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Tapta mudrankana is a process of heating metallic religious symbols and touching on the skin so that a mark is produced on the skin.

It is usually followed by vaishnava tradition using shankha and chakra symbols.

One of well known acharyas Sri bhAskara RAya has refuted it in his works.

As per kamakoti website

Shankhachakrayana Prayashchitta – the purificatory rites for people who have undergone Bharana Nyasa and got Shankha and Chakra Mudras inscribed on their body. This is a Vaishnava custom banned by the Smriti. Sri Bhaskararaya refutes the claims supporting this banned practice.

My question is

Are there any references cited by him during his refutation?

Are there texts which have quotes which do.not approve this process ?

  • According to this article there are not just one but many scriptures which seem to prohibit the ritual. The article quotes from mainly Puranas and Smritis. – Rickross Dec 18 '17 at 5:46
  • @Rickross if you wish you can compose an answer based on it – Rakesh Joshi Dec 18 '17 at 11:20
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As mentioned in a comment, many scriptures that condemn the act, are given in this article. But i am not using that article as my reference.

The Devi Bhagavata Purana condemns the act at many places, irrespective of whether a Vaishnava doing it or even a Shaiva.

Here are few such passages:

32-40. Hearing their piteous cries, Durvâsâ, the prince of the Risis, asked with a grievous heart the Pitris, “Who are those crying?” The Pitris replied :-- There is a city close to our place called “Samyamanî Purî” of the King Yama where the sinners are punished. Yama gives punishment to the sinners there. O Sinless One! In that city the King Yama lives with his terrible black-coloured messengers, the personifications of Kâla (the Destruction). For the punishment of the sinners, eighty-six hells exist there. The place is being guarded always by the horrible messengers of Yama. Out of those hells, the hell named Kumbhîpâka is very big and that is the chief of the hells. The ailings and torments of the sinners in the Kumbhîpâka hell cannot be described in hundred years. O Muni! The S’iva-haters, the Visnu-haters, the Devî-haters are made to fall to this Kunda. Those who find fault with the Vedas, and blame the Sun, Ganes’a and tyrannise the Brâhmanas fall down to this hell. Those who blame their mothers, fathers, Gurus, elder brothers, the Smritis and Purânas and those as well who take the Tapta Mudrâs (hot marks on their bodies) and Tapta S’ûlas (i.e., those who being S’aivas act as they like) those who blame the religion (Dharma) go down to that hell.

Book11, Chapter15


91-100. Vyâsa said :-- Thus dismissing the Brâhmanas, Gautama Muni thought that all these occurred as a result of Prârabdha Karma and he became calm and quiet. For this reason, after S’rî Krisna Mahârâja ascended to the Heavens, when the Kâlî age came, those cursed Brâhmanas got out of the Kumbhîpâka hell and took their births in this earth as Brâhmins, devoid of the three Sandhyâs, devoid of the devotion to Gâyatrî, devoid of faith in the Vedas, advocating the heretics’ opinion and unwilling to perform Agnihotra and other religious sacrifices and duties and they were devoid of Svadhâ and Svâhâ. They forgot entirely the Unmanifested Mûla Prakriti Bhagavatî. Some of them began to mark on their bodies various heretical signs, e.g., Taptamûdrâ, etc.;

Book12, Chapter9


A Brâhmana going to a S’ûdra woman is recognised a Brisalipati (one who has married an unmarried girl twelve years old in whom menstruation has commenced). So much so that that Brâhmana is considered an outcast and the vilest of the Chândâlas. The offerings of Pindas by him are considered as faeces and water offered by him is considered as urine. Nowhere whether in the Devaloka or in the Pitriloka, his offered Pindas and water are accepted. Whatever religious merits he has acquired by worshipping the Devas, and practising austerities for Koti births, he loses all at once by the greed of enjoying the S’ûdra woman. There is no doubt in this. A Brâhmin, if he drinks wine, is considered as the husband of a Vrisalî, eating faeces. And if he be a Vaisnava, a devotee of Visnu, his body must be branded with the marks of a Taptamudrâ (hot seal); and if he be a S’aiva, his body is to be branded with the Tapta S’ûla (hot trident)

Book9, Chapter34


Those who do injury to others even by the blade of a Kus'a grass used as a weapon, go to hell with their heads downwards and their feet upwards. Those that follow their own sweet free will, that take up any sort of dress (e. g. Bauddhas), those that follow the philosophical doctrines called Pâs'upatas, and the other hermits and saints and persons that take up other vows contrary to the religions of the Vedas, for example, the Vaikhânasa followers, those who brand their bodies by the hot Mudrâs, at the places of pilgrimages, e. g. Dvârkâ, etc., they go to hell with their bodies scorched by red hot brands (Tapta Mudrâs)

Book11, Chapter1

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    That is a well researched answer and it would be nice if you can include some.smritis too ? Thanks . – Rakesh Joshi Apr 3 '18 at 17:15
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    Yes i remember reading it in some Smriti that people who have such marks should not be invited in Shraddhas.. forgot now which one..will check. @RakeshJoshi – Rickross Apr 3 '18 at 17:17
  • Can you look for references from Vaishnava Puranas? – Surya Kanta Bose Chowdhury Apr 3 '18 at 17:36
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    Will be a tough ask will try.. @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury – Rickross Apr 3 '18 at 17:48

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