venkaTAdri samam sthAnam brahmANDe nAsti kincana;
venkateSa samo devo na bhUto na bhaviSyati
This sloka taken from the Puranas claims …………
There is no place in the entire universe that equals Venkatadri, the place where the Lord resides and there is no God, neither in the past nor in the future who equals Lord Venkateswara.
Everything begins and ends or is reduced to sunyam (nothingness) before him, while the infinite world pens to the sincere seeker with an infinitesimal offering.
This is because spiritual wealth through devotion is the basis of life .
TIRUMALA, the abode of Lord Srinivasar stands unique as an embodiment of man’s eternal quest for the divine and His infinite grace.
A piligrimage to the sacred Hills is a soul-stirring experience cherished by every devotee. The puranas say that soon after Dwaparayugam ended and Kaliyugam started, Lord Krishna, decided to stay back to protect one and all and chose TIRUMALA.
The Lord of the seven hills is the Lord of the universe. The special significance of Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala lies in the fact that it is the oldest religious institutions in the world where unbroken religious worship is being carried on for over 1,500 years by revered Acharyas and millions of pilgrims reach the holy abode more than any other temple in the world. A pilgrimage to the sacred Hills is a soul-stirring experience cherished by every devotee. Even atheists and rationalists admit a sense of humility and the presence of the Lord here .
It was during 1781. the British army was camping at a station called Thakkolam, a place close to Vellore in Tamilnadu. The Nawabs of Arcot, ruled the Carnatic region of South India. They had their capital at Arcot near Vellore region in Tamil Nadu .
The French army were advancing in the areas around Madras with the Muslem kings . The British were responding to the French onslaught during the Carnatic wars .. Defending them , there was several days of battle going on . A British soldier by name Vellian, was lying down almost dead in his bed, for many days, after he was brutally injured by a bullet…
With no more hopes left Vellian was left to his fate by the British army doctor.
There was a temple nearby and the locals ardent devotees of Lord Venkateshwara used to visit the temple regularly .
Villian used to watch them going up the hills with some cloth bags over their head with reverberating chants
Govinda Govinda Govinda …
Invariably his mind got entangled to the holy name Govinda listening the chants frequently … and it became a routine for his mind to chant the holy name all the day when the pilgrims trekked the hills chanting the holy name GOVINDA ...
The craving to see the temple and the deity
G O V I N D A on the temple became more intense .
He prayed silently for curing his pain due to bullet injury ..
It was early morning … A twelve year old mystic Hindu boy came to serve tea in that army camp..
After serving tea to all the major officials in the camp, the boy then went straight to Vellian’s bunker and greeted him saying..
“..Good morning sir..”..
Vellian, who at that moment was still in great pain was in no mood to talk to any one..However, taking the soldier by surprise this was what the 12 year old mystic Hindu tea boy told Vellian..
Vellian said “Good morning” but with a little disinterest in his voice..
Transferring tea into a cup, the boy smiled and said,”Sir, with your kind permission may I tell you something..? ? ..”
“Sir, I know you are in pain for several days.. I also know that you lost all your hopes of any recovery..But sir..Please listen to me and offer your prayers to Lord Sri Venkateswara of Tirumala temple..Tirumala is a Temple very near to this place and Lord Sri Venkateswara is the most merciful God in this world…
Am sure He will save you from death..Trust me sir..”
With a little curiosity in his voice and a little dazzle in his eyes this time, Vellian then slowly turned towards the tea boy and said “..
Thanks my dear, but what do you want me to do for that..’..
With a smile,the boy replied”..Thanks for taking my words sir..
All that you have to do is to just offer your prayers to Lord Sri Venkateswara and request Him to heal you fully.. ”
And now with more hope in his voice,
Vellian asked the boy..”Okay my dear..I would certainly do.
.But how to offer my prayers ….
I have never done that before..You need to help me do that..
And this time Without seeking any permission from Vellian, the mystic boy walked with all the divine command in this world to the bedside of Vellian; held both his hands first; brought them close to each other…
And later bringing them together, by creating a traditional Hindu NAMASTE posture, raised Vellian’s hands and turned them towards the direction wherein the Tirumala temple was located and surprising Vellian further,very loudly chanted
Amazingly , the boy holding a much surprised Vellian’s hands, closed his eyes for a few moments and silently offered his personal prayers to Lord Sri Venkateswara. .
“.. Vinaa Venkatesam Nanatho Nanathah..
Sadaa Venkatesam Smaraami Smaraami.
Hare Venkatesa Praseeda Praseedah..
