Tirupathi Venkateswara Charithra (Life story)
The rules of Parayan or reading life story of Tirupathi Venkateswara
Tirupathi Venkateswara, also called God Balaji by many across the globe is a popular Deity revered and respected by laks and laks of people around the world. It is generally believed and practiced that those who cannot reach Tirupathi to offer penance or oblation in person can write their prayer in a white paper, and along with one rupee coin, keep it tied in a yellow cloth in front of the deity in prayer hall and commence reading his life story for ninety days in continuation.
If this Jeeva Charithra meaning life history of Tirupathi Venkateswara is read ninety times in succession (once daily for ninety continuous days), their prayers will be fulfilled, so the belief goes. However the success of prayer depends on the extent of belief with which it is read. Once the ninety days reading, called Parayan is completed, the paper with prayer and coin can be submitted in any one of the Tirupathi Venkateswara shrines available in their city to get their wish fulfilled.
Now begins the story below for Parayan.
Story for Parayan
Lord Krishna’s assurance to mother Yasoda
Only several centuries after shedding the body of Lord Krishna Lord Lord Vishnu incarnated as Tirupathi Venkateswara. After shedding his body as Lord Krishna, much tired Lord Lord Vishnu did not take another incarnation and preferred to rest for a while. However after he shed the body as Lord Krishna, the wings of Kaliyug fluttered far and wide, chaos began to surface erasing up righteousness, ethics and justice, thus slowly pushing mankind to innumerable suffering. Even as Kaliyuga began to spread its tentacles, there was no sight of Lord Lord Vishnu incarnating in any form to save the mankind contrary to the assurance given to several divine forces that once Kaliyug raised its head, he would appear at the right time to save the mankind from its onslaught. Saintly sage Sage Narada ’s mind sailed back by several thousand centuries when in Gokul (the place where Krishna was born and dwelled with his mother Yasoda) Sage Narada entered Krishna’s home he saw deserted look of Gokul with worried mother Yasoda sitting alone engrossed in deep thought. As Sage Narada entered to inquire Yasoda’s grief, incidentally Lord Krishna too came in from somewhere. Lord Krishna guessed that something fishy has happened since sage Sage Narada was also present and therefore with a meaningful look winked silently to enquire from the sage what the problem was when Sage Sage Narada too by wink of eyes prompted Krishna to enquire directly from his mother the reason for her grief.
Krishna sat near his mother inquiring ‘what happened to you, mother?’. Though Yasoda would not quickly answer, Krishna noticed her eyes filled with tears and pleasantly consoled her ‘mother, why are you feeling sad….what can happening when I am with you?’ Sobbing Yasoda replied ‘Krishna, I feel I am most unfortunate human on this earth. ….my worry is about your marriage. I don’t think I will live longer, but before I depart, I long to see your marriage. How are you going to shower me the happiness?’ Finding tears rolling on her cheeks, Lord Krishna too though filled with emotion thought within ‘None know the purpose of my incarnation on earth as I have to accomplish many tasks before even think of marrying… How will I make others understand it?’. He was not married to Rakmani then and therefore added ‘Oh, mother, leave away your concern, I promise you that I will honour your wish once I accomplish the task for which I have incarnated. Sure my marriage shall be held only in your presence, how so much so ever the period may be, may be even centuries, but, pardon me mother, I can not reveal the purpose of my incarnation now and at the right moment, you will know it by yourself. Therefore, dear mother remains calm for some period of time. I reassure you that your wish will be fulfilled in toto’. He was destined to marry Rukmani however only after performing certain undisclosed actions that were doomed to happen and thus could not reveal the secret for the time being. However after some time several events happened fast, Lord Krishna’s Yadava clan got destroyed, both Krishna and Yasoda shed their bodies in different events and reached Heaven.
With the end of Lord Krishna’ incarnation how will he fulfill the promise given to Yasoda, where and how will Lord Lord Vishnu reincarnate and marry Goddess Lakshmi again, where will the events occur? Now that Lord Krishna has departed, chaos and anarchy and indiscipline amongst the mankind have surfaced on earth and if they are allowed to continue, it will only lead to the destruction of the Universe created by Supreme even before the dawn of Kaliyug. What should be done to prevent this catastrophe from happening was the concern of the sage Sage Narada.
Sage Narada reaches Mount Kailas
With such concern in mind, sage Sage Narada thought within ‘the time to honour the promise given by Lord Krishna to Yasoda has ripened. In the circumstances prevailing now, Lord Lord Vishnu has to incarnate in some form to save the mankind. But Lord Lord Vishnu maintains eerie of silence on his future incarnation. The time waits for none and therefore Lord Brahma needs to be apprised of the situation’.
Confusion compelling, as Sage Sage Narada proceeded to Devaloga his father Lord Brahma himself met him on way and inquired about the purpose of his visit. Cluttered Sage Narada had no option but to reveal his anxiety on the prevailing conditions emerging and spreading on earth. Lord Brahma who too was equally concerned with the condition was actually on way to meet Lord Siva seeking a solution to this babelish issue and therefore invited Sage Narada too to join him in the mission.
When they reached Lord Siva’s abode, the hall was already full of Gods, Goddesses and Demi Gods, but glaringly Lord Lord Vishnu was missing. Both Lord Brahma and Sage Sage Narada were shown special courtesy and got seated with honour separately from others after which Lord Siva enquired reason of their visit. Sage Sage Narada wasted no time in expressing his deep anguish on the prevailing situation on earth after the demise of Lord Krishna. He was concerned that since there was no sign of Lord Lord Vishnu incarnating in another form in the near future, something has to be quickly done to stem the tide and therefore sought the valued opinion of those assembled there. Debating all aspects, the assemblage were made to realise that only Maharishi Bhrigu was destined to resolve the issue, but Bhrigu being hot tempered in nature who could persuade him to take up the task? Their concern foremost, everyone were unanimous in choosing sage Sage Narada to undertake the task of persuading Maharishi Bhrigu to find out a way to ensure that Lord Lord Vishnu incarnated at the earliest to stem the fast spreading malaise on earth. Both Lord Siva and Lord Brahma cajoled the initially reluctant Sage to find suitable solution to the ticklish issue and to bring in the best desired result with his tactful act. Perked with the heaps of praise from the mouth of the two of the three Lords, Sage Narada firmed up his mind to somehow rope in Maharishi Bhrigu in the drama to be enacted ultimately prompting the incarnation of Lord Vishnu at the earliest.
Sage Narada begins his act
Sage Narada reached earth in search of Maharishi Bhrigu. Generally none of the sages stay in one place for long period and keep on moving with no fixed destination in mind. On way they attend Yahyas and other Sacrifices wherever and whenever invited. Therefore sage Sage Narada was sure that Maharishi Bhrigu could be traced in some place of Sacrifice or Homas on the river side of Ganges where the pious Sacrifices involving many sages are performed in that period of time. He guessed that great sages of Bhrigu in stature would normally be available in the Yahyas and Homas performed in the Himalayan region as Himalaya plateau is considered most sacred, being abode of Lord Siva. His inference did not go in vain, he saw Maharishi Bhrigu in the midst of several of the sages assembled in a Sacrifice underway. As Sage Narada reached the place of Sacrifice, everyone got up and warmly welcomed the most respected guest amongst the sages and got him seated honorably. Midway during Yahya, when the ceremony temporarily halted for the next stage, sage Sage Narada sought to know from sage Kashyaba the purpose of Sacrifice being performed under his care, Kashyaba replied that it was performed to request the Trinity to assure that before the dawn of Kaliyug an atmosphere of serenity and peace be made to prevail on earth and people will adhere to the life of self discipline and live with morality of the highest order. Pleased to hear the mood of Kashyaba, Sage Narada was convinced that with the staging of the Sacrifice half his mission has been achieved by itself, and therefore played a trick to set eye for the second stage by replying ‘Oh, venerable sage Kashyaba, no amount of praise will be suffice for the mission you sages have taken up. I wish for the success of the Yahya and to achieve the purpose it aims. Let me wait for the Athithi to appear here to accept the first oblation of the Sacrifice and seek his blessings before I depart’ (Athithi is the honorable first and foremost guest who is entitled to receive the first oblation of any of the Sacrifice and bless the audience and the performer before others begin to take their share of offering. The Athithi’s blessings is considered most sacred than the blessings from others. In the Sacrifice of such nature where Athithi is called, all others will receive the offerings only after Athithi receives the oblation).
