Sevas to Lord Venkateswara "strictly in accordance with Vaikhanasa Agama, system running perfectly since 1000 years," Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam informs Supreme Court

  • Gautam Mishra
  • 05:19 PM, 09 Oct 2021

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams has filed its affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that the Sevas to the Lord Venkateswara are performed by Archakas under the supervision of His Holiness Pedda Jeeyangar Swamy and Chinnayajeeyangar Swamy strictly in accordance with the Vaikhanasa Agama and that the system has been running perfectly since the past thousand years.

The affidavit filed by the Executive officer, Dr. K S Jawahar Reddy of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams through Advocate Satya Sabharwal states, "There are perfect checks and balances introduced by His Holiness Ramanujacharya to ensure the sevas / utsavams are conducted strictly in accordance with Vaikhanasa Agama. The system is running perfectly since a thousand years."

The affidavit has been filed in plea before the Supreme Court which raises objections with regards to:

"Sevas/ utsavams performed to the Lord Sri Venkateshswara Swamy:
a. Abhishekam Seva,
b. Arjitha Brahmostsava,
c. Maha Laghu Darshanam," stating that the Abhisheka Seva is being performed "without clothes" every Friday to the Lord Venkateshwara

The plea has further alleged in relation to the conduct of Arjitha Brahmostsavam that the procession of Lord on Vahanams is not being conducted round the Mada streets.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had directed the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) to file its response in a plea challenging the dismissal of an Andhra Pradesh High Court order which had rejected the plea of a Devotee to look into irregularities of "Pooja and Archana" within the Sanctorum.

A bench headed by CJI NV Ramana had said that the Supreme Court is interested in protecting the traditions and rituals of Lord Balaji. He added that he himself was a devotee of Balaji, however, it seemed far-fetched to suggest that delving into the issue of conduct of Pooja and rituals at the Sanctorum had anything to do with fundamental rights.

The response further stated, "The TTD also constitutes an Agama Advisory Committee from time to time consisting of qualified pandits in Vaikhanasa Agama to guide the Archakas and advise the TTD in various religious matters. The TTD Administration provides all the necessary infrastructure and support to the Archakas and His Holiness Pedda Jeeyangar to perform the rituals"

In relation to showing the feet of the Lord during Maha Laghu Darshanam the affidavit said, "more than one lakh people on an average visit Tirumala for darshan of Lord. If every pilgrim is allowed to have darshan of Lord at Kulasekhara padi only about 9000 pilgrims can be provided darshan in a day at 800 per hour."

Background: 

The Andhra Pradesh High Court, while dismissing the PIL, had on January 1, 2020 observed that since the procedure of conducting rituals is the exclusive domain of the Devasthanam, it could cannot be a matter of adjudication unless it impacts secular or civil rights of others.

A bench of Justice Joymala Bagchi and C. Praveen Kumar had further noted that the Devasthanam could not be said to be discharging public duties in the matter of conducting rituals. "Such activities falling within ecclesiastical domain are not amenable to writ jurisdiction at the behest of an outsider," the court had observed.

Srivari Dada, a devotee of Sri Venkateshwara Swamy, Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams had stated that the respondent –Devasthanam is performing sevas namely, i) Abhishekam Seva, 2) Thomala Seva, 3) Arjitha Brahmostavam 4) Yekanta Utsavalu (Srivari Varshika Brahmotsavams – 2020) and 5) Maha Laghu Darshan, in a wrongful and irregular procedure.

Case Title: Srivari Daadaa Vs. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD)