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Medieval Śrīvaiṣṇavism Anandakichenin, Suganya May 3, 2018

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Poll: Religious Group (v6) Published on: 03 May 2018Date Range: 1017 CE - 1445 CERegion: Tamil NaduRegion tags: Asia, South Asia, IndiaTamil NaduMedieval Śrīvais ̣ṇavismBy Suganya Anandakichenin, Hamburg UniversityEntry tags: Religion, Indic Religious Traditions, Bhakti traditions, Hinduism, Vaiṣṇava traditions, PāñcarātratraditionŚrīvais ̣ṇavism is a Hindu sect that worships Vis ̣ṇu along with his consort Śrī, the main leader of which isRāmānuja (traditional dates: 1017: 1137), a proponent of vis ́is ̣ta ̄dvaita (‘qualified non-dualism’). This traditionis based on ubhaya-vedānta, i.e. both the Sanskrit and the Tamil scriptures. The latter consists essentially ofthe poetry of the Āḻvārs (Tamil bhakti poets [6th-9th centuries]), collectively known as the Nālāyira TivviyaPirapantam (or Nālāyira Divya Prabandham), especially Nammāḻvār’s Tiruvāymoḻi, which is referred to asthe drāviḍa-veda (‘Tamil Vedas’) or dramiḍopanis ̣ad (‘Tamil Upanis ̣ad’). Therefore, this sect, while notlimited to Southern India, is much more present in that region than elsewhere. Around the 13th-15thcenturies, differences of opinions began to rise with its important ācāryas (e.g. Piḷḷai Loka ̄ca ̄rya [traditionaldates: 1264-1327], Veda ̄nta Des ́ika [traditional dates: 1268-1369] and Man ̣ava ̄ḷa Ma ̄muni [traditional dates:1370-1445]) interpreting the scriptures differently on a few theological issues. This schism becamecristallised a couple of centuries later (around the 18th-19th centuries), leading to the formation of twoschools, the Northern (vat ̣akalai) and the Southern (ten ̱kalai) ones. The former follows in the path shown byVeda ̄nta Des ́ika.Status of Participants:✓ EliteSourcesPrint sources for understanding this subject:Notes: Other sources: Mumme, P. Y. (1988). The Śrīvaiṣṇava theological dispute : Maṇavāḷamāmuni andVedānta Deśika. Madras : New Era Publications. Raman, S. (2007). Self-Surrender (Prapatti) to God inŚrīvaiṣṇavism: Tamil Cats or Sanskrit Monkeys? New York: Routledge. Appadurai, A. (2008). Worship andconflict under colonial rule: A South Indian case. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press.McCann, E, (2016). Ācāryābhimāna: Agency, ontology, and salvation in Piḷḷai Lokācārya’s ŚrīvacanaBhūṣaṇa (Doctoral dissertation, McGill University). Retrieved from eScholarship@McGill.Source 1: Guruparamparāprabhāvam. Āṟāyirappaṭi Guruparamparāprabhāvam. Composed byPiṉpaḷakiya Perumāḷ Jīyar and edited by Krishnaswami Aiyangar. Triplicane: Cē. Kiruṣṇamācāriarpatippu, 1975 [1927].—Source 2: Chari, S.M. (1978). The Philosophy of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta: A Study Based on Vedānta Deśika'sAdhikaraṇa-sārāvalī. Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass Publishers.—Source 3: Venkatachari, K. K. A. (1978). The Maṇipravāḷa Literature of the Śrīvaiṣṇava ācāryas, 12th to 15thCentury A.D. Bombay: Ananthacharya Research Institute.—DOI: URL: https://religiondatabase.org/browse/562This work is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution 4.0 International license.Please see our Terms of Use here:https://religiondatabase.org/about/creditsPage 1 of 57© 2018 Database of Religious History.The University of British Columbia.For any questions contactproject.manager@religiondatabase.orgOnline sources for understanding this subject:Relevant online primary textual corpora (original languages and/or translations):General VariablesMembership/Group InteractionsAre other religious groups in cultural contact with target religion:Notes: Quite a few Vedic (Śaivism) and non-Vedic (Jainism, Islam) "religions" co-existed during thatperiod of time. Although not to be blindly trusted, the hagiographic text Guruparamparāprabhāvam(13th-14th c.) by Piṉpaḻakiya Perumāḷ Jīyar mentions various interactions with people of other faiths.Rāmānuja, for example, is said to have participated in theological debates with 12000 Jains andconquered them [Guruparamparāprabhāvam, chapter: I"ḷaiyāḻvār vaibhavam").Source 1 URL: http://www.philtar.ac.uk/encyclopedia/hindu/devot/vatak.html—Source 1 Description: An encyclopaedic entry—Source 2 URL: https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/Srivai%E1%B9%A3%E1%B9%87avism—Source 2 Description: Academia articles on this religious group—Source 3 URL: https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/Visi_advaita_Vedanta—Source 3 Description: Very similar to the previous—Source 1 URL: https://sadagopan.org/—Source 1 Description: A Śrīvais ̣ṇava repository for mainly Vat ̣akalai works with traditionalinterpretation/translation of the texts—Source 2 URL: http://acharya.org/d.html—Source 2 Description: Again, another traditional source of texts.—Yes—Is the cultural contact competitive:Notes: The cultural contact with other faiths is almost always competitive. As pointed out in thenotes to the previous question, hagiographic texts mention theological debates betweenscholars of other faiths and the Śrīvais ̣ṇava Ācāryas like Rāmānuja. For example, Rāmānuja,allegedly in exile due to the persecution of a Śaiva Chola king, is said to have argued againstthe Jains in Ton ̣t ̣aṉūr in modern-day Karnataka, conquered them and brought them to his fold.Veda ̄nta Des ́ika is said to have debated against the Advaitins to establish the precepts ofvis ́is ̣ta ̄dvaita. He even composed a book called Śatadūs ̣an ̣i to enumerate his objections toAdvaita.Yes—Is the cultural contact accommodating/pluralistic:Notes: The Ācāryas see the other religions as belonging to one of the two categories: 1) theNo—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 2 of 57Does the religious group have a general process/system for assigning religious affiliation:Notes: There is an initiation ceremony for those wishing to become a Śrīvaiṣṇaca. Rāmānuja himself issaid to have undergone it [Guruparampara ̄prabha ̄vam, chapter "Iḷaiyāḻvār vaibhavam"). It is known assamāśrayaṇam or pañcasaṃskāra ('five sacraments'): 1) tāpam - the branding of the impressions ofNārayaṇa's weapons, the discus and the conch, on either side of the upper arms; 2) [ūrdhva-]puṇḍram- the wearing of the vertical marks that are supposed to resemble Nārāyaṇa's feet, on twelve differentparts of the body, including the forehead; 3) dāsya-nāma: the disciple is given a new name, often"Rāmanuja" or any of Nārāyaṇa's names, to which the suffix "dāsa" or "servant of" is added; 4) mantra:[veda-]bāhya: those that are "outside" the Vedas, i.e. those who do not accept the authority ofthe Vedas, and 2) the kudṛṣṭi one: those who do accept the authority of the Vedas, but have a"twisted view" of them, e.g. the Advaitins. Therefore, the cultural contact is not reallyaccommodating, which is proven by the mention of numerous religious debates among them[e.g. Guruparampara ̄prabha ̄vam, chapter "Iḷaiyāḻvār vaibhavam".Is the cultural contact neutral:Notes: Because of the above-mentioned reasons, the cultural contact is hardly ever neutral. Infact, later on, there will be a friction even within the Śrīvaiṣṇava community itself, whichmeans that such neutrality becomes scarce even among the later followers of Rāmānuja.No—Is there violent conflict (within sample region):Notes: Again, we have to rely on hagiographies such as Garuḍavāhana Paṇḍita’sDivyasūricaritam (11th or 12th century [?]) for answering this question, although the historiansfind it hard to (dis)prove it: a hard-to-identify Chola king called Kr ̣mikan ̣t ̣ha is said to havepersecuted the Śrīvais ̣ṇavas and tried to make Rāmānuja proclaim Śiva's superiority in writing.At this, Rāmānuja is claimed to have fled the region and exiled himself in the modern-dayKarnataka for twelve years. For a brief discussion on this topic, see Whitney Cox. Politics,Kingship and Poetry in Medieval South India: Moonset on Sunrise Mountain. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 2016, p. 241n55.Yes—Is there violent conflict (with groups outside the sample region):Notes: Hagiographic texts such as the Guruparamparāprabhāvam and temple chronicles suchas the Śrīraṅgam ones, known as the Kōyil Oḻuku (compiled between the 14th and the 18thcenturies) mention at least two waves of Muslim invasions (from Delhi), followed by the lootingof the temples and the killing of the Śrīvaiṣṇavas who offered resistance. The stories of howMalik Kafur attacked Śrīraṅgam and killed several priests (including Sudarśana Sūri, the authorof Śrutaprakāśikā), how some, like Vedānta Deśika, had to lie among corpses to survive themurderous assault, and how others, like Piḷḷai Lokācārya, organized themselves to save theutsava-bera (the processional icon) and walked hundreds of miles with the icon to keep it safe,are narrated in detail in these works. For a brief historical description of the invasion, see K.V.Raman. Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture. NewDelhi: Abhinav Publications, 2003, p.24.Yes—Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 3 of 57the disciple is given three sacred mantras; 5) ijyā: the disciple is taught how to worship Nārāyaṇaproperly. For more details on this topic, see Chari, S.M. Vaiṣṇavism: Its Philosophy, Theology, andReligious Discipline. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1994, pp.306-312.Assigned at birth (membership is default for this society):Notes: It is not enough to be born in a Śrīvaiṣṇava family. One ought to become one by gettinginitiated.No—Assigned by personal choice:Notes: Technically-speaking, the ācāryas cannot choose who and how to initiate, but acceptanyone who sincerely seeks initiation and perform the appropriate rites.No—Assigned by class:Notes: Class is no deterrent at all. Not even caste is a deterrent in this belief system. Forexample, the Guruparamparāprabhāvam mentions that Rāmānuja had non-Brahmindisciples (e.g. Piḷḷai Uṟaṅkā Villitācar). Before him, Yāmunācārya is said to have had a fourth-caste disciple, Māṟanēri Nampi, for whom Periya Nampi, a Brahmin disciple of Yāmunācāryaand one of Rāmānuja's ācaryas, is said to have performed the last rites.No—Assigned at a specific age:Notes: There are no age restrictions.No—Assigned by gender:Notes: Gender is no bar for being a Śrīvaiṣṇava either. Rāmānuja himself is said to have hadfemale disciples, like Tirunakari Piḷḷai. A later ācārya, Nampiḷḷai, seems to have taught theTiruvāymoḻi to a female disciple (among others) called Tirukkōṉēri Dāsyai, who wrote a shortcommentary on it.No—Assigned by participation in a particular ritual:Notes: Please see the answer to the main question. The initiatory rites called samāśrayaṇam orpañcasaṃskāram are an absolute necessity to become a Śrīvaiṣṇava, and therefore, forattaining moksha (liberation) itself.Yes—Assigned by some other factor:No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 4 of 57Does the religious group actively proselytize and recruit new members:Notes: According to hagiographic texts such as the Guruparamparāprabhāvam, conversions are madefollowing debates, at the end of which the defeated embrace the creed of the winner. But althoughpublic debates and discourses may have been common, it is not clear how active or aggressiveproselytization was.Notes: A devoted disciple approaching a qualified ācārya for the sake of initiation is the onlyrequirement.Yes—Is proselytizing mandated for religious professionals:Notes: "Mandated" is probably not the right word here. Part of the role of the religiousprofessionals is to show the "right" path to everyone, which means getting people to theŚrīvaiṣṇava fold. And this is why hagiographic and other texts mention public debates, which,if won, had the