Lord Venkateswara, popularly known as Balaji, is the presiding deity of the Tirumala Hills, in Andhra Pradesh, India. He is one of the manifestations of Lord Vishnu, who incarnated in a previous Kali-yuga at the request of sage Narada. The sage requested Lord Vishnu to settle in Tirumala, to shower his eternal grace on mankind, who were very much depressed and unable to follow the rigorous yoga practices of self realization. Tirumala, the seat of Lord Venkateswara is surrounded by seven hills, thus He is known as Lord of the seven hills.
Venkateswara has four hands. In his two upper hands he holds a discus (a symbol of power) and a conch shell (a symbol of existence). With his lower hands extended downward he asks devotees to have faith and surrender to him for protection.
The painting scheme is adopted from the bright colors used in south Indian temples. The temples are known for their large gopurams or towers that rise up into the sky decorated with various gods and goddesses. The gopurams are painted in vibrant colors which mirror the vibrant life of south India.
"Only the unlearned deem myself (Vishnu) and Shiva to be distinct; he , I , and Brahma are one, assuming different names for the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. We, as the triune Self, pervade all creatures; the wise therefore regard all others as themselves."
~ Vishnu explains the Nature of the Trinity (trimurti ~
Vishnu is one of the principal Hindu deities, worshiped as the protector and preserver of the world and restorer of dharma (moral order). He is known chiefly through his avatars (incarnations), particularly Rama, Krishna and Buddha. In theory, Vishnu manifests a portion of himself anytime he is needed to fight evil, and his appearances are innumerable; but in practice, ten incarnations are most commonly recognized.
Vishnu appears to be a prime example of how older gods and cults have been absorbed into Hinduism. Thought to be linked with an earlier sun god, Vishnu's ten incarnations may also be examples of older gods that have been amalgamated.
Vaishnavites, one of the largest Hindu groups, are the devotees of Vishnu as Ishvara, the Supreme Being, worshiped in the forms of his manifestations or incarnations. Because of his pervasive presence, images as the focus of worship are of great importance, as are temple architecture and carving.
The Ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu
Vishnu's preserving, restoring, and protecting powers have been manifested in the world in a series of ten earthly incarnations known as avatars. The avatars arrive either to prevent a great evil or to affect good upon the earth. Nine are said to have descended already: three in nonhuman form, one in hybrid form and five in human form. The most important are Rama, fearless upholder of the law of dharma and Krishna; youthful hero of the Bhagavad-Gita Vishnu's final avatar is expected to arrive at a time when the earth is at the end of its present cycle, with the purpose of destroying the world and subsequently recreating it.
Matsya the Fish - Saved humanity and the sacred Veda text from the flood.
Kurma the Turtle - Helped create the world by supporting it on his back.
Varaha the Boar - Raised the earth out of water with his tusks.
Narashima, half-man, half lion - Destroyed a tyrant demon king.
Vamana the Dwarf - Subdued king Bali, a powerful demon.
Parashurama the Brahmin - Destroyed the warrior caste.
Rama - Rescued his with Sita and killed the demon Ravana.
Krishna - told the Epic poem Bhagavad-Gita to the warrior Arjuna.
Buddha - The enlightened one.
Kalki the Horse - Yet to come to the earth.
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Dust the piece as needed. You can use a wood cleaner to really make it shine. Mainly for indoor use.
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