I had a wonderful darshan of Lord Shri Venkateswara on 12th November 2016 along with my friend who took immense care in making sure I have a cool experience. Lord Venkateswara is one of my favourite God especially since he has blessed me in few dreams and visions. There’s a difference between dreams and visions. Dreams come when we are in deep sleep while vision happens when we are lying down simply closing eyes or meditating. I don’t know how many of you have actually understood the greatness of Shri Venkateswara because many of you have gone to Tirumala to have his darshan. Please remember him so that you too will realize how much he expresses his love back on you.
Did you read the lines again? I did not ask you to recite any mantra. I did not ask you even to chant his holy name though I recommond it.
Simply “Remember” Lord Venkateswara deeply in your heart.
This is my humble request to all who worship him at home and those who travel to Tirupati. I am really worried when I see devotees casually talking about their day to day life, problems in society and how long its taking to wait in the que while on the way to darshan of Lord Venkateswara. Darshan is surely a divine blessing but beyond darshan your heart must remember this great sweet heart of Tirumala. He’s truly one of the most amazing God I have ever experienced in my life.
Trust me. I am not at all religious. I sound to be religious but I have changed a lot in the past 1 year. My parents were really worried that I am always speaking about Saibaba, going to temple and even doing pooja at home. So to make them feel good, I tried to change a lot. I started changing my writing style in StarSai too making it look less religious an more “True to life” because I don’t want to make my readers a typical religious person.
I want you to lead your life happily but still realize the greatness of showing devotion on Gods and Saints.
This expression of devotion must be subtle and not be the main focus of life. That’s what Sai also desires. What I am trying to convey is that its not the mantra you recite. It’s not the way you do rituals and pooja. It’s just the way you love him and show devotion on him that melts his heart. My love for Shri Venkateswara comes without any effort of mine and to tell you the truth, that’s true relationship between God and his humble devotee.
Let me describe the experiences I had during my November 2016 trip to Tirupati along with my friend.
My Journey to Tirupati
I had postponded my Tirupati trip atleast for 3 weeks since I could not get train ticket. Finally, my friend suggested that we take a bus and that he will also accompany me but until the last day, we were doubtful if we are starting our journey. Finally, on a Friday evening, November 12th 2016, we started to Tirupati by Bus. I usually avoid Bus journey but this time, there was no other go. Train was completely booked and we had to depend on the bus. The bus started from Coimbatore at around 8 P.M.
I usually hug Sai Satcharita keeping it over me when ever I travel but this time, I kept it in the bag and was simply remembering Sai and Lord Venkateswara. Some of you would have read that in 2007, I contineously chanted ‘Sai Vengusa” and was blessed with a divine dream – Sri Venkateswara – The God who opened eyes for chanting his holy name
Why Chant Sai Vengusa?
You can chant any holy name or mantra of Lord Venkateswara. Chanting “Sai Vengusa” was very personal to me as someone told me a story. Seems, the Guru of Shirdi Saibaba is Vengusa and he meditated in Tirumala hills for 12 years. I never like spreading such stories since Baba has not confirmed it. I just basically like chanting “Sai Vengusa”. I also try to chant “Sai Venkateswara”. People who are not Sai devotees are most welcome to skip chanting “Sai” and just focus on Lord Venkateswara. What matters is “Remembrance” and you can do it by chanting any holy name of this sweet God.
A Telugu girl working in Coimbatore spoke till 2 A.M and annoyed me
Right from the day Sai showed Butterfly in dream, when ever I see someone with a Butterfly in their bag or dress etc, I look at them curiously. I saw this girl in the adjacent seat with a Butterfly bag. I turned and continued to chant. I was speaking to my friend for few minutes. Then, I assumed that the bus is going to be very calm. The lights were off and I decided to chant peacefully and sleep.
After few minutes, I saw a guy sitting near this Telugu girl. They were quite decent and simply spoke as good friends. The problem is a very strange habit of some of our girls in India. When they wanted to prove that they are not speaking anything too personal with a guy, they speak so loudly to the extent that people sitting 5 feet away can hear them.
Seems she’s working in Coimbatore and both of them are good friends from Tirupati. They spoke mostly in Telugu. I went on a small flash back to the days I worked in some Telugu films. The words I used to hear in past came back as living memories…
College Chaala Strictu
The bus stopped in a highway restaurant where I found this beautiful Saibaba statue! I got permission from the guy working in the hotel and took this photo.
As the bus started moving, Andhra Express started again!
Saibabaaaaaaaaaaaaa! 1 o clock at night. I pleaded Sai to ask them to stop talking because I could not do chanting and also can’t sleep when these 2 were talking in a language I could hardly understand. I have a humble request.
When you are on a public transport, speak little softly to your friends.
Later, I slept off few minutes. I woke up when the bus was fast approaching Tirupati. I started asking Saibaba about an issue I was going through. I usually get upset if someone sneezes when I am thinking about this issue. I find it inauspicious. Stupid sentiment..he he…
As soon as I thought about someone, this Butterfly bag girl sneezed. I was really irritated and thought to myself
“Yendi Ma..ithana neram nalla dhaana irundha…Uppa enna aachu? – You were fine all the while. What happened to you that you are sneezing now?” The girl seemed to have got cold.
Anyway. I felt its better not to think about few happenings as my Tirupati trip was especially to forget all these incidents.
The power of being single
My friend is going to get enggaged by the end of this month. I was happy for him but this could be his last few trips as a bachelor. As we reached Tirupati Bus stop, we decided to simply bath in the near by dormitary kind of place. It was clean but we had to wait few minutes in the que. As we walked to the bus stop, my friend told me “See. We saved 700 Rs” as the Travels Manager who guided us to dormitary also suggested renting a hotel in Tirupati for Rs.700. We both decided not to spend for it as we are single and are not in need of any room.
I told my friend “That’s the power of being single. We don’t really have to spend money for hotels and decent restaurants”. he he..
I can’t agree that few happenings are co-incidents because the whole world calls it “Sai Leela”
My friend wanted to take me to Srinivasa Mangapuram, a temple 40Kms from Tirupati. So were waiting for the bus. My friend suggested that we have breakfast. I told him that I wish to have food in a better hotel and not the kind he showed me in the bus stand. Later, I agreed to have food. I had Pongal and he had puri. While we completed our breakfast, I saw that the name of the shop is “Sri Sai Srinivasa Tiffen center”.
I have been worshipping a Saibaba photo with Red color kafni for more than 12 years. That’s one of the oldest Saibaba photo in our house. The painting of Saibaba over this shop was almost like the Baba photo in my home. So I wanted to take a photo of this Sai. As I went near to take the photo with my mobile, I was truly shocked and surprised for I found a name I least expected.
(I hid the name below the photo since its too personal to me)
I was happy but told him ‘Unake overa therilaya Sai? Ipidila pannadha Saibaba.”
“I came here to forget it and you are making me remember it showing this name near yourself especially in the painting I like most.”
I agree its a common name because now a days, where ever I go, I find it but why on the Saibaba painting I like the most? This is the kind of painting which I used to print 1000 Sai posters and give it as gift to devotees along with a good quote. Just 2-3 days before Tirupati trip, I hugged the same Sai portrait in my home and slept and he did blessed me with a beautiful dream.
The rule of probability too applies here. May be, its just a common name used in Andhra and I happen to see it. Why should I call it a Sai leela? Already I suffered enough.
Bus to Srinivasa Mangapuram
Meanwhile, the bus to Srinivasamangapuram had come. We ran to it and caught hold of the space in last seat. I enjoyed the journey speaking to my friend about Andra and other stuff as he’s from Vizag. On thinking about someone’s name I found on the Saibaba photo,I tried to convince myself thinking practically.
“Dreams will come…
Sai will show me few images from a song.
When I misinterpretted it, Sai even hinted me to find out the right song which carries this name.
Later, I had a dream in which the name was written on some other place.
I believed in every single dream of Saibaba and finally complicated my life at work.
When I decided to forget everything and moveon in life, I came Tirupati.
Sai showed me this name near his own painting early in the morning.”
So what are these experiences? Please don’t call it co-incidence. I am not a fool though I might look like one.
I even told my friend to take me to a better restaurant. Why did we have food in this small bus stand food shop and only after having food, I even noticed the Sai painting and only when I tried to take photo, I saw this name. Why shouldn’t there be another name “Why not Lakshmi Ads…Why not Lavanya Ads?” Why on Earth Sai made me see this purticular name? Did I ask for it Baba?
From this experience, I understood that Saibaba is playing with my emotions and he has all rights to do it. Its not at all related to reality. I just have to think practically and forget everything.
We got down the bus and walked inside the temple. My friend told me “Wearing Veshti (Dhoti as they call in Hindi is must) as you are participating in the Srinivasa Kalyanotsavam”.
I removed Shirt – Not enough?
I wore Veshti – Thankfully, this time, it did not bother me much and stayed where its supposed to be but occasionally I had to do some adjustments. We got ticket for Rs.500 as I wanted to participate in the Kalyanotsavam – Divine marriage of Venkateswara and Padmavathi.