Only when sage Sage Narada brought the issue of Athithi, did the performers realize that they had entirely forgotten the issue of Athithi for concluding the Sacrifice, lest the Sacrifice will remain inconclusive. Therefore every one thanked sage Sage Narada for timely raking up the issue and commenced debate on whom to be called while each one of those assembled mentioned their own choices, but none were accepted as consensus Athithi, and again the sages had to seek the opinion of Sage Narada only who was actually waiting for such an situation and initially reacted as though he was reluctant to take up the responsibility in nominating the Athithi, but at the insistence of the sages he agreed to take up the issue, but not before giving a brief sermon thus ‘Oh, all great sages and Rishi Munis assembled here, listen with care. At the end of Sacrifice Athithi taking the first oblation given with due honour and high reverence will certainly bless the cause all success and the earth will be relieved off the doom and unbearable malaise foreseen. Oh, assemblage, be mature enough and ponder all aspects before inviting the rightful Athithi from amongst the Divine Trinity to accept the oblation. Remember few things. The mind has three qualities viz., Satvik (light, bliss, goodness), Rajas (passion, motion) and Tamasa (inertia and darkness). If your intent is to ensure that in Kaliyug the mankind in Universe is free of malady, live with purity in mind and heart, internally content, merciful to each one in need and free of wrong doings then the Athithi to be invited for the oblation should be of Satvik nature since the mind with Satvik nature is always steady, bestow internal delight and stick to one place indefinitely. Oh, sage of sages, think cool sans emotion and decide the rightful person to be invited’. Thus spoke Sage Narada was further requested by the thrilled sages to help them indicate suitable choice so that one of the sages can reach him and invite them to attend the Sacrifice to receive the oblation.
Sage Narada was internally delighted to see that his ploy has begun working to his plan and therefore stretched the sermon further ‘Oh sages it will be difficult to indicate the rightful Athithi for this Sacrifice as all three Trinities have all three qualities reflecting them differently at different point of time. But the one clue for the rightful choice would be the one reflecting Satvik nature at the time of extending the invitation. We don’t need those reflecting Rajas quality as they will be hostile to others feelings and act in haste. Similarly we do not need those with Tamasa Qualities too who will remain imbalanced and inactive from acting at the right time. Therefore the one reflecting Satvik Qualities at the time of accepting the invitation will only be fit choice to take the oblation as they will reach the Sacrificial site with the same mindset to take the oblation and bless the purpose for which it is done. Hence indicating the rightful choice at this moment will not help. The one reflecting the Satvik Qualities at the time of invitation can only be invited by a rightful person to be chosen for this mission’. Everyone were again confused since Sage Narada has brought in another arduous task of finding right person who on behalf of them will reach Divine Trinity and decide on spot the rightful Lord to receive the oblation for the Sacrifice on hold.
Maharishi Bhrigu, envoy on mission
When the search for the envoy begun, again there was no consensus amongst the sages and the assembled again requested Sage Narada to nominate the suitable sage for the purpose. Sage Narada waiting for such a chance had no hesitation in nominating Maharishi Bhrigu as their envoy being experienced sage amongst them and possessed all arts of appeasement and aspects of diplomacy. Maharishi Bhrigu was fully authorised to select and extent the invitation to the rightful Athithi after weighing all aspects on spot while on mission, but adhering to the basic norm of Athithi with Satvik in nature at the time of extending the invitation. Everyone was elated at the choice of Maharishi Bhrigu as he was not only experienced, but also an octogenarian greybeard amongst the sages and well respected by the Divine Trinity.
Next, when the sages under the leadership of Sage Narada reached Maharishi Bhrigu and requested him to undertake the task of selecting the rightful Supreme for the Sacrifice kept on hold, overwhelmed by the honour extended the beaming sage readily accepted the challenge and proceeded to Devaloga to meet the Divine Trinity. There in heaven Lord Lord Vishnu sat in ease fully satisfied that another drama as destined has been set in motion for Lord Lord Vishnu to take another incarnation that was long due and secondly, the time to banish the arrogance of Maharishi Bhrigu by destroying the power of wisdom called ‘Gnana Sakthi’ enjoined by him had also come.
Maharishi Bhrigu meets Lord Brahma
First in his mission, Maharishi Bhrigu met Lord Brahma who was seated along with Goddess Saraswathi, his wife. While everyone including the Angels and Bhootha ganas seated there extended warm welcome to Maharishi, Lord Brahma wantonly ignored him as though he had not seen him but would not show it and continued to converse with the assemblage of demi gods and angels on some important issue. Unable to gulp the insult from Lord Brahma, Maharishi Bhrigu too sat in an empty chair and began expressing his views in-between. An irritant Lord Brahma commented ‘Oh, Maharishi, though an uninvited guest, still you entered the hall and interrupt the proceedings with your views not actually solicited by us. Is it fair on the part of an octogenarian sage like you to behave in such indecent manner?’ Bhrigu felt further insulted and quickly got up to say ‘Oh, venerable Lord, be aware that my wisdom is non short to those assembled here and know further that I have not come here just for time pass. I have come as envoy of the sages to extend an invitation to be the Athithi of the Yahya being held for the welfare of mankind and to receive the first oblation in honour as Athithi. But instead of reflecting the true spirit of Satvik nature by acknowledging the presence of an octogenarian like me you acted insulting me in the midst of everyone. But remember Brahma Deva, by this act you have not insulted me personally, but be aware that the insult is for the entire fraternity of sages engaged in the pious act of performing an Sacrifice for the welfare of mankind. Therefore from now on non in Boologa will ever worship you as a Deity in any place of worship’. Thus spelt Maharishi Bhrigu seething in anger rushed out from the hall and took up his journey towards Mount Kailas to meet Lord Siva. But Lord Brahma was unperturbed as he was aware that it was part of the play they have planted for Lord Vishnu’s incarnation on earth.
Lord Siva cursed
Having insulted in Brahma Log, mentally disturbed Maharishi Bhrigu reached Kailas without cooling down. On reaching Lord Siva’s abode he was greeted negatively at the entrance by the Ganas guarding there and would not allow him go in as Lord Siva was engaged in an important meeting and they have been strictly ordered not to let anyone go inside unless Lord Siva’s permission is received. Already wreathed in anger, Bhrigu started quarreling with them raising his voice in anger thus creating commotion as the guards did not allow Maharishi Bhrigu to go in while Maharishi Bhrigu attempting to forcefully enter. Hearing loud noise and commotion, Lord Siva with his Trisul in hand angrily came out to thrash those causing commotion. Anger uncontrolled and unaware of his wrongful behaviour, Maharishi in arrogance questioned Lord Siva ‘who ordered these guards to stop me at the entrance?’.
Lord Siva too was equally angry and retorted back ‘Oh, elder sage, are you not ashamed to have come uninvited, but have the arrogance to question my own rights in my own dwelling like a novice and still claim you to be the sage of highest order of wisdom’. Anger not waned, Maharishi Bhrigu hit back ‘Know this fact Lord of Lords, you would bear the consequences of showing disrespect to octogenarian sage like me. It is totally unfair on your part Oh, lord of Lords that instead of inquiring the purpose of my visit, you have chosen to insult me like how Lord Brahma too insulted. Howsoever important the meeting with Goddess Parvathi be, you could have just paused the meeting for a while to call an elderly saint like me to inquire the purpose of my visit. I certainly possess the highest order of wisdom and have not come here of my own, but as an envoy of the sages, my visit is to extend the invitation to be the Athithi of the Yahya being held by the sages for the welfare of mankind and to receive the first oblation in honour as Athithi. Thus your action too is akin to the act of Lord Brahma and you too lack the spirit of Satvik nature. Therefore for heaping insult to an elderly sage of my wisdom and order, take this curse from me, Oh, lord, in Boologa, people will not worship you in in the form you exist but will worship you only in the form of a simple stone (semi circular) buried on land. Saying so even before Lord Siva replied, Maharishi left the and commenced his journey to Vaikund to see the last of the Supreme Three Lord Vishnu who dwelled there.
However as Maharishi got up to go away, Lord Siva pronounced ‘Know this Maharishi, I am Parabriman who created this universe and hold Parvathi’s soul within me. It doesn’t matter whether I will be worshiped by the mankind in the form of a semi circular stone that will reflect the form of souls within souls, which will be me and Parvathi one within the other. Henceforth people will not worship either of us separately to seek the boon and whenever and wherever the stone is worshiped, they will see our merged souls within that form’. This is one of the reasons why Lord Siva is always worshiped on earth in the form of only a Shiva Ling and not as he appeared.
Worried Maharishi Bhrigu left Kailas, not aware of what is in store in Vaikund where he has to meet Lord Lord Vishnu to extend the invitation to attend the Sacrifice as Athithi.
