Srila Prabhupada’s pastimes in Tirupati Dham

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Published on Nov 15, 2014

As told by His Holiness Satsvarup Maharaj

April 25 “We flew to Tirupati. In the mountains nearby is Tirmula, where there is the richest temple in India, the Venkatesvara temple, with its Balaji Deity. Srila Prabhupada very much liked the cottage the temple managers provided for him. They were very respectful and let our party enter the temple, although (l) people usually have to wait on a long line, since 15,000 people enter daily, and (2) Westerners are usually not allowed in. Following behind Srila Prabhupada, however, we walked right in. In the cottage there was a picture of the Balaji Deity. Prabhupada said that the Deity’s name means “child,” Krsna as a cowherd boy, not in His Vaikuntha aspect [His majestic form in the spiritual planets]. “What do the rascal scientists know of Vaikuntha?” I said. “They haven’t seen these planets through their telescopes.” He said, “That [telescope knowledge] is imaginary, defective. So many planets are glittering at night. What do the scientists know of these other planets? They cannot say that such a place [the spiritual sky] is not possible. The rascals can’t get a vague idea of even this one planet.” I said they are making progress because 500 years ago people thought the earth was flat. “Not in the Vedas,” he said. “It is clearly stated: goloka, meaning ’round.’ Maybe in your Bible,” he laughed, “but although you didn’t know, the Vedas knew.” About all the people going to see Balaji, Srila Prabhupada said, “This shows that the mass of people are still attracted to God, despite government propaganda. The people are coming and going, visiting the Deity. But an advanced devotee can capture God in his heart. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena: with the ointment of love of God spread over his eyes. Of course, Deity worship is good for the neophyte.”
We went three or four times daily to receive darsana [association] of the Balaji Deity. One time we went at 2 in the morning. The Deity is very big, in a dark inner sanctum where the only light comes from the torches held by the pujaris [attendants]. Srila Prabhupada would regularly leave his cane on the rail before Balaji, and then, after we were walking out, he would call “Where is my stick?” and we would have to go back for it. As the general mass of people go into the temple for alleviation of material distress, they call out “Govinda!” When Srila Prabhupada started in (you have to go barefoot in the whole area around the temple, outside also) he would say “Govindam adi-purusam tarn aham bhajami” [I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord]. He said we should build temples like this Venkatesvara temple, which has a gold dome and wonderful facilities for visiting pilgrims. While he was there, Srila Prabhupada took Balaji’s prasada [food offered to the Lord] and said it was tasteful. He said that Lord Caitanya had visited this and many other places all over south India. We were thinking that Srila Prabhupada, who says he hasn’t visited any holy places in India except Mayapur and Vrndavana, was visiting them to purify them”

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