Darshan of Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy
I liked the small pond infront of the temple. So we stepped in and sprayed some water over my head. We entered the temple and stood in que to have darshan of Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy. My friend told me that Lord Venkateswara got married here and hence the name. I told my friend that all other devotees are wearing shirt and he made me alone to remove. He said “You will be blessed as that’s how humble you must be infront of God’. So I stopped feeling embarassed and walked in.
The divine idol of Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy will live in my heart forever. I enjoyed his darshan and walked to the place where we are supposed to wait for the Kalyana utsavam. We sat few minutes chatting something. My friend don’t wanna participate in it as he has already seen it during his previous visit to the temple. So he went out to speak to his fiance over phone. I was left alone. I love looking at ordinary Indians.I kept watching…
A couple who were with their kid took selfie. After a while, there was noise everywhere. They will call the name one by one to let us go inside the hall. My number was 472. There was lot of chaos and fun when the devotees could not get their names write. I enjoyed listening to Telugu. The only problem was someone near me would assume I can understand the language and talk to me. I also acted as if I understood them and smile. Yennamo solraanga Saibaba.
The temple staff kept on asking us to move infront and sit as they wanted to accomodate everyone. One devotee got irritated and started shouting “Why did you give so many tickets for such a small hall. You people keep asking us to move front and sit?”. Before he could cool down, the screen opened to give darshan of Sri Venkateswara with his consort Sri Devi and Boo Devi.
The priest did some rituals. They lit holy fire and recited mantra. I kept chanting Sai and Lord Venkateswara’s holy name. It took more than two hours for the Kalyana utsavam but it was auspicious to be a part of it.
It was like I came for divine wedding of Lord Venkateswara with his beautiful wives – Sri Devi and Boo Devi.
After the divine wedding, the priest closed the screen. Something really funny happened. There was a girl with her parents and two brothers. She had a very long hair and surprisingly it was natural. In front of me an elderly aunty was sitting exactly behind this girl. This aunty was so curious to touch the hair of the girl infront of her. I suddenly noticed it and was wondering what she’s doing? The girl was shocked as she might have assumed some men behind her are disturbing her. She turned her face harshly, saw this aunty and smiled to her. She felt shy and that was a beautiful expression. There’s this time in every girl when they feel shy if people appreciate how good she looks. Could you remember such a period in your life?
Anyways…Vayasaanaa summave iruka maatingala? This elderly aunty came to see divine wedding and experimenting with the girls long hair…he he…
I went in que and by Sri Venkateswara’s grace received akshadha – Holy Rice from the priest and came out in search for my friend. We took the prasad and had that as lunch for that day. It was delicious but too much for us to finish. I enjoyed the Neem tree shade in the temple and remembered Sai.
Your devotion will surely reach God if you forget the whole world and focus on the way you express your love for God, Goddess and Saints.
We saw a North Indian girl who was coming around the big temple for more than 3-4 hours. She was too tired by late afternoon and limping while walking. I respect anyone who expresses such sincere devotion on God. I wanted to give her Shirdi Saibaba photo and told my friend about it. I wanted to make her happy. Later, I decided not to give since I believed God will take care of her and just prayed for her.
An old taxi driver whom I admire
We came out and found a old Taxi driver who offered us to take to Tirumala just for 200 Rs. He’s very smart ya. It was a private car. He had come taking a family from Chennai to Tirupati. They had gone to some temples as their bags too were in the car. The old man make some quick bucks instead of waiting for them lazily in the car. You might think he’s dishonest but according to me, this is one amoung the ordinary Indian’s whom I admire the most. What all he had to earn just 200 Rupees? He played some Telugu songs in the car and was speaking once in a while to us. I did not actually chant but kept remembering the days I came with my parents to Tirumala on December 12th 2012. Yes. I don’t forget dates. I don’t even forget dates of people whom I met first if I like them a lot. That’s me and there’s lot of such unnecessary data stored in my heart. he he…
Wonderful weather greeted us to the most compassionate God on Earth – Sri Venkateswara!
Tirumala is all about rushing to the right place at the right time. My friend decided to stand in the que for accomodation that night for us. We asked a tea shop man. He said that there are people to give 50 Rupees room for 600 Rupees commission. Once again the power of being single comes to play. Why do we need a room? We can even sleep on the road. he he..Naanga pasanga da.
In 2009, I went to Tirupati with my two of my temple friends. I told them that I will stay only in Star hotel. They made me sleep in the cement floor infront of the 300 Rupees ticket entrance under a tree. I looked at the sky late night and told them “I asked you for Star hotel. You people made me sleep looking at the stars in the sky”.
