How Tirumala Balaji Mandir was saved from a Muslim maurader

via S V Badri published on July 25, 2006

This was during the period when Sultan Abdullah Qutub Shah of Golkonda invaded the Tirupati region. An anomymous Telugu poet, as an eye-witness, has most pathetically described in the poem, the tribulations, hardships, acute suffering, agony, misery, rape and murder of women, men, children, underwent at the hands of the Vazirs and the cavalry of Sultan Abdullah Qutub Shah of Golkonda, their desecration of Hindu Mandirs and holy places, and how they plundered and broke the Vigrahas in the famous holy Mandirs of Lower-Tirupati.

 

The poem is titled “Venkatachala-Vihara-Satakamu”, a centum of Telugu verses (of which only 98 are available now) in “Sisamalika” meter, the fourth line of each of the “Teta-gita” stanza appended to the “Sisamalika” verses uniformly invoking Venkateswara as “Satru-Samhara Venkatachala-Vihara”.

 

From verse 66, we understand that author is a Vaishnavite as he queries:

 

“How can I utter the “kartaru-Mantra” of the muslims, giving up the “Gayatri Mantra” and ” remain sinfully with bare face devoid of the nAmam”. “How can I adore the Penugonda Babu (meaning the Nawab), discontinuing my prayers to you, the father of this entire universe”.

 

In verse 6 he asserts that if a Brahmana like himself possessed a weapon like the Disc (Sudarshan Chakra) of  Venkateswara, he would surely wield it ferociously to strike, pierce, kill men and horses and make them pile on each other as corpses and drive the Turks up the Golkonda.

 

In Verse 9 he laments that his ears that have been magnificently tuned to listening to the Arava (Tamil) Prabhandams should not be subjected to the torture of having to hear the Muslim lore instead of the Tamil Pasurams of the Azhvars.

 

In Verse 77, he wonders how Nellore town would bear the onset of the terrific soldiers of “Suratani Abdulla”. He laments to the Bhagawan that different sacred mandirs have been profaned, the trees in the gardens have become the sport of the elephants, the holy worshipping places have become the resting place of the “Sardaru” (Sardar, the army chiefs) and the “Padmakaramulu” (lotus ponds) have been contaminated by urination. The poet wails- “Kavali, Kovuru, Duvvuru, Nelluru, Poluru, Manneru, Tallapaka, Utukuru, Oramupadu, Penu-Balapeta, Koduru, Kuruva , Mamanduru and Kalahasti have all been occupied by the muslim enemies.

 

He continues to implore Venkateswara to slay the invading muslims and in verse 90 says – “I entreat you, as your well-wisher, not to pay money to the mean-minded people”

 

In a fit of anger, he calls the Bhagawan, names. “Do not call yourself Vishnu, you might soon become “Kartaru”. Not “Krishna”, but “Babayya”, because the Dakkinul (Dakkinis) Turks, “Parasilu” (Persian) will insult, abuse, strip and cudgel you. I have thus fore-warned you out of gratitude, since I ate your food and enjoyed other benefits fully; and I have no other thought except asking you to escape early in good time”.

 

In the 98 verse, he realises that he had called the Bhagawan a coward besides other unacceptable words born out of frustration and helplessness. And pleads for forgiveness. He says, “Arrogantly I have called you a coward, but you are supreme warrior; the ever-solicitous protector of bhaktas, appearing powerless but really the all-pervasive universal power of different forms inheriting even in the smallest atom and the pores of hair, seemingly inactive but one who can be most decisive. In my destressed mood, I blamed you only to exhort you for the good of the world to destroy the assailing Muslims, I repent for my thousand offences”

 

The invasion must have been between 1656 and 1668, when the East India Company sent an envoy to the Golkonda viceroy at Tirupati to get its charter confirmed. 

 

The Hindus pay Zizya to save their Mandir 

 

No attack on the Mandir took place as feared by the poet. It is widely believed that the invading Muslim army was “put-off” by the presence of “Varaha Murthy” Vigraha – (The Boar form of Bhagavan Vishnu) at the foot hills and boar being anethema to them, they returned in a huff and camped at the Chandragiri Fort wanting to attack the shrine from the Chandragiri forest side. Many people believe that the name “Alipiri”, the foot hills of the Bhagawan’s Seven/two Hills was derived from the word “Ali – Phiri” (Ali returned from here) and perhaps the name Alipiri has stuck ever since.

