Datta Peetham Introduction:

      Sri Avadhoota Datta Peetham of Mysore, is one of the famous spiritual centres of India now. For over the past four decades, this centre has been rendering excellent spiritual propagation, throughout the world under the direction of the pontiff Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachidananda Swamiji. The very mention of Datta Peetham reminds us of the Lord Dattatreya. There are more than 72 branches of this Peetham in India, each branch having a temple of Dattatreya. 

    On 23rd June 1999, Sri Ganapathi Sachidananda Swamiji has installed Lord Sri Venkateswara in a magnicfent  temple in the Datta Peetham. Thousands of the devotees were over joyed at the grand event. However, it may be noted that the consecration of the Lord Venkateswara was neither a sudden nor a casual happening. In the words of Sri Swamiji, the establishment of the temple has subtle spiritual significance. It is the benevolent fruition of a chain of superhuman events. Let us know the sequence of these divine causes as narrated by Sri  Swamiji himself. 

 

 Swamiji’s Speech On Spiritual Sequences that Established Datta Venkateswara Temple :

§Sri Swamiji has established the present Asrama in 1966, which is situated to the west of  Chamundi hill on the road to Ooty on the outskirts of Mysore City. Though the Asrama was of 4 acres of area in the beginning, it is gradually extended to 35 acres. During the  initial years,  of his stay in the Asrama, Sri Swamiji had several divine visions periodically. 

§There was a small tank near the residence of Sri Swamiji. (The tank is now named as Saptarshi Sarovara - the lake of the seven seers). Sri Swamiji had the divine vision of a Sankha (Conch) and a Chakra (the circular weapon of Lord Vishnu) descending gradually from the sky on the eastern part of the tank. Also he used to see deers running happily. He observed that these deers emanated from the deer held by Lord Shiva in his right hand. (In tune with these divine visions, Sri Swamiji has arranged a well-maintained deer park now.)

§ Sri Swamiji visualised calves of cows, joyously jumping around the descending Shanka and Chakra. Hence Sri Swamiji is maintaining a big cow shed in the ashrama now. He used to have the divine vision of celestral maidens, decorated just as Godadevi (a devotee of Vishnu) and dancing in divine ecstasy.

 Land Acquisition for Datta Venkateswara Temple:  

On getting such divine visions repeatedly every morning, Sri Swamiji enquired about the owner of the site (at the north-eastern part of the present Ashrama. The site belonged to Sri Tiruvengada Mudaliyar. He was a noble and charitable person,  troubled with financial loss in his business. When he was informed about Swamiji 's interest  in the site, he promised voluntarily to offer the same to the Ashrama. He concluded his offer saying, "I intended to construct a temple of Lord Venkateshwara in this place." However I cannot do so. It will be nice if you construct a small shrine for a small idol of Venkateshwara in some corner of the site. However this idea, is not a precondition to my donation" he added.

§The gentleman died within a few days after he made the promise. He did not inform his children about this offer. However, the children came to know about this promise this from Sri Swamiji only. In spite of financial troubles,  they have decided to fulfil the promise of their father and tried to implement their decision.

§However, the State Government intended to acquire the site, which was adjacent to the highway. Hence the site was entangled in litigation. The donors were not rich enough to fight the legal battle. They gave up their efforts and told Sri Swamiji, "we cannot proceed further in the court affairs. It is upto you to do whatever you like." Sri Swamiji also did not pay much attention to this aspect from then. The legal dispute went on for 18 years. Eminent lawyers like Srinivasacharya, Harish Hedge, Radhakrishna, Hemmige etc. strived hard to win the court case. At last, due to the kind consideration of His Excellency Pendekanti Venkata Subbaiah, the then Governor of Karnataka State, the files moved faster and the court allotted the site to the Ashrama.  

§In the meantime Sri Swamiji became busier with the establishment of several branches of the Mysore Ashrama throughout India and abroad and with the multiple activities. Many temples of Datta were built. Sri Swamiji had put the proposal about the Venkateswara temple on back burner.