defeated embrace the other faith. But it is not clear if the ācāryas, who alsoconducted public discourses, were deliberately sent out with a mission to conquer the others.The aim is to communicate the beliefs to those who wished for them.Field doesn't know—Is proselytizing mandated for all adherents:Notes: "Mandated" is definitely not the word here. Adherents could bring people of theiracquaintance to an ācārya so that they can get initiated (willingly), but I am yet to come acrossa text that mentions proselytizing as mandatory for all adherents.No—Is missionary work mandated for religious professionals:Notes: Please see the answer for the first subquestion in this field. The ācāryas do have"missionary" work, as they travel from one place to another, as per the laws that the "Hindu"sanyāsins ("the renouncers") abide in general. This is a means to--although not only meant forthis--accomplish their mission to educate and possibly convert people from different regions.Field doesn't know—Is missionary work mandated for all adherents:Notes: Please see previous answers.No—Is proselytization coercive:Notes: It is hard to say "yes" or "no" to this question. The hagiographic texts do say that peoplewho were cured of some misfortune (like a Jain king's possessed daughter who was cured byapplying the water that was used to wash Rāmānuja's feet) or were vanquished in a verbaldebate voluntarily came to the Śrīvaiṣṇava fold. Whether proselytization was systematicallyYes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 5 of 57Does the religion have official political supportAnswer 'yes' also in cases where the religious and political spheres are not distinguished from oneanother, but the religious group's activities are tied up with, and supported by, the functioning of thesociety at large.Notes: Yes, but only sometimes. We know that for example a few Śrīvaiṣṇava ācāryas and maṭhas werein good terms with the Vijayanagara empire (1336-1646). But hagiography mentioned how Rāmānujawas persecuted by a Chola king of Śaiva persuasion, but later on, he got the patronage of a king inmodern-day Karnataka. So this is not a categorical yes.coercive is hard to say.Does the coercion take the form of physical force:Notes: From what we know from the hagiographic texts, no. Historical records arescarce and do not seem to document physical force being used by the Śrīvaiṣṇavaācāryas.No—Does the coercion take the form of economic sanctions:Notes: Such a thing is not recorded anywhere, to my knowledge, at least not duringthe default period.No—Yes—Are the priests paid by polity:Notes: it could be, especially in the temples established by kings, who would make provisionsfor the running of the temple and its various activities, like the singing of hymns. TheŚrīraṅgam temple chronicles (which is not to be trusted as unadulterated historical truth)enumerates the kings who renovated or constructed different parts of the temple, and wholavishly donated money for its maintenance and the conducting of various rites inter alia. Butnot not all temples were systematically favoured, nor all priests were paid by polity.Yes—Is religious infrastructure paid for by the polity:Notes: Please see previous answer.Field doesn't know—Are the head of the polity and the head of the religion the same figure:Notes: The heads of the religion are sanyāsins, who have renounced worldly pleasures, and donot have an official political role, except perhaps as the king's ācārya.No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 6 of 57Is there a conception of apostasy in the religious group:Notes: Traditional texts do not mention any case of apostasy. Rāmānuja's cousin (although not yet aŚrīvaiṣṇava during the time the event took place) is said to have embraced Śaivism for a while, but hewas brought back to the Vaiṣṇava fold. This is the closest we get to this concept.Size and StructureNumber of adherents of religious group within sample region (estimated population,numerical):Notes: We do not have reliable data on this. Further research is required in the field.Number of adherents of religious group within sample region (% of sample regionpopulation, numerical):Notes: We do not have reliable data on this. Further research is required in the field.Nature of religious group [please select one]:Are political officials equivalent to religious officials:Notes: Political officials are definitely not equivalent to religious officials. They have clearlydistinct roles.No—Is religious observance enforced by the polity:Notes: We do not have any record of that, to my knowledge, especially for this time period.Field doesn't know—Polity legal code is roughly coterminous with religious code:Notes: There might be some overlapping, especially when it comes to moral codes, butotherwise legal and religious codes are separate and serve different purposes.Field doesn't know—Polity provides preferential economic treatment (e.g. tax, exemption)Notes: It is hard to say, as it depends on specific kings and specific time periods. During theVijayanagara period, some Śrīvais ̣n ̣ava monasteries are said to have been favoured withpreferential treatment, which might include economic favours like tax exemptions.Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—Small religious group (one of many small religious groups in sample region)—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 7 of 57Notes: It is hard to say. initially, this seems like a small religious group, allegedly at war with the rulingmonarch who was also a "Hindu" but a Śaiva one (i.e. a group that is said to have been activelysuppressed by a larger, politically powerful group). Later on, when the threat seems to come from non-Vedic, or even "non-Indian" religions (e.g. Muslim invasions), this religious group may have beenconsidered as a small religious group seen as being part of a larger "Vedic" group.Are there recognized leaders in the religious group:Yes—Is there a hierarchy among these leaders:Hierarchy need not be formally institutionalized if it is widely recognized and accepted.Notes: It is hard to say. While Ra ̄ma ̄nuja and the a ̄ca ̄ryas in general were considered as leaders,it is hard to say how hierarchy functioned among them. After all, every soul is supposed to beGod's body,No—Are leaders believed to possess supernatural powers or qualities:Notes: These leaders are believed to possess divine qualities, like compassion, fortitude, etc.much more than the average human being. Even though their piety may give themsupernatural powers (like Rāmānuja was able to exorcise a girl who was possessed), they aredescribed as going about using their powers.No—Are religious leaders chosen:Yes—A leader chooses his/her own replacement:Notes: He can do it if he wants to.Yes—A leader’s retinue or ministers chooses the new leader:Notes: Yes, if the leader happens to pass away without naming anyone as his successor.Yes—Other leaders in the religious group choose that leader:Field doesn't know—A political leader chooses the leader:No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 8 of 57ScriptureDoes the religious group have scriptures:Scripture is a generic term used to designate revered texts that are considered particularly authoritativeand sacred relative to other texts. Strictly speaking, it refers to written texts, but there are also “oralscriptures” (e.g. the Vedas of India).Notes: The Śrīvaiṣṇavas consider as their scriptures both the Vedas (which are in Sanskrit) and the theNālāyira Divya Prabandham, a collection of the Aḻvār poet-saints' 4000 songs in Tamil, which theyconsider as the drāviḍa-veda, or the Tamil Vedas.Other members of the leader’s congregation choose the leader:No—All members of the religious group in the sample region participate inchoosing the leader:No—Communication with supernatural power(s) believed to be part of theselection process:Notes: It is not necessarily mentioned in the written texts, but in the case of the AhobilaMat ̣ha for example, God (in His Narasim ̣ha form) is said to communicate His choice.Yes—Are leaders considered fallible:Notes: The ācāryas are supposed to be well-versed in the scriptures and have impeccablebehaviour. So they are supposed to be infallible. If they do fail, it is God's problem to punishthem, not the humans'.No—Are close followers or disciples of a religious leader required to obediently andunquestionably accept the leader's pronouncements on all matters:Notes: Unquestioned obedience to one's ācārya is prescribed.Yes—Yes—Are they written:Notes: There are some works which are considered as scriptures that have been written down(presumably later), like the works of some ācāryas, e.g. Piḷḷai Lokācārya's Śrīvacanabhūṣaṇamor Vedānta Deśika's Rahasyatrayasāram. But both the Vedas and the Nālāyira DivyaPrabandham are thought to have been recited/sung and then orally transmitted before beingYes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 9 of 57written down.Are they oral:Notes: As pointed out in the previous reply, both the Vedas and the "Tamil Vedas" are thoughtto be revelations that came out through the mouths of select people, and they were laterorally transmitted before being written down (in the case of the Nālāyira Divya Prabandhamfor example).Yes—Is there a story (or a set of stories) associated with the origin of scripture:Notes: The Vedas, believed to be eternal, are said to have been revealed to a few ascetics. TheTamil Veda, especially the Tiruvāymoḻi by Nammāḻvār, is said to have been inspired by God. Formore details on this see Anandakichenin, Suganya. Nālāyirativiyappirapantam(Nālāyiradivyaprabandham). In: Jain P., Sherma R., Khanna M. (eds). Hinduism and TribalReligions. Encyclopedia of Indian Religions. Dordrecht: Springer (2018) and Anandakichenin,Suganya. Nammāḻvār. In: Jain P., Sherma R., Khanna M. (eds). Hinduism and Tribal Religions.Encyclopedia of Indian Religions. Dordrecht: Springer (2018). There is also a story about howthe Divya Prabandham was lost and the retrieved thanks to the intervention of Nāthamuni,who was helped by Nammāl̠va ̄r (who had passed away by then), who revealed not just his ownworks, but also those of the other Āl̠va ̄rs.Yes—Revealed by a high god:Notes: The Vedas are said to be eternal, just like God, hence not composed by Him.Inspired ascetics had hymns appear in their minds. The Tamil Vedas were inspired byGod, but they came through a human poet (albeit considered to be an incarnation ofNārāyaṇa's commander-in-chief, Viśvaksena).No—Revealed by other supernatural being:No—Inspired by high god:Notes: the Divya Prabandham was. Please see the answers to the previoussubquestions.Yes—Inspired by other supernatural being:Notes: NB: The Tiruvāymoḻi, which is the core of the Nālāyira Divya Prabandham andwhich is considered as the Tamil Veda, was brought into this world throughNammāḻvār, who though a human, is thought to have been a reincarnation ofNārāyaṇa's commander-in-chief, Viśvaksena (=a supernatural being).No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 10 of 57Originated from divine or semi-divine human beings:Notes: Nammāḻvār, as well as the other Āḻvār, whose collective works are known as theNālāyira Divya Prabandham, are said to be human incarnations of various nityasūris, i.e.eternally free souls that live and serve Nārāyaṇa in His heavenly abode, Vaikuṇṭha. Forfurther information on this, please see Anandakichenin, Suganya. Āḻvār. In: Jain P.,Sherma R., Khanna M. (eds). Hinduism and Tribal Religions. Encyclopedia of IndianReligions. Dordrecht: Springer (2018).Yes—Originated from non-divine human being:Notes: To an extent, yes, for the Tamil Vedas: the poets who composed the poems thatmake up the Nālāyira Divya Prabandham were after all humans by birth, despitebeing incarnations of divine beings.Yes—Are the scriptures alterable:Notes: The scriptures are not to be tampered with, nor the ideas found in them interpreted asper the will of the individual.No—Are there formal institutions (i.e. institutions that are authorized by the religiouscommunity or political leaders) for interpreting the scriptures:Notes: Hagiographic texts as well as commentaries on the Nālāyira Divya Prabandham (12th c.onwards) mention assemblies where specialists debate on the correct interpretation of keytopics.Yes—Can interpretation also take place outside these institutions:Notes: It is only educated and acknowledged scholars who have that power.No—Interpretation is only allowed by officially sanctioned figures:Notes: As pointed out earlier on, interpreting or revisiting interpretations are the realmof acknowledged scholars, often ācāryas, who are officially sanctioned figures.Yes—Is there a select group of people trained in transmitting the scriptures:Notes: Depending on what needs to be transmitted, it is the a ̄ca ̄rya who transmits esotericscriptures. As for the Divya Prabandham, anyone who can recite it can transmit to the others.