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 lac 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, 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. The belief is if the Jeeva Charithra called life history of Lord Venkatachalapathi  is read ninety times in succession (once daily for ninety continuous days), their prayers will be fulfilled, so goes the belief. However, the success of the prayer depends upon total surrender to the divine in spirit and belief  with which it is read. Once ninety days reading, called Parayan is completed, the paper with prayer and coin can be deposited into the Hundi (Cash box or prayer boxes kept there) in any one of the Tirupathi Venkateswara shrines available near their home to get their wishes fulfilled.

Now read the ‘90 days Parayan’ story of Lord Venkatachalapathi. 

Lord Krishna’s assurance to Yashoda

Several years elapsed after Lord Vishnu shed the mortal body of Lord Krishna.  After the end of Krishna incarnation, prior to taking next incarnation 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 prophesies found in the Vedic Agamas and texts  that once the evil effects of Kaliyuga begin to raise its ugly head, he will appear to save the mankind from the onslaught of Kali. Sometime during Krishna Avatar, Sage Narada entered Krishna’s home in Gokul  (the place where Krishna was born and dwelled with his mother Yashoda) to meet the family of Lord Krishna. Surprisingly he saw home of Lord Krishna in Gokul deserted. Lord Krishna’s mother Yashoda was sitting alone in grief. When Sage Narada attempted to find  out reasons for Yashoda’s grief, Lord Krishna too entered from somewhere. Lord Krishna guessed something had gone wrong since Sage Narada was present and therefore with a mischievous smile, inquired from Sage Narada what was the problem. Sage Narada replied ignorance in body language, and prompted Lord Krishna to inquire directly from his mother, the reason for her grief. Lord Krishna sat near his mother asked ‘what happened to you, maa?’ Yashoda did not answer immediately, but her eyes were filled with tears. Lord Krishna consoled her ‘maa, why are you feeling distressed…what can happen when I am with you?’  Sobbing Yashoda replied ‘Krishna,  I am the most unfortunate mother in the universe. …my worry is about your marriage. I don’t think I will live long, but before I depart, I long to see your marriage. When are you going to give me the happiness?’  Lord Krishna too turned emotional when he saw tears rolling down from the eyes of his mother, and for a moment thought within self ‘how will 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 will I explain reason for remaining bachelor up till now?’. He was not married to Goddess Rukmani then, and therefore breaking his silence, he told Yashoda ‘maa, leave away your worries, I promise  that  your wishes will be honoured once I accomplish the task for which I have incarnated. Sure, my marriage will happen  in your presence, even if it takes centuries later. But I assure that I will get married only in your presence.  Pardon me maa, I will not be able to disclose the purpose of my incarnation right now, but be sure that you will know of it at an appropriate time. Therefore, dear mother, remain calm for some more period of time. I promise that your wish will 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 took place one after the other. In the next few centuries, Lord Krishna’s Yadav clan got destroyed and both Lord Krishna and his mother Yashoda  shed their bodies in different events and went to paradise (Vaikunda). With the end of Krishna Athar, it remained a mystery how will the promise given  to his mother Yashoda will  get fulfilled?  Where and how is Lord Vishnu likely to  reincarnate  again to marry Goddess Lakshmi?  With the departure of Lord Krishna, the universe experienced widespread chaos, anarchy and indiscipline. Sage Narada was deeply concerned since the anarchy if allowed to continue,  will  lead to the destruction of the Universe created by Supreme even before the dawn of Kaliyuga. His main concern was how can the catastrophe be prevented?

