Tirupati Balaji

TIRUMALA is the combination of two words : TIRU —— Holy or Sacred and MALA ——- Hill (in Tamil), translating to HOLY HILL.

TIRUMALA is a census town in Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh.  It is a hill town, where Lord Venkateshwara Temple, the abode of Lord Venkateshwara, is located.  It is located 3,200ft above sea level and covers an area of approximately 26.8km.  Surrounding the hill are seven peaks, namely SESHADRI, NEELADRI, GARUDADRI, ANJANADRI, VRUSHABADRI, NARAYANARI & VENKADRI.


At the 12km point on the Tirupati – Tirumala Ghat road, there is a major discontinuity of stratigraphic significance that represents a period of remarkable serenity in the geological history o the Earth.  This is referred to as EPARCHAEAN UNCONFORMITY, which was declared to be one of the 26 Geological Monuments of India by the Geological Survey of India in 2001.

In ancient literature, TIRUPATI is mentioned as AADHI VARAHA KSHETRA.  The Puranas associate the site with Lord Varaha, one of the DASHAVATARA of Lord Vishnu.  In Varaha Purana, VENKATADRI is believed to be a part of Mount Meru, which was brought to earth from Vishn’s abode by his mount Garuda.  The seven peaks represent the seven heads of ADISESHA.  TIRUMALA  is one of the 108 DIVYA DESAMS.

Tirupati Balaji

(1) SRI VENKATESWARA SWAMY TEMPLE is a landmark Temple.  It is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara , an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who is believe to have appeared here to save mankind from the trials and troubles of KALIYUGA.  Hence, the place is also known as KALIYUGA VAIKUNTHAM, and lord Venkateswara is known by many other names : BALAJI, GOVINDA & SRINIVASA.


(2) SILATHORANAM, a natural arch and a distinctive geological wonder, is located in the Tirumala Hills, at a distance of 1km from Tirumala.  The arch measures 8metres in width and 3metres in height and is curved out of quartzite by weathering agents like water and wind.

Feet of the lord Tirumala

(3) SRIVAARI PAADAMULU ( The Lord’s Footprints), believed to be the footprints of Lord Venkateswara formed when He first stood on Tirumala Hills, about 15km from the Temple.

Papa-vinaasanam Tirumala

(4) PAPAVINASANAM located about 5km from the main Temple, is a reservoir as well as a Temple.  The name originates from the legend that a bath in the water from the reservoir cleanses one from all sins (PAPAM).  Originally, a waterfall flowing from a tributary of the SWARNAMUKHI River, the river was later dammed to control the water flowing out of the area.  A part of the water flows to Papavinasanam Temple, where seven-headed channels open from  a height of Deities, where you can bathe.  A Temple, dedicated to Goddess Ganga, is located near the enclosure.


(5) AKASA GANGA is a natural waterfall believed to originate from Lord Vishnu’s feet.  The water is used daily in the Temple’s activities.

(6) FOOT STEPS :  There are two paths to travel on foot from Tirupati to Tirumala.  These paths are called SOPANAMARGAS.  Both paths are completely roofed and pass through the seven hills which are a part of SESHACHALAM HILLS.


** ALIPIRI METLU  — This ancient path starts from Alipiri and consists of 3,500 steps which make a distance of 11km.  At Alipiri, there is a Temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara called PADALAMANDARAM.  There are four GOPURAMS (Temple Towers) on the way.

** SRIVARI METLU ——- It originates at SRINIVASA MANGAPURAM about 15km from Tirupati.  It is 2.1km long.  This trail has 2,400 steps.

Silent dialogue

Prayer is an experience of resurrection, a rebirth, the birth of a new vision, new dimension, new way of looking at things and a new way of being.  Prayer is not something that you do : PRAYER IS SOMETHING THAT YOU BECOME.  It is a state of being.  It has nothing to do with words that you utter in the temples, mosques and churches.  It is a SILENT DIALOGUE WITH EXISTENCE.  It is to be in tune with the total, with the whole.
And prayer is such a vast experience that it contains contradiction.  So, one can say : PRAYER IS SILENCE —— and he is absolutely right.  And another can say : PRAYER IS DIALOGUE —— and he is right too, because PRAYER IS A DIALOGUE IN SILENCE.  Now DIALOGUE and SILENCE seem to be contradictory.  In DIALOGUE you SPEAK, in SILENCE you HEAR.  In DIALOGUE you COMMUNICATE, in SILENCE you ARE SIMPLY THERE —— there is nothing to say.