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 11 of 57Architecture, GeographyIs monumental religious architecture present:Notes: NB: Further research is required in the field. Temples are built according to rules of architectureprescribed for a larger community of Vedic believers, with specialized rules and rituals for theŚrīvaiṣṇava ones, but it is not clear if this group itself built temples. Maṭhas (roughly, monasteries),resting places for Vaiṣṇava travellers (Rāmānucakūṭams) are also built, although they cannot be called"monumental." Deceased ācāryas have their mortal remains buried and a small structure (known as atiruvaracu or bṛndāvanam) with a shrine built upon. The place is worshipped by the disciples and otherŚrīvaiṣṇavas.Are there different types of religious monumental architecture:Notes: Please see previous answer.Is iconography present:Notes: Iconography is well developed, as God in His iconic form is very important for the worship ofhumans. Arcā (or "image") is one of God's five forms, and ācāryas like Piḷḷai Lokācārya believe that oncean icon is made, it is verily God's body, not to be thought in terms of the material it was made of.Is there a codified canon of scriptures:Notes: We can mention here both the Vedas and the Divya Prabandham. The recitation ofboth scriptures are codified, both at home and in public places such as the temple.Yes—No—No—Yes—Where is iconography present [select all that apply]:Notes: Homes have altars for private worship; temples are public places where elaborateworship of the image of God and His people is made.At home—Only religious public space—Are there distinct features in the religious group's iconography:Yes—Eyes (stylized or not):Notes: Icons of Nārāyaṇa and His entourage are represented like full-fledged humanbeings (but not just), with added divine features, like extra arms. Eyes are an importantfeature on the face of the Deity.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 12 of 57Supernatural beings (zoomorphic):Notes: Nārāyaṇa is worshipped in His half-lion, half-man form (Narasiṃha), in His boarand other such forms. His vehicle, Garuḍa the eagle, is also worshipped in the temples.Yes—Supernatural beings (geomorphic):Notes: Most natural elements (like mountain, rain, etc.) have a deity as their spirit, andthis is not specific to Śrīvaiṣṇava belief, which simply claims that they all haveNārāyaṇa as their Master.Yes—Supernatural beings (anthropomorphic):Notes: Nārāyaṇa is represented as having a human form (except when He appears asan animal), plus distinguishing features like a pair of extra arms. The same goes for Hisentourage (i.e. His wives, servants, etc.).Yes—Supernatural beings (abstract symbol):Notes: God is all-pervasive, so all places and things can be a reference to Him. Like thenumber 26.Yes—Portrayals of afterlife:Notes: Many Śrīvaiṣṇava texts, including Piḷḷai Lokācārya's Arcirādi, describe in detailafterlife, i.e. the soul's progress towards Vaikuṇṭha, and also what life is like there.Iconographic representations of this exist now, but it is not clear if they wererepresented during that period of time.Yes—Aspects of doctrine (e.g. cross, trinity, Mithraic symbols):Notes: One example is the pair of Nārāyaṇa's weapons, the conch and the discus,branded on the devotees upper arms during initiation. There is also the vertical marksmade on the forehead (among other places), which represent the feet of Nārāyaṇa.Yes—Humans:Notes: The Lord's human devotees are also represented and worshipped, probablyalready by Rāmānuja's time. He himself had two of his statues made during hislifetime, according to hagiographic texts such as the Guruparamparāprabhāvam.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 13 of 57Are there specific sites dedicated to sacred practice or considered sacred:Notes: Temples are sacred places of public worship; homes also have an altar, which is also sacred. Ofspecial importance are the temples/temple-towns praised by the Āḻvārs in their poetry (those placesare known as divyadeśams, or "divine places"), but also places with mythological links, like Dvārakaand Ayodhyā, (allegedly) Kṛṣṇa's and Rāma's birthplaces respectively.Are pilgrimages present:Notes: The Guruparamparāprabhāvam and other hagiographic texts mention pilgrimage, andsometimes how people come upon interesting events while on a pilgrimage, e.g. Nāthamuni getting amessage to come back and settle in Southern India, or Rāmānuja going as far away as to modern-dayJammu.BeliefsBurial and AfterlifeIs a spirit-body distinction present:Answer “no” only if personhood (or consciousness) is extinguished with death of the physical body.Other features of iconography:Notes: There are many features, like Nārāyaṇa is represented as seated, standing orreclining. For more information on this topic, please see Champakalakshmi, R. (1981).Vaiṣṇava iconography in the Tamil country. New Delhi: Orient Longman.Yes—Yes—Are sacred site oriented to environmental features:"Environmental features" refers to features in the landscape, mountains, rivers, cardinal directionsetc...Notes: Often the temple is situated by a river, on a hill, or by the ocean. For example,Śrīraṅgam, the most important Śrīvaiṣṇava temple already by Rāmānuja's time, is praised asmuch as the river Kāveri that surrounds it. Vēṅkaṭam, currently known as Tirumalā-Tirupati,has been another important temple for centuries, and it was built on a hill, which is muchpraised and revered both by the Āḻvārs and by the ācāryas.Yes—Yes—How strict is pilgrimage:Notes: Pilgrimage is important but not necessarily obligatory. The ascetics are supposed not tostay put in one place for more than a few weeks, except during the monsoon, but lay devotees,although encouraged to visit sacred places, are not censured for not doing so.Obligatory for some—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 14 of 57Answering yes does not necessarily imply the existence of Cartesian mind/body dualism, merely thatsome element of personhood (or consciousness) survives the death of the body.Notes: There definitely is a distinction between spirit and body. According to Śrīvaiṣṇavism, the worstillusion in humans consists in confusing the body to be the same as the spirit. The spirit is eternal, andcan get into another body according to its karma, whereas that particular body disintegrates. Thespirit-body concept takes a whole new dimension as Śrīvaiṣṇavism sees everything other than God (i.e.other sentient and insentient beings) as being God's body.Belief in afterlife:Notes: For the initiated, it is a spatial location, Nārāyaṇa's abode, known as Vaikuṇṭha. For all theothers, rebirths and stays in other places, such as heaven or hell [which are both non-permanent], arethe alternatives.Yes—Spirit-mind is conceived of as having qualitatively different powers or properties thanother body parts:Notes: The spirit is said to be eternal and sentient, whereas the body is constantly changingand insentient. The soul also has had an endless number of births, hence countless numbers ofbodies.Yes—Spirit-mind is conceived of as non-material, ontologically distinct from body:Notes: Most definitely. The spirit is sentient and non-material, whereas the body is insentientand material.Yes—Other spirit-body relationship:Yes [specify]: This relationship is taken to another level, when everything in this world,including the spirits of all the sentient beings as well as insentient beings, are considered asthe body of God.—Yes—Is the spatial location of the afterlife specified or described by the religious group:Notes: The spatial location of the afterlife, especially for the initiated, is very much mentionedand described in the Śrīvaiṣṇava literature: it is Vaikuṇṭha, and even the path that takes thesoul from the dead body to this abode is described in detail in works such as Piḷḷai Lokācārya'sArcirādi. As for the uninitiated, there are other (non-permanent) places to go to after death: ifit's not rebirth into a different body, then it could be a stay in heaven or hell, for example. Thebelief is that no place is permanent except Vaikuṇṭha. Hell, heaven and other non-terrestrialplaces are widely described in various purāṇas.Yes—Afterlife in specified realm of space beyond this world:Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 15 of 57Reincarnation in this world:Notes: Reincarnation is definitely a possibility, although it is not a concept restricted to Śrīvaiṣṇavism(as other hindus, Jains and Buddhists also believe in this). Besides which, this faith system promisesthe end of the cycle of birth and death (hence of reincarnation) for the soul of the one who has takenrefuge in God.Notes: Yes, as mentioned in my previous answers, it is known as Vaikuṇṭha.Yes—Afterlife in vaguely defined “above” space:Notes: Although sometimes referred to as the place above (as Vaikuṇṭha is believed tobe above this world), it is never meant to be a vague definition.No—Afterlife in vaguely defined “below” space:No—Afterlife in vaguely defined horizontal space:No—Afterlife located in "other" space:Yes [specify]: It depends what "other" is. As I have mentioned earlier on, afterlife for theinitiated is in Vaikuṇṭha. There are two worlds: one is this one material world, known aslilāvibhūti, or the world of sport [for God], and the other is nityavibhūti, or the eternalplace, which corresponds to Vaikuṇṭha. So, seen from that perspective, yes, afterlife islocated in another space.—Yes—In a human form:Notes: It can be a human form, or an animal, or even an insentient being, depending on howgood or bad one's karma is. Good karma means better birth, i.e. as a human, bad karmameans lower birth (e.g. as plants). It is said that those who sin with their thoughts are born aslower class/caste humans, those who have sinned through their words are reborn as animalsand those who have sinned with their bodies are reborn as insentient beings.Yes—In animal/plant form:Notes: Please see previous answers.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 16 of 57Are there special treatments for adherents' corpses:In form of an inanimate object(s):Notes: Please see previous answers. This is also possible. It depends on how good or bad one'skarma is. Very bad karma can lead one to be born as an inanimate/insentient object.Yes—In non-individual form (i.e. some form of corporate rebirth, tribe, lineage. etc.):No—Reincarnation linked to notion of life-transcending causality (e.g. karma):Notes: Most definitely yes. Please see my answers to previous questions. Karma is as eternal asthe soul, and disappears only when the soul reaches Vaikuṇṭha. So till the soul stays out ofVaikuṇṭha, karma keeps dealing with it.Yes—Other form of reincarnation in this world:Yes [specify]: Although once a soul achieves liberation and reaches Vaikuṇṭha it does not comeback to this world, sometimes, some great souls, especially nityasūris (who were never boundby karma), choose to incarnate themselves to further God's cause and/or salvage humans. E.g.Rāmānuja, who is claimed to be an incarnation of the serpent Ananta, upon whom Narayanasleeps in Vaikuṇṭha.