While my friend was standing in Que while I quickly walked to the place where I can offer my hair. Six years after I had prayed to Lord Venkateswara that I will offer my hair, I am now in my final walk to do it. On the way, I found the only ATM working was of Oriental Bank of Commerce and several people were in Que to take money due to cash crunch in India due to ban of 500 and 1000 Rupees. I went into a building, found a man sitting in corner, removed my shirt and gave him 100 Rupees before even he started the shaving. Even he told me that you can give it later. I made sure he won’t be too harsh on my head.
I remembered Venkateswara while offering my hair and then took bath. Meanwhile, my friend told me that its impossible to get room as huge crowd was waiting already for 4 hours. We walked to various places and finally spotted Madhavan Nialayam – A Dormitary which has steel racks to keep our bags and other stuff. That’s all we need. Even singles have bags and Gadgets which has to be taken care if not us.
We had booked our 300 Rupee ticket the day before. Our timing was 5 P.M in the evening. We felt hungry. The dosa I had was not at all good. I asked my friend to get me Coffee as it would help me forget the Dosa. he he..
We walked very happily near the 300 Rupees ticket entrance. Couple of staff standing there to whom we spoke asked us wear traditional dress and come. So what’s traditional? Veshti.
Oh God. Marupadiyuma? It won’t stay in my hip and I get really scared to wear one. We walked all the way back to our room to change our dress. It was over 5.30 when we finally entered the que. I felt good for first 10 minutes as devotees walked fast and I felt we can have darshan in few minutes. That was not to be. It was getting crowded. I tried chanting Sai’s holy name along with name of Venkateswara. I was singing some bhajans. Once in a while we both were chatting about our life, the crowd in Tirumala etc. I told my friend that not even 1 percent of these devotees will actually realize the greatness of chanting or remembering this Gods name. It’s something we must practice. Every single day, learn to remember God or any ancient saint you love for 10 minutes.
Even when you stand in que to have darshan of Sri Venkateswara, why should you speak so much about the crowd? A women was really blabbering so much that everyone went ahead of her group. I wanted to shout at her to be calm but even educated girls are like this. A north Indian couple were behind us. The girl kept on asking this guy why the que is not moving ahead?
I am not blaming. I am not that religious too.I too do silly talks but occasionally, I try to remember God and Sai deep in my heart.
I want all of you to pray for families coming with elderly people and little babies. I was thinking how hard it is to manage while traveling with such kids. Fortunately, I never saw any kid crying too much. They were able to accomodate with the crowd. Oh Yes. We are living in a country of 130 Crore citizens. Kids gets used to crowd quickly..he he..
After several minutes of standing in the same place, the que finally started moving. It kept moving and we were almost near. The securities in the end asked me to keep the Sai Satcharita book and my wallet in the scanner. I did that, grabbed it and ran inside the wealthiest temple where devotees from all parts of the world come to offer their dakshina (sins) and go back home with blessings of this sweet Sri Venkateswara.
As I walked inside the second parikara of the temple, a devotee shook my hand and asked me to walk carefully so that I won’t harm the little kid besides me. I bent down to see the kid and her Grandmother walking behind her. I asked the old women to carry the kid as the crowd is crazy after this stage. They will run towards the main garbagraha and won’t even have a second to see if they are dashing on someone or hitting a kid.
The old women told me “I have leg pain and none in our family can carry her”. I said “Oh” and walked ahead. I was planning to hug my Sai Satcharita and wallet in a cover to my chest while having darshan of Venkateswara. My friend was near me to whom I told “I wish to take care of that kid. She’s blinking in the crowd not knowing what to do?”
He offered to carry my Sai Satcharita book and my wallet. So I gave it to him. I turned to the grandma and told her ‘I will carry the kid”. Before she could answer, I bent down, grabbed the kid with my palm and lifted her up to me. I have never carried kids all my life accept Katya when she was here in 2010. I really don’t know how to hold this child. She must be 5 years old and was very silent. I kept telling her pointing to her grandma “Look…She’s coming”.
I wanted to make sure she won’t cry as a stranger is carrying her. All of you who regularly come to StarSai know that I fear for little things in life. Even in this crowded situation, I got doubt “What if I miss this family? I need the old ladies name to announce that I have their baby with me.
I turned to the grandma and asked for her name. She thought I am asking her grand daughter’s name and told me a name which surprised me.
I walked ahead along with the crowd. I again asked for the name. She repeated “ShivSai”
Shivasai..A girls name? So many thoughts crossed my mind but I had no time in this sitution. The devotees were pushing us. I can’t control my happiness that Saibaba made me do a small good deed even while having darshan of the my sweet Sri Venkateswara.
