LEGENDS OF LORD VENKATESHWARA
Located in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati is a temple town that is revered by Hindus. Each year millions of devotees and believers come to the town to pay homage at the Sri Venkateswara Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The water bodies around this temple have legends associated with them.
There are many legends associated with Lord Venkateshwara and also the most ancient water tank in the premises of the Venkateshwara temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. One of the ancient legends relates how a maniac was recovered to normal sanity by bathing in the waters of Swamipushkarini, the famous tank of the Lord Venkateshwara near the central shrine of the Lord Venkatesa. Once upon a time there was a powerful King in the Lunar dynasty (Chandra Vamsa) by name Nanda. He had a son by name Dharma Gupta. When Dharma Gupta became an accomplished Prince, Nanda went to the forests for doing penance for the rest of his life. One day Dharma Gupta went into the forest for hunting. Until the dusk he wandered and finally he was very much tired. As darkness was pervading all things, he decided to spend that night climbing up a tree top.
When Dharma Gupta was resting on the tree a bear driven by a lion came to the spot. Quickly the bear climbed the tree and spoke to Dharma Gupta in human language. O King, Do not fear. You can safely sleep under my lap until the midnight. Then I shall rest on my lap." The King agreed to this. When the King was sleeping on the bear's lap, the lion roared and implored to the bear, "Will you please throw that man down. I am hungry. I will eat him and leave you free." The boar refused to do that and was vigilantly guarding the sleeping King. A little later, the king woke up. Then the bear slept on the lap of the King. The lion standing beneath the tree prayed to the King to roll down the bear, so that it will have its prey and leave the King free. The king acceded to this. He let down the bear. Fortunately the bear woke up and caught a branch of the tree. Then the bear spoke to the king, "O King, you have breached my trust, I am not a bear but Brahmin of Brugu Maharishi's lineage. By some strange curse I have been transformed into a bear. For your deception, you will be a maniac and shall wander deprived of your kingly status."
Dharma Gupta thus became mentally disordered. He wandered in the forests and hills. The ministers of Dharma Gupta wondered what had happened to their king. They searched for him and finally informed their former King Nanda. Nanda then consulted the super seer Jaimin. By his super physical sight Jaimin saw what had happened to Dharma Gupta and he informed his whereabouts. Jaimini also suggested Nanda to take his son Dharma Gupta on a pilgrimage to Tirumalai hills and bathe him in the tank Swamipushkarini. Accordingly Nanda took his son to the Venkatadri and bathed him in the temple tank, whereby Dharma Gupta came to normal mental health. Later Dharma Gupta became a great devotee of the Lord and offered various gifts to the temple. Swamipushkarini is said not only to ward off evil or malignant influences, but also give longevity in addition to wealth and status.
Once there lived an aged Brahmin sage performing penance at the Venkata hills. He had an assistant by name Koundinya. One day the sage went out into the deep forests for fetching fruits. On his return he missed his way. He wandered quite some distance in the forest. He called out his assistants' name so that he may hear and come to his rescue. By this time he became very thirsty as well as tired. The graceful Lord Sri Venkatesa assumed the form of a young boy and approached the sage. He spoke to the old man, "O sage, whom are you calling out in this wilderness. Are there anyone nearby? Should you live at this very ripe age on this hill alone. Is there any meaning for it?" The sage replied, "I know I have some work for the angels to do. Until I complete them I should stay alive. But personally I have no ambitious to live anymore." Then the young boy led him into a lake and asked the old man to have a dip in the lake. The old man bathing into the lake was transformed into a young boy of sixteen years. Then the Lord showered his blessings on him and disappeared. From that day onwards the lake was known as "Kumaran thirtham" because it had the power of conferring youthfulness on the aged Brahmin sage.
