Among the greatest almighty mentioned in Hindu Scriptures, Lord Venkateshwara is believed to be one of the sacred avatars of Lord Vishnu. Venkateswara is a human avatar of Lord Vishnu, which he took while searching for Goddess Lakshmi as per Varaha Purana and Bhavishya Purana.
Venkateswara means the lord of “Venkata,” meaning the destroyer of sins. It is the combination of the words Venkata (the name of a hill in Andhra Pradesh) and Isvara (Lord). It is derived from two Sanskrit words: “vem,” meaning sins, and xa NIH, “kata” meaning the power of immunity.
Also known as Govinda and Balaji, he is regarded as “Kaliyuga Varada/Daivam,” one who always protects his devotee and blesses them with wealth and success.
Represented by five deities (Berams), namely Dhruva (Moolavar), Kautuka, Snapan, Utsava, and Bali Beram, the mantra used for Lord Venkateswara is “Om Namo Venkatesaya, Om Namo Narayana” and “Sri Venkateshwara Supravatam.”
Since the incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Venkata is regarded as the supreme form in this age, Lord Venkateshwara’s temple is considered the Kaliyuga’s Vaikuntha. And the supreme temple of Lord Venkateshwara is “Tirumala Venkateswara Temple,” located in Tirupati, Andra Pradesh, India. And the interesting fact is; This temple is regarded to be the richest temple receiving over 23 million donations per day.
Legend of Lord Venkateswara
Padma Purana, Varaha Purana, Garuda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana, and Bhavishyottara Purana mentions Lord Venkateswara and Tirumala.
The incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Venkateswara was carried out following a great incident; some are explained below.
Once there was a ritual/sacrifice to be performed on the banks of the Gangas by some sages. But the problem was sages didn’t know for which god the rituals were to be performed. On questioning by Sage Narada, other Rishis approached sage Bhrigu (one of the Saptarishis) and asked him to solve their dilemma.
They requested sage Bhrigu to find the ideal god (primary benefactor of their yajna) capable of taking the offering and who would be pleased by those rituals. Rishi Bhrigu first went to Lord Indra, the King of Gods but returned empty-handed, then he went to Lord Brahma, and then to Lord Shiva, but was not satisfied with their deed. None of them recognized his presence, for which he cursed them.
With no other options left, sage Bhrigu went to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu was sleeping on the bed of serpents at the time, and when Bhrigu arrived, he only saw Vishnu’s feet and felt humiliated. He thus kicked Vishnu on his chest, where goddess Laxmi resided.
Lord Vishnu didn’t react to the action of Bhrigu; instead apologized to Sage by messaging his feet. This action of Lord Vishnu made Bhrigu realize that Lord Vishnu was the one with whom the offerings were to be performed.
However, for kicking Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi felt insulted and raged with Lord Vishnu, left Vaikuntha, and came to live down on earth to Kolhapur. Lord Vishnu then went to earth searching for goddess Laxmi, in the human form of Srinivasa (Venkateshwara), but couldn’t find her. He instead settled on Seshachalam hills inside an anthill.
When Goddess Laxmi came to know about the condition, she prayed to Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. To help Lord Vishnu find his consort, Shiva and Brahma incarnated themselves as a cow and a calf, respectively, in the Chola kingdom.
The cow and calf, every day, used to provide their milk in the anthill to lessen the thirst of Vishnu. One day cowherd caught the act; thus, he tried to beat the cow. Venkateshwara cursed the Chola king to become a Demon as per dharma for his unknown mistake. The king begged for mercy, for which Srinivasa told him that in his second birth as Akasa Raja, Lord would marry his daughter, Padmavati.
As the years passed, Padmavati and Srinivasa finally met and married on their second birth. For marriage, Srinivasa took a huge loan from Lord Kuber and promised to repay the loan before the end of Kaliyuga. This is why the lord is still repaying the loan taken from Kubera and will still pay till the end of kali yuga.
Thus, it is also believed that Lord Vishnu manifested himself in the temple of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple during this Kali age to guide and direct his devotees towards salvation.
According to some scriptures, Srinivasa turned himself into a stone form after Laxmi found out that he married another woman named Padmavathi (Alamelu Manga). After Srinivasa manifested into a stone statue, Padmavati and Lakshmi turned themselves on either side. Goddess Lakshmi is with him on the left side of the chest, while Padmavathi rests on his chest’s right side. Also, Vakula Devi (mother of Srinivasa of that time) is in the form of a garland.
The Richest Temple
Tirumala Vеnkаtеѕwаrа Temple ( Tirupati Balaji Mandir) is considered one of the richest temples on the earth, having overwhelming contributions and donations from the public. This Venkateswara Temple is the most celebrated pilgrim destination visited by many people.
Regarding Puranas, as mentioned above, Lord Balaji or Venkateswara took a huge loan from Lord Kubera for his marriage to Devi Padmavati. To clear the debt, devotees from around the world visit the shrine and donate money. This is why Srinivasa is still repaying the loan taken from Kubera and will still pay till the end of kali yuga.
The temple receives almost 23 million amount donations per day. Another ritual of donating hair used in cosmetics and extensions adds another 6 million to the temple’s treasure.