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|Other names||Venkatesh, Venkata Ramana, Tirupati Thimmappa|
|Sanskrit transliteration||Venkatachalapathy (Vēṅkaṭēśh)|
|Mantra||Om Namo Venkatesaya, Om Namo Narayana|
|Region||Andhra Pradesh, India|
|Consorts||Shridevi and Padmavathi|
Venkateswara literally means "Lord of Venkata". The word is a combination of the words Venkata (the name of a hill in Andhra Pradesh) and isvara ("Lord"). According to the Brahmanda and Bhavishyottara Puranas, the word "Venkata" means "destroyer of sins", deriving from the Sanskrit words vem (sins) and kata (power of immunity).
It is also being said Venkata is combination of two words 'ven' (keeps away) and 'kata' (troubles). Being that said Venkata means 'who keeps away troubles' or 'who takes away problems' or any other sentence in similar context.
Every year, lakhs of devotees donate a large amount of wealth at the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. There is a great legend behind this incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Once, there was a ritual to be conducted. The sages and pontiffs for the Yagya were in a dilemma as to which God to dedicate the ritual to. The sages called upon Sage Bhrigu, one of the Saptarishis to suggest a solution. To test the ideal God, Bhrigu did a test. He first went to King of Gods, Indra. Indra did not acknowledge Bhrigu's presence but was busy in enjoying the dance of apsaras in heaven. Bhrigu cursed Indra that he would only be referred to as an egoistic soul all over the universe. He next visited Brahma. Brahma was busy with his four heads in chanting the Vedas, doing meditation, creating the world and spending his time with his consort, Saraswati. Bhrigu cursed Brahma that he would not be worshipped by the creatures on earth anymore. Next, he visited Lord Shiva. Shiva was busy in his Rudradhyanam with his consort, Parvati, at his feet. Bhrigu cursed Shiva that he would be worshipped only in the formless Lingam. At last, Bhrigu went to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu was sleeping on Adishesha and Lakshmi was at his feet. When Bhrigu arrived, he first saw Vishnu's feet and felt too humiliated. Enraged, he kicked Vishnu on his chest and thus awakened, Vishnu started massaging Bhrigu's feet and served him with great hospitality. Bhrigu was pleased and ordered the sages to perform the rites to Vishnu. Goddess Lakshmi, also known as Sri, had a fight with Lord Vishnu as she felt that Bhrigu insulted her indirectly by hitting Vishnu on his chest where Sri lived and thus left Vaikuntha. She came and settled on earth in disguise as a young sage like boy in the ancient city of Karvir (Kolhapur) and meditated for Vishnu where today the Mahalakshmi temple is situated. Lord Vishnu soon arrived on earth searching for Goddess Lakshmi. But He failed to find her and instead settled on Seshachalam hills inside an anthill. Thus, Lord Vishnu reached the place of pilgrimage of Lord Varaha Swamy in Tirupati, Tirumala. Turns out, Tirupati was also the place where Adi Varaha swami rested and taught Karma Yoga to the people till the beginning of Kali Yuga after rescuing Earth from the wicked Hiranyaksha . Hence, Lord Vishnu sat inside an anthill in his disguise which was situated under a tamarind tree and started chanting the name of Goddess mahalaksmi.
