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Sri Venkateswara Temple

Tirumala Gopurams
 
 
About Sri Venkateswara Temple
     
     
The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati Hill, and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini.

It is by the Lord’s presidency over Venkatachala, that He has received the appellation, Venkateswara (Lord of the Venkata Hill). He is also called the Lord of the Seven Hills.

The temple of Sri Venkateswara has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious lore. The Sastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns unequivocally declare that, in the Kali Yuga, one can attain mukti, only by worshipping Venkata Nayaka or Sri Venkateswara.

The benefits acquired by a piligrimage to Venkatachala are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. In these epics, Sri Venkateswara is described as the great bestower of boons. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala.

The temple has its origins in Vaishnavism, an ancient sect which advocates the principles of equality and love, and prohibits animal sacrifice.

The sanctum sanctorum which houses the awe-inspiring idol of the Lord of the Seven Hills is situated in the main temple complex of Tirumala.



Balaji  

History

There is ample literary and epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara.

Sri KrishnadevarayaAll the great dynasties of rulers of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine. The Pallavas of Kancheepuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Thanjavur (a century later), the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th – 15th century AD) were devotees of the Lord and they competed with one another in endowing the temple with rich offerings and contributions.

It was during the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty that the contributions to the temple increased. Sri Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the temple, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple.

After the decline of the Vijayanagar dynasty, nobles and chieftains from all parts of the country continued to pay their homage and offer gifts to the temple. The Maratha 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 to the Lord, including a large emerald which is still preserved in a box named after the General. Among the later rulers who have endowed large amounts are the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal.

After the fall of the Hindu kingdoms, the Muslim rulers of Karnataka and then the Britishers took over, and many of the temples came under their supervisory and protective control.

In 1843 AD, the East India Company divested itself of the direct management of non-Christian places of worship and native religious institutions. The administration of the shrine of Sri Venkateswara and a number of estates were then entrusted to Sri Seva Dossji of the Hatiramji Mutt at Tirumala, and the temple remained under the administration of the Mahants for nearly a century, till 1933 AD.

In 1933, the Madras Legislature passed a special act, which empowered the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams(TTD) Committee to control and administer a fixed group of temples in the Tirumala-Tirupati area, through a Commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras.

In 1951, the Act of 1933 was replaced by an enactment whereby the administration of TTD was entrusted to a Board of Trustees, and an Executive Officer was appointed by the Government .

The provisions of the Act of 1951 were retained by Charitable and Religious Endowments Act, 1966.

Temple Legends
 
Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas, of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana.

The printed work contains extracts from the Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishyottara Purana. Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and antiquity of the hills around Tirumala and the numerous teerthams situated on them.
The legends taken from the Venkatachala Mahatmya and the Varaha Purana, pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala, are of particular interest.
According to the Varaha Purana, Adi Varaha manifested Himself on the western bank of the Swami Pushkarini, while Vishnu in the form of Venkateswara came to reside on the southern bank of the Swami Pushkarini.
One day, Rangadasa, a staunch devotee of Vishnu, in the course of his pilgrimage, joined Vaikhanasa Gopinatha, who was going up the Tirumala Hill for the daily worship of Lord Venkateswara. After bathing in the Swami Pushkarini, he beheld the lotus-eyed and blue-bodied Vishnu beneath a tamarind tree. Vishnu was exposed to the sun, wind and rain and was only protected by the extended wings of Garuda.
Rangadasa was astounded by the wonderful sight. He raised a rough wall of stones around the deity, and started supplying flowers faithfully to Gopinatha everyday for Vishnu’s worship.
One day, Rangadasa was distracted by a Gandharva king and his ladies. Consequently, he forgot to supply flowers to Gopinatha for Vishnu’s worship. The Lord then revealed Himself and told Rangadasa that He had been testing the latter’s continence, but Rangadasa had not been steadfast and had succumbed to temptation.
However, the Lord accepted and appreciated Rangadasa’s devoted service to Him till then, and blessed Rangadasa that he would be reborn as an affluent ruler of a province and would enjoy the earthly pleasures. He would continue to serve the Lord, construct a beautiful temple with a vimana and high surrounding walls, and thereby earn eternal glory.
Rangadasa was reborn as Tondaman, the son of the royal couple, Suvira and Nandini. Tondaman enjoyed a pleasurable life as a young man. One day, he set out on a hunting expedition on the Tirumala Hill, and with the help of a forester, saw Vishnu under the tamarind tree. Tondaman returned home, deeply affected by the vision of Vishnu.
Tondaman later inherited his father’s kingdom, Tondamandalam. In accordance with the directions given by Adi Varaha to a forester, Tondaman constructed a prakaram and dvara gopura, and arranged for regular worship of the Lord (according to Vaikhanasa Agama).
In the Kali Yuga, Akasaraja came to rule over Tondamandalam. His daughter Padmavathi was married to Venkateswara. The marriage, officiated by Brahma, was celebrated with great pomp and splendour.

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Vaishno Devi Temple

Vaishno Devi 
Vaishno Devi Mandir is one of the holy Hindu temples dedicated to Shakti, located in the hills of Vaishno Devi, Jammu and Kashmir, India. In Hinduism, Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Mother Goddess.

The temple is near the town of Katra, in the Reasi district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the most revered places of worship in India. The shrine is at an altitude of 5200 feet and a distance of approximately 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from Katra. Approximately 8 million pilgrims (yatris) visit the temple every year and it is the second most visited religious shrine in India, after Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board maintains the shrine. A rail link from Udhampur to Katra is being built to facilitate pilgrimage. The nearest airport is Jammu Airport which has very high flight frequency. All leading domestic airlines have their services to Jammu Airport.

According to a Hindu epic, Maa Vaishno Devi was born in the south of India in the home of Ratnakar Sagar. Her worldly parents had remained childless for a long time. Ratnakar had promised, the night before the birth of the Divine child, that he would not interfere with whatever his child desired. Ma Vaishno Devi was called Trikuta as a child. Later She was called Vaishnavi because of Her taking birth from Lord Vishnu’s lineage. When Trikuta was 9 years old, She sought her father’s permission for doing penance on the seashore. Trikuta prayed to Lord Vishnu in the form of Rama. During Shree Rama’s search for Sita, He reached the seashore along with His army. His eyes fell on this Divine Girl in deep meditation. Trikuta told Shree Rama that She had accepted Him as Her husband. Shree Rama told Her that during this Incarnation He had vowed to be faithful to only Sita. However pleased with her devotion , Lord Rama gave her name vaishnavi (devotee of lord rama (Maha Vishnu)and assured Her that in Kaliyuga He would manifest as Kalki and would marry Her.

In the meantime Shree Rama asked Trikuta to meditate in the cave found in the Trikuta Range of Manik Mountains, situated in Northern India.Lord Ram gave her a bow and arrows, army of monkeys and a lion for her protection, Ma decided to observe the ‘Navratra’ for the Victory of Shree Rama against Ravana. Hence one reads the Ramayana during the 9 days of Navratra, in remembrance of the above connection. Shree Rama promised that the whole world would sing Ma Vaishno Devi’s praise. Lord Rama also said Trikuta was to become famous as Vaishno Devi and would become immortal forever.The abode of Maa Vaishno devi is attaining huge pilgrimage attraction due to Lord Rama’s blessings to the goddess.

With the passage of time many more stories about the Mother Goddess emerged. One such story is about Shree-Dhar.

