Relishing the Venkatesha Vaibhavam Series
Celebrating the arrival of Sri Aishwarya Srinivasa Perumal in Houston, Sri Ramanujamji, disciple of Sri Swamiji, is taking us on a journey to His divine abode by reminiscing the greatness of Lord Srinivasa and Venkatachalam, based on the divine work – ‘Divyadesa Vaibhavam’ by Paranur Mahatma Sri Sri Krishnapremi Maharaj. This is an ongoing series filled with immense rasa.
This series is available to listen on our Namadwaar E-Satsang YouTube channel at this playlist:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znQQJKwzl7k&list=PLf2GTja1Pr3P0Yr_AsYTOi9KnzUBlI1sE&index=12
We shall now enjoy a few divine droplets from the seventh episode of this series.
Saptagiri – Everything in the hill is divine
Bhagavan Srinivasa Perumal, before blessing the earth with His divine descent, decided to first bring down His most wonderful companion Sri Adi Sesha as the seven hills and as His own resting place!
Vrishachalam, the seven sacred hills, stand to bestow grace unto every soul entering this divine abode. The breeze entering through the wonderful groves of the sandalwood forest cools (samsevatE chandana vriksha vAyu) and dispels the affliction of samsara from the hearts of the people on earth.
Paranur Mahatma Sri Sri Krishna Premi Maharaj (fondly referred to as Sri Sri Anna) in Venkatesha Vaibhavam begins by first describing the form of the great bhagavata, Saptagiri.
“aprAkrutam sthAnam idam hi nUnam imE janAstE pashu pakshinasta
aprAkrutam rUpam upEtya vishNum pravEsha mAtrena bhajanti hanta”
The great Tirumala hill is indeed divine – aprAkrutam – not of this world. Anything made of the five elements, bound by the laws of the universe is natural; but divinity transcends these boundaries.
Bhagavan Sri Krishna says in Bhagavat Gita,
“janma karma cha me divyam”
He says to Arjuna, ” My birth, my leelas, my karma (acts) are all divine.”
Everything about Bhagavan – His name, form, His leelas, the place where He descends, the people and the creatures living there are all divine! Similarly, the seven hills are also not of this world, because the hills are Adi Sesha Himself – the One who is permanently associated with Bhagavan from time immemorial.
All kshetras are the divine abodes unlike any other normal village or town. Mahatmas like Bhagavat Ramanujacharya (who is verily the incarnation of Sri Adi Sesha Himself) could not see Tirumala as another insentient normal hill.
Sri Ramanujacharaya once came to Tirumala with a tremendous thirst to hear Srimad Ramayana from his beloved maternal uncle, Srishaila Poorna (also known as Tirumalai Nambi). On seeing the grand, lush green seven hills spread across the horizon, tears welled up his eyes and his throat choked. Sri Ramanujacharya could not bear to put his feet on the lap of the great Bhagavata Sri Adi Sesha. He hence tied his feet and climbed the hill using his knees and hands. Tirumala was so dear to the heart of Ramanujacharya and he saw every grain of the soil there as truly divine.
Ananthazhwar, one of the foremost disciples of Bhagavat Ramanujacharya too, had tremendous love for anything related to Tirumala because he saw the hills through the heart of his acharya. He dedicated his body, mind and soul to serve Srinivasa Perumal thus fulfilling his acharya’s wish.
Once Ananthazhwar along with other devotees was descending Tirumala carrying Tirumala prasadam, for their journey towards south. During this occasion they noticed that the prasadam they carried was infested with many ants that they were unable to partake in. However, to the astonishment of all, Ananthazwar insisted that anything from Tirumala should return to the divine abode and hence they went all the way back to Tirumala to leave the ants in the forests of the Tirumala where they belonged. Mahatmas valued every creature, be it a dog, creeper or any living or nonliving being residing in the hill as a Bhagavata. They saw the little birds chirping around the forests in the hills as Azhwars singing the glories of Perumal.
In the same context, Kulasekarazhwar pours his heart out in ten beautiful songs supplicating to Bhagavan Sri Ramachandra Prabhu. He yearns for a birth either as a crane in the divine pond in Tirumala or a fish in Swami Pushkarani theerta or a tree which spreads the fragrance of the champaka flower or a slab of stone in the temple constantly admiring Perumal’s countenance or finally just anything in this divine hill (emperumAn pon malai mEl EdhEnum AvEnE). Everything that enters Tirumala, sentient or insentient, becomes a devotee of Tirumala and starts doing service or bhajana to Srinivasa Perumal and hence Ananthazwar wanted the ants to be reunited with Tirumala.
Sri Sri Anna sums up the lovely experience of Kulasekarazhwar in a beautiful kirtan where he prays,
“tava charanAmbuja chAyAyAm mama dayayA vAsam dEhi Sri Rama” – “In the shadow of Thy lotus feet, out of infinite compassion, Oh Sri Rama, give me refuge, so that I can always be there under Thy feet.”
Sri Sri Anna in this kirtan further explains his longing,
tava puNya thaTAke meeno bhavAmivA tava divya mandire stambo bhavAmivA
tava pushpa vanepi tarur bhavAmivA tava dAsya rasiko bhrutyo bhavamiva
“May I be a small fish in the divine pond of Swami Pushkarini or a tree in your beautiful garden offering flowers and fruits for your service, or be a pillar in your temple or a servant to relish the sweetness of your divine service.”
And finally Sri Sri Anna culminates the kirtan with this supreme prayer,
“Hey Prabho! I desire nothing but devotion unto Thy lotus feet!”
Let us also undertake this joyous journey through these hills reflecting and enjoying the divinity in every step!
Based on Sri Ramanujamji’s Venkatesha Vaibhavam Series of Discourses
To listen and enjoy the complete episode 7 of Venkatesha Vaibhavam series, please click here –
For the complete playlist on YouTube –
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