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Devotees of Lord Srinivasa and early temple foundation - from Skanda Purana - Venkatachala Mahatmya

  1. Appearance of Lord Srinivasa to tribal devotee Vasu
  2. Darshan of Lord Srinivasa by boy devotee Rangadasa
  3. Building of the first temple shrine and worship by devotee Rangadasa
  4. Devotee Rangadasa born as devotee prince Tondaman
  5. Darshan of Lord Srinivasa by devotee prince Tondaman
  6. Prince Tondaman becomes the king
  7. Lord Varaha, through Vasu, instructs king Tondaman to install His idol
  8. King Tondaman installs the idol of Lord Varaha
  9. King Tondaman builds temple structures for Lord Srinivasa
  10. Lord Srinivasa saves king Tondaman from a sin
  11. King Tondaman sees potter devotee Bhima attaining Vishnu Loka
  12. King Tondaman performs penance and attains Vishnu Loka


Appearance of Lord Srinivasa to tribal devotee Vasu:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 9): Story of devotee Vasu and his son Vira: Lord Varaha told Bhudevi how the Vimana (Temple structure) of Lord Srinivasa will be built in future at Venkatachala. A hunter named Vasu lived in Venkatachala who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. He maintained a field of Syamaka rice. He used to offer Naivedya (food offering) to the Lord daily. The Lord was accompanied by Sridevi and Bhudevi. The Naivedya consisted of cooked Syamaka rice mixed with honey from the forest. Vasu had a devoted wife by name Chitravati who gave birth to a son named Vira. They lived happily in the forest (devoting their lives to the worship of Lord Vishnu).

Vira consumes the Naivedya of the Lord without the knowledge of Vasu: One day Vasu kept the Syamaka grains to be offered to the Lord with his son Vira and went to the forest to collect honey. Vira cooked the Syamaka grains, fried them and ground them into flour. Then he offered the flour to Lord Vishnu at the root of a tree. Thereafter he consumed the prasada.

Vasu becomes angry and tries to punish Vira; Lord Vishnu appears before him: When Vasu returned from the forest with honey, he saw that the Syamaka rice was already consumed by Vira. He was furious and took up his sword to kill his son. When he raised his hand with the sword, Lord Vishnu Who abided in that tree caught his hand from behind. Vasu saw the Lord with conch, discus and mace with only half of his figure visible. He threw away his sword and prostrated before the Lord. He asked the Lord why He acted in this manner (preventing him from punishing his son). The Lord told that his son Vira was also a great devotee of Him and even more favourite than Vasu. Hence He appeared before him. The Lord told that He abides everywhere on the bank of Swami Pushkarini. Vasu was delighted on hearing this.


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Darshan of Lord Srinivasa by boy devotee Rangadasa:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 9): Arrival of devotee Rangadasa at Venkatachala: Rangadasa was a twelve year old boy. He was a Shudra by birth but a devotee of Lord Vishnu since childhood. He came to Narayanapuri from Pandya country. At Narayanapuri he worshipped Lord Varaha. There he heard about Venkatadri, the place where Lord Vishnu is staying. He started his journey from Narayanapuri and reached river Suvarnamukhi. He took his bath there. Then crossing the river he came to lake Kamala. He took his bath in the lake and worshipped Lord Krishna and Balarama installed on its banks. Thereafter passing through the forest he came to Chakra Teertha, the place where Lord Shiva is worshipped. He took his bath in the Teertha and started for Venkatadri. A Vaikhanasa joined him on the way and both climbed the holy hill. They came to Swami Pushkarini. Rangadasa took his bath there.

Rangadasa had the darshan of Lord Srinivasa: After taking bath in the Swami Pushkarini, he visited the tree in the forest on the bank of Swami Pushkarini where the Lord was residing along with Sridevi and Bhudevi. He had the darshan of the Lord there. The Lord was being worshipped by a sage called Gopinatha. Garuda of yellowish blue colour was spreading his wings over His head. The Lord was holding Shankha, Chakra, Gada, Khadga and Saranga bow with arrows in His hands. Rangadasa was filled with wonder.


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Building of the first temple shrine and worship by devotee Rangadasa:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 9): Rangadasa builds the first temple shrine at Venkatachala: After the darshan of Lord Srinivasa, Rangadasa wished to serve the Lord. He decided to build a flower garden for the Lord and start the worship with food offering. He made the Vaikhanasa (who accompanied him) prepare the Naivedya and offer it to the Lord everyday. He cleared the forest around and built a wall of stones around the Lord's place. Lord Srinivasa told him not to cut two trees - a Chincha (Tamarind) tree where He resided and a Champaka tree where Devi Lakshmi resided. Around the stone walls Rangadasa built flower gardens. He planted Mallika, Karavira, Padma, Jasmine varieties like Mandara and Malati, Tulasi and Champaka. He dug wells to water the garden.

