Written by : Santhipriya
The rules of Ninety days Parayan (Prayer)
or reading life story of Lord Tirupathi Venkateswara
Tirupathi Shri Venkateswara, also called Lord Balaji by many across the globe is a popular Deity worshiped by lacks and laks of people around the world. It is generally believed that those who cannot go to Tirupathi to offer prayers 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 the prayer hall at their home, and read his life story for ninety days in continuation.
If the Jeeva Charithra called life history of Lord Venkatachalapathi is read ninety times in succession (once daily for ninety continuous days), their prayers would be fulfilled, so goes the belief. However the success of prayer depends on the total surrender to the divine and the spirit and 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 read the ‘90 days Parayan’ story of Lord Venkatachalapathi.
Lord Krishna’s assurance to Yasoda
Several years elapsed after Lord Vishnu shed the body of Lord Krishna. After the end of Krishnavathar, prior to taking next avatar in the ten avatars destined, Lord Vishnu manifested as Tirupathi Lord Venkateswara. Lord Vishnu did not take another incarnation and preferred to rest for a while as he was very tired when the wings of Kaliyuga fluttered far and wide in the universe. Chaos prevailed eroding righteousness, ethics and morality, all of which pushed mankind to innumerable suffering. Even as Kaliyuga began to spread its tentacles, there was no sight of Lord Vishnu incarnating in any form contrary to the assurance given to several divine forces that once the evil effects of Kaliyuga begin to raise its ugly head, he would appear to save the mankind from the onslaught of Kali.
Sometime during Krishnavathar, Sage Narada entered Krishna’s home in Gokul (the place where Krishna was born and dwelled with his mother Yasoda) to meet the family of Lord Krishna. Surprisingly he could see only deserted home of Lord Krishna in Gokul. Lord Krishna’s mother Yasoda was sitting alone in grief. As Sage Narada attempted to find reasons for Yasoda’s grief, Lord Krishna too entered from somewhere. Lord Krishna guessed something had wrong since Sage Narada was present and therefore with a mischievous smile, inquired from Sage Narada what the problem was. Sage Narada replied ignorance in body language, and prompted Lord Krishna to inquire directly from his mother, reason for her grief.
Lord Krishna sat near his mother and asked ‘what happened to you, maa?’ Yasoda did not answer immediately, but her eyes were filled with tears. Lord Krishna consoled ‘maa, why are you feeling sad….what would happen when I am with you?’ Sobbing Yasoda replied ‘Krishna, I am most unfortunate mother in the universe. ….my worry is about your marriage. I don’t think I would live long, but before I depart, I long to see your marriage. When are you going to give me the happiness?’ Lord Krishna too became emotional as he saw tears rolling down from the eyes of his mother, and for a moment thought within self ‘how could I reveal the secret of my present incarnation as I have to accomplish many tasks before even think of other issues like my marriage…..how could I explain reason for maintaining my bachelor-ship till now?’. He was not married to Goddess Rukmani then, and therefore breaking his silence, he told Yasoda ‘maa, leave away your worries, I promise that your wishes would be honoured once I accomplish the task for which I have incarnated. Sure, my marriage shall happen only in your presence, even if it takes centuries later. But I assure that I would get married only in your presence. Pardon me maa, I would not be able to disclose the purpose of my incarnation right now, but be sure that you would know of it at appropriate time. Therefore, dear mother, remain calm for some more period of time. I promise again that your wish would be fulfilled. He was surely destined to marry Goddess Rukmani, but only after completing undisclosed tasks which were destined to happen, hence, he could not reveal the secret even to his mother for the time being. Time passed, several events occurred one after the other. In the next few centuries, Lord Krishna’s Yadav clan got destroyed and both Lord Krishna and his mother Yasoda shed their bodies in different events and reached Heaven.
With the end of Krishnavathar, it remained a mystery how would the promise made to his mother Yasoda get fulfilled? Where and how would Lord Vishnu reincarnate again to marry Goddess Lakshmi? With the departure of Lord Krishna, widespread chaos, anarchy and indiscipline raised their head in the universe. Sage Narada was deeply concerned since the anarchy if allowed to continue, would lead to the destruction of the Universe created by Supreme even before the dawn of Kaliyuga. How could the catastrophe be prevented was the main concern of the Sage Narada.
Sage Narada reach Mount Kailas
Concerned Sage Narada realized that the time to honour the promise given by Lord Krishna to Yasoda had ripened. In the circumstances prevailed, Lord Vishnu had to incarnate in some form to save the mankind. But if Lord Vishnu maintain eerie of silence on his future incarnation, everything would slip out of hand as the time waits for none and therefore Lord Brahma needed to be apprised of the situation.
Tension gripped Sage Narada immediately proceeded to Devaloga to meet Lord Brahma. On way, he met his father Lord Brahma and both exchanged pleasantries and exchanged the purpose of their visit. Anxious Sage Narada revealed his anxiety on the prevailing conditions of chaos and anarchy destroying the fabric of the universe created by Parabrahman. Lord Brahma who too was equally concerned with the same and was therefore proceeding to meet Lord Siva to seek a solution to prevent humans falling into the hands of Kali. He quickly revealed the purpose of his visit to Devaloga and requested Sage Narada too to join with him in his mission to meet Lord Shiva.
When they reached Lord Siva’s abode, the hall was already filled with several divine forces of various nature, but Lord Vishnu was missing in the assembly. Both Lord Brahma and Sage Narada were extended special courtesy by Lord Shiva and got them seated near him to inquire the purpose of their visit. Sage Narada wasted no time in expressing his deep anguish on the prevailing condition in the universe after the end of Lord Krishna’s incarnation. Since there was no sign of Lord Vishnu incarnating in another form in the near future, something had to be quickly done to stem the tide and therefore sought the valued opinion of those assembled there to seek the guidance of Lord Shiva. After thoroughly analysing all aspects in depth, the assemblage realized that only Maharishi Brigu’s intervention could resolve the issue, but Brigu being hot tempered, who could persuade him to take up the task? Carefully taking into consideration all aspects, everyone were unanimous and chose Sage Narada to undertake the task to persuade Maharishi Brigu to find a solution way to ensure that Lord Vishnu incarnated at the earliest to stem the fast spreading malaise in the universe. Both Lord Siva and Lord Brahma cajoled the initially reluctant Sage Narada to find a solution to the ticklish issue with as he was tactful enough to rope in Maharishi Brigu engaged into the act. Gladdened by the heaps of praise from the mouth of the two of the three Lords, Sage Narada finally agreed to approach Maharishi Brigu to rope him in the drama to be enacted which could ultimately prompt Lord Vishnu to incarnate at the earliest.
Stage set for the drama of Sage Narada
Upon the advice of the two Lords of Trinity, Sage Narada rushed to earth in search of Maharishi Brigu. Generally none of the sages in the universe stayed in one place for long period and kept on moving to places and attended Yahyas and other sacrificial ceremonies (a kind of Yagya) wherever and whenever they were getting performed. Therefore sage Narada was sure that Maharishi Brigu could be traced in some site of sacrificial ceremony on the river side of Ganges where the pious sacrificial ceremonies are mostly held attended by many sages and saints. He guessed that great sages of Brigu in stature, would normally be available in the Yahyas and Homas performed in the Himalayan region as Himalaya plateau was considered to be most sacred, being abode of Lord Siva. His inference did not fail when he saw Maharishi Brigu in the sacrificial ceremony being performed in the Himalayan plateau. As Sage Narada reached the site, everyone got up and warmly welcomed the most respected guest and got him seated honorably. Midway during Yagya, when the ceremony temporarily halted for the next stage, Sage Narada sought to know from sage Kashyaba, the organizer of the ceremony, the purpose of the sacrificial ceremony being performed. Sage Kashyaba replied that it was performed to request the Trinity to assure that before the dawn of Kaliyuga, the atmosphere of serenity and peace was not destroyed in the universe and people continued to maintain the principles of righteousness and morality of the highest order. Sage Narada was convinced that half his mission had been accomplished by itself with the ongoing ceremony, and therefore he quickly played a trick to set the second stage to trap Sage Brigu into his mission. Next he casually asked Sage Kashyaba ‘Oh, venerable sage, no amount of praise would be suffice for the enormous effort taken up by the assembled sages and saints. My best wishes for the success of the Yagya and the purpose for which it is being performed. Let me wait here till the arrival of the Athithi to accept the first oblation of the sacrificial ceremony, and after his blessings, I wish to proceed with other work’ (Athithi is the first and foremost honorable guest who would receive the first oblation in any of the Sacrificial Yagya and he would bless the audience and the performer after which those assembled would take their share of offering). The Athithi’s blessings was considered to be most sacred than the blessings of others. In any of the sacrificial ceremony where Athithi was called, all others would receive the offerings only after Athithi received the oblation.