The whole earth became gloomy. On the request of Parvati and Saraswati, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma incarnated as a cow and a calf respectively in the Chola kingdom.This cow and calf were being grazed daily by a shepherd of Chola kingdom in the Seshachalam hills. The cow, everyday used to pour her milk into the anthill to lessen the thirst of Vishnu. Due to this, the cow and calf became pale and unhealthy. The shepherd noticed this and felt something suspicious. The next day the shepherd took the animals for grazing and like everyday, the cow poured milk into the anthill. The shepherd saw this act, he threw an axe (Parasu) on the cow and calf. Vishnu noticed, and in order to protect them, Vishnu arose from the anthill and the arrow hit Vishnu's forehead (the blood poured as namam on Vishnu's head). An enraged Vishnu cursed the shepherd that he will die immediately and the shepherd died with the same axe with which he tried to kill the innocent cow and calf which relieved him from thirst. This news reached the king. The chola king suspected the absence of the shepherd. He went near to the grazing field and was surprised to see the dead body of the shepherd and he went to the original grazing field, where the cows were giving milk to Vishnu. However Vishnu was in disguise. The chola king couldn't identify him. Hence the king loaded his bows and arrows and tried to kill the cow and the calf, stating that it's not serving the kingdom instead it's giving milk to the young boy. Vishnu again emerged and grew enormous, stopped the arrows from travelling further and he cursed the king, that he will be born as a demon in next birth, because to not keep his subjects in a dharmic way is a sin to king also more than the sin of the king alone. The chola king was sorry for his mistake and surrendered at the Lord's feet. Unlike shepherd, the king realised his mistake. Vishnu was pleased and presented him a boon over the curse that he would marry his daughter in his next birth. In his next birth, Vishnu incarnated as Srinivasa to a woman named Vakula Devi. It is said that in Dvapara Yuga, Krishna presented Yashoda a boon that Krishna will be born to Yashoda in Kali Yuga. Vakula Devi was the reincarnation of Yashoda. Meanwhile, Goddess Lakshmi of Karvir took birth at the palace of Aakasha Raja, the next birth of The Chola king. Srinivasa was a forest dweller. One day, Lord Srinivasa met a beautiful girl named Padmavati. They both fell in love and decided to get married as per the boon of Vishnu to Chola king in the previous birth.For the marriage expenses, Srinivasa borrowed riches from Kubera and promised to repay the loan with interest till the end of Kali Yuga. After the marriage, Sage Narada informed Lakshmi about the wedding. Fuming, Lakshmi confronted Vishnu. The clash between his two consorts led Srinivasa to turn himself into stone. Padmavathi & Lakshmi also became stone on his either side and Vakula Devi, a garland.
As per Vaikanasa agamas, Venkateswara is represented by five deities(berams) including the Moolavirat which are together referred to as Pancha beramulu(Pancha means five;Beram means Deity). The five deities are Dhruva Beram(Moolavar), Kautuka Beram, Snapana Beram, Utsava Beram, Bali Beram. All the pancha berams are placed in the Garbha griha under Ananda Nilayam Vimanam.
- Moolavirat or Dhruva Beram- In the centre of Garbha griha, under the Ananda Nilayam Vimana, the Moolavirat of Venkateswara is seen in standing posture on lotus base, with four arms, two holding Shanka and Chakra and one in Varada posture and other in Kati posture. This deity is considered the main source of energy for the temple and adorns with Namam and jewels including vajra kiritam(diamond crown), Makarakundalams, Nagabharanam, Makara Kanti, Saligrama haram, Lakshmi haram. Venkateswara's consort, Lakshmi will be staying on the chest of the Moolavirat as Vyuha Lakshmi.
- Bhoga Srinivasa or Kautuka Beram -- This is a small one-foot (0.3 m) silver deity which was given to the temple in 614 AD by Pallava Queen Samavai for conducting festivals. Bhoga Srinivasa is always placed near the left foot of Moolavirat and is always connected to the main deity by a holy Sambandha Kroocha.This deity will receive many daily sevas(pleasures) on behalf of Moolavar and hence known as Bhoga Srinivasa(In Telugu: Bhoga means Pleasure). This deity receives Ekanthaseva daily and SahasraKalasabhisheka on Wednesdays.
- Ugra Srinivasa or Snapana Beram - This deity represents the fearsome(Telugu: Ugra means angry) aspect of Lord Venkateswara. This deity is the main processional deity until 1330 CE when it was replaced by Malayappa swami deity. Ugra Srinivasa remains inside the sanctum sanctorum and comes out on a procession only one day in a year: on Kaishika Dwadasi, before the sunrise. This deity receives daily abhishekam on behalf of Moolavirat, giving the name Snapana Beram(Sanskrit: Snapana means cleansing)
- Malayappa swami or Utsava Beram - Malayappa is the processional deity(Utsava beram) of the Temple and is always flanked by the deities of his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi. This deity receives all festivals like Brahmotsavams, Kalyanotsavam, Dolotsavam, Vasanthotsavam, Sahasra deepalankarana seva, Padmavati parinyotsavams, pushpapallaki, Anivara asthanam, Ugadi asthanam etc.