—Yes—Cremation:Notes: Lay Śrīvaiṣṇavas are usually cremated according to the general "Hindu" prescriptions, towhich are added some Śrīvaiṣṇava rites and chanting. Please checkhttp://www.srimatham.com/death-samskara.html for further information.Yes—Mummification:Notes: The one famous exception that I know of is Rāmānuja's body, which has been preservedfor centuries. It is believed that inside the shrine dedicated to him in Śrīraṅgam, we can still seehis preserved body.No—Interment:Notes: Burial is done especially for the ācāryas, and a small structure, called bṛndāvanam ortiruvaracu, is built upon it. It usually hosts a shrine. It is not clear if the same practice existed inthe default period.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 17 of 57Are co-sacrifices present in tomb/burial:Corpse is flexed (legs are bent or body is crouched):Notes: It is not clear what the practices were. In the modern context, the ācāryas areburied in a seated position, and therefore, their legs are bent. Please see the photo andvideo of a modern-day burial of an ācārya on this webpage:http://anudinam.org/2013/05/19/hh-45th-azhagiyasingar-attains-acharyan-thiruvadi/No—Corpse is extended (lying flat on front or back):Notes: This is for the lay people.Yes—Corpse is upright (where body is interred in standing position)::No—Corpse is interred some other way:Yes [specify]: Religious heads, ācāryas and other such people, are interred in a seatedposition (cross-legged).—Cannibalism:No—Exposure to elements (e.g. air drying):No—Feeding to animals:No—Secondary burial:No—Re-treatment of corpse:No—Other intensive (in terms of time or resources expended) treatment of corpse :No—No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 18 of 57Notes: This is completely non-existent.Are grave goods present:Notes: There is no such practice among the Śrīvaiṣṇavas.Are formal burials present:Supernatural BeingsAre supernatural beings present:Notes: The whole panoply of supernatural beings, both good and bad, found in the Hindu epics andpurāṇas equally belong to the Śrīvaiṣṇa system, although there is only one Supreme Being, Nārāyaṇa.No—Yes—As cenotaphs:No—In cemetery:Notes: The initiated who are buried are usually (though not always) religious heads. Thelocation is individually picked.No—Family tomb-crypt:Notes: For the same reason mentioned above, and because cemetery as a concept is not ascommon as the cremation ground, family tomb crypts do not exist.No—Domestic (individuals interred beneath house, or in areas used for normal domesticactivities):Notes: Some religious heads can be buried at a place where they lived, but in general notunder a house. Besides, the place they are buried is marked, and worshipped by latergenerations.No—Other formal burial type:Yes [specify]: Religious leaders (ācāryas and others) have a shrine built upon where they areburied.—Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 19 of 57A supreme high god is present:Notes: Nārāyaṇa is the Supreme Being, and everyone and everything else is subordinate toHim.Yes—The supreme high god is anthropomorphic:Notes: Nārāyaṇa is anthropomorphic, although he has extra-features (like extra arms,and absolute power to do anything) that humans do nt have.Yes—The supreme high god is a sky deity:Notes: Although the word "sky" is sometimes used to refer to Nārāyaṇa's abode, he isnot merely a sky deity: He is the all-pervading Supreme Being, who is the Master of all.No—The supreme high god is chthonic (of the underworld):Notes: Nārāyaṇa does not pertain to the underworld, but as pointed out earlier, beingomnipresent, even that part of the world is not devoid of His presence.No—The supreme high god is fused with the monarch (king=high god):Notes: Yes and no. Some Hindu texts believe that the king is an aṃśa ("fragment") ofViṣṇu. But in Śrīvaiṣṇavism, the king is not high god.No—The monarch is seen as a manifestation or emanation of the high god:Notes: As pointed out in my previous answer, some Hindu texts do claim that the kingis a manifestation of god on earth, but the Śrīvaiṣṇava ācāryas of the default periodhave rather worshipped Nārāyaṇa Himself, or their own teachers, rather than treat aking as a representative of God.Yes—The supreme high god is a kin relation to elites:Notes: The Supreme Being is a kin relation to each and every soul, not just the elite.Medieval Śrīvaiṣṇava ācāryas, like the commentator Periyavāccāṉ Piḷḷai, use theexpression "nirupādhika-bandhu" (kin without conditions) to refer to God, as Hisrelation with the souls is natural and unconditional, as opposed to relations betweenhumans, which depend on birth, etc.No—The supreme high god has another type of loyalty-connection to elites:Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 20 of 57Notes: All connections one can have with the Supreme Being does not depend onbeing part of the elite.No—The supreme high god is unquestionably good:Notes: Absolutely, even though He has to punish the bad. His goodness, althoughinherent, is enhanced by His affection for the souls, which is compared to the affectionthat the cow feels for its calf (vātsalya). This allows Him to overlook the flaws in Hisdevotees.Yes—Other feature(s) of supreme high god:Yes [specify]: His features are many, but if we focus on the good qualities that He is saidto have, we get an impressive list. Śrīvaiṣṇava texts, such as Rāmānuja’s own works,refer to many of these. John Carman (in The Theology of Rāmānuja. An Essay inInterreligious Understanding. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1974: 79-80)thus enumerates the following qualities, as per Rāmānuja’s commentary on theBhagavad-Gītā: 1) the six attributes of Bhagavān (‘God’): jñāna (‘knowledge’), bala(‘strength’), aiśvarya (‘sovereignty’), vīrya (‘immutability’), śakti (‘[creative] power’) andtejas (‘splendour’); 2) qualities linked with compassion: sauśīlya (‘graciouscondescension’), vātsalya (‘tenderness’ like that of a cow for its calf), but also sauhārda(‘friendliness’), anurāga (‘passionate affection’) and saundarya (‘beauty’). SuzanneSiauve (Aṣṭādaśabhedanirṇaya. Aṣṭādaśabhedanirṇaya. Explication des dix-huitsdifférences (entre les deux branches de l’École de Rāmānuja) de Vātsya Raṅganāṭha.Critically edited, translated & annotated by Suzanne Siauve. Pondichéry: InstitutFrançais d’Indologie, 1978: 27fn5) adds a few extra ones, based on Vedānta Deśika’scommentary on Rāmānuja’s Śaraṇāgati-gadyam: mārdava (‘pliancy’), ārjava (‘honesty’),sāmya (‘equity’), kāruṇya (‘compassion’), mādhurya (‘sweetness’), gāmbhīrya (‘depth’),audārya (‘generosity’), cāturya (‘deftness’), sthairya (‘firmness’), dhairya (‘courage’),śaurya (‘valour’), parākrama (‘heroism’), satyakāma (‘He whose desires are realised’),satyasaṅkalpa (‘firmness of resolve’), kṛtitva (‘possession of all actions’) and kṛtajñatā(‘gratitude’).—The supreme high god has knowledge of this world:Notes: The Supreme Being, Nārāyaṇa, is omniscient, and is claimed to know everythingthat is there to know, in past, present and future.Yes—The supreme god's knowledge is restricted to particular domain ofhuman affairs:Notes: The Supreme God knows absolutely everything, and is definitely notlimited to the domain of human affairs. In fact, it is claimed that the only thingHe does not know is the extent of His own greatness, to which it is sometimespointed out, that even God can only know what exists, i.e. there is no limit toHis greatness, so He cannot know about it.No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 21 of 57The supreme high god's knowledge is restricted to (a) specific area(s)within the sample region:Notes: The Supreme God is omniscient. Please see my answer to the first sub-question.No—The supreme high god's knowledge is unrestricted within the sampleregion:Notes: It is unrestricted anywhere in the world, not just in the sample region.Yes—The supreme high god's knowledge is unrestricted outside of sampleregion:Notes: He is omniscient and omnipotent. His knowledge is unrestrictedanywhere in the world, whatever the region.Yes—The supreme high god can see you everywhere normally visible (inpublic):Notes: The whole world and all the souls being His body, and He being theantarātmā (the inner controller) of everyone, Nārāyaṇa can see you fromeverywhere, outside, inside, anytime.Yes—The supreme high god can see you everywhere (in the dark, at home):Notes: Yes, He sees absolutely everything at all times, whatever thecircumstance.Yes—The supreme high god can see inside heart/mind (hidden motives):Notes: As pointed out earlier, He is the inner controller (antarātmā) in everyone,so he sees and understands everything that happens in one's mind, includinghidden motives.Yes—The supreme high god knows your basic character (personal essence):Notes: Yes, and a lot more than that: He knows the basic character not just inthis birth, but in all the births that a soul has had.Yes—The supreme high god knows what will happen to you, what you will doAnandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 22 of 57(future sight):Notes: It is claimed that the Supreme Being knows the happenings of all threetimes (trikāla: past, present, and future), so He knows what will happen to youin the future.Yes—The supreme high god has other knowledge of this world:Yes [specify]: He knows what humans cannot perceive. He knows everythingthere is to know about this and other worlds.—The supreme high god has deliberate causal efficacy in the world:Yes—The supreme high god can reward:Notes: This belief is not exclusive to Śrīvaiṣṇavism. A rewarding God is to beseen in many Hindu belief systems.Yes—The supreme high god can punish:Notes: The Supreme Being can punish (which roughly corresponds to a soul'sbad karma), although He is more tolerant of the mistakes of His devotees whohave taken refuge in Him.Yes—The supreme high god has indirect causal efficacy in the world:"Indirect causal efficacy" refers to not being seen as consciously, directly and activelyintervening in the human world, but their overall well being or general attitude haseffects on, e.g., quality of harvest, success in war, health, etc.Notes: Given that He is omniscient and everything that happens in this world alsodepend on Him (but equally on a person's karma), there are very few things thatescape His notice or will.Yes—The supreme high god exhibits positive emotion:Notes: Yes, for example, when a devotee does something good, this causes theSupreme Being to be happy. So many of the ācāryas suggest that whatever we do, weshould do it for the sake of His mukhollāsa ("the joy in the face").Yes—The supreme high god exhibits negative emotion:Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 23 of 57Notes: Although imperturbable, the Supreme being can get angry for example (e.g.when a Śrīvaiṣṇava devotee is ill-treated). However, there will be more debates aboutamong Śrīvaiṣṇavas already by the end of the sample period. After this period, therewill be a division between the school that believes that God feels so much empathythat He feels the pain of the devotee, and the other that believes that although Godhas sympathy, He does not have such feelings. For more on this topic, please seeAṣṭādaśabhedanirṇaya. Explication des dix-huits différences (entre les deux branchesde l’École de Rāmānuja) de Vātsya Raṅganāṭha. Critically edited, translated &annotated by Suzanne Siauve. Pondichéry: Institut Français d’Indologie, 1978.Yes—The supreme high god possesses hunger:Notes: The Supreme Being does not have bodily needs.No—Is it permissible to worship supernatural beings other than the high god:Notes: Yes and no: strictly speaking, there is but one Supreme God, who alone shouldbe worshipped, worshipping other gods, like Śiva, is a complete no-no. At the sametime, Nārāyaṇa's "family" and devotees can be/should be worshipped, and this includesHis wife Śrī, as well as His devotees-both human and supernatural-like the Āḻvārs andthe divyasūris (eternally free souls).No—The supreme high god possesses/exhibits some other feature:Yes [specify]: I have listed many of His features in an answer above. It is worthmentioning that the Supreme Being is the sole one capable of grantingmoksha/liberation for a soul.