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As I discuss in this question, the book "Venkatachala - Its Glory" is a translation of the Sthala Purana (temple scripture) of the famous Tirupati temple, and this temple scripture consists of excerpts from various Puranas that discusss the story of Venkateshwara (the Vishnu deity in Tirupati, AKA Balaji or Srinivasa).

In any case, the Sthala Purana describes the wedding of Vishnu and Padmavathi in great detail. The wedding is officiated by the god Brahma, and before the wedding begins Brahma asks Vishnu to worship his "family deity." This excerpt describes Vishnu's response:

"Our family deity is the sacred Sami tree" said Srinivasa. Agastya located the tree. The bridegroom went round it praising it. He then offered worship to his family goddess.... In a golden vessel, filled with pearls and covered by a costly cloth, the family goddess was offered worship and consecrated near Lord Varaha. Srinivasa was conducting himself as an ordinary human being!

My question is, why does Vishnu say that his family deity is the Sami tree? I know about the holiness of the Tulasi plant for Vishnu, but I hadn't heard that the Sami tree was sacred for him. And in any case, I'm not sure what it would mean for Vishnu to have a "family deity".

Also, does anyone know what actual Purana this passage from the Sthala Purana of Tirupati is taken from?

  • Since this question is specific to Balaji, it would be clearer if the question specified Venkateshwara, rather than simply Vishnu. – Valarauko Jul 11 '14 at 7:51
  • i am interested to know if you have found any more info on this. As for: "What it would mean for Vishnu to have a'family deity'". Perhaps that last line 'Srinivasa was conducting himself as an ordinary human being!' says it all. Perhaps He was showing that we should all pay our reverence to our family deity, because when God came down to Earth, even He paid His reverence to His family deity. – Sai Sep 8 '14 at 18:18
  • @Sai Yeah, I understand that Vishnu is behaving the way a human would behave, in terms of worshipping his family deity and family goddess before a wedding. I'm just not sure how he would choose a family deity, because it's not like he belongs to some family that worships some deity. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 8 '14 at 18:31
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    @Sai And no, I'm still looking for more information. By the way, this isn't the only odd answer like this that Vishnu gives; when he's asked by Padmavathi's friends what dynasty he belongs to, he says the solar dynasty, because Rama is a descendant of Surya: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/485/36 And in the marriage ceremony he's asked who his parents are, and the answer given is Vasudeva and Devaki, Krishna's parents. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 8 '14 at 18:39
  • @KeshavSrinivasan According to Telugu folklore, Lord Rama worshiped "Shami Tree (Jammi chettu in Telugu)". Shami Tree represents "Aparajitha Devi". Aparajitha means undefeated. This might be the reason that tree was sacred for Venkateswara. – The Destroyer Jan 2 '16 at 16:53

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