Sage Narada reach Mount Kailas 

Concerned Sage Narada realized that the time to honour the promise given by Lord Krishna to Yashoda ripened. At the same time 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 will 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 Deva Loga to meet Lord Brahma.  Luckily on way, he met his father Lord Brahma and both exchanged pleasantries and the purpose of their visit.   When anxious Sage Narada expressed his concern to Lord Brahma over the deteriorating norms of righteousness in the universe which can cause chaos and anarchy, Lord Brahma revealed that he too was  proceeding to meet Lord Siva to find out some solution on the same issue 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 who got them seated near him and inquired the purpose of their visit. Without mincing words, Sage Narada quickly expressed the overall chaotic conditions prevailing 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 prevent the situation going out of hand and therefore sought the valued opinion of those assembled there and  guidance from Lord Shiva. After thoroughly analysing all aspects in depth, the assemblage realized that while only Maharishi Brigu’s intervention can resolve the issue, since Maharishi Brigu is hot headed, who can persuade him to take up the task?  After carefully considering all aspects, everyone was unanimous and convinced that only Sage Narada muni was capable of molding the mind of Maharishi Brigu to find a solution way to get Lord Vishnu  incarnate  at the earliest to stem the fast-deteriorating malaise in the universe.  Both Lord Siva and Lord Brahma cajoled the initially reluctant Sage Narada to find a solution to the ticklish issue  as he was tactful enough to rope in Maharishi Brigu engaged into the act. Gladdened by the heaps of praise from the mouth of two of the three Lords, Sage Narada finally agreed to rope in Maharishi Brigu in the drama to prompt Lord Vishnu to incarnate at the earliest.

Stage set for the drama

Upon the advice of the two Lords of Trimurtis, 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 from places to places and attended Yagyas and other sacrificial ceremonies (a kind of Yagyas) wherever and whenever they were 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 like Brigu in stature, would normally be available in the Yagyas and Homas performed in the Himalayan region as Himalaya plateau was considered to be the most sacred, being abode of Lord Siva. His inference did not fail when he found Maharishi Brigu in one of the sacrificial ceremonies 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 Trimurtis to assure that before the dawn of Kaliyuga, the atmosphere of serenity and peace was not destroyed in the universe and people continue  to maintain the principles of righteousness and dharmic norms in the highest order. Sage Narada was convinced that half his mission had been accomplished by 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 will befit for the enormous effort taken up by the assembled sages and saints to successfully perform this rite. 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 with his blessings, I will proceed to go along with other work’ (Athithi is the first and foremost honourable guest who is entitled to receive the first oblation in any of the Sacrificial Yagya and he will bless the audience and the performer after which those assemblage will take their share of offering).  The Atithi’s blessings were 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.   

When Sage Narada raised the issue of Athithi, the performers realized that they forgot to invite an Athithi for concluding the sacrificial ceremony, lest the ceremony will remain inconclusive. Therefore, every one thanked Sage Narada for  his timely reminder on the issue of Athithi and began to discuss who could be called as Athithi. Each one of  members of the assemblage mentioned the names of  their own choices, but none of the names proposed were found 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 to arose. Outwardly showing reluctance he suggested to the assemblage ‘Oh, great sages and Rishi Munis, listen to my views with attention. At the end of sacrificial ceremony, the rightful Athithi who can take the first oblation should be chosen from  amongst the Trimurtis, 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- to free them from malady, to remain with purity in mind and heart, merciful to each other and stay away from wrong doings, the Athithi to be invited should be of Satvik nature. Oh, sages, think without emotion and decide the rightful choice from amongst the three Lords’. Since the assemblage  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 can undertake the task of inviting the right Athithi to attend the sacrificial ceremony and to receive the oblation. 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 reacts 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 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 will only be the right choice to take the oblation as they  will reach the sacrificial site with the same mind set to bless the assemblage who are in attendance here. Hence the one reflecting the satvik qualities at the time of invitation can be invited  as Athithi. Such a suggestion again confused everyone since Sage Narada has brought in another issue- who on behalf of them can reach out to the  Trimurtis and decide on the spot the rightful choice 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, expert in the arts of appeasement and possessed all aspects of diplomacy. Therefore, Maharishi Brigu was fully authorized to select the rightful Athithi to receive the oblation, after weighing all aspects on the spot. Everyone was elated at the rightful choice of Maharishi Brigu as he was not only experienced, but also an octogenarian grey beard amongst the sages, well respected by the Divine Trimurtis.

