Monthly Archives: February 2016

Tirupati Balaji

Unknown facts about Tirupati Balaji

Tirupati is a place  Lord Vishnu chose as an alternative to Vaikunth his celestial home. Tirumala temple stands on a hill range comprising seven peaks, representing & hoods of Adisesha. Lord Balaji is also called Lord of seven hills.

Tirupati Balaji

Tirupati Balaji

Here are some interesting and unknown facts about the  Balaji temple.

  1.  The Arch at the entrance of Tirumala Hills is unique in the world.

Natural arch, Tirumala Hills is a distinctive geological wonder located 1 km. north of Tirumala Hills temple. The Arch is also known as Silathoranam. Sila is rock and thoranam is garland  strung over a threshold connecting two vertical column as  an  arch. Arch measures 8m in width and 3m. in height. It is one of the few natural arches in Asia.

Balaji temple arch

Balaji temple arch

Interesting stories related to Tirumala hill temple :

  • The arch resembles the hood of serpent, a conch and discus all symbol of worship in Hindu religion and considered to be source of the idol of Lord Venkateswara or Lord Balaji.
  • main deity in Tirumala temple is of the same height as the height of the Arch.
  • Lord Vishnu is supposed to be have put his first foot down at place called Padalu, which is highest point of Tirumala hills, Second step at location of arch and thereafter next step is stated to have been placed where his idol is now worshipped in the temple at Tirumala.
  1. A Chemical kachcha Kapooram (Green Camphor) is a soft white chemical is applied on the idol of Balaji everyday.

Fact is if this chemical is applied on granite cracks will appear on it.

But , surprisingly this is applied on Balaji every day still there is no damage to the stone.

  1. Idol of Balaji always maintain a temperature of 110 degree F.

    The temple is at a height of about 3000 feet so the climate is normally cold and also every morning at 4; 30 am Abhishekam is done in which the idol is bathed with water, milk as well as other dravayam. After the bath sweat appears in form of fine water particles on the body of the idol . Sweat is wiped with silken cloth. On every thursday when ornaments are removed before sacred bath it is noticed that they are warm.

  1. At the entrance of the main door, to the right side a stick which was used by Ananthaaivar to his Venkaleshwara Swamy is present. When this stick was used to hit the Small boy Venkateshwara his chin was hurt. Since then the practice of applying sandalwood paste on Swamy’s chin started.

    Tirupati Venkateshwara chin

    Tirupati Venkateshwara chin

  1. When Balaji lost small portion of hair after hit by shepherd, Neela devi a Gandharva princess cut a portion of her hair and implant it on his scalp. Lord Balaji promises her that all his devotees who come to his abode should render their hair to him, and she would be recipient of all the hair received .

It remain a miracle that there is a real hair on the main idol of  Venkateswara Swamy. The authorities says that this hair is always silky smooth and never entangles.

Nearly 1.08 crore devotee offer their hair to the Lord and nearly 1.5 crore disposable blades are used for the purpose, TTD gets an income of  200 crore per year with the sale of the offered hair.     

Tirupati - hair offerings

Tirupati – hair offerings

  1. The length of the silken dress of Lord Balaji is around 21 arm length. (roughly one arm length is one and a half feet ), and its weight is around 6 kilogram. This can not be brought from any shop. devotee willing to offer dress submit assigned sum at the temple office towards the cost of the dress offered by the devotee. Andhra Pradesh govt. also offers one set dress twice in a year.

Every friday 15 such outer garments are accepted for offering. For this there is  waiting period of at least 10 years or more.

The inner garment of Lord Balaji’s consort  Goddess Alarmelumanga are made of cotton at a place called Kathwaal. The weaver of this garment belong to Chechu tribe and they prepare it with utmost devotion. Since this inner garment touches the body of Goddess, the weaver take bath thrice daily during the preparation of the dress, They don’t touch liquor or any non- vegetarian food.

  1. The worship of Lord Balaji is done as Mother Goddess Amba (Ambal) for 4 days, Lord Maha Vishnu for 2 days and Lord Shiva for one day in a week.                                                                                                              Bilva leaves a must for worship of Lord Shiva are used during archana.
  1. Venkateshwara Swamy appears to be standing in the middle of the Garba Guddi. Actually, Swamy stands at the right side corner of the Garba Guddi . This can be noticed from standing outside.

    Tirupati Garbhagudi

    Tirupati Garbhagudi

  1. Abhishekam is performed every morning from 4:30-5:30. Many items required for  Abhishekam are imported from abroad like saffron from Spain, kasturi from Nepal, Punugu from China, certain fragrance material from Paris. These items are mixed with sandal paste prepared in a golden plate. 51 small kalasam of milk is offered in Abhishekam. Then they apply Kasturi and Punugu to the idol. Specially packed roses are air-freighted from Amsterdam. Many fragrant items are sent from China to Balaji. These include chinese camphor, akila(a scented wood similar to sandalwood , sandalwood, amber, kumkum, thamalam etc.