Only after Sage Narada raised the issue of Athithi did the performers realize that they forgot to invite an Athithi for concluding the sacrificial ceremony, lest the ceremony would remain inconclusive. Therefore every one thanked Sage Narada for timely reminding of the issue and began to discuss whom be called as Athithi. Each one of those assembled mentioned the names of their own choices, but none of the names proposed were acceptable as consensus Athithi, and therefore again the sages had to seek the opinion of Sage Narada who was actually waiting for such an opportunity. Outwardly showing reluctance he suggested to the assemblage ‘Oh, great sages and Rishi Munis assembled here, listen to my views with care. At the end of sacrificial ceremony, the rightful Athithi who would take the first oblation should be chosen from amongst the Trinities, all of whom possess the three foremost basic qualities such as Satvik (light, bliss, and goodness), Rajas (passion, motion) and Tamas (inertia and darkness). However since the present sacrificial ceremony is being performed for the sake of mankind in the Universe which should be free of malady, people in it live with purity in mind and heart, merciful to each one in need and stay away from wrong doings, then the Athithi to be invited for the oblation should be of Satvik nature. Oh, sages, think without emotion and decide the rightful person to be invited’. Since everyone felt that since they failed to reach a consensus on the rightful person Sage Narada was again requested by the sages to help them to find a suitable person who could undertake the task of inviting the right Athithi to attend the Sacrificial ceremony and to receive the oblation.
In heart of heart, Sage Narada was delighted that everything was moving in the right direction as planned and therefore suggested further ‘Oh sages, it would be difficult to find the rightful Athithi for this Sacrificial ceremony since the Trinities have their own qualities including Satvik in nature which they reflect differently at different points of time. But one clue for the rightful selection of the Athithi would be, to wait and watch how he react to the invitation, because they would definitely react with one of the qualities namely Rajas, Tamas or Satvik nature while receiving the invitation. We don’t need the one reflecting Rajas quality as they would be hostile to the feelings of others and act in haste. Similarly we do not need the one reflecting Tamas Qualities too who would remain imbalanced and inactive from acting at the right time. Therefore the one reflecting Satvik Qualities at the time of accepting the invitation would only be the right choice to take the oblation as they would reach the sacrificial site with the same mind set to bless the purpose for which this sacrificial Yagya was done. Hence finalizing the Athithi at this juncture would not be fair. The one reflecting the Satvik Qualities at the time of invitation could only be invited by the rightful person to be chosen as the envoy of those assembled here’. Everyone were again confused since Sage Narada has brought in another angle in finding right person who on behalf of them could reach out to the Divine Trinity and decide on the spot the rightful choice of the Athithi to receive the oblation for the Sacrificial ceremony.
Maharishi Brigu, envoy on mission
When the search for the envoy begun, again there was no consensus amongst assembled who again requested Sage Narada to nominate a suitable choice for the purpose. Sage Narada waiting for such an opportunity had no hesitation in nominating Maharishi Brigu as their envoy, since he was an enlightened sage amongst them, possessed all arts of appeasement and aspects of diplomacy. Maharishi Brigu was thus fully authorized to select and extent the invitation to the rightful Athithi possessing Satvik qualities to receive the oblation, after weighing all aspects on the spot. Everyone were elated at the rightful choice of Maharishi Brigu as he was not only experienced, but also an octogenarian grey beard amongst the sages and well respected by the Divine Trinity.
Next, when the sages under the leadership of Sage Narada reached Maharishi Brigu and requested him to undertake the task of selecting the rightful Supreme for the sacrificial ceremony, overwhelmed by the honour, the beaming sage readily accepted the challenge and proceeded to Devaloga to meet the Divine Trinity. There in heaven, Lord Vishnu was sitting in ease, fully satisfied that stage has been well set for another drama and to pave way for him to take another incarnation that was long due and secondly, the time to banish the arrogance of Maharishi Brigu by destroying the power of wisdom called ‘Gnana Sakthi’ had also arisen.
After reaching Deva Loga, Maharishi Brigu met Lord Brahma who was seated along with Goddess Saraswathi, his wife. While everyone including the Celestials and Bhootha ganas extended warm welcome to the Maharishi, Lord Brahma deliberately ignored him as though he had not seen him and continued to converse with the assemblage of divine forces on some important issue. Unable to gulp the insult from Lord Brahma, Maharishi Brigu too sat in an empty chair and began to air his views. At one stage an irritant Lord Brahma commented ‘Oh, Maharishi, though you came here as an uninvited guest, still you chose to interrupt the proceedings and air your views which were not actually solicited by us. Is it not unfair on the part of an octogenarian sage like you to behave in such an indecent manner?’ Brigu felt further insulted and quickly got up to say ‘Oh, venerable Lord, be aware that my wisdom is non-short to those assembled here. Be aware that I had not come here on my own. I had come as envoy of the sages to extend an invitation for the sacrificial ceremony being held for the welfare of universe and to invite you to receive the first oblation as Athithi. But instead of reflecting true Satvik qualities and acknowledge the presence of an octogenarian sage like me, you have insulted me in the midst of everyone. Remember Brahma Deva, by this act of yours, you have not only insulted me personally, but also insulted on the entire fraternity of sages engaged in the sacrificial ceremony done for the welfare of universe. Therefore from now on none in universe would ever worship you as a deity in any place of worship’. Enraged Maharishi Brigu rushed out from the hall and went to Mount Kailas to meet Lord Siva. But Lord Brahma remained unperturbed as he was aware that it was part of the play which the Trinities had planned for Lord Vishnu’s future incarnation on earth.
Lord Siva cursed
Having got insulted in Brahma Log, enraged Maharishi Brigu reached Kailas still in anger. On reaching Lord Siva’s abode he was greeted as an unwelcome guest at the entrance by the Ganas guarding the abode. They refused to allow him go inside telling that Lord Siva was in an important meeting with Goddess Parvathi and they had orders not to let anyone go inside unless Lord Siva’s permission was received. Already feeling insulted by Lord Brahma, Maharishi Brigu started quarrelling with them in high pitched voice, creating commotion and in the melee when Maharishi Brigu attempted to go in, hearing the loud noise of the commotion, Lord Siva with Trisul in hand angrily rushed out. Unable to keep his anger in control, Maharishi in arrogance questioned Lord Siva ‘who ordered these guards to stop me at the entrance?’
Lord Siva too was equally angry and shouted back at the Maharishi ‘Oh, elder sage, are you not ashamed that you were not only an uninvited guest, but also arrogant enough to question my own right in my own dwelling…… how would you still claim to be the sage of highest wisdom’. Anger still burning like a fire in mind, Maharishi Brigu hit back ‘Know this fact, oh, Lord of Lords, you would bear the consequences of showing disrespect to an 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 insulted me in the manner Lord Brahma insulted me. Howsoever important the meeting with Goddess Parvathi would be, you could have just paused the meeting for a while to call an elderly sage of my stature to inquire the purpose of my visit. I certainly possess the wisdom of highest order and have not come here of my own. I came here as envoy of the sages to extend the invitation to be the Athithi of the Yagya being performed by the sages for the welfare of universe and to receive the first oblation. Thus your attitude too is similar to that of Lord Brahma and you too lack the spirit of Satvik nature. Therefore for insulting an elderly sage of my wisdom and order, take this curse from me. Oh, lord, people would not worship you in the universe in the form as you exist, but would worship you only in the form of a semi-circular stone’. Saying so even before Lord Siva replied, Maharishi left and proceeded to Vaikund to see the last of the Supreme, Lord Vishnu who dwelled there.