Next, when the sages under the leadership of Sage Narada went to  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 Deva Loga to meet the Divine Trimurtis. There in heaven, Lord Vishnu was sitting in ease, fully satisfied that stage has been well set  for another drama to pave way for him to take another incarnation which 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. 

Lord Brahma cursed

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.  Angered by the insult from Lord Brahma, though an uninvited guest, Maharishi Brigu went and sat in an empty chair and participated in the discussion.  At one stage irritated Lord Brahma commented ‘Oh, Maharishi, you are an uninvited guest and disturbing the proceedings by airing your personal views which is uncalled for. We feel sorry to see that  an octogenarian sage like you is behaving in such an indecent manner’ Brigu felt further insulted and quickly got up  saying ‘Oh, venerable Lord, be aware that my wisdom is in no way lesser than those who are assembled here. I have not come here on my own volition, but came as an envoy of the sages to extend an invitation for the sacrificial ceremony being held for the welfare of the universe and to invite you to receive the first oblation as Athithi.  But instead of reflecting true Satvik nature and acknowledging 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 the entire fraternity of sages engaged in the sacrificial ceremony done for the welfare of the universe. Therefore, from now on none in the universe will offer worship to 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 divine play of the Trinities  who had already scripted it for the next incarnation  for Lord Vishnu in bhoologa.

Lord Siva cursed

Having got insulted in Brahma Loga, enraged Maharishi Brigu reached Kailas, anger still not receded from mind. On reaching Lord Siva’s abode too he was treated  as an unwelcome guest at the entrance by the Ganas guarding the abode. They refused to allow him go inside saying that Lord Siva was on  an  important meeting with Goddess Parvathi and they had orders not to let anyone go inside unless Lord Siva’s prior 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 get in bypassing them, hearing the  noise and commotion, Lord Siva with Trisul in hand angrily came out. Anger overpowering mind, Maharishi in arrogance asked Lord Siva ‘who ordered these guards not to let me enter in?’ Lord Siva too got equally angry and shouted back at the Maharishi ‘Oh, elder sage, are you not ashamed that you are  an uninvited guest, and arrogant enough to question my right  in my own dwelling …… it is shameful that you call yourself 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 will soon feel sorry for disrespecting  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 chose to insult me similar to how Lord Brahma insulted me. Howsoever important the meeting with Goddess Parvathi would be, you could have paused the meeting for a while and called an elderly sage of my stature to inquire the purpose of my visit. I certainly possess the wisdom of highest order than others and have not come here on my own volition. 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 in the universe  will not worship you in the form as you exist, but will worship you only in the form of a semi-circular stone’. Saying  so even before Lord Siva replied, Maharishi left and proceeded to Vaikunda 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 will reflect the merged form of two souls which will be me and Goddess Parvathi.  Henceforth people will not worship either of us separately and seek boon and they will only be blessed by the merged souls of us in that form’. This was one of the reasons why Lord Siva is 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 Vaikunda 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 Vaikunda, Lord Vishnu was in yoga Nidra (Divine sleep) in the midst of sea while Goddess Lakshmi was seen gently  pressing his feet to relieve the feet from melosalgia.  However, when Maharishi Brigu reached,  he saw Lord Vishnu lying looking  at  the other side. When the Lord  woke up, he began conversing 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. This infuriated the Sage Brigu who went near Lord Vishnu and kicked him 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 enjoined 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 Vaikunda profusely thanking Lord Vishnu, but again ignorantly failed to seek pardon from Goddess Lakshmi who was sulking for the act of the Sage who insulted her husband in her presence. Had he sought her pardon, then the events leading to the incarnation of Lord Venkatachalapathi would not have occurred.

