Contributed by: Tallakapaka CN Raju, Sannidhi Kainkaryam dar, Sri T.T Temple, Tirumala
Shri T.T Temple – Tirumala: Sri Vari Arjitha Sevas Description: Suprabhatha Seva: Tallakapaka CN Raju. Sri T.T, Tirumala.
Details of daily worship at Tirumala Temple:
The worship in Tirumala temple is done strictly according to the Vaikhanasa Agama. According to the Bhavisthyottara purana, Vaikhanasa Rishi is said to have admired the playful leelas of Lord Krishna in Dwapara Yuga and did Tapascharya to obtain darshan of Lord Krishna. The legend goes that Lord Krishna appeared before him and instructed him to worship the Lord as Srinivasa who manifested himself in a hill on Venkatachala and that one Rangadasa will help him to locate and worship the Lord. Vaikhanasa Rishi then proceeded to Tirumala and is said to have found the Lord with the help of Rangadasa and worshipped him. Thus Vaikhanasa Rishi, according to the legend, is the first person to worship the Lord at Tirumala. Hence in this temple, to this day, worship is conducted according to the Vaikhanasa agama. Having known about the leelas of the Lord let us go in detail about the different prayers offered to the Lord of Tirumala in a day.
The temple is virtually open throughout the day and in the night with only a gap of an hour or two in the night between the Ekantha seva and the early morning Suprabhatham.
Suprabhata Seva: (3am -3.30am)
Performers: Tallapaka Annamacharya Family + Hathiramji Mutt + Jiyengar Mutt + Vedaparayana dars + Sannidhi Tirumaliga Archaka’s + Sanndhi Golla + Devotees.
Early in the morning at a fixed time like 2:00 AM, the previous day itself ‘golla’ (cowherd : Remember in Srinivasa History who has beaten Lord and gave shapa to him. Now his family continues and they are the one who will have first darshan of Lord at Sanctum Sanctorium).will go to the residence of the archakas & collect them who have been allotted the duty in the sanctum sanctorum that day. The archaka would have by that time had his morning bath, completed his Nitya-karmanusthanas and wearing Urdva Pundras. He will then do pranama to the key of the sanctum & proceed to the temple holding the key on his head, accompanied by paricharaikas, temple paraphethedar and music. The ‘golla’ would be holding a fireband in his hand when the priest has reached the main entrance of the temple. The cowherd would go back and bring the HH Jiyyangar from Mutt or his representative- Ekangi to the temple. The Jiyyangar or Ekangi will come carrying on their head a box, which contains one key (duplicate) and seals etc.
Meantime, the temple administration representative would have come there with one key. The system is triplicate lock system with archaka,, Jiyyangar and temple authorities having one key each. The archaka will first symbolically place his key in the hand of the Dvarapalaka on the right of the Bangaru Vakili. The priest will do pranama to dvarapalakadevathaas near the Bangaru Vakili. Then he will take the key from the dvarapalaka and seal is broken and the doors of golden vakili will be opened uttering suitable mantras. Here the speciality of the Keys is : It is called Kunche Kola..and Archaka will open the inside lock from outside. this is being secret and will be revealed to only Anuvamsika Archaka’s. The Sannidhi ‘golla’, Annamacharya Family, the paricaraka, jeeyar & arhcaka will go in and the Bangaru Vakili doors will be closed from inside.
Bangaru Vakili is a telugu word which means ‘golden doorway’. Here the two doors are massive and covered with gold plate. One should not miss studying these two doors in detail as they depict religious facts. On one door all the ten avataras (incarnations) of the Lord are depicted. The other door depicts the dwadasanama devatas viz. Kesava, Narayana, Madhava. Meantime in the Mukhamantapa the devotees for the Suprabhata seva would have assembled. There will be priests outside who will start reciting suprabhatam, stotra, prapatti. Mangalasasana verses composed by Sri Pratiradibhayankaram Annan. While inside the Bangaru Vakili the antarala the golla with his fireband (torch) would have lighted all the lamps. The ekangi would have lighted the Brahmakhanda and sara lamps.
