[Advaita-l] Temple Worship by Gurukkals/Sivacharyas

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 28 16:35:30 CST 2010

I have a question regarding Brahmins who perform worship at Temples, especially in Tamilnadu.

According to a Wikipedia article (may of course be mistaken!):


Migration of Brahmins

Tamil Nadu welcomed these new migrants with open hands. The stories of the migration of Agasthya and his being the founder of the river Cauvery are chronicled in ancient Tamil myth...
Many of these migrants whose main occupation was learning Vedas and performing Yagnas took to Temple worship in Tamil Nadu by gaining proficiency in agama Sastras. These were called Gurukkal (gurukuls) in general and some of these prominent groups were again grouped in to Sholiyars. Since the initial migrants felt that these people have committed a big mistake by taking up Temple Worship, they were looked down by the other groups.

I find the last sentence above a bit puzzling - why are those Brahmins who worship in Temples given a "lower" status? Is it the case all over India, or is it only in Tamilnadu?

My guess: Shruti recommends the path of Vedokta Karma, and Temple worship is more aligned with the Smritis, hence the "lower" status - smriti-enjoined Karma is typically not considered to be on par with shruti-enjoined Karma. Is this a reasonable guess?

But I think such divisions may be more sociological than anything else, since Ramana Bhagavan always gave an extremely high position to temple worship, and even said that an ascetic's body is "like a temple".



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