Saturday, March 14, 2009


Thirupathi Temple Towers in Dawn<br />Thirupathi Temple Towers in Dawn

Thirupathi Venkateswara:

Thirupathi Venkatachalapathi is the living God for most of the Hindus. Saivaits, Vaisnavites and all other sects of Hindus worship Thirupathy Lord Venkateswara. Accorsing to Bhagavan Ragavendra Lord Venkatachalapaty of Thirupathi is the ultimate God. A visit to the Thirupathi gives a break through in life. He is considered as Lord of Prosperity.

Thirupathi Venkatesa Perumal With Godess LakshmiThirupathi Venkatesa Perumal With Godess Lakshmi

The temple of Sri Venkateswara has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious lore. The Sastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns unequivocally declare that, in the Kali Yuga, one can attain mukti, only by worshipping Venkata Nayaka or Sri Venkateswara.
The benefits acquired by a pilgrimage to Venkatachala are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. In these epics, Sri Venkateswara is described as the great bestower of boons.

Golden Thirupati Temple KopuramGolden Thirupati Temple Kopuram

There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala
With his conch he creates the cosmic sound from which the creation has manifested.And with his disc he destroys ignorance and ego in the beings,thus liberating them. Lord Venkateswara is believed by followers to be a very merciful deity form of Vishnu, being the fulfiller of every wish made to him by the devotees.

According to Rig Vedha, the person, devoid of wealth and vision, is implored to go to the hill which burns up all evil (vikata for Venkata) and drives away all obstacles to peace and prosperity.

The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati Hill, and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini. It is in Andhra Pradesh. India.

Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas, of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana. The Tirupathi Tirumala hills comprising of the seven hills of Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri are the abode of the Tirumala Venkateswara temple. The hill town (Tirumala) and the temple (Venkateswara Temple) are located on the Seshadri or Seshachalam hill. The temple complex comprises a smaller traditional temple building along with a number of modern queue and pilgrim lodging sites.

Temple Tank (Pushkarni) in nightTemple Tank (Pushkarni) in night

The varied names ascribed to the main deity are Balaji, Srinivasa, Perumal, Venkateswara and Venkatachalapathy. The goddess Sri or Lakshmi (Vishnu's consort) resides on the chest of Venkateswara, and thus he is also known by the epithet Srinivasa (the one in whom Sri resides). Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Padmavathi reside on his either chests. The deity is considered the Kali yuga varada, that is 'the boon-granting Lord of Kali yuga' (the fourth and final age of the Hindu cycle of ages). The temple is held in particular reverence by the Vaishnava sect of southern India, known as the Sri Vaishnava.

Deity VenkateshwaraDeity Venkateshwara

For worshippers, the deity Venkateswara symbolises goodness. When people travel to Tirupati, they chant "Yedu Kondala Vada Venkataramana Govinda Govindaa" (in Telugu), "Yezhu Malai Vaasa Venkataramana Govinda Govindaa" (in Tamil) or "Tirupati Thimmappana Padakke Govinda" (in Kannada).

The Holy mantra chanted is Om Namo Venkateshaya. "The Venkateswara Suprabhatam", the morning recital of prayers and songs of awakening, is written by Prativadi Bhayankaram Annan of Kanchipuram.[4] Several composers composed beautiful kirtans about Lord Venkateswara, the most notable amongst them being Tyagaraja and Annamacharya. Annamacharya is a legendary devotee of Lord Venkateswara and composed songs almost exclusively about the deity.

Ramanuja AlwarRamanuja Alwar

Ramanuja Alwar got the Darshan of Lord while climbing Thirumala. He did various reforms in the temple poja procedures. Even now they are practiced in the temple.

Sri Venkatachala Mahatyam is the most accepted legend with respect to Tirumala and provides the history of the temple across the various yugas.

Lord is believed to have manifested on its own without any human endeavour (Swayambhu)
Discovery of the Venkateswara deity is described as an act of divine providence: there was a huge anthill at Tirupati, and one day a local farmer heard a voice from the heavens asking him to feed the ants. By chance the local king heard the voice and began supplying milk for the ants himself. His compassion resulted in the liquid uncovering the magnificent deity form of Venkateswara hidden beneath the anthill.

Thirupathi Temple Tower in day lightThirupathi Temple Tower in day light

Thondaiman, ruler of the ancient Thondaimandalam (present day Kanchipuram) (capital: Kanchipuram, just south of modern day Chennai), is believed to have first built the temple after visualising Lord Vishnu in his dream. He built the Gopuram and the Prakhara, and arranged for regular prayers to be conducted in the temple. Later on the Chola dynasty vastly improved the temple and gave rich endowments.

To date, you will find the various Tamil Grantha script within the Temple prakara walls. The Sangam literature of Tamil such as that of Silapadikaram and Satanar Manimekalai, dated between 500BC and 300AD, mentions Thiruvengadam (now named Tirupati) by the appellation "Nediyon Kunram" as the northernmost frontier of the Tamil kingdoms . In fact, a fairly detailed description of the deity is given in lines 41 to 51 of book 11 of the Silapadikaram

Many devotees have their head tonsured as an offer. The daily amount of hair collected is over a ton. The hair thus gathered is sold by the temple organization a few times a year by public auction to international buyers for use as hair extensions and in cosmetics, bringing over $6 mln to the temple's treasury.

