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Monday, August 11, 2014

About Arjitfa Seva in Tirupati.

Surprise Donation From A Muslim Devotee That Led To The Birth Of A Popular Arjitha Seva In The Holy Tirumala Temple
Some time during 1982..
As though instructed by the Holy Lord Sri Venkateswara Himself, a Muslim devote by name Sheikh Mastan - a resident of the Guntur district of the undivided state of Andhra Pradesh - walked up the seven hills of Tirumala hill shrine and  reached the Maha Dwaram (main entrance) of the holy Tirumala Temple..
He then placed a request before the priests on duty there at the Temple premises.. The noble Temple priests, who were shocked with his unusual request, hurriedly guided him to the top officials of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams board..
The drama then shifted to the Executive Officer (E O) of the TTD board..
Around the same time and period, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) board, an independent trust that manages all the operations related to the holy TirumalaTemple, was planning to commemorate the Golden Jubilee year of it's formation in a befitting manner..
Despite several rounds of discussions earlier, the TTD board was still unable to decide about what is that they need to do to make their Golden Jubilee year a memorable one..
And it was exactly during one such crucial meeting, that was taking place inside the board room, an office attender walked into the room and informed the then Executive Officer about the Muslim devotee’s request seeking his urgent appointment..
The E O asked the attender to send the Muslim devotee straight inside the board room so that he can quickly talk to him and send him off in a couple of minutes without wasting much of the TTD board’s valuable meeting time..
But unfortunately neither the E O nor his subordinates, at that moment, knew that the Muslim devotee whom they are all going to meet in a few minutes, was actually sent by the holy Lord Sri Venkateswara Himself and because of his request the TTD board is later going to take a crucial decision that would not only please the holy Lord Sri Venkateswara with a new Seva but will also make their golden jubilee year a most memorable one .. PERIOD
The attender came out and asked the Muslim devotee, Sheikh Mastan to go inside the board room and meet the E O... Sheikh Mastan got up from the chair he was thus far sitting in the waiting hall,and slowly walked into the board room..
With folded hands he greeted everyone there in the room... Acknowledging his regards, the Executive Officer told Sheikh Mastan,
“..We are all in an emergency meeting now.. Where are you from and why did you insist on meeting me in person.. Is it so important..??.. If so please let me know what it is, without wasting much of our time..”
Then taking everyone there in the board room into a state of utter shock this is what Sheikh Mastan, the great devotee of Holy Lord Sri Venkateswara told the Executive Officer ..
“..Sir my name is Sheikh Mastan.. Am a small merchant from Guntur district.. For over many generations now my family members are great devotees of Lord Sri Venkateswara Swamy.."
"..As a rule,every morning, my entire family stands in front of the holy Sri Varu, and recites Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatam.. Without any mistakes we also recite Venkateswara Sthotram, Srinivasa Prapatti and Mangala Sasanam.. I can even recite Srinivasa Gadyam fully..”
“..Sir for many generations it has also been a sacred tradition in our family to perform ashtottara sata nama puja (a prayer during which time 108 holy names of Lord Venkateswara are recited) to Sri Varu in our house every Tuesday.."
"..We perform this pooja with different varieties of flowers we personally grow in our back yard.. We place one flower each at the holy feet of Sri Varu every time we recite one of His 108 names during this sacred pooja..”
“.. But sir, several decades ago my paternal grand father had made a vow to himself that he would place 108 Golden Lotus Flowers at the holy Lotus feet of our Sri Varu for using them during a similar seva at the Tirumala Temple.."
"..Since our financial resources were not substantial enough, my grand father could only procure a few Golden Lotuses.. Later my father procured a few more and finally I could finish the count and procure all the 108 Golden Lotus flowers.."
"..Sir,it was with a great difficulty that we could procure all these Golden flowers.. Each one of these flowers weighs about 23 grams..”
“..I now request you all, with folded hands, to please accept these Golden Lotuses as a gift from our poor family to Sri Varu and make good use of them during the ashtottara sata nama pooja or during any other seva in the Temple.."
"..Sir,our entire family will be very thankful to you if you can please consider our request without rejection.. Even my grand father’s soul shall now rest in peace at His holy feet.. That’s all I had to convey you sir.. I now leave the decision entirely to you all..”
Sheikh Mastan concluded..
SILENCE.. Holistic Silence.. Unusual Silence.. Uneasy Silence..Emotional Silence.. Silence and Silence and Silence..
For a few moments in the board room there was no other sound except the oscillating sound of the pedestal fans that were placed in all the corners of the room..
The Chairman, the Executive Officer, the Joint Executive Officer, the deputy Executive Officer and all the members of the board who were there in that room at that time were stunned into deep silence..
They didn't know what to say and how to react to the claims of the great Muslim devotee who was standing in front of them, with folded arms, at that moment..
Suspecting something mysterious and smelling the divine presence of the holy Lord Sri Venkateswara right in the midst of them it was the Executive Officer who moved first..
With unstoppable tears rushing out of his eyes he quickly got up from his chair and rushed to the place where Sheikh Mastan was standing..
Offering his sincere apologies to him for making him stand for such a longer period of time, the E O then made Sheikh Mastan sit comfortably in a chair beside him and assured him in a humble voice..
“.Mastan garu.. we are extremely delighted to have such a great devotee like you in the midst of us today.. We have seen many great devotees in our career for sure but we haven’t, seen one like you before..”
“..We shall unconditionally accept these invaluable Golden flowers from  you..I, however,cannot at this moment assure you that we shall certainly use them during a seva.. It’s a policy related matter Mastan garu and we are also just His servants.. Any decision of using them during a seva doesn't entirely lie in our hands.. “
“..I can promise you on behalf of the board that we shall all strive to do our best in fulfilling your family’s desire in making good use of these Golden Lotus flowers at the Temple... But Please give us some time and I shall get back to you at the earliest..”
Later things followed in quick succession and after a couple of more meetings the TTD board had decided to introduce a new Arjita Seva during which time the 108 sacred names of the Holy Lord shall be recited and during that recitation one Golden Lotus Flower each, gifted by the Sheikh Mastan family, shall be placed at the holy Lotus feet of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
TTD introduced this new Seva called Ashtadala Pada Padmaradhana in 1984 and ever since this popular seva is being performed at the holy Tirumala Temple every Tuesday..
This new arjita Seva not only made the Golden Jubilee year of TTD board a memorable one but also helped the great devotional family of Sheikh Mastan fulfill their generations old desire..
But what was that invisible hand behind all this drama that played the entire game to perfection.. Can you guess..??

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