Lord Vishnu too cursed : Bhrigu’s pride banished
When Maharishi reached Vaikund, Lord Vishnu was in his yoganidra (Divine sleep) in the midst of sea with Goddess Lakshmi gently pressing his feet to relieve the feet from melosalgia. However as Maharishi Bhrigu reached Lord Vishnu facing opposite side too woke up, and began conversing with Goddess Lakshmi as though he had not noticed the sage. In total disregard to decency even as Goddess Lakshmi was seated near Lord Vishnu, anger filled Sage Bhrigu went near Lord Vishnu and kicked on his chest to draw his attention towards him (There is conflicting story of this episode. Some of the authors claim that Bhrigu kicked Shesha nag and not Lord Vishnu directly and thus causing grievous hurt in the heart of Goddess Lakshmi). Lord Lord Vishnu got up from bed and quickly fell at the feet of Maharishi Bhrigu as if he was seeking pardon and in a blink of moment pulled out the the power of wisdom kept hidden in the lower part of the feet of Maharishi and burnt it thus ending extraordinary power held by Maharishi Bhrigu so long. Once lost his entire power of wisdom, Maharishi came to senses and fell at the feet of Lord Vishnu and sought pardon for his arrogance and indulgence of foolish act so long.
Lord Vishnu lifted him up and inquired reason for his visit when Maharishi explained reason for his visit and requested Lord Vishnu to reach the venue to accept the oblation as chief Athithi and bless for the success of the Sacrifice for the ultimate cause for which it was being held. Lord Vishnu gladly accepted the invitation and promised to reach the site at the concluding part to accept the oblation and to bless the cause.
After seeking pardon again Maharishi left Vaikund profusely thanking Lord Vishnu, but again ignorantly he failed to seek pardon from Goddess Lakshmi for the grievous hurt he caused to her by his indecent behaviour of insulting her husband in her presence. Had he sought her pardon, then the events leading to the incarnation of Venkatachalapathi would not have occurred.
Once Maharishi left, Goddess Lakshmi was furious with Lord Vishnu who she felt remained mute spectator not only to the insulting act of the sage in front of a woman, but also allowed the Maharishi to go unpunished as he had no courtesy to say even a word of regret to Goddess Lakshmi who was deeply hurt in heart. She thought to herself that in general the male were always selfish and therefore it is worthless to stay anymore with Lord Vishnu after she has been insulted. Deeply hurt in mind she left Vaikund without telling anyone and soon went missing.
Similar to Krishna’s incarnation for the welfare of mankind, Lord Vishnu was doomed to take another short incarnation before incarnating as Kalki in Kaliyug. At the same time Goddess Lakshmi Devi too needed short incarnation to remarry Lord Vishnu whom she left high and dry on account of Maharishi Bhrigu’s drollery behaviour. Both Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi in the short incarnation shall be born with different aspects to marry again on earth in their short incarnate form, however the act will also be beneficial to the mankind as subsequently both will again regain their original form as Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu as doomed to happen as decided by the Supreme who created them. Lord Vishnu was well aware of the entire play. The entire events in this story occurred during Ramayana era.
Story of Goddess Lakshmi’s previous incarnation
When Lord Rama and Sita had incarnated, a pious King called Padmavasan an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu was ruling a smaller state near Ayodhya. Even after many years of married life he had no offspring and therefore penanced and prayed to Goddess Lakshmi that he should be blessed with a female child in all aspects resembling Goddess Lakshmi herself. After few years he got an offspring, a female child, in all aspects matching with that of Goddess Lakshmi. As she grew talented in all parts of life and was further able to take virtual and aidance forms as and when desired. As she attained marriageable age the King decided to hold a Swayamvara to find a suitable life partner for her, but she would not agree to the proposal and made it clear to her father that she desired to have only Lord Rama as her partner. King Padmavasan cautioned his daughter not to live in the world of mirage since Rama was son of a big Emperor Dasaratha and Dasaratha will not agree to engage his son with a girl of her stature. Padmavasan’s advice fell on deaf ears and she was firm to get married only with Rama, but dare not prevent her father from holding the Swayamvara as children in a family in those days were bound by the decision of their parents, lest society will discard them.
The Swayamvara commenced and several invitees were present to take part in the function, one amongst them being Lankan King Ravan. As the bride passed each one of the invited Princes, Ravan requested her to marry him, but when she refused Ravan in anger attempted to catch her hand to take her away but the King Padmavasan quickly came running to save her and confronted Ravan. Seething with anger Ravan pulled his sword and slayed the King who fell dead and seeing the ghastly scene everyone assembled ran away. In the meantime the girl quickly took a virtual image, ran towards the nearby forest where some Yahya was underway and hid herself in one of the ashrams of Rishies and sages and sat in penance. Ravan too came chasing her and searched for her in various places watching from sky and even after several days of search, he could not find the girl.
Since she sat in penance in their ashram along with them showing exemplary command on chanting Vedic hymns the sages holding the Yahya named the unknown destitute as Vedavathi. However how long could she hide herself from the watchful eyes of Ravan who one day chanced to find her hiding in the ashram and came running down to take her away. Unable to escape from him, the girl ran around the ashram and finally fell into the burning Yahya pyre to end her life, but not before leaving a curse on Ravan that since he had attempted to insult a hapless female, he will meet his death only by a hapless woman. Her curse fructified later when Ravan meet his death due to Sita. However Ravan did not know that she has jumped into the fire to escape from him.
God Agni was too compassionate on the hapless woman who fell into his pyre and therefore did not allow her to die and instead kept her in his safe custody and brought her up within fire itself in invisible form as he was well aware that Ravan was very shrewd and somehow find her if she come out of fire and in her original form. True to Agni’s guess, Ravan kept on searching for her and Agni’s decision to keep her inside the fire in invisible form helped her being saved from Ravan.
Agni creates aidance form of Sita
Time moved fast. In Ayodhya Rama married Sita and received the doom of exile with his faithful wife and during exile in forest Sita was abducted by Ravan in an act of deceit. But whom Ravan abducted was not actually Sita, but was only her aidance form created by Agni i.e Vedavathi. How did it happen?
When Ravan was discussing with his brothers the details of his plan to abduct Sita, Agni happened to overhear it and without wasting time he ran to the forest and revealed Ravan’s plan to Sita and took her to safety simultaneously requesting Vedavathi to take virtual form of Sita and to remain in Sita’s place. Agni initially wanted to inform Rama about the plans of Ravan. When Vedavathi in virtual form of Sita stayed in the ashram, Ravan came and abducted her as planned, unaware of the fact that he had actually abducted Vedavathi and not Sita. Agni was scared that if ever Ravan comes to know of Sita’s hiding in his home, then Ravan will not hesitate to immediately kill Vedavathi. Therefore till Vedavathi in Sita’s form, held in captivity of Ravan is released, Sita’s safe hiding in his custody should be kept a closely guarded secret, not even to be revealed to Rama and others to which plan Sita and Agni’s wife too consented.
Next when the war between Rama and Ravan ended and Sita faced the awkward situation of proving her modesty, she had to enter into the burning fire as ordered by Rama. However it was actually Vedavathi in the virtual form of Sita who jumped into the fire and not the original Sita. Non knew the truth till Vedavathi and Sita together came out of the fire unharmed. Once out from the pyre, Vedavathi narrated her tale to everyone and requested Rama to marry her since she struggled so long and expressed her desire to get married with Rama, but Rama would not agree to her request and counseled her that since he had already married to Sita, he cannot be the husband of another in that birth and therefore Vedavathi should forget her desire to marry him. Rama further explained that in the next near future it was destined to incarnate as Srinivasa (Venkateswara), and Sita who is actually Goddess Lakshmi will also be born as Padmavathi with all aspects of Vedavathi, and Rama promised Vedavathi that during the said birth he will marry Padmavathi la Vedavathi la Sita to fulfill Vedavathi’s aspiration. This was why Lord Vishnu had to take short incarnation as Tirupathi Venkateswara and marry Goddess Lakshmi Devi in the form of Padmavathi with all aspects of Vedavathi. Now the story of Goddess Lakshmi Devi’s incarnation as Padmavathi begins.
Goddess Lakshmi’s incarnation as Padmavathi
Several centuries ago, in a state now known as Tirupathi (Now in the state of Seemandhra in India), was ruled by a King called Sudarman. He begot a male offspring and the Raja gurus (Pundits in the courtyard of the King) predicted that the male child was imbibed with all the aspects of Lord Vishnu and will become universally famous on account of the wisdom and power he may possess. He was named Agasarajan (meaning ruler of ethereal space). King Sudarman was very much fond of hunting and therefore quite often he went for hunting. After hunting spree he used to take rest near a lake called Kapila theerththam (theerththam meaning water pond) and quench his thirst. Once while quenching thirst he happened to notice one of the Princesses from Naga clan playing in the midst of water and instantly fell on love with her, she being so attractive that none can easily desist their temptation to absorb her in their heart. From then on he regularly visited the spot matching with the time of her appearance and in the next few days they became so close that she became his undeclared fiancee. But the biggest problem was their form. She was snake in appearance with human head, while the King was fully human. With half her body human and remaining with organs of the snake she was able to stay above water in open atmosphere for some days but permanently cannot as she needs to remain inside water at least for six months a year. The lovers realized the fact that they cannot marry each other and live together, their body metabolism being hindrance and therefore they decided to get married by heart.
