Friday, April 10, 2015

Handcuff him and bring here!

Arrangements were being made at a frantic pace for one of the most important wedding functions of all times.  All the family members had assembled at the Groom's camp to join the "Baaraat" and proceed to the Bride's place on the day fixed for the wedding. Responsibilities were distributed to all the key functionaries, according to their respective abilities and capacities. Everyone was present and extremely busy.  Only one person was missing......

Srinivasa was only one of his many names.  He had (and has) innumerable names among which Srinivasa, Venkatesha and Balaji are the more often used. He went to the forest on a hunting expedition.  By sheer coincidence, princess Padmavati also came to the forest with her sakhis (friends) to enjoy the scenery of the flowering season.  One wild elephant chose to rush in the direction of the princess and her friends.  They were all scared and all her friends ran away leaving her alone before the wild elephant.  Just at the right moment Srinivasa appeared and chased the elephant away. Since he was on a Bete (Bete meaning hunting) mission with a bow and arrows in his hands, he got one more name: Byataraya Swamy.  The elephant ran away leaving Srinivasa and Padmavathi alone in the forest. They had to see each other and naturally it was love at first sight.  Before the love could progress further, all those friends who had ran away came back and took away Padmavathi. Srinivasa came back to his hut, alone.  His mother Bakulavathi understood the situation. The seven celestial sages, Saptarshis, were assigned the task of mediating and finalising the other aspects for the marriage with King Akasharaya, Padmavathi's father. Only remaining issues were arrangements for the marriage and the wedding function.

Srinivasa was alone with his mother.  How to go about arrangements for the marriage?  It was no ordinary marriage; the bride was a King's daughter. Arrangements had to be in a scale befitting the status of the bride's family. Srinivasa summoned his eldest son, Lord Brahma.  Brahma was anointed as the "Chief of Groom's party", being the eldest of the family. At his command all the other office-bearers of the celestial arrangement faithfully presented themselves for duty as well as part-taking in the ceremony.  Finance was the biggest problem for making the arrangements.  Wealth (Goddess Lakshmi) had deserted Srinivasa and he did not have even a rupee or dime with him.  Brahma summoned Kubera, the richest among the group and Treasurer of the celestial family.  A Long Term Loan was arranged to meet the marriage expenses, though at a high rate of interest. Lord Brahma and the "Vatavruksha" (Big Banyan Tree) in the forest became witnesses to the loaning transaction.  Funds were not a problem now.

Brahma distributed the responsibilities for preparations equitably.  Fastest stenographer Ganesha was assigned to writing all the invitations.  His six-headed brother Shanmukha was given the task of distributing them and inviting the guests; he could fly on the peacock and invite six at a time using his six heads.  Varuna, Water Lord, was placed in-charge of supplying water. Fire Lord Agni was the chief cook so that there was no complaint of shortage of firewood or adequate heat for cooking.  Sun was advised to supply adequate lighting during daytime while Moon was to do the same during the nights.  Vayu, Lord of the Winds was tasked with ensuring proper ventilation, fans and fragrance.  The doctor twins, Aswinis were to take care of emergency medical aid in case anyone fell sick.  Yama, the merciless prison-keeper, was made head of the Disciplinary Committee.  Garuda, the fastest flier, was the chief of transportation. Indra, head of the Devas, took on himself the task of supervising all other arrangements.  Others too got assignments in tune with what they are good at. Srinivasa was satisfied with all the arrangements being made.  But he felt someone was missing........ 

Srinivasa realised that Hanuman was the one missing in the group.  "Where is Hanuman?", he thundered.  There was a lull and nobody answered.  Invitation committee was questioned.  Somebody sheepishly replied, "He has refused to come.  Says he cannot eat the red rice served to you!".  All others were anxious as to what would happen next. Srinivasa smiled.  "Handcuff him and bring him here.  Tell him not to worry about what I eat. He will get the finest white rice, excellent ghee and everything else that goes with them. The Baaraat cannot proceed without Hanuman!", he instructed.  His instructions were carried out immediately.  Hanuman was handcuffed and brought before him without loss of time. After arrival of Hanuman Baaraat moved and the wedding function continued.

Even today Hanuman stands before Lord Srinivasa in Tirumala-Tirupati, handcuffed. The idol in the small temple in front of the "Sanctum Sanctorum" Mahadwaram (Main door) on Sannidhi street is called "Bedi Anjaneya Swamy" (Hand-cuffed Anjaneya Swamy, as can be seen in the picture given above). Naivedyam (offerings to the Lord) is brought here after the ritual at the Lord's abode every day and placed before Hanuman.  

During the last two weeks, Lord Balaji's prasadam was given to me several times by devotees who made trips to Tirumala hills.  There cannot be any complaint about the quantity, quality or the number of times the prasad was given.  It is one of the most delicious prasadam one can ever get.  Whenever I get the prasadam, I ask a question: "Have you seen Bedi Anjaneya?".  Invariably the answer is "What is that?".  Bedi Anjaneya temple is right there in front of the main door of the Balaji temple.  Most people cross it and go to the main temple or pass through that when they return after the darshan.  But Bedi Anjaneya is mostly forgotten.  Fifty years ago, one would have the Darshan of Varaha Swamy and Bedi Anjaneya before going to the darshan of Balaji.  Today's fast trips have made it impossible to see other attractions around the main temple.  Waiting in the long queue has rendered other issues immaterial.  Varaha Swamy is known but not visited; Bedi Anjaneya is totally forgotten.

There is another popular story about the handcuffing of Anjaneya.  It is claimed that Anjaneya was born in one of the seven hills of Tirumala called Anjanagiri or Anjanadri.  (It is also claimed that he was born in several other places; Hampi in Karnataka, Trayambakeswar in Maharashtra as well as in the forests of Jarkhand). He was very mischievous as a child and often troubled the ascetics in the forests.  On their complaints, his mother Anjanadevi handcuffed him.  Another story claims that he was running away in search of a camel (camel in Tirumala Hills?) and to stop him she handcuffed him.  Lord Hanuman is the hero of many many such stories.

Anjaneya is highly revered and if one goes by belief, it is most unlikely that he ever refused to carry out the wishes of the Lord.  The stories above are only many ways of explaining how the Anjaneya statue in Tirumala is in the form of a handcuffed Hanuman. Nevertheless, Bedi Anjaneya is indeed a reality and can be seen even today in font of the main door of the Balaji temple.

Will you visit him at Tirumala when you go there next time?  Please do so before collecting the Laddu prasadam!  


  1. Very Interesting. Last time when I went with my sisters in the Karnataka tour Bus to Thirupathi Devasthana, first we were made to go and see the Varaha temple. I do not remember seeing the hand cuffed Lord Bedi Anjaneya. Thanks for telling about this famous story.

  2. This was not known. A good information. I will definitely take darshan of Lord Hanuman during my next visit. Thanks for the same.

  3. A well written and well illustrated tale on Anjaneya. Indian Mythology is replete with interesting tales, but your ability to identify and ferret them out from an enormous treasury, is a rare trait.

  4. You are a great story teller, I remember visiting Bedi anjaneya only once out of few visits to main temple. I didn't know this story. Thank you. But once I read story from your side never forget I narrate to others also.

  5. Unknown facet , brought out ! Very absorbing


  6. Very interesting..and wonderfully projected. Kudos to keshavamurthy sir for releasing very interesting short recitals ( I will not say short stories) for making us relaxed from our routine. Thanks a lot

  7. rare information. I am sure to look for this temple when i visit tirupathi next