There is also a traditional belief in vogue that Balaji has a third eye which he opens at the time of Abhishekam.

  1. The temple authority buy a mud pot daily in which curd and rice is offered to Lord. Except curd rice no other cooked or prepared  food item ever cross the  Kulasekara’s steps and enter the sanctum sanctorium. It is deemed to be big blessing indeed if any devotee gets the used mud pot and any left over of the curd and rice offered to Lord Balaji.
  1. The value of ornament of Balaji is around 1000 crores (appreciates as the market rises). salagrama is golden necklace its weight is around 12 kgs, surya kadari- weighs around 500 kgs, pada kavasam (leg covering ) weighs around 375 kgs. The single blue stone that is in possession of the temple is a unique and can not be found anywhere in world.
  1. Normally any Hindu God idol in sathvik and shanthi posture would be depicted with at least one weapon in one of the hand. But, in case Lord Balaji has no weapon in his hand . He is Nirayudha Pani. In ancient Tamil literature he is described as Verungai Vedan, a hunter without any arms in hands.
  1. Abhishekam water or liquids are let out through pipe into a nearby sacred tank of the temple called Pushkarani. Hence the water in the tank is also considered sacred.  It is believed that the sacred water is capable of removing one’s sin on taking a dip in it. After taking a dip people offers Arghyam.
  1. Flower garland worn by the idol of female devotee known as Sri Aandaal at Srivilliputhur temple of Tamil nadu is brought daily to the hills and offered to Lord Balaji. Sri Aandaal  worshipped Lord Balaji as her God.

15. There is a secret village about 22 kms from town which allows only residents of the village to enter. It is said that village has a garden of flowers from where flowers are fetched and used in the sanctum of Lord Venkateshwara.

  1.  All the flowers used in garba gudi are in condition brought out. There is a waterfall behind the swamy and all the flowers used are thrown in the waterfall.

17.  There are about 1180 stone engraving in the temple at the seven hills. Out of these 50 are in Telegu / Kannada and rest 1130 are in Tamil language only.

  1. Paintings / murals  at Tirupati are over 300 years old.
  1. Every Friday,morning a special worship is performed before the commencement of Abhishekam. One Psalm in Tamil beginning with the word Venkatam yena Petra  is sung. During special worship the idol is without any dress or flower decoration (Nirmalya / Viwaroopa Dharshanam / Dikambaram). A camphor is lighted and shown to the Lord (Karpoora Aarti). The Nayadyam is offered  to the Lord(offering of fruits etc). Once again a karpoora aartiis done.

The idol of Balaji at this time shines beautifully and is a treat to the eye.

  1. Lakshmi devi is on the heart of Swamy. On Thursday during Nijaroopa Darshanam, Swamy is decorated with white wood paste . When this decoration is taken out the imprint on lakshmi Devi remains, This imprint is sold by temple authority.

    Tirupati Lakshmi Devi

    Tirupati Lakshmi Devi

  1. The lights lit in front of Swamy are said to lit since thousands of years.

    Tirupati - lights are lit for thousand years

    Tirupati – lights are lit for thousand years

  1. The Suprabhatam chanting   to wake up Lord is not played in temple during month of dec-. jan as he never sleeps.
  1. The Garuda Hills in Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateshwara features a natural rock formation that is in the form of Garuda. Garuda is vehicle of Lord Venkateshwara.
  1. A similar statue of silver is built inside the sanctum sanctorum in 966 AD for the purpose of doing Abhishekam as well as beautifying with all the jewelleries. Pallava Dynasty king sakti and his wife  has donated lot of jewels and ornament to this silver idol of Balaji.

25.. Major source of income is offerings, sale of prasadam, sale of  darshan tickets,seva ticket, sale of hair offered and receipt from choultries(place of accommodation). The gross income of TTDfor the year (14-15) ws estimated to be 2359.2 crores ie, about 6.34 crore every day.

26.. The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 devotees daily, on special occasion or festivals like annual Brahmotsavam, the number shoots up to 500,000 or more thus making it a most visited place in world.

  1.  In 1800, temple was said to be closed for 12 years. One king is said to have punished 12 people by killing them and hanging them on the wall of the temple. It is believed that at this time Swamy appeared.

    Tirupati Temple was closed for twelve years

    Tirupati Temple was closed for twelve years

  1. According to Varaha Purana during treta Yuga , Lord Rama resides here along with Devi Sita and Lakshmana on his return from Lankapuri.