Once Maharishi left, Goddess Lakshmi was furious with Lord Vishnu for having remained not only a mute spectator when the sage insulted him in the presence of a woman, but also allowed the Maharishi go unpunished, who lacked  basic 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 Goddess Lakshmi  left Vaikunda without telling anyone where she was proceeding 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 get remarried again in their short incarnate form. The act was also meant to  benefit the mankind since  subsequently both were destined to 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 destiny in store for them.  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, possessing all aspects  of Goddess Lakshmi.  As she grew, she possessed an extraordinary 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 was 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 Dasharatha and Dasharatha 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 take her forcefully, 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 Vedavathi.  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 will meet his death only by a hapless woman. Her curse fructified later when Ravan met 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 harmed or burnt and instead took 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 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 the 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., Vedavathi. 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 Vedavathi 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 Vedavathi in virtual form of Goddess Sita stayed in the ashram, Ravan came and abducted her, unaware of the fact that he had actually abducted Vedavathi and not Goddess Sita.  Lord Agni was scared that if ever Ravan came to know Goddess Sita was hiding in his home, then Ravan will not hesitate to immediately kill Vedavathi. Therefore, till Vedavathi 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 Vedavathi in the virtual form of Goddess Sita who jumped into the fire and not the original Goddess Sita.  None knew the truth until Vedavathi and Goddess Sita together came out of the fire unharmed.  Once out from the pyre, Vedavathi 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 Vedavathi should bury her desire of marrying him in that birth.  Lord Rama further explained that, he was destined to incarnate as Lord Srinivasa (Lord Venkateswara), and Goddess Sita who was actually Goddess Lakshmi will  also take birth as Padmavati with all aspects of Vedavathi, and in the said birth he will  marry Padmavati la Vedavathi 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 Vedavathi. Now the story of Goddess Lakshmi Devi’s incarnation as Padmavati begins. 

Goddess Lakshmi’s incarnation as Padmavati

Several centuries ago, Tirupathi (Now in the state of Andhra in India) which was  a state then, 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 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 chanced to notice a Princess from Naga clan playing in the midst of water and instantly fell in love with her, as she was quite attractive that every one will feel to  have her as their consort. From then on, he regularly visited the spot during the time  she appeared 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. 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 in a year. The lovers realized that they will 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 warmth by the King’s wife.

After Sudarman died, though Aakasa Rajan took over the reins of the Kingdom, he took care of his brother Thondaman too and looked after him well. The folks in the Kingdom were happy lots, however fate played its own role  and did not bestow Aakasa Rajan an issue to rule after him. Worried Aakasa Rajan performed several Yagyas and sacrificial ceremonies to please the deities to beget an issue. Once he performed a Sacrificial ceremony called Putrakameshti Yagya (Putrakameshti is a special yajna performed in Hinduism for the sake of bearing children). One of the acts in the  ritual was to plough a land  with a yoked buffalo and embed seeds of rice and pray Lord Lakshmi Narasimha seeking boon for a child. As advised by his Pundits, Aakasa Rajan successfully performed the ritual and started ploughing the land as per the ritual.

As he was ploughing, the yoke hit a metallic box which  blocked further ploughing and hearing the sound of a metal, the King stopped ploughing and dug the earth to see what  blocked 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 (one of the yoga postures) unharmed in any manner. When the box was taken out and Raja Guru summoned for counselling, he predicted that one day the child will  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 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. Since the virtual forms are shadow incarnations of divines with limited divine power, in the previous birth  of Goddess Lakshmi who was  Goddess Sita, in order  to save herself from Ravan, she (Goddess Sita) too created in her previous birth virtual image as Vedavathi through Lord Agni. At the same time while only the Trimurtis were well aware of what was happening involving Goddess Lakshmi  and   Lord Venkatachalapathi’s incarnation which fell due, other divines were in dark   on what was happening since only limited  divine forces enacted certain divine acts.  Under such  circumstances, Lord Rama unaware that Vedavathi was the virtual image of Goddess Sita, gave a solemn assurance to Vedavathi that he will marry her in the next birth when he  will also incarnate as Lord Srinivasa (Lord Venkateswara). Therefore, in order to honour her husband’s promise, Goddess Lakshmi took the form as Padmavati, rose from the goddess of earth  (not from anyone’s womb) and continued to be fostered by Aakasa Rajan’s family, who were also unaware of the facts on divine birth. Few questions remained unanswered then. Why did Goddess Lakshmi  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 at some point. As said earlier, even when 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 immature 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 were 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. Thereafter he had to take yet another  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 Vaikunda 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 vent out her anger in the manner in which her husband was insulted. Even after few days passed, when Lord Vishnu noticed that Goddess Lakshmi did not return, he became nervous and began searching for her  seriously only to realize that she had indeed abandoned him and disappeared.

