Tirumala Temple is a famous Srivaishnava Temple of Lord Venkateswara located in the hill town Tirumala of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is built on the Venkatadri hill, one of the seven hills of Tirumala, and hence is also known as the Temple of Seven Hills .
The temple is the richest and the most visited place of worship in the world.The temple is visited by almost 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily .
The Tirumala temple was not the salubrious and convenient place we know as it is today. Tirumala was a forest laden ,rough and rocky terrain and the upkeep of the temple in those days must have been a terribly daunting and unwelcome task. During those hard days there lived a great devotee Swami Tirumala Nambi in Tirumala Hills at Tirupathi .
Swamy Tirumala Nambi was a great religious scholar in his own right but out of own choice decided to devote his entire life to “theertha-kainkarya” ( service of bringing water from Papanasanam for worship of Lord of Seven Hills) at the Tirumala . He dedicated his entire life to the services of the Lord and in LORDS devotional service . His entire lifetime was spent living in a small hut on the hills and worked out of it while tending to, maintaining and administering the temple of his beloved LORD ‘Tiruvengadamudaiyan’ ( Lord Venkateshwara ) .
Swami Tirumala Nambi used to bring water from Papanasam situated at a distance of about 8 kilometers from Tirumala for the daily puja. He was old but never allowed his age to interfere in his services .
Lord out of his abundant compassion , wanted to grace his devotee for the great service (kainkaryam ) taken up by him. One day when Tirumalai Nambee was walking towards the temple sanctorium from Papanashanam water falls with a pot of water ,Lord appeared before Tirumalai Nambi in the attire of a fowler and addressed Swami Tirumala Nambi as Thatha ( Grandpa) . Nambi was surprised with the address by the fowler.
On turning he found an attractive and handsome fowler who demanded him for water to quench his thirst .Nambee was taken aback and refused to give water intended for the Holy bath (Abhishekum) of the Lord and politely marched ahead .
The mischievous fowler he was followed Tirumala Nambi , slowly pierced the pot with a stone , and drank the water which oozed out of the pot. Swami Tirumala Nambee was very sad that he could not fulfill the daily service to LORD .He said to the fowler about his old age and hardship in once again bringing the water that would make HIS LORD wait and as such delay in the service .
The fowler said Grandpa , Don’t worry ! I will show a place nearby for you to collect water for the services .Saying this ,he discharged an arrow at the hillock near by in the sky , and lo torrents of water came gushing from the place hit by the arrow.. The fowler commanded that the water for the Lord’s puja should thenceforth be brought from Akasaganga and disappeared. The new fountain is now called Akasaganga .
Thirumala Nambee was convinced that the fowler was none other than Lord Srinivasa himself . Swamy Tirumala Nambee performed various kainkaryams such as Akasaganga Theertha Kainkaryam, Thomalaseva, Mantrapushpa Kainkaryam, Saathumurai, Thirumanjanam and Vedaparayanam. Hence he was called as “Acharya Purusha” of Tirumala Temple.
In honour of this humble but most noble ‘teertha-kainkaryam’ that Nambi institutionalized in his times, his heirs and progeny until this very day have been allowed to perform the same service in the temple as matter of hereditary right. The descendants of Swamy Tirumalai Nambi are known today as “Tirumala kumara-s” or “thOzhappachAri-s”. There is a historical evidence that Tirumala Nambi lived in Tirumaaliga, South Mada Street, Tirumala.
The temple shrine of Sri Tirumala Nambi that stands today in the south-eastern corner just below the overhead pedestrian walkaway that leads from the Q-complex to the main temple . Now the descendents of Tirumala Nambi are managing the temple at this place where the Utsavar and Moolavar deities of Acharya Tirumala Nambi is housed. Tirumala Nambi, was one of the five Acharyars of Swamy Ramanuja. He was his maternal Uncle who taught the essence of Srimad Ramayanam.
Photos : Courtesy : Google
Swamy ThirumalA Nambigal Thiruvadigale sharanam
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan