What is Meaning of Venkateswara?
Lord Balaji is also famous as Govinda. Lord Balaji is very kind and helps anyone who prays to Him for help. Lord Balaji at Tirupati has performed numerable miracles. The surroundings of Tirumala awaken waves of bhakti of Lord Balaji and the name Govinda appears on the tongues of devotees. Millions of people visit Lord Balaji at Tirupati every year. The reason being that Lord Balaji is famous as the Lord helps during one’s misfortune. The same Lord Venkateshwara is soon going to descend in the city of Pune, and will similarly attract thousands of people to His temple which is now under construction at Pune through the efforts of His loving devotees and patrons.
In the following paragraphs we will see how the Lord so mercifully descended in this world to live on the top of Seshachalam, the mountain that is located at Tirumala.
Venkateshwara means the Lord, who frees us from all of our sins. Ven means sin, Kat means one who delivers. We remain in this world, suffering, birth after birth, because of our sinful reactions, now in this age of kali, it is an age of sin. It is an ocean of faults.
Who is Supreme Person?
One time, in Naimisharanya, the sages inquired from Shrila Suta Gosvami, to tell the story of the incarnation of the Lord, of the name Venkateshvara. He narrated the following: that at one time Shri Narada Muni (Narada Muni) travelled to Brahma-loka. Narada Muni being the self manifested son of Brahma, has that special power. narada muni bajaile radhika-ramana naame. He is always playing his veena, and chanting the holy names of Shri Radha-ramana, and he has the power to go anywhere and everywhere according to his will. And he can travel faster than the speed of light. He can go to Shvetadvipa, to Kailasa, to Brahmaloka, to Vaikuntha and come back to this earth, all in a matter of minutes. That is the power of his mystical devotion. So, he travelled to Satya-loka where Brahma was surrounded by many of the chief demigods. And Brahma said to Narada that he was feeling a very deep concern in his heart. Krishna says in the Gita that aham bija pradah pita - that He is the seed-giving Father of all living beings. Within this universe, the secondary father is Lord Brahma. So, he has love and concern for everyone in this universe, that he has created. “People in this age of Kali are so much covered by material desires. There will be such pollution and sin everywhere. What is their hope? We must call the Lord down, we must call him down to preside somewhere on this earth planet.”
“So Narada Muni, I am giving you an assignment. Somehow or the other, by your creative genius, devise a means of bringing Vishnu to earth.” What is guru-parampara? It's about following the order of the previous acharyas. So, Narada Muni came to the bank of the river Sarasvati, where there was an assembly of great sages who were performing a sacrifice for the welfare of humanity. There were various sages of various sects. They were all united together for this purpose. So, Narada Muni, he challanged them, “If this sacrifice really going to be powerful, to satisfy the Lord we must all be fixed in one goal together”. Shrila Prabhupada gives the example that if you throw a rock in a pond, it creates circles. If all the rocks go to the same center point, then all the circles are harmonious with each other. But if you put the rock in different places then all the circles will collide. So therefore to be a real unity, ther must be a common center- a common focus that we all agree, and on the basis of that common focus, of the center, of who we're trying to please, what we are trying to do, then all our disagreement can somehow or the other be neutralized. So Narada Muni challenged “You are all worshipping in the sacrifice, the Lord. But which Lord are you worshipping? We must all be unified 'Who is supreme?'”
So, some of those sages said, “Brahma is supreme.” Another said, “Shankar Bhagavan is supreme.” Another said, “No, Vishnu is supreme.” There was some disagreement. So Narada Muni said, “Let us resolve the disagreement by testing the Tri-murtis, to see who is perfectly situated in pure goodness, and whoever is, to the ultimate extent, then we will agree to worship only him.” So all the sages agreed. So then they had to decide who is going the person who tests the greatest, most powerful of all the gods. Vasistha Muni, Atri Muni and others said, “We are not going to perform this service. To test these powerful Lords, is like testing a red-hot coal by touching it. We'll be burnt. But we know who has the power to do so. It is the son of Lord Brahma himself. - Bhrigu Muni (Bhrigu Muni)”. Bhrigu Muni did not like this idea (devotees laugh). But everyone would appealing to him, “Please! This is so important for the welfare of all the world.” So Bhrigu Muni accepted.