However as Maharishi began to go, Lord Siva pronounced ‘Know this Maharishi, I am Parabrahman who created this universe and Goddess Parvathi’s soul is merged within me. It doesn’t matter whether I get worshiped in the form of a semi-circular stone or otherwise. The stone would reflect the merged form of two souls which would be me and Goddess Parvathi. Henceforth people would not worship either of us separately and seek boon and they would only be blessed by the merged souls of us in that form’. This was one of the reasons why Lord Siva was always worshiped in universe in the form of only a Shiva Ling and not in any other form.
Worried Maharishi Brigu left Kailas, unaware of what was in store in Vaikund where he had to meet Lord Vishnu to extend the invitation to attend the sacrificial ceremony as Athithi.
Lord Vishnu cursed, Brigu’s pride banished
When Maharishi reached Vaikund, Lord Vishnu was in his yoganidra (Divine sleep) form in the midst of sea as Goddess Lakshmi gently kept pressing his feet to relieve the feet from melosalgia. However as Maharishi Brigu reached, he saw Lord Vishnu facing the other side. In short while he woke up and began to converse with Goddess Lakshmi as though he had not noticed the sage. Even though Goddess Lakshmi was also seated near Lord Vishnu, she too ignored the sage and therefore anger filled Sage Brigu went near Lord Vishnu and kicked on his chest to draw his attention (There is conflicting story on this episode. Some of the authors claim that Brigu kicked Shesha nag and not Lord Vishnu directly which caused grievous hurt in the heart of Goddess Lakshmi). Lord Vishnu got up from the bed and quickly fell at the feet of Maharishi Brigu as if he was seeking pardon, and in a blink of moment pulled out the power of wisdom hidden in the lower part of the feet of the Maharishi and burnt it thus destroying the extraordinary power possessed by Maharishi Brigu so long. Once Brigu lost entire power of wisdom, he came to senses and fell at the feet of Lord Vishnu seeking pardon for his arrogance and indulgence of foolish act.
Lord Vishnu lifted him up and inquired reason for his visit when Maharishi explained the purpose for which he came and requested Lord Vishnu to reach the venue to accept the oblation as chief Athithi and bless for the success of the sacrificial ceremony for the ultimate cause for which it was being performed. Lord Vishnu gladly accepted the invitation and promised to reach the site to accept the oblation and to bless the cause.
After seeking pardon again, Maharishi left Vaikund profusely thanking Lord Vishnu, but again ignorantly failed to seek pardon from Goddess Lakshmi for having hurt her feelings by way of insulting her husband in her presence. Had he sought her pardon, then the events leading to the incarnation of Lord Venkatachalapathi would not have happened.
Once Maharishi left, Goddess Lakshmi furious with Lord Vishnu for having remained mute spectator 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 express even a word of regret to Goddess Lakshmi who was deeply hurt in heart. She felt that a male was always selfish, and therefore it would be worthless to stay anymore with Lord Vishnu after she had been insulted. Deeply hurt, she left Vaikund without telling anyone where she was going and soon went missing.
Similar to Lord Krishna’s incarnation for the welfare of mankind, Lord Vishnu was destined to take another short incarnation before incarnating as Kalki in Kaliyuga. At the same time, Goddess Lakshmi Devi too needed a short incarnation to remarry Lord Vishnu whom she had left on account of Maharishi Brigu’s unruly behaviour. It was destined that both Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi in the short incarnation, shall be born in different manner, to remarry again in their short incarnate form. The act would also benefit the mankind as subsequently both would again regain their original form as Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu, 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.
Goddess Lakshmi’s previous incarnation
When Lord Rama and Goddess Sita 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 to her. After few years he got an offspring, a female child, all aspects of Goddess Lakshmi. As she grew, she possessed an unknown power to take virtual and aidance forms as and when desired. When she attained marriageable age, the King held a Swayamvara to find a suitable life partner for her, but she would not agree to the proposal and made it clear that she desired to marry only Lord Rama as her life partner. King Padmavasan cautioned his daughter not to live in the world of mirage since Lord Rama (he was unknown to others as divine then) was son of a powerful Emperor called Dasaratha and Dasaratha would 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 Lord 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 would 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 stopped her and requested her to marry him, but when she refused, Ravan in anger attempted to hold her hand to take her away, but when King Padmavasan came running to save her and confronted Ravan, in fit of rage Ravan pulled his sword and slayed the King who fell dead and seeing the ghastly scene everyone ran away. In the meantime the girl quickly took a virtual image, ran towards nearby forest where some Yagya was getting performed and hid herself in one of the ashrams of Rishis and sat in penance along with him. Ravan went there chasing her and though he searched for her in various hideouts he could not find her. He boarded on his flying chariot and searched from sky, still he could not trace her. Even after several days of search, he failed to trace her hideout.
Since she sat in penance in their ashram along with the sages showing exemplary command and chanted Vedic hymns, the sages performing the Yagya named the unknown destitute as Vedavati. However how long could she hide herself from the watchful eyes of Ravan? One day, he chanced to find her hiding in the ashram and came running to take her away. Unable to escape from him, the girl ran around the ashram and finally fell into the burning Yagya pyre to end her life, but not before leaving a curse on Ravan that since he had attempted to insult a hapless female, he would meet his death only by a hapless woman. Her curse fructified later when Ravan meet his death due to Goddess Sita. However Ravan did not know that she had 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 get burnt and instead took her in his safe custody unharmed 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 came out of fire 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 getting saved.
Lord Agni created aidance form of Goddess Sita
Time moved fast. In Ayodhya, Lord Rama married Goddess Sita and received the doom of exile with his faithful wife and during exile in forest Goddess Sita was abducted by Ravan in an act of deceit. But whom Ravan abducted was not actually Goddess Sita, but only her aidance form created by Lord Agni i.e Vedavati. How did it happen?
When Ravan was discussing with his brothers the details of his plan to abduct Goddess Sita, Lord Agni happened to overhear it and without wasting time he ran to the forest and revealed Ravan’s plan to Goddess Sita and took her to safety simultaneously requesting Vedavati to take virtual form of Goddess Sita and to remain in place of Goddess Sita. Lord Agni initially wanted to inform Lord Rama about the plans of Ravan. When Vedavati in virtual form of Goddess Sita stayed in the ashram, Ravan came and abducted her, unaware of the fact that he had actually abducted Vedavati and not Goddess Sita. Lord Agni was scared that if ever Ravan came to know Goddess Sita was hiding in his home, then Ravan would not hesitate to immediately kill Vedavati. Therefore till Vedavati in captivity of Ravan got released, Lord Agni felt that the fact of Goddess Sita hiding in his custody should be kept a closely guarded secret and not even to be revealed to Lord Rama.
Next, when the war between Lord Rama and Ravan ended, and Goddess Sita faced the awkward situation of proving her modesty, she had to enter into the burning fire as desired by Lord Rama. However it was actually Vedavati in the virtual form of Goddess Sita who jumped into the fire and not the original Goddess Sita. None knew the truth until Vedavati and Goddess Sita together came out of the fire unharmed. Once out from the pyre, Vedavati narrated her tale to everyone and requested Lord Rama to marry her since she struggled to safeguard his wife and therefore expressed her desire to get married with Lord Rama, but Lord Rama would not agree to her request and counselled her that since he had already married to Goddess Sita, he could not be the husband of another in that birth and therefore Vedavati should bury her desire of marrying him in that birth. Lord Rama further explained that in the next incarnation of him, he was destined to incarnate as Lord Srinivasa (Lord Venkateswara), and Goddess Sita who was actually Goddess Lakshmi would also be born as Padmavati with all aspects of Vedavati, and in the said birth he would marry Padmavati la Vedavati la Sita to fulfil Vedavathi’s desire. This was why Lord Vishnu had to take short incarnation as Tirupathi Lord Venkateswara and marry Goddess Lakshmi Devi in the form of Padmavati bearing all aspects of Vedavati. Now the story of Goddess Lakshmi Devi’s incarnation as Padmavati begins.
