Mahaperiyava image and name as profile photo / handle in social media


With both our bakthi for Mahaperiyava AND our addiction to social media are increasing rapidly 🙂 I thought I would share some of my experiences and observations also.

We all like to have Mahaperiyava/maha’s photos or god/goddess photos for us in social media to reflect our bakthi for them, which is fine. However, due to our liking to loukeeka related issues, we pass various comments about politicians, actresses, food with Mahaperiyava photo 🙂 When you yourself look at your posting after a while, you will realize that the comment ad His photo don’t go well. Prior to Facebook implemented more privacy settings, folks used to tag me on a Mahaperiyava photo.  In facebook, if you hover the mouse over a photo, it will show the names of folks who have been tagged. I personally think that nothing can be more insulting to that mahan by tagging us on His photo – this is just my opinion – others may feel otherwise. I used to beg people not to tag me on those photos. It stopped now and also thanks to their updated privacy settings where you can prevent others tagging you without your permission.

In twitter, there has been more problems than facebook as you can’t edit/delete any replies to your tweet. In fact, Sri S. Gurumurthy himself has been criticized by others for using Mahaperiyava profile photo to share his comments.

FYI – my twitter handle is @Periyava_blog – each and every post from this blog will be shared in twitter through this handle. I do not use this handle to share my personal views. On the Facebook, each of the post is shared via “Periyava Radio” handle. I have noticed few other handles in twitter that regularly posts on Mahaperiyava. Many times, it isn’t clearer whether that tweet is that person’s opinion or Mahaperiyava’s quote. One of the handles is “@haraharasankara”.  This is not my handle. Few months back they tweeted on women related topic and it drew lot of nasty commets. I dont know if this handle is regularly monitored or not. If anyone knows who owns this handle, pl share it to me via email at The only reason to get some details is to direct queries from others that come to me for his/her postings!

Comments welcome!


Categories: Announcements

12 replies

  1. Yes I agree … Not only in FB even in our Family function invitation also I feel and request Bakthas not to use & print Periyava Photo lavishly. If you circulate many it makes at time some devotees to keep away since they have many and the kept away may go to floor.

  2. your statement not only applies to Periyava but also other God’s pictures. These are to be in Pooja Room and not in Profile pictures.

  3. Three ideas strike me. We Hindus are excessively prone to image worship, and are mindlessly addicted. Just look at the way we use the images of Devatas and Saints in our calendars, and discard them without due thought or reverence. God’s images are printed anywhere. As far as I know, only ISKCON people specifically state that the pictures of deities should be treated/disposed of with due reverence. We have to exercise greater discrimination and self-control in this regard.
    Social media is mainly used to share frivolous information,sensational news and contents. All over the world, most comments are are not in good taste, if not down right nasty. A new medium brings with it its own grammar and logic, it seems!
    We have also to reckon with the rising tendency to commercialise everything, including our religious ideas and icons.
    Above all, we have to be wary of new technologies and gadgets. Not every change is an improvement, not every new thing is necessarily better or beneficial, Jacques Ellul , the French sociologist and philosopher has shown that technology has an inherent tendency to debase the mind, and is especially prone to abuse. [ Please see his book : “The Technological Society” published in 1964.]
    These new technologies enslave us to new techniques, and progressively dehumanise us, reducing us to the status of morons or robots. We have to consciously avoid these newfangled technologies and stick to the old methods.

    • Fire has the capability to give warmth or burn the individual depending on how it is used. The problem is not the technology- how it is used by the individual-mindless use invites problems.

      • +Lakshmanan. What you say is the obvious popular notion, and it is not wrong. But a little reflection will show that it is not adequate to deal with the matter.
        Any gadget or instrument is capable of use and abuse or misuse. A fork can be used to eat or kill or even hijack a plane! But some gadgets are more prone to misuse, given normal human tendencies or proclivity. As Abraham Maslow said, one who only has a hammer will be looking out for nails!

        So all ancient (pre-Christian) cultures laid down rules governing the use of of instruments or gadgets. Fire was treated as sacred and was accorded due ceremony. The Greeks had the legend of Prometheus who was cursed for introducing fire among the humans. We Hindus have treated fire with due deference. Till 50 or 60 years ago, to light cooking fire (விறகு அடுப்பு) in the morning was a little ceremony. Elderly ladies did it after a bath ( மடி) because cooking food was not for mere eating to satisfy hunger- it was to fulfill Prana agnihotram, after offering to family gods. Likewise, at night, the fireplace used to be covered with a coating of cow dung solution and a simple Kolam used to be drawn over the place. So, dealing with fire was a sacred, not secular or casual affair. Do we see such things now with the gas stove or electric oven? This is how technology alters our sense of values and brings with it its own logic and usages. As Marshal McLuhan said, the medium is the message!

        There is something inherently sinister or devilish in modern technologies. This may be due to the fact that most of them have originated in or spilled over from military usage. Most technologies are inherently risky, come with side effects which are deliberately hidden from public view. How many people are aware of the magnetic radiation from the TV, Computer, Cell phones ? Like modern allopathic medicine, there is no modern technology without side effects. We ignore the bad effects and use it for comfort and convenience. The modern age has mistaken comfort for civilisation, as Lewis Mumford said long ago,

        The obvious overwhelming fact is that the cumulative effect of all our modern science and technology of the past 300 years is the total pollution of air, water and earth which have been rendered unfit for human use and habitation! There is the additional noise pollution and the pollution of the mind due to exploding information load! So today, the badness of technology is not due to mere human choice, but the very nature of what we call technology which is a monster directing the human mind and dictating life in all its aspects. In the name of technology, we have simply lost the art of right living. As T.S.Eliot wrote:

        The endless cycle of idea and action,
        Endless invention, endless experiment,
        Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
        Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
        Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
        All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
        All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
        But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.
        Where is the Life we have lost in living?
        Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
        Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
        The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
        Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust.

  4. I am reminded of an incident which I read about somewhere. I believe that when Smt. Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister, she was eager to bring out a postal stamp with the image of Adi Sankara. She asked for the opinion of Maha Pariavaa, through Shri C. Subramaniam, who was then a central minister. Maha Periavaa did not approve of the idea, as he felt that the gesture will result more in dishonoring Adi Sankara, as people have a tendency to use their saliva to paste the postal stamp to the envelope. Smt. Indira Gandhi, on his advice, dropped the idea. We have to be very careful in using the images of any revered individual. Once, I told a professional caterer (one of his assistants), who had the image of Maha Periavaa on his visiting card that it was not an appropriate thing to do since if someone discards the card it would amount to showing disrespect to the image.

    • Not only visiting cards but also on the thamboola bags.Ihad a similar experience where I spoke to a leading caterer in Chennai to stop the practice. I had a positive response from him. Another practice is printing of Periyava’s photo in the invitations.
      The bakthas should avoid this also

  5. Yes, you are absolutely right! Putting others photo as our profile and tweeting our comments is very misleading. It gives the impression that all our comments are backed by the person in our profile photo, and that whatever we are saying is in line with the thinking and philosophy of the person in our profile photo.

    • In addition to the social media, there is a habit among several Brahmin families to distribute photographs of Gods and Gurus and also books containing divine hymns.
      When we attend dozens of such functions in a year, how many photos and books can we accumulate.
      As a result, after a few days these photos and books reach the Corporation Dust Bin to be trampled not only by humans but by stray animals.
      Is it not an act of sacrilege?
      So the best thing is to install Mahaperiyava in our heart and pooja room alone.
      We can avoid using His images on the social media and stop distributing His pictures during ‘Loukeeka’ (secular) functions.
      This will be the most devoted Namaskarams we do to Mahaperiyava.
      Well I do not use Facebook or Twitter and so I am not familiar with these ‘handle’ issues.

  6. One way of resolving this is, to upload the Self image with Periva or ishta devata in the background for the profile. As you rightly point out many people use similar images and we fail to know who this person is ; unless he/she is a close member in our circle.

  7. In gulf countries, the “USE” of photos of Sultan / Emir / King requires permission. I was in a PSU – named after King and wanted his photo in our website. Permission denied. REASON: Some one could get the photo from our site and misuse the same in UNDESIRABLE sites from countries where no way you can track and punish the culprit. .

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