Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams is a group of temples in Tirumala and Tirupati Andhra Pradesh. I got an opportunity to visit this place. One of my friend was travelling there and asked if I could accompany him. I agreed as I had nothing else to do. I never say no to a travelling opportunity.
After visiting Andhra I have visited all south Indian states except Tamil Nadu.
Lord Vishnu is believed to be the God responsible for sustainer of life. Lord Brahma is the creator and Lord Shiva is the destroyer. The dashavatarams are actually incarnations of Vishnu himself. Hence among all Hindus Lord Vishnu has a place that no other God has.
For those who claim that India was never a one country it’s the British who brought it together it is worth noting that history and worship of Lord Venkateshvara (Vishnu) at Tirupati predates even Christianity. From Kashmeer to Kanyakumari, from Assam to Gujarat, people across whole India held this place sacred in their heart and always wished to visit it at least once in their lifetime.
I don’t think it was only Tirupati that was held sacred by Indians. I think the popularity of Tirupati must be attributed to the fact that unlike rest Hindu sacred places this place was not destroyed by Islamic barbarians. It survived and prospered.
I am not very religious man and I don’t believe in the mumbo jumbo that surrounds the temple and god. Things such as the got angry with his wife and walked to this hill and so on. All the temples are on hills, not sure why people built them at inaccessible places.
Today with around 50000 – 1,00,000 devotees visiting the temple on off-peak days and around half a million people visiting on peak days, this temple is the richest religious shrine in the world as per Wikipedia. Amitabh Bacchan to Anil Ambani have donated ample wealth to the shrine. Not to mention tonnes of gold donated over a very long period spanning few 10s of centuries. No wonder lots of gold is used in building the temple itself.
Gold, wealth does not amuse me. Not certainly at the footstep of god. The idol that’s over few centuries old represents the continuity of our civilization. It represents all good things that we people lived and died for and it tales us that we have a legacy to maintain.
As a rule I never donate much to temples besides my own Kul-devata and village temples where I have right to ask where the money is really spent. I donate only Rupee 1 to temples elsewhere. Temples in AP , like Tirumala I believe are manages by government and I have absolutely no faith in the people who manage it. Hence giving them money is like letting them abuse our devotion.
Religion and ethics are generally not related, not when we indulge in ceremonial religious practices. But I feel contemplative religion is better than ceremonial in more than one ways. Out of all the donations (Rupee 1) the most satisfactory one was where I found a very young boy may be 5-10 years old selling tea. It was for Rupee 4, I gave him 10 asked him to keep the change. He refused to keep it but when I insisted he went happily.
I see several Hindus having deep faith over their Gods. But this faith is useless if it remains confined to few rituals and the wishful thinking that brings satisfaction out of those rituals. The faith must be translated into something that is good for the overall society.
Dont see any value in worshiping a god if in real life you are a corrupt individual.
Mahatma Gandhi for example invoked the same faith to move millions. I feel same faith can be manipulated for the larger good of society but for that someone as great as Gandhiji needs to be born.