Goddess Lakshmi’s incarnation as Padmavati
Several centuries ago, in a state now known as Tirupathi (Now in the state of Andhra 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 become universally famous on account of the wisdom and power he may possess. He was named Aakasa Rajan (meaning ruler of ethereal space). King Sudarman was very 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) to quench his thirst. Once he happened to notice one of the Princess from Naga clan playing in the midst of water and instantly fell in love with her, she being so attractive that none could desist their temptation to have her as their consort. From then on he regularly visited the spot during the time of her appearance and in the next few days they became so close that she became his undeclared fiancée. But the biggest problem was their form. She was snake in appearance with human head, while the King was human in form. With half her body human and remaining with that of the snake, she was able to stay above water in open atmosphere for some days, but permanently could not maintain it as she needed to remain inside water at least for six months a year. The lovers realized that they would not be able to marry each other and live together, their body metabolism being hindrance, they decided to get married by heart.
As time passed, as and when the Naga Princess came out to the water bed and met the King, they continued their love making and enjoyed life as human partners. It may sound incredible and unbelievable how the Snake bodied Princess could have sensual pleasure with a human. The father of the Princess belonged to Adi Shesha (Snake God) family and therefore possessed certain extraordinary powers of human. Sage Pathanjali was incarnate of Adi Shesha and was able to live on earth like human, while his half body consisted of organs of snake. Such instances were very common amongst divine souls and therefore the Naga Princess was able to have human relation with 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 Aakasa Rajan. The son born out of the Naga Princess was named Thondaman and both being sons of Sudarman, they both received the same care and love by the King’s wife.
When Sudarman died, though Aakasa Rajan took over the reins of the Kingdom, he took all care to ensure that his brother Thondaman too was looked after well. The folks in the Kingdom were happy lots, however fate again played its own act and did not bestow Aakasa Rajan an issue to rule after him. Worried Aakasa Rajan performed several Yahyas and sacrificial ceremonies to please the deities to beget an issue. Once he performed a Sacrificial ceremony called Puthrakameshti (Puthra meaning son and therefore the Yagya that is meant to get a son) Yagya. One of the acts in the ritual was to plough a land with a yoked buffalo and embed seeds of rice and pray Lord Lakshminarasimha seeking boon for a child. As advised by his Pundits, Aakasa Rajan successfully 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. To his wonder, he found a metallic box buried inside the land, and when the box was opened, they found a live female child comfortably breathing inside in Padmasana posture (one of the yoga posture) unharmed in any manner. When the box was taken out and Raja Guru summoned for counselling, he predicted that one day the child would become revered by mankind in Universe as the rays of Goddess Lakshmi ran through the body of the baby. Moreover similar to how Janaka begot Goddess Sita while ploughing, this girl had also been a god’s gift to the King. It was also possible that this girl could be a forte of Sita la Goddess Lakshmi. Hearing the revelation of the Raja Guru, the King wasted no time to take away the child to rear up and bring her up as his foster daughter.
The King took the girl out from the box, named her as Padmavati as advised by his Raja Guru and left her to his wife to bring her up in all comfort. None were aware of the ultimate truth that Padmavati was none other than Goddess Lakshmi Devi herself. Each one of the divines used to take several shapes and virtual images simultaneously in different locations depending upon the need prevailed since they possessed such powers in the incarnations. The virtual forms were their own shadow incarnations with limited divine power, and thus to save herself from Ravan, Goddess Sita too created in her previous birth virtual image as Vedavati through Lord Agni. It was true that while the three divine powers knew beforehand the acts underway towards incarnation of Lord Venkatachalapathy, other divine forces could were in dark about what was going on as limited divine forces enacted certain acts. Under those circumstances, Lord Rama unaware of the fact that Vedavati was the virtual image of Goddess Sita, gave a solemn assurance to Vedavati that he would marry her in the next birth when he would incarnate as Lord Srinivasa (Lord Venkateswara). Therefore in order to honour her husband’s promise, Goddess Lakshmi took the form as Padmavati and rose from the goddess of earth (not from anyone’s womb) and continued to be fostered by Aakasa Rajan’s family, even as the King did not know the facts. Few questions remained unanswered then. Why Goddess Lakshmi should incarnate as Padmavati and become the foster daughter of Aakasa Rajan? While Padmavati has taken birth, where was Lord Srinivasa (Lord Venkateswara) born? What was the story? The entire stories are interwoven with each other. As said earlier, even as Goddess Lakshmi left Lord Vishnu in anger, she was destined to remarry him in the form of Lord Venkateswara in her future incarnation as Padmavati. Aakasa Rajan 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 Aakasa Rajan.
Flash back story – Goddess Lakshmi disappears
As explained earlier, due to the erratic behaviour of Maharishi Brigu, 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 she departed, she always returned back after some time. Hence Lord Vishnu did not bother about her walking out from home. He did not even bother to think where she had gone or whether she had actually left him permanently. His priority and concern was only on the sacrificial ceremony to which he had been invited, and he wanted to attend the same without fail to receive the oblation and bless the sacrificial Yagya for the cause for which it was being held and then return back. Thereafter he had to take incarnation before the commencement of Kaliyuga to save mankind and universe from getting destroyed. After attending the ceremony Lord Vishnu in the absence of Goddess Lakshmi left for Vaikund and only after reaching his abode did he come to know that she was actually missing. He thought that she may have gone elsewhere to meet someone to narrate the acts of insult her husband received. Even after few days passed when Lord Vishnu noticed that Goddess Lakshmi did not return he became nervous and began to seriously search for her only to realize that she had indeed abandoned him and disappeared.
Like Lord Vishnu, everyone in Vaikund too were deeply disturbed with the departure of Goddess Lakshmi and felt orphaned since her absence created vacuum in Vaikund. The divines were concerned that none of them were invited for any of the functions performed in the universe or the organizers of Yagya bothered to offer oblation in functions or pujas performed. Thus after Goddess Lakshmi’s disappearance from Vaikund, it lost the charm and every one spent time in routine manner without getting involved in any other 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 Pathal, Bhoologa, Indira log and Chandra log etc, neither was she traceable nor was he able to guess the form in which she may be wandering. Day after day Lord Vishnu did not take anything and almost remained on fast and roamed in madness with only aim to trace Goddess Lakshmi to bring her back to Vaikund. While wandering in such a state of mind, out of fatigue and exasperation he reached earth where one of the Kings of the Cholas dynasty was ruling. In a jungle, he spotted a comfortable bunker to take rest, sat there and closed his eyes as he was tired. Fatigue and tiredness overpowering, Lord Vishnu did not wake up for many years and remained inside the bunker without knowing that an anthill had completely covered the bunker as though he has been imprisoned. He was groaning ‘Lakshmi, Lakshmi’ in deep 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 Bhoologa. He was taken aback when accidentally he located the bunker covered by ant hill from which sound of Lord Vishnu’s groaning came out. 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 would cause death to the insects. It was mandated to those living in the world of divine that they should not cause death to any living being, be it was human or animal or other insects that had soul in them, unless and otherwise to be done to release the curse befallen on them. Moreover the anthill remained like a shelter guarding Lord Vishnu from getting affected by rain and other natural calamities and therefore Sage Narada thought that such pious insects should not be killed. Unable to wake up Lord Vishnu from deep slumber, Sage Narada rushed to Deva Log and met Lord Brahma to seek his advice and to sort out the vexed issue. Since Lord Brahma too could not think of a solution, both went to Kailas to meet Lord Siva to take his guidance.
