The door-sill present in front of the Lord in Tirumala is called as Kulasekhara Padi. Because a great personality by name Kulasekhara Alvar transformed into a sill and keeps looking at Lord always. Today we shall talk about the history of that great person and also see how he got that boon of becoming a sill in front of Lord.
This Alwar was born with the Amsha of Lord’s Kasuthuba stone. He was a king born in Travancore family in Kerala. Since childhood he has lot of devotion to Lord Rama and he was equally valorous. He established kingdom starting from Kerala till Chola nadu. Also he re-established all Vaishnava temples that were in a state of repair. He ruled kingdom just like Rama rajyam, because he was very fond of Rama. People used to live very happily.
But he has one weakness which is Puranam. We might wonder “How is Puranam a weakness?” In his case the weakness is at extreme. Daily he used to call pandits to tell Ramayanam. Even though he listened some 100s of times, he used to be always fond of it and get immersed in hearing Ramayanam. Once, when pandit was telling about Janasthan from the Aranya kanda of Ramayan where many demon soldiers led by Kara, Dushan etc.. come at once to attack Rama. Rama single-handedly killed 1000s of demons in a less time. We all know this story. While pandit was narrating that story, Kulasekhar Alwar raised at once picking up a sword. His mind goes deep into Puranam.He started saying, “Oh, my dear Lord Rama. My Rama is so young. How dare so many demons come at once and throw weapons upon him. What would happen to my little Rama..” Saying this he started going with the sword. People were not understanding what’s going on with him. They tried to stop him, but he didn’t listen. Then the Pandit understood the matter that he got involved in the story. So he said, “Dear king, please stop. Just now we got a news that Rama killed Kara, Dushana and their army. He went back to Ashram.” Then he stopped, threw sword aside and said, “My goodness, if not for Rama who else could kill them? Nice thing happened to those demons”. Saying this he came back.
Like this, he used to get immersed. We usually get house or something else in mind while listening to puranam. That’s why we become employers and finally get retired from jobs. Those who listen puranam like Kulasekhar Alwar would become a sill near Lord. That is the purpose of life.
From then on wards pandit would not narrate episodes where there are troubles to Rama and Sita, because Kulasekhara would get emotional. Once the pandit who used to narrate puranam went to another place. So his son came to narrate on that day. He doesn’t know the weakness of Kulasekhar. He started narrating episode of Ravana kidnapping Sita. He said, “Mother Sita was crying and Ravana was taking her to Lanka over the sea.”
Kulasekhar immediately got angry, stood up, picked up sword and started going on a horse into the ocean saying, “He was going over the same ocean present here. Let’s all go.” He was not listening even though people shouted at him “Please stop, stop..” and was going into the ocean upon horse. Then people said, “Only Lord Rama should save this mad king.”
Then Lord Rama’s heart melted and sympathized, “How much foolish is he.. How much devotion he has..” Immediately He appeared along with Mother Sita in the sky. Rama said, “Dear Kulasekhara, please stop. Ravana was killed. I brought back Sita also. Look, Your Mother Sita is right beside Me.”
Then Kulasekhara said, “Thank goodness. If not for you, who else could kill Ravana? Moreover you incarnated as Rama just for that purpose. I am happy to see Mother Sita with you”. Saying this he calmed down.
Lord Rama said, “Dear son, what is this devotion? Seeing this, everyone is calling you a madman. I am feeling pained to hear that.”
“You were entering into the ocean riding on a horse just like that and people were calling you mad. Would We not feel hurt as your parents when people criticize you?”
Then Kulasekhara Alwar replied, “Dear Lord, those who run after material things are all mad in my view.”
“And I (who run after You )am mad in their view. I don’t care about those.”
He replied so amazingly.
At certain age, he gets so detached from kingdom and other things. We can understand that those who have a lot of hankering for God will lose interest in jobs and other things. At that time we feel, “Oh God, when will we get retired? Why should retirement be at 60.. It would be nice to retire at 45 or 50 and spend time remembering God. Why do we need these headaches of office, phone calls etc..” Kulasekhara also became so attached to God that he was deciding to leave kingdom and go to Sri Rangam. Then ministers etc.. in his kingdom wanted to stop him. They brought Vaishnavas and tried to associate him with them. They told Vaishnavas to keep telling Kulasekhara about things related to God. Kulasekhara used to listen with rapture.
