IS IT VIRTUOUS TO BUILD GUEST HOUSES ON THE SEVEN DIVINE HILLS?

The ‘Seven Divine Hills’ known as Tirumalai Hills, in the South Indian State of Andha Pradesh are the abode of Lord Sri Vemkateswara Swamy, (‘Vem’ means Sins, ‘Kata’ means destroyer, and ‘Eswara’ means God) the richest temple of the world, visited by not less than 50,000 piligrims every day and on holidays the number would exceed 100,000. But certain historical mistakes have been committed by sum sections of political people and ‘Pundits’ by constructing Guest Houses and cottages on the sacred ‘Seven Divine Hills’ which are considered to be incarnation of, or the very body of Lord Aadi Sesha resting on the earth, in the form of ‘Seven Divine Hills’. According to Hindu Dharma Sastras treading or climbing the Seven Diving Hills by wearing shoes or slippers is a grave sin. But majority people who come to visit Lord Sri Vemkateswars Swamy on the Seven Divine Hills do walk on the hills by wearing slippers and shoes and stay and rest in the luxurious Guest Houses and Cottages which are constructed on the Seven Hills, on par with or even much higher in height than the Lord Sri Vemkateswara Swamy’s Golden Temple. This is a historical and inexecuable blunder committed against the Lord Sri Vemkateswara Swamy and Lord Aadi Sesha and no one has intention to correct this mistake. A century ago our ancestors never did such mistakes and sins on the Seven Divine Hills. The devotees used to visit the temple by walking on hills with austerity with true devotion towards God.

In recent times some Aagama Sastra’ procedures are being uttered by some pundits and they are trying to impose certain restrictions on the devotees who visit the temple every day, which they have ignored all these days. The recent restrictions imposed by the Temple administration as per their discretion and other ‘Vaikhanasa Aagama Sastraa’ procedures, are, a) Women who visit the Temple should not wear/keep flowers in their hair while entering in or wandering around the Temple premises; b) Every devotee must wear Traditional clads such as ‘dhovatis’ and ‘sarees’, while visiting the Temple and while wandering in and around the temple; c) Every devotee must wear ‘Tirunamam’ a ‘V’ or ‘U’shaped symbol with vertical line in the middle of the ‘V’ or ‘U’ symbol, with sandlewood paste on their forehead d) Devotees should not wear slippers/shoes while climbing the Seven Hills and while walking anywhere on and around the temple premises. Imposition of such traditional procedures on devotees is acceptable to some sections of devotees, who visit the Temple every day with true devotion, to maintain the sanctity of Tirumal Hills and premises of Sri Vemkateswara Temple and not acceptable to other devotees who visit the temple as a tourist spot for relaxing or who are in the illusion that they can get boons from the Lord just by visiting the temple.

But of all these restrictions, only two considred to be grave mistakes, one is walking on the seven hills with slippers/shoes and another one which is not yet declared and considred as ‘sin’ or mistake i.e. staying in the luxurious Guest Houses or Cottages with inside ‘Toilets’ constructed on the Seven Divine Hills. The two issues amount to mistakes, because we are going by climbing the hills to pray Lord Sri Vemkateswara to get rid off the already committed sins by us, but not to do new sins by walking on the Seven Divine Hills with slippers/shoes and by staying in the Guest Houses/cottages by resting and for discharging nature calls. 

Why we are unable to perceive and recognize that it as a  ‘sin’ and ‘mistake’ to stay in the cottages, Guest Houses constructed on par with or above to the height of the ‘Lord Sri Vemkateswara’s Golden Temple, on the surface of Seven Hills that are considered to be the body of, and incarnation of Lord Aadi Sesha. Had ‘Aagama Sastra’ or any Dharma Shastras anywhere exempted that such such kind of luxurious constructions around the Temple or above the height of temple, is not a mistake?  Does it not amount to disrespect and sinful attitude towards God?  Some Pundits may claim that nature calls are part and parcel of the God’s creation, so having guest houses and cottages is not a mistake on Divine Hills. But does it mean that we should discharge them intentionally on the Divine Hills which are considered to be incarnation of God, staying in the Cottages and Guest Houlses, when there is lot of space below the Seven Hills to stay?