 Recognition by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam:

§This being so, Tirumala Tirupati temple authorities have recognised  Avadhoota Datta Peetham as a centre of the traditional righteous standards, due to the efforts of Late Dr. Marri Chenna Reddy, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. In this context,  Sri Swamiji had visited the Tirumala temple for the first time. He was accorded traditional welcome by the temple priests and officers at 7.30 a.m. on 5th July 1992.

§By sheer divine co-incidence the procession of the temple idols was coming in the opposite direction, while Sri Swamiji alighted from the car. Though it was not the usual practice, the procession of the idols reached the golden gate of the temple to the accompaniment of fine religious band of music. Every one was surprised at this unexpected coincidence of the procession and Sri Swamiji's visit.

§It seemed to one and all that the Lord Venkateswara has acknowledged the presence of Sri Swamiji upon arrival. In addition, this First Darshan reminded him in a subtle way about the long forgotten proposal of temple construction in the Mysore Asrama.  

 12" Venkateswara Idol Collection from Manginapudi Sea :  

§Earlier to this event, Sri Swamiji commenced the rituals of the consecration of Datta Temple at Nujiveedu (Andhra Pradesh) Ashrama on 8th November 1989. On the day of consecration,  a devotee of Sri Swamiji was bathing in the Sea at Manginapudi (near Machilipatnam, A.P.) where he found a fine idol of Venkateswara. 

§The 12" high idol was brought to Nujiveedu by the astonished devotee to be offered to Sri Swamiji. By then Sri Swamiji ascended the scaffolding and reached the temple tower to perform Kumbhabhisheka (pouring of holy water) on the temple tower. In a fit of  excitement, the devotee proceeded fast to the temple tower, carrying the idol and gave it to Sri Swamiji. 

§Sri Swamiji carried the idol in one hand affectionately and performed the Kumbahisheka with the other hand. Then and there Sri Swamiji announced from the temple tower that a temple of Lord Venkatesvara will be constructed in the Mysore Asrama.

  Temple Foundation Stone - Lord Venkateshwara’s Miracles Begin:  

§At that time, a staunch devotee of Lord Venkateswara; by name Sri Rama Mohan in Madras (Chennai - Tamil Nadu) was associated with Sri Swamiji. The Lord appeared in a dream of the devotee and asked him to construct his temple in the Mysore Asrama. At the same moment Padmavati Devi also appeared in the dream and asked the Lord "Don't you arrange a shrine for me also in the temple?"

§The devotee was moved by the wonderful divine dream and proceeded immediately to Mysore Asrama and insisted to construct a small temple there if a small site was allotted for the purpose. After a prolonged plea, Sri Swamiji agreed to his request and sanctioned a small place.

§Even one year earlier to this allotment, Sri Swamiji got that particular place ploughed by the oxen. One crop of the 'nine grains' was raised there. At such a pious spot the foundation stone was laid for the temple on 9th June 1995, according to Vaikhanasa Aagama Rituals. The rituals were conducted by Sri Vedantam Ananta Padmanabha Acharya, an octogenarian scholar of repute. 

§Thus, quite unnoticed by the laymen, the stipulated ritual of ploughing the land and the raising the crop of the precious nine grains was done for a year, before the commencement of the construction, which heralded the beginning of the divine miracles of the Lord Venkateswara.

Crucial Decision on Construction:   

§Unfortunatly, Sri Rama Mohan died, after a few months. Though the foundation stone was laid, no plan of construction was drawn by then. Hence Sri Swamiji decided to go ahead with the construction activity. Though it was intended to build on a small scale, a huge temple, costing crores of rupees has come up during the four years of construction.

§Hundreds of devotees from many parts of the country and different part of the globe supported the construction.

§The shrine of the Lord Venkateswara, the temple tower (Ananda Vimana), the main entrance tower, the various sculptures there on are exact replicas of the Tirumala temple. The temple complex comprises of the shrines of Padmavati, Dhanvantari, Siddhi Vinayaka (Ganapati) and Navagrahas (nine planets). (Later on Sri Swamiji has added Anjaneya, Sarva Dosha Hara Shiva Temple, Nama Koti Mandapa, Naaga Mandala and Maraka Subrahmanya Swamy shrines to this complex.)

Construction Committee

§To facilitate smoother construction, Sri Swamiji has constituted a committee comprising of experts in diverse fields (Engineering, Aagama, Sastra, Vaastu and Administration). While Sri Swamiji was the master brain behind the Design and execution of the project, he has assigned various responsibilities. 

Sarvasri

1.            KV Aiyappan (Patron)

2.            HR Krishna Aiyengar (Engineer)

3.            HV Prasad (Administration)

4.            R Sundara Murty (Contractor)

5.            M Rajendra (Contractor)

6.            Vedantam Ananta Padmanabha Acharya (Vaikhanasa Aagama)

7.            Agnihotram Srinivasa Acharya (Vaikhanasa Aagama)

8.            Kuppa Krishna Murty (Sastra)

9.            Vamshi Krishna Ghanapathi (Coordination)

10.          Madhva Acharya (Chief Priest)

11.          KRS Jagannath (Office)

12.          M Rama Mohana Rao (Office)

All the staff, members and devotees of Ashrama extended their hearty support to the construction.

 Lord Dhanvantari Reaching Swamiji:  

§ In the month of November, 1992, a seminar of Ayurveda (the ancient science of healing) was conducted in the Mysore Asrama. A famous physician, Dr. P.R. Sitaram, one of the participants had a divine vision in his dream. As a result, he realised that Sri Swamiji had an aspect of Dhanvantari (a form of Vishnu as a healer). He presented an idol of Dhanvantari to Sri Swamiji.

§By this divine inspirtion only, the shrine of Dhanvantari was included in the temple complex, where in the idol presented by the devotee was installed by Sri Swamiji. (Let us recall that Sage Agastya bequethed the science of herbal therapy to Sri Swamiji in subtle form in his childhood. Since then, He has been doing research in this aspect for over the past three decades, conducting many experiments for the benefit of people.

§In the Mysore Asrama, Sri Swamiji installed the gigantic form of Moolikeshwara (Lord of the herbs) just opposite to the Datta temple. Being adept at herbal medicine, Sri Swamiji, has arranged the offering of several curative herbs to Lord Dhanvantari.

 Symbols of Shanka and Chakra on the Walls of Temple Premises :  

§ Sri Zuber Ahmed Khan, an ardent of Sri Swamiji was assigned the duty to clad marble tiles on the walls of Sanctum Sanctorum of the Lord. Soon after finishing the work in the shrine of Lord Venkateswara, the contractor just looked at the inner wall on the western side. He was surprised to find several lines forming the shapes of Sankha (conch) and Chakra (circular weaponof Vishnu) on the either side of the wall.

§These lines were neither pertaining to the same stone, nor fixed  deliberately to cause this design. After having seen this, every one  thought: "These miraculous designs, will henceforth serve as Sankha and Cakra of the Lord after the installation!". 

§ The pleasant surprise of Sri Zuber Ahmed Khan did not end with that observation. The black lines became darker day by day evolving more clear shapes of Sankha and Cakra! Isn't it wonderful? However Sri Swamiji was not astonished, He said "These are the same Sankha and Chakra which I visualised daily long ago!"

 Lord Venkateswara Idol Selection by Sri Swamiji: 

§ Another divine miracle happened, during the selection of the IDOL. Three sets of idols were ordered from different places. One idol was sculpted by the sculptor Sri Durugadda Ramachari of Allagadda (Andhra Pradesh). The second idol was made by Sri Kanakaratna Sthapati of Tirumurugan Pundi (Tamil Nadu). Both the idols were brought to Datta Peetham. Both were wonderful.  (Other set from Tirupati was donated to another temple)

§The consruction committee could not decide as to which idol had to be installed in the temple. They laid the idols in two separate rooms and kept them in safe custody. One day Sri Swamiji told that committee members, "Tonight, you keep both the idols outside the rooms. tomorrow is Ekadashi. I will choose the idol to be installed, at dawn". Sri Swamiji did not reveal his intention. He decided to choose the idol which he would see first at dawn. 