—The supreme high god communicates with the living:Yes—In waking, everyday life:Notes: The hagiographic text, Guruparamparāprabhāvam, mentions thatalthough God is supposed to maintain a silence that is due to His arcā (image)form, He communicated with a select set of people. One of them is TirukkacciNampi, who spoke to Varadarāja, the name of Nārāyaṇa in the main Vaiṣṇavatemple in Kāñcīpuram, as he fanned His image. TheGuruparamparāprabhāvam narrates how Rāmānuja asked Nampi to help himwith a few doubts that he had, and Nampi had the Lord clear those doubtsthrough his (Nampi's) mediation. This is but one example found in theGuruparamparāprabhāvam.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 24 of 57In dreams:Notes: On many occasions, the Guruparamparāprabhāvam tells the story ofhow someone had a dream in which God communicated with him/her. Forexample, when Rāmānuja runs out of white clay with which he used to makehis religious marks on his forehead and the rest of his body, the Lord appearedin his dream to tell him where to find some.Yes—In trance possession:Notes: The Guruparamparāprabhāvam mentions how sometimescommunicates through his priests (arcakamukhena), which is most probably areference to a person who is trance.Yes—Through divination practices:Notes: It is more in the sense of instinct or insight.Yes—Only through religious specialists:Yes—Only through monarchNotes: The king does not have any such role.No—Other form of communication with living:Yes [specify]: God is sometimes said to appear directly in front of the devotee.For example, the Guruparamparāprabhāvam describes how the icon ofNārāyaṇa moved and came to Rāmānuja and sat on his lap, when the saintwent to recover it from a Delhi sultan.—Previously human spirits are present:Notes: Previously human spirits, turned into other supernatural beings, can sometimes possessa person; or can be reborn into a human, or anything else. But other than that, there isn'tprofuse mention of such spirits.Yes—Human spirits can be seen:Notes: We can cite the example of a brahmarākṣasa ("a kind of evil demon, the ghostof a Brāhman who led an unholy life" Monier-Williams), who is seen interacting withYes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 25 of 57Nampāṭuvāṉ, a devotee of Nāṛāyaṇa. It is a favourite story with the Śrīvaiṣṇava ācāryas.Human spirits can be physically felt:Notes: As pointed out earlier, some such creatures can possess one's body, e.g. thedaughter of the Jain king, whom Rāmānuja is said to have cured(Guruparamparāprabhāvam). In that way, their presence can be felt.No—Previously human spirits have knowledge of this world:Notes: Not being God, their knowledge is much limited.Yes—Human spirits' knowledge restricted to particular domain of humanaffairs:Notes: Such spirits do not have the kind of knowledge that God has.Yes—Human spirits' knowledge restricted to (a) specific area(s) within thesample region:Notes: The previously human spirit's knowledge is limited in terms of content,and possibly also geographically.Yes—Human spirits' knowledge unrestricted within the sample region:No—Human spirits' knowledge unrestricted outside of sample region:No—Human spirits can see you everywhere normally visible (in public):Notes: E.g.: In the case of the devotee Nampāṭuvāṉ, the hagiographic textsmention how the brahmarākṣasa spotted him travelling and decided to eathim.Yes—Human spirits can see you everywhere (in the dark, at home):Notes: To take the same example once again, Nampāṭuvāṉ was spotted by thespirit at night.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 26 of 57Human spirit's can see inside heart/mind (hidden motives):Notes: It is not very clear. In Nampāṭuvāṉ's story, the spirit does not seem toknow his heart, and therefore initially refuses to believe his promise to comeback to it after worshipping the Lord in the temple (when he had the intentionto do so, according to the story).Field doesn't know—Human spirits know your basic character (personal essence):Notes: It would seem so, although I'm yet to come across stories that elaboratemore on this topic.Yes—Human spirits know what will happen to you, what you will do (futuresight):Notes: They have some future sight in some cases, but are in no wayomniscient. Some ascetics (although not merely spirits) are said to possessfuture sight.Yes—Human spirits have other form(s) of knowledge regarding this world:No—Human spirits have deliberate causal efficacy in the world:Notes: If at all, it is very limited. It is God and His people (acting under His permission)who have such efficacy (though it is mostly God).No—Human spirits have indirect causal efficacy in the world:"Indirect causal efficacy" refers to not being seen as consciously, directly and activelyintervening in the human world, but their overall well being or general attitude haseffects on, e.g., quality of harvest, success in war, health, etc.No—Human spirits have memory of life:Yes—Human spirits exhibit positive emotion:Yes—Human spirits exhibit negative emotion:Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 27 of 57Yes—Human spirits possess hunger:Notes: Please refer to Nampāṭuvāṉ's story, in which the brahmarākṣasa (the spirit)seeks to eat him, being very hungry.Yes—Human spirits possess/exhibit some other feature:Yes [specify]: They seem in general to be malevolent.—Human spirits communicate with the living:Notes: We can refer to Nampāṭuvāṉ's story once again, The spirit in question decides toeat this man, who then enters upon a negotiation with the spirit.Yes—In waking, everyday life:Yes—In dreams:Yes—In trance possession:Field doesn't know—Through divination processes:Yes—Only through specialists:Field doesn't know—Only through monarch:Notes: The king is not involved in this any more than the average human.No—Communicate with living through other means:No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 28 of 57Non-human supernatural beings are present:Notes: We can take the example of the nityasūris, or the eternally free souls on the one hand,and that of other gods (e.g. Indra, Śiva, etc.). The former are non-human servants of Nārāyaṇa,who serve Him in Vaikuṇṭha, and they possess supernatural powers that humans do not andare comparable to God in many ways. The latter possess more power and knowledge than thehumans, but are by no means as knowledgeable or powerful as God, being themselvesbaddhāṭmās ("bound souls").Yes—These supernatural beings can be seen:Notes: These can be seen if they take a human form to interact. The life-story ofVedānta Deśika narrates how Garuḍa, Nārāyaṇa's avian vehicle, appeared in hispresence after Deśika intensely worshipped him. The Guruparamparāprabhāvam(chapter "Tirumaḻicai Ālḻvār vaibhavam") describes the encounter between Śiva andTirumaḻicai Ālvār.Yes—These supernatural beings can be physically felt:Notes: It is possible, if they choose to make themselves felt.Field doesn't know—Non-human supernatural beings have knowledge of this world:Notes: The nityasūris' knowledge is almost as perfect as God's. But the othersupernatural beings like Brahmā or Śiva have a limited/defective knowledge.Yes—Non-human supernatural beings have knowledge restricted toparticular domain of human affairs:Notes: If it's nituasūris, they are near omniscient. But other non human beingslike other gods like Śiva know more than the average human does, but theyare by no means omniscient.No—Non-human supernatural beings have knowledge restricted to (a)specific area(s) within the sample region:Notes: For the same reasons mentioned above. Both nityasūris and othersupernatural beings have a knowledge that is not necessarily restricted to aspecific area of the sample region.No—Non-human supernatural beings have knowledge unrestricted withinthe sample region:Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 29 of 57Notes: Please see previous answers for more information.Yes—Non-human supernatural beings have knowledge unrestricted outsideof sample region:Notes: Depending on who the supernatural being, this is possible.Yes—Non-human supernatural beings have can see you everywhere normallyvisible (in public):Yes—Non-human supernatural beings can see you everywhere (in the dark, athome):Yes—Non-human supernatural beings can see inside heart/mind (hiddenmotives):Notes: Again, it depends on the supernatural being.Yes—Non-human supernatural beings knows your basic character (personalessence):Yes—Non-human supernatural beings know what will happen to you, whatyou will do (future sight):Yes—Non-human supernatural begins have other knowledge of this world:No—Non-human supernatural beings have deliberate causal efficacy in the world:Notes: Causal efficacy is the domain of God, anything the other beings do is subject toHis will and approval.Field doesn't know—These supernatural beings have indirect causal efficacy in the world:"Indirect causal efficacy" refers to not being seen as consciously, directly and activelyAnandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 30 of 57intervening in the human world, but their overall well being or general attitude haseffects on, e.g., quality of harvest, success in war, health, etc.Notes: As point out earlier, if at all, causal efficacy in non-human supernatural beingsdepends on God.Field doesn't know—These supernatural beings exhibit positive emotion:Yes—These supernatural beings exhibit negative emotion:Notes: The Guruparampara ̄prabha ̄vam (chapter "Tirumal̠icai Āl̠va ̄r vaibhavam") )describes how when Śiva, a non human supernatural being, was not given respect byan Āl̠va ̄r (Tirumal̠icai), he became angry and started to attack him.Yes—These supernatural beings possess hunger:Notes: Stories of how a hungry Indra attacked the people of Bṛndāvana forworshipping and feeding the Govardhana mountain instead, etc. abound not just inthe hagiography, but also in other forms of writing, like commentaries on the DivyaPrabandham. Garuḍa, himself a nityasūri (an eternally free soul), got angry against Godfor granting refuge to a snake that he wanted to eat, because he was so hungry.Yes—These supernatural beings possess/exhibit some other feature:No—Mixed human-divine beings are present:Notes: We can take the Āl̠va ̄rs to fit in this category. Being eternally free souls (who are non-human), they were born as humans in this world. Hagiography describes them as having bothhuman and divine experiences.Yes—These mixed human-divine beings can be seen:Notes: If we take the āḻvārs for example, divine beings born as humans-hence mixedhuman-divine beings who can sometimes pull off miracles-then, yes, they can be seen.Yes—These mixed human-divine beings can be physically felt:Notes: If they are semi-human, then yes.