TIRUMALA TIRUPATI DEVASTHANAM
TIRUMALA- LORD VENKATESHWARA
TIRUMALA-THE ABODE OF LORD VENKATESHWARA
THE MOST ANCIENT TEMPLE IN INDIA:
The Lord Venkateshwara temple is situated on the top of the hills, Tirumala. Tirumala -the abode of Lord Venkateshwara , is reputed as the most ancient temple in India. Sastras, Puranas, and Alwar hymns, unequivocally declare that in the Kali Yuga one can attain Mukti only through worshipping this Lord Venkateshwara.
TO CLIMB ON FOOT THE HILLS:
To illustrate that Venkatadri is unique in its sacredness, it is enough to point out that Sri Ramanuja, the great Sri Vaishnava Acharya, ascended Tirumala on his knees, as he thought it sacrilegious to climb on foot the Hills on which the Lord rested.
The temple itself is believed to have existed from very ancient times and it is said that Sri Venkateshwara is referred to even in the Rigveda.
SRI VENKATACHALA MAHATMYAM:
‘Sri Venkatachala Mahatmyam’ contains Puranic from the twelve Mahapuranas. The puranic legends say that after the Pralaya kalpa preceding the great Deluge, the Supreme being Maha Vishnu, revealed himself in the form a White Boar, Sweta Varaha, rescued the earth and recreated it and having re-established the universe, he decided to stay on the earth for some time to protect the good and destroyed the evil.
Thus God Vishnu revealed himself earlier, in the previous incarnation as Varahaswami on the bank of the Varaha Tirtham. This manifestation as the white boar is enshrined in the Adi Varahaswami temple on the western bank of the Pushkarini at Tirumala.This temple is believed to be older than the temple of Lord Venkateswara and claims precedence in worship and Nivedana.
There are many more legends about the Venkatachala Hill and Lord Venkateshwara in the Varaha and Bhavishyottara Puranas.
All the great dynasties of the southern peninsula have paid their homage to this ancient shrine. The Pallavas of kancheepuram in 9th century A.D. Cholas, Pandyas and the emperors of Vijayanagar (14th -15th century) were ardent devotees of Lord Venkateshwara and they vied with each other in endowing the temple with rich offerings and benefactions.
It was during the Vijayanagar period the glory of Lord Srinivasa reached its zenith. The statues of Sri Krishna Devaraya and his consorts were installed in the temple at the portals, in his own life-time and they can be seen even today. There are also statues of Achyuta Raya and Venkatapati Raya. Sri Krishna Deva Raya visited the sacred shrine seven times with his consorts during his reign.
After the decline of the Vijayanagar dynasty the nobles and chieftains from all parts of the country continued paying their homage and gifts to the temple. The Maratta general, Raghoji Bhonsle, visited the temple and set up a permanent endowment for the conduct of worship in the temple. He also presented valuable jewels of the Deity, including the great emerald which is still preserve in a box named after him. Among the later rulers who have endowed large benefactions are the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal.
After the fall of the Hindi kingdom, the Muslim refers of karnatic and the Britishers stepped it their shoed and many of the temples cm under their supervisory and protective control.
In 1843 when the East India Company divested itself of the direct management of non-Christian places of worship and of native religious institutions, the administration of the shrine of Sri Venkateshwara with a number of estate was entrusted to Sri Seva Dossji of the Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala as Vicharanakarta and for nearly a century, till 1933 the temple was under the administrative charge of the Mahants.
In 1933 by a special Act passed by the Madras Legislature, the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams Committee was invested with the powers of administration and control through a Commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras. This committee was assisted by a Religious Advisory Council in regard to religious matters and a Ryots Advisory Council in regard to the management of the estates of the TTD
Today Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams which maintains 14 temples and their sub-shrines is a conglomerate of temples brought under the first schedule 2 of the Act 20 of 1987 enacted by Andhra Pradesh government. It is managed by Board of Trustees appointed by the state government. The Executive Officer is the Chief Executive o the administration. He is assisted by two Joint Executive Officers, Financial Advisor and Chief Accounts Officer, Deputy Executive Officers, Chief Vigilance and Security Officer, Conservator of Forests and Chief Engineer in various spheres of activity. Besides, there are other officials like Law Officer, Welfare Officer, Public Officer, Marketing Officer, Educational Officer and others o look after several wings of administration.
LEGENDS ABOUT TIRUMALA
There are numerous legends and stories about Tirumala and its God, Sri Venkateshwara or Srinivasa. These are to be found in many of
the Puranas. All these have ben collected and edited in a book, entitled the “Venkatachala mahatyam”. An early inscription from Tirumala mentions that a “Venkatachala Mahatyam” was read in the temple before the Deity.
Varaha purana, Brahmottara purana, Aditya purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishyottara purana. Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and greatness of Tirumala and numerous Tirthas situated there. The following legends taken from the “Venkatachala Mahatyam” pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord are of particular interest.
THE LORD’S MANIFESTATION AT TIRUMALA
There are two well known legends which explain the reason for Srinivasa’s presence on this hill.
Once, Vishnu wanted to have a change from his usual abode in Vaikuntha. He asked Narada to suggest a place on this earth which would be suitable for diversion and sport. Narada suggested the neighbourhood of the place where Seshachala came o be located, later on. Subsequently, Vayu and Sesha disputed their relatives strength and entered into a serious dispute. Sesha wound his long body round a part of Meru and challenged Vayu to move it. Vayu did his best to shake the hillock but could not. Ultimately, Sesha opened his mouth to breathe and taking advantage of it, Vayu entered his body and blew off part of the hill. After the hill had travelled a long distance, Meru interfered and requested Vayu to leave it there and the latter did so. Ashamed of his defeat, Sesha did penance thinking of Vishnu. Vishnu appeared before him and offered a boon. Sesha, assuming the shape of a hill, requested the Lord to stay on his head, wanted the ill to be known as Seshachala. Vishnu thought of Narada’s suggestion made previously and agreed to live on Sehachala. This story is found in the Brahma purana.