God chooses to manifest himself in various holy spots on earth for the welfare of mankind. Sages and saints consecrate the icons in such places with their own spiritual fervour. The faith of generations of devotees across centuries is reflected by these temples as centres of immense spiritual power. Tirumala of Sri Balaji in Andhra Pradesh is perhaps the most influential and the busiest pilgrim centre in the world.
Every day tens of thousands of pilgrims visit the holy bills, the number going up manifold on festive days. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has, over the years, developed pilgrim amenities on a modern scale.
Articles in this issue lay emphasis on the greatness of the power that resides at Tirumala. The charming deity in the huge temple of sculptural beauty is a living testimony in South India that be daily fulfils the wishes of thousands of supplicants at his shrine.
Dr. V. Sadagopan makes elaborate references to the pasurams (devotional songs) of the great Vaishnavite Alwars who had surrendered themselves at the holy feet of Sri Venkatesvara. Famed musicians, such as Purandaradasa, Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar, have been the minstrels of the Lord, contributing to a great tradition of poetry and song in praise of the Lord.
The book also brings out important aspects of the temple’s antiquity and religious philosophy underlying the main murti of Sri Balaji. R K. Seshadri removes misconceptions that gained currency due to the writings of British bistorians. He identifies Sri Venkatesvara with Lord Vishnu, the major deity in the Vedas. He affirms that the Vedas have sanctioned idol worship, which came to be accepted all over the country.
The main philosophical implications of the deity and the shrine are explained by V. Ramamurthy (Renu) in his article on ‘The Power on the Sacred Hills.’ The age-old legends of the Lord find a place in another article. The stories, pertaining as they do to the Lord, are no doubt alluring.
Lord Venkatesvara at Tirupati has wrought miracles in the lives of thousands of people who have visited the temple regularly.
M. V. B. S. Sarma, who is the main contributor to this book, has displayed considerable ability and insight in giving a perspective to Vishnu’s greatness.
To help pilgrims find their way to the Lord of Seven Hills, a chapter on information for pilgrims has been included, which gives among others, details of sevas and prasadams as well as telephone and other online portal services.
From the Book
It is in the fitness of things that Tattvaloka, the internationally read spiritual magazine of Sri Sharada Peetham, is bringing out another new publication entitled Sri Balaji, The Glory of Lord Venkatesvara of Seven Hills.
The popularity of this wish-fulfilling shrine is such that year round devotees from all over India and also from abroad make regular visits, many of them at least once a year, to discharge vows, express gratitude for favours conferred, or seek providential intervention in a predicament and have darsan of the deity and pray for his kadaksham (grace).
Tirumala, the abode of the Lord, is well connected by all means of transport, and the number of pilgrims is increasing by leaps and bounds, somuchso that the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam authorities are coming out with more and more innovative arrangements for quick clearance of the multitudes and their comfortable stay on the hills.
Among the many legends around the origin of the shrine, one is that Lord Srinivasa is a manifestation of Lord Krishna is fulfillment of his mother Yasoda’s wish.
It is noteworthy that Adi Sankara is said to have established Dhanakarshana Yantra (power to attract wealth) in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine.
The gracious blessings of His Holiness Jagadguru Sankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji are conveyed to all who have helped to bring out this book.
Sri Rajan of Hong Kong his undertaken to sponsor the book. We thank him for the noble gesture.
May Goddess Sharada and the Jagadguru bless all our righteous endeavours.
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