She is a B.A. (Hons.) and M.Litt., of Madras University. She entered the Indian Administrative Service in 1958. In the three and half decades in service, she has held various posts from Sub-Collector to Collector, Secretary to Government, in various Departments like Agriculture, Co-Operation, Industries, Social Welfare. She retired as a Principal Commissioner to the Government, in the rank of Chief Secretary. At Present she is a Member of the Syndicate of the Madras University. She is also on the Board of Directors of a few companies.
She has authored two other books titled "Tales from Mahabharata" and "Thiruvenkatathu Andhadhi" and "Thiru Venkata Maalai" - an English Translation." She contributes articles to "Sapthagiri" and "Ramanu- javani".
Tirumala, the sacred abode of Lord Venkateswara, is one of the most popular pilgrim centres in the country which at- tracts millions of devotees every year for offering prayers to the archa form of Sriman Narayana and getting their material and spiritual desires fulfilled. Apart from its hoary antiquity and the historical significance, what distinguishes Tirumala temple from other sacred shrines is the plethora of literary references and inscriptional evidence available from almost the very beginning of our history. The Vedas, Puranas and the early accounts found in Tamil literature of the Sangam period confirm the traditional view that the archamurti was not a man-made idol but the selfmanifest God.
The antiquity as well as the growth and development of the holy temple at Tirumala through the centuries has so much fascinated the researchers and students of history that a num- ber of books were written by eminent scholars like Sarvasi S. Krishnaswamy Ayyangar, T.K.T. Viraraghavacharya, N. Ramesan, and M. Rama Rao, focussing on the history, lay- out and architectural features of the shrine. The author of the present volume, however delves deep into the spiritual significance of the Tirumala Temple and delineates the glory of the Lord of Tiruvengadam in an enviable manner. The author also describes the transcendental and immanent nature of Lord Srinivasa as visualised by the Alwars.
The publishers deem it a great privilege to present the fifth volume of 108 Vaishnavite Divya Desas to the readers.
This book is the 5th volume in the series of seven covering the 108 Vaishnavite Divya Desas. This volume, I had originally programmed (vide preface of Volume I) to cover the two divya desas in Andhra Pradesh viz. Tirupati and Ahobalam along with the two divya desas which are beyond this world viz. Vaikunta and Ksheerabdi. But now this volume deals with only one divya desa viz. Tirupati. I think I should explain this change in plan. The readers may recall that while dealing with the other divya desas, I had selected only a few mangalasasan pasurams of the alvars on that divya desa. But while writing about Tirumala, I felt a compelling urge to translate completely all the 202 pasuramson Lord Venkatachalapathi composed by alvars. Further the epigraphical material available in the Tirumala temple was also very voluminous and though I selected only a few representative inscriptions, yet I found that the matter. relating to Tirupati came to about 800 pages in the manuscript form! The material relating to the other three divya desas viz. Ahobalam, Vaikunta and Ksheerabdi came to another 300 pages of manuscript material. Thus, if I stuck on to my original plan of covering all these four divya desas in one volume, the book would have become too bulky to handle with ease. I decided that it is more convenient if volume 5 covered only Tirupati and that Ahobalam, Vaikunta and Ksheerabdi be taken on to a seperate book as volume 6. However, I wanted to stick to the holy figure of 7 and have therefore decided to cover all the remaining divya desas of Malai Nadu (Kerala) and Vada Nadu (North India) in the last volume i.e. the seventh volume. This in brief explains why this volume deals with only one divya desa viz. Tirupati.
It may be recalled that in the earlier four volumes, I had adopted the practice of presenting an introductory general chapter on one important general vaishnavite theme. In Volume one, I had a general chapter on "Temple and its architecture and the Traits of Lord Vishnu", in volume two I wrote on Maha-lakshmi, in Volume three on panchayudhams c of Maha and in Volume four, I covered Peria Thiruvadi viz. Garuda In this volume, as I am dealing with Tirupati which is regarded as Bhooloka Vaikuntha, I felt it would be appropriate to have a general chapter on Prapatti i.e. surrender. Prapatti margai regarded as a sure and easy means for attaining moksha.
The readers of this volume may also notice that I have omitted to translate the verse written by Divya Kavi Pillai Perumal Iyengar on the Tirupati Divya desa This is because have separately brought out a small booklet translating all the 108 verses each of Divya Kavi Pillai Perumal Iyengar on the Lord of the Seven Hills in his Thiruvengadathu Andaadhi Thiruvengada malai. This has been published separately and so the same is not repeated here.
It is now my pleasant duty to specially thank atleast few of the many who have helped me in bringing out this volume. My special thanks are to my elder sister Dr.M.S. Lakshmi Kumari, my brother Dr.M.S. Rajajee and my sister Dr. Re vathy Sriram for all the help and encouragement that they so affectionately extended in collecting, collating and presenting the material covered in this volume. I will also be failing in duty if I do not express my special thanks to my teacher Ubhaya Vedantha Sri Pillai Lokam Sthalasayanathuraivar Swamigal, who explained the pasurams in great detail. My thanks are also due to Prof. Ananthan, Professor and Head of Department of English, Vivekananda College and Prof. Narasimhachary, Professor and Head of Department of Vaishnavism, University of Madras for their expert guidance and encouragement.
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