Bhrigu Muni Testing Lord Brahma
Bhrigu Muni first went to Brahma's abode, Satyaloka. When Shri Brahmaji saw him coming, oh! he was so happy. His own son has come to him... before I forget, ther is two other very, very special guests that we must welcome - Rameshchandra Gosvami and his son Susheel, who are chief pujaris in the temple of Nandagram, Krishna and Balaram's eternal home in Shri Vraja Bhoomi. Let us welcome [Haribol! Haribol! Haribol!]. That happens to be Lord Shiva's head(?), Brahma(?) happens to be Brahma's forehead, Barsana. So, now we'll go back to Brahma-loka. (laughter) Bhrigu Muni came came in and Brahma seeing his own son, oh! he was so happy. He got up to receive Bhrigu Muni.
Bm ignored his father. he didn't offer obeisances, he didn't offer words of respect... this is a great offense. To not honor a senior person is low-class, it is uncultured. Of course, in Kali-yuga it is quite common. But, what is etiquette about?
Etiquette is about offering respect to evry living entity., according to our particular relationship with them, and to seniors, especially one's father like Brahma. He's not only a father, he's guru. To offer prayers, to offer obeisances, to offer services is mandatory. And the father wants to see the son growing up properly, behaving right.
So when Brahma saw that Bhrigu Muni did not acknowledge him at all, ignored him, Brahma became angry. He became very angry, but somehow or the other because Bhrigu Muni was his son, he controlled his anger and didn't say anything. It is explained by Shrila Prabhupada that anger is like fire. Now, in the process of creation, first is fire, and from fire water is created. The elements are created from the subtle to the gross. First there is ego, then intelligence, then mind, then ether, then air, then fire, then comes water. Water is created from fire. But to extinguish fire we use water. So, Lord Brahma, somehow or the other with his good intelligence, he controlled his anger. But, Bhrigu Muni saw that he was deeply affected. So, he left that place.(10:40)
Bhrigu Muni Testing Lord Shiva
Next he went to Mount kailasa where Lord Shiva (Lord Shiva) was sitting with Paravati. And when Shiva saw his brother Bhrigu approaching, oh! he was so happy! “My dear brother Bhrigu, you have come all the way to my abode! Welcome! Welcome!” Lord Shiva came to embrace him and Bhrigu Munis face just curled in disgust. He said, “Do not touch me! Your body is contaminated by filthy ashes from the crematorium. You have snakes all over you, and you associate with despicable demons in the mode of ignorance. Do not touch me. You'll make me impure!” When Lord Shiva heard this, his heart exploded with anger. His eyes became red. He picked up his trident and charged towards Bhrigu to punish him.
But, Paravati, who Prabhupada says is also known as Tri-gunamayi, she pacified Lord Shiva, and Bhrigu Muni left that place.
Bhrigu Muni Testing Lord Vishnu
Then he went to Shveta-dvipa, the abode of Lord Vishnu(Lord Vishnu), where Vishnu is lying on a flower bed, Lakshmi devi was massaging His lotus feet. As soon as Bhrigu came into the room, he just ran right into the room, and phh- kicked Vishnu right in the chest with his foot. Lord Vishnu got up. He put Bhrigu Muni on His bed, and spoke, “Oh today We are so fortunate, that a great sage, a brahmana has come to Our home to sanctify Us. It is not a small fortune when a great, great personality comes out of their causeless mercy to Our home. Not only have you sanctified Shveta-dvipa by your lotus feet, but by putting your feet on My chest, you have made My body a place of pilgrimage.
But, I fear something... that your feet are so soft like a rose, and My chest is so hard like a thunderbolt. I think that I must have cused pain to your lotus foot, so let Me lovingly massage your lotus feet”. And Vishnu massaged the lotus feet of Bhrigu Muni, extolling the good fortune that He had received.
Three types of Offences
When Bhrigu Muni saw the tolerance and pure goodness of Vishnu's Love, he was overwhelmed. He could not say a word. His voice was choked up, tears were streaming from his eyes. He began to dance in ecstasy, extolling the glories of Lord Vishnu as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (Shrila PrabhupadaOG). Shrila Prabhupada explains there is 3 (three) types of offenses. Offense of the mind, offense of the word, and a corporal offense, offense of the body. Each one is progressively more severe by nature. The least type of offense is the offense of the mind. He committed an offense of the mind to Lord Brahma, and Brahma was angry, and the next most severe offense is the offense of the words, speaking harsh, impolite words to another. He did that to Lord Shiva, and Lord Shiva became very angry. But to Lord Vishnu he performed the greatest of all offenses- the offenses to the body, by hardly kicking Him in the chest (kicked Him hard), but Lord Vishnu lovingly forgave him, displaying His Supreme Greatness.
Who is Real Mahatma
Shrila Prabhupada, in this connection, in Krishna Book, he writes one sentence that I have always held so very dear in my heart, as a guiding light even in the most diffucult circumstances. Please listen. What is greatness? People are called 'mahatma'. People are considered great because they perform nice music, where/when they act very nicely on the cinema or the television. People are great because they are in political positions. People are great because they have lots of money and power. People are great because they are strong athletes. People are great because they are beautiful. So many ways people are considered great to this world. But what is the standard of real greatness according to Shrimad Bhagavatam? Shrila Prabhupada herein writes that 'A person's greatness has to be estimated by one's ability to tolerate provoking situations.' There are negative and positive type of provoking situations. When we are offended, when we are mis-treated, when we are insulted or even when we are persecuted... our greatness is: to what extent we can tolerate that? And Shrila Prabhupada and our acharyas tell us that forgiveness and tolerance are inseparable. The power to forgive is the greatness of a person.
To tolerate that anger, to tolerate the urge for vengeance, to tolerate thtte urge to think ill of someone, or want to destroy someone, or want to see the downfall of someone. To be forgiving, to be a well-wisher - that is greatness. But another type of provoking situation are temptations. To sell out the dignity of our ideals, for some cheap benediction of this world. To lie, to cheat. To give up our spiritual principles. To break our vows. To enjoy something beautiful or someone beautiful. To attain wealth, or position, or prestige. Yes, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explained to us that the prestige and honour of this world should be seen as despicable and abominable as the stool of a boar. Have any of you ever smelt the stool of a boar? Well, because I am a crazy person, I have. Because, I wanted to see what Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was talking about. And if you think your st... of course people don't really think their own stool is bad (devotees' laughter), but somebody else's stool... unbearable. Your own stool, beacuse it comes from you- there is something special about it.(laughter) Even though you flush it down the toilet and hmm hmmm. But somebody else's stool... yaaaagh! (?)ing. But boars are wild pigs. They eat stool. Horrible. It's abominable. But that is how we have to see the prestige and glorifications of this world. Taking high positons in this world, and then enjoying the prestige, is like eating the stool of a boar. Smearing it all over your body as decoration. That is not our purpose. So, yes, the temptations that may come- we must learn to tolerate them. let us repeat these immortal words. A person's greatness (devotees repeat) has to be estimated (devotees repeat) by one's ability (d repeat) to tolerate provoking situations (d repeat).
