
or something to that effect.

I hope this answers Nandakumar's question.


Adisaiva: (Sanskrit) A hereditary priest and teacher of the South
Indian Saiva Siddhanta tradition; Saivite brahmins descended from the
gotras of five rishis and who alone are entitled to conduct rites in
Agamic Siva temples. Adisaiva and Sivacharya are synonyms for this
hereditary priest lineage. See: Sivacharya.

Sivacharya: (Sanskrit) The hereditary priests of the Saiva Siddhanta
tradition. The title of Adisaiva Brahmins. An Adisaiva priest who has
received the necessary training and dikshas to perform public Siva
temple rites known as Agamic nitya parartha puja. A fully qualified
Sivacharya is also known as archaka. Sivacharya, too, names the family
clan of this priest tradition. See: Adisaiva. brahmin.

--- Vivek Anand Ganesan <v_ganesan at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
> --- Shri nanda chandran wrote:
> > If anybody has information on the Sivaachaaryas of
> > TamilNadu, whom
> > Chandrashekara Saraswati recognizes as braahmanas, I
> > would appreciate it, if
> > you could post it to the list.
> Namaste Nandaji,
>   I know a little bit due to the influence of the Saiva
> maths in my home town ( Thiruvannamalai, site of Shri
> Ramanashram ).
> The Sivaachaaryas are drawn from the Saiva Vellala
> community of Tamil Nadu. They are staunch saivites and
> are also strict vegetarians. They follow the Saiva
> Siddhanta of Tamil Nadu and the tradition of the 63 saivite
> saints called nayanmars.
>   There are prominent places of pilgrimage in Tamil Nadu
> which have endowed seats of authority called Adheenams. The
> Adheenams initiate and train people to be Saivite priests,
> i.e. sivaachaaryas.  The sivaachaaryas wear a thick, single
> layer chord in lieu of the yajnopavitam and perform agamic
> rituals in the temples.
>   I am surprised that periyava has recognized them as
> brahmins.  Because, smarthas in general do not mix with
> them
> and there is some underlying hostility between the two (
> which btw was the root cause of the so-called "dravidian"
> movement ).
> -Vivek.
> PS : The above is based on my personal experience. Any
>      comments/corrections welcome.
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