Sunday, January 29, 2006


All about food (Annam) and importance of Anna Dhana.

Whatever beings exist on earth, they are all born out of food. By food alone they remain alive and to that they return to in the end.

Food is called ' annam ' because the created beings both consume it, and they are consumed by it too. It is the first among all the medicament of life.

While many in these columns have criticised that feeding the guests or devotees is the prime agenda in any of our social or religious functions, in the Manu Smrithi it is stated that it is the duty of a Gruhastha to offer food to his guest/s . As prayaschitha for the daily accrueing papas it is ordained to perform five Yagnas daily. They are namely Brahma Yagnam,Deva Yagnam,Pithur Yagnam,Manushya Yagnam and Bootha Yagnam.

1.Rishis will be pleased in hearing the Saswara Vedic Chanting
2.Devas will be pleased with the Homa performed
3.Pithrus will be pleased with the Shraadha performed
4.Adhithi (guests) will be pleased by the food offered
5.The offering of Baliharanam will please Bhoothas

Satisfying the adhithi or guest being the prime duty of the gruhastha and offering of Pancha Bhakshya should be to the utmost satisfaction of the guest.

The Pancha Bhakshyas are:

1.Bhakshya : (sweets like ladoo, Boli, etc.)
2.Bhojya: (rice, saambar etc.)
3.Lehyam: ( Pachadi, kojju etc)
4.Chohyam: (side items like Chitraannam, fruit salad, (desert) etc)
5.Paneeyam: (rasam, paayasam).

Our Smrithi states that the money can be spent in three ways. If such a person does not spend money on Daanam / annadaanam or bhogam (using it for his own happiness), the money gets destroyed. (naasham).

It reiterates that if you do not want to donate, or if you do not want to use it for your own happiness (righteous), and then the only alternative is the third i.e. money gets destroyed.

" Annadaanam Param Dhanam"-There is no greater dhanam than annadhaanam because of the contentment of the gruhastha in serving the food and the adhithi in consuming what has been served. In other material dhanam such complete contentment is not there.

Mathru Devo Bhava, Pithru Devo Bhava, Acharya Devo Bhava and Adhithi Devo Bhava is the saying in Taitreya Upanishad .

Parents are satisfied by the seva or service of their sons and daughters, Acharya by the Susroosha of his disciple and adhithi by the food served by the gruhastha. By satisfying as above the gruhastha is blessed with Saaswatha Brahmalokam.

While the duty of the Gruhastha is to satisfy the adhithi , the adhithi has also a duty in blessing the gruhastha." Annadaatha Sukhi Bhava" - even if this is not said by the adhithi in words, it is implied.The Sukham prayed for is not the loukeeka Sukham but paramaarthika Sukham- - eternal bliss.

We have been advised by our ancestors that whenever we donate,we should donate to the deserving." Paathiram arindu Pichhai Podu " is the saying in Tamil.. In olden days people had enough -Subhiksha. Even others were well looked after by the King. Brahmins were living praying for the Kshema / welfare of the Society .And serving them with food was the duty of gruhastha as aforesaid.

At a later stage, the gruhasthas realised that some of them they are serving with food were swaarthees (selfish people) and switched over to feeding the poor.And hence feeding the poor became predominant. Being blessed for feeding the poor by those being fed is a prayer for the eternal bliss of the gruhastha. This is aptly termed as "Narayana Seva"..

If a person cannot undertake the task individually,he can join a group where such an activity is conducted.

Before eating food one has to pray to God “ Namasthe Annam Asmakam Nityam
Asthu ethath” as thanks giving to Him for providing food to us. Parishechana mantras ordained for us is for this purpose..Similarly after completion of eating- before getting up we do Uttara- Aposanam. In that we have to leave half of the water taken in the hand for the benefit of the deserving jeevas in the other worlds who are earnestly awaiting for the water from the this world. “ Rourave Apunya Nilaye Padmarbudha Nivasinaam / Arthinaam Udakam Dattam Akshyyam Upathishtatu”

Subham bhavathu.