Priyam Venkatesa Prayachcha Prayachchah. .”
“.. Aham Doora Tasthe Padaam Bhoja Yugmah.
. Pranamechcha Ya Gachcha Sevaam Karomi..
Sakrut Sevayaa Nitya Sevaa Phalantvam..
Prayachcha Prayachcha Prabho Venkatesaa..”
Furthermore amazed at the command with which the Hindu boy held both his hands and also at the ease with which he had chanted the intricate Sanskrit sloka, Vellian slowly got up in his bed; turned both his hands that were still held in a NAMASTE posture towards the smiling mystic boy and offered him his salutations.
PEACE After that divine drama..
Vellian who had lost all his hopes of any recovery from that near dead situation had quite miraculously regained a complete normalcy in just about a few days time..
This miraculous recovery of Vellian shocked the British Army Doctors who have by then had literally written him off as a medical ‘case of complete hopelessness beyond recovery’..
Much later,as he could not personally visit the Tirumala temple due to his job constraints, Vellian requested his friend,an Indian soldier by name Ramachandra Ganesh, to visit the Tirumala hill Shrine on his behalf and offer the holy Lord Sri Venkateswara what he promised to offer…EPILOGUE
“Vinaa Venkatesam” sloka although is an integral part of Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatham, was however written and recited first by Sri Markandeya Maharshi,when He visited the Tirumala hills and offered this sloka to Lord Sri Venkateswara. .
In the later period, the story of Vellian’s miraculous recovery reached the governing authorities of the British Kingdom.
.In 1801, after having known the sanctity of Lord Sri Venkateswara temple, the British took over the administration of the Temple from the hands of the Nawabs of Arcot for lack of discipline and misappropriation of funds in the Temple..
Later in 1821, strictly in accordance with the norms of the Tirumala Temple,the British introduced what is called the Bruce Code..
This code has 42 provisions formulated in it with well defined customs and duties meant both for the Tirumala Temple as well as for the Hindu officials working there..
Quite surprisingly, the British, known for their iconoclastic nature, never interfered with the day to day affairs and rituals of the Tirumala Temple except taking care of it’s administration.
.After that divine incident, renowned British personalities like Sir Thomas Monroe and Colonel Geo Stratten went on to become great devotees of Lord Sri Venkateswara. .
During their tenure of office in India, they have never allowed the British army to camp anywhere close to the Tirumala Hill Shrine and also never allowed any British national enter the Tirumala Hills with footwear..
After that incident in the army camp, Vellian and the whole of British army had made a frantic search for that 12 year old mystic boy but they couldn’t find Him anywhere..
Who was HE..?? ..And where did He come from..??“.
.Sarva Avayava Soundaryaa Sampada Sarva Chetasam
Sada Sammohanayastu Sri Venkatesaya Mangalam..” .
The great saint poet Annamaya of Tirumala in one of his sweet composition sings about the glory of LORD VENKATESHWARA which is truly divine …..
Oh Lord! Your devotees visualize You in many ways…
They want to see You in different forms and ways. However, the deeper one’s heart envisions You, the more shallower is Your grace felt!
Vaishnavites assume and believe You profoundly to be Lord Vishnu;
Vedantis envisage You as the ‘Supreme Lord’ or ‘Parambrahma’;
ShAivites and some others deem You as Lord Shiva;
Kaumalikas pray and revere You as Adi Bhairava;
Shaaktheyas presume You to be the incarnation of Shakthi;
You bless all of them in the form they desire You to be in !!
In this way, Your devotees revere and prostrate before You, giving you the form and shape they wish to see You in.
To those devotees who see You in the tiniest form, You are the tiniest to them;
Likewise, those who revere you with high esteem, You are the greatest and all-in-all for them.
There is no dearth of anything in this world if only YOU are beside me!
Just as a lotus plant creeps all over the span of water (in a pond/lake/river or wherever it is) leaving no space for anything else,
Just as the wells around the great Bhagirathi river never dry up (because the wells are always fed with water from this river beside)
( I pray to You, Oh Lord! Please be beside me! )
If YOU are the Lord incarnated on the Venkatadri mount, YOU are bound to be by my side!
It is You, Oh Lord, who have made me to become Your devotee;
It is You, Oh Lord, who have knocked my doors ~ only to grant me the Protective asylum under Your Lotus Feet;
You are the ONE who enlightened me;
This is the eternal bliss for me!
This is the Para-Tattvam for me!
This is my moksha-marga (and salvation)!
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Google images
Source : Inspired from a post shared by ardent devotee of Lord Venkateshwara