What can be said to “existence” ?  He knows all that you can say in the first place.  you can bow down, celebrate.  But still your bowing down, celebration, festivity, thankfulness, gratitude —— they are still ways of speaking.  You are trying to say something without words, because words are very small and the heart really wants to say something.

So, it is “dialogue”, although “silent”.  It is a communication in a sense, because you are there and the whole existence becomes your beloved, the whole existence becomes a “thou”.  And yet there is no “I” and there is no “thou”  ———– BOTH DISAPPEAR.  Both meet and merge into one unity, one organic whole.  Just as the dewdrop disappears in the ocean, you disappear.  There is no separation between you and existence, so how can there be a dialogue ?
Science gives definitions, Religion cannot.  You ask, “What is water ?” and it says “H2O”  Prayer is subjective.  It is not an object that can be analysed.  You cannot show your prayer to anybody.  When prayer exists, it is not that prayer exists in you ———- on the contrary, YOU EXIST IN PRAYER.  You vibrate in that enormous dimension; that plenitude.
Prayer is a feeling of immense gratitude and thankfulness.  You are in this beautiful world, with these trees and rivers, mountains and stars, and you are pulsating, you are alive.  You have not earned this opportunity—– IT IS A GIFT.  Prayer is thank fullness for this gift of life.  Just to breathe is such a joy, just to open your eyes and see the greenery.  Just to listen to the chirping of birds, or the sound of running water or the silence of the night, or the dawn and sun rising ………. We have not earned all this.  They have been given to us, and we are not even thankful.
Prayer is a way of living, it is not something that you do early in the morning like a ritual.  If it is a ritual, it is meaningless.  A man of prayer remains in prayer 24 HOURS A DAY.  Prayer is deep down at the core of one’s being.
Man has lost many capacities, and one of the most important has been the capacity to pray ——- because it is only through prayer that we make a bridge between our tine self and the Infinite and the Absolute.
—- Abridged from THE PERFECT MASTER, courtesy : Osho International Foundation, http://www.osho.com.  (Speaking Tree).

A divine dialogue

We all know that the Bhagavad Gita is Lord Krishna’s teaching to Arjuna.  Once, a person told me, Swamiji, ” I know the Gita ——– the book that Arjuna taught Krishna !”
“No”, I corrected him, “it is the other way round.”  “What difference does it make ——- who taught whom”, he retorted.  True, as far as knowledge is concerned, the identities of the teacher and student, to a certain extent, are inconsequential.  However, n the case of the Gita, it is of utmost importance.  We cannot say Arjuna taught Lord Krishna.
What makes the Gita so “special” and “unique” ?Let us begin with the GITA DHYANA SHLOKAS.  The very first verse is :      Oh Bhagavad Gita, destroyer of birth(s), thou has been instructed to Parth, son of Prutha, by Lord Narayana himself and later included by the ancient sage Vyasa within the Mahabharata.  Showerer of the nectar of advaita, if 18 chapters, Oh Mother ! I meditate upon thee.” –
Here, the Gita is addressed as AMBA —– MOTHER.  When the Gita is addressed as “Mother” it implies a mother’s love and concern for her children.  Similarly, the Gita has love for all and is only interested in our happiness and well-being.


In Chapter 10 of the Gita, the Lord declares that He is the source of everything, and wherever and whenever we see something glorious, spectacular and powerful ——– it is His special glory, VIBHOOTI.  Lord Krishna points out that among the Pandavas, He is Arjuna ; among the great sages, He is Vyasa ; and among the Vrishnis, He is Vasudeva Shri Krishna.  These are His exceptional manifestations.