Supreme Lord warmly welcomed them without showing concern and calmed them down stating that everything was happening as per the destined fate. He explained to them that unable to bear the agony of separation with Lord Vishnu, his spouse Goddess Lakshmi too had been sitting on penance in a jungle called Kollaapuram (Now in the state of Seemandhra in India) and though she had separated from Lord Vishnu which was temporary, they were undergoing the present ordeal on account of curses incurred by them in their previous birth. The stage for relieving their past curses and for few other important events slated have been actually initiated in which the sages were made to perform sacrificial ceremony, engage Maharishi Brigu to invite Lord Vishnu and also to ensured that Goddess Lakshmi got temporary separation from Lord Vishnu out of anger. It was destined that only when Lord Vishnu took the form of Lord Srinivasa and Goddess Lakshmi as Padmavati, their reunion was possible and the past curses on them would come to an end. To accomplish them they had to remain on penance in different manner for several years till they get reunited. Hence both of them were in penance in earth. He advocated patience and advised them to pray for their mental fortitude to bear the agony and ordeal which were temporary.
Both Sage Narada and Lord Brahma almost came to tears hearing the message of the Lord. Sage Narada was bit more upset and felt that he was responsible for creating such ordeal and therefore decided that his first task should be to ensure that some food was given to Lord Vishnu who was virtually on fast and probably that was reason for his deep slumber. Since Lord Vishnu was in Bhoologa and in human form all that was possible was to go in human form, take with Goddess Lakshmi also along with them to render assistance to the Lord in the bunker.
The immediate task before them was to take human form and meet Goddess Lakshmi to apprise her of Lord Vishnu’s condition and then to take steps to feed some food to the fasting Lord Vishnu. When they reached Bhoologa along with Lord Shiva and disturbed Lakshmi’s penance and apprised her of the situation, she became jittery and started crying uncontrollably. She held Lord Siva’s hand and pleaded with him to somehow save Lord Vishnu at the earliest. Lord Siva consoled her ‘cool down Lakshmi, do not worry. Immediately take the form of a shepherdess and me and Lord Brahma would take the form of two cows. Drive us to King’s palace and sell us to him. He has many cows in his shed. The shepherd in the Palace Cow yard daily take them to the jungle to graze the grass. Sage Narada would divert the attention of the shepherd to enable us reach the site of the anthill where Lord Vishnu is buried inside anthill and we would release milk into the pit to enable Lord Vishnu to drink the milk and regain lost energy. By the time he would be out and take the form of Lord Srinivasa. You would also by then become Aakasa Rajan’s daughter. We would then ensure that both of you get united again’. In the next moment Goddess Lakshmi took the form of a shepherdess, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva as Cows.
Even as Lord Siva uttered those words, he deliberately hid a secret from her that once Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Srinivasa, he would first marry Padmavati, the other virtual image of Goddess Lakshmi and thereafter in the next few days only he would re-join with Goddess Lakshmi. If Goddess Lakshmi got prior knowledge of the it, events would not move as destined and ruin the very purpose for which they were intended to happen, hence he concealed the fact to her.
In the next move, Goddess Lakshmi in the form of a shepherdess drove the two Cows, virtual forms of Lord Brahma and Lord 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 would demand 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 she reached the Palace gate to sell those two Cows on the day which incidentally was the birthday of the King as per another pre-plan hatched by the three divines. Only in the morning, the Raja Guru had advised the King to buy two Cows on his birthday which would bring prosperity to his Kingdom. The offer of the Shepherdess to sell the Cow reached the ears of the King at the right moment. On hearing the news of Cows on sale, the King himself came out with the Raja Guru and saw the Cows. At the very sight of the Cows, the Raja Guru pronounced that they would be the best Cows to buy to beget the luck awaiting the King. Thus the Cows were purchased by 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 the grass, but he had actually put them for gazing in faraway place from where Lord Vishnu actually lay buried. Therefore Sage Narada had to play a trick again to divert the Cows to gaze near the place where Lord Vishnu was to be fed. While the Shepherd was resting under a tree, the attention of the gashing Cows were diverted and they were driven to gaze near the spot where Lord Vishnu lay buried. The two divine Cows, silently went by the side of the anthill and released the milk inside through a hole already kept opened by Sage Narada in such a manner that the milk released by the Cows exactly dropped in to the mouth of Lord Vishnu to enable him drink it in sleep as he was destined to remain in sleeping posture and in groan for some more time as per the pre-planned act of Sage Narada.
Time passed. Everyday after reaching back to the Palace Cow yard, while milking the Cows the Shepherd noticed that the two divine Cows mulched lesser and lesser milk and people said perhaps their intake of grass was insufficient and therefore the Shepherd started keeping an eye on their movements in the forest to check whether they really gazed the grass. As he kept a watch on the movements of both the divine Cows, one day he accidentally saw them going to a particular spot (where Lord Vishnu lay buried) and released milk before gazing. As soon as the Cows moved out of the place, the Shepherd noticed the sound of groan coming out from inside the anthill, rushed to the Palace and reported 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 Cows releasing the milk was indeed true so that he could accompany him the next day to verify the truth by himself, lest he said he would slain the Shepherd. Next day the shepherd hid in a place to see how the Cow released her milk into the pit, but when the Cow reached the spot, it noticed the Shepherd hiding and watching her movements and therefore did not release the milk. Frustrated Shepherd fearing for his death at the hands of the King rushed towards the Cow to hit it hard with a stick. Pat broke the anthill, and Lord Vishnu came out taking the blow on his head. The blood from the head splashed over the body of the Cow. The Shepherd fainted and lay there when the Cow with blood on her body ran to the Palace and stood before the King who got panicked seeing blood strains on the body of the Cow. The Cow nodded him to follow and ran towards the forest. Everyone ran behind her to the jungle only to notice that the Shepherd lay fainted near the anthill. When they reached the spot, Lord Vishnu appeared in anger before them in his true form. The King and others quickly prostrated before the divine seeking pardon for the violent act of his servant. But Lord Vishnu was not convinced and pronounced deliberately that the ruler is responsible for the wrong acts of their folks and therefore the King would turn into a Ghost and wander in the forest. Instantly the King turned into a Ghost. There was a hidden agenda for the anger of Lord Vishnu to cause the King turned into a Ghost.
When the Ghost la King pleaded for mercy, Lord Vishnu said in due course of time the curse would end by itself, and the Ghost would get birth in one of the Cholas King dynasty and rule the state. Then he would (previously a Ghost) beget a foster daughter whom he (Lord Vishnu) would marry in the form of a human-Lord Srinivasa. At the same time the Shepherd through whom the entire drama was enacted was also blessed by Lord Vishnu that the clan of that Shepherd would daily get the first and preferential darshan of the Deity (meaning Lord Srinivasa alias Lord Venkateswara) of a famous temple to be established by the King (previously a Ghost) himself in his next birth. Once Lord Vishnu pronounced so, all three i.e. Lord Vishnu and the two divine Cows disappeared.
This was the background of the curse on the King who turned into a Ghost and got birth as Sudarman’s son Aakasa Rajan and later became a King as blessed by Lord Vishnu. Padmavati was found by Aakasa Rajan while ploughing the land and became his foster daughter. Thus Goddess Lakshmi got birth on earth as Padmavati in first step to re-join with her husband Lord Vishnu again.
Going back to the old story, once everyone went away, Lord Vishnu took human form and with blood oozing from his head, he walked in a jungle and went near a hut from where some music was coming. He could hear the voice of someone singing in praise of Lord Krishna. As Lord Vishnu went near the hut, he could hear the voice of a lady who was actually singing inside. He called her in subdued voice ‘Mother, oh mother……. would anyone come out and help me?’ When the lady heard the voice of someone, she came out and saw a stranger standing with blood oozing from the head. Panic struck lady shuddered for a moment, quickly took him inside and applied medicine before bandaging the wound.
In the midst of the act, Lord Vishnu could get back memories of previous birth to recognize that she was his mother Yasoda in previous birth, but born as Vagula Devi in that present birth, and therefore emotion filled Lord Vishnu hugged her telling ‘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 got back the memories of her previous birth and began to cry uncontrollably. Tears rolled on her cheeks. She asked him ‘Krishna, where were you all these years, my dear son, how did you get wounded’. Emotion struck Lord Vishnu not only narrated the entire story from beginning to end, but also revealed that he was destined to marry Goddess Lakshmi in the present birth and took a solemn promise from her that she would not reveal the secret to anyone.