Generally we do not realize that what we are committing is a sin or mistake because nothing adversely would happen to us when we are commiting a ‘sin’ or ‘mistake’, where we are committing it. The consequence of committing a Sin or mistake against the God would be apparent to humans in another form. For instance, if we have committed sins or mistakes on the Seven Hills means, the consequence of such sins and mistakes would be suffered by those elsewhere, in the form of losing their lives in the floods, cyclones, earthquakes, fires, accidents, drought, diseases etc., But, we think that the wrath of Nature Forces against us as part of natural course of events of nature, and do not recognize that these lossess and damages caused to us by floods, cyclones, earthquakes, fires, accidents are results of sins or mistakes committed by us at divine places. So, here where, the Divine Forces impose punishments on human beings, for the mistakes and sins committed by them elsewhere. 

HOW TO GET SALVATION: So it is not yet late to correct the mistakes committed by sacrificing some of our luxuries and comforts that we have accoustomed to enjoy by staying in the Guest Houses and cottages and routenly discharging nature calls on the Diving Hills.  So, the Temple Administration must remove phase by phase, all the structures such as Cotteges, Guest Houses, apartments in and around the Golden Temple on Divine Tirumala Hills, and construct new luxurious Guest Houses and Cotteges for devotees and VVIPs below the Seven Hills i.e. at down Tirupathi to host them, as long as they wish, because every devotee must think to stay at the feet of the God but not on the divine body. Next diseal and petrol vehicles may be prohibited moving on the Seven Hills. Traditional mode of transportation by means of Horse Chariots, Donkeys, Dolees, may be introduced to carry the devotees upto Lord Sri Vemkateswara Temple from below Tirupathi. Every devotee as far as possible must go to the Temple by walk, irrespective of the time consumption and their busy schedules. If any old-aged people, old age women, handicapped people any other physically weak people who are not able to walk must be carried in the Horse Chariots, Donkies, or Human Carriages maintained by the Temple administration. Are not we accepting this mode of transportaion even today when we are going to visit Lord Shiva in Amarnath Cave, and other Temples in Himalayas, where, we are sitting on donkeys and Horses to travel to visit other Lord Shiva temples in Himalaya Mountain regions? This would generate a lot of employment for unemployed to run chariots, horses, Carriers etc., private trasporters who are maintaing so far the disel and petrol cars and cabs must be accommodated in this employment.

While visiting Amarnath Temple in Himalayas we are spending there one or two days to travel by walk in the snow atmosphere, and staying in Canvass tents to rest for some time, similar austerity and devotion must be shown while visiting Tirumalai Temple also by all devotee irrespective of their status. To reach Lord Sri Vemkateswara Swamy Temple on Tirumala Hills, it takes hardly five or six hours to walk to reach the Temple if we travel by regular walk-route. If we go by ‘Sreevari Mettu’ (short-cut route) way, it takes only two hours to walk to reach the God’s Temple.

Regualar ‘Annadaanam’ (offering sacred food of God to devotees free of cost) Canteens may be shifted to down Tirupathi, and only a little prasadam may be offered to devotees on the Temple premises, because if food is consumed heavily on the Hills again natural problems may arise. Every priest must stay in the down Tirupathi only with their families and must climb the Hills every day for doing services to Lord Sri Vemkateswara Swamy and they may follow shift system if they feel they get tired everyday doing so.  To protect the devotees from rain, sheet-shelters must be erected on the places where the cottages, guest houses are removed on the hills, in and around the Temple, Tirumala Hills must be declared as No-Tourist spot for resting and time-passing. Time-passers with impure thoughts, heckling and riff-raff behaviour must be expelled from the Hills. Special Security posts must be created all over the seven Hills by providing traditional as well as modern weapons and Horses must also be provided to Security personnel to discharge their functions. Tirumalai Hills all around, must be declared as No-Fly Zone, and any kind air crafts or choppers travelling over and above the Tirumalai Hills must be prohibited. Round the clock security must be provided at the bottom of the hills, with high-power radar survilliance watching the entire sky-zone of Tirumala Hills Laddus, pulihora, Daddhojanam, Kattey pongali, Chakkara pongali, Vada, and Booray prasadams (sacred food) must be distributed free of cost to all devotees. Every devotee must get down from the Seven Hills after Darshan (visiting God) and must stay, sleep or rest in the cottages constructed below the seven hills.

If we have the will and wish and true devotion, then these reforms may not sound impractical and ridiculous. Can not we do this much sacrifice for the sake of God Aadi Sesha for restoring sanctity of the Seven Hills? Therefore, true love, affection and devotion towards God can be shown by humans only by their sacrifices of luxuries and by resorting to austerity for restoring sanctity in the places that are considered to be Divine. By dchaitanya.