|When I Saw Tirupati Balaji : Naham Karta|
P.V.R.K. Prasad, Gyan Pub, 2008, 334 p, ISBN : 8121209331, Price : Rs. 720.00
|Product Link : http://www.vedamsbooks.in/product_details.php?pid=33563|
‘Venkatesa Samodevo Nabhuto Nabhavishyati’
Lord Venkateswara is defined, ‘Piliche variki palike Daivam’ who ever calls him, He answers his call. If we ask any devotee of Lord Venkateswara his experiences with the God, especially his trip to Tirumala, he has definitely not one, but more than one to share with us. When ordinary people like us have so many experiences to share, don’t you think the executive officer (E.O.) of Lord Balaji has to share many more miraculous incidents with us? Any E.O. is the first devotee of God and the E.O. who devotes himself to God wholeheartedly is bound to experience unbelievable, strange but true experiences.
Sri P.V.R.K. Prasad I.A.S narrated his services as E.O. in Tirumala during the period 1978-82. He is behind some of the facilities we see today in Tirumala - the Vaikhuntam queue complex, the slanting wooden plank in the temple, Large sized Lord Hanuma to protect the pilgrims who climb up the mountains on foot, the new ‘Dwaja Stambam’ etc. How these things materialized and what problems he faced in the course of action and how he felt God’s grace behind these efforts were beautifully penned down in Telugu. Each episode is graphic description with ardent faith in God in flowery language. Tears roll down our cheeks unknowingly as we go through the episodes.
The ‘dwaja stambam’ episode is the highlight of the book. If I mention that in a nutshell, I will be spoiling the beauty of it.
Please order a copy for yourself and read it. Kill Piracy and read the original. I am sure you will have wonderdul reading it.
Author Sri P V R K Prasad I.A.S
Published by EMESCO Books
Eluru Road Vijayawada – 2
Phones 0866 – 2577498 & 0866 – 2575281
Masab Tank Hyderabad Phone : 040-23373103
Price : Rs 90.00
A sample episode..
Is Srinivas Heartless ?
“How heartless are you ? How can you leave our entire family to our fate so ruthlessly, in the middle of the night, amidst these frightening mountains, on the desolate ghat road ? Oh!. Never again in my life will I dream of having a darshan of you! This experience is enough for a life time..” The man who out poured his curses on Lord Venkateswara thus, was moved to tears by the experience he had-just half an hour later. His repentance knew no bounds. He atoned for his sin and realised that the only purpose of his life was to chant the name of Lord Sri Venkateswara incessantly.
As long as I was T.T.D. Executive Officer (1978-82) I was always preoccupied with my work there. My thoughts centred round all the sevas for the Almighty, the comforts and facilities for the devotees and so my whole and sole concern was how best I could improve these.
I used to attend all the sevas from dawn to dusk starting from Suprabhata seva to Ekantha seva as many times as possible. Especially I never missed the special seva on Friday mornings - Abhisheka seva. This particular seva starts at 4.30 in the morning as a procession (along with the participants in it). Hence I generally left for Tirumala the previous day itself. I started around midday, did some special checking on the way and reached Tirumala about 4 p.m. I continued my job along with the other officers there. Finally I reached the temple, stayed there till 9.30 p.m. attended “Poolangi Seva” came back to Guest house and attended Abhisheka early next morning.
That had been my practice, but one Thursday, in 1980, my whole programme was disturbed. I could not leave Tirupati till 8 in the night due to heavy work there. So I thought I would have my dinner at home and start around 9.30 p.m.
It crossed 9.30 but still there was no hope of my leaving for Tirumala. I was sitting in the camp office and was attending to some urgent phone calls. My personal secretary and driver were ready by all means. It was beyond ten. My wife Gopika peeped in, was surprised to see me still there and questioned “what’s wrong? Are you not going ?” Generally every Thursday she accompanied me but this Thursday since she had to attend to guests at home she told me beforehand that she was not going with me.
Seeing me delayed, she suggested, “Why don’t you stay back to night and start early next morning at 3.30 a.m.? I too can join you”. But some how I did not like her proposal.
“No! there is no question of my sleeping here to night! I must rush! I am off this very moment”, pat came my reply. But I don’t know why, I didn’t move. I didn’t feel like going. So I continued with my office work for about 20 to 30 minutes. Gopika came there atleast 2 to 3 times, surprise was writ all over her face at the state of affairs but left me alone without troubling me with questions.
I would have continued thus till about 10.30 p.m... Abruptly, I closed the file I was looking into. I got up with a jerk from my seat. I madly rushed into the car as if somebody was chasing me.
“Come on let’s go” I instructed the driver. Within 10 minutes we reached the Toll gate at the foot of the ghat road in Alipiri (Due to safety measures they closed the Toll gate by 10p.m. itself those days). They opened it for my sake. The office people told me there was a heavy rush that day. It meant an ordinary darshan would take 7 to 8 hours that day.
It was a pleasant journey on the ghat road in the midnight with no huzzle buzzle. I would have dozed off to sleep in the cool breeze any other day but that day I was disturbed. I was restless at the turn of events and was also anxious to reach Tirumala quickly. In fact there was no great hurry. There was plenty of time left at my disposal but I can’t explain why something within me, was putting me on tenterhooks and was hurrying me up.
“Go, a little faster” I told the driver. Strictly speaking, however much experienced a driver was, he wouldn’t dare to go faster on a ghat road, especially at middle of the night. But still he tried to oblige me. We crossed almost all the hairpin bends. We would have reached Tirumala if we travelled just one kilometre more, but before the last curve, in the pitch darkness outside, one gentleman was waving to us desperately to stop the car. In the car headlights, I could figure out that he was standing before an ambassador.
