Annamacharya #10 – Darshan of the Lord

by Sahadev Komaragiri

Biography of Annamayya highlights a number of places that he visited on his historic trip to Tirupati. It is challenging to track the exact sequence in which he visited the important shrines along the way. Needless to say, he visited the sites that are of great historical and mythological importance. At many of these shrines he composed a song. Hidden behind these shrines are great stories where the Lord showered His devotees with unprecedented rewards.

This is the tenth article in my series of articles on Annamacharya. Walking up the seven hills is the previous article in the series. Life in Tirumala is the next article.


Sree Padamulu
Tirumala Nambi was a great devotee of Lord Venkateswara who spent all his life in Tirumala serving the Lord. That was in the 11th century. His descendants continue to serve the Lord to this day. He was not only a maternal uncle but also a great source of inspiration for Saint Ramanujacharya, the proponent of Vishishtaadvaita philosophy. Tirumala Nambi taught Ramanujacharya the secrets of Ramayana at this very place, now popularly known as Sreevari Paadalu. Legend has it that during these discourses when Tirumala Nambi was running late for his religious rites at the temple, the Lord himself appeared at this site in the form of the imprints of His feet. Later, they were permanently installed here. Annamayya visited this site and instantly composed the most famous of his compositions – brahma kadigina paadamu. You may listen to this composition from the control below:

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Kuruvanambi was a potter who lived in Tirumala. He made pots for cooking food that was to be served to Lord Venkateswara as an offering at many of the festivals organized in the temple complex. He was so busy with his work that he rarely got a chance to go and visit the Lord in the temple sanctorum. So, he made a statue of the Lord and each day he offered to it some flowers that were made of the clay that was left over for the day. Around the same time, a king by name Thondaman used to offer the Lord special flowers that were made of gold. One day, to the king’s amazement, the clay flowers appeared at the feet of the Lord, while his own flowers made of gold were moved aside. The king enquired and found out that it was the devotion of the potter that teleported the clay flowers. Kuruvanambi is remembered forever for his devotion to the Lord in spite of his social status. During Annamacharya time, there used to be a place called potter’s shelter. This place seems to be in a dilapidated condition these days. Annamacharya composed kuruvanambi tirumala kuruvanambi, a song on the devotion of Kuruvanambi.

A description in the biography names a few more milestones along the way. These include Needa Tirugani Chinta Chettu, Garuda Gambamu, Champaka Pradikshanamu, Bhashyakara Sannidhi, Swami Pushkarini, Yaaga Saala, Kalyana Mantapam, Bangaru Garudu, Sri Bhandaramu and several other major and minor places of interest. The biography also describes the presence of cages with parrots that sing in praise of Lord Venkateswara. He deposited a coin in the hundi and walked across the bangaru vaakili (golden corridor) to arrive at the main shrine that houses Lord Venkateswara.

Vision of the Lord

The push and pull of the crowds amid continuous chanting of Govinda Govinda is the most expected scene as one takes turn to get a full view of the Lord of the Seven Hills, Lord Venkateswara. It must have been very different those days. Annamayya probably walked around with complete ease and had no issues staying in front of the Lord as long as he wanted. He was already very excited at the sight of so many of important sites he visited along the way; he was primed for the magnificent view of the Lord. Annamayya was instantly ecstatic at the very sight of Lord Venkateswara. It is not easy to express the feeling of love that exists between a devotee and his God. One must experience it to know what it is. Even the devotee himself runs out of words to describe his state of mind on viewing the deity and the God behind it. It is common that many people travel hundreds and thousands of miles to have a darshan of the Lord and when they are in front of the deity they simply close their eyes! Perhaps when you are in front of the deity the communication instantly changes to something very spiritual and at the physical level the view of the deity in itself is very insignificant. And that cannot be expressed in words for sure. In this case, however, we have some of his compositions that expressed his feelings. The first one is Podaganti Mayya Mimmu Purushottama. You may listen to this composition from the control below.

