The History of Utsava Murthy – Malayappa Swami
In the Hill Shrine, the Utsava Bera or Utsava Murthy is called as ‘Malayappa Swami’ who is a exact look alike of the Moola Vigraham or Dhruva Bera. The pilgrims consider him next to the rank of Dhruva bera. But actually Bhoga Srinivasa or Kautuka Bera is more important than all. Its only after the inclusion of Malayappa Swamy & Ammavavarulu, the number of daily, monthly & yearly festivals increased in the temple.
Before Malayappa, Sridevi & Bhudevi were included in the temple, it was Ugra Srinivasa or Snapana bera, who was used as a Processional deity. Ugra Srinivasa is about 18 inches in height. When Snapana bera was taken out on procession, frequently fire accidents would occur causing considerable damage. This happened for a long time. On a graceful day, Lord Venkateshwara himself invoked into an Archaka spoke out saying ‘The Snapana bera is not suited for Utsavam because of its Ugra Swabhavam (Angry nature). The suitable idols are in a glen on the slopes of the hills. Find them’
With this command of Lord, the search for the idols began. Huge number of devotees, localities & temple staff began the search throughout the Sheshadri range. Finally Lord along with Sridevi & Bhudevi was found by the mass. They praised him as Malayappa since he was found in the hills. With great devotion & happiness these idols were brought to the temple.
In the year 1339 AD, According the rituals & procedures of Vaikhanasa Agama Shastram, the 3 idols, Malayappa Sridevi & Bhudevi were consecrated as Utsava Bera or Processional deities of the Temple. Lord Malayappa & Consorts are believed to be Swayambu or Incarnated. But looking at the structure of the idols which is a Panchaloha (Mixture of 5 metals- Gold, Silver, Copper, Lead & Iron), seems to be in the art of early Cholas work of Shilpashastra. Malayappa Swami is the busiest idol throught the year as per schedule is considered. With Utsava deities in the temple which were routed by Lord himself, the number of programs like, Kalyanotsavam, Dolotsavam, Sahasradeepalankara Seva, Parvetotsavam, etc.., began with a particular schedule. People started offering Malayappa & consorts with very Valuable jewels & number of Jewel & Keeritam (crowns) also started accumulating.
Malayappa Swami is 27 inches in height and stands ona Lotus pedestal which is 9 inches high. Sridevi & Bhudevi stand to the right & left side of Lord and are 24 inches in height and standing on a pedestal which is about 4 inches heigh. Lord is having 4 arms and is holding Sudarshana & Panchajanya on the upper hands and the right hand is boon-bestowal or Varada Hasta, where as left hand is Lord is holding on his hips casually as Katyavalambhitha posture. Sridevi is holding Kataka posture with her left hand & right hand casually left down parallel to the body. Same as Bhudevi holding Kataka posture with right hand and left hand casually down parallel to body.
Now the question rises, which deities were used for procession in earlier times. As per Vaikhanasa Agama in Bhrugu Samhitha, Yagnaadikaram says :if Utsava bera is not available, Snapana bera may be used for festivities. And if Snapana bera is not present, Kautuka bera can be used.
Kautuka bera is now always in Garbhagruha along with Dhruva bera. Snapana bera or Ugra Srinivasa is confined in Sanctorum Santorum and only one day in a year that is, Kaisika Dwadasi he is taken on procession on the 4 holy streets around the temple called Mada Veedi. This procession should be done before sunrise. At any circumstances sun rays must not fall on this deity.
List of Malayappa Sridevi & Bhudevi activities in the temple. In the brackets we have the approximate number of Lords participation per year.
- Kalyanotsavam ( 360 )
- Dolotsavam ( 360 )
- Arjitha Brahmotsavam ( 360 )
- Arjitha Vasantotsavam ( 360 )
- SahasraDeepalankarana Seva ( 360 )
- Nityotsavam & almost all processions including Brahmotsavams ( 400 )
- Jyestabhishekam ( 3 )
- Varshika Vasanthotsavam ( 3 )
- Teppotsavam ( 4 )
- Adyanotsavam ( 30 )
- Parvetotsavam ( 1 )
- Padmavathi Pranaya Kalahotsavam ( 1 )
- Bhag Savari Utsavam ( 1 )
- Ugadhi, Anivara, Brahmotsavam & Deepavali Asthanam ( 4 )
- Swarna Rathotsavam on Vaikunta Ekadasi ( 1 )
- Procession on 7 Vahanas on Ratha Sapthami ( 7 )
- Chakra Sananam on Anantha Chaturdasi, Mukkoti Dwadasi, Ratha Sapthami & Vijayadashami day Lord & Ammavaru, come along with Sudarshana ( 4 )