India — Agama and Vedic pundits feel that the series of forest fires in Tirumala and Nallamala hills indicate bad omen and violation of religious code.
The week witnessed a major fire that threatened the Seshachalam forests abutting the Tirumala temple, and three forest fires near the Srisailam temple in Nallamala. The fires were put off after strenuous efforts but not before vast stretches of greenery were lost. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) had to close down the pedestrian pathways as a precautionary measure.
According to Ramana Deekshitulu, chief pontiff of, such incidents around temples is certainly bad omen. They indicate that the Lord is not happy. However, he maintained that since the fire neither originated from the temple nor struck the temple premises, there was no need to perform any rituals. tnn”But it needs serious corrective measures,” he added.
Deekshitulu cited the example of frequent fire accidents around the temple area about 600 years ago when idols of Lord Ugra Narasimha Murthy used to be taken out in procession in Mada streets. There is a belief that the Lord himself indicated to the priests not to take the idols in procession as some rituals were not properly performed. Since then, the idols were replaced by those of Lord Malayappa Swami. The takes Lord Ugra Narasimha Murthy idols in a procession only once a year during November on the auspicious Ekadasi before the sunrise.
Vaikhanasa Agama followed by pronounces that if the fire occurs within the temple premises, kitchen, Yagasaala, or during any auspicious celebrations, the temple should perform ‘shuddi’ (cleansing). The faced an awkward situation with two fire accidents in less than a span of three days in April last year. While the first incident occurred inside the temple kitchen, the second one broke out at Matrusri Tarigonda Vengamamba Annaprasadam complex, situated less than a furlong away from the main temple complex.
Joining the issue, Swami Swarupananda Saraswathi of Sarada Peetham in Visakhapatnam said there could be conspiracy of red sanders smugglers behind the forest fires. “Even by Agama shastra, it is not at all a good omen. Let them come with some corrective measures in their rituals as well,” he told TOI. Agama pundits on condition of anonymity said rituals at Tirumala are being shortened, and altered for VIPs. Rituals are completed in a hurry at. “This is a sin,” they said.