Lord. Narasimha in the Tirumala Temple:

We shall now relate the history of Sri Narasimha enshrined in the .temple of Srinivasa at Tirumala. The Swarnamukhi Mahatmya portion of the `Skanda Purana’ mentions that Sankara performed penance and worshipped Sri Narasimha with great devotion on the western bank of Swami Pushkarini. The Vamana Purana states that Neelakanta (Siva) stayed for some time with ParVati on the banks of Swami Pushkarini meditating on Narasimha with intense devotion. The compilation of 108 names of Srinivasa constitution chapter 19, section 1 of Varaha Purana contains the name “Narasimha worshipped by the god Neelakanta” among the names of Srinivasa. This Narasiinha, the object of devotion of Siva was housed in a temple on the western side of Swami Pushkarini ac­cording to the Vaikhanasa agama. The Saivas at one time claimed that they should have a shrine for Siva near that of Narasimha because the latter was the object of the former’s devotion. The Vaishnavas of those days went to the king’s court and represented that since the Tiruvenkata hill was reputed to have been brought from Sri Vaikunta down to the earth, it is the place of the supreme who is truly `aprakrita’ (not constituted of the five elements fire, air, earth, water and akasa as are the lower gods like Siva) and establishing gods, other than Vishnu here would be highly improper. All Puranas which relate the Venkatachala Mahatyam particularly mention this With great difficulty they convinced the king in this matter and thwarted the efforts of the Saivas.

The Vaishnavas then discussed the matter among themselyes, “This Lord Narasimha is without Lakshmi and His fierce aspects shine unabated. He is also source of trouble from the Saivas. We cannot continue to per­form pujas very regularly in this corrupting kali age. But any deficiency in the puja may result in increase in the anger in His fierce eyes and result in a good deal of harm to the township. The best solution seems to be to stop all pujas to this icon so that all divinity would vanish. Ramanuja, coming to know of all this, thought thus: “This Narasimha is reputed Puranic icon. He is honoured by mention by Tirumangai Alwar as the “Lion of Tiruvenkata” (Peria Tirumoli 7-3-5). He is mentioned among the 108 archana names of Srinivasa as “Narasimha worshipped by the god Neelakanta”. This last suggests that this Narasimha is similar to one of the fivefold aspects (Dhruva, Kautuka etc.) of Srinivasa. Keeping this Narasimha without puja — worship would hamper the long-term growth of this place. His being housed in a separate temple to the west of Swami Pushkarini gives scope to the Saivas to claim a shrine for Siva. If this Narasitnha is housed within the temple of Srinivasa his fierceness would abate slowly and He would not be the cause of any harm to this place.” He then decided to shift the Narasimha icon from the temple north of Swami Pushkarini to a shrine to the North east of Anandha Vimana and establish Him facing the Vimana. He also had in mind the belief that where Narasimha is being wor­shipped there will be no trouble from enemies. He or-. dered that daily pujas as ordained in the agamas be done to this Narasimha inside the Venkateswara temple.

The Midway Narasimha:

Midway on the route from the foot to Tirumala there is a temple of Sri Narasimha. It is mentioned in the sec­ond chapter of Sri Markandeya Purana that sage Markandeya while getting up the Venkata hill found a cave in which Lord Lakshminarasimha was enshrined. The sage worshipped the Lord with the words: “0 Lord Lakshmi narasimha who showered grace on Prahlada! God of gods! Blissful one! 0 Madhusudhana! Protect this servant of your devotees.” Then he proceeded up the hill with Sudhan, a disciple of sage Agastya, who accompanied him. Sri Ramanuja, honouring this account in Markandeya Purana that the sage went to Swami Pushkarini only af­ter worshipping Sri Narasimha on the way, ordered that a temple be built to Sri Lakshminarasimha and arranged for the daily pujas for the deity.