As time passed the Naga Princess whenever she came out to the water bed and met the King, they continued to love making and enjoy life as human partners. It may sound incredible and unbelievable how the Snake bodied Princess can have sexual pleasure with a human. The Princess father belonged to Adi Shesha (Snake God) family and therefore possessed certain extraordinary powers of human. Sage Pathanjali was an incarnate of Adi Shesha and was able to live on earth like human, while his half body was filled with snake organs. Such instances were very common amongst divine beings and therefore the Naga Princess was able to have human relation with the King Sudarman when she was out of water bed. In this process the Naga Princess conceived and delivered a male child. Since she had the affair over the water surface, the male child too bore human organs. It was not uncommon to the Kings of those periods to have several women as wives and Sudarman’s wife too was aware of her husband’s affair with the Naga Princess and therefore the King had no difficulty in taking away the child to his Palace to keep him under the care of his wife along with the first son Agasarajan. The son born out of the Naga Princess was named Thondaman and both being sons of Sudarman were brought up with same care and love by the King’s wife.
When Sudarman died, though Agasarajan took over the reins of the Kingdom, he took all care to ensure that his brother Thondaman too was well taken care of. The folks in the Kingdom were happy lots; however fate again played its own act and did not bestow Agasarajan an issue to rule after him. Worried Agasarajan performed several Yahyas and Sacrifices to please the deities to beget an issue. Once he performed a Sacrifice called Puthrakameshti (Puthra meaning son and therefore the Yahya that is meant to get a son) Yahya. One of the acts in the said ritual was to plough a land by self with a yoked buffalo and embed seeds of rice and pray Lord Lakshminarasimha seeking boon for a child. As advised by his Pundits, Agasarajan faithfully performed the ritual and started ploughing the land as required.
As he was ploughing, the yoke hit a metallic box that blocked further ploughing and hearing the sound of metal the King stopped ploughing and dug the earth to see what was blocking the yoke. Alas to his wonder, he found a metallic box deeply kept buried inside and the box was opened they found a live female child comfortably sitting inside the box in Padmasana posture (one of the yoga posture) unharmed in any manner. When the box was taken out and Raja Guru summoned for counseling he predicted ‘Look King, one day this child will become revered by mankind in Universe as the rays of Goddess Lakshmi runs through her body. Moreover similar to how Janaka begot Sita while ploughing, this girl has also been a god’s gift to you. It is also possible that this girl could be a forte of Sita la Goddess Lakshmi. Therefore do not glitch even for a moment. Rear up and lift this child and bring her up as your foster daughter’.
Once the Court Pundit sermoned so, the King took the girl out from the box, named her Padmavathi as advised by his Raja Guru and gave her to his wife to bring her up in all comfort. None were aware of the ultimate truth that Padmavathi was none other than Goddess Lakshmi Devi herself. Each one of the divine powers used to take several shapes and virtual images at the same time in different locations depending upon the circumstances prevailed. The virtual forms are their own shadow incarnations without much power held by them, and thus to save herself from Ravan, Sita too created in her previous birth virtual image as Vedavathi through Agni. It is also common that while the divine know everything beforehand, except the Supreme three other divine forces cannot foresee the action and reactions or other aspects of what other divine forces enact. Under these circumstances, Rama unaware of the fact that Vedavathi was the virtual image of Sita gave a solemn assurance to Vedavathi that he would marry her in the next birth when he would incarnate as Srinivasa (Venkateswara). Therefore in order to honour her husband’s promise Goddess Lakshmi took form as Padmavathi and rose from earth God (not from anyone’s womb) and continued to be fostered by Agasarajan’s family without them knowing the fact of her birth. Few questions remained unanswered then. Why Goddess Lakshmi should incarnate as Padmavathi and became the foster daughter of Agasarajan? While Padmavathi has taken birth, where was Srinivasa (Venkateswara) born? What was the story? The entire stories are interwoven with each other. As said earlier, Goddess Lakshmi left Lord Vishnu in anger to marry Venkateswara as Padmavathi in future birth. Agasarajan was a King in one of the Cholas Dynasty in previous birth and with the curse of Lord Vishnu he had to remain as Ghost for some period before reborn in mankind as Agasarajan. Let us now read all stories now.
Flash back story
Goddess Lakshmi disappears
As explained earlier due to the erratic behaviour of Maharishi Bhrigu, Goddess Lakshmi got annoyed with Lord Vishnu and left him uninformed. Such instances of separation between Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu were many and every time when she departed, she would herself return after some time. Hence Lord Vishnu did not bother about her walking out from the scene. He did not even bother to know where she had gone or that she has actually left him and gone away. His priority and concern was only on the Yahya to which he had been invited and sure he should attend the Sacrifice to receive the oblation, bless for the cause and then return back to immediately take an incarnation before the commencement of Kaliyug to save mankind and earth from getting destroyed. These thoughts etched deep in mind unconcerned Lord Vishnu on the vacation of Goddess Lakshmi left for Vaikund and only after reaching his abode did he come to know that she was missing. He kept cool thinking she may have gone elsewhere to meet someone to narrate the incident of insult. Few days passed, still Goddess Lakshmi did not return and concerned Lord Vishnu seriously commenced searching for her only to realise that she has permanently parted company and disappeared.
Like Lord Vishnu, everyone in Vaikund were deeply disturbed with the departure of Goddess Lakshmi and felt orphaned as vacuum has been created in Vaikund. From then on none on earth invited anyone from heaven for any of the functions or bothered to offer oblation in functions or pujas. Thus after Lakshmi’s disappearance from Vaikund, it lost the charm and every one passed the time in routine without getting involved in any affair as though Lord Vishnu sans Goddess Lakshmi had no significance. Perturbed Lord Vishnu started searching for the whereabouts of Goddess Lakshmi in every one of the Logas (different divisions of Universe) like Pathaal, Boologa, Indira log and Chandra log etc, neither she was found nor was he able to guess the form in which she may be wandering. Days after days Lord Vishnu did not take anything and almost remained on fast and scrambled like mad with only aim to find Goddess Lakshmi somewhere and bring her back to Vaikund. Wandering in such a state of mind one day in total fatigue and exasperation he reached the place where the Cholas King was ruling on earth. In a jungle, he spotted a comfortable bunker to take rest, sat there and closed his eyes. Fatigue and tiredness overpowering, Lord Vishnu did not wake up for long years and remained there in sleeping posture even without knowing that an anthill had raised completely covering the bunker as though he has been imprisoned and continued groaning ‘Lakshmi, Lakshmi’ in sleep.
With both Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu missing in Vaikund for several years, worried Sage Narada too commenced his search mission to find them and finally reached Boologa. He was taken aback when accidentally he located the bunker covered by ant hill from which Lord Vishnu’s voice of groaning came. Using his mystic power he could see Lord Vishnu in sleeping posture inside and tried to wake him up without destroying the ant hill which if done will cause death to the insects and it is mandated to those living in the world of divine that they would not cause death to any living being, be it be human or animal or others that has soul in them, unless and otherwise to be done as doomed for some cause. Moreover the anthill remained like a fort sheltering Lord Vishnu from rain and other natural calamities and therefore such pious insects shall not be killed. Therefore unable to rise up Lord Vishnu, Sage Narada rushed to Deva Log to meet Lord Brahma and seek his advice to sort out this vexed issue. Since Lord Brahma too could not think of a solution, both went to Kailas to meet Lord Siva to seek his guidance.
Supreme Lord warmly welcomed them without showing any feeling of remorse and calmed them down stating that everything is happening as doomed. He explained to them that unable to bear the agony of separation with Lord Vishnu, his spouse Goddess Lakshmi too has been sitting on penance in a jungle called Kollaapuram (Now in the state of Seemandhra in India) and though she has separated from Lord Vishnu which was temporary, they were undergoing the present ordeal on account of some curses in their previous birth. The stage for such events have been actually initiated unknowingly by the sages who were also destined to hold a Sacrifice and engage Maharishi Bhrigu to invite Lord Vishnu as Athithi to cause separation of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu. It was doomed that only when Lord Vishnu take the form of Srinivasa and Goddess Lakshmi as Padmavathi their reunion was possible and to achieve this end they have to remain on penance in different manner for several years till they get reunited. He advocated patience and pray for their mental fortitude to bear the agony and ordeal.
Both Sage Narada and Brahma almost came to tears hearing the message from the Lord. Sage Narada was bit more upset and felt that he was responsible for creating such ordeal and therefore decided that the first task was to ensure that some food is administered to Lord Vishnu who was virtually on fast and probably that was reason for his deep sleep. Since Lord Vishnu was in Boologa and in human form all that was possible was to go in human form with Goddess Lakshmi also part of the team to render assistance to the sleeping Lord.