The Lord of Seven Hills: Yedukondala Swamy of Tirupathi


Venkatadri is situated around 1104 meters above Sea Level and covers an area of about 250 Sq. Km. As per Bhavishyotttara Purana the Vengatam Hill is the sporting hill of Lord Vishnu and was brought from Vaikunta to earth by Garuda. The related story goes like this. Once while Lord Vishnu was resting for a while in Vaikuntam ,Vayu, the God of Wind, wanted to have a darshan of the Lord. Sesha being the dwarapalaka had objected to the entry of Vayu into Vaikuntam. Angered by this Vayu has challenged the strength of Sesha. Intervening in the argument, the Lord has suggested a contest between the two warring kings. The serpent king Sesha has to coil around the peak of Ananda of Meru Parvatha and Vayu has to dislodge him from the peak. Accordingly after Sesha had coiled around the peak and Vayu with all his might attempted to dislodge him. When these furious winds were blowing Sesha raised one of his hoods and at that opportune moment, Vayu blew off the peak along with Sesha. Meru Parvatha the father of Ananda Sihara had requested Vayu not to harm his son. Whereupon Vayu had carefully, placed the Ananda Sikhara near the present place called Tirupathi. Thereafter the Vengadam on the earth got the name “ Seshachalam”. Sesha means Serpent, achalam means the one is not moving – hill. The seven hoods of the Serpent King is said to represent the seven hills in Tirupathi. This hill also has many other names like Srinivasa Giri, Narayana Giri, Anandadri, Srisailam, Kreedadri, Chintamani, Teerthadri, Pushkaradri, Kanakadri, Vaikuntadri, Anjanaadri, Varahagiri, etc.

Venkatadri was called Vrushachalam in Krita yugam. Anjandri in Treta Yugam (The place where-mother of Hanuman did tapas) Seshachalam in Dwapara yuga and now in the present Kali Yugam it is referred to as Venkatachalam. The Gopura of the temple is called Ananda Sikhara , the son of Meru Parvatha.

It is reported that the temple deity is Swayambu. This one is Ekamurthy Aalayam of Lord Venkateswara. The image of Lord in Standing Posture is around 10 feet tall including the Kereeta height of about 20 inches. The Lord’s image is blueish black in colour and thus this vigraham combines the Hari Hara aspect of Paranthama. He is called Divya Mangala Murthy, with Sama Dhrishti Posture. Lord has got Lockes of hair. (Jatajuta) ( matted hair).It is reported that this stone statue does not have either Sanga or Chakra as would normally find.

Lord has got Bhushana Ornaments such as Chakram / Sankam in two upper hands. In one of the lower hands sign of abhaya Hastha and in the other lower hand is pointed towards His feet. This indicates that one who surrenders at His feet would be protected. The Moola Virat Roopam of the lord has got Yagnopavitham, Kanthabharanam, Nagabharanam and Kati bandham.

Apart from the above. Lakshmi Haram containing 108 gold dollars, Makara Kanthi, Saligrama Haram mounted in gold and engraved with the Sahasranama the thousand name of the Lord Vishnu, Yellow Silk Cloth etc are also His regulars Ornaments. Kasturi Tilakam in the middle where refined camphor placed as namam, which screens his eyes. On an average 150 Kgs of Gold ornaments are used for Lord’s Alankaram.


Apart from the Moolavar there are other deities inside the temple are: 1. Utsava Srinivasa. 2. Ugra Srinivasa 3. Koluva Srinivasa 4 Bhoga Srinivasa, Navaneetha Nrithya Krishna, images of Lord Rama with his consorts, Hanuman and Lakshmana including Sugreeva and Chakrathu alwar. The temple has got an annual income over 500 crores per year and can be stated as the richest Hindu temple in the world.( as reported by TTD)

Bhoga Srinivasa deity would be put to silver cradle after daily worship. Koluva Srinivasa would preside over the daily darbar in connection with Panchanga padanam and daily accounts. Ugra Srinivasa would come out of the temple only in three days in year and that too before sunrise.

Brahma Utsavam celebrated at Tirupathi is in continuation of the Utsavam conducted by Lord Brahma Himself for Srinivasa. The Annual Brahma Utsavam would be celebrated in the month of Purattasi for 10 days in such a way that the Theertha Vari or Aaratu of the Lord on the 10th day should be on a Thiruvonam day. The Utsavams and Pooja etc are celebrated accordingly to Vaikanasa Sampradaya. The daily temple rituals starts around 3.00 a.m and would end around midnight daily.

One should first visit Tiruchanur where Lord ‘s consort Godess Padmavathi stays.After that one should worship Varahamurthy on the northern side of the Pushkarani Theertham. After visiting the main deity- Balaji one should see the Pottu i.e. where prasadams for the Lord are made. Here Lord’s foster mother “ Vakulamalikai” is worshipped. Thus this temple with origin dated back to thousands of years, is definitely a Bhoologa Vaikuntam only.

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