Like Lord Vishnu, everyone in Vaikunda too were deeply disturbed with the departure of Goddess Lakshmi and felt orphaned since her absence  created vacuum in Vaikunda. 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 Vaikunda, it lost the charm and every one spent their 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. She was neither  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 – his aim only to trace Goddess Lakshmi and  bring her back to Vaikunda. 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 slumber. 

With both Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu missing in Vaikunda 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 sleeping 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, it had  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 the past  curses befallen on them and for fulfilling certain other divine obligations for welfare of mankind  have actually been initiated, one amongst them being the Yagya being performed by the sages and who have engaged Maharishi Brigu to invite Lord Vishnu and also to ensure that  Goddess Lakshmi get temporarily separated from Lord Vishnu on some small pretext.  It was destined that only when Lord Vishnu takes the form of Lord Srinivasa and Goddess Lakshmi as Padmavati, their reunion was possible and the past curses on them will also come to an end. To accomplish those tasks initially  they had to remain separated, 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 an 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 to render any help. The divine need to take human form, somehow manage to win over the confidence of Goddess Lakshmi, take her along with them to render assistance to the Lord in the bunker.

The immediate task before them was to  somehow trace out Goddess Lakshmi  to apprise her of the condition of Lord Vishnu and then  take steps to feed some food to the fasting Lord Vishnu. They reached Bhoologa along with Lord Shiva, traced her, disturbed her (Goddess Lakshmi) penance and apprised her of the entire 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, me and  Lord Brahma will take the form of two cows.  Drive us to the King’s palace and sell us to him. He has many cows in his shed. The shepherd in the Palace Cow yard daily takes 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  lay  buried inside the anthill and once, we reach there, we will  release the milk from our udder directly into the mouth of Lord Vishnu to regain lost energy. In few days he will come out and take the form of Lord Srinivasa.  You will also by then become Aakasa Rajan’s daughter. Thereafter we will ensure that both of you get united again’.  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 will first marry Padmavati, the other virtual image of Goddess Lakshmi and thereafter in the next few days only he will re-join with Goddess Lakshmi. If Goddess Lakshmi comes to know of their plan, events will not move as destined, and collapse the very basic structure of their plan, 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 requested them to buy the Cow itself as she was hard-pressed for money. If  and when someone  came forward to buy them, she demanded high price which the buyer could not afford, and thus she was able to avoid the ordinary folks of the state from buying the two Cows. Thus, tactfully avoiding sale of the cows to others,  she reached the Palace gate and offered those two Cows on the day which incidentally was the birthday of the King. The plan devised by the three divines went as per their intent knowing fully well that only in the morning, the Raja Guru had advised the King to buy two Cows on his birthday which will 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 Cows along with the newly purchased two Cows into the jungle to gaze the grass. As usual he allowed them to roam freely in the vicinity to gaze  which was  faraway from where Lord Vishnu actually lay buried.  Therefore, Sage Narada had to play yet another trick 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 on the two gazing Cows was 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 milked 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. He rushed to the Palace and reported the matter to the King. 

Unwilling to believe the story, the King warned the Shepherd to again to carefully watch next day and report if the incident of  the Cows releasing the milk was indeed true so that he can accompany him to verify the truth by himself, lest he (Shepherd) will be slayed. 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 and  angrily hit it hard with a stick. Pat broke the anthill, and Lord Vishnu came out taking the blow on his head. The blood oozed 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 her 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 and sought 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 will 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 to turn 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 will get birth in one of the Cholas King dynasties and rule the state. Then he  will (previously a Ghost) beget a foster daughter whom he (Lord Vishnu) will 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 will 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……. will 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 past birth to recognize that she was his mother Yashoda in past birth, but born as Vagula Devi in the 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 past 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 will 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 Vedavathi, but he was not aware of the truth. It was destined that Lord Vishnu will first marry the mirror image of Goddess Lakshmi in the form of Vedavathi and thereafter will marry true Goddess Lakshmi. Many years later Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Srinivasa married the mirror image of Vedavathi first and subsequently married Goddess Lakshmi later some time.

