The Friday abhishekam of Lord Srinivasa is a glorious spectacle. Devotees can have a close look at Lord’s moola murthi only during this abhisheka seva as many ornaments are removed for abhishekam. Lord is given a full bath on every Friday, which is called pooraabhishekam . Among all sevas this particular seva has got the longest waiting. If one buys a ticket for this seva, he gets his turn only after 20 years (at the time of writing this book)…the ticket costs Rs.750 and only one person is allowed. This seva has got greatest demand as we can sit in front of lord for almost an hour watching abhisheka seva. One more seva is added to this in the recent times, called vastra seva, in which one can offer a vastram to Lord Srinivasa. This seva costs Rs.12,500 as of now. Only about 15-20 tickets are issued for this sevas every Friday. Those who take this seva tickets can sit in the front rows.
Even this seva has got a waiting time of several years Perhaps nowhere else in the world a temple seva has such a long waiting time as that of Abhisheka Seva of Lord Srinivasa. It is believed Samavai, a queen of Pallava dynasty has initiated this abhishekam of lord in 614 A.D. It is she who presented bhoga srinivasa idol, a replica of Lord Srinivasa to the temple during one of her visits. As it happened to be a Friday the queen performed abhishekam to Lord’s main moorthi and this practice is continued till today. It is believed that in the initial days abhishekam was done everyday to moola murthi. Later Sri Ramanujacharya has changed it to a weekly seva. Elaborate preparations are under taken for the abhishekam of Lord Sri Balaji. Many sugandh dravyas are used in the abhisheka water. Lord’s abhishekam is done to the chanting of purusha suktham, sri suktham, narayana suktham and divya prabandhas etc.
Abhisheka of lord starts with suddhodakam (pure water) and alternates with milk and chandana (sandalwood) water. An unique feature is application of civet oil before abhishekam. It is believed that this is done perhaps as a preservative. As the lord is very tall, of about nine feet, the priest performing the abhisheka stands on stool. He also covers his head and mouth with a turban going round his head and chin.All major ornaments of Lord are removed and Lord is draped in a white dhoti. Sankha and Chakra not removed. These two are never removed on any occasion… namam is thinned…We can see Lord in His nija roopa as he has manifested in ananda nilayam, sanctum sanctorum. Goddess Sri Maha Lakshmi is also clearly visible on Lord’s right chest…Lord is given bath first with akasa ganga theertham brought by archakas in golden vessels…this is followed by ksheerabhishekam in which lord is given sacred bath with pure milk…the milk is little warm…archakas carefully collect milk flowing from lord’s two hands i.e. kati hastham and varada hastham and distribute it to the devotees after the seva is completed.
After this Lord is given bath with sacred water mixed with many sugandh dravyas. This sacred water flowing from Lord’s murthi is collected in golden vessels and is called sripada theertham in temple traditions. It is given to archakas, temple officials and devotees after the seva is over…how blessed are the ones who get this theertham…what can be more sacred than this in the world with which Lord Srimannarayana himself is given a bath!…It is only with punya of thousands of janmas one can get this sripada theertham. Even if we take a tiny droplet of this theertham we are cured of all illnesses…and are relieved of all sins done in several thousand janmas. The moment it touches one’s tongue whole body gets reverberated with narayana namam…Annamacharya, the legendary composer describes this sacred Sripada Theertham in many of his keerthanas. He says at one place… sreepada theertham be chedani mandu…moha pasalu gosi mokshamicche mandu …meaning it is the medicine which cures all diseases and it is the only one which gives moksha easily.
Let’s pray Lord Srinivasa to bless us with this theertham in our next trip to Thirumala… Devotees can have divine darsan of His sacred feet only on this day…Lord Srinivasa’s feet are covered with golden covering at all other times…let’s pray His divine feet…it is the only saviour to all of us…it is this feet which is prayed always by 33 crores gods…it is the darshan of this feet that many yogis, sadhus, kinneras and kimpurushas are doing tapas for millions of years…just close your eyes for a while…Lord will bless you with a darsan of His divine feet…we are all blessed by Lord Balaji… Devotees having darsan on Friday morning can have blessings of having darsan of Lord’s divine feet. After abhishekam is done with sacred waters of bangaru bavi, Lord is given another bath with holy water from akasa ganga theertham…after this archakas use a sacred cloth to dry Sri Swamy vari’s Moola Murthi from crown to feet…it is believed that while doing so some archakas observe small droplets of sweat on Lord’s Murthi as if a human being is standing…as lukewarm water is used for abhishekam Lord too sweatsa bit like all of us…Oh! how blessed the archakas to have such divine experiences.
Lord’s namam is now thickened and made broader too…refined camphor is pressed on the chin of Lord… Katuka (collyrium) is applied to Lord’s eyes. We can see Lord’s namam now in full splendor…the namam that is savior of mankind…the namam that grants us everything we seek…the namam that saves us from all miseries…that namam that ultimately gives us moksha… Abhishekam of Lord Sri Mahalakshmi on Lord’s chest is performed and harathi is given…then Lord is dressed in pattu vastram bedecked fully with magnificient jewellery… What a magificient darsan…Oh! Swamy save us all from all these worldy miseries and bless us ever with your divine smile… Om Namo Venkatesaya…Om Namo Srinivasaya… Om Namo Narayanaya…