Establishing Rituals at Tirumala

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Sri: Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja then set about to establish the rich traditions of the temple as per the A:gama Sasthra, that we see to this day. Some of these traditions were:

1. The regular bathing of the image of the Lord on Fridays with milk and sacred waters to shower His grace on all of us.
2. The application of an upward mark made of (swetha mrutthika) earth to symbolize His Eternal Connection to us.
3. Putting eyeliner on the Lord’s eyes as in Mohini avathara so that all can see His merciful glance.
4. Conducting Sayanotsavam to Lord Krishna during Dhanurmaasam.
5. Performing Sriramakalyanam on the next day of Srirama Navami.
6. Conducting temple festivals in which the processional image of the Supreme Being is brought out for all devotees to celebrate and adore.
7. Mohini alankaaram (with eyeliner and a beauty spot on the cheek) to the Lord for three days starting from Monday, his avathara day.
8. Pushpa alankaaram alone on Thursday.
9. Friday onwards usual decoration with all ornaments and garments.
10. First a:ra:dhana to Lord’s divine weapons.
11. Chanting Nacchiya:r Thirumozi during abhishekam to Lord.

For centuries, the local priests had been worshipping Sri:nivasa in accordance with the A:gama, ancient sanskrit scripture that laid out the rituals of adoration towards the Supreme Being. Bhagavad Ra:manuja maintained this worship, but he and his disciples also wanted the verses, the Divya Prabandha, of the A:zhwa:rs, the great mystical devotees to be chanted, because they offered people a message of hope and faith in Sri: Ve:nkte:swara. These verses were written in Ta:mil, their mother tongue, but were very clear in telling the world how the Lord of the Seven Hills is there for everyone. With agreement from leading scholars and priests, these sacred verses became part of the daily worship of Sri:niva:sa.

Sri: Bhagavad Ra:ma:nujacharya then set about to establish lower Tirupati as a center for pilgrimage and learning. But just before he returned, Ya:dava Ra:ja, the local ra:ja who had been witness to the miracle of the Lord’s taking on His Divine Symbols, immediately requested Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja to accept him as his disciple. Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja agreed, and in accordance with tradition, marked the king’s shoulders with the very same symbols that Sri:niva:sa now carried, and initiated him with Three Sacred Mantras. Ya:dava Ra:ja would become Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja’s trusted assistant in spreading the message of devotion to Sri: Ve:nkate:swara.

To remove all remaining doubts and fears from the people’s minds, Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja felt that an image of the Lord’s Supreme compassion should be clearly seen by the devotees. Bhagavad Ra:ma:nujacharya taught the Ra:ja how Sri:man Na:ra:yana’s love is so special that it has a form all its own, the eternal Mother Lakshmi. The king immediately had his finest artisans fashion a beautiful pendant of Goddess Padmava:thi, the embodiment of the Lord’s compassion who resides at the base of the Seven Hills, and had Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja place this as a necklace around his neck on a Friday, when it was Sukla Dwadasi and Uttara Phalguni star.

The two great servants of Sri: Ve:nkate:swara then made their way back to the foot of the Hills.

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