Arulmigu Venkatachalapathy Temple

Narada’s Prayer to Brahma
Once Narada prayed to Brahma to enlighten him on the history and greatness of the holy Markandeya kshetra that will also be for the benefit of humanity.

On hearing this, Brahma gladly started narrating the greatness of Tiruvinnagar and its presiding deity. whose glory can not be described even by Adisesha with his 1000 tongues.

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Tulasi’s Prayer to God
Once Tulasidevi who was born along with nectar (amrita), while churning the milky-ocean, begged Lord Narayana that she also be adorned by Him on His chest like Mahalakshmi.

Lord’s boon to tulasi:
Thereupon, the Lord said that Lakshmi did very severe penance to gain a place on His chest. The Lord further said that Lakshmi would appear as Bhoomidevi at a holy place near Kumbakonam, to the south of Kaveri and would be brought up by sage Markandeya as his daughter. Tulasi should go there earlier and be in the form of lovely Tulasi plant at the sage’s hermitage. Then Lakshmi would appear under the Tulasi plant as Bhoomidevi. Later on Lord Narayana would come and marry Bhoomidevi and live there forever. Then the glory of Tulasi will become known to all.

The Lord further said that those who worship Him with petals of tulasi, shall attain all prosperity in the world and also the benefit of performing ‘Asvamedha yaga’. All those who reside in this holy place will attain Sri Vaikunta at the end of their lives. From then onwards, Tulasi lived in this holy place, which therefore came to be known as Tulasi Vana (Tulasi forest).

Markandeya’s Penance
Sage Mrikandu’s son Markandeya, after touring many holy places and bathing in sacred waters, finally reached this holy place. He was so enchanted by the congenial surroundings here that he decided to stay here permanently. Wishing to get a daughter who would be given in marriage to the Lord Himself, he started doing severe penance to achieve his objective.

Narayana’s Instructions to Lakshmi
Lord Narayana was pleased by his penance and resolved to bless him. He asked Lakshmi to appear as a small child in the tulasi forest, to be brought up by sage Markandeya and given in marriage to the Lord.

Goddess Lakshmi accordingly appeared as a small child in the tulasi forest and was found by sage Markandeya. With immense pleasure he lifted the divine child Lakshmi from the ground, fondled her and asked about her parentage. For this the child replied that she did not know who her parents were and that Markandaya was everything to her. Thrilled beyond words, he named her as Bhoomidevi, as she was found on earth.

Markandeya’s Concern and Worry.
The Sage brought her up lovingly and as she grew up, he was very much worried about her marriage. He was in frantic search for a suitable bridegroom.

At this stage Lord Narayana decided to play some mischief with the sage. So He appeared before the sage, in the guise of an old brahmin, clad in torn clothes and with a walking stick in hand, on the day of Panguni Sravanam at noon.

Markandeya welcoming the Old Man
Markandeya, without realising that the old man who was coughing incessantly was Sriman Narayana Himself, received Him with due reverence and respectfully proceeded to serve Him, attending to His needs like washing His fleet and so on.The sage then reverentially asked the old man the purpose of His visit. The visitor then proceeded to state that He was on the look – out for a suitable bride, as He wished to marry and settle down in life and beget good sons. He therefore sought the hand of Bhoomidevi in marriage to enable Him to attain His objective.

Sage and Old Man – Dialogue
On hearing the strange request of the old man(Narayana), Markandeya was non-plussed and did not know what to do. He then started explaining to the old man that Bhoomidevi was very young and was too tender in age to run a family. Moreover the age disparity between the old man and the young girl was too much. He requested the old man to drop His idea. The old man would hear none of it. He threatened to commit suicide if the young girl was not given in marriage to Him.

The sage Markandeya did not know what to do. He tried all methods to dissuade the old man from insisting upon marrying the young girl. The sage told the old man that his daughter was too young and did not even know how to cook properly. She might even forget to put salt in the eatables, which may result in the old man getting angry and cursing her. Finding the old man still stubborn and unrelenting, the sage silently prayed to Lord Narayana for guidance.

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