Need a small flashback here. Aakasa Rajan while ploughing the earth got only the virtual form of Goddess Lakshmi in the form of Vedavati, but he was not aware of the truth. It was destined that Lord Vishnu had to first marry the mirror image of Goddess Lakshmi in the form of Vedavati and only thereafter would marry true Goddess Lakshmi. Many years later Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Srinivasa married the mirror image of Vedavati first and subsequently married Goddess Lakshmi later some time.
The lady who treated Lord Vishnu was his mother Yasoda in previous birth and Lord Vishnu her son in the form of Lord Krishna. Now that Yasoda had taken birth as Vagula Devi, Lord Vishnu too had incarnated as Lord Srinivasa for a short period in order to complete certain acts in the drama getting enacted by divines before his avatar as Kalki in Kaliyuga. Against this background, Yasoda in the form of Vagula Devi and Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Srinivasa met now and exchanged the memoirs of past birth only for a short while, but Lord Vishnu ensured that Vagula Devi instantly lost short-lived memory of past birth as some more acts needed to be completed in human form.
Now back to the main story again, 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 Lord Varaha who could bless them for the same. In the meanwhile she introduced her real son Govinda Rajan to Lord Vishnu and counselled that both remain united as (Lord Vishnu and Govinda Rajan) brothers so that they could stay together in and around Lord Varaha Temple. The suggestion was pleasing to Lord Vishnu who readily accepted it and stayed back in temple offering prayer to Lord Varaha while Vagula Devi went away for a while promising to return back soon.
Once she left, Lord Varaha manifested before Lord Srinivasa to address his problem. But Lord Varaha imposed a condition, that if he (Lord Srinivasa) were to get a shelter to stay, then Lord Srinivasa would have to pay some kind of meed for the boon he may grant. Though Lord Varaha and Lord Vishnu were same divine-Lord Vishnu- in different forms, since Lord Vishnu was in human form and Lord Varaha in divine form, the issue had to be viewed in the form of human request Vis a Vis divine boon.
Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Srinivasa expressed helplessness to meet condition, but since immediately he had no money to pay the meed at that moment, he promised that in future when he manifest in some divine form and get settled in a place of worship, then he would impose a condition that whoever visited him seeking boon, their boons would get fructified only if they had first paid their obedience to Lord Varaha and then entered his sanctum. Lest they would not receive his (Lord Vishnu) blessings. Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Srinivasa pleaded with Lord Varaha to accept his offer and allow him to stay there. Lord Varaha accepted the offer and through the manager administering the temple, permitted him to put up a hut in the premises and stay there. This was the real reason why it had become a custom for those visiting Tirupathi temple, to have the darshan (audience) of Lord Varaha and pay obedience to him before entering the sanctum of Lord Venkateswara.
Accordingly all three constructed a small hut in the premises of Lord Varaha temple and settled there. It was here that Vagula Devi named the stranger boy as Lord Srinivasa. Soon, Lord Srinivasa took up 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 was only a mirage. By hunting down the animals and killing them, Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Srinivasa released the curses of those who had born as animals on account of some curses incurred by them in their previous few births. Only those animals were hunted and killed by Lord Srinivasa to release their curses and some had gone to take rebirth and some to heaven and not to take birth again. Those were part of the drama which was going on then. Also it was destined that Lord Vishnu would take the form of a hunter to reach near Goddess Lakshmi, born as Padmavati and to marry her. Therefore some of his (Lord Vishnu) divine energies had also been converted and sent as animals there. Thus when hunting spree of Lord Srinivasa continued, a big elephant ran towards them and in order to tame and contain its fury, Lord Srinivasa had to fire an arrow which hit the animal. Unable to bear the pain, the elephant turned mad and started running hither thither trumpeting loudly. Immediately Lord Srinivasa sat on a horse and began to chase the elephant to contain her madness. The elephant ran towards a pond inside the Palace and stood there. When Lord Srinivasa went near the mad elephant, it kneeled before the Lord and instantly disappeared as its curse ended. Lord Srinivasa la Lord Vishnu being human at that point of time could not understand the strange behaviour of the elephant- how it disappeared and why it kneeled before him. Wondering on the behaviour of the elephant, Lord Srinivasa washed his face in the pond, drank water and rested under a tree nearby, when Padmavati too came near the pond playing with few of her abigail unaware of the presence of Lord Srinivasa.
Lord Srinivasa fall in love with Padmavati
At the very first sight of her beauty, Lord Srinivasa fell in love with Padmavati. Lord Srinivasa thought ‘how nice it would be if I could get her as my life partner’. As he was feeling so, Padmavati went near him to inquire who he was and how did he manage to enter into the secure Palace compound. Lord 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 when he described her beauty and warned him ‘Look stranger, you have not only intruded into my privy place, but also dared to comment on my beauty which is morally improper. I am daughter of King Aakasa Rajan. Therefore before you get roughed up by the guards run away from here’.
Lord 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 commenting on you as I have unknowingly fallen in love with you. Though a poor hunter, God willing, if you could agree to marry me I would ensure all protection to you and satisfy you in all aspects of simple and serene life’.
His reply further infuriated Padmavati 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 Lord Srinivasa (in human form) 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 over his continuing plea, her abigail threw stone on him to drive him away. Wounded by stones thrown, not only his white horse fell dead, Lord Srinivasa got injured and began to bleed before getting roughed by further by the security guards. He walked towards home wreathed in pain.
On seeing the injured Lord Srinivasa walking back to home, immediately Vagula Devi rushed to him and understood the reasons for his injuries when he narrated the entire episode to her.
After treating him for the injuries, Vagula Devi counselled him to forget the dream of getting married to a Princess of King Aakasa Rajan as Lord Srinivasa was a poor hunter and such impossible dreams would not materialize, they being poor before the King. As she was soothing him, Lord Srinivasa again regained his past memories when he thought within ‘it is time that I would have to recall the past memories of Vagula Devi to reveal reasons for my doom. However the secret of my incarnation need to be still maintained for some more period. Even though I had initially met her, I had only made her recollect my relation with her in the past, but ensured that it faded away from her memory. Again it needed to be recalled for a short while to ensure her support to my cause and to ensure that I get married to Padmavati’.
With such feelings running high in mind, he entered into her mind through her eyes to bring back her past memories. Instantly Vagula Devi got back the memories of her past birth. Lord Srinivasa told her ‘Mother, though I was your son in the past, and incarnated as Lord Srinivasa now, my body need to undergo certain punishments as destined and which were unavoidable, since I had born as human. Recall my promise to you in the past birth that my marriage would take place in your presence, hence I adapted you as my mother in this birth so that I could get married in your presence as promised in previous birth. You were aware only one part of my past life as Krishna, your son then. Now know certain other facts which had happened when I had taken the avatar as Lord Rama in one of my earlier incarnation.
While I incarnated as Lord Rama I had to marry Goddess Sita and due to chain of events, I had to live in exile in the forest when Ravan abducted my wife Goddess Sita and Lord Agni created a virtual form of her in human form and ensured that whom Ravan abducted was not Goddess Sita, but only her virtual form which stayed 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 pure in her heart, mind and maintained modesty and therefore ordered Goddess Sita to enter fire to prove her modesty. When she went into the fire and came out she was also accompanied by Vedavati her mirror form created by Lord Agni, but remember Vedavati was none but the divine energy who took the virtual form of Goddess Lakshmi. Once out from fire, Vedavati requested me to marry her and I had to decline her request then being a chaste husband of Goddess Sita, and made a solemn promise to get married with her at a later incarnation similar to the promise which I gave you while I was in the form of Lord Krishna’.
Lord Srinivasa continued to tell her further ‘I promised to marry her as and when I took the form of Lord Srinivasa. Now that Vedavati had taken birth as Padmavati and me as Lord Srinivasa, I am obliged to somehow marry her in this birth to honour my past promise. At this juncture we should not reveal all these secrets to public as we have to undergo some more ordeals in human form to get rid of the past sins, lest it would follow us to the next birth. Therefore, mother without emotion, cooperate with me in all my actions to ensure that I get married with her in this birth and revealing the truth midway would end our incarnation and put us in doom again undergo the ordeals several yugas later. However I would reveal everything to the world at appropriate time before ending our incarnation’.