The most important task before them was to take some human form and meet Goddess Lakshmi first, to apprise her of Lord Vishnu’s condition and then to take steps to feed fasting Lord Vishnu. When they reached Boologa and disturbed Lakshmi’s penance and apprised her of the situation, she became jittery and started crying uncontrollably. She held Siva’s hand and pleaded with him to somehow save Lord Vishnu at the earliest. Siva told her ‘cool down Lakshmi, do not worry. Immediately take the form of a shepherdess and me and Brahma will take the form of two cows. Drive us to King’s palace and sell us to him. He has many cows in his shed and a shepherd in the Cow yard in Palace daily take them to the jungle to graze the grass. Sage Narada will divert the attention of the shepherd to enable us reach the site of the anthill where Lord Vishnu is buried and we will release milk into the pit so that Lord Vishnu can drink and survive in full energy. By the time he comes out and take the form of Srinivasa, you will also by then become Agasarajan’s daughter. We will then ensure that both of you unite back. In brink of eye Goddess Lakshmi became shepherdess, Brahma and Siva as Cows.
Even as Lord Siva uttered those words , he deliberately hid a secret from her that once Lord Vishnu incarnate as Srinivasa, he would first marry only Padmavathi, the forte of Goddess Lakshmi and in the next few days he would join with Goddess Lakshmi. If Goddess Lakshmi gets prior knowledge of the it, events will not move as doomed and ruin the very purpose for which they were intended to happen.
In next move Goddess Lakshmi as shepherdess drove the two Cows, virtual forms of Brahma and Siva into the city as though she was selling milk. Whoever came to buy the milk she would request them to buy the Cow itself as she was hard-pressed for money and when someone offered to buy them she demanded high price which the buyer would not afford and thus she was able to avoid folks of the state from buying the two Cows. Finally unable to sell the Cows in town she reached the Palace gate on the day which incidentally was the birthday of the King as another plan hatched by them had been successfully worked. Only in the morning, the Raja Guru advised the King to buy two Cows on his birthday which will bring enormous amount to the King and the offer of the Shepherdess to sell the Cow reached the ears of the King at the right moment. On hearing the news of the Shepherdess standing at the entrance gate offering the Cows on sale, the King himself came out with the Raja Guru and saw the Cows. t the very sight of the Cows the Raja Guru pronounced that they will be the best to buy to beget luck. Thus the Cows were sold to the King and Goddess Lakshmi in the form of Shepherdess went back to the jungle as though she was relieved off from the burden with the Cows.
Next day as usual the Shepherd in the Palace Cow yard drove the fleet of Cows along with the newly purchased two Cows into the jungle to gaze grass, but since he put them for gazing in faraway place than that of where Lord Vishnu actually lay buried. Therefore Sage Sage Narada played a trick to divert the Cows to gaze near the place where Lord Vishnu was to be fed. While the Shepherd rested under a tree, the Cows gazed near the spot where Lord Vishnu lay and the two divine Cows silently went by the side of the anthill and released their milk inside through a hole already kept opened by Sage Narada in such a manner that the milk released exactly fell in his mouth to enable him drink it in sleep without himself even aware of it as he was destined to remain in sleeping posture groaning for some more time till the King released him from the pit in line with the trick already conceived and put in action by Sage Narada.
As days passed, daily on reaching back the Palace Cow yard, while milking the Cows the Shepherd noticed that the two divine Cows gave lesser and lesser milk and people said perhaps their intake of grass may be lesser and therefore the Shepherd started keeping an eye on their movements in the forest to check whether they really gaze the grass. From the day he kept toeing their movements he was amazed to see them going to the particular spot (where Lord Vishnu lay buried) and releasing milk before commencing to gaze. As soon as the Cows moved out of the place, the Shepherd noticed some voice of groaning coming from inside the anthill and went rushing to the Palace to report the matter to the King.
Unwilling to believe the story, the King warned the Shepherd to again carefully watch next day and report if the incident of the Cows releasing the milk occurred again so that he would accompany him next day to verify the truth for himself, lest he said he would slain the Shepherd. Both of them hid in a place to see when the Cow would milch in the pit, but as the Cow reached the spot, it stood noticing the hidden Shepherd and did not therefore milch. Angry over its reaction, the Shepherd fearing for his death rushed towards the Cow to hit it hard with a stick. Pat broke open the anthill, and out came Lord Vishnu who took the blow on his head and blood from his head splashed over the body of the Cow. On seeing the scene the Shepherd fainted and lay there when the Cow with blood splashed on her body ran to the Palace and stood before the King who was panicked to see the Cow with blood splashed over her body. The Cow nodded him to follow and started moving when everyone ran behind her to the jungle to see Shepherd lay fainted. When they reached the spot, Lord Vishnu manifested before them in anger. The King and others quickly he prostrated before the divine seeking pardon for the violent act of his servant. But Lord Vishnu was not convinced and pronounced that the act of folk will lay on the ruler and therefore the King will turn to Ghost and wander in the forest, and instantly the King turned into a Ghost.
When the Ghost la King pleaded for mercy, Lord Vishnu said in due course of time the curse will end by itself and the Ghost would get birth in one of the Cholas King dynasty and rule the state. The (previously a Ghost) would beget a foster daughter whom he (Lord Vishnu) would himself marry in human form as Srinivasa. At the same time the Shepherd through whom the entire drama was enacted was also given a boon by Lord Vishnu to the effect that the clan of that Shepherd would daily get the first and foremost darshan of the Deity (meaning Srinivasa alias Venkateswara) of a famous temple to be established by the King (previously a Ghost). Once Lord Vishnu pronounced so, all three i.e Vishnu and the two divine Cows disappeared.
Against this background when the curse on the Ghost was released he was born again as Sudarman’s son Agasarajan and later became a King as Lord Vishnu blessed. Padmavathi was found by Agasarajan while ploughing and became his foster daughter. Thus Goddess Lakshmi got birth on earth as Padmavathi in first step to rejoin with Lord Vishnu again.
Going back to the old story once everyone went away, Lord Vishnu took a human form and blood oozing on head he started walking in a jungle and went near a hut there. Someone was playing some song on Lord Krishna as Lord Lord Vishnu was drawn near the hut to find a lady singing the Bhajan. He gave raised voice to call her ‘Mother, oh mother, is there anyone to come out and help me?’. When the lady singing the bhajan came out and saw the a stranger standing with blood oozing from the head she shuddered and quickly took him inside to apply medicine and bandaged the wound.
In the midst of doing so, hearing her voice, Lord Vishnu was able to immediately recognize that she was her mother Yasoda in previous birth and emotion choked Lord Vishnu hugged her to say ‘Mother can’t you go back to previous birth and recall our relation? Mother, I am your son Krishna….Krishna’. When he uttered so she too started crying uncontrollably and asked him with tears rolling on her cheeks ‘Krishna, where were you all these years, my dear son, how did you get this wound’ . Emotionally moved Lord Vishnu narrated entire story enacted to end that he was destined to marry Goddess Lakshmi in the present birth, but took a solemn promise from her that she would not reveal the secret to anyone.
Need a small flashback here. Agasarajan got from earth only the virtual image of Lakshmi in the form of Vedavathi, but he was not aware of the truth. It was doomed that Lord Vishnu had to first marry the mirage image of Goddess Lakshmi in the form of Vedavathi and only thereafter marry true Goddess Lakshmi. To be in line with fate, Lord Vishnu in the form of Srinivasa married the mirage image of Vedavathi first and subsequently only married Goddess Lakshmi later some time.
The lady who treated the wound of Lord Vishnu was Yasoda in her previous birth and Lord Vishnu her son in the form of Lord Krishna. Now that Yasoda has taken birth as Vagula Devi, Lord Vishnu too had to incarnate as Srinivasa for a short period in order to complete certain acts in the drama enacted to incarnate before Kaliyug. Under this background Yasoda in the form of Vagula Devi and Lord Vishnu in the form of Srinivasa met now and exchanged their previous birth memoirs only for a short while, but Lord Vishnu ensured that Vagula Devi instantly lost short-lived memory of previous birth as some more play remained to be completed in human form.
Now back to the main story, once Vagula Devi (Yasoda in Previous birth) treated the wounds of the stranger (Lord Vishnu had no name by then and was an unknown stranger to her), he (Lord Vishnu) requested her to arrange for some dwelling for his stay and without hesitation she took him to the nearby temple to pray Varahar who will bless them for the cause. In the meanwhile she introduced her real son Govindarajan to Lord Vishnu and counseled that he be accepted as his (Lord Vishnu) brother so that they can all stay together in and around Varahar Temple. The suggestion was pleasing to Lord Vishnu who readily accepted it and stayed back in temple offering prayer to Varahar while Vagula Devi went away for a while promising to return back soon.
Once she left, Lord Varahar manifested before Srinivasa to seeking to know of his problem. But Varahar imposed a condition, if he were to grant the boon to fulfil his wish; Srinivasa has to pay him some kind of meed for the boon he may grant. Though Lord Varahar and Lord Vishnu knew each other divine, since Lord Vishnu was in human form and Lord Varahar in divine form, the issue had to be dealt in human request vis a vis divine boon.