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 31 of 57Mixed human-divine beings have knowledge of this world:Yes—Mixed human-divine beings have knowledge restricted to particulardomain of human affairs:Notes: They tend to know a bit more than that due to their uncloudedknowledge.No—Mixed human-divine beings have knowledge restricted to (a) specificarea(s) within the sample region:Notes: It is not always clear how much they know. There is no fixed rule as tohow (un)restricted their knowledge is.No—Mixed human-divine beings have knowledge unrestricted within thesample region:Notes: Yes and no, in the sense that not being God, they do not necessarilyknow everything there is to know. But at the same time, their knowledge is notnecessarily restricted within a region. But there is no fixed rule as to how(un)restricted their knowledge is.Yes—Mixed human-divine beings have knowledge unrestricted outside ofsample region:Yes—Mixed human-divine beings can see you everywhere normally visible (inpublic):Yes—Mixed human-divine beings can see you everywhere (in the dark, athome):Field doesn't know—Mixed human-divine beings can see inside heart/mind (hiddenmotives):Field doesn't know—Mixed human-divine beings know your basic character (personalessence):Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 32 of 57Field doesn't know—Mixed human-divine beings know what will happen to you, what youwill do (future sight):Notes: Having a clearer mind and knowledge, they may sometimes realizewhat may happen, but it is not clear whether there is future sight. TheGuruparamparāprabhāvam (chapter "Mutalāḻvār vaibhavam"), for example,describes how the first three Āl̠vārs found themselves in the same place (wherethey were later joined by god Himself), but had no idea who the other was.Field doesn't know—Mixed human-divine beings have other knowledge of the human world:No—These mixed human-divine beings have deliberate causal efficacy in the world:Field doesn't know—These mixed human-divine beings have indirect causal efficacy in the world:"Indirect causal efficacy" refers to not being seen as consciously, directly and activelyintervening in the human world, but their overall well being or general attitude haseffects on, e.g., quality of harvest, success in war, health, etc.No—These mixed human-divine beings exhibit positive emotion:Notes: If we take the Āl̠va ̄rs, their emotions are often linked to their experience withGod. if they feel united with Him, they express joy, otherwise no.Yes—These mixed human-divine beings exhibit negative emotion:Notes: When going through human experience, they sometimes feel emotions such assadness, anger, etc. Hagiography narrates how Periyāl̠vār was sad at having marriedoff his daughter to God Himself, and how Tirumaṅkai Āl̠vār became angry at not beingable to visit a temple immediately after his visit to a certain town.Yes—These mixed human-divine beings possess hunger:Notes: Such things are not always mentioned. One important exception is Namma ̄l̠va ̄r,who is said not to have felt hunger or thirst from the moment he was born, and satwithout any kind of nourishment for years.Field doesn't know—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 33 of 57These mixed human-divine beings possess/exhibit some other feature:No—Mixed human-divine beings communicate with the living:Yes—In waking, everyday life:Notes: The Āl̠va ̄rs interacted with humans, living among them.Yes—In dreams:Yes—In trance possession:Notes: The Guruparampara ̄prabha ̄vam narrates how Namma ̄l̠va ̄rcommunicated with Na ̄thamuni, much time after he passed away. The textseems to imply that Na ̄thamuni, who sat recitng verses by Namma ̄l̠va ̄r'sdisciple Madhurakavi, was able to see the poet and speak to him directly. Thiscould be a way of saying that he was in a trance when he got the visit.Yes—Through divination practices:Field doesn't know—Only through religious specialists:Field doesn't know—Only through monarch:No—Other form of communication with living:No—Does the religious group possess a variety of supernatural beings:Yes—Organized by kinship based on a family model:No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 34 of 57Supernatural MonitoringIs supernatural monitoring present:This refers to surveillance by supernatural beings of humans’ behaviour and/or thought particularly as itrelates to social norms or potential norm violations.Notes: Every action that a human performs, every thought and word have multiple witnesses,including the sun and the moon, let alone God who resides in him/her. Any good behaviour (i.e.,behaving according to the prescriptions of the scriptures) and every bad behaviour (behaving incontradiction to the scriptures) are recorded and they lead to karma, good and bad respectively.Organized hierarchically:Notes: Nārāyaṇa ranks highest along with His consort Śrī, followed by the nityasūris.Yes—Power of beings is domain specific:Domain can refer to a general area of life or the environment (e.g., war, the ocean, childbearing, rivers, etc.), including multiple areas of specialization, or to specifically-definedphysical spaces or regions.Notes: If we take gods such as Indra and Varuṇa as nonhuman supernatural beings,then their power is domain-specific. However, as unborn, true devotees of God, thenityasūris have a wider scope of power.Yes—Other organization for pantheon:No—Yes—There is supernatural monitoring of prosocial norm adherence in particular:Prosocial norms are norms that enhance cooperation among members of the group, includingobviously “moral” or “ethical” norms, but also extending to norms concerning honouring contractsand oaths, providing hospitality, coming to mutual aid in emergencies, etc.Yes—Supernatural beings care about taboos:Yes—Food:Notes: Taboos concerning food are many, as food intake is more than for the sake ofsubsistence.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 35 of 57Sacred space(s):Yes—Sacred object(s):Notes: Respect of sacred objects are a must.Yes—Supernatural beings care about other:Yes [specify]: They care about humans applying divine laws of conduct, whatever fieldthey may pertain to.—Supernatural beings care about murder of coreligionists:Notes: Murder of any living being outside the allowed domain is monitored and punished. Thatof a coreligionist entails worse punishment.Yes—Supernatural beings care about murder of members of other religions:Notes: Any unwarranted crime is condemned, as every soul is said to be God's body.Yes—Supernatural beings care about murder of members of other polities:Notes: See previous answer.Yes—Supernatural beings care about sex:Notes: Sex should remain within the bounds of what is acceptable (i.e. what is approved of byscriptures such as Manu-dharma). Sexual practices are also monitored, and lead to bad karmawhen they happen without the approved boundaries.Yes—Adultery:Notes: More often than not, it is a bigger sin if the adulterer is a woman. Butextramarital physical relations are condemned in general for people desiring piety.Yes—Incest:Notes: Incest is a big no-no.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 36 of 57Other sexual practices:Field doesn't know—Supernatural beings care about lying:Notes: Speaking the truth is one of the fundamental requirements of "Hindusim," and this goesbeyond the limits of this particular faith.Yes—Supernatural beings care about honouring oaths:Notes: This is linked with speaking the truth.Yes—Supernatural beings care about laziness:Yes—Supernatural beings care about sorcery:Notes: Performing black magic for the sake of harming someone else is frowned upon.Yes—Supernatural beings care about non-lethal fighting:Notes: Undue and unjustified fights are frowned upon.Yes—Supernatural beings care about shirking risk:Field doesn't know—Supernatural beings care about disrespecting elders:Yes—Supernatural beings care about gossiping:Notes: God, His qualities and acts and His devotees must make up the bulk of anyconversation. Malignant gossip is especially to frowned upon, particularly if it has for its objectanother Śrīvaiṣṇava, and it leads to bad karma.Yes—Supernatural beings care about property crimes:Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 37 of 57Do supernatural beings mete out punishment:Notes: They do on behalf of God, like the planets that affect people's lives.Supernatural beings care about proper ritual observance:Yes—Supernatural beings care about performance of rituals:Yes—Supernatural beings care about conversion of non-religionists:Yes—Supernatural beings care about economic fairness:Notes: Fairness is important whatever the field.Yes—Supernatural beings care about personal hygiene:Yes—Supernatural beings care about other:Yes [specify]: As mentioned in ones of the notes, every thought, word and deed of a human ismonitored. And each is supposed tin accordance with scriptures.—Yes—Is the cause or agent of supernatural punishment known:Notes: The average human being cannot know all this, although, the fact that God is behindthe meting out of justice is not hidden from anyone.No—Is the reason for supernatural punishment known:Notes: The reason is not known, especially if one suffers due to the karma acquired in adifferent birth. Usually sufferings are a result of bad karma, and with the help of astrologers orenlightened people, it is possible to know the cause for one's suffering (bad behaviour,transgression of the religious laws, etc.).No—Supernatural punishments are meted out in the afterlife:Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 38 of 57Supernatural punishments in the afterlife are highly emphasized by thereligious group:Notes: It is a means of preventing what is perceived as wayward behaviour and toencourage people to become Śrīvaiṣṇavas, which will end once for all their karma andgive them liberation.Yes—Punishment in the afterlife consists of mild sensory displeasure:Notes: Yes and no. The punishment is proportional to the offence. It could be mild, butit could also be very terrible.No—Punishment in the afterlife consists of extreme sensory displeasure:Notes: See previous note.Yes—Punishment in the afterlife consists of reincarnation as an inferior life form:Notes: This is definitely a possibility. It is said that those who have sinned in theirthoughts are born as lower ranking humans, those who have sinned through theirwords are reborn as animals, and those who have sinned with their bodies are born astrees, etc. But those who have sought refuge at Rāmānuja's feet by becomingŚrīvaiṣṇavas will be spared such a fate, as liberation is guaranteed to them at the endof the bodies.Yes—Punishment in the afterlife consists of reincarnation in an inferior realm:Notes: It is a possibility, although I'm yet to come across an example that illustrates this.Field doesn't know—Other [specify]Notes: The Garuḍa Pura ̄n ̣a, which is an authorative text, is made up of lists ofpunishments that are meted out for the various crimes that are committed. And thepunishments are as numerous as the crimes/sins that can be committed.Yes—Supernatural punishments are meted out in this lifetime:Yes—Supernatural punishments in this life are highly emphasized by the religiousgroup:Field doesn't know—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 39 of 57Notes: Punishments in general are emphasized.Punishment in this life consists of bad luck:Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Yes—Punishment in this life consists of political failure:Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Yes—Punishment in this life consists of defeat in battle:Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Yes—Punishment in this life consists of crop failure or bad weather:Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Yes—Punishment in this life consists of disaster on journeys.Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Yes—Punishment in this life consists of mild sensory displeasure:Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Yes—Punishment in this life consists of extreme sensory displeasure:Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Yes—Punishment in this life consists of sickness or illness:Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 40 of 57Do supernatural beings bestow rewards:Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Punishment in this life consists of impaired reproduction:Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Yes—Punishment in this life consists of bad luck visited on descendants:Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Yes—Other [specify]Notes: Yes, but not only this. Punishment can take many forms and can be of differentdegree of severity.Yes—Yes—Is the cause/purpose of supernatural rewards known:Notes: The cause can mostly be known by seeking out help of astrologers and/or enlightenedpeople.No—Supernatural rewards are bestowed out in the afterlife:Yes—Supernatural rewards in the afterlife are highly emphasized by the religiousgroup:Notes: The best reward is the liberation of the soul, which reaches God's abode,Vaikun ̣t ̣ha. This is invariably emphasized.Yes—Reward in the afterlife consists of mild sensory pleasure:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated, as the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas are supposed to reach theheavenly abode of God.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 41 of 57Reward in the afterlife consists of extreme sensory pleasure:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated, as the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas are supposed to reach theheavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in the afterlife consists of eternal happiness:Notes: This is mainly for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, who are supposed to reach the heavenlyabode of God, thereby liberating their souls from the cycle of birth and death.Yes—Reward in the afterlife consists of reincarnation as a superior life form:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated, as the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas are supposed to reach theheavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in the afterlife consists of reincarnation in a superior realm:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated, as the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas are supposed to reach theheavenly abode of God.Yes—Other [specify]No—Supernatural rewards are bestowed out in this lifetime:Yes—Supernatural rewards in this life are highly emphasized by the religious group:Notes: Karma, whether good or bad, obstructs the path to liberation. So rewards otherthan proximity and service to god and His devotees are not emphasized.No—Reward in this life consists of good luck:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in this life consists of political success or power:Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 42 of 57Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Reward in this life consists of success in battle:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in this life consists of peace or social stability:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in this life consists of healthy crops or good weather:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in this life consists of success on journeys:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in this life consists of mild sensory pleasure:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in this life consists of extreme sensory pleasure:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in this life consists of enhanced health:Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 43 of 57Messianism/EschatologyAre messianic beliefs present:Notes: This school does believe in the coming of God as Kalki, who is supposed to establish order andjustice in this world at the end of Kaliyuga, but there is rarely any emphasis or even mention of this.What is essential for a human being is to behave properly in this birth so that the soul can achieveliberation at death.Is an eschatology present:Notes: Everything is cyclical in this belief system, good follows bad and vice versa. A new, better worldwill rise after this one that endures the hardships of kaliyuga, but that good world will be destroyed inorder to let a bad world come into existence, and so on and so forth.Norms and Moral RealismAre general social norms prescribed by the religious group:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in this life consists of enhanced reproductive success:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Reward in this life consists of fortune visited on descendants:Notes: This is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward isserving God and His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they vancontinue their task. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Other [specify]Notes: Many are the rewards that people get in this life for good behaviour. But again,this is mainly for the uninitiated. As for the Śrīvais ̣n ̣avas, the best reward is serving Godand His devotees, and then finally go to His heavenly, where they van continue theirtask. heavenly abode of God.Yes—Field doesn't know—No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 44 of 57Notes: This religious groups agrees with some texts that are common to other Vedic groups too, e.g.scriptures such as Manu's dharma code.Is there a conventional vs. moral distinction in the religious group:Are there centrally important virtues advocated by the religious group:Virtues here are normatively-desirable, internalized habits, dispositions or behavioral ideals.Yes—Field doesn't know—Yes—Honesty / trustworthiness / integrity:Yes—Courage (in battle):Notes: For the warrior caste (kṣatriyas), yes.Yes—Courage (generic):Notes: Cowardice is a sign of tāmasa ("darkness") quality, hence to be avoided.Yes—Compassion / empathy / kindness / benevolence:Yes—Mercy / forgiveness / tolerance:Yes—Generosity / charity:Yes—Selflessness / selfless giving:Yes—Righteousness / moral rectitude:Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 45 of 57Ritual purity / ritual adherence / abstention from sources of impurity:Yes—Respectfulness / courtesy:Yes—Familial obedience / filial piety:Yes—Fidelity / loyalty:Yes—Cooperation:Yes—Independence / creativity / freedom:No—Moderation / frugality:Yes—Forbearance / fortitude / patience:Yes—Diligence / self-discipline / excellence:Yes—Assertiveness / decisiveness / confidence / initiative:Yes—Strength (physical):Yes—Power / status / nobility:Notes: These are qualities that are important in for example the kings. Not a necessary virtuefor Śrīvaiṣṇavas. Although nobility of character is a more universal requirement.No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 46 of 57Humility / modesty:Yes—Contentment / serenity / equanimity:Yes—Joyfulness / enthusiasm / cheerfulness:Field doesn't know—Optimism / hope:Yes—Gratitude / thankfulness:Yes—Reverence / awe / wonder:Yes—Faith / belief / trust / devotion:Yes—Wisdom / understanding:Yes—Discernment / intelligence:Yes—Beauty / attractiveness:Notes: emphasis is on inner beauty, not on the external one, which can make things bymaking one vain.No—Cleanliness (physical) / orderliness:Yes—Other important virtues advocated by the religious group:No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 47 of 57PracticesMembership Costs and PracticesDoes membership in this religious group require celibacy (full sexual abstinence):Notes: It is only required for those who are in the first stage of life (brahmacarya, during which they doschooling) and for those who have renounced this world (i.e. sanyāsins/ascetics).Does membership in this religious group require constraints on sexual activity (partial sexualabstinence):Notes: Sex is supposed to be practised during specific times under specific conditions according toscriptures such as manu-dharma, mostly within a marriage.Does membership in this religious group require castration:Does membership in this religious group require fasting:Notes: Fasting on days like ekādaśi is supposed to be obligatory for everyone, but it is not limited tothis religious group. Renouncers are required to eat less, and fast more.Does membership in this religious group require forgone food opportunities (taboos ondesired foods):Notes: It's not a pre-requisite, but it is highly recommended to abstain from certain food items, such asmeat, poultry, eggs, but also onion and garlic. More restrictions are applicable for the renouncers, whoare not supposed to eat to satisfy their taste buds.Does membership in this religious group require permanent scarring or painful bodilyalterations:Notes: Bodily alterations: no. Permanent scarring: yes. One of the five rites of initiation requires thesymbols of Nārāyana's weapons, the discus and the conch, to be branded on the upper arms of thedisciples.Does membership in this religious group require painful physical positions or transitorypainful wounds:No—No—No—No—No—Yes—No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 48 of 57Does membership in this religious group require sacrifice of adults:"Adults" here referring to an emic or indigenous category; if that category is different from the popularWestern definition of a human who is 18-years-old or older and who is legally responsible for his/heractions, then please specify that difference in the Comments/Sources: box below.Does membership in this religious group require sacrifice of children:"Children" here referring to an emic or indigenous category; if that category is different from the popularWestern definition, please specify that different in the Comments/Sources: box below.Does membership in this religious group require self-sacrifice (suicide):Does membership in this religious group require sacrifice of property/valuable items:Notes: NB: the acsetics have to give up their material possessions.Does membership in this religious group require sacrifice of time (e.g., attendance atmeetings or services, regular prayer, etc.):Notes: Technically-speaking, a disciple is supposed to attend training on important religious meaningsfrom the mentor, but again, it is not a pre-requisite. Although the hagiographic texts do mentiondisciples serving their ācāryas and attending the lectures, it is not clear whether they all did. Furtherresearch is needed in the field.Does membership in this religious group require physical risk taking:Does membership in this religious group require accepting ethical precepts:Notes: While it's not part of the pre-requisites, a disciple is supposed to accept the ethical precepts ofthe sacred texts, including those of the Vedas and "Vedic" texts, as interpreted by the Śrīvaiṣṇavaācāryas.Does membership in this religious group require marginalization by out-group members:Notes: NB: it is noteworthy here that contact with (conversation, sharing food, living with) non-Śrīvaiṣṇavas are discouraged. It is something that is clearly mentioned in Śrīvaiṣṇava texts such asPiḷḷai Lokācārya's Śrīvacanabhūṣaṇam. Within the Śrīvaiṣṇava group, caste rules apply.No—No—No—No—No—No—Yes—No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 49 of 57Does membership in this religious group require participation in small-scale rituals (private,household):Does membership in this religious group require participation in large-scale rituals:I.e. involving two or more