“BRAHMOTSAVAMS”-A NINE-DAY CELESTIAL VISUAL SPECTACLE
“Brahmotsavams”, the nine-day spiritual annual event of the Universal Lord Sri Venkateswara at Tirumala is considered to be one of the most colourful festivals observed in the country with utmost pomp and gaiety witnessed by millions across the globe.
“BRAHMA” MEANS “NINE”
As the name itself denotes that this colourful fete is strongly believed to have introduced by none other than the creator Lord Sri Brahma himself in a “Thanks Giving” gesture to Lord Venkateswara, for saving the world from all evils in Kaliyuga.
On the other hand in Sanskrit, “Brahma” means “Nine”. So Brahmotsavams is a nine-day festival performed every year with the Sun transiting Kanya Rasi in the month of Aswayuja and concludes on Sravana star, which is the birth star of Lord Venkateswara.
BRAHMOTSAVAM AS DESCRIBED BY VENGAMAMBA
The saint poetess Tarigonda Vengamamba described the grandeur of Brahmotsavams of Lord in her famous literary work “Venkatachala Mahatyam” where she mentions that the Dhwajarohanam will be performed in the star of Chitta with which the nine day fete commences while in the star of Uttarashada Rathotsavam is performed and the mega fete concludes with Chakrasnanam in the star of Sravana.
BRAHMOTSAVA KRAMAM-SERIES OF EVENTS
Ankurarpanam:(OCTOBER 2, 8PM TO 9PM)
Ankurarpanam or beejavapanam is one of the most important rituals of the Vaikhanasa Agama performed a day before Brahmotsavams. Ankuararpanam essentially means “sowing the seed”. The essence of this ritual is to make a sankalpa (a noble wish) to celebrate the festival) and get the benign blessings of the Lord for the successful conduct of the religious event. In this ritual nine types of seeds were sowed in different mud pots in yaga shala amidst chanting of vedic hymns.
Dhwajarohanam: (OCTOBER 3, 6:15PM TO 6:30PM IN MEENA LAGNAM)
Dwajaarohanam is a flag-hoisting festival that is held on the first day by hoisting a flag (Garudadhwaja) with a picture of Garuda (vehicle of Lord Maha Vishnu) on the top of the Dwajah Sthambham(temple pillar) in front of the sanctum sanctorum. It is said to be a symbolic significance of formal invitation to all the deities to attend the Brahmotsavam festival.
VAHANA SEVAS – A VISUAL TREAT
The Brahmotsavams are believed to be the most colourful religious events in the country as the processional deity of Lord Venkateswara, popularly known as Sri Malayappa Swamy takes celestial ride every day and every evening on various vahanams, which will be a visual treat to watch.
Among these vahanams Lord Malayappa is flanked by His two consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi on Pedda Sesha, Mutyapu Pandiri, Sarvabhupala, Kalpavruksha,Swarna Ratham, Rathotsavam and Bangaru Tiruchi.
While He goes all alone on Chinnasesha, Simha, Mohini, Garuda, Hanumantha, Suryaprabha, Chandraprabha, Aswa vahanams.
Pedda Sesha Vahanam:(OCTOBER 3, 9PM TO 11PM)
After Dhwajarohanam, the processional deity of Lord Sri Venkateswara, popularly known as Sri Malayappa Swamy commences His celestial ride in the series of 16 vahana sevas during these nine days with Pedda Sesha Vahanam, the seven hooded giant Serpent King “Adisesha”.
Chinna Sesha Vahanam: (OCTOBER 4, 9AM TO 11AM)
On the second day morning, the Lord is seated n Vaasuki – the five hooded Serpent God as His vehicle. In Bhagavath Geetha Lord Sri Krishna says He is Vaasuki among the serpents. This signifies that how important is Chinna Sesha Vahanam.
Hamsa Vahanam:(OCTOBER 4, 9PM TO 11PM)
On the second day evening the Lord is again taken out in a procession on Hamsa (Swan) as his vehicle. Hamsa or swan means ‘pure’. Hamsa is believed to have a high intellectual capability and can distinguish good from bad.
Simha Vahanam:(OCTOBER 5, 9AM TO 11AM)
On the third day morning the Lord is taken out in a procession on Lion symbol as his vehicle. Lion is a symbol of royalty and power. Lord assumed the form of half man and half lion in his Narasimha Avathara. Lord Sri Krishna says in Bhagavath Geetha that he is the Lion among the animals.
