Today's [11th June 2009] lecture is from the entrance to Main gopuram, in Tirumala.
At the entrance is Sankanidhi and Padumanidhi, who guard all the wealth of this temple. In the morning devotees are getting ready to get in for Tiruppavai sattumurai in the sannidhi. Periya Jeer Swamy personally selects and collects the devotees for this, at the main entrance. We will now understand the spots in the temple complex and their significance. We can see a crowbar hanging on the cieling inside the gopuram. As mentioned earlier, this is the crowbar, which Swami Anantalwan, threw at the Lord, Who had come in the form of a Boy! To remind this incident, even now the Lord is applied with refined camphor on the chin! As we enter inside, a large mantapam welcomes us. We find the statues of Venkata Raya, Achyuta Raya and his wife and Krishnadeva Raya and his Two wives. These are the people who have contributed enormous services to the temple. On the left, inside, we see Ranganayaka mantapam.
Sri Ranganatha had stayed here. In circa 1323, due to invasion, Sri Namperumal, Sri Utsavar of Srirangam temple, was carried out of Srirangam, by Swami Pillai Lokacharya and his disciples, to Jyotishkudi near Madurai, for safety reasons. After sometime, the Lord Sri Namperumal was carried and brought to Tirumala, after crossing forests in Kerala and Karnataka. Here He remained for many years. That is why this mantapam, where He stayed, is called Ranga mantapam or Ranganayakula mantapam. Near this we can see dwajasthambam and bali peetam.
We worship the Lord's Garuda flag. This temple has poojas performed in the Vaikanasa Agama procedure. Further inside is the point from where those who perform anga pradikshanam, start. We can prostrate here and see Lord Sri Ranganatha in reclining pose. On the left we can see the famous Meyan Venkatam [மேயான் வேங்கடம்], or Sri Varadaraja Perumal sannidhi.
After worshiping Him, we come to Sampangi pradikshanam along with dwajasthambam. Further inside there is yet another corridor [prakaram] which is called Vimana pradikshanam. In Sampangi pradikshanam, we can see Phoola bhavi [flower well] and Potu or the main kitchen.
Daily about 150,000 laddus are made here for offering to Lord and then distribution. [Inside is Potu Amma or Sri Madaippalli Nacchiyar, Who is Sri Maha Lakshmi!]. In the Phool bhavi, all the garlands after use by the Lord are to be deposted and so the name. After getting inside and crossing Sri Varadaraja Swami sannidhi, we find in the same sannidhi Adisesha, Vishvaksena, Garuda, Hanuman, Sugreeva and Angada. Crossing these we perform Vimana Pradikshanam. We see the grand Ananda Nilaya Vimanam.
Swami Ramanuja had inscribed Sri Varaha Swamy, Sri Narasimha Swamy, Sri Lakshmi Narayana and Sri Venkatesa on each of the Four sides. Sri Vimana Venkatesa is a famous image. Then we come to Sri Bhashyakara [Swami Ramnuja] sannidhi.
All the various poojas and sewas are as established by Swami Ramanuja. Then we can see Bangaru bhavi or the golden well.
After going round Vimana pradikshanam, we enter Tirumamani mantapam. Here only sannidhi Garuda is gracing.
Thirumamani mantapam cieling is gold plated. As we go further inside we see the guards Jaya and Vijaya.
Further inside are Three mantapams. First is Koluvu mantapam. Lord Sri Koluvu Srinivasa is gracing to supervse income/expenditure and listening to Panchangam daily.
After crossing Koluvu mantapam, we come to Ramar Medai [ராமர் மேடை], where Sri Rama had come.
Now Sri Rama idol is inside garbhagruha itself. After this we come across Sayana mantapam and Oonjal mantapam. Here Lord Sri Bhoga Srinivasa daily arrives in the night to sleep, through out the year, except in Margazhi, when Sri Krishna arrives to sleep. Next is garbhagruha. But before that we can see the step called Kulasekaran padi [குலசேகரன் படி]. Once we cross it we are in Vaikuntam! Thus in Tirumala, Kulasekaran padi separates Vaikuntam from Leela vibhuti or our Universe! Crossing this we can see the Lord Sri Venkatesa, standing as the Most Supreme Commander of all the Worlds.
Now we will start study of Chapter 17, which is like the main entrance to Chapter 18, where we have to understand sloka 66, wherein Saranagati is explained. Swami Alavandar condenses the theme of Chapter 17 in one sloka in his Gitarta Sangraha:
a´s¯astram.¯asuram.kr. tsnam.´s¯astr¯ıyam.gun.atah.pr. thak |
laks.an.am.´s¯astra siddhasya tridh¯a saptada´soditam || (21)
In Seventeenth Chapter, these are told. Which are? Krtsnam = without any residue, asastram = all those which are against Vedas, asuram = all are Asura quality. In Tirumala, 60 to 65 Vedic scholars are there to chant Vedas in front of the Lord. Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana vedas are chanted. We can see dedicated persons chanting Vedas or Sahasranama or Suprabhata or Nama sankeertana. By chanting Vedas, the country prospers. All opposed to Shastras are characteristic of Asura quality. Sastriyam = those in accordance with Shastras, gunata = according to qualities, prthak = are separate [in Three categories]. Those is accordance with Vedas are sub-classified into Satva, Rajas and Tamas qualities. Firstly, the Lord broadly classifies all actions as either in accordance with Vedas or against Vedas. The latter are all with Asura qualities. Those in accordance with Vedas are sub-classified into Three categories. Sastra siddhasya = those Karmas, like Yagna, accepted by Shastras, are, with , tridha = Three, laksanam = identifications. These are Om, tat and sat. Thus the Shastras accepted Three sub-classifications are further identified by Three classes. This is the theme of 17th Chapter. In Chapter 16, the Lord told Arjuna that we had to follow only Vedas, and against Vedas was Asura quality. Doing anything according to our will is Asura quality and doing as per Vedas is Deva quality. Arjuna raised a doubt, what if one did not do as he liked, but did with sincerity and not according to Vedas? This is a new category introduced by Arjuna! Can this person get some benefit at least? asked Arjuna. Sri Krishna retorted immediately. He emphatically says that whatever is done can be only in accordance with Vedas. There is no question of doing anything, with all sincerity, but not in accordance with Vedas!