Worship of Lord Srinivasa by devotee Rangadasa: After building the stone wall and flower garden Rangadasa started worshipping the Lord. Everyday he used to pluck flowers himself, make garlands with them and offer it to the Lord through the priest. The priest garlanded Lord Srinivasa, Sri Devi and Bhu Devi with the garlands prepared by Rangadasa. Thus Rangadasa continued his worship and in this way seventy years passed.

Rangadasa distracted by Gandharvas; Feels ashamed: One day a gandharva came to bathe in the lake along with several maidens. Rangadasa was distracted by their amorous sports. After the gandharva left, Rangadasa discarded the garlands, took bath in the lake and again plucked flowers from the garden. But he was late for the worship and the garlands were not ready. The Vaikhanasa asked him the reason. Rangadasa felt ashamed and remained silent

Lord Srinivasa comforts Rangadasa and gives him boon: Rangadasa was ashamed for his mental distraction (and consequent lapse in the service of the Lord). Lord Srinivasa comforted Rangadasa saying that he has no reason to feel ashamed because it was the Lord Who has deluded him. In fact he has conquered lust. Also Lord Srinivasa gave him the boon that he will be born as a king in the next birth. He will enjoy worldly pleasures and also build Prakara and Vimana (Temple structures) for the Lord. Finally he would attain salvation. Till then he should continue his service till he casts off his mortal body. This is the way of salvation for the Lord's devotees who have desires. Rangadasa was delighted to hear this and served the Lord with his flower garden for more than hundred years.


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Devotee Rangadasa born as devotee prince Tondaman:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 9): Devotee Rangadasa born as prince Tondaman: Devotee Rangadasa served Lord Srinivasa for more than hundred years. Then he cast off his mortal body and went to heaven. He was born in the Lunar race as prince Tondaman. He was the son of Suvira and Nandini. He was intelligent, brave and full of good qualities. He had devotion for Lord Vishnu from the age of five. He married Padma, the daughter of a Pandya king and later hundred ladies through Swayamvara. He lived like the Lord of the Devas at Narayanapura.


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Darshan of Lord Srinivasa by devotee prince Tondaman:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 9): Tondaman goes for hunting near Venkatadri: One day Tondaman went for hunting near Venkatadri after taking permission from his father. His trail took him to Lord Srinivasa in the following way:

(a) Herd of elephants: Tondaman saw a herd of elephants with the leader elephant in rut. He pursued that elephant and crossed river Suvarnamukhari.

(b) Hermitage of sage Suka: He came to the hermitage of sage Suka and bowed to the sage. After taking permission from the sage he went from forest to forest.

(c) Anthill of goddess Renuka: The king then came to the anthill where goddess Renuka abided. Tondaman bowed to the goddess and went towards west.

(d) Parrot of five colours: In the forest the king saw a parrot of five colours. The parrot was chanting the name of Srinivasa. The king pursued the parrot. The parrot flew towards the mountain. The king climbed the mountain and kept pursuing the parrot. He saw many caves, crevasses and peaks all around.

(e) Syamaka field of Nishada: The king then came to a Syamaka field belonging to a Nishada (forest tribe). The Nishada honoured the king. The king enquired about the parrot. The forester told that the parrot belonged to Lord Srinivasa and is brought up by Sridevi and Bhudevi.

Tondaman had the darshan of Lord Srinivasa: It was time for the Nishada to offer Naivedya (food offering) to the Lord with Syamaka rice mixed with honey. The Nishada prepared the Naivedya in a mango leaf and started for the residence of the Lord. The king joined him. Both of them reached Swami Pushkarini. They had their holy bath there.

The Lord was abiding at the root of a Srivriksha on the bank of Swami Pushkarini. His colour was like Atasi flower. His eyes were like Lotus petals. He had four arms and adorned with crown and various ornaments. He was holding Shankha, Chakra, Gada, Khadga, Saranga bow and arrows. He was wearing yellow garments and had divine garlands over his neck. He was accompanied by Sridevi and Bhudevi. His lotus feet were hidden under an anthill upto the knees.

Seeing the Lord the king went into ecstasy with his palms joined in reverence. The Nishada offered the Naivedya to the Lord and gave half to the king as prasada. Then, drinking water from Swami Pushkarini they returned to the Syamaka field. The king spent that night there. In the early morning he left.


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Prince Tondaman becomes the king:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 9): Tondaman receives blessings from divinities: Prince Tondaman while returning to his city from the place of Nishada received blessings from divinities soon after which he became the king:

(a) Tondaman receives boon from goddess Renuka: While returning from the place of the Nishada, Tondaman again visited the anthill of goddess Renuka. Tondaman worshipped the goddess on Chaitra Shukla Paksha Navami with cooked rice and ghee along with other food items. He also offered animal sacrifice and flavoured liquor to the goddess. The goddess became pleased and gave boon to Tondaman speaking through a person. The goddess said that Tondaman will rule for a long time and his kingdom will be free from enemies. Also the kingdom will have the favour of the Devas.

(b) Tondaman takes bath in Padmasaras which had the blessings of Devi Lakshmi: After visiting goddess Renuka, Tondaman visited sage Suka in the forest and asked about the glory of Kamalasaras (Lake Kamala or Padma).

Sage Suka recounted that once Devi Lakshmi due to a curse by sage Durvasa descended upon earth along with Lord Vishnu. She reached the Kamala or Padma lake and performed penance for ten thousand divine years. The devas who were searching for the goddess came to the lake and eulogized Her. Devi Lakshmi became pleased. She gave them the boon whereby they will regain their regions after vanquishing the demons. She also declared that those persons who take bath in this lake and eulogize Her will gain prosperity, learning and finally attain salvation. The Devi then returned to Vaikuntha along with Lord Vishnu.

Sage Suka told the king to take bath in the lake before meeting his father. Tondaman took his bath in that holy lake as per the advise of the sage and then returned to his city mounted on a horse.

Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 10): Tondaman becomes the king: The king, the father of Tondaman, made him the crown prince for three years due to his great qualities. Later his father made him the king and retired to the forest along with his wife.


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Lord Varaha, through Vasu, instructs king Tondaman to install His idol:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 10): Lord Varaha appears before Vasu as a boar: Lord Varaha assumed the form of a boar and grazed in the Syamaka field of Vasu at night. Vasu used to see its footprints during the day, followed it, but could not locate it. So one night he lay guard in the field with his bow and arrows. He saw the magnificient boar whose lustre was like million moons. Vasu took up his bow and roared like a lion. The boar went away from the field. Vasu started following it and followed it throughout the night. Then he saw the boar enter inside an anthill. The lustre of the boar made the anthill appear like a mountain with the radiance of the full moon behind it. Vasu dug the anthill but seeing the boar he fell down unconscious

Lord Varaha gives instructions to the son of Vasu: Seeing his father falling down unconscious, the son of Vasu who was a great devotee of Vishnu eulogized Lord Varaha. The Lord became pleased. He gave instructions to the son by possessing Vasu as a medium. Lord Varaha said that He resides permanently in that anthill. The king should be told to install and worship Him there. The anthill should be consecrated with the milk of a black cow. A rock slab lying within the anthill should be sculpted as an idol of Lord Varaha with Bhudevi seated on His left lap. The idol should be installed by brahmanas and Vaikhanasas. Everyday the idol should be bathed with the milk of a dark tawny-coloured cow upto the foot pedestal. Walls should be built on the northern and southern sides. After giving His message, Lord Varaha left Vasu and he regained normal consciousness.

Vasu informs king Tondaman about the message of Lord Varaha: Vasu thereafter went to king Tondaman and informed the king about the message of Lord Varaha. King Tondaman became surprised as well as delighted.


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King Tondaman installs the idol of Lord Varaha:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 10): King Tondaman gets a dream from Lord Srinivasa: After getting the message from Vasu, king Tondaman consulted his ministers. He decided to go to Venkatadri. He commanded the cowherds to bring their black and tawny-coloured cows near that place.

Then at night the king had a dream from Lord Srinivasa. In the dream Lord Srinivasa showed the king a cave (which will act as an underground path to Venkatadri). In the dream the king also saw that the Lord had strewn sprouts from the city to the cave entrance (to serve as an identification path to the cave). In the morning the king informed the ministers about it. He also saw that the sprouts were indeed there.

King Tondaman installs the idol of Lord Varaha: At an auspicious hour king Tondaman proceeded towards the cave in his horse following the sprouts. He reached the cave. He bathed the anthill with the milk of the cow as instructed by the Lord and built boundary walls.

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King Tondaman builds temple structures for Lord Srinivasa:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 10): Lord Srinivasa gives further instructions to king Tondaman: While king Tondaman was building the boundary walls (while installing the idol of Lord Varaha) Lord Srinivasa instructed the king to preserve two trees - a Tintini (Tamarind) which is His abode and a Champaka which is the abode of Devi Lakshmi. Lord Srinivasa told the king to build temple boundary walls for Him with ornamented gateway. The Lord told that in future a king of the lineage of Tondaman named Narayana will build the Vimana and adorn it with gold.