It is the richest Hindu temple. Devotees offer a portion of their earnings to the Thirupathi Venkateswara. They believe what ever the amount given to the Lord returns back to them in greater magnitude.

Laddu is the world famous prasadam given at Tirumala Temple.[13] Many other delicious prasadams are also available including curd rice, pulihora(tamarind rice in telugu), vada and Chakkera-pongali (sweet pongal in telugu). Free meals are given daily to the pilgrims, and on Thursdays, the Tirupavadai seva occurs, where food items are kept for naivedyam to Lord Srinivasa.

Suprabath is a popular prayer song on Lord Venkateswara of Thirupathi. The other popular songs on the Lord are Sri Venkatesa Stotram and Sri Venkatesa Prapatti.

Download Suprabath

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chidambaram Nataraja|Nataraj

Golden Roof of Chidambaram Nataraj Temple Golden Roof of Chidambaram Nataraj Temple

Nataraj Of Chidambaram

Nataraj - Ananada ThandavamNataraj - Ananada Thandavam

Lord Shiva in his manifestation of formlessness is worshiped in Chidambaram. According to Shivaits Puranas when the Lord Shiva was in a happy blissful mood he took the form of Nataraja (Nataraj). He continuously dances in a state of eternal bliss "Aananda thaandava", with his consort Sakthi or energy called Sivagami, the other form of him. In the course of ‘Anantha Thandava’ he took several other forms and created this Universe. He does this dance even now and takes new forms.

Chidambarm NatarajChidambarm Nataraj and Chidambara Rahasiyam

A curtain covers this space which when drawn reveals strands of golden ‘Vilva’ leaves hung to indicate the Lord’s presence. The curtain is dark on its exterior side (indicating ignorance) and bright red on the interior side (indicating wisdom and bliss).

The word Chidambaram derived from chit, meaning "consciousness", and ambaram, meaning "sky" (from aakasam or aakayam). It refers to the chidaakasam, the sky of consciousness, which is the ultimate aim one should attain according to all the Vedas and scriptures.

During the daily rituals, the Chief priest, parts the curtain, indicating the withdrawal of ignorance and reveals the space, and the Lord’s presence.

The Chidambara Rahasya, is hence representative of that time when one, in total surrender, allows God to intervene and remove our ignorance, even as we get to 'see and experience' His presence and hence – bliss.

In Hindu literature, Chidambaram is one of the five holiest Shiva temples representing five natural elements; Chidambaram is space.

Dikshitar, the priests of the temple are also called the 'Thillaivaazh Andhanar'. Dikshitar, meaning the priests who reside in Thillai and administer the worship and management of the Chidambaram temple, are considered the foremost amongst the devotees (Arupathu Mover) of the Lord Siva.

Chidambaram temple is an ancient and historic temple dedicated to Lord Shiva Nataraja and Lord Govindaraja Perumal, one of the few temples where both the Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities are enshrined in one place.

A unique feature of this temple is the image of Nataraja. It depicts the Lord Shiva as the Lord of the dance Bharatanatyam and is one of the few temples where Shiva is represented by an anthropomorphic murthi rather than the classic, anionic Lingam. The Cosmic Dance of Lord Nataraja symbolises the motion of the universe as sustained by Lord Shiva.

The Ananda Thaandava Of Nataraj

Sculpture of NatarajBeautiful Sculpture of Nataraj

In the Thillai forests resided a group of saints or 'rishis' who believed in the supremacy of magic and that God can be controlled by rituals and 'mantras' or magical words. The Lord strolls in the forest with resplendent beauty and brilliance, assuming the form of 'Pitchatanadar', a simple mendicant seeking alms. He is followed by his Grace and consort who is Lord Vishnu as Mohini. The rishis and their wives are enchanted by the brilliance and the beauty of the handsome mendicant and his consort.

On seeing their womenfolk enchanted, the rishis get enraged and invoke scores of serpents by performing magical rituals. The Lord as the mendicant lifts the serpents and dons them as ornaments on his matted locks, neck and waist. Further enraged, the rishis invoke a fierce tiger, which the Lord skins and dons as a shawl around his waist.

Thoroughly frustrated, the rishis gather all their spiritual strength and invoke a powerful demon Muyalakan - a symbol of complete arrogance and ignorance. The Lord wearing a gentle smile, steps on the demon's back, immobilizes him and performs the √Ānanda Thaandava (the dance of eternal bliss) and discloses his true form. The rishis surrender, realizing that this Lord is the truth and he is beyond magic and rituals.

Nataraj SculptureA Nataraj Sculpture

Legends say that Lord Shiva displayed his dance of bliss (the Aananda Thaandavam) to Pathanjali and Vyagrapathar. Sage Pathanjali wrote Suthras, the methods ways to perform Raja Yoga.

Temple complex spread over 40 acres (160,000 m2) in the heart of the city. It is one of the few examples of Dravidian architectural and sculptural styles built up over the centuries.

Chidambaram TempleChidambaram Temple

The temple has 9 gateways and four of these have towering pagodas or gopurams each with 7 levels in the East, South, West and North. The eastern pagoda has all the 108 postures (karnams) of the Indian dance form – Bharathanatyam sculpted on it.
Bharathanatyam dancers consider Chidambaram Nataraj as their invisible Guru. Every year dancing festival is conducted in the temple complex. Eminent dancers participate in the function.

Video on Chithambaram Nataraj. Thanks to Rajathikshithar.

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