I asked my driver to stop. Who was he ? Why was he there in the middle of the night? Before I could raise these questions he came to me. “Sir, even we are pilgrims like you. Our car broke down half way through. We should reach Tirumala before it’s too late. Can you give us lift please.....” he was pleading in anxiety. I brushed aside my series of questions and asked only one. How many of you are there ? They were - the gentleman himself, his wife, daughter, son-in-law and the driver - all told five of them.
In addition to me and my driver, there was my P.A. in our car, but it never struck me how so many could fit into one car. Without second thoughts, I accommodated them all (including their luggage) into our car. Then I observed his daughter and son-in-law were dressed in the wedding robes which meant they must have got married a few hours ago. Amazing ! As soon as they got into the car all the tension and restlessness I have been facing disappeared to God knows where ! Before we reached Tirumala he detailed upon his story in a voice blended with anxiety and worry! To put it in his words the sum and substance of it was-
“We run a hotel in Mysore.. I know no other God except Lord Venkateswara. That’s why, we wanted to perform our daughter’s marriage in Tirumala but we were forced to perform it in Mysore itself as per the wishes of the boy’s parents.
But I insisted I would take my daughter and son-in-law for our family deity’s darshan straight from marriage pandal and they agreed.
Accordingly, the marriage took place in Mysore this morning at 10. Our plan was to reach Tirumala via Bangalore and have a special darshan (for Rs.50 those days) before 7 p.m. and to start at once so that we could reach Mysore before next morning. All our relatives who have come to attend the marriage are still in our house. We are left with some more ceremonies in the marriage.
Unfortunately, our journey did not run smooth. It was like a hurdle race. All through the journey, we were delayed by railway gates and traffic. By the time we reached Alipiri it was 10 p.m. The toll gate was closed. We narrated our story to the staff there and requested them to allow us on our way, so that we could have the darshan of the Lord before midnight and rush back to Mysore. Thankfully they consented. Did you also request them to leave you thus?”
He paused for a minute. I said ‘Yes, yes’ and didn’t allow him to question me further. I changed the topic. The rest of the story I knew. Their car broke down in the ghat road.
Now the problem before him was to go for the darshan of the Lord before they closed down the temple i.e., before 12p.m. Since he had some problem or other throughout he lost his patience. He was torn between devil and deep sea-the moment his car gave him trouble. The toll gate below was closed. It would not be opened before 4 a.m. next morning.
What should they do in the pitch darkness? Should they walk the rest of the journey? But it would be impossible to reach the temple before 12. How? What to do? This question rang in his ears a hundred times!
“Oh! My God! Don’t you know I am your staunch devotee! Don’t you know I pray to you day in and day out! I brought the newly wed couple straight from the mantap to be blessed by you first and foremost. We did not mind all the problems we faced enroute. Is it fair on your part to do such injustice to me ? The newly weds in their wedding attire are left on the roads without having your darshan! There is no hope of my going back to our place before it is too late. My total surrender to you, my strong faith that-my devotion to you will solve all problems - is swept away before my new son-in-law by the winds on your mountains. We are totally helpless! We have no way-out, except to keep awake the whole night on this fiery ghat road in the shivering cold weather.
“Hm! How can you be called our God? How can you ever leave your devotees to their own fate, so ruthlessly? How can you be so unmindful of their safety in this forest? How blindly I believed you? I deserve this punishment! Never again will I come to your temple! Never again will I think of seeing you....” He was thus cursing Lord Venkateswara. His head bent with shame before his new son-in-law for their helplessness. He was in such a depressed state when he saw our car.
When he was given lift in our car, his spirits rose up. The very first sentence he spoke was, “Sir, I don’t know who you are, but I can tell you that you have come as God-sent man!” As he was in such a communicative vein, our car reached our guest house in Tirumala. It was 11.30 p.m., then. He threw a thank you to me and was in a hurry to rush to the temple with all his people. Then I cooled him down and said, “Don’t worry! first you freshen up yourselves, then we will all go in the car.” After about another fifteen minutes, I took them to the temple and left them there. I gave instructions to the temple staff and left on my work.
A few minutes before the close of the day, they had a special darshan, harathi and prasad all to their heart’s full. They were provided food and cottage for the night as guests of T.T.D. Overnight the T.T.D. staff repaired their car. I could not meet them again that night. But by then, he enquired and came to know all about me... Next morning after the Abhisheka seva when I enquired about them, I found out that they left early in the morning at four itself.
I received a letter from him two days later “ If my car had not troubled me and if we had a smooth journey on the ghat road, we would have reached Tirumala by 11 p.m. itself, but to of no use. We could certainly not have darshan of the Lord that night, due to the heavy rush that day. That’s why; our family deity came to our rescue. He saw to it that our car gave us trouble and he sent you exclusively for our help. He fulfilled the desire of this humble devotee on a grand gala scale, before our son-in-law, through you! Never before did we have such a warm welcome! Such a great feast to our eyes!
“How small and tiny we are before the magnanimity of the Almighty! Unable to grasp the underlying leela of the Lord, I lost my temper for a few minutes. I was cross with Him- How many curses I laid against Him? How badly I spoke of him! I am ashamed of myself. I can never forgive myself! Every second of life, I seek the forgiveness of the all powerful, ever forgiving Lord......”
Reviewed by: Smt. Madduri Rajyasri