And the example is given: a small lamp is easily either pushed this way or that way or even extinguished by even a gentle wind. But because the sun is the greatest of all luminaries, even though hurricanes taking place in Andhra Pradesh, even the hurricanes that take place in New Orleans, America, even the cyclones and greatest most powerful winds have absolutely no effect to the sun. So a great person is like sun- always fixed in one's idea. Immovable. And, in Krishna's eyes we will be tested. We will be tested.
Mother Lakshmi Leaves Vaikunta
So Bhrigu Muni went back to the banks of the Sarasvati and he told the whole story to all the sages, and they all unanimously agreed, that Vishnu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus they performed their sacrifice chanting his holy name [Hare Krishna hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama rama Hare Hare]. Everyone was very happy, except Lakshmidevi(Lakshmidevi). She could not tolerate this insult to Her eternal Lord and Master, Narayana. It was unbearable that she witnessed such a horrible sin of a mortal man coming and kicking with his foot, in the chest of the Lord of Her life. And the Lord is Shri-nivasa. That means He is the abode of Lakshmi.
She is etrnally residing upon His chest. She knows the sanctity. She worships the Lord there eternally. Lakshmi considered that She had become so sinful by seeing this sin, it was so unbearable for Her. She explained Her mind to Lord Narayana, but the Lord took it all very light. Actually Shrila Prabhupada explains this, that any offense to one's self- one should be forgiving. But offense to the Lord or another devotee- we can become like fire. Yes. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was insulted in so many ways, he just forgave. When Nityananda was beaten on the head by Jagai and Madhai, he forgave, but Lord Chaitanya became like fire. We should tolerate any injustice to one's self, but we should not tolerate the injustices to the other devotees or the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So, yes, Lakshmidevi was in this mood, 'My Lord, You may be forgiving and tolerant to the offense against You, but My heart is burning with anguish, for what I had seen.' And then She proclaimed, “I will leave Vaikuntha, and I will go down to the Bhu-loka, where I will perform tapasya, to atone for the sin of seeing this offense.” Thus lakshmi departed from Her abode, and wandered throughout this world, ultimately coming to the holy place Kolhapura (Maharashtra state). She made that Her residence. It was in the holy abode of Kolhapura, that Mahalakshmi(Mahalakshmi) sat to perform Tapasya, in the ecstacy of Her love for The Supreme Lord.
Lord Vishnu Feeling Separation From Mother Lakshmi
As time went on, the Lord Narayana was feeling immense separation from Lakshmidevi. Even the Land of Shvetadvipa had no charm for him without Lakshmidevi. So, He decided to come down to the earth to search for Her. And thus, perfectly according to Narada Muni's plan, Lord descended to this world as Shrinivasa. This is an appropriate name, because He is always the abode of Lakshmidevi, and now Lakshmi has left Him, so He has come to search for Her, to bring Her back Home.
Why 7 Hills Called SHESHACHALA OR SHESHDRI HILLS
Lord Srinivasa walked throughout the world, through various forests, jungles and villages and ultimately came here, where we are sitting today, to the Sheshachala. Why is it called such? It is told that at one time, the great and powerful devata, Vayudeva came to visit the Lord in Vaikuntha and Adi-shesha was at that time guarding, and told Vayu that, “You have to wait and bow down your head before the Lord.” But Vayu was not happy with this. He was eager. So a little argument took place. So the Lord came and to alleviate the argument, He said, “Why don't you have a contest to see who is stronger between the two of you?” Everything the Lord does has a very, very eternal purpose. So, it was arranged that Adi-shesha put his coils around one of the peaks of Mount Meru named Ananda Parvata, and the test was, who was stronger? Whether Vayu could move that mountain out of the grasps of the coils of Adi-shesha.
