This article, Urdhapundra – The Vaishnavite Tilak, claims:

The Madhvacharis use hot iron blocks to emboss their bodies, especially the shoulders, with the four symbols of Vishnu.


  • Is the above really true?
  • Do any of the Vaiṣṇava dharma śāstras recommend this practice?
  • Do any Vaiṣṇavas still follow this?
  • Sri Vaishnavas use hot iron brands to put symbols of the Shankha and Chakra on their shoulders. This is one of the Pancha Samskaras or five rituals that make up Samashrayanam, the initiation process detailed in the Pancharatra Agamas. Doing Samashrayanam is a prerequisite to Sharanagati or complete surrender to Vishnu, because you need to be initiated into Pancharatra in order to recite the Dvaya mantra used for Sharanagati. Feb 9, 2017 at 0:11
  • The only difference between Sri Vaishnavas and Madhvas on this seems to be that Madhvas use four symbols rather than two. In any case, Madhvas also follow Pancharatra Agamas, so it's not surprising that they have similar rituals to Sri Vaishnavas. Feb 9, 2017 at 0:16
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Ok, maybe you can post an answer. Does anyone still follow this or is it more symbolical these days? Feb 9, 2017 at 0:18
  • Yes, Sri Vaishnavas definitely still do this. We have Sri Vaishnava users on this site who have done it. I'm planning to do it in future. The only Vaishnava sect I know of that doesn't believe in it are the Vaikhanasas, as I discuss here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/14516/36 And yeah, I may post an answer. Feb 9, 2017 at 0:24
  • This practice is referred to as "Tapta Mudhradharane".
    – horiz0n
    Feb 6, 2020 at 17:14


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