Hearing her son’s words, tears rolled over the cheeks of Vagula Devi like river on deluge. She promised him ‘Son, trust me, this secret would remain buried in my heart till you decide to reveal them. I would certainly lend all possible support from my side to fulfil your desire’. After the end of the conversation the past memories got erased from the mind of both of them, who got to the present birth for the time being and both went to sleep. However the feelings on Padmavati refused to die down from the mind of Lord Srinivasa who continued to groan in pain ‘Rajakumari, Rajakumari’ and slept out of tiredness forgetting self.
While this was the condition in the home of Lord Srinivasa, there in the Palace, for unknown reasons, Padmavati too remained sleepless as the hunter continued to occupy her mind. From then on, she frequently went near the pond where she met Lord Srinivasa, stood there for some time recollecting memories of the incident when the wailing Lord Srinivasa was badly beaten by the guards. As days passed, internally agonized, she lost appetite and detached herself from others as though she had lost something precious.
Her abigail attempted to divert her attention, unable to know the reasons for her internal agony. They were concerned why she daily visited the site of the Pond at specific time and showed disinterest in their prompts and fun. The worried girls decided to bring to the knowledge of her parents the state of her strange behaviour, lest something could happen to the Princess anytime, they feared. The message was conveyed to Padmavati’s mother Darini Devi who lost no time in taking the issue with her husband Aakasa Rajan. Incidentally only few days before such events, Sage Narada Muni visited the King by chance* and when Padmavati knelt before him to pay obedience, he asked her to show her palm and predicted that she had attained the state 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 Bhoologa? 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 forms 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 should not be viewed from the narrow aspect of human alone, and the divine forces shuttling between earth and heaven in their original form should not be ignored as myth. Those who believe should accept the story as genuine and non-believers are free to have their own opinion)
After Sage Narada left the site, the King summoned his Raja Guru and requested him to analyse the horoscope of Padmavati. He too endorsed the same view as that of the Sage. They decided to consult Padmavati too..
While such events were unfolding in the Palace, at home of Lord Srinivasa, his adapted mother Vagula Devi decided that she would step in to solve the problem without further delay since full moon was due the next day which was the most auspicious day to begin anything good. She told Lord Srinivasa of her decision to go to the Palace on the day of full moon to seek alliance of King’s daughter with Lord Srinivasa. Lord Srinivasa had no hesitation but cautioned her to deal the issue in most delicate manner. He bade goodbye to her and went out again for hunting.
Once out, Lord Srinivasa la Lord Vishnu changed his appearance to that of a fowler (a tribe making baskets and catching birds and also Sooth Sayers) with a magic stick in hand, walked through the streets calling ‘know your fortune …know your fortune’. and reached the Palace gate. Those were the days when the uttering of the fowler used to be considered as divine voices since they normally come out of cemetery at mid of night and keep moving in the streets sooth saying good and bad omens in front of some of the houses. Some of what they foretold 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 Padmavati.
Holding Padmavathi’s hand, the fowler said ‘Look girl, the words coming out from my mouth is not mine, but that of Mahamayi (a female Goddess formed out of Goddess Parvathi’s power) who speak through me….Oh, Devi Magamaayi, predict what is the future of this young girl’. While speaking he kept moving the magic wand over her palm several times and threw some ash on her and continued to tell ‘Oh…girl. you have submerged into the thoughts Lord Vishnu, the divine who held the Universe in his palm, the one who saved the Universe from deluge, the one who glitter like gold, the one who married Goddess Sita while he was Lord Rama…oh, lucky girl… be sure, you are destined to only marry someone carrying the aspects of Lord Vishnu…my sayings will not go in vain…it is as true as Sun or Moon. The man with aspects of the Lord is sure to come here seeking alliance… keep patience…girl…keep patience, look this betel leaf…you would find your partner’. Saying so he showed a betel leaf applied with some black oil. Like a picture that appear in TV, it flashed the picture of Lord Srinivasa the hunter in disguise who was driven away by her guards. Every one remained shell shocked to see the picture on leaf. Once Padmavati saw the image, she screamed ‘mother, this is the same person whom I had met in the garden and stolen my heart’. She ran inside her room and locked her door. The fowler was paid handsome reward and sent back.
Lord Srinivasa as fowler was happy that his plan has successfully worked out and on reaching home 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 Narada had stated that Padmavati 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 counselled her to desist from the desire to marry the hunter. The King asked his daughter ‘Padmavati, do you really love the hunter…are you sure you would be able to live in the forest without comforts which you enjoy now…therefore think twice before forcing your decision on us Padmavati ….did you ever think of our status and that of the hunter…’
But Padmavati was firm ‘father, do not divert my mind from the hunter…I have I have lost my heart to him. Once someone gets etched deep in mind and heart of a girl, 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 the chastity. Should you, who hold ethics upper most, even think of breaking spirits of my love on the hunter which is already deeply etched in my mind? How does comfort matter than ones’ inner happiness since we have seen even Lord Rama has spent fourteen years in exile in a forest? Moreover both the land in town or in forest are all under your rule. Do you discard the lands in forest as unwanted? Those who stay in forest, do you believe that they had gone mad or lead a life in distress? Remember everyone knows the art of living in their own manner, be it be in forest or in towns. Therefore remove from your mind the plan to get me married to someone else, instead of the hunter who remain my husband in my mind now and forever’. After revealing her mind to her father, Padmavati coolly walked back to her room without regret.
When they were involved in deep discussion, Vagula Devi reached the Palace. She was accorded a warm welcome by the King without knowing who she was and inquired ‘Mother, are you and Sannyasin? Please let me know the purpose of your visit’. Without mincing words she introduced herself as Vagula Devi and directly told the King that her foster son Lord Srinivasa was in love with Padmavati and desired to marry her. According to the Pundits who analysed his horoscope, she said that Lord Srinivasa possessed all aspects of Lord Vishnu and bound to get married in 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 as everything were happening one after the other as foretold by Sage Narada and the fowler. Therefore without stretching the issue further, they requested her to wait for a while to allow them consult their Raja Guru and let her know of their opinion. Further they sought her son’s horoscope.
She had already come prepared with all documents, instantly gave it to the King and commented ‘If God willing, things would happen as destined. But hear me King, due to certain circumstances though we remain poor now, I am sure one day you would see us the most richly on earth’.
Aakasa Rajan summoned Sage Sugar muni to seek his advice. When sage Sugar muni came, the King honoured him respect and narrated entire events and sought his opinion on the said issue. After analysing the events Sage Sugar said ‘Oh, King I think it is destined that Lord Srinivasa would marry your daughter Padmavati without any doubt. Yes, the hunter possesses all aspects of Lord Vishnu. The omen indicate that everything would go well after the marriage and the time for Lord Vishnu to incarnate on earth had already come as per the signals that emanated from heaven. The omen indicate that Lord Vishnu would incarnate in some part of a jungle and come out to sit in a grand temple in your state. Therefore without getting confused get the boy and the girl married, it would auger well to you and your country’. Fully satisfied with the counsel ling of Sage Sugar, the King sent message to Vagula Devi expressing his consent to the marriage.
Lord Vishnu takes loan from Guber
Once consent for the marriage was received from the King, both Vagula Devi and Lord Srinivasa felt highly elated. Next they engaged themselves in the preparation for the marriage function.
On hearing the news of Lord Srinivasa’s marriage, Lord Vishnu remained in sorrow in Vaikund when Sage Narada entered. ‘Why are you sad while your virtual form Lord Srinivasa on earth is already engaged to Padmavati as per your plan of play. In the form of hunter la Lord Srinivasa you are going to remarry Goddess Lakshmi and both are scheduled to return to Vaikund soon. Why are you then sitting in sadness?’
Lord Vishnu said ‘Sage Narada, since Goddess Lakshmi is not in Vaikund, the wealth has depleted and I am unable to arrange sufficient fund for Lord Srinivasa in Bhoologa to hold the function in grand manner. All those in Devaloga would attend the marriage ceremony and everybody would need to be well fed and taken care of with gifts for which lot of fund would be required. How would I arrange sufficient fund to meet the requirement is my present worry’.