Lord Vishnu in the form of Srinivasa expressed helplessness to meet the demand of meed immediately as he had no money to pay at that moment, but promised that in the days to come when he would manifest in a divine form and sit in the place of worship then whoever visited him seeking boon, they would have to pay obedience to Varahar first and then only enter his sanctum to pray, lest he would not receive his (Lord Vishnu) blessings. Lord Vishnu in the form of Srinivasa pleaded with Varahar to accept the offer and bless him for a place to stay. Varahar accepted the offer and through the manager administering the temple permitted him to put up a hut in the premises and stay there. This is the real reason why it has become custom for those visiting Tirupathi temple to have the darshan (audience) of and pay obedience to Varahar before entering the sanctum of Venkateswara. This practice thus fulfills the promise given to Varahar by Venkateswara.
Accordingly all three constructed a small hut in the premises of Varahar temple and settled there. Only here that Vagula Devi named him Srinivasa. Soon Srinivasa began hunting in the forest. One may wonder whether killing animals by divine in human form tantamount to committing sin? Here the entire happenings being drama enacted by the divine forces, even hunting is only a mirage. By hunting down the animals and killing them, Lord Vishnu in the form of Srinivasa released the curses incurred on them in several births and those cursed in previous births were born as different animals. Only those animals hunted and killed by Srinivasa had been released of their curses and some have gone to take rebirth and some to Heaven and not to take birth again. These were part of the drama underway then. Also it was doomed that Lord Vishnu would take the form of a hunter to reach near Lakshmi, born as Padmavathi to marry her. Therefore some of his (Lord Vishnu) energies have also been converted into animals and sent there. Thus when hunting spree of Srinivasa continued, once a big elephant ran towards them and in order to tame and contain its fury, Srinivasa had to fire an arrow which hit the animal. Unable to bear the pain the elephant turned mad and started running hither thither raising huge sound of trumpeting. Immediately Srinivasa sat on a horse and began chasing the elephant to contain it. Once the elephant reached one of the ponds inside the Palace, it stopped there. When Srinivasa too reached near the mad elephant, it kneeled before Srinivasa and instantly disappeared for its curse reversed. Srinivasa la Lord Vishnu being human at that point of time could not understand the logic behind the behaviour of the elephant- how it disappeared and why kneeled before him. Wondering the behaviour of the elephant Srinivasa washed his face in the pond, drank some water and rested under a tree nearby when Padmavathi too came near the pond playing with several of her abigail unaware of the presence of Srinivasa.
Srinivasa falls in love with Padmavathi
At the very first sight of her beauty, Srinivasa fell in love with her and Padmavathi too met eye to eye with him. Srinivasa thought to self ‘how nice it would be if I get her as my life partner’. As he pondered Padmavathi went near him to enquire who he was and how did he enter the secure Palace compound. Srinivasa told her of the elephant episode and said he was taking rest out of tiredness when the beautiful lady of her stature came there.
She was annoyed with the description of her beauty and warned him ‘Look stranger, you have not only intruded into my privy place, but also dare to express my beauty at the very sight which is morally improper. I am daughter of King Agasarajan. Therefore before you get roughed up by the guards run away from here’.
Srinivasa would not be cowed down by the threat and minced no words to quickly reply back ‘Girl, I could not resist my temptation from praising you as I have unknowingly fallen in love with you. Though a poor hunter, God willing, if you agree to marry me I will ensure all protection and satisfy you in all aspects of simple and serene life’.
This further infuriated Padmavathi who accused him in choicest words of anger and called Palace guards to drive him out from there. Even before the servants reached him shivering Srinivasa pleaded with her ‘Girl, please listen to my request…do not discard me for being hunter alone….I truly love you from the bottom of my heart…please agree to marry me’. Angered by his plea, her abigails threw stone on him to drive him away. Wounded by stones and hitting at wrong place, his white horse too fell dead then and there and the guards roughed him up so badly, a heavily bleeding Srinivasa left the Palace ground and walked towards home wreathed in pain.
On seeing heavily bleeding Srinivasa when Vagula Devi came running to hold him and sought to know the reason for his injuries, he narrated the entire episode to her.
Applying medicine to heal the injuries, Vagula Devi counseled him to forget the dream of getting married to a Princess of King Agasarajan as Srinivasa was a poor hunter and such impossible event cannot happen between rich and poor. As she was soothing him, Srinivasa again regained his past memories when he thought in self ‘it is time that I will have to also recall memories of Vagula Devi’s past birth and to reveal the nature of my doom. However the secret need to be still maintained for some more periods. Even as I initially met her I have made her known our past, but ensured that it faded away from her memory, but now it needed to be recalled for a short while to ensure her support to my cause and to marry Padmavathi’.
So thinking in heart, he peeped into her eyes when Vagula Devi sailed in her past memories. Srinivasa said ‘Mother, though I was your son in the past, and incarnated as Srinivasa now, my body will have to undergo the test and trials facing all consequences as doomed in this birth which is unavoidable, though I am indeed divine born as human. Remember my promise in your past life when I assured you that my marriage would take place in your presence, hence adapted you as my mother now to get married in your presence. You are aware of only one part of your past life when I was Krishna, your son then. Now hear my story when I was Rama in one of my incarnations.
While I incarnated as Rama I had to marry Sita and due to certain events, I had to live in exile in the forest when Ravan abducted my wife and divine Agni created a virtual image of Sita in human form and ensured that whom Ravan abducted was not Sita, but only her virtual image in human form. On return to Ayodhya after slaying Ravan I had to enact a drama to reveal to the world that my wife was purest in her life and ordered Sita to enter fire to prove her modesty. When she went into the fire and came out she was also accompanied by Vedavathi her mirror image, but remember Vedavathi was also a form created from the power of Lakshmi. Once out from fire, Vedavathi requested me to marry her and I had to decline her request being a chaste husband of Sita, and made a solemn promise similar to the one I gave you as Krishna, and promised to marry her when I take the form of Srinivasa. Now that Vedavathi has taken birth as Padmavathi and me as Srinivasa, I have to somehow marry her in this birth to honour my promise. At this juncture we can not reveal all these secrets to public as we have to undergo certain ordeals in human form to get rid of the past sins, lest it will follow us to the next birth. Therefore, mother without showing off emotion, cooperate with me in all my actions to ensure that we get married to each other in this birth lest revealing at halfway will end our incarnation and doom us to again undergo the ordeals several yugas later. However I will reveal to the world all these facts at appropriate time before ending our incarnation’.
Hearing her son’s words tears rolled over the cheeks of Vagula Devi like river on deluge and promised him thus ‘Son, trust me, this secret will remain hidden in my heart till you choose to reveal it. I will certainly lend all possible support from my side to fulfil your cause’. After the conversation both of them again went back to the present human mode, past memory erased from their memory for the time being and went to sleep, but the deeper thoughts of Padmavathi refused to die down from the mind of Srinivasa who continued to groan in pain ‘Rajakumari, Rajakumari’ and slept in tiredness forgetting self.
While this was the condition at the home of Srinivasa, there in the Palace unknowingly sorrow shrouded Padmavathi too remained sleepless as the image of the hunter continued to daunt her. From then on, not aware why, she visited the pond where she met Srinivasa, stood there for some time recalling the instances when a wailing Srinivasa was badly beaten by the guards. As days passed, she too lost her sleep and appetite and remained remorse and sorrowful throughout the period as though she had lost something precious.
Her abigails attempted to divert her attention, unable to gauge her feelings. They were also wonder struck as why she daily visited the site of the Pond at fixed time and stayed away from all their prompts and fun showing disinterest and therefore the worried girls decided to bring her state of condition to the notice of her parents lest something strange could happen to the Princess anytime, they feared. The message was conveyed to Padmavathi’s mother Darini Devi who lost no time in discussing the issue with her husband Agasarajan. Incidentally only a few days before all these incidents occurred Sage Narada Muni visited the King by chance and when Padmavathi knelt before him to pay obedience, he asked her to show her palm and predicted that she has attained the stage of marriage and soon someone with all aspects of Narayana (meaning Lord Vishnu) would marry her.
Brief clarification : One may tend to raise a question as to how Sage Narada could visit in human form to Boologa? In the past when divine plays were enacted on earth, all the characters involved in them were created in one form or the other as virtual images of several divine forces with all aspects of human as well as demi gods and some of them were therefore able to travel between heaven and earth as the situation demanded. In view of the same, the stories involving incarnation on earth of certain divine forces cannot be viewed from the narrow aspect of human in nature alone, and the tinge of divine forces shuttling between earth and heaven in their original form should not be ignored as myth or analyzed. Those who believe should be allowed to gulp, those non believers can form their own opinion at will.
As soon as Sage Narada left the scene, the King summoned his Raja Guru and requested him to analyze the horoscope of Padmavathi. He too endorsed the same view as that of the Sage. They decided to consult Padmavathi too in this issue.