§By the will of God, the cloth covering the idol from Tamil Nadu was blown away by the wind, as Sri Swamiji reached the place. Accordingly, this idol was installed in the temple. (In due course of time, the idol was in the Personal Spiritual Garden of Sri Swamiji for 9 years, before installation in Dharmavaram Ashrama.)

  Dhwaja Stambha offered by Elephant: 

§There is a note worthy feature about the Dhwaja Stambha (The Flag post of the temple) also. As per the Àgama sastra (The science of Temple architecture and administration),it was decided to obtain a 60 feet long post. It was rather difficult to get such a long post. During such period of search, it so happened that Sri Swamiji spotted a tall tree in a forest in Kerala during his tour.

§Only God knows how Sri Swamiji only could find the tree, though the forest officers searched and could not locate the tree in the entire area. As directed by Sri Swamiji, the tree was felled by a trained elephant and not by the usual workers. The elephant brought out the log from the forest. The efforts of a Kerala devotee Sri Kutti Krishnan are praise worthy in this context. Thus now we see the temple Dhvajastambha (flag post) offered by the elephant.

 Briefing on the Interiors and Activities During Temple Construction :   

§ It has been mentioned earlier that the temple construction was done for four years. The beauty of the sculptures of stone and cement and also the beauty of the architecture are marvelous. The stone sculpture was conducted by the artists under the guidance of Sri Muttu Kannan of Tamil Nadu. The cement sculpture reveals the expertise of the Christian devotee Sri John Babu of Peddapuram (Andhra Pradesh). The beautiful carpentry was directed by Sri Trinathachari of Machilipatnam. 

§The designs of all these three types of sculpture i.e. stone, cement and wood have the underlying contribution services of Sri Gangadhar, a famous cine publicity expert and Datta Peetha Asthana Painter.

§The entire construction of the temple complex was meticulously directed by the engineers Sri Krishna Ayyangar and Sri Sundara Murthy.

§ Àgama Sastra, (the ancient science of temple architecture and administration) stipulates that during the period of temple construction, along with the sounds of the chiseling the stones by the sculptors, the chanting of Vedic recitations and the divine singing also must be done at the site. Sri Swamiji has made the necessary arrangements in this aspect. 

§Not only that. Sri Swamiji arranged continuous divine singing by a devotee Yogi Hanumantha Rao, who stayed at the temple site throughout the period of construction. The yogi was fortunate to locate an idol of Agni (God of Fire) during the digging for the foundation of the temple. Sri Hanumantha Rao used to sing bhajans for long hours in the presence of the idol of Agni On 17thJune 1999 the Yagas (Fire sacrifices) in connection with the consecration of the temple commenced. 

Inauguration Ceremonies (Pratishtha Rituals)

§Priot to Inauguration, Sri Swamiji visited Tirumala for invoking the God. TTD Administration had extended all possible technical assistance in the construction of the Temple.

§Chief priest Madambakkam Srinivasa Bhattacharya graced the Inauguration Program.

§The rituals were inaugurated by the ligthning of lamp by Sri Vagisa Brahmatantra Svatantra Swami ( Mysore ), the pontiff of Parakala Mutt. The consecration rituals were conducted for seven days exactly as per the traditions of Tirumala temple in accordance with the stipulation of Vaikhanasa Àgama (The science of temple architecture and administration as per the Vishnu cult).

§Sri Tridandi Srimannarayana Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar of Pancharatra sect, Sri Vishweswara Teertha of Udupi Pejawara Matha graced the occasion.