The lady who treated Lord Vishnu was his mother Yashoda in previous birth and Lord Vishnu her son in the form of Lord Krishna. Now that Yashoda 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 enacted by divines before his incarnation as Kalki in Kaliyuga. Against this background, Yashoda in the form of Vagula Devi and Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Srinivasa met now and exchanged the memoirs of past birth  which lasted only for very short time after which Lord Vishnu ensured that Vagula Devi instantly lost the memory of the past as some more acts needed to be completed in human form. 

Now back to the main story again, once Vagula Devi (Yashoda 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 and prayed to 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 will 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 the condition as  he had no money to pay the meed at that moment, but  promised that in future whenever he  got  settled in a place of worship, then he will impose a condition to the devotees that whoever visited him seeking boon, their boons will get fructified only if they had first paid their obedience to Lord Varaha  and then entered his (Lord Vishnu) 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 within the premises of the temple and stay there. This was the real reason why it became a custom for those visiting Tirupathi temple, to first take the darshan (audience) of Lord Varaha and pay obedience to him and then only enter the sanctum of Lord Venkateswara.  

Accordingly, all three constructed a small hut inside 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 shadow act.  By hunting down the animals and killing them, Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Srinivasa expiated 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. Some in them took rebirth while some others went to paradise without rebirth.  Those were part of the drama which was going on then. Also, it was destined that Lord Vishnu will have to 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, while the 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 chased 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 falls 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 will be if I get her as my life partner’. While he was feeling so, Padmavati went near him to inquire who he was and how did he manage to enter into the secured 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 could not be cowed down by such threats and minced no words to quickly reply back ‘Girl, I can 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 will fully  protect   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 a hunter ….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 too 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 fully injured, immediately Vagula Devi rushed to him and understood the reasons for his injuries after 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 will 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 will have to recall the past memories of Vagula Devi to reveal reasons for my doom.  However, the reasons of my incarnation need to be still kept a secret for some more period.  Even though I had initially met her (Vagula Devi), I had only made her recollect my relation with her in the past, but ensured that it vanished from her memory. Again, it needs to be recalled for a short while to get her support for my cause and also to ensure that I get married to Padmavati’.

With such feelings running high in mind, he mesmerised her and  brought  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 has incarnated as Lord Srinivasa now, my body need to undergo certain punishments as destined since  I had  born as human, hence these injuries and beatings from the guards. Recall my promise to you in the past birth that my marriage will only  take place in your presence, hence I adapted you as my mother in this birth so that I can get married in your presence  thus fulfilling the promise given to you in the past birth.  You are aware only one part of my past life as Krishna, your son then. Now know certain other facts which had taken place when I had taken incarnation as  Lord Rama in one of my earlier births.

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 Vedavathi her mirror form created by Lord Agni, but remember Vedavathi was none but the divine energy who took the virtual form of Goddess Lakshmi. Once out from fire, Vedavathi requested me to marry her and I had to decline her request, 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 to  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 take the form of Lord Srinivasa. Now that Vedavathi 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 will 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. If the truth is revealed in  midway  our present incarnation will come to an end putting us in doom,  again to undergo the ordeals  several yugas later. However, I will  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 will remain buried in my heart till you decide to reveal them. I will certainly lend all possible support from my side to fulfil your desire’.  After the end of the conversation the past memories vanished from the mind of both of them 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 uttering ‘Rajkumari, Rajkumari’ and soon slept out of tiredness.

