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Anubhavams with Thiruvengadamudaiyan: report of a recent trip to Thirumalai by Sri Haresh Balasubramaniam of Simhapuri

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Thu Sep 27 2001 - 18:21:52 PDT

Dear BhakthAs:

Sri Haresh Balasubramaniam of Singapore is a very dear 
friend of mine,who has helped immensely in creating 
the home pages for ThiruvEnakdamudayAn , Swamy Desikan and
MaNavALa MaamnugaL .

He has also created a unique web page for Lord Krishna 
with great Bhakthi . VeNNai ThAzhi KrishNan is his aarAdhana
Moorthy. He is also working on  special web pages for 
Swamy AlavandhAr and Swamy NaaTa MunigaL. 

He had a short (4 days long) but wonderful trip to 
ThiruvEngadam and few other dhivya dEsams recently. 
He asked me to post this report on his trip to 
Thirumalai in particular on the eve of Lord SrinivAsan's
Thirunakshathram tomorrow ( PurattAsi SravaNam).

I am pleased to do so.

Please do not miss browsing the web pages that he
has constructed for ThiruvEngadamudayAn .There are
some treasures of Images thanks to the help of
Sri TT DevasthAnam from their web pages ,The URL
for this growing web pages is :

On His Thirunakshathram day, It will be a BhAgyam for all
of us to have the Sevai of the Lord and recollection of
the AzhwAr/AchAryAL's Sri Sookthis ,when we could not 
be there in person.

Jayathu Jayathu Sri VenkatEsa:

Daasan , Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SatakOPan

> asmad gurubhyo namah:
>Sri Srinivasa Parabrahmane namah:

