Lord Venkateshwara Balaji

Sri Varaha purana (Hindu scripture) describes the incarnation and significance of the Indian Deity Sri Venkateshwara Swami, also known as Balaji. Lord Vishnu, the second God of the Hindu Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwar), is said to have reincarnated as Venkateshwara Balaji at the request of the sage Narada. Bhoodevi and Shridevi are the two consorts of Balaji. Bhoodevi represents Mother Earth and Shridevi is the Goddess of beauty.

The different attributes of the majestic and superbly executed idol of Lord Balaji symbolize the nature and manifestations of the Lord of the World. The ornamentation, features and expressions of the Idol carry immense significance and are regarded as objects fit for meditation.

The Lord's image has four arms, signifying the four stages that may be found in every form of development of life. It also represents dominion over four directions of space and thus the omnipotence of the Lord. The upper right arm holds Sudarsana Chakra (discus) and right arm holds Pancha-Janya (Conch). The lower right hand is in Varada hasta (boon giving) pose and lower left hand is in Katyavalambita pose, turned inwards.

The conch symbolizes the origin of existence and is associated with the element of water. When blown, it produces the primeval sound of AUM from which the creation evolved. The name of the conch Pancha-janya (born-of-five) also suggests the five basic elements of the universe ('pancha bhuta'). The discus or 'Sudarshan Chakra' symbolizes the Universal mind and its limitless powers of creation and destruction. The brilliant gem called 'kausthubha' ('born from the waters that surround the earth') that adorns the chest of Balaji represents consciousness, which manifests itself in all glittery things: the Sun, the Moon, Fire and Speech. The Golden veil ('Pitambara') worn by the Lord represents the Vedas (the Hindu Scriptures). The two earrings represent the two methods of knowledge, intellectual knowledge (sankhya) and intuitive perception (yoga). The armlets are said to be the three aims of worldly life 'righteousness, success and pleasure'. The crown represents the unknowable reality. The scared thread across the chest of the Lord is made of three threads said to be the three syllables of the scared sound 'Aum' (A for 'aadimatva' or creation, U for 'uthkarsha' or sustenance and M for 'miti' or limit).

Lord Venkateshwara is the presiding Deity of a number of temples across the world. However, the most famous happens to be the lavish Temple erected at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, India.

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