Shree-Dhar was an ardent devotee of Ma Vaishno Devi. He resided in a village called Hansali, 2 km away from the present Katra town. Once Ma appeared to him in the form of a young bewitching girl. The young girl asked the humble Pandit to hold a ‘Bhandara’. (A feast to feed the mendicants and devotees) The Pandit set out to invite people from the village and near-by places. He also invited ‘Bhairav Nath’ a selfish tantrik. Bhairav Nath asked Shri-Dhar how he was planning to fulfil the requirements. He reminded him of the bad consequences in case of failure. As Panditji was lost in worry, the Divine girl appeared and told Him not to be despondent as everything had been arranged. She asked that over 360 devotees be seated in the small hut. True to Her word the Bhandara went smoothly with food and place to spare. Bhairav Nath admitted that the girl had supernatural powers and decided to test Her further. He followed the Divine girl to Trikuta Hills. For 9 months Bhairav Nath was searching for the mystic girl in the mountains, whom he believed was an incarnation of the Mother Goddess. While running away from Bhairav, Devi shot an arrow into the Earth from which water gushed out. The resultant river is known as Baanganga. It is believed that by taking a bath in Baanganga (Baan: Arrow), a believer of the Mother Goddess can wash away all his sins. The banks of the river, known as Charan Paduka, are marked by Devi’s foot imprints, which remains intact till date. Vaishno Devi then took shelter in a cave known as Garbh Joon near Adhkawari where she meditated for 9 months attaining spiritual wisdom and powers. Her meditation was cut short when Bhairav located her. Vaishno Devi was then compelled to take the form of Maha Kali when Bhairav tried to kill her. The manifestation of the Mother Goddess took place at the mouth of the Holy cave at Darbar. The Goddess then beheaded Bhairav with such sheer force, that his skull fell at a place known as Bhairav Ghati, 2.5 km from the Holy Cave.

In his dying moments, Bhairav pleaded for forgiveness. The Goddess knew that Bhairav’s main intention in attacking her was to achieve salvation. She not only granted Bhairav liberation from the cycle of reincarnation, but also granted him a boon, whereby every devotee, in order to ensure completion of the pilgrimage, had to visit Bhairav Nath’s temple near the Holy cave after the darshan of the Goddess.Meanwhile Vaishno Devi assumed the shape of a rock with three pindis (heads) and immersed herself into meditation forever.

Meanwhile, Pandit Shree-Dhar became impatient. He started to march towards Trikuta Mountain on the same path that he had witnessed in a dream. He ultimately reached the cave mouth. He made a daily routine of worshipping the ‘Pindis’ in several ways. His worship pleased the Goddess. She appeared in front of him and blessed him. Since that day, Shree-Dhar and his descendants have been worshipping the Goddess Mother Vaishno Devi.

.THE SHRINE      
Ma Vaishno Devi Hills
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Guru Slokams

Guru Dhyana Slokams
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Pratha smarami….

Naja bhootha sanga



Sadaa shiva samarambham

shankaraacharya madhyamaam

Ashmath acharya paryantham

Vande guru paramparaam


Mauna Vyaakhyaa Prakatita Para Brahma Tattvam Yuvaanam

Varshishthaanteva sad Rishi Ganaih Aavritam Brahma Nishthaih:

Aachaaryendram Karakalita Chinmudram Aananda Roopam

Svaatmaaraamam Mudita Vadanam Dakshinaamoorti meede


I worship Dakshinaamoorti of joyful countenance, who revels in his Self, who is the best of teachers, who bears the Chinmudra sign, who is happiness incarnate, who is youthful, who reveals the essence of the Absolute Self through silent discourse, and who is surrounded a group aged sage-disciples who are themselves established in the (knowledge of the) Self.


Vatavitapi Sameepe Bhoomi Bhaage Nishannam

Sakala Muni Janaanaam Jnaana Daataaram Aaraat

Tribhuvana Gurum Eesham Dakshanaamoorti Devam

Janana Marana Duhkha Chheda Daksham Namaami


I salute Lord Dakshinaamoorti, teacher of the three worlds, who is capable of destroying the sorrows of birth and death, who, seated on a piece of land near the forest of Banyan trees, imparts Self knowledge instantly to all sages.


Chitram Vatataror Moole; Vriddhaa Shishyaa Gurur Yuvaa

Gurostu Maunam Vyaakhyaanam; Shishyaastu Chhinna Samshayaah


Near the roots of the colorful banyan tree are the aged disciples and the young teacher. The teacher is eloquently silent, and the disciples are free from doubt.


Gurave Sarva Lokaanaam; Bhishaje Bhava Rooginaam

Nidhaye Sarva Vidyaanaam; Dakshinaamoortaye Namah


Salutations unto Dakshinaamoorti, the teacher of the entire world, who is the treasury of all knowledge, and who is the physician for the sickness of transmigration.