Once the great seers like Sanaka lived on the banks of this lake. Arunthathi, wife of one of the seven great seers, found this spot very vibrant. She chose this spot for performing penance. On a full moon day in the Phalguni month, Goddess Lakshmi Devi appeared to Arunthathi and granted her wishes. Sri Lakshmi Devi also granted a power that on the said Phalguni day every year whosoever takes bath in that lake shall get the Grace of Goddess Lakshmi Devi. Later Sri Agasthya built his hermitage on the banks and raised a flower garden around the spot. The flowers were also offered to the Lord in the shrine by the sage.
This lake is situated on the south western direction of the main shrine of Lord Sri Venkatesa. An ancient saint by name Jabali lived here for a long time. Hence it had the name of the famous saint. It is also an important spot at the hills. Once upon a time a Brahmin lived on the banks of Kaveri river. Around his house wicked people lived close by, though the Brahmin was an upright character. As days went by he fell into those vicious circle. A ghost possessed his body. He was driven hither and thither. Finally he came to the Venkata hills. When he bathed in the Jabali thirtham, the ghost could not have any influence on him. It left his body at once. The sage Jabali knowing thoroughly well at the perils the Brahmin had when the ghost haunted him consoled him. The thirtham is famous for relieving obsessions and haunted concerns.
Once a Gandharva by name Thumburu, lived in the vicinity of the Thumburu thirtham. He was a devotee of the Lord Sri Venkateswara. He instructed his wife to take an early morning bath in the lake and get ready for the Lord's worship in the central shrine. She was a little hesitant to take a dip in the cold morning. The Gandharava coud not control his temper. He cursed her to be a frog in the lake. When she begged his pardon, she was told when the sage Agasthya visits the lake and tells his disciples of the vibrant power of the lake waters, upon hearing the words of the saint her frog form would vanish. She was at once transformed into a frog. She lived there in the Kona thirtham in a bark. One day as foretold, sage Agasthya came there and was elaborating the potency of the lake waters. Hearing this account the frog turned into a Gandharva woman, redeemed of her curse. Since the Gandharva Thumburu lived there for a while, the lake his name for it.
Once a vedic scholar lived on the banks of the Godavari river. He was a compassionate man. He loved all the living beings alike. He was known as Kesava Bhattar. One day another Brahmin scholar came to the house Kesava Bhattar. It was on the annual ceremony of the Kesava's father. So he requested his Brahmin guest to accept the special offerings of the ceremony. By this time Kesava Bhattar became an ass. Kesava Bhattar knew that on the banks Swarnamukhi river, sage Agsthya had his hermitage. He at once went there and requested the saint to explain to him why he had an animal countenance. Agasthya by his foresight saw the events behind the ugly transformation and replied to Kesava Bhattar. "O Brahmin, you have offered food to a person who had no progeny to succeed him. By this your ceremony was faulty for uplifting your ancestors. There is a redemption for this. If you would proceed to the Venkata hills, bathe in the Akasa ganga waterfalls and worship the Lord Sri Venkatesa, everything will be alright for you." Kesava Bhattar went up the hills, bathed in the Akasa ganga and gained back his beautiful human countenance.
Long ago a Brahmin by name Bhadramathy lived with his six wives and several children. He was a pious Brahmin, although he like most Brahmins lived in dire poverty. He was basically endowed with little property and as he aged he felt the need for supporting his large family more and more. He was also much hit by the polygamy he had. One day one of his wife by name Yasovathy wanted to put an end to her husband's financial worries, "Dear, of all the charities, I am told, bhudhanam (offering land gift) is said to be the highest. It is equal of giving all types of wealth to the giver. By bathing in the Papavinasam thirtham at the Venakatadri hills and offering bhudhanam, we can end away our poverty once for all. We can attain total redemption from all kinds of bondages." Strongly influenced by her words, the pious Brahmin went to a nearby village and secured five feet land. He went to the Venkata hills and bathed in the holy Papavinasam waterfalls. He gave away the land he secured to someone there. The lord was pleased to know this and he appeared before him and granted all wealth and enriched his entire family.