So, who is the teacher of the Gita ?  Lord Krishna.  Who is the student ? Lord Krishna in the form of Arjuna.  Who is the composer ? Lord Krishna in the form of rishi Ved Vyasa Rishi.  He is yet another manifestation of the Lord’s brilliance.  Lord Krishna is speaking of His glory to His own glory.  And this phenomenon is narrated by Sanjay, a devotee of the Lord.
Logically, if divinity is everywhere, the resultant song can only be divine.  This is the first speciality : since the teacher, the student, the composer and the writer were all divine, the consequent creation is naturally, divine.  Therefore, the Gita is divine knowledge given by none other Divinity Incarnate.
——- Swami Tejomayananda.     

Transcendent nature of seeds

Seeds are the transcendent stuff of life, our lives come from seeds.  Seeds are what enabled life to be maintained from primitive times unto today.  Every human being, ever born, came from a seed, so too, all animal and plant life that sustained us as food, all that humans wore on their backs, before synthetics, all aspects of shelter, all original tools of culture such as writing, music and art —— indeed everything that we depended on to continue the generations.
Transcendent nature of seedsGiven the importance of the seed, it is not unfair to say that in our everyday lives we tend to take for granted their power and importance.  We discard seeds as garbage without a though of the mysteries they hold, we pay more for watermelons and lemons engineered to be free of those “pesky” things.
Judaism partially compensates in acknowledging the masterminding ability of seeds in their end product.  Among the favourite aspects of Judaism are the blessings we recite during the course of each day, blessings over the wonders of nature —- food, natural events such as thunder and lightning and great oceans, scenes of beauty, persons of great wisdom, change of seasons and more.  Interestingly, as regards the blessings over food, we are taught to recite not one global blessing for all food but differentiated formulations of thanks to God.
Before biting into an apple, we recite a blessing on this fruit that grows on a tree, we recite a different blessing on a cucumber that grows in the ground or a grape that comes from a vine or bread that comes from a wheat stalk in the earth.  It is not the fullest recognition of the brilliance of the seed, but it does heightens awareness that nature is an exquisitely designed, variegated entity that connects us to the Divine.
——- Sacred Seed, published by The Golden Sufi Centre.

Knowledge beyond science

 Many roads lead to the Divine, these leave us sometimes with the paradox of choice.  The more choices we have, the unhappier we are, for we do not know which will eventually be the right one.

Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagwad Gita emphasises “three ways” of unifying with the highest potential : bhakti, karma and jnana marga.  The first is the” path of love”, of devotion towards God — the emotional, easier way.  The second, one of quintessential themes of the Gita, is the “path of acting”.  Albert Schweitzer describes it as the “external accomplishment of action with internal world renunciation”.  Although this is an inspiring path as well, the focus should be on the jnana marga.  It is the theoretical approach, the “path of wisdom”, a chariot of knowledge that is not misled by our senses.
This kind of knowledge is not to be mistaken for scientific knowledge, although they are not entirely separate.  Scientific knowledge prepares us for higher wisdom.  It is a partial truth, which can point towards the Supreme Truth.  That is a revelation, for that is what most of us do : read, write, educate ourselves and accumulate knowledge.  But, do we also move towards wisdom ?
KarlJaspersInitially, knowledge, enlightenment of the other kind, makes one doubt supernatural., non-empirical phenomena.  However, there is a point, where you start believing again. ——- It is a contradictory, never-ending detour : by knowing you know that true knowledge is never to be known.  Why then bother at all and attempt to know ?  Karl Jaspers is able to answer this question for us.  He believed that philosophy was undergoing a crisis, being superfluous, as it was assimilating itself increasingly to modern science.  For him, real philosophical thought ought to go beyond this.  This “philosophical belief” is supposed to “transcend” us to the “philosophia perennis”, the Santana Dharma, by leaving the sphere of object-subject duality.
Jaspers did not say that we are able to become permanently one with the Eternal Truth, for knowledge is always subject to duality —— the “thinker” and “that which is being thought”.  In order to reach the higher, the world equips us with “picklocks” which are simultaneously also our locks.
It is as paradoxical as everything else.  Yet, only the paradox can, as Jaspers writes, encompass everything.  Only that way “subject” and “object”, “being” and “non-being” are unified.
For Jaspers, there were those glimpses of light, those moments where we transcend.  If the object disappears one cannot seize the actual being, but one can become fulfilled with it.  There is a metaphysical step here.  One does not know any longer ——- knower and known become one.  That way, Jaspers and the Gita had a lot of parallels.
As Socrates once said, “I know that I know nothing”  And, don’t forget : NOTHING IS EVERYTHING.
——— Krisha Kops.


