The wake-full Tamarind and the Shenbaga Trees:

We will now relate the stories of the two trees as­sociated with the temple. Chapter 9, Section 2 of the Varaha Purana mentions that Rangadasa saw an image of Vishnu (Hari) tall, beautiful, with lotus-like eyes and a dark golden hue under the tamarind tree near the banks of the Swami Pushkarini. There is also mention of a hunter-chief going with emperor Thondaman who after a ceremonial bath in the Swami Pushkarini seeing Srinivasa, the God of gods under the tamarind tree, showed Him to the king. Chapter 7 of the Padma Purana contains an account of how Rangadasa the flower-gar­dener and the noble Vaikhanasa-brahmin priest Gopinatha searched for the Lord on the holy Venkata hill. They ap­proached the Pushkarini and having a ceremonial bath in the sacred tirta, found Sri Janardana who appeared be­fore them under the tamarind tree. They lifted out the image hidden partly under an ant-hill and established the same on the western side.

Chapter 3 of `Bhavishyothara Puranam’ carries this account: Bhagavan Hari, while. He was looking for a place to hide himself perceived a harmless ant-hill un­der a tamarind tree on the southern side of Swami Pushkarini. He considered the place best suited to the purpose he had in mind. When Srinivasa was partly show­ing Himself out, Rangadasa who had a dream of Srinivasa hiding under a tamarind tree on Tirumala, met Vaikhanasa priest Gopinatha from the southern districts, told him of his dream and went with him to Tirumala. They had a darsan of the Lord and proposed to build a temple and raise a flower garden there. They were wonder-struck by the huge tamarind tree with ripe fruits on some branches and flowers and buds on others. This tree was ever wake­ful (the leaves did not close on each other as is usu­ally the case with such trees) and was protecting the Lord from the sun, rain and dust. Rangadasa and Gopinadha thought the tree should be an incarnation of one of the everwakeful nityasuris (of Paramapada) or more par­ticularly Adisesha who was engaged in intimate services to the Lord. Southwest to the tamarind tree they found a similar shenbaga tree and they considered this also to be the incarnation of some divine being.

While they were wondering how they could raise a temple and a flower garden without felling the many trees in that locality the Lord commanded them “The tamarind tree is my residence and the shenbaga tree is the residence of Sri. Spare these two trees. Remove all other trees and shrubs and build a temple and raise a gar­den.”

Chapter 9 of Section 2 of the Varaha Purana states that Rangadasa left the tamarind tree, the place of Srinivasa and the Shenbaga tree, the place of Lakshmi, both trees venerated by the gods and raised stone walls around the image of the Lord and constructed a room of wooden planks as the sanctum of the Lord. He raised a flower garden outside the stone walls.

The Chapter 10, there is mention of king Thondaman offering milk bath to the Lord as per the Lord’s com­mand. When he started building outer walls to fortify the temple, the Lord commanded him, “The tamarind tree, sacred to me and the shenbaga tree, dear to Lakshmi are fit to be worshipped by the devas. Protect them. You may fell other trees.”

Since it is stated in the Puranas that two trees are fit to be venerated by the gods and since they were known to adjust themselves in accordance with the wishes of devotees of Srinivasa. Sri Ramanuja ordered that they be duly established near the northern and southern sides of the flag mast (dwajastamba) and that they be offered daily puja. (These two trees are no longer to be found in or near the temple. Descriptions of the Tirumala temple some centuries back do- mention these trees be­ing venerated).