Tapa – Marks on Each Shoulder of Srivaishnavas

Tapa is part of the Panchasamskara ritual and is adopted to make a devotee eligible for rendering service to Lord Vishnu. Panchasamskara ritual is mentioned in the Pancharatra Agamas.

Tapa refers to the marks on each shoulder of the initiate made by the acharya by putting heated metalmark in the form of Vishnu’s discus (Sudarshana Chakra) on the right shoulder and another in the form of His conch (Shankh) on the left shoulder.

The scars made by these marking insignia unmistakably distinguish Srivaishnavas from the devotees of all other cults.