§The rituals were guided at every stage by Sri Vedantam Ananta Padmanabhacharya of Machilipatnam, who is a very famous scholar of Vaikhanasa Àgama, a saintly soul of deep penance and a staunch devotee of Sri Swamiji for over two decades.

§Sri Aiyappan, an intimate devotee of Sri Swamiji and a businessman from HongKong was chosen as the Dharma Darsi by Sri Swamiji (Dharma Darsi is the volunteer who officiates to conduct the rituals on behalf of an Organisation).

 Lord Venkateshwara’s Procession – Day before Temple Kumbabhishekam :  

§ On 21st June 1999, a grand procession was taken out in the principal streets of Mysore with the idol of Venkateswara (found on the seashore) seated on an elephant. The procession was comparable to the famous Dasara procession of Mysore .

§Thousands of devotees participated in the procession of about 2 kilometres long, for about 5 hours treading a distance of about 10 kilometres. Several groups of folk dances contributed to the gala event. A huge brass idol of Datta Venkateswara, colourful clay idols of Ganapati, Datta, Rajarajeswari were taken in procession to the accompaniment of divine singing by the asrama artists and the devotees as also the fine orchestra of classical carnatic music.

§Sri Swamiji himself particpated in the procession throughout (It may be noted that it was the first time for Swamiji to do so). The local member of the Legislative Assembly Sri Ramdas, the elite of the city and the officers and the employees of the various departments of the government rendered excellent cooperation. The services of Sri Dwarakanath, a devotee of Swamiji for over three decades are specially noteworthy.

 Miracles Observed by 20000 Devotes on Temple Kumbabhishekam Day:

§On Wednesday, the 23rd June, 1999 at 11.15 a.m. Sri Swamiji himself installed the yantra in the main shrine of Lord Venkateswara and threreafter in the other shrines (Yantra is a spiritual design made on a copper plate. It is installed after purification rituals). Exactly at that time, a brilliant circle was formed around the Sun. 

§At Mysore, monsoon sets by May normally. However, on this particular day the sky was quite clear. There was not a trace of any dark cloud around. Like the spokes of a wheel, brilliant rays of red, yellow and green colours emanated from the Sun, which extended gradually towards the Ananda Vimana (the temple tower of the Lord Venkateswara). Specks of light resembling shining stars gracefully rushed towards the temple tower.

§About twenty thousand devotees were enthralled by this joyous divine vision. It is due to the great fortune of all of us that these unique scenes were videographed by the Asrama staff.

§After performing the Poornahuthi (the concluding offering to the Fire in the yaga) Sri Swamiji reached the temple tower to perform Kumbabhishekam (pouring of the sanctified water on the temple tower). Exactly at that time, a few eagles, with white necks flew over the sky doing Pradakshina (circular clock-wise movement).

 Sri Swamiji’s Message on Kumbhabishekam Day:  

§ While Sri Swamiji was performing the Abhisheka to the golden kalasa (a cone shaped vessel) on the Ànanda Vimana (temple tower), the sky reverberated with the chorus chants of "Govinda! Govinda" of the thousands of devotees. While giving His customary message, to the devotees right from the temple tower Sri Swamiji named the diety as Sri Datta Venkateswara". He uttered the diving slogans "Victory to Dharma" (righteousness) and "Victory to Satya" (Truth) which were repeated by one and all. 

§ Continuing His message Sri Swamiji blessed that peace be established in Kargil (border war between India and Pakistan caused by the intrusion of militants and Pakistan army). He blessed the departed souls of the martyrs who laid their lives for the establishment of peace.

§ Further he announced to donate all puja contributions made by the devotees on that day for the millitary relief fund. The first instalment of the donation of Rupees One lakh by Sri Swamiji was received by Sri R. Venkata Raman, the former President of India and Smt. VS Ramadevi, Governor of Himachal Pradesh who in turn passed on the same to Sri Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister of India.