 

Kumbh Mela and Naga Sadhus ( A documentary)

Kumbh Mela and Naga Sadhus ( A documentary)

The short documentary presents the viewer with some mesmerizing visuals of the Naga sadhus and gives a sneak peak into their lives and spirituality. The festival is one of the largest peaceful gatherings in the world, and the “world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims”. An estimated 120 million people visited Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013 in Allahabad over a two-month period, including over 30 million on a single day, on 10 February 2013 (the day of Mauni Amavasya). According to medieval Hindu theology, Lord Vishnu dropped drops of Amrita (the drink of immortality) at four places, while transporting it in a kumbha (pot). These four places are identified as the present-day sites of the Kumbh Mela, Nasik being one of them. This documentary about Nasik Kumbh and the Naga sadhus gives the viewer a chance to get up, close and personal to the Nagas and get to learn about their definition of spirituality. It also mesmerizes the viewer with some eye catching imagery and captivating music. Kumbh ‘The Foot Soldiers’ (Nasik)

http://pipecast.in/watch/104

This article is being published on request of Mr Kumar . Freeflow thanks him for his contribution.

When Yudhishthira was humbled by a Mongoose

Yudhisthira organizing a Rajsuya yagna

After the victory in the Kurukshetra war, Yudhishthira was crowned the king of Hastinapur. He then decided to perform a grand yagna for the well being his subjects. He gave precious and expensive gifts to all his subjects. Everyone thought this was the grandest yagna they have ever seen. Everyone was praising for the grand yagna and the precious gifts.

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Gayatri Mantra – Mother of all mantras

ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेन्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।

Aum Bhur Bhuvah Svah Tat-Savitur-Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat

Gayatri mantra is the oldest and powerful of all the mantras. It is also known as Guru mantra, Savitri mantra, Maha mantra because from this all is born. Gayatri mantra is the basic of all the vedas and the universal prayer enshrined in Vedas hence also known as Veda sara or Veda mata.

It is believed that the Gayatri mantra was revealed to Brahmarshi Vishwamitra.The Gayatri Mantra is addressed to the energy of the Sun (Surya).

Chanting of Gayatri mantra leads to wisdom and illuminates deeds. Gayatri mantra should be chanted at dawn,noon and dusk. But we do not have to be bound by these three periods.

Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri mantra comprises of 3 parts

(1) Praise to Savitha – The Divine is first praised.

(2) Meditation or dhyaan  on Savitha – The Divine is then meditated upon.

(3) Prayer or prarthana to Savitha.

The first nine words represent the attributes of the Divine

“OM BHUR BHUVA SVAH

TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM

BHARGO DEVASYA”

“DHEEMAHI” pertains to Meditation.

DHIYO YO NAH PRACHODAYAT

is the Prayer to God to confer on us all powers and talents.

Meaning of Gayatri Mantra

The First line Bhur Bhuvah Suvah means or depict unity of body, mind and soul.

The Second line Bhargo Devasya Deemahi throw away the darkness.

Last line Dhiyo yo naha Prachodayat means let the effulgence of Divine dispel the darkness of ignorance.

May the Sun Illumine our intellect in the same way he shed his effulgence.

Word by word meaning of Gayatri mantra

Aum means Parabrahman

Bhur  is Physical world

Bhuvah is Mental world

Suvah is  Spiritual world

Tat means That

Savitur is Sun who is Creator and Preserver

Varenyam is adorable

Bhargo means illumination

Devasya is Divine Grace

Dheemahi We meditate upon

Dhiyo means understanding intellect

Yo means Who

Nah  means Our

Prachodayat means enlighten, guide or inspire.

 

Aspect of Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri has three names: Gayatri, Savitri and Saraswati. Gayatri is master of Senses, Savitri is master of Prana, Saraswati is presiding deity of Speech

These three represents purity in thought, word and deed.

If one chants Gayatri mantra various kinds of power will emerge in one. It should be chanted at Dawn, Noon and Dusk. But we do not  have to be bound by these three periods. It can be chanted any time and any where. The person chanting Gayatri Mantra should ensure that his heart is pure at all time. After Chanting Gayatri mantra we repeat shati Three times as it gives shanti or peace to body, mind and soul.

Five faces of Gayatri

Gayatri is said to have five faces and hence called Panchmukhi.

Panchmukhi Gayatri Mata

Panchmukhi Gayatri Mata

Om Pranava is the 1st face (Pranava principle represents 8 different forms of wealth)

Bhur Bhuva Svah is the 2nd face.

Tat Savitur Varenyam is 3rd face.

Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi is 4th face.

Dhiyo yo naha prachodayat is 5th face.

All these 5 aspect of Gayatri Mantra is within us. Gayatri Mantra teaches us to achieve harmony in thought word and deed.

Gayatri is reliever of all disease- Sarva roga nivarini

Gayatri is fulfiller of all desire- Sarva vancha phalashi Gayatri.

Gayatri ward off all misery – Sarva dukha parivahini

Gayatri is bestower of all that is beneficial.

It illuminate the mind and intelligence and promote knowledge and wisdom. Gayatri Mantra improves our thinking and judgement and give better control over our anxiety and emotions, cultivate determination and self esteem, inner peace, and prosperity. Meditating on Gayatri mantra calms the disturbed mind.