While the events were happening so in the Palace, at home of Srinivasa his adapted mother Vagula Devi decided that she would step in to solve the problem without further delay as the full moon came the next day which will be the most auspicious day to begin anything good. She told Srinivasa of her decision to reach the Palace on the day of full moon and seek alliance of King’s daughter with Srinivasa. Srinivasa had no hesitation in accepting her decision and cautioned her to deal this issue in most delicate manner. He bade goodbye to her and went out again for hunting.
Once went out, Srinivasa la Lord Vishnu changed his appearance to that of an Fowler (a tribe making baskets and catching birds and also sooth sayers) and kept moving in the streets holding a magic stick like object in hand raising voice ‘know your fortune …know your fortune’. Thus shouting Fowler reached the Palace gate. Those days the words of Fowler used to be considered angel voices as they normally emerge out of cremation ground at mid of night and keep moving in the streets sooth saying good and bad omens in each of the houses and some of which used to happen either as coincidence or as uttered. So Queen Darini Devi summoned the Fowler and asked him to predict the future of her daughter Padmavathi.
Holding Padmavathi’s hand the Fowler uttered ‘ Look girl, the words from my mouth is not mine, but that of Mahamayi’s (a female Goddess formed out of Goddess Parvathi’s power) whose soul sends the words from within me. ….Oh, Devi Mahamayi, predict what is in store for this young girl’. Thus uttering she kept on moving the magic wand over her palm several times and threw some ash on her and continued her utterances.
‘Oh…girl..your are immersed with the thought of Lord Vishnu…the divine that held the Universe in his palm, the one who saved the Universe from deluge, the one’s body that glitter like gold, the one who married Sita in the form of Rama…oh, lucky girl… sure, you are destined to marry someone with all his aspects…my words will not go wrong…it will be as true as Sun or Moon raising in day and night …he will shortly come here seeking your alliance… keep patience…girl…keep patience, look this betel leaf…you will find your partner’ thus saying she showed a betel leaf applied with some black oil. Like a TV picture it showed the image of Srinivasa the hunter who was driven away by the guards. Every one remained shell shocked to see the image on leaf. Once Padmavathi saw the image, she screamed ‘mother, this is the same person I met in the garden and who is full in my heart’ and ran inside her room to lock her door. The Fowler was paid handsome reward and sent back.
Srinivasa as Fowler was happy that his plan successfully worked and went home fully satisfied and while on way again turned himself to that of the hunter. Next morning Vagula Devi went to the Palace to see the King. In the meanwhile the King and the Queen were worried that their daughter has fallen in love with a hunter. Sage Sage Narada has stated that Padmavathi was fated to marry a person with all aspects of Lord Vishnu in nature and the Fowler also predicted that she would marry only the hunter on whom she has fallen in love at first sight.
They called their daughter and counseled her to desist from the desire to marry the hunter. The King asked his daughter ‘Padmavathi, do you really love the hunter…are you sure you will lead your life deep inside forest without comforts which you enjoy now…therefore think twice before forcing your decision on us Padmavathi ….did you ever ponder our status and that of the hunter…’
But the firm minded Padmavathi replied ‘father, do not divert my mind from the hunter…I have done nothing wrong except to remain firm to whom I have lost my heart. Once a girl hold deep in mind and heart an adult, he becomes her natural husband and jurisprudence of ethics says discarding such persons be it be a hunter or a King, and think of another male, shall be tantamount to losing her chastity. Should you who are master in code of ethics even think of breaking my love which is already deep rooted? How does it matter to lead life with honour when we have seen Rama who spent fourteen years in exile in a forest ? Moreover both the land in town or in forest are all under your rule only. Do you discard the lands in forest as unwanted? Those who stay in forest, have they gone mad or lead a life of distress? Remember everyone has learnt to the art of living in their own manner be it be in forest or in towns. Therefore erase from your mind the plan to get me married to someone else instead of the hunter who remains my real would be husband now and forever’. With the long lecture to her father, Padmavathi coolly walked into her room without remorse.
As they were involved in deep discussion when Vagula Devi reached the Palace she was given a warm welcome by the King without knowing who she was and inquired ‘ Mother, are you an Sanyasin? Please let me know the purpose of your visit’. Without mincing words she introduced herself as Vagula Devi and revealed that her foster son Srinivasa was in love with Padmavathi and desired to marry her. According to the Pundits who analyzed his horoscope, Srinivasa possessed all aspects of Lord Vishnu and bound with a Kingdom; hence she had come there seeking his consent to get his daughter married to her son.
The King and the Queen were further surprised with the events happening one after the other in the same direction as expressed by Sage Narada and the Fowler. Therefore they did not wish to stretch the issue further and requested her to wait for a while when they would consult their Raja Guru and let her know of their opinion and further sought her son’s horoscope to consult their Raja Guru.
She had already come prepared with all documents and instantly gave it to the King and commented ‘If God willing, things would happen as doomed. But hear me King, though we remain poor now due to certain circumstances, I am sure one day we shall be the richest’. She then bade goodbye to them and left the Palace hoping to hear favorably from them soon.
Agasarajan summoned Sage Sugar to seek his advice. When sage Sugar came the King honored him with due respect and narrated entire events and sought his opinion on the perplex issue. After analyzing the sequence of events Sage Sugar said ‘Oh, King I think it is doomed that Srinivasa shall marry your daughter Padmavathi without any doubt. Yes, he appears to possess entire aspects of Lord Vishnu. The omen indicates that everything shall go well with this marriage and the time for Lord Vishnu to incarnate on earth has already come as per the signals that emanate from heaven. The omen tells that Lord Vishnu shall incarnate in some part of a jungle and come out to sit in a grand temple in offing in your state. Therefore without fluctuation of mind get the boy and the girl married, it will auger well to you and your country’. Fully satisfied with the counseling of Sage Sugar, the King sent message to Vagula Devi expressing his willingness to the marriage.
Lord Vishnu takes loan from Guber
Once consent for the marriage had been received from the King, both Vagula Devi and Srinivasa were highly elated. Next they engaged themselves in the preparation for the marriage function.
On hearing the news of Srinivasa’s marriage, Lord Vishnu remained morosed in Vaikund when Sage Sage Narada entered. ‘Why are you sitting sad while your virtual form Srinivasa on earth is already engaged to Padmavathi for the marriage as per your plan of play’ asked Sage Narada who continued ‘You in the form of Srinivasa is going to be married to Goddess Lakshmi and both scheduled to return to Vaikund soon. Why are you then in remorse?’
Worried looking Lord Vishnu said ‘Sage Narada, presently since Goddess Lakshmi is not in Vaikund, the wealth has depleted and I am unable to arrange sufficient fund for Srinivasa in Boologa for holding the marriage function in grand manner. All those in Devaloga will attend the marriage ceremony and everybody needs to be well fed and taken care of with gifts for which lot of fund will be required. How will I arrange sufficient fund to meet the requirement is my present worry’.
Sage Narada calmed down Lord Vishnu to say ‘Oh, my lord, Guber is the custodian of Goddess Lakshmi’s entire wealth. Therefore why not take some loan from him and meet the expenses?’ The idea clicked and both immediately left Vaikund to meet Lord Guber, the custodian of Goddess Lakshmi’s wealth.
It was not possible to convince Guber to instantly agree to the demand. He was too clever to exploit the situation to his favour. After much persuasion Guber was willing to part with the loan, but with a rider that Lord Vishnu will have to repay the loan with interest and Lord Vishnu had no other way but to agree and take three thousand three hundred and sixty four gold coins (what is the logic behind taking 3364 is not clear) as loan after giving a signed promissory note that when he enshrines in an temple on earth he will part with part of the remuneration to be received by him to meet the interest part of the loan, and at the end of Kaliyug the principal amount along with the remaining interest shall be refunded to Guber (not the Paper based promissory document used in legal fraternity, but a solemn promise on oath and putting a seal with their finger ring on the gold plated pillar kept as sacred pillars so say the stories in Puranas) .
Lord Vishnu weds Padmavathi
Thus the arrange loan when reached the hands of Srinivasa, he gave it to his elder brother Govindarajan (Vagula Devi’s first son) and requested him to make arrangements for the marriage ceremony. Lord Vishnu deputed his carrier Garuda to help in in the arrangements. Since sufficient fund was available as loan from Guber, there was no dearth of funs to meet any expenditure.
On the part of King Agasarajan, the entire city was decorated, every one of the folks gifted and well fed to their fullest satisfaction. On the day of marriage the entire fleet of God and demi Gods from Devaloga assembled on earth to witness the grand celebration. The important dignitaries included Lord Brahma, Sage Narada, Sage Bhrigu, Goddess Saraswathi, Sage Sugar, Nandi Deva, Garuda and many others along with their sub Bhootha ganas and Angels.