 

It is said that it is during this period that the Archakas and the Sthaniks of the Tirumala Mandir played a vital role in ensuring the Mandir was not attacked by the mauraders.

 

They took cue from the legend of Bhagawan Balaji in which He takes a loan from Kubera for his marriage to Sri Padmavati, and added their own version that the Bhagawan had undertaken  to pay Kubera the interest amount, through the kings who hold sway over this part of the country and through levy of fees on devotees. This appears to have then resulted in an average annual income of two lakhs of rupees to the shrine.

 

The worshippers, who were anxious to preserve the Mandir free from alien interference, gladly and liberally contributed towards the funds of the Mandir. The Sultans of Golconda and their successors, the Nawabs of the Carnatic, farmed out this revenue to Hindu renters, thus realising annually a steady and certain income from it. They could not afford to forego such a fruitful source of revenue by interfering with the worship at the shrine.

 

(The poor Archakas and the Sthanikas have never realised that they had set up a precedent that is dutifully followed by successive governments of AP, which has made TTD their very own fiefdom for personal aggradisement of wealth).

 

The Mandir’s Archakas and the Sthanikas (residents of Tirumala) deserve our eternal gratitude for this daring piece of diplomacy, for they even actually “prepared a bond” relating to the transaction between Bhagawan Balaji and Kubera, which is said to be preserved to this day.

 

The basis for preperation of one such bonds was the following extract from Chapter XI, Slokas 120-125, p352 of Sri Venkatachala Mahatmiyam – Bhavisyothara Purana.

 

This loan transaction is vividly described in the Venkatachalamahatmyam. You will find that there is nothing in it to show that Bhagawan undertook to repay the debt through the sovereigns ruling the country between Palar and the Swarnamukhi rivers. However, the Archakas and the Sthanikas of that time, advanced this argument to the Muslim mauraders and ensured they kept away from destroying the magnificent Mandir, while enjoying the benefits of the “interest” on the loan repayment to Kubera .

 

Here is the bond executed by Bhagawan Venkateswara in favor of Kubera:

 

Srinivasaha UvAca                                           


Srinivasa asked

Kayam Lekhyam maYA patra RNadAnE vavadhyamE

 


Tell me how the bond of debt should be drawn up by me

BrahmOvAca

 


Brahma said

 

RnagrAhi Srinivasa,

DhanadayE Dhaneswaraha,

Atmakaryam Nimithuntu,

KalyAnArtha KalauyugE.

VaisakhE Sukla SapthamyAm

VilambE CaivavatsarE.

 


Srinivasa is the borrower, Kubera, the lender and the borrowing is for personal reasons of performance of His marriage in the Kali Yuga, during the month of Vaisakha, on the seventh day of the Sukla fortnight, in the year Vilambi.

 

NishkANAm RAmamudrANAm

LakshAnica Caturdasa

Dravyam Datham DhanEsEna

VriDhigrahaNakAraNAt

Samvridhi Diditsata Moolam

SvEkrtam ChakrapANinA

 

 


The Lord of wealth Kubera gives fourteen lakhs of Niskas bearing the Ramamudra, for earning interest and the Lord Chakrapani (Venkateswara) having agreed to pay the principal with interest.

VivAhavarsha MAracya

sahasrAntE Dhanam punaha

Datavyam YaksharajAya

SrinivasEna sAngiNa


It is agreed that Srinivasa the Sarngi shall repay to the King of the Yakshas (Kubera), at the end of thousand years commencing from the year of marriage.

 

Ekaha sAkshE caturvaktrO

Dviteeyastu TrilOcanaha

triteeyO Saktyarajastu

 

Vethi Sarvamidam Drudam

IdyEtaRnapatram tu

SrinivasO Likhatsvayam

 


The first witness is the four-faced Brahma, the second, the three- eyed Siva and the third the Asvatha, the king of trees, know all these presents in eternity. Thus the loan bond was drawn up by Srinivasa in his own hand.

(It is interesting to know that this third witness, Asvatha tree is believed to be the one near the Srivari Pushkarini)

 

 

Sincere Acknowledgement:

 

Source : Extensively borrowed from “The Tirumala Temple” (p420 to 427)by Dr N Ramesan, M.A., Ph.D. F.R.A.S (London), I.A.S., Second Secretary to the Govt of AP (Revenue) and former Chairman, TTD. Manuscript handed over to TTD on 1-10-1979 (Vijayadasami Day) and Published by the TTD-1981.

 

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