Shivsai was turned the other side as she don’t know what’s happening. We were already in the platform infront of Lord Venkateswara. I worshipped him joing my palm and wonder how many seconds I could do it? Because I turned cute, little ShivSai’s face towards the Lord and asked her to join palm to worship him. She did that. I did all my prayers for my parents, Sister, my Brother in Law, Our Katya and some of my friends. As I took left to move out of the main temple, I can’t control my emotion.
Isn’t this a Sai leela?
Millions of devotees throng to this temple. Exactly, the day I went to this temple, along with me there was a small 5 year old kid with her family. Probably Saibaba has tested me? If I will be selfish to comfortably worship Venkateswara or if I have a heart to carry a small kid safely in the crowd and also help her get Venkateswara’s divine darshan. I passed in your test Baba.
I carried this cute, little angel called ‘ShivSai”
I know that I will never ever meet ShivSai again for lifetime and I know her grandma and her Mother will be grabbing her from me. So I hugged her tight and kissed her. I kissed cute little ShivSai 2-3 times on her cheek. She was happy too and smiled to me. My friend was shouting at me as her grandma expected me to drop the kid exactly in the exit but I walked little ahead as I had no heart to let her go. Finally, they came near me. I gifted ShivSai a Saibaba photo and gave her back to her family where she belongs.
When I write this, I could feel how it is to be a Father? Sometime back, I wrote this article – What if I am a Father of a grown up girl?
My words comes from my heart. StarSai is filled with my feelings and emotions. My joy and my tears. I felt really good that though I am not married and my parents call me irresponsible, Saibaba still made me carry a little girl as if I am her Father. I was her Father for 5 minutes but I loved her dearly all the while. I still love ShivSai with heart and soul.
I won’t see her again for life time. Many of you write me worried about relationship issues after getting broke up etc. Let me clarify. All relationships are like this. We meet someone, like them and at times, we leave half way. So learn to live cheerfully and keep your mind strong internally. You too will be blessed with a beautiful life.
My friend and myself walked around the main Garbagraha of Tirumala temple. He asked if we should sit for a while and I agreed. I told him ‘I can’t even carry this small kid for 5 minutes. My hands are paining now. How dp parents carry their kids for long time?”
He told me that it comes by practice. They carry as baby and gradually as they grow, they get used to it.
I remembered the Angapradishana I did around this holy temple during my 2007 trip. I told him that I used to hit my head on the wall of the temple while doing angapradishana because when you are rolling yourself, you don’t know where you are moving.
Then, we got up and walked to the other side of the temple. We had darshan of Gopuram. We walked further to offer the darkshina in the hundiyal. I was excited that they will give prasad after we come out of the temple. I imagined its going to be sweet Pongal but that day God had other plans to test me. I have never hard curd rice all my life and when I was a kid I won’t even sit near anyone having curd rice.
My expression changed as I saw a man distributing something white in color. I know its curd rice Baba. I took it and can’t ignore it as its blessings of Lord Venkateswara. So I had a pinch and ate them. Kindly forgive me as I could not have it fully. I requested my friend to have mine too and told him “I had little”.
The next day morning, I took the below photo of Pushkarini which I love the most.
I had more experiences in Tirumala that night and the next day too. I will write it as part 2 of Tirumala visit in few days.
Light of my life
After my 2007 trip to Tirupati, I had a vision of a divine light while sleeping.I never had such experience later in my life. So I personally consider Shirdi Saibaba and Lord Venkateswara as light of my life. I love lamps a lot and hence went to this place where they light lamps and break coconuts to take below photo for all of you.
Hope you enjoyed reading my journey to Tirumala? Did I made you feel that you too had darshan of Sri Venkateswara? If you remember him deeply in your heart, he will come to you. When I was traveling back to Coimbatore in bus, I saw diamond studded Venkateswara’s image when ever I closed my eyes.
That’s how compassionate is Lord Venkateswara. He melts for true devotion. During this trip, I did not even chant his holy name as much as I do before but why should he show his divine form to me? This is the relationship between a God and his humble devotee. I did nothing. I am nobody. I am impure. I am such a big stupid but Lord Venkateswara keeps showering his love on me.
Year after year.
Day after day
Minute after Minute.
His love fills my heart.
How can I describe him? I don’t even wanted to use his photograph in this article because I want you to visualize him deep in your heart.
That’s where he lives. The way Sai does.
Sri Venkateswara is your Antaryami. The one who lives in your heart. Silently blessing you.