King Tondaman builds temple structures for Lord Srinivasa: King Tondaman built the temple wall of Lord Srinivasa and worshipped Him along with Vaikhanasas. Everyday the king used to come through the cave path and bowed to the Lord.


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Lord Srinivasa saves king Tondaman from a sin:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 10): Brahmana Virasarman keeps his pregnant wife with the king: There was an excellent brahmana named Virasarman. He belonged to Vasistha gotra and was a Samavedin. Once he was going to a pilgrimage to Kashi with his wife Lakshmi. On the way his wife became pregnant. The brahmana came to the king and requested him to look after her till he returns from pilgrimage. The king accomodated her in the inner apartments and sanctioned food grains and allowances for six months.

Brahmana Virasarman returns after two years: Brahmana Virasarman visited Prayaga, Kashi, Gaya, Ayodhya, Badarivana and Salagrama. He took bath in the holy Teerthas and performed the appropriate rites. In this way two years elapsed and then the brahmana returned to the king.

The brahmana lady dies in the meantime: The king had forgotten about the wife of the brahmana. Her sanction of foodgrains came to an end. The proud brahmana lady dies in the house and her body became dry.

King Tondaman takes refuge of Lord Srinivasa: King Tondaman became frightened. He went to the Lord's place through the underground cave path during an odd hour. Seeing the king at that odd hour Sridevi and Bhudevi hid themselves. The king met Lord Srinivasa and told him about his predicament. Lord Srinivasa instructed the king to take the dead body of the brahmana lady to lake Asthisaras and bathe it on the Dwadasi day.

By the grace of Lord Srinivasa the dead wife of brahmana comes back to life: As instructed by Lord Srinivasa, the king set the ladies in palanquins along with the dead body of the brahmana's wife, and took them to the lake. The ladies bathed in the lake and immersed the dead body of the brahmana's wife in that water. The brahmana's wife came back to life and united with his husband. The brahmana came to know about the glory of Venkatesa and blessed the king.

Lord Srinivasa instructs the king to worship him at midday: Thereafter Lord Srinivasa instructed the king to worship Him during midday with golden lotuses after the food offering. Then his desires will be fulfilled. Lord Srinivasa also told the king not to come during odd hours. Thereafter the king started worshipping the Lord during midday with golden lotuses.


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King Tondaman sees potter devotee Bhima attaining Vishnu Loka:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 10): King Tondaman sees potter devotee Bhima attaining Vishnu Loka: Everyday king Tondaman used to worship the Lord with golden lotuses during the midday. One day he saw Tulasi flowers made of clay near his golden lotuses. The king enquired the Lord about the clay flowers. Lord Srinivasa told about a potter devotee in Kurvagrama who worships Him in his house with clay flowers. He accepts those flowers. On hearing this the king went to Kurvagrama and met the potter devotee Bhima. The king enquired about his mode of worship but the potter devotee was unwilling to reveal it. However Bhima remembered a boon from Lord Srinivasa whereby he will attain salvation when his worship becomes revealed and the king comes to meet him. That day had arrived. The potter and his wife casted off their mortal bodies and attained divine forms. A heavenly chariot came there and they had the darshan of the Lord. Getting into that chariot they went to the abode of Lord Vishnu. The king saw all this and was delighted.


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King Tondaman performs penance and attains Vishnu Loka:

Sr Venkateswara Venkatachala Mahatmya (ch 10): King Tondaman performs penance and attains Vishnu Loka: Seeing potter devotee Bhima attaining salvation, king Tondaman crowned his son Srinivasa as the king and retired from the world. He performed a great penance. Lord Hari appeared before him for granting boon. The king prostrated before the Lord and asked for a place in His world which is devoid of death and old age. The Lord granted the boon to His devotee. A heavenly chariot arrived and the king casted off his mortal body. The king thereby attained Sarupya with the Lord. The gandharvas eulogized the king who attained the world of Vishnu which is devoid of delusion, death and old age, and from where there is no return to the world.


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Bharatavarsha - The Land of Gods and Sages:

1. Stotras:
Initial: Ganesha - Hanuman - Gurudeva - Gayatri
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu - Narasimha - Rama - Krishna) - Shiva
Tridevis: Saraswati - (Lakshmi - Tulasi - Bhoomi) - Parvati
Others: Murugan - Surya - Ganga - Yamuna - Narmada - Others
Final: Vedas - Brahman

2. Pilgrimages: Pilgrimages

3. Festivals: Festivals

4. Scriptures: Scriptures

5. Saints: Ramakrishna - Vivekananda - Ramana - Saints

6. Sadhana: Sadhana

7. Sanskrit: Sanskrit

8. Nature: Nature

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May there be Peace in Brahman,
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May there be Peace Indeed within Peace,
Giving Me the Peace which Grows within Me,
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