TIRUPATI BALAJI WAS A BUDDHIST SHRINE
by Dr. K. Jamanadas
Lord Venkatesvara, the presiding deity on the famous Tirumalai Hills, popularly known as Balaji of Tirupati is an important Vaishnava Shrine of South India. The nature of Lord Venkatesvara has always been a matter of dispute for centuries. Some consider Him as Vishnu, some as Siva, some as Sakti, some as Skanda and some as Harihara. In fact, it was an old Buddhist Shrine, murthi itself being Buddhist; and it was taken over for Brahmanic worship during the general decline of Buddhism. He was a god of Tribal Buddhists and was vaishnavised by the saints, and later sanskritised and brahmanised by pundits to His present form. The weapons on Him are not original but provided at a later date. How this was brought about is explained with all historical and archeological evidences. Cults of Vitthala of Pandharpur, Jagannatha of Puri, Ayyappa on Sabarimala etc., which were originally Buddhist are discussed and many other Buddhist shrines which were hinduised are described and the history of India in general, and South India in particular, from seventh to tenth century, during the period of fall of Buddhism and rise of Brahmanic Tirupati, is traced.
Author, Dr. K. Jamanadas, F.R.C.S. Ed., a surgeon by profession, is an active worker in Ambedkarite movement and a follower of Phule and Periyar. He is a graduate in "Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archeology" from Nagpur University, and is well known for his in-depth study of Ambedkarism. He was a co-opted expert member on the Board of Studies in History of Nagpur University for two terms of three years each. His new book "Decline and fall of Buddhism - a tragedy in Ancient India" is published as an E-Book on www.ambedkar.org , so was his translation of L.K.Madavi's prize winning book "Patana".