households; includes large-scale “ceremonies” and “festivals.”Yes—What is the average interval of time between performances (in hours):Performances here refers to small-scale rituals.Notes: Other than what is prescribed by scriptures (such as the sandhyāvandanā for the twice-born), the worship of Nārāyaṇa, as taught by the ācāya during the samāśrayaṇa, is to be donealong with the recitation of certain mantras and a set of verses from the canonical texts, theNālāyira Divya Prabandham. It is not really possible to know more precisely, especially abouthow things were during the default period.Field doesn't know—Yes—On average, for large-scale rituals how many participants gather in one location:Notes: We have no numbers for this. If public worships happen, then the disciples would havegathered in hundreds. Further research is required on the topic.Field doesn't know—What is the average interval of time between performances (in hours):Performances here refers to large-scale rituals.Notes: It is almost impossible to give the number of hours in this case. large-scale events couldmean festivals and/or religious functions that happen every fortnight or every month or everyyear.Field doesn't know—Are there orthodoxy checks:Orthodoxy checks are mechanisms used to ensure that rituals are interpreted in a standardizedway, e.g. through the supervisory prominence of a professionalized priesthood or other system ofgovernance, appeal to texts detailing the proper interpretation, etc.Notes: Authoritative texts (that have been agreed upon by the leaders, e.g. the Vedas) arereferred to when discussing proper interpretation.Yes—Are there orthopraxy checks:Orthopraxy checks are mechanisms used to ensure that rituals are performed in a standardizedway, e.g. through the supervisory prominence of a professionalized priesthood or other system ofgovernance, appeal to texts detailing the proper procedure, etc.Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 50 of 57Are extra-ritual in-group markers present:E.g. special changes to appearance such as circumcision, tattoos, scarification, etc.Notes: As mentioned earlier, the rite of branding the impressions of God's weapons happens onceduring initiation. No such practice is repeated after that.Does the group employ fictive kinship terminology:Notes: In the group, the other is referred to as "svāmi" ("Master"); and the individual refers to himself as"aṭiyēṉ" or "dāsan" ("slave"). This is in order to see oneself as unworthy, and a servant of the Lord and hisdevotees, and to see the others (i.e. the Lord's devotees) as being the masters.Society and InstitutionsLevels of Social ComplexityThe society to which the religious group belongs is best characterized as (please chooseone):This question refers to the wider society in which the religious group is located.Notes: Kings belonging to dynasties such as the Cōḻa, ruled over the land in which this group grew.WelfareDoes the religious group in question provide institutionalized famine relief:Notes: Disciples are fed and roofed in places called in specific maṭha-s (literally, hermitages andmonasteries, but in practice also rest-houses for the pilgrims) and in places called Rāmānuca-kūṭam-s(rest-houses for the Vaiṣṇava travellers). But there is no mention to my knowledge of institutionalizedNotes: Please see previous note.Yes—Does participation entail synchronic practices:Notes: There are rituals like the sandhyā-vandanā, which are to be performed at specific timesof the day. Those kind of rites are synchronised.Yes—Is there use of intoxicants:No—No—No—An empire—Field doesn't know—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 51 of 57famine relief. Further research is required on the topic.Is famine relief available to the group's adherents through an institution(s) other than thereligious group in question:Notes: It is possible that the king of the region would have organized famine relief, but no suchmention is to be found in the texts so far as I know. Further research is required on the topic.Does the religious group in question provide institutionalized poverty relief:Notes: The pilgrims are fed in the rest-houses; temples feed devotees at certain times of the day.Further research is required on the topic.Is poverty relief available to the group's adherents through an institution(s) other than thereligious group in question:Notes: It is possible that the king provided such relief. Further research is required on the topic.Does the religious group in question provide institutionalized care for the elderly and infirm:Notes: Further research is required on the topic.Is institutionalized care for the elderly and infirm available to the group's adherents throughan institution(s) other than the religious group in question:Notes: Further research is required on the topic.EducationDoes the religious group provide formal education to its adherents:Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—Yes—Is formal education restricted to religious professionals:Notes: Yes and no. It depends on what that formal education includes. If it is caste-specific,then yes (i.e. Brahmins are taught to be priests in the temples). Otherwise education is open toall (e.g. the education on who God is, what liberation is, how to live and conduct oneself, etc.)and the learning of the Tamil Vedas, the Divya Prabandham.Yes—Is such education open to both males and females:Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 52 of 57Is formal education available to the group’s adherents through an institution(s) other thanthe religious group:Notes: Some disciples, esepcially Brahmins, would have been welcome in Vedic schools, where theylearnt to recite the Vedas.BureaucracyDo the group’s adherents interact with a formal bureaucracy within their group:Do the group’s adherents interact with other institutional bureaucracies:Public WorksDoes the religious group in question provide public food storage:Is public food storage provided to the group’s adherents by an institution(s) other than thereligious group in question:Does the religious group in question provide water management (irrigation, flood control):Is water management provided to the group’s adherents by an institution(s) other than thereligious group in question:Does the religious group in question provide transportation infrastructure:Notes: Once again, some fields are open to both, which is a revolution in a way. The Divyaprabandham and its meanings were taught to women too, but the Sanskrit Vedas wererestricted to the traivarṇika men, or males who belong to the first three varnas.Yes—Yes—Is extra-religious education open to both males and females:No—Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—No—No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 53 of 57Is transportation infrastructure provided for the group’s adherents by an institution(s) otherthan the religious group in question:TaxationDoes the religious group in question levy taxes or tithes:Notes: NB: The maṭhas (religious institutions) often depend on external fundings. The disciples arewelcome to contribute financially to the well-being of their ācāryas, but this does not mean any taxesor tithes were levied systematically. Further research is required on the topic.Are taxes levied on the group’s adherents by an institution(s) other than the religious group inquestion:EnforcementDoes the religious group in question provide an institutionalized police force:Do the group’s adherents interact with an institutionalized police force provided by aninstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:Does the religious group in question provide institutionalized judges:Do the group’s adherents interact with an institutionalized judicial system provided by an aninstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:Does the religious group in question enforce institutionalized punishment:Are the group’s adherents subject to institutionalized punishment enforced by aninstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:No—No—No—No—No—No—No—No—No—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 54 of 57Does the religious group in question have a formal legal code:Notes: The "Vedic" codes (as interpreted by the Śrīvaiṣṇava ācāryas) are considered as the legal code.Are the group’s adherents subject to a formal legal code provided by institution(s) other thanthe religious group in question:Notes: Being the subjects of a king meant that the adherents were automatically under the control ofthe king's rules and regulations.WarfareDoes religious group in question possess an institutionalized military:Do the group’s adherents participate in an institutionalized military provided byinstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:Are the group’s adherents protected by or subject to an institutionalized military providedby an institution(s) other than the religious group in question:Notes: NB: As citizens of a certain kingdom, the adherents would have received whatever protectionthe king and his men were willing or capable of giving them.Written LanguageDoes the religious group in question possess its own distinct written language:Notes: Written language, especially in the Tamil-Sanskrit Maṇipravāla, is often the domain of religiousprofessionals, but disciples are also known to write. The script that was used, i.e. grantha--whichallowed them to transcribe Sanskrit sounds in Tamil--, may not have been accessible to everyonethough.No—No—Yes—No—No—Field doesn't know—Yes—Is use of this distinct written language confined to religious professionals:Notes: Although not restricted to religious professionals, it is quite possible that the writtenlanguage in a particular script was more of the domain of professionals, including scribes.Yes—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 55 of 57Is a non-religion-specific written language available to the group’s adherents through aninstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:Notes: Many teachers, and a few disciples, would have had access to non-religious teachings outsidethe religious institutions that they belonged to, where they would have learnt for example Tamilliterature.Is a non-religion-specific written language used by the group’s adherents through aninstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:CalendarDoes the religious group in question possess a formal calendar:Notes: NB: it may have used one of the many "Hindu" calendars, with a few exclusive Śrīvaiṣṇavamodifications (e.g. how to determine when to fast for the ekādaśi). Further research is required on thetopic.Is a formal calendar provided for the group’s adherents by an institution(s) other than thereligious group in question:Notes: The king may have used a different calendar, which may have been used by the general public,possibly including the Śrīvaiṣṇavas. Further research is required on the topic.Food ProductionDoes the religious group in question provide food for themselves:Notes: renouncers are supposed to beg for their food, the people in the monasteries receive donationsfrom chiefs, kings and/or the disciples of the monastery.Is food provided to the group’s adherents by an institution(s) other than the religious groupin question:Yes—Field doesn't know—Yes—Field doesn't know—Yes—Please characterize the forms/level of food production [choose all that apply]:Notes: Please see previous answer.Gathering—Small-scale agriculture / horticultural gardens or orchards—Field doesn't know—Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 56 of 57Notes: Further research is required on the topic.Anandakichenin, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 57 of 57

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