So, Vayu was sending the most massive winds, unbelievable winds. In this world we have seen hurricanes and cyclones and tornadoes. These are just little, tiny ttth tth tth... tth tth... tth th tth, but when Vayu, with all the force of all his power, blowing, he could not even slightly even a molecular particle of Adi-shesha or the mountain where they were holding. So he was blowing and blowing and blowing and sending wind after wind after wind, and Adi-shesha was there just holding, holding, holding and days and days went by, and meanwhile, all the air and all the wind, at the disposal of Vayu - he was using just for this purpose, and the rest of the univers was suffocating (laughter). Indra was calling out, “Please! You know this... Adi-shesha... you may be winning the fight, but what about the rest of us?” So Narada Muni appeared and started playing his veena and singing the sweet glories of the Lord. Meanwhile Vayu was exhausted, so he stopped his winds, and at that time Narada Muni was singing and playing, and Adi-shesha was so charmed by the Glories of the Lord, that he lifted one of the hoods to listen carefully. As soon as he did that, Vayu blew right under that hood, with all of his force, and Adi-Shesha and the whole mountain peak of Ananda Parvata went flying, flying, flying and landed right here on earth.. Haribol! [Haribol!] Then Vayudeva came down and begged apologies, “Oh, I am sorry! What have I done? Please come back. Come back to Vaikuntha.” And Adi-Shesha said, “It is the Lord's lila. It is His plan that I remain here.” So, this is known as Shesha Parvata bcoz these seven mountains- they consist the abode of Lord Venkateshvara. he is non-different than the body of Ananta-Shesha and it is considered to be non-different than Vaikuntha. [Haribol!]
Lord Shrinivasa Tapasya
Shrinivasa (Shrinivasa) was travelling in this area, and He made His residence in the hole in the center of a large iant-hill that was situated under a large tamarind tree. There, he performed tapasya. No eating, no sleeping. Just meditation on Lakshmidevi to bring Her back. Lord Brahma(Lord Brahma) saw the situation of the Lord The nature of the Lord's love- that He has left the etrnal abode of Vaikuntha where there is all opulence, and He is living as an ascetic under an ant-hill? Fasting! So Brahma approached Shiva, and together they went to Lakshmidevi in Kolhapura, so that the Lord could be fed. Lord Brahma became a cow, Shiva became a calf and Lakshmidevi a cowherd girl. She, with a little stick led the cow and the calf, to a place called Narayanapura, which was the capital of the kings of the Chola dynasty. She proclaimed that, “I would like to see the king and queen, bcoz I have a very excellent cow and acalf, that I want to sell them.” The king and the queen came and saw that cow and calf. They were so special. They were willing to pay anything, and Lakshmidevi, she charged a large price.
Just like Shrila Prabhupada said if we give away our books out for free, then people may take Them very cheaply. They have to pay price, then they'll have some understanding that 'this is valuable'. In 1966, in New York City, Shrila Prabhupada began the Hare Krishna Movement. At that time, the devotees, the first large public programme they ever made, they rented out an auditorium in Manhattan Island of New York City. And they sent out flyers. They were passing about in the streets by the thousands. And it was free admission, free prasada, free kirtana, free lecture by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, who was then called Swamiji. There was hundreds and hundreds of seats in that auditorium. But only a few people came. The devotees were terribly dissapointed. Then Shrila Prabhupada said, “Because you made it free.” So therefore they think it is a cheap thing. If you make them pay, then they'll think there's something valuable about it. Yes? Then they'll take it seriously. He said, “Oh, but you didn't see?” Prabhupada spoke as if there were thousands, millions of people there. He spoke with so much dynamic enthusiasm, led kirtana. He said, “You did not see? Narada Muni was there. Brahma was there.” Devotees said, “We didn't see.” Prabhupada saw. Prabhupada was always preaching for the pleasure of the previous acharyas. Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said, “If nobody comes to your programmes, you preach with full enthusiasm to the four walls.” Bcoz, we are not preaching simply for material results. We are preaching... wahtever we do is for the satisfaction of guru and the Vaishnavas. And the spiritual master and the previous acharyas are pleased by our effort, not by our results.
So, Lakshmidevi, she charged a high price. And the king and queen bought this cow with the calf.