Mother and Child

Today is MOTHER’S DAY.  Of course, everyday is MOTHER’S DAY.
Here are a few words of love sent by her child to his mother on MOTHER’S DAY. : What is a MOTHER ? — A MOTHER is someone who knows all our “needs”, our “hopes”, and our “dreams” and “desires”, with a “genuine interest” in all that we do ——– Someone who “guides” and “inspires”.
The “heart” of a MOTHER is “full of compassion”, is “generous”, “kind” and “forgiving”.  The “smile” of a MOTHER is “loving” and “tender”, and ADDS SO MUCH GLADNESS TO LIVING.
There’s another one that runs thus :

When God created MOTHERS
It’s certain that He knew
We’d need the loving, thoughtful things
that only MOTHERS do.
Like knowing when we need a push
Or when we’ve had enough
And giving help and good advice
When problems get too tough.
Like helping us to reach goals
That we’ve been dreaming of
Or being warm and caring
When we need her special love.
Yes, God knew all the beautiful
Things that only MOTHERS do
And that’s exactly why He
So, I wish each and every MOTHER  —————————- A VERY HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

A power greater than our own

When we play a game, we often become so engrossed in it that we forget everything else.  In the same way, we become so engrossed in our daily lives that we forget who we really are.  That forgetfulness cuts us off from our true power. –
In a parable, the vine provides nutrients and life to a branch, without which its vine is merely a dead twig.  We, too, must connect to a flow of energy from a power greater than our own. –


For those who are connected to a spiritual path, the ‘Guru’ is the ‘vine’, the ‘source of power’ that sustains.  When we cut ourselves from the source that sustains us, we are left with the ‘power of ego’  The ‘ego’ has its realm, mainly in a small area of human activity involving intellect, choice and the ability to function in society.  But, if we consider the many basic bodily processes that are not under our conscious control, such as breathing, circulation, digestion and the beating of the heart, we see that their is a deeper power sustaining us.  God does nearly everything, leaving only the tiniest part to us.
When we assemble all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, except the last one, we turn the final piece in many different ways and, eventually, with a sense of accomplishment say, “I’ve done it”.  God does 999 pieces of the puzzle, and when we put the last piece in place, we say, “I did it all myself”.
Our ‘egos’ are like little jets of flame on a gas burner : each one has the appearance of individuality, each is, in fact, but a spurt of the unifying gas underneath.  As our consciousness expands, we become more and more aware of our connection to the Divine Source.


To open ourselves more fully to that source, we need to realise first that we have much more ‘inner strength’ when we realise —– that the energy, intelligence and will we are using come from an ‘infinite ocean’.  Our will power is like a ‘faucet’.  As we open the valve, more and more water flows through.
Second, we have to connect to the deeper, more expansive parts of ourselves.  This we can do by overcoming the delusion that we alone are the doer.  God is the Doer through us.
Third, we need to attune our consciousness to the ‘Guru’, who could help us realise our ‘divinity’.  Fourth, we need devotion  It is through the love of our hearts that we open a channel to that sustaining power.  Grace then comes in, like sunlight through a window, and changes our consciousness.
 Finally, we need to meditate deeply, and thus experience God’s energy as the sound of “AUM” or as light.  We expand, not only by contacting that power, but also by offering ourselves into it.  It’s like the branch and its leaves offering energy back to the vine that sustains it.  As we deepen our connection with the Divine, finally, we learn that there is no “I and Thou”.  There is only the one Source.  Then, with a flood of love, we re-establish our union with God and find our true power.
——– Jyotish Novak.