- Koluvu Srinivasa or Bali Beram- Koluvu Srinivasa represents Bali Beram. Koluvu Srinivasa is regarded as the guardian deity of the temple that presides over its financial and economic affairs. Daily Koluvu seva(Telugu: Koluvu means engaged in) will be held in the morning, during which, the previous day's offerings, income, expenditures are notified to this deity, with a presentation of accounts. Panchanga sravanam also will be held at the same time during which that particular days Tithi, sunrise and sunset time, nakshatra are notified to the Venkateswara.
Songs and HymnsEdit
Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatam is the first and pre-dawn seva performed to Lord Venkateswara at Sayana Mandapam inside sanctum sanctorum of Tirumala Temple. 'Suprabhatam' is a Sanskrit term which literally means ‘Good Morning’ and is meant to wake up the Lord from His celestial sleep. Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatam hymns were composed by Prathivadhi Bhayankaram Annangaracharya during 13th century and consists of 70 slokas in four parts including Suprabhatam(29), Stotram(11), Prapatti(14) and Mangalasasanam(16).
Tallapaka Annamacharya (Annamayya), the poet saint of 14th century, one of the greatest Telugu poets and a great devotee of Lord Venkateswara, had sung 32000 songs in praise of Lord Venkateswara. All his songs which are in Telugu and Sanskrit, are referred to as Sankirtanas and are classified as Sringara Sankirtanalu and Adhyatma Sankirtanalu. One of his songs is as follows:
అన్ని మంత్రములు ఇందె ఆవహించెను
వెన్నతో నాకు గలిగె వేంకటేశు మంత్రము
నారదుడు జపియించె నారాయణ మంత్రము
చేరె ప్రహ్లాదుడు నారసింహ మంత్రము
కోరి విభీషణుడు చేకొనె రామ మంత్రము
వేరెనాకు గలిగె వేంకటేశు మంత్రము
anni mantramulu nindē yāvahiñcenu |
vennatō nāku galige vēṅkaṭēśu mantramu ||
nāraduḍu japiyiñce nārāyaṇa mantramu |
cēre prahlāduḍu nārasiṃha mantramu |
kōri vibhīṣaṇuḍu cēkone rāma mantramu |
vēre nāku galige vēṅkaṭēśu mantramu ||
Other Venkateswara templesEdit
- Venkatachalapathy Temple
- Paduthirupathi Venkataramana Temple,
- Karkala, Karnataka
- Shri Lakshmi Venkatesh Devasthan
- Chatribagh, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
- Kodandarama Temple, Buchireddypalem, Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh
- Venkateshwara Temple, Dwaraka Tirumala, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh
- Sri Prasanna Venkateswara Swami Temple, La Laura-Malenga
- United States of America
- Malibu Hindu Temple, California
- Venkateswara Temple, Minnesota
- Sri Venkateswara Temple, Pittsburgh
- Sri Venkateswara Temple of North Carolina
- Sri Balaji Temple, Bridgewater, NJ
- Sree Venkateswara temple, Richfeild Ohio(Cleveland area)
- Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale GA
- Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaji) Temple, Aurora Illinois(Chicago Area)
- Sri Venkateswara Temple of Central Ohio, Columbus Ohio
- HECSA Portland Balaji Temple, Hillsboro, Oregon]
- Venkateswara Temple, Helensburgh
- Sri Venkatachalapathi & Alamelu Temple, Batu Caves, Selangor
- Narayanhiti Temple (Inside Royal Palace of Narayanhiti) Kathmandu
- Budhanilakantha Temple ( Sleeping Vishnu), Kathmandu
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Venkateshwara.
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