Venkateswara, AFAIK, is a form of Lord Vishnu. And, Alwars a group of Tamil Vaishnavite saints.
But, the article, Sri Venkateswara on the Kamakotimandali.org, says that initially, the Alwars used to see Venkateswara as representing both Shiva and Vishnu.
The hill that grants eternal bliss is Venkatachala. Or, Vem refers to sin and kata, to destroy. That hill which destroys the sins is called Venkatadri. The lord of such a hill is called Venkatesha or Venkatadrisha. From time immemorial, the formless Brahman has been worshipped in his saguNa aspect as Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, Surya, Skanda and Ganapati. Followers of each of these forms claim their chosen deity to be superior over the rest, ignoring the lofty truth of the Upanishads, which proclaim that the Parabrahman is formless and that these murtis represent the saguNa aspect of the same Brahman.
Does Sri Venkatesha at Tirumala represent Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti or Subrahmanya? This question has been raised, answered and contested by several individuals and sects for several centuries now. Sri Venkatesha has been worshipped by Jains worshipped as Adimuleshwara, Vaishanavas as Srinivasa, Shaivas as Harishankara and Shaktas as Sri Bala Tripurasundari. There are enough reasons to associate this mUrti with Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu and Subrahmanya. I will not list the reasons why this mUrti is associated with Srimannarayana as these are already well known.
Association of Sri Venkateshwara with Lord Mahadeva and his parivAra:
- Early Azhwars [Vaishnavaite saints] praised Venkateshwara as a blend of Hari and Hara. In some of the older pasurams of Azhwars, the lord is said to have worn Chakra and Parashu, signifying Hari-Hara-Samaikya Murti But after the advent of Ramanujacharya, this practice was severely discouraged. By this time, Shaivaites called him Shiva and Vaishnavaites called him Vishnu. This becomes clear after one reads several shAsanas in the name of a local king called Thalalu Gosina Yadava Rayalu. He was a staunch devotee of Ramanuja who beheaded 101 Shaivas who claimed Venkatesha to be Shiva. For his staunch adherence to Sri Vaishnava philosophy, he was honored by Ramanuja with the title Sri Bhashya, to be named after him.
My question is if this is true then what is the proof of it? Which texts related to (or composed by) the Alwars prove this claim?