§ Sri Swamiji explained that Venkateswara, the Lord of the seven hills volunteered to choose the new temple for His stay and that the kind Lord has promised to Sri Swamiji to relieve the diseases and sufferings of the devotees and to bless them with bounteous prosperity.

 Abhishekam to Prcipal Idol Of Venkateshwara and an Observations:   

§ Thereafter Sri Swamiji entered the shrine to perform Abhisheka to the principal idol of Venkateswara. Seeing the graceful changes in the facial expressions and on the fine chest of the idol, Sri Swamiji smiled meaningfully. Those who were involved in the sculpture and temple construction were astonished at the latest added grandeur of the deity.

§ It is noteworthy that the chief priests of the famous temples at Tirumala, Simhachalam, Annavaram were specially deputed by the concerned authorities to participate in the festival. Thus the new pilgrim centre was formulated by the common intentions of the Lord Venkateswara and Sri Ganapati Sachidananda Swamiji. 

§In the fervent hope that this pious centre would transmit spiritual vibrations for thousands of years to develop devotion and knowledge of the people, the project team and devotees conducted the event.

 Starting of Agama Vidya Kendra School:   

§ Supporting this aspect, Sri Swamiji has started an Àgama Vidya Kendra (School of temple architecture and rituals). The foundation stone laying rituals for the school were performed by Sri VisweswaraTirtha Swami of Pejavar (Karnataka) and Sri Tridandi Srimannarayana China Jeeyar Swamy of Seetanagaram (Vijayawada).

§It was intended to train priests to cater to the needs of temples in India and foreign countries. 

§ It is a unique feature that by the day of the temple consecration, all the necessary ornaments including the diamond studded crown were got ready for Sri Datta Venkateswara. Further, from the first day onwards, the various festivals including Kalyana (the divine ritual of the marriage of the Lord with Sridevi and Bhudevi ) are initiated just as in the Tirumala temple.

§ The serene pilgrim centre, with matchless artistic sculptures, radiant with several bright colour combinations, with ever new decorations daily, with the perennial prosperity of paramount peace - warmly welcomes the teaming millions of devotees with extended arms.

 Sri Datta Venkateshwara Temple Kshetra Palaka:   

§ For the Tirumala temple, Sri Varhaswami is the Kshetrapalaka (The deity who protects the pilgrim centre). Sri Swamiji revealed that Sri Venkateswara intended that Datta be the Kshetra Paalaka for this centre at Mysore. [Datta is the presiding deity of Datta Peetham]

§However, Datta intended that the new temple must resemble the Tirumala temple in all aspects and that Sri Venkateswara Swamy also may manifest here. 

§Understanding the divine instructions,  Sri Swamiji brought a huge rock and installed the two idols of Datta and Sri Varaha Swamy on either side. It is highly beneficial to do Pradakshina to this sacred rock and the Audumbara tree" exhorted Sri Swamiji.

Further Developments

§After the great inauguration, Sri Swamiji constituted a committee of persons to manage the temple. The team included Sri Harsha (Bala Swamy), Sri G Srinatha Sastry, Sri CS Radha Krishna (Manasa Datta), Sri G Murali Dhara, Sri HR Krishna Iyengar and Sri Vamshi Krishna Ghanapathi.

§Sri BK Prakash and Gayatri were appointed to take care of the Puja Counter. All the priests were appointed to serve in several temples.

§Gradually, Sri Swamiji has decided to construct a full-fledged Siva Temple to the North of Sri Datta Venkateswara Swamy. It was called Sarva Dosha Hara Siva Linga, consisting of the constellation of 11 Shiva Lingas, made of different precious stones. Devotee can offer Abhishekam, themseves.

§Another feature in the form of Nama Koti Mandapam was added to the Temple. Here, crores of Naama Lekhana Books were stored. Goddess Saraswati is installed, for the worship of devotees. Devotees have an option to write their wish on a tile and offer it to the deity.

§Marakata Subrahmanya Swamy temple is a great feature of the Temple.