Om Namah Pranavaarthaaya; Shuddha Jnaanaika Moortaye

Nirmalaaya Prashaantaaya; Dakshinaamoortaye Namah


Salutations to Dakshinaamoorti, who is tranquil and pure. Salutations unto the one who is revealed by the word “OM”, and is Pure Knowledge incarnate.

Aakraanthaam rathnagarbhaam danuthanu jajushaam sowgathai ramshabedhai

Sthaan sarvaan draavayithva paramatha bidurair yukti vrundaira bhedyai

Svasthaam chakretha yassa sruti kamala ravir dakshinaamoorthi roopo

Nodvaith/aachaarya/varyo bhava/janitha/bhiyaam shankarash/shankarothu



May Shankara, who with his unassailable and countless arguments (which destroy the wrong practices) chased away the Buddhists and their followers (who, being dear to Asuras had captured the world) and returned Mother Earth to her pristine state, who is to the Vedas what the Sun is to the Lotus, who is in the form of Dakshinamoorthy, being our Sadguru and the chief Guru of Advaita, confer Ananda to all who are in fear of Samsara


Nirgunam Nirmalam Shantam Jangaman Sthira-meva cha

Vyaptam Yena Jagatsarvam tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha


brahmAnandaM paramasukhada.n kevala.n GYAnamUrtim.h

dvandvA/teetam gagana/sadR^isham tattvamasyAdi/laxyam.h |

eka.n nitya.n vimalamachala.n sarvadhIsAxibhUtam.h

bhAvAtIta.n triguNarahita.n sadguru.n ta.n namAmi
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Brhama murari tripurandhakari,
Bhanu sasi Bhoomi sutho budascha,
Gurusca Shukra . sani rahu Kethava,
Kurvanthu sarve mama suprabatham
Let God Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva,
Planets Sun, mercury, Jupiter,
Venus , Saturn, Rahu and Kethu,
Make this morning great for me.Santhkumara, sanaka, Sananthana,
Sanathano apyasoori pingalow cha,
Saptha swara, saptha rasa thaani,
Kurvanthu sarve mama suprabatham
May the sages, Sanathkumara, Sanaka, SanathaNA,
Aasuri and Pingala,
Let the seven musical notes
And let those seven nether worlds,.
Make this morning great for me.
Satharnva Saptha kulachalascha,
Saptharshayo dweepa pavanani saptha,
Bhooradhi kruthwa, bhuvanai saptha,
Kurvanthu mama suprabhatham
Let the seven oceans,
Seven mountains,
Seven sages, seven forests,
Seven Islands and Seven Lokas,
Make this morning great to me.
Bhano, bhaskara Marthanda, Chanda rasmai, divakara,
Ayur, arogyam, budhim, sree yamscha dehi mae
He who breaks the morn,
He who berings light to the world,
He who brings heat tio the world,
He who has scorching rays,
And he who is the maker of the day,
Give me long life,
Health, intelligence and wealth.

Samudra Vasane Devi

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Samudra vasane Devi,
parvata stAna mandale.
Vishnu patni namastubhyam,
paada sparsham kshamasva me.
O! Mother Earth, who has the ocean as clothes and mountains and forests on her body, who is the wife of Lord Vishnu, I bow to you. Please forgive me for touching you with my feet.

Prabhata Shlokam

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Karagre Vasate Lakshmi
Kara Mule Saraswathi
Kara Madhye Tu Govindah
Prabate Kara Darshanam

Jyoti slokams

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Deepajyothi Parabrahma
Deepajyothi Janardhana
Deepo me hara tu paapam
Deepaa Jyothir Namostute
Deepa jyoti parabrahma deepo sarvo tamopaha
deepena sadhyate sarvam Sandhya deepo namostute

I prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp whose light is Supreme Knowledge which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can be achieved.

Shubham karoti kalyanam arogyam dhana sampataha
shatru buddhi vinashaya deepa jyotir namostuteI prostrate to the lamp-light which brings brilliance, auspiciousness, health, and wealth and destroys my bad thoughts