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 dominate 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 past 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 the fact  to the knowledge of her parents- the state of her strange behaviour- lest something  can 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 incidents, Sage Narada Muni visited the King by chance* and when Padmavati knelt before him to pay obedience, he asked her to show her the palm and predicted that she had attained the state of marriage and soon someone with all aspects of Narayana (meaning Lord Vishnu) will marry her. (*Brief clarification: – One may tend to raise a question as to how Sage Narada can visit   Bhoologa as human?  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).   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 will have to 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 Mahamaya (a female Goddess formed out of  Goddess Parvathi’s power) who speak through me…. Oh, Devi Mahamaya, 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 get married with someone carrying the aspects of Lord Vishnu…my predictions  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 will 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 get married with the hunter. The King  asked his daughter ‘Padmavati, do you really love the hunter…are you sure you will 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   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 the 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 will happen as destined. But hear me King, due to certain circumstances though we remain poor now, I am sure one day you will see us the most richly on earth’.   

Aakasa Rajan summoned Sage Suga muni to seek his advice. When sage Suga  muni came, the King honoured him with respect and narrated entire events and sought his opinion on the said issue. After analysing the events Sage Suga said ‘Oh, King, I think it is destined that Lord Srinivasa will marry your daughter Padmavati without any doubt. Yes, the hunter possesses all aspects of Lord Vishnu. The omen indicate that everything will get better  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 will 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 will auger well to you and your country’. Fully satisfied with the counsel ling of Sage Suga, 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 Vaikunda 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 Vaikunda soon. Why are you then sitting in sadness?’ Lord Vishnu said ‘Sage Narada, since Goddess Lakshmi is not in Vaikunda, 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 Deva Loga will attend the marriage ceremony and everybody will have to be well fed and taken care of with gifts for which lot of funds will be required. How will 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 Vaikunda to meet Lord Guber, the custodian of Goddess Lakshmi’s wealth. It was not easy 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 will 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 will 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 the 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 funds to meet expenditure on the marriage.

On the part of King Aakasa Rajan, the entire city was decorated, every one of the folks were given gifts and well fed to their fullest satisfaction. On the day of marriage, the entire fleet of God and demi Gods from Deva Loga assembled on earth to witness the grand celebration. The important dignitaries included Lord Brahma, Sage Narada, Sage Brigu, Goddess Saraswathi, Sage Suga, 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 Agasthya who brought to their attention that one of the rules of ethics which forbade the newly married couple from climbing over the mountains for  six months after the 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 him to 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 is 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 karmic 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 disagreed to take part in 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 will stay united and therefore Lord Vishnu (in Lord Srinivasa’s form) divided the state into two and gave each one of the states 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 will  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 get himself enshrined there to protect the folks in Kaliyuga.

On waking up the next morning, Thondaman invited Vishwakarma (the master craftsman in Deva Loga) to build a massive temple for Lord Vishnu and when the construction commenced, the Celestial and Ganas from Deva Loga 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 will be  termed Brahmotsavam (It is believed that the original temple was constructed actually in Brahma log  by Vishwakarma  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 will come and permanently reside  in the temple in the form of Lord Srinivasa, whose entry will  augur  well to the state.   

While several  such events were happening in the state of Thondaman, will Sage Narada keep quiet? 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 Vedavathi 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 inquired his welfare. With gloomy face Sage Narada told her that it pained him to see Lord Vishnu in Sheshachalam  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 saying that she will 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 Vedavathi 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 Vedavathi. On hearing the facts both Vedavathi 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, will 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 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 will receive here, remember I will 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 will continue to engage themselves into sinful acts and in order to get rid of it, considering this temple as Vaikunda on earth, they will 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 will have to remain here forever. Lakshmi, you will  sit on the right side of my heart and Padmavati will take her seat on 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 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 will be accepted without murmur. You may wonder whether the human hair will also to be accepted…yes, it will  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 us to offer oblation in penance or go back to Vaikunda, 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 continues 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 will 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 will have  to be first offered to Lord Varaha  and then only they should be offered to Tirupathi Lord Srinivasa. The first offertory (Prasad) will 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 to seek  his blessings will not get fulfilled.