|Lord Venkateshwara of Tirumala (Tirupati).|
Thus it was that I never visited the world famous shrine at Tirumala (Tirupati) though it is less than 225 kms away from Puttaparthi. I did not find any reason to do so (nature, history, architecture etc) and I wasn’t prepared to go there only to ‘offer obeisance’ to Lord Balaji (Lord Venkateshwara). That apart, I also had several reservations against the Tirupati shrine based on what I had heard from people.
- Stand in line for hours to go and see God.
- Pay money to buy a ‘darshan ticket’ and have a quicker darshan route.
- Get pushed away right in front of the sanctum by temple authorities trying to speed up the lines.
- Pay to buy Prasadam.
|Beauty and divinity radiate from Lord Venkateshwara. This picture was taken in|
the Shanti Vedika, Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium during the
Sahasra Poorna Chandra Darshanam (completion of seeing thousand full moons
in one's life) of Bhagawan Baba.
Further softening in preparation for the darshan
|It is believed that an elder should preside over the Sahasra Poorna Chandra Darshanam ceremony. Who would that elder be|
for Swami then? Lord Venkateshwara arrived from Tirupati along with His priests and paraphernalia!
(15th to 17th November 2008)
As he reached for the feet again and again, the same thing happened. Unable to bear it any longer, he hurriedly removed the covering and opened his eyes. What he saw pleasantly shocked him. He gave out a shriek, hearing which the other archakas also removed their respective blindfolds. A sense of disbelief coursed through them as they saw that the idol was gone and Sri Satya Sai Baba was standing in its place!
This unexpected darshan for a few moments was enough to make the Archakas hand over the administration of the temple temporarily to the juniors and rush to Brindavan, where Swami was at that time. It was Swami’s divine manner of acknowledging their experience when He told them,
(Swami made the same point in His discourse during Ugadi 1992. This excerpt was played in the mandir during Ugadi 2017, just a few days before this piece was written. "You do not have the patience to wait until you get it. Men will wait hours in a queue to catch a bus or buy a film ticket but will not devote five minutes waiting on God, thinking of God!"
|The names vary, the forms vary but the Divinity is the same. The joy of|
Darshan is same. It all depends on our attitude and feelings.
During a visit through the Bandipur forests, when the students were craning their necks to see the tail of an elephant in the thick bushes, Swami had remarked,