Muthyapu Pandiri Vahanam: (OCTOBER 5, 9PM TO 11PM)
On the evening of the third day, the Lord is again taken out in procession along with his concerts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi in a palanquin decorated with a canopy of pearls. Pearl is said to be a symbol of purity and royalty.
Kalpa Vruksha Vahanam:(OCTOBER 6, 9AM TO 11AM)
On the fourth day of the festival the Lord is taken out in procession in the morning on Kalpa Vruksha – the divine tree as his vehicle signifying that he is the giver of boons to his devotees and fulfill their wishes.
Sarva Bhoopala Vahanam: (OCTOBER 6, 9AM TO 11AM)
On the fourth day evening the Lord is again taken out for a procession on a vehicle called as Sarva Bhoopala Vahanam signifying that He is the Universal Lord of Lords.
Mohini Avatharam: (OCTOBER 7, 9AM TO 11AM)
On the fifth day morning the Lord is taken out on a procession on a finely decorated Palanquin in the attire of Mohini Avatharam – the Universal Celestial Beauty, who has distributed the Divine Nectar to deities.
Garuda Vahanam: (OCTOBER 7, 7:3OPM TO 1AM)
On the fifth day evening Lord Sri Venkateswara is taken out in a procession on specially decorated, mighty golden Garuda vehicle-His most favourite vehicle.
Hanumantha Vahanam: (OCTOBER 8, 9AM TO 11AM)
On the sixth day morning the Lord is taken out in procession with Lord Hanuman as his vehicle. Hanuman is worshiped as he is the personification of the most trusted and self less service and a role model to present day humanity.
Swarna Rathotsavam Or Ratha Ranga Dolotsavam: (OCTOBER 8, 5PM TO 7PM)
On the sixth day evening the Lord is taken out first for Swarnarathotsavam, where He is accompanied by His two consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi.
Gaja Vahanam: (OCTOBER 8, 9PM TO 11PM)
On the sixth day night the Lord is mounted on Gaja Vahana which reminds us the Gajendra Moksham story of Bhagavat Gita where in the Lord gives salvation to the Elephant King by killing the crocodile.
Surya Prabha Vahanam: (OCTOBER 9, 9AM TO 11AM)
On the seventh day morning the Lord Venkateswara is taken out in procession with Sun God driving the Chariot. Purusha Sooktha describes Sun born from the eyes of Lord Srimannarayana. Lord Vishnu also takes the form of Lord Sri Surya Narayana Murthy while taking celestial ride on Suryaprabha vahanam.
Chandra Prabha Vahanam: (OCTOBER 9, 9PM TO 11PM)
On the seventh day evening the Lord is again taken out in a procession on Chandra Prabha Vahanam which signifies pleasantness. While Sun is born from the eyes of Lord Maha Vishnu, Moon is born from His mind. Moon is the commander of mind and is a symbol of cool and pleasantness.
Rathostavam: (OCTOBER 10, 7AM)
On the penultimate day (eighth day) morning the Lord Venkateswara is taken out in procession along with his consorts seated on a fully decorated gigantic wooden Chariot pulled by the devotees chanting Govinda Nama along four mada streets.
Ashwa Vahanam: (OCTOBER 10, 9PM TO 11PM)
On the eighth day evening the Lord is again taken out on a procession with Aswa (Horse) as his vehicle symbolizing the forthcoming incarnation of Kalki Avathara.
Chakra Snanam: (OCTOBER 11, 6AM TO 9AM)
On the ninth day morning, last day of the Brahmostavam, special abhishekam (Avabhruda Snanam) is held for utsava moorthy of Lord Venkateswara and his consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi on the banks of Swamy Pushkarini located opposite Varahaswami temple. Later, the Sudarshana Chakra (Disc weapon of the Lord) is immersed in the waters of Swamy Pushkarini.
Dwajaavarohanam: (OCTOBER 11, 9PM TO 10PM)
On the ninth day evening the Garuda flag will be lowered as a mark of completion of the Brahmostavam. It is performed in the dwajastamba mandapa. Amidst the chanting of vedic hymns the descending ceremony of the holy flag is performed which indicates the completion of the nine-day Brahmotsavams..
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