June 2, 2020
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Vedic Stories

Pastimes of Lord Venketeswar (Part 1): Who is Supreme?

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In 2016 in the month of Kartik,  a few friends took me to an ancient temple, hidden deep in the valleys of Umkoomas.  The temple was over hundred years old and was the home of Lord Venkateswar. 
There I had the privilege of offering the bhoga (food) and performing the arathi to Lord Venkatewara. But who was I offering the arathi too. I had no idea who Lord Venkestawar was. Due to my ignorance, all I knew that He was Deity that was worshipped by the Tamil and Telegu speaking Indians.   Coming from Hindi speaking family, I never observed any fasting or religious prayer for Lord Venkatewara. 
This is a major problem in Hinduism. People divided the Deities according to their cultural and geographical upbringings.  If you came from the North of India, then you worshipped Radha-Krsna, Sita-Rama, Hanuman, but if you came from South India, then you worshipped Ganesha, Muruga, Lord Venkestawar.  The only Deities I can think that was common in the South and North was Lord Siva and Luxmidevi and a few others.   
So this is the mistake that we make. Our Deities are not separated from each other based on our mundane religious upbringings.  If we study the philosophy and pastimes from bone-fide spiritual teachers, we will come to an understanding that these Deities are all connected and play an important part in the running of the total universal creation.  

So after we left the hidden valley, I started doing some research on who Lord Venkatewara really is.  I began listening to lectures on the advent of Lord Venkateswara. What I found out, really amazed me. As I said, I found an attraction for worshipping Krsna in Vrndavan, but pastime of Lord Venkatewara opened my eye to how merciful that Vrndavan-Radhanath-Krsn really is.  

Everyone has desires but a pure devotee’s only desire is to serve the Lotus Feet of Krsna. They have no other desire for him.  In the pastimes of Lord Venkateswara I uncovered how Lord Krsna fulfilled all His devotee’s desires from all His other incarnations.  This was the main reason for the appearance of Lord Srinivas-Venkateswara

Desire 1: Who is Supreme? 

Image of Lord Venketeshwara

The first desire the Lord fulfilled was the sages who assembled at the river Sarasvati many, many years ago. They came together to perform a sacrifice known as Satra. Part of the process for doing this sacrifice was to hold philosophical discussion from the Vedas. One topic that rose that baffled them was “Who was Supreme?” 

Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and Lord Visnu are the predominating Dieties of the material universes. These three Personalities are known as Guna-Avatar. Guna means modes of material nature and avatar means “one who descends”. So they descend to preside over the three modes of material nature, goodness, passion and ignorance. They are also in charge of the process of creation, maintenance and destruction. 
Lord Brahma is in charge of the modes of passion and his duty is to create. At the time of creation of the material universe, Lord Krsna expands are the three Purusha-avataras. These are Lord Visnu expansions. From the navel of Lord Visnu came a lotus stem. On top of that was a lotus flower. In this Lotus Flower, Lord Brahma appeared.  It was only him and he was unsure of his duties. Then Lord Visnu told him to undergo severe austerities. After many many years of meditating,  Lord Narayan was very pleased with his meditation. The Lord then sent His wife by the name of Sarasvati. Sarasvati gave Lord Brahma the Gopal-Mantra. After chanting this mantra Lord Krsna personally appeared and gave him the Gayatri Mantras. Two mantras came out of Krsna’s flute. First was the Brahma Gayatri. By chanting this he became even more purified to chant the second mantra called the Kama-Gayatri. While chanting these mantras, Lord Brahma became acquainted with all knowledge. Then he became aware of his duties and began the process of creating these material universes.  Lord Brahma is the second creator. 

lord Brahma prays to Lord krishna

The maintenance of the universes is orchestrated by Ksirodaksaya Visnu.  Lord Visnu is transcendental to the laws of material nature. He does not become entangled in them.  He takes charge of the modes of goodness.  
Then there is Lord Siva, who is incharge of the modes of ignorance. It’s not that Lord Siva is in ignorance. No, he is also above the modes of ignorance. Lord Siva’s position is unique. He is in between Lord Brahma and Lord Visnu. Lord Brahma is living entity and Lord Visnu is Supreme Personality. Lord Siva has his own identity.   He has the qualities of God, but at the same time he is not God. He is in between, just like yogurt is milk, but at the same time its not milk. It has the properties of milk, but cannot act like milk. This is Lord Siva’s position. 