Sage Narada calmed down Lord Vishnu and told him ‘Oh, my lord, 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 Lord Guber to instantly agree to the demand. He was too clever to exploit the situation to his favour. After much persuasion Lord Guber consented to part with the loan, but with a rider that Lord Vishnu would have to repay the loan with interest. Lord Vishnu had no other option 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* in which he had stated that when he gets enshrined in an temple on earth he would continue to pay the interest on the loan taken and at the end of Kaliyuga the principal amount along with interest shall be refunded to Lord 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 Padmavati
After the loan thus arranged reached the hands of Lord Srinivasa in universes, he gave it to his elder brother Govinda Rajan (Vagula Devi’s first son) and requested him to make arrangements for the marriage ceremony. Lord Vishnu deputed his divine vehicle carrier Garuda to help him. Since sufficient fund was made available as loan from Lord Guber, there was no dearth of money to meet expenditure on the marriage.
On the part of King Aakasa Rajan, the entire city was decorated, every one of the folks were 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 Brigu, Goddess Saraswathi, Sage Sugar, Nandi Deva, Garuda and many others along with their sub Bhootha ganas and divine ganas.
Sage Vashishta was the chief Pundit who performed the marriage. The marriage badge or chain tied around neck made up of Pearl beads, Navaranga stones, Diamonds and Gold was given by Sage Vashishta to Lord Vishnu sitting in the form of Lord Srinivasa and he tied it around the neck of Padmavati. But the important dignitary who was missing in the function was Goddess Lakshmi who was not informed of the function.
Lord Vishnu goes on tour with Padmavati
Once Padmavati was married to Lord Srinivasa, her father Aakasa Rajan bade tearful farewell to both and sent them with all honour. Only after Lord Srinivasa and Padmavati departed from the place, everyone realized that they were incarnate 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 Agasthia who brought to their attention that one of the rules of ethics forbade the newly married couple from climbing over the mountains for six months after marriage and therefore they had to spend the next six months in his Ashram. During their stay in the Ashram of Sage Vashishta a messenger from Aakasa Rajan came there to urgently call them back to the Palace as Aakasa Rajan was breathing his last and desired to meet them before death. When both of them rushed back to the Palace, King Aakasa Rajan held the hand of Lord 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 Aakasa Rajan died, the war of accession arose between Vasuthanan and Thondaman as to who would be superior to rule the state. On hearing the dispute, the Kings of neighbour states planned to attack the state and conquer it to annex with their Kingdom. That too happened as per the plan of drama already pre-conceived by Lord Vishnu. Thondaman in his previous birth was womanizer, 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 built a temple to worship him to get rid of the ill effects of the past sins. That is why Thondaman was born as brother to Aakasa Rajan.
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 Lord Srinivasa’s form) was requested by Aakasa Rajan 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 Lord Srinivasa’s form) help to win the war. Therefore Lord Vishnu (in Lord Srinivasa’s form) gave his powerful weapon Vajrayuda to Thondaman while he himself stayed on the side of Vasuthanan as soldier. In the fiercely fought war, at one point of time son of Thondaman had to use the weapon given by Lord Vishnu and when it hit Lord Srinivasa he fainted instantly and lost his memory.
Seeing Lord Srinivasa’s condition both the warring factions stopped the war to attend Lord Srinivasa. When he regained conscience, he took a promise from both of them that henceforth they would stay united and therefore Lord Vishnu (in Lord 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 could get himself enshrined there to protect the folks in Kaliyuga.
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 Celestial and Ganas from Devaloga too lent their helping hand in manual work, though remained invisible. After completing the construction, Lord Vishnu came and took his seat. Lord Brahma came and lighted up two oil lamps and blessed those present and informed them that the lamps shall ever remain burning till the end of Kaliyuga and since Lord Brahma lighted the lamps, the said function would be 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 Bhoologa by itself and got buried inside the land over which the present temple has been built). As the temple construction was underway, Lord Srinivasa came with his wife Padmavati and Thondaman was too happy to receive him since Lord Vishnu said earlier that he would come and permanently reside in the temple in the form of Lord Srinivasa, whose entry would augur well to the state.
While several of such events were happening in the state of Thondaman, would Sage Narada keep quite? He needed to complete one other important task which remained incomplete. With his tricky play he had already ensured the marriage of Lord Vishnu with Vedavati in the form of Padmavati. Now he had 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 inquired his welfare. With gloomy face Sage Narada told her that it pained him to tell her that Lord Vishnu in Sheshachalam was in fine mood after marrying Padmavati, whereas 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. She instantly got up telling that she would immediately proceed to Sheshachalam to seek justice from him. She requested Sage Narada to help her reach the place where Lord Srinivasa was residing with Padmavati. Both of them reached Sheshachalam.
As they reached the place where both Lord Vishnu and Padmavati resided, they found that both Lord Srinivasa and Padmavati had just returned from their tour and Lord Vishnu entered the temple premises. When Lord Srinivasa and Padmavati saw Goddess Lakshmi they were shocked and as Goddess Lakshmi entered the hall in anger and sought to know from Padmavati who she was, Padmavati 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 kept continued, restless Lord Vishnu tried to calm down both saying that he was indeed husband to both of them, but unconvinced ladies continued their argument in harsh words. Unable to end their feud, Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Srinivasa went back and released a huge sound from behind and turned into a statue. Both ladies wept uncontrollably, but Lord Vishnu manifested and consoled them to remind that both were one and same and due to certain reasons 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 had incarnated as Goddess Sita, in order to guard her from Ravan and others an aidance form in the name of Vedavati was created by Lord Agni, and only after Goddess Sita came out of the fire to prove her chastity did the world come to know of the existence of the aidance form Vedavati. On hearing the facts both Vedavati in the form of Padmavati who was also unknowingly the mirror form of Goddess Lakshmi and real 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 Kaliyuga for some purpose. Those committing sin, when they come here to perform penance with offerings of various types which may include not only material and money alone, some may even offer their own human hair, as symbol of obedience. Then you would have to guide them with care to lead an austere life so that they would desist from committing such sin again. Whatever offerings I would receive here, remember I would have to regularly part 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 would continue to engage themselves into sinful acts and in order to get rid of it, considering this temple as Vaikund on earth, they would visit regularly to pay penance and make offerings. Both the action shall continue in endless cycle thus spreading divinity all over earth. Therefore since we are responsible for activating such cycle of events to spread divinity amongst the mankind we would have to remain here forever. Lakshmi, you would sit on the right side of my heart and Padmavati would take her seat on my left side.
At the same time in order to please both of you I would spend every night with your aidance form in a nearby small shrine called Goddess Padmavati temple in Melmangapuram, and return back here in the morning to stay with your original form. Whoever visited the shrine here and offered oblation, it would be accepted without murmur. You may wonder whether the human hair would also to be accepted…yes, it would also be accepted as it would fetch money on sale. If you agree to my proposal, be here in the universe blessing those who visit to offer oblation in penance or go back to Vaikund, but I shall remain 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. He directed his brother Govinda Rajan to go and stay in a shrine in the lower part of Tirupathi and thus Lord Vishnu continue to appear in different forms and bless those who visited him to offer prayers.
Since the entire areas in Tirupathi are under the control of Lord Varaha, those who paid visit to Tirupathi would have to first offer obedience to Lord Varaha before offering prayers to Lord Venkateswara. As promised to Lord Varaha whoever brought offertory (Food items), a part of it had to be first offered to Lord Varaha and then only they should be offered to Tirupathi Lord Srinivasa. The first offertory would be treated as rent paid to Lord Varaha by Lord Srinivasa for his stay when he was Lord Srinivasa in human form. Similarly after visiting Tirupathi, if one returned back without paying obedience to Goddess Padmavati seated in Thiruchanoor, a small township nearby, the benefit of visiting Tirupathi Lord Srinivasa seeking his blessings would not get fulfilled.