Gradually the kingdom has come under the grip of Vaishnavas. They were acting as per their own accord without any punctuality. Ministers were afraid that only Vaishnavas might prevail in their kingdom. They wanted to turn Kulasekhara towards kingdom and send out Vaishnavas. They created a drama for this. Kulasekhara used to have Lord Rama’s deities. They stole the jewels used for decoration of deities and made it look like some devotees or priests visiting Kulasekhara had stolen it. They cleverly created this false evidence. Finally it came to a situation where only devotees would lose and face punishment, no matter what the king do.
Then Kulasekhara became so pained and decided that he has to prove the innocence of devotees. He ordered to bring a pot and place poisonous snakes inside it. They did so. They covered the pot with a cloth. Kulasekhara said, “Now I am going to place my hand inside the pot. If Vaishnavas are really guilty, these snakes would bite me, in which case I would suffer punishment on their behalf. Else they would not bite me, in which case you (ministers) have to place your hands in it.” Saying this he placed his hand inside the pot.
Kulasekhara is under the shelter of that Lord who lies down on AdiSesha. What would these snakes do to him? Nothing happened to him. He then told ministers to place their hands in it. They got scared and fell at his feet seeking forgiveness. Then he felt, “It’s disgusting to doubt Vaishnavas and insult them for the sake of kingdom. I don’t want this kingdom anymore.” He decided to leave and enthroned his son leaving kingdom to him.
Then he left to Sri Rangam along with his daughter. He offered all the money he earned so far to Lord Ranganatha as dowry and got her daughter married to the Lord. His daughter’s name was Chera Kulavalli.
The Garbhalayam (Sanctum Sanctorum) In Sri Rangam is called Vimanam. Just like Tirumala, Sri Rangam secrets also would bring goose bumps to us. They are so amazing. The place where we stand and take darshan of the Lord is called second prakaram. If you see in the North-East side you would see Chera Kulavalli temple there. That Ammavaru is Kulasekhara Alwar’s daughter who married Ranganatha Swami. They built a temple in the place where she married Lord.
As Kulasekhara dedicated his whole life to the Lord, at the end Lord appeared to him in the form of Venkateswara Swamy. Lord told him to ask for a boon as he dedicated his whole life to Him.
Then Kulasekhara asked for an amazing boon.
“Sopaana Bhuuta Sthitvaaham Venkatesa Tvadaalaye..”
“Sandarshe Tvan Mukhaambhojam Pravaala Sadrushaadharam”
“Dear Lord, please bless me with the fortune of becoming a door-sill in front of you in Your Garbhalayam.”
“I shall spend as many life times as destined, just by lying there and looking at Your lotus face and lips that are like jewel”
Then Lord became very pleased and blessed him “Thathastu (So be it)”.
Like this he became a door-sill in Tirumala. Also the door-sill in Sri Rangam is also called Kulasekhara Padi. In those two places, Kulasekhara Alwar was present in the form of door-sills. That’s why we should never place foot on door-sills in temples. We don’t know which great personality is present in which door-sill.
If you ever go to Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple in Kerala there is a Kulasekhara mantapam (pavilion). Please do see it. There are musical pillars in that Mantapam. Just like in Hampi, mantapam in Padmanabha Swami temple also has musical pillars and that mantapam is called Kulasekhara mantapam. In that mantapam (pavilion), Ramayana is carved on the pillars. Sitting there, Kulasekhara Alwar had written amazing Pasurams.
Most importantly he wrote Mukunda Mala stotram, an amazing poem that has 40 slokas.While the Literature of all other Alwars is in Tamil, only Kulasekhara Alwar wrote Mukunda mala in sanskrit. All the 40 slokas are amazing ones. We should definitely make our children read these. Anyway engineering, medicine etc.. related will be taught in the school. If you make them read these, in future they would go in the path where they have to go and finally would become personalities like Kulasekhara Alwar.