|Author||Prof D.Kiran Kranth Choudary|
|Binding Type||Hard Case|
Venkatadri samamsthanam Brahmande Nasti Kinchana
Venkatesa samo devo na bhuto na bhavishyati
(“There is no place equivalent to Venkatadri in this entire universe. There is no God so far who can equal Lord Sri Venkateswara. Nor shall there be any in future.”)
Vishnu Narayana in the form of Sri Venkatesvara is the presiding deity in the temple at Tirumala. Tirumala is also known as Vengadam or Saptagirlu or Edukondalu or Elumalai (Seven hills) or China Tirupati or Eguva Tirupati. Tirumala can be reached by the second ghat road and can come down by the first ghat road. There are two path ways, one from Alipiri and the other from Srivarimettu, near Srinivasamangapuram. It is the richest temple in the world and daily on average 70,000 pilgrims visit the temple. It draws everyday fabulous amount of more than four crore rupees of money in all kinds through hundi collection alone.
The god here is known as Venkatesvara, meaning ‘The Lord of the Venkata Hills’ (Malaiyappa), Saptagirisvara, Elumalaiyan, Edugondalavada, Srinivasa, Balaji, etc. The idol of Sri Venkatesvara is to be only Vishnu. However, regarding the identity of the idol there has been a controversy among a section of devotees. Some of them believe that it is the god of Subramanya. This section used support their argument by quoting certain portion from the Skandapurana and to a Tiruppugal song sung by Arunagirinatha. Another group of votaries holds the idol to be of the Mother Goddess and to substantiate this opinion they draw attention to certain points like the feminine name Balaji, the sacred bath done to the deity on Fridays only and to the figures of lions found on the vimana, common practice followed in the temples of the Mother Goddess. Some other section of devotees would view the deity as the composite Sankaranarayana and to affirm the argument they would quote a song from the Nalayiradivyaprabhandam. In this work Peyalvar had described the Lord of Tirumalai as having the inconographical features of both Hari and Hara. But none of the Saiva saints sing in praise of the deity as Peyalvar. Recently some of the modern scholars have put forth new ideas about the idol of the Lord and they concluded that the idol is of the Buddhist and Jain origin. Now all these controversies have very much subsided because it is proved beyond any doubt that Sri Venkatesvara idol is none other than Vishnu. All these points have been discussed under the head of Seven Hills in this work itself. It seems that the founder seer of the Tirumala temple got enough inspiration from the Vedas, particularly from the Taittiriya Samhita in which the Mahavedi episode is clearly detailed. It is sanctified by Sri Ramanujacharya is well known. The worship is being done in Tirumala according to the Vaikhanasa Agama system and where as in the temples of Tirupati is in the Pancharatra Agama.
The devotees call reverently the Sri Venkatesvara shrine as the Lord’s Svaymvyaktakshetra because it is this kshetra i.e., yajnakshetra (the holy sacrificial altar), that is made clear (vyakta) by Lord Himself (svayam); to this kshetra the Lord Yajna- Vishnu came on His own accord. It is known to us that the yajna took the form of Vishnu and brought the yajna-vedi wealth beyond the Seven Hills and that the Tirumala shrine represents that vedi wealth and the deity Sri Venkatesvara therein is that Yajna-Vishnu
“(O Supreme) you are yajna. (Hence) you are vasatkara ( a sacrificial utterance); You are Indra; You are Rudra; You are Vishnu; You are Brahma; Your are Prajapati. You are waters. You are fire…………You are Om”. __Mahanarayanopanishad
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