|The Garland of Historical Tales of the Hill of Venkata (Tirupati) – First Chapter|
Our Lord God residing in immeasurable happiness in Vaikuntham, the Lord of the Goddess Sri and surrounded by those who had obtained eternal release, in his infinite mercy decided to come down upon earth in order to save those struggling in the sea of life without knowing how to get out of it. He regarded it as his mission to come on to the earth in a visible form to provide the means of saving themselves for those struggling in great suffering in worldly life. He therefore assumed the form of an image at Tirupati, and placed himself there as the saviour of mankind. His right hand is hold in a position inviting all beings to come to him as the highest protector, and the left placed on the corresponding thigh in such a position as if to indicate that, to those devoted to him, the sea of life (samsara) is only knee deep. This gives indication to the people that to those who devote themselves to the worship of God manifesting Himself in Tirupati, worldly life need have none of the fears generally associated with it. That he came to the earth on this merciful mission is a fact known to all.
In the second section of the current Brahmakalpa (the age of Brahma), in the second section in the ruling period of the 7th Manu and at the cormurr) cement of the age of the 8th Mahakali, there was a large assemblage of Rishis and others in a great sacrifice that was celebrated in the forest of Naimisa. In that assembly the great Suta well versed in all the Puranas arxd the Itihasas related the holy history of the hill Vengadam and all that was likely to happen after that time.
Among these future occurrences is the story of a Tonclaman Chakravarti who was going to be “born after the commencement of the era of Vikrama, and before the commencement of the current Salivahana era. He was, among those devoted to the God at Vengadam, the most prominent. In order that the devotee of Venkatesvara might become victorious over his enemies, the God gave him his own conch and the discus. From that time onwards the God at Tirupati remained without these two characteristic weapons, as if to exhibit his great generosity to this devotee of His.
During this period the world was suffering from the evils of the Kali age, and people went about without any regard to the regulations of Varndsrama (the differences of groups and the progressive order of life constituting the essential feature of the Hindu Dharma or rule of life) . The ruling princes adopted other religious persuasions. Temples were neglected and even destroyed, and there was loss of Dharma the world over. Large numbers of people became Pdshandis (ascetics of the heretical sects).
Having seen these, God in his infinite mercy ordered Ananta Alvan (the great serpant Sesha who forms his bed generally) , to go into the world and re-establish the orthodox Hindu order by destroying heretics.
Ananta in due submission to the order thus delivered, came down on earth and was born in Bhutapuri (Sri Perum Pudur) near Madras in the Tondamandalam division of the Tamil country as the son of a Kesava Somayaji of the Harita Gdtra in the year of Kali 4118, Salivahana Saka 938 past, the year Pingala, month Chaitra and the nakshatra Ardra.
This was Ramanuja. He acquired expert acknowledge in all the Sastras in course of time and mastered the Veda of Sanskrit and Tamil completely, and, having defeated all the teachers of the heretical sects, he re-established the orthodox teaching of Vaishnavism and had settled down in the holiest of the holy Vaishnava temples, Srlrangam.
In this state of -affairs it happened that in Vengadam the Vaikhanasas (followers of the Vaikhanasa agama) who were entrusted with the conduct of the worship in the temple there, failed in their duty, and, having been punished by the local ruler, Yadavaraja of Narayanavaram, quitted the place and emigrated elsewhere.
While in this manner the more elderly Vaikhanasa Vaishnavas had left the place, and as there were not, among those that stayed behind, people sufficiently learned in the Vaikhanasa way of life (Dharma), some of the Saivas near about took the opportunity to prejudice the Yadava Raja , against the Vaikhanasa Vaishitavas gradually.
Therefore they urged that in this temple everything would have to be conducted according to the prescription for worship laid down in the Saiva Agamas.
Having heard this, the Yadavaraja began to ponder seriously over the matter, and, having known that for some considerable period of time the place was regarded as a Vaishnava holy place and that worship was being conducted by the Vaishnavas according to the Vaikhdnasa Agama, he thought he should not commit himself to any course of action without proper investigation, notwithstanding what the Saivas urged.
The Vaishnavas that were left in Tirupati feeling themselves not competent to discuss with the Saivas on equal terms gave a detailed report of what took place to Rarnanuja then in residence in Srirangam.
On receipt of this information Ramanuja set forward immediately from Srirangam. Having reached Tirupati, he intimated the Yadavaraja of his arrival and offered to explain satisfactorily all the objections that the Saivas put forward against Tirupati being regarded a Vaishnava shrine, and prove to the satisf action, of the Yadavaraja, on the authority of the Sastras, that Venkatachala was the hill of Vishnu and remove his doubt in regard to the matter. He informed the Raja he undertook the journey from Srirangam specially with a view to this.
Having been thus assured, the Yadavaraja brought together a great assembly of learned men both from among the Saivas and from the Vaishnavas, and having brought them together proposed the subject for their discussion in the proper form.
The Saivas stated that Kumarasvami obtained his father’s (Siva’s permission and arrived at Venkatagiri (Tirupati) and set up to perform his penance on the bank of a holy tank, according to Vamana Parana. There standing, with his feet touching the ground, on the south bank of the Svami Pushkarinj wearing a coiffure of matted Igcks and keeping aside the warlike weapons as unsuitable to an ascetic, Skanda shows himself in the form of an image to enable people to offer him worship and thus fulfil their cherished
Note: This has been taken and reproduced as it is from the book ” Sri Venkatachala Itihasamala ” for informational and educational purpose only. The website has in no way modified and has not included its views in this article.
(Courtesy: Sri Venkatachala Itihasamala, Tirumalai Tirupati Devastanam Series (1937); Edited by: Rajasevasakta Bahadur Dr. S Krishnaswami Aiyangar)