|The Legend of Vimana Venkateshwara Swamy|
After having the divine darshan of Lord Venkateshwara Swamy, devotees go around the Vimana Prakaram and have the darshanam of Vimana Venkateshwara Swamy, who is on the North-eastern corner on the middle tier of the 3 tiered Vimana gopuram. There is a board pointing towards this and also there is a Silver Prabhavali or Silver Makarathorana around the Vimana Venkateshwara Swamy on the Vimanam.
Almost all the devotees feel that without having the darshanam of Vimana Venkateshwara Swamy, the fruits of visiting the holy temple will ward off. Some sources say, that, Lord Srinivasa is not in Garbhagruha but only in the Vimanam. But as per shilpashastram of the Vishnu temple, the presiding deity’s actual position must be present in the north-eastern corner of the Garbhagruha gopuram. Lets keep this aside and go to the legend behind as to why Vimana Venkateshwara Swamy is considered so important.
In the time of Sri Krishnadevaraya, Vyasateertha was in his court. Vyasateertha was an accomplished and acclaimed spiritual leader and scholar of a very high calibre. Everyone including the king would not disobey his words. Once it so happened. Vyasa Teertha fore saw that a bad omen is going to befall on on the person sitting on the Throne of the Vijayanagara empire. So, Vyasateertha immediately requested the King Sri Krishnadevaraya to step down from the throne, and Vyasateertha himself sat on the Throne and bear the effects of the bad time. Since he was a saint, the effects of the bad time didn’t affect him. As soon as the bad omen time passed, Vyasateertha stepped down. But, for a brief moment, Vyasateertha was the King of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. All had praised him as Vyasarayulu. Rayulu in Telugu means King. So this name as Vyasaraya or Vyasarayulu has been permanently attached to the his name.
One night, Vyasaraya had a dream in which Lord Venkateshwara Swamy appeared and asked him to come to Tirumala and worship Him on the Vimanam. Vyasaraya next morning immediately left for Tirumala and reached there only to find the Temple authorities waiting for him to handover the Locked Garbhagruha keys. This was a strange thing for which Vyasaraya was totally unprepared for. It so happened that due to a calamity all the Vaikhanasa Archakas and their families were wiped out except one Archaka’s wife who was pregnant , had gone to her native place for child birth. Since Vaikhanasa Archakas alone can touch and offer worship to Lord in Tirumala and no one else has the right to do this . Lord had instructed to lock the temple and hand over the key to Vyasaraya.
Vyasaraya started to worship the Lord on Vimanam sitting on the Northern bank of the Swamiy Pushkarni in front of Sri Varahaswami temple & facing south. He was performing the worship thru Manasika Aradhanam. This is only possible for the people who are accomplished spiritually and master of veda and yoga sashtrams. This continued for many years.
In the mean time, the only surviving Archaka’s pregnant wife gave birth to a healthy male child. He grew up and at the age of 7 years, Upanayanam was performed to him as per Vaikhanasa Sashtrams. Later he studied Vedams and Vaikhanasa Agama Shatram thru learned scholars. For 12 years, Vyasaraya performed Manasika Aradhanam to Vimana Venkateshwara Swamy and the Grabha Gruham was locked during this period of 12 long years. When the boy turned 12 yrs old, Lord appeared in the dreams of Vyasaraya and asked him to handover the keys of the temple to the Vaikhanasa boy, who was ready to take incharge of the temple worship. Vyasaraya did as Lord ordered him.
And for the first time in 12 years, the locks on Garbhagruha were opened, and the boy entered the Garbha Gruham and started the worship of Lord again. It is hard to believe that no worship took place for Lord for 12 years but this is the legend behind Vimana Venkateshwara Swamy and His importance.
Now the place from where Vyasaraya sat and performed the Manasika Aradhana for 12 years when the Garbha Gruham was locked, is called as Vyasaraya Hanika Mantapam.