Tirupati Balaji-Lord Venkateshwara

tirupati balaji

Sri Venkateswara Swami Vaari Temple is a Hindu temple in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh ,India. It is situated in the hills of Tirumala ,Tirupati. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara ,who is an avatar of Lord vishnu , popularly known as Balaji or Srinivasa.

It is one of the eight Vishnu Swambhu Kshetram . These are the places where Shri Vishnu self manifested in the human form . The other seven being – Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam( Tamil Nadu),Bhoovaraha Swamy Temple in Sri Mushnam at Cuddalore,Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, also known as Sri Thothadri Nathan temple or Sri Vara Mangai, near Tirunelveli,Salagramam Temple in Nepal,Varaha Temple in Pushkar,Naimisharanya in Uttar Pradesh,Badrinath Temple in Uttarakhand

The Tirumala hills are at an elevation of 860m . It is one of the busiest pilgrimage center in the world. With 50000 to 100000 visitors everyday .During some special occasions the number of visitors reaches more than 1 lakh. The temple generates a lot of revenue for the Andhra Pradesh governments as it is offered many precious jwelleries by the devotees . The temple is run by a body Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams under the state government .

Temple of seven hills

Tirumala hills comprises of seven peaks , representing the seven heads of Adi Shesha. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanadri, and Venkatadri .The temple is located on the seventh peak Venakatadri on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarani , a holy water tank .So it is also called ‘The temple of Seven Hills’.  Tirupati is situated amidst the lush green Eastern Ghats in Chittoor district.

Tirupati town itself has several temples and is famous for its red wooden toys ,copper and brass idols . The entire place is filled with divine energies and one can feel it as one goes round the various temples and spots of natural beauty surrounding this major town.

worship and architecture

The presiding diety of Venkateshwara ,is in standing posture and faces east in Garbha Griha (which is called Ananda Nilayam),with his consort Lakshmi and Padmavathi resting on his left and right part of chest respectively.

The temple is constructed in the Dravidian Architectural style and follows the Vaikhanasa Agama tradition of worship.The idol of Venkateshwara is believed to remain here during the entire duration of Kaliyuga.

Temple

There are three entrance to the temples .The thick wooden door is covered with golden plates which depicts the ten Avatars of Vishnu . Devotees perform circumambulations in the Garbhagriha and it is known as Pradakshinam .

Venkateshwara is represented by five dieties which are together known as Panch Beramulu ( beram means diety and panch means five ) . These includes – Moolavirat ( the main source of energy in tirumala)  ,Bhoga Srinivasa( silver diety which is served on behalf of Moolvirata), Ugra Srinivasa ( ferrocious form of vishnu), Malayappa swami( worshipped on festivals ), Koluvu srinivasa( guardian diety of temple).

Legends of Venkateshwara

The legends taken from the Venkatachala Mahatmya and the Varaha Purana, pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala, are of particular interest.

Contest between Adisesha and Vayu

During the Dwaparayuga, Vayudeva (the Wind God) went to Vaikuntam to pay his obeisance to Lord Sri Vishnu. The Lord was reclining in the company of Maha Lakshmi and the doorway was guarded by Adisesha. Vayudeva was incensed when Adisesha prevented him from entering Sri Vishnu’s holy abode resulting in a fierce battle between them.When Lord Vishnu intervened, each was boasting of his superior valour and supreme might. To test who was stronger, the Lord suggested that Adisesha should encircle the Ananda hill, an off-shoot of the Meru Mountain on its northern side, while Vayudeva should blow hard to dislodge the Ananda hill from Adisesha’s strangle hold.

Adisesha released his hold on the hill, with the result, Adisesha and the Ananda hill were together blown away to the banks of the river Swarnamukhi. As Adisesha was crestfallen over his defeat, Lord Brahma and the others appeased him by saying that he would be integrated with the hill Venkatadri and would become the abode of Lord Vishnu. Adisesha then metamorphosed into the vast Seshadri hill range, while his hood manifested itself into Venkatadri, the abode of Lord Sri Venkateswara.

Test of the Trinities

At the banks of Ganga ,several rishis were performing a holy sacrifice. The rishis could not decide as to whom they should dedicate the fruit of their yaga. Bhrigu, one of the rishis took the task upon himself for testing who among the three chief divinities-Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, is the supreme Lord to receive the divine boon of the Yagya.He passed Shiva and Brahma being unnoticed ,but when he reached Vishnu he felt humiliated on being unnoticed and kicked his chest ,where Lakshmi lived .

Sri Maha Lakshmi was furious over Bhrigu for kicking the holy spot and her favourite abode – the bosom of the Lord. She left Vishnu in a fury and went on to stay at Karavirapura (now Kolhapur in the state of Maharashtra) to commence a deep penance. Unable to bear the solitude after Sri Maha Lakshmi’s departure, Vishnu left Vaikuntam in search of her and wandered across the forests and hills.

Appearance of Srininvasa

Vishnu bore human form as Srinivasa, left Vaikuntam, in search of Lakshmi, reached Tirumala Hills and started meditating. Lakshmi came to know about the condition of Srinivasa and prayed to Shiva and Brahma. Shiva and Brahma then converted themselves into Cow and Calf and Goddess Lakshmi had handed over the cow and calf to Chola king ruling over Tirumala Hills at that time. The Cow would provide milk to Srinivasa daily while it was taken for grazing. One day Cowherd saw this and tried to beat the Cow with staff but Srinivasa had borne the injury. Getting angered by this Srinivasa had cursed the Chola king to become a Demon as dharma says Servants sin should be borne by Kings. The king prayed for mercy after which Srinivasa said to him, that the King should take next birth as Akasaraja and should perform marriage of his daughter Padmavati with Srinivasa.

Srinivasa and Padmavathi

Srinivasa went to his mother Vakula Devi on Tirumala hills and stayed there for a while. After curse Chola king took rebirth as Akasaraja and he had a daughter named Padmavati who was born in the Padmapushkarini situated at present day Tiruchanur in Andhra Pradesh. Srinivasa married Padmavati at present day Narayanavanam in Andhra Pradesh and will return to Tirumala Hills. After few months Goddess Lakshmi had come to know about the marriage of Srinivasa with Padamavati and went to Tirumala hills to question Srinivasa. It is said that the srinivasa turns into Stone right when he was encountered by Lakshmi and Padmavathi. Brahma and Shiva appear before the confused queens and explain the main purpose behind all this – The Lord’s desire to be on the 7 hills for the emancipation of mankind from the perpetual troubles of Kali Yuga. Goddesses Lakshmi and Padmavathi also turn into stone deities expressing their wish to be with their always. Lakshmi stays with Him on His Chest on the left side while Padmavathi rests on His Chest’s right side.

Following is a verse from Venkateshwara Suprabhatam in the praise of Lord Venkateshwara:

श्रीमन्नभीष्ट-वरदाखिललोक-बन्धो
श्रीश्रीनिवास-जगदेकदयैकसिन्धो ।
श्रीदेवतागृहभुजान्तर-दिव्यमूर्ते
श्रीवेङ्कटाचलपते तव सुप्रभातम् ॥
 ----------VENKATESHWARA SUPRABHATAM

One with Lakshmi! One who grants boons! Friend of all the worlds! Abode of Sri Lakshmi! The matchless ocean of compassion! One having a charming form on account of the chest which is the abode of Sri Lakshmi! Lord of Venkatachala! May it be an auspicious dawn to Thee.

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