The Archakas of Tirupati have the habit of looking at the feet of Lord Balaji and taking Padanamaskar before Suprabhatam (where God is woken up). They open their eyes only after this procedure.One of the senior most archakas suddenly had a feeling one day that even after having served the Lord for 40 years, he was not fortunate enough to have his darshan. He prayed emotionally that if he had been sincere in his duty towards the lord, then the Lord must some day grant him his physical darshan.The next day, as usual when the archakas went into the sanctum sanctorum for padanamaskar, the senior most archaka went in first. As he reached for the feet of the idol, his hands could feel the moist feet of a human body. Totally surprised, the archaka removed his hand and wanted to remove the covering around his eyes. But the fear of breaking the age-old tradition combined with his 40 year old practise, he refrained from doing so.
As he reached for the feet again and again, the same thing happened. He called out to the other Archakas and told them his experience. The other archakas too experienced the same warmth. For a moment the archakas got agitated and felt that some miscreant would be standing there but who could be so insolent to stand on the lord’s idol and that too when the sanctorum was thoroughly checked before being locked. Who could it be? Was it an illusion?.. Just that moment the archaka remembered the prayer that came out of him the day before. A thought flashed through his mind…..Was it the Lord himself ?He hurriedly removed the covering and opened his eyes. What he saw shoked him. He gave out a shriek, hearing which the other archakas also removed their coverings and opened their eyes. A sense of disbelief went through them on what they saw. The idol was gone and Swami was standing in its place.
Swami was standing in Chatur Bhuja form (with four arms). Swami was smiling. He looked at the senior most archaka and said “You wanted to see me. I am here. What do you want?”The archaka was stunned and asked ““When did I ask to see you? In fact, I asked for darshan of my Lord Sri Balaji.”Swami replied ““I am your Lord Sri Balaji.” Taken aback by this reply the archakas asked again ““How can you be Lord Balaji? You have always said You are Shiva-Shakti Swarupa. How then can you say you are Vaikunthathi-pathi Balaji?”Swami softly replied ” “All are one, my dear children. God is one. He manifests in different forms and man worships the form to which he is most attached. All faiths are paths leading to the same goal. Why then do you see the difference?”After a moments silence, Swami spoke again “I have come not to disturb any faith but to confirm everyone in his own faith.
I respond to everyone with whatever name you call me. You wanted to see the Lord in form of Balaji and so here I am to fulfill your wish.”So saying Swami dissappeared and the idol of Lord Venkateswara was back in its place. Silence prevailed for some time. Later the archakas handed over the administration of the temple temporarily to their juniors and rushed to Puttaparthi. The next day the Archakas of Tirupati were made to sit in front and as Swami came out for darshan, they sat with eyes glued at Him. As Swami came nearer, their hearts leapt in excitement. Swami maintained a little distance from them, looked sharply in their eyes, and asked “Today how have you broken the tradition of yester years. Every day morning, you look first at my feet and then at my physical frame. Today you are looking at my face first without even taking padnamaskar.” As the archakas heard this, they fell at Swami’s feet. Swami took them into the interview room and spoke to them for a long time. Before leaving for Tirupati, they disclosed everything to the Professors of the Institute.