> My Experiences with the Lord of Seven Hills
>                  By 
>Haresh Balasubramaniam,Singapore
> Our holy scriptures have proclaimed :
> VenkatAdri Samam Sthanam BrahmAndE Nasti Kinchana 
> VenkatEsha SamO Deva Na BhUtO Na Bhavishyati 
>There is no place in this universe equal to the Venkatachalam Hill. There
has not been in the past, nor will there be in future, a God 
>equal to Venkatesha 
> In light of this quote, I wish to take a few minutes to narrate adiyen's
little but sweet experiences with the Lord of Tirumala. Adiyen is in the
habit of maintaining an image of Lord Sri Krishna in Vennai Thaazhi Kolam (
butter thief) since age 16. I had taken over this murthy from my revered
uncle Sri PGP Ramakrishnan who was responsible for introducing me to the
spiritual path. 
> At that age religion was something new I was very much interested in
learning how to maintain the image of Lord Krishna. Some 6 years went by
with my limited understanding and then a sudden desire to do alankaram for
Lord Krishna arose.I was in a fix so I meditated upon Lord Venkateswara and
offered a prayer.
> Within days a video cassette of the TTD Brahmotsavam was received from my
grandmother.On the day when Lord Venkateswara comes in procession on the
Chandra Prabha Vahana, he is dressed as Vennai Thaazhi Krishnan.I took that
as a blessing from The Lord Himself and tried to the best of my ability to
emulate the alankaram and amazingly the resemblence is somewhat close! Such
is the mercy of the Lord.I have since named my Aradhana murthy as Venkata
> The year 2001 has been one of many trials and tribulations in terms of
career, personal relationships etc.It had been six years since my last visit
to Tirumala and I was most depressed.
> One day after doing puja for Lord Venkata Krishna with Thulasi and Vishnu
Sahasranama Parayanam, I begged of the Lord to grant me a signal to assure
me that He was with me. The next day I visited a client at his residence and
a mutual friend of ours stopped by. This gentlemen was a devout Vaishnava
and entered in a radiant manner wearing the symbol of Vishnu on his
forehead. He then looked at me and said,
> " Haresh, I have been thinking of you for a month. By the way here is
something I want to share with you"
> From his pocket he took out a small bottle containing the Tirumanjana
Theertham of Lord Venkateswara which his manager had presented him two days
before, after a visit to Tirumala. This was the day before my prayer to the
Lord. I had lost my sense of speech for a moment !
> In my office I have a photo of Lord Venkateswara and one mid -August
morning, in the height of depression, I cried inside and prayed :
> " Srimannarayana! I cannot take the emotional stress and I long to see
you! Without you my life has no meaning "
> With that I mustered up enough courage to walk up to my manager and tell
him that I was taking four days off to go to Tirumala for darshan and
strangely unlike his usual self, he agreed at once granted me time off. So
off I went on a flight to Chennai the following week. Upon arrival
arrangements for my Trip to Tirumala were finalized. Now being a Saturday,
and my Tirumala visit being on Tuesday, I had time on my hands.
>Together with my unlce Sri Ramakrishnan, I set off in a car to Tirchy on
Saturday. We then spent the night at a hotel and  proceed straight to Sri
Rangam int he morning and stopped for refreshments at the home of a Sri
Vaishnava Vidwan .Just as we finished our drinks the vidwan said , " Jeeyar
Swami(Poundrigapuram Andvan) wants to see you right away ".I was amazed as
the meeting with Jeeyar Swami ( head of a Vaishnavite Monastary)was not
scheduled till late afternoon; but who is to question the Lord's plans right? 
> So after the audience with jeeyar , I was taken on a guided tour of
Ranganathaswami Temple and lunch was provided for at the Vidwan's house.We
left Sri Rangam by 3 PM and set off for Thanjavur & Thiruvarur. Along the
way my uncle said, " Haresh, since we are already here there is something
you must see before we go to Thirvarur  ". I was wondering what could he
have in mind ?Just then it struck me between Thanjavur and Thiruvarur lies
the famous city of Kumakonam. And in the heart of Kumbakonam are housed some
famous Vishnu temples. Throughout my journey I had been constantly chanting
the mangala shlokam of Lord Srinivasa( Venkateswara) of Tirumala :
> Sriya: KaanthAya KalyANa NidhayEarthinAm
>Sri VenkatanivAsAya SrinivAsAya MangaLam 
>  May all auspiciousness shower on SrinivAsA of Venkatagiri! He is the Lord
of Lakshmi and is the rich mine of all auspiciousness. He is the
immeasurable wealth for all those , who seek Him .He has chosen the
Venkatam hills for Hiseternal residence . 
> The first temple we stopped at was that of Oppilliappan who is considered
by the Vaishnavas as the elder brother of Lord Venkateswara and this
Oppiliappan Sannidhi as the dakshina tirumala.There in all His majesty stood
Lord Oppiliappan in the same pose as that of Lord Venkateswara.
Coincidentally the Lord here is also addressed as Srinivasa just like
Tirumala.I will elaborate further on the other temples in a separate
article.This was at 6.30 the same evening as I saw Lord Rangantha.
> Now after that we made our way to Thiruvarur where we spent the night .We
run a wedding hall in my maternal great grandparents' name there.I was given
a tour of the place by the manager and when I went to the second floor I saw
a signboard that read 
> Now this was a sign from the Lord saying that he was with us whenever we
thought of him. Just for the benefit of the devotees who aren't familiar
with some the protocols at Tirupati, Lord Srinivasa there attends kalyana
utsavam or marriage ceremony undertaken by his devotees everyday.That is why
the Lord In Tirumala is known as Kalyana Murthy as he is always presenting
Himself as Bridegroom. So it is  little coincidence that the signboard
reminded me of that practice in Tirumala.
> So after a night in Thiruvarur and visiting other temples in the nearby
area (Thirukannamangai and Thirucheari) we made our way back to Madras. We
rested for one night and set of to Tirupati the next morning.
>On Tuesday Morning at about 10 AM, we arrived in Thiruchanur where the
consort of Lord Venkateswara , Padmavati is located. As we entered the
temple ,I focused my mind on the thoughts of Mahalakshmi and how she is ever
living on the chest of Lord Srinivasa. As the crowds moved,I was blessed
with the darshan of Padmavati Thayar in her full splendour bedecked in
priceless jewels. Next was our visit to Tirumala Hill itself where the Lord
resides in His full majesty.We made our way quickly to the queue complex
after darshan of Varaha Swamy and by 1 PM we made our way to the main temple.
>Within half an hour of waiting, we were allowed to proceed to the main
sanctum of Lord Venkateswara.The chanting of "Srinivasa Govinda
Venkataramana Govinda " vibrated throughout the seven hills.Once we entered
the gateway of the temple the fragrance of ghee, green camphor ,musk and
sandalwood paste filled the air .This at once helped to focus our mind for
the meeting with Lord Venkateswara.Within minutes, the crowds moved on and
we were in the sanctum sanctorum or garbagriha there Lord Balaji stood in
His full majesty.His upper two arms bore the sudarshana chakra and
panchajanya conchshell, one of his lower hands rested on his knees while the
other hand was pointing towards His feet.
>It is said in the scriptures that Lord Ranganatha of Sri Rangam represents
the pranavam or  the primordial sound of the vedas.Likewise the Lord of
Kanchi known as Varadaraja is the personification of one of the Narayana
Mantras.But it is Lord Venkateswara that reperesents the highest truth
enshrined in the Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 18, V 66 :
>We can see that the Lord has prescribed many ways to attain HIM.However in
this day and age and given the times and circumstances under which we live
today,once cannot simply follow the other rigid and ancient principles such
as Ashtanga Yoga,Agnihotram or even 100% Bhakthi Yoga is not possible as
much discipline and paraphernalia is required for such things.However 100%
self surrender, sharanagati is recommended by Lord Krishna.This is why Lord
Venkateswara shows one hand to His feet thus illustrating the importance of
surrender.Likewsie the other hand resting on His kneees illustrate that he
will reduce our sufferings to knee deep length if we surrender to him
>I must say that the feeling of getting the darshan of Lord Venkateswara is
a truly blissful experience and should be encountered first hand by
everyone.After a satisfying darshan and purchase of the famous Tirupati
Laddu, we proceeded for lunch after which we set off for Madras.
>On Wednesday Morning I made a visit to Sri Parthasarathy Temple ( Krishna
Temple) in Madras and did some last minute shopping.In the course of my
shopping trip we were passing through T-Nagar where Thirumala Tirupati
Devasthanams has a information center and meditation hall.All of a sudden my
driver looked at me and said, " sir, I would like to take you to TTD center
as we are near, many devotees who cannot afford a Tirumala Yatra come here
to offer their prayers ".I obliged and when I entered the meditation hall, I
was practically crying tears of joy .There in the far end was a sculpture of
Lord Balaji with silver kavacham being offered Thulasi Archana.Hearing the
chanting of the Vaikhanasa Priests filled me with joy and truly I felt
blessed and it was as though the Lord was telling me, " I know your trip was
short but I am here with you, have a good journey home!". It is amazing the
way in which the Lord works.None can understand His mysterious ways.
>As a Conclusion to this posting, I would like to request all devotees, to
visit the Website prepared by me on Lord Venkateswara and offer any kind
inputs on the site.The URL is as follows :
>May Lord Venkateswara Bless us always and shower HIS paripurna anugrahams
on all of us.Loka samastha sukino bhavanthu! Om Shanti Shanti Shantih:!
>Haresh Balasubramaniam
>27th September 2001
>p.s : Dear Sri VS, pls post on Bhakthi group on this Thiruvengadamudaiyan
TN .Thanks! 

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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