So the sages that sat at the Sarasvati River desired to know, which of these three Personalities was the Supreme. The decided to test each of Personalities to see who among them is the Supreme. They then appointed Bhrgu Muni with the task of finding out. 
Bhrgu Muni first went to his Father, Lord Brahma. The Muni’s aim was to see who is in the transcendental to the three modes, goodness, passion and ignorance. 
When Lord Brahma saw that his son was approaching, he became from pleased. But Bhrgu Muni did not greet his father. He failed to offer any respects to his father. Lord Brahma became very angry and condemned his son for not showing proper respects to his elders.  But, because Bhrgu Muni was his son, he controlled his anger and did not take any further action.  Then bhrgu Muni left his father and went to see his brother, Lord Siva. 
When Lord Siva saw that his brother was coming, he left his meditation and ran to embrace him. His brother, on the other hand, just pushed him away and began speaking harsh words. 
Bhrgu Muni said to Lord Siva: “My dear brother, you are always very impure. Because you smear your body with ashes, you are not very clean. Please do not touch me.”
Hearing these words, Lord Siva’s eyes grew red with anger. He picked up his trident and ran to attack his Muni brother. Fortunately for Bhrgu Muni, Lord Siva wife, Triguṇamayī Parvati, stopped him and pacified him, saving the Muni’s life. 

Then Bhrgu Muni went to the planets free from all anxiety, know as Vaikuntha.  Lord Vinsu who was lying down on Ananta Sesa and having His feet massaged by Luxmidevi, immediately jumped up ready to embrace Bhrgu Muni. The great sage seeing Lord Visnu coming kicked Him on His chest. The activity of the Muni did not deter Luxminath from embracing him. The Lord kindly spoke to Bhrgu Muni. 
“My dear brāhmaṇa, it is My greatest fortune that you have come here. Please, therefore, sit down on this cushion for a few minutes. My dear brāhmaṇa, I am very sorry that when you first entered My home I could not receive you properly. It was a great offense on My part, and I beg you to pardon Me. You are so pure and great that the water which washes your feet can purify even the places of pilgrimage. Therefore, I request you to purify the Vaikuṇṭha planet where I live with My associates. My dear father, O great sage, I know that your feet are very soft, like a lotus flower, and that My chest is as hard as a thunderbolt. I am therefore afraid that you may have felt some pain by kicking My chest. Let Me touch your feet to relieve the pain you have suffered.” Lord Vishu then began to massage the feet of Bhṛgu Muni.

The first offense was within the mind of Bhrgu Muni. The second offence to Lord Siva was verbal. The third offense was by activities. These are the three kinds of offences one can cause.  Although the third offense was most abominable, the Husband of the Goddess of Fortune did not take any offense. His behaviour was to demonstrate that a brāhmaṇa is to be excused even if he sometimes commits an offense. 
Then Bhrgu Muni left and returned to the sages of the Sarasvati River. There he related his pastimes with Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and Lord Visnu.  Everyone in the assembly concluded that of the three, Lord Visnu is the Supreme.  All the sages were very pleased and satisfied. 
Everyone except Luxmidevi. She was disturbed that Bhrgu Muni had kicked Her Lord.  Due to a brahmana been very dear to Lord Visnu, Luxmidevi could not retaliate against Bhrgu Muni. For this she became very morose.

Srila Prabhupada has explained that any injustice or offence to our self, we should tolerate but any injustice or offence to others, we should not tolerate. 

Luxmidevi spoke to Lord Visnu explaining Her dilemma. She told Her Lord that He might be able tolerate and forgiving, but She cannot tolerate what she just saw. 

She then proclaimed that She will leave Vaikuntha and go down to the earth planet and perform tapasya (austerities) to atone after seeing the offense of Bhrugu Muni kicking Lord Visnu. 

Then, She who is always on the Chest of Lord Narayana, left Vaikuntha and came to this earth planet and ending Her travels at Kulopur. She made that Her residents. It is that place where Mahaluxmi sat and performed austerities. 

As time went on, Lord Narayan felt immense separation from Luxmidevi. Her absence from Vaikuntha left Lord Visnu devoid of all pleasure. His eternal transcendental Vaikuntha planet had no charm for Him without Her. So he decided to come down to the earth planet in search for Her. Lord Visnu then decended to this earthly planet as Lord Srinivas. 

Srinivas means the “Abode of Luxmi”. Now that Luxmidevi has left Him, He has come to search for Her. To bring Her back home. 

He walked throughout the world, throughout various jungle and villages. Then he came to Sesachala…..

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