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How many times did we get a complete view of the Lord when we were in front of Him in Tirumala? Did we ever notice anything else other than His face that is covered mostly by the large sized ‘Naamam‘ on His forehead? Did we ever notice that there are also the idols of Lord Rama along with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman? Annamayya was stuck by the immense spirituality of the deity and its surroundings. He noticed the hands of the Lord and instantly composed endhariki abhayambulicchu cheyi, a very beautiful composition that describes the glory of the hands of the Lord that offers protection to one and all. This is a composition on the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. For him Lord Vishnu is Lord Venkateswara and Lord Venkateswara is Lord Vishnu and there is no difference between the two.  It is the same hand that protected the Vedas as well as the hand that sought charity from Emperor Bali. You may listen to this composition from the control below:

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Annamayya was now standing in front of the Lord who is the Lord of the entire Universe. He responds to everyone irrespective of the name that is used to call Him. All spirituality culminates in praise of one Lord and that is none other than Lord Venkateswara. He can be reached by anyone no matter what their status is. He is as small as just a giver of wealth for those small people who just seek a little more wealth to fulfill their lives; He is also as large as everything in the Universe for those who treat Him as such. This idea of God being all things to all people is expressed wonderfully in the composition enta maatramuna evvaru talachina anta maatrame neevu. This is one song that describes the true feelings of Annamayya about Lord Venkateswara and his resplendent glory. You may listen to this composition from the control below:

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There is way too much to describe the wonderful relationship between the Lord and His worthy devotee. There are way too many compositions in which Annamayya expressed his immense love for Lord Venkateswara. We have to revisit this topic under various headings in the near future.

A Dream Come True

It was mentioned, not in his biography but on the copper plates, that Annamayya had a dream in which he saw Lord Venkateswara. Annamayya himself described this dream very vividly in the composition ippuditu kalaganti. You may listen to this composition from the control below:

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In the dream he saw the temple complex, he saw the Lord in His full glory along with His crown, conch and discus. He described his hands as abhaya hastam in this composition and the abhaya hastam later got its own composition in the form of endhariki abhayambulicchu cheyi. For Annamayya it was a dream come true.

In the dream, it was believed, that Lord Venkateswara talked to him and commanded him to compose at least one song on Him every day. I am yet to find a composition that contains this part of his dream. It may not be there; a discussion between God and His devotee is all but an open secret. There is no doubt, however, that he never failed to compose at least one song every day.

Having realized his dream, Annamayya decided to stay in Tirumala and vowed never to return to his ‘old’ life. How was his life in Tirumala? That must wait until we get to the next post!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Mohan Raju March 19, 2011 at 4:27 am

I just love the information as it helps me to understand our History and Culture better. Thank You


Sahadev Komaragiri March 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

Mohan: You are welcome. There is so much to our history and culture, keep going and I am sure you will find our culture both fascinating and enlightening.


sastry March 20, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I will appreciate these songs more because of the contextual information you have provided for some of these songs. Thanks.


Harini March 26, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Truly appreciate you writing this blog. Very informative!
Will be waiting for your next post.


gopi April 20, 2011 at 11:11 am

Hello friends,

I saw LORD VENKATESHWARA in my dream on 11/04/2011..! Which was there in mind till 13/04/2011 till i go to Temple of LORD VENKATESHWARA in bangalore.! For that 3Days i was in that mood only (my Dream)
I saw Lord fully from Top to Bottom as in Trupathi idol..!
I was stunned,surprised,excited,thrilled,etc..
Someone please tell me why it came and whats the meaning of it..!


Venkata Subramanyam September 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm

The second Kirtana you mentioned might be this “Kanti Nakhilanda Sathi Karpaga Vibhuni Ganti – Kanti Nagavula Melukonti – Nijamurthi Ganti”. I remember hearing this Song on Hyderabad Radio (Not Vividha Bharati) way back in late 1970s ~ early 1980s but have never come across that by any of the now-famed singers, including Sri Balakrishna Prasad.


Prasadarao,boggaram October 20, 2012 at 2:47 am

Appreciate your efforts in deliniating the true bhakti of Annamayya with prviding His compositions at the appropriate places.May Lord Venkateswara shower His Blessings on you!


Nalinikanth April 10, 2016 at 5:24 am

Beautiful language !! I’m reminded of Rajaji’s introduction to MS subbulakshmi’s Bhaja govindam. You can actually trace the sweetness of the expresion to his / her mother tongue and the intensity of their thoughts…


Srinivas May 23, 2016 at 9:54 pm

Dear Sir,

I have been reading your biography of Shri Annamacharya. Thanks for sharing his incredible story in such a wonderful manner, with his music interspersed that increase our devotion to the Lord. I happened to stumble upon this immense treasure. I never knew that his music was lost to the world until the 1920s. Two of my favorite songs of Shri Annamacharya are Brahma kadigina padamu and Shriman Narayana.



R. Padma August 31, 2018 at 11:16 pm

I stumbled on these blogs when I searched to find when Annamacharya lived. You took me to Thirumala and gave darshan of Lord Venkateshwara. Nothing more rewarding than this on this Shravan Shanivar. Thank you.


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