Sage Vashishta was the chief Pundit who performed the marriage. The marriage badge or chain tied around neck made up of Pearl beads, Navarathna stones, Diamonds and Gold was given by Sage Vashishta to Lord Vishnu sitting in the form of Srinivasa and he tied it around the neck of Padmavathi. But the important dignitary who was missing in the function was Goddess Lakshmi who was unaware of the function.
Lord Vishnu goes on tour with Padmavathi
Once Padmavathi was married to Srinivasa, her father Agasarajan bade tearful farewell to both and sent them with all honour. Only after Srinivasa and Padmavathi departed from the place, everyone realised that they were the incarnates of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu and regretted that they were not aware of it when they stayed with them. On way, they were greeted by Sage Agasthiya who brought to their attention one of the rules of ethics that forbade the newly married couple from climbing over the mountains for next six months and therefore they spend the next six months in his Ashram, followed with their stay in the Ashram of Sage Vashishta when a messenger from Agasarajan reached there to urgently call them back to the Palace as Agasarajan was breathing his last and desired to meet them before death. When both of them rushed back to the Palace, King Agasarajan held the hand of Srinivasa and requested that he stay there for some time to guide his son Vasuthanan and brother Thondaman to rule the nation with true spirit of cooperation between them.
Once Agasarajan died, the war of accession arose between Vasuthanan and Thondaman as to who will be the superior to rule the state. Hearing their feud, the other neighbour state Kings planned to attack the state and conquer it to annex with their Kingdom. That too happened as per the plan of drama already preconceived by Lord Vishnu. Thondaman in his previous birth was womaniser, but ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu then. He was guided by Lord Vishnu to take next birth on earth and to treat the women folk with due respect to get the sin condoned, but also should build a temple to worship him to get rid of the effects of sins of the past. That is why Thondaman was born as brother to Agasarajan.
As war of words broke out between Vasuthanan and Thondaman, it turned to ugly war and both came with their forces fighting each other. Since Lord Vishnu (in Srinivasa’s form) was requested by Agasarajan to keep his son and brother united, he attempted to mediate but both would not agree to the mediation and sought Lord Vishnu’s (in Srinivasa’s form) help to win the war. Therefore Lord Vishnu (in Srinivasa’s form) gave his powerful weapon Vajrayutha to Thondaman while he himself stayed at the side of Vasuthanan as soldier. In the fiercely fought war at one point of time Thondaman’s son had to use the weapon given by Lord Vishnu and when it hit Srinivasa he fainted instantly and lost his memory.
Seeing Srinivasa’s condition both the warring factions stopped the war and attended on him. When he regained conscience he took a promise from both of them that henceforth they will stay united and therefore Lord Vishnu (in Srinivasa’s form) divided the state into two and gave one each of the state equally to them. On a fine night Lord Vishnu appeared in the dream of Thondaman and recalled his promise in the past life that he would raise a temple for Lord Vishnu. He commanded that Thondaman build a Temple for him in Sheshachalam (a place in Seemandhra near Tirupathi) so that he can enshrine there to protect the mankind in Kaliyug.
On waking up the next morning, Thondaman invited Viswakarma (the master craftsman in Devaloga)to build a massive temple for Lord Vishnu and when the construction commenced, the angels and Ganas from Devaloga too lent their helping hand in manual work, though remaining invisible. After completion of the construction, Lord Vishnu came and took his seat. Lord Brahma came and lighted up two oil lamps and blessed those present to inform that the lamps shall ever remain burning till the end of Kaliyug and since Lord Brahma lighted the lamps, the said function was termed Brahmotsavam (It is believed that the original temple was constructed actually in Brahma log by Viswakarma and after the entire formalities were completed the temple came down to Boologa by itself and buried inside the land over which the present temple has been built). As the temple construction was underway Srinivasa came with his wife Padmavathi and Thondaman was too happy to receive him with inner feeling that since Lord Lord Vishnu said he would come and permanently reside in the temple the divine incarnate Srinivasa’s entry has augured well to the state.
While several of such incidents were happening in the state of Thondaman will Sage Narada keep quite? He needed to complete the one other important work that remained incomplete. With his tricky play he had already ensured the marriage of Lord Vishnu with Vedavathi. Now he has to ensure the marriage of real Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Keeping this in mind he immediately went to Kollaapuram where Goddess Lakshmi was sitting in penance.
When he went to Kollaapuram Goddess Lakshmi was in penance and Sage Narada waited till she opened her eyes. Once she opened her eyes, she saw Sage Narada and enquired his welfare. With gloomy face Sage Narada indicated that he was pained to see that Lord Vishnu in Sheshachalam was in fine mood after marrying Padmavathi, whereas here in Kollaapuram Goddess Lakshmi was in distress. Therefore he came there to be with Goddess Lakshmi to express his solidarity with her.
It was enough for Goddess Lakshmi to get infuriated who got up saying that she will immediately proceed to Sheshachalam to seek justice from him. She requested Sage Narada to help her reach the place where Srinivasa was residing with Padmavathi. Both of them reached Sheshachalam.
As they reached the place where both Lord Vishnu and Padmavathi resided they found that both Srinivasa and Padmavathi had just returned from their tour and Lord Vishnu entered the temple premises. When Srinivasa and Padmavathi saw Goddess Lakshmi they were shocked and as Goddess Lakshmi entered the hall in anger and sought to know from Padmavathi who she was, Padmavathi too was furious to tell her that she was wife of Lord Vishnu and questioned the status of Goddess Lakshmi. As the argument and counter argument continued restless Lord Vishnu tried to calm down both saying that he was indeed husband to both of them, but unconvinced the ladies continued their argument in harsh words. Unable to end their feud, Lord Vishnu in the form of Srinivasa went back and made a huge sound from behind to turn into a statue. Both the ladies wept uncontrollably, but Lord Vishnu manifested and consoled them to remind that both the ladies were one and the same form of Goddess Lakshmi only and due to certain reasons including deserting Lord Vishnu, both had to be kept separately for some time to atone their sins and in order to bring back Goddess Lakshmi into her original form all these events had to be enacted. Lord Vishnu reminded Goddess Lakshmi that when she was in the incarnation as Sita in order to guard her from Ravan and others an aidance form in the name of Vedavathi was created by Agni, and only after Sita came out of the fire to prove her chastity did the world come to know of the existence of the aidance form Vedavathi. On hearing the facts both Padmavathi and Goddess Lakshmi hugged each other and sought pardon from Lord Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu told Goddess Lakshmi ‘Look Lakshmi, I deliberately brought you to earth before the dawn of Kaliyug for some purpose. Those committing sin, when they come here to perform penance with offerings of various types that includes not only material and money alone, but some may even offer their own human hair, as symbol of obedience, then you will have to guide them with care to lead an austere life so that they will desist from committing such sin again. Whatever offerings I receive here, remember I will have to regularly part with a portion of the offering as promised to Lord Guber against the loan taken from him before marrying both of you.
As you bestow enough wealth to the folks, knowingly or unknowingly they will continue to engage themselves into sinful activities and in order to get rid of it, considering this temple as Vaikund on earth, they will visit this shrine regularly to pay penance and make offerings as oblation, both action shall continue in endless cycle to spread divinity all over earth. Therefore since we are responsible for activating such cycle of events to spread divinity amongst the mankind we have to remain here forever. Lakshmi, you will sit on the right side of my heart and Padmavathi will take her seat in my left side.
At the same time in order to please both of you I will spend every night with your aidance form in a nearby small shrine called Padmavathi temple in Melmangapuram, and return back here in the morning to stay with your original form. Whoever visit the shrine here and offer oblation, it will be accepted without murmur. You may wonder whether the human hair will also be accepted…yes, it will also be accepted as it will fetch money on sale. If you agree to my proposal be here blessing those who visit to offer oblation in penance or go back to Vaikund, but I will be enshrined here’.
Goddess Lakshmi had no hesitation in accepting the proposal and went to Melmangapuram and sat there in a shrine as directed by Lord Vishnu. Simultaneously, Lord Vishnu converted Vagula Devi into Thulsi beads and wore it in his neck in order to respect her patronage. He directed his brother Govindarajan to go and stay in a shrine in the lower part of Tirupathi and thus Lord Vishnu appear in different forms and combinations to stay in Tirupathi and continue to bless those who visit him to pay oblation and offer prayers.
Since the entire areas in Tirupathi are under the control of Varahar, those who pay a visit to Tirupathi will have to first offer obedience to Varahar. As promised to Varahar once when he stayed as Srinivasa in a hut in his shrine with Vagula Devi, whoever brought offertory (Food items) a part of it had to be first offered to Varahar and then only they are offered to Tirupathi Srinivasa, the first offertory treated as rent and paid to Varahar by Srinivasa for his stay over there. Similarly after visiting Tirupathi, if one return back without paying obedience to Padmavathi seated in Thiruchanoor, a small township nearby, the benefit of visiting Tirupathi Srinivasa seeking his blessings will not be fulfilled.
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