The next ritual is to remove Bhoga Srinivasa. Who acted as Sayanabera the previous night. When he was ceremonially put to sleep in a cot during Ekantaseva. He will be lifted from that cot and will be taken back to the sanctum to rest near the feet of the Dhruvabera on the left side. That place is known as Sthirasthana. The height of the icon gifted by Samarai, the Pallava Princess does not reach even the anklet of the Dhruvabera. But all worship in the sanctum is done to this idol. At this stage Annamacharya famly use to render wake-up songs (” Meluko Sringara raya”,” Vinnapaalu Vinavale Vinta vinthalu”, “Medini jivula gava meluko vayya”.. and so on),
The vaikhanasa practice is to establish a connection between the Dhruvabera and the Kantukabera through a sambandhakurca during worship. This sambandhakurca is a bunch of 32 blades of darbha (grass) tied by a knot in a rightward direction. The knot will be about 2 inches (angular) in length and will be in the middle thus having about 4 inches (angular) of darbha (grass) fire in the front. The front portion is set to represent Brahma, the knot Vishnu and rest Rudra. This sambandhakurca is placed in the space between the Dhruvabera and the kantukabera with the front portion of the kurca towards the kautkabera. The belief is that the sanctum is water, while dhruvabera is the earth below and the kautukabera is the flower that is nourished by the earth and water. The sambandhakurca is likened to the stalk of the flower, which is connecting link between earth and flower through water. After that Lord will be offered Naivedyam with Hathiramji Mutt Navaneetham(Butter) + Tamboola. So lord of seven hills first will have Navaneetam as Naivedyam. This clearly shows is he is Small child Krishna.
After restoring the kautukabera to Jivasthana, the sayana mantapa is cleared of the cot and other articles used for Ekantaseva the previous night. The doors are open and by that time the reciters outside would have completed the mangalasasana. In the sanctum, the jiyyangar will light the camphor on a plate and give it to archaka who performs Paccha Karpura Harati to the Mula Vigraha. The devotees are then allowed to pass through the Bangaru Vakili and go up to Kulasekharpadi for the Visvarupa / Suprabhata darshan.
The tradition in Tirumala is that Brahma conducts worship every night for the Lord at Tirumala. Actually every night before closing the doors if the Garbhagruha five gold cups of water with the spices specified for puja as per agamas, added to them along with other puja articles are left at the feet of the Lord so that Brahma may use them for the worship of Lord in the night (Brahmaradhana). The devotees who go for Visvarupadarsana get the Tirtha believed to have been used by Brahma & other Gods for the puja offered in the night. Another important feature is that only during Suprabhata-darshana is the devotee able to have a darshan of Lords sacred feet without any gold kavacha on the fact. It is removed during Ekantaseva when Bhoga Srinivasa is put to bed, a half piece (billa in telugu) (half a tablet-like) perfumed sandal paste is placed over his chest, and other piece is placed on the figure of Alamelmanga on the chest if the Mulavigraha, another piece is kept along with puja articles for Brahma to use during his nights worship to the Lord. In addition, another two piecec are placed on Lord’s feet after removing the gold kavacha. These pieces on Lord’s feet are placed there, after wiping off the Civet oil with which his feet are anointed before placing the gold kavacha on them. During the Suprabhata-darshan the devotees are given as prasada a bit from these two sandal paste tablets kept on Lord’s feet in the night and some will be given the small piece of perfumed cloth (Plokta Vastram) with which the Civet oil is wiped off the feet of the Lord, so that they may reverentially press the cloth on their forehead and eyes. The sandal paste is called Sripadachandana and the cloth is called Sripadavastra or Plokta Vastra.
Annamacharya’s Family, Tarigonda’s family, Jiyengar and Venda parayanadars are recipie of Brahma Tamboolam which is the Tambool offerred to Lord and Goddess during night.
Kowsalya supraja Rama poorva sandhya pravarthathe
Uthishta narasardoola karthavyam daivamahnikam
Meaning: Sri Rama! Kausalya’s endearing son! Wake up, dear;You have to do Your day-to-day duties; Do wake up please
Lakshminivasa niravadya gunaika sindo:
Samsarasagara samuththaranaika setho
Vedanta vedya nijavaibhava bhakta bhogya
Sree Venkatachalapathe! thava suprabhatham
Hope you have enjoyed Sri Vari Suprabhatha Seva
Srinivasa Paripoorna Anugrha Siddi Rastu!
Tallakpaka CN Raju.
(This is purely my personal experience – Kindly excuse me if there are any mistakes).