The Lord presented Himself with four hands, to show that even though He Stands in one place, His power pervades everywhere. In His upper right hand, He held the Discus (Chakra) to show that it is His presence that makes everything ‘move’. In His upper left hand, He held a Conch shell (Sankha), to show that He is the creator of all that we know and do not know. His lower right hand is pointed to His feet, so that we would know that we can leave all our fears and worries to Him to take care of. His lower left hand is pointed towards His thigh, to let us know that this ‘ocean of samsaara’ becomes knee deep if we surrender at his Lotus Feet.
But, the Lord’s fondness for the mortals was so much that He was willing to even give away his divine weapons which never stay away from Him, to a devotee of his, to serve his purpose. Once, He gave His own Sankha and Chakra to his devotee, a king named Thondma:n Chakravarthy, so that he would be able to defeat his rival’s army that had come to destroy his kingdom. Over the time, people began to forget who this handsome being with four empty hands was. So, lots of discussions and debates took place.
It was then, that the great spiritual leader, Sri: Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja arrived on the scene. By describing the meaning of the Lord’s form as described above, he proved without doubt that Sri Venkate:swara was the most special avatha:ra of the Supreme Being, Sri:man Nara:yana who had come to Earth for the benefit of His creation. This form, according to Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja, had even more special qualities that showed His greatness and His Willingness to be there for all of us:
1) The Lord has matted hair, like a Muni or Rishi. This is to show us how it is His Contemplation that creates and preserves the world.
2) The Lord has numerous decorations that have snake images on them. This is to show that He is served in numerous ways by A:dise:sha, the Primordial Multi-Headed Serpent on which He rests.
3) The Pura:nas state that Kumaraswamy (Murugan, Skanda) worshiped Lord Venkate:swara here to get rid off the grave sin of killing Ta:raka:sura in a terrific battle. Kumaraswamy would bathe here three times a day and meditate on Lord Sri:niva:sa on his father’s advice. The tank is called Swa:my Pushkarini because it is the best of all holy tanks. Simply dipping in it removes all our own pains and sorrows.
Despite these clear arguments, there were still some who were reluctant to accept that the Lord standing on the Seven Hills was indeed the Supreme One in Form. So, Sri: Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja set up an experiment. He arranged to have the weapons of various divinities, including Sri:man Na:ra:yana placed in the sanctum at the feet of the Lord. He then locked the sanctum doors, gave the key to an objective observer, and asked the doubters to wait till morning.
At sunrise, the doors to the temple were unlocked and the temple was opened. To everyone’s surprise, the Lord appeared in all His Grandeur holding the Sankha and Chakra, the same ones that devotees see to this day. As these symbols belong only to the Supreme Being, all were now convinced that the Lord indeed had come to earth in this divine form.