It is time time to think of  Lord  Tirupati Timmappa, once again.

Did you ever wonder how the temple became so rich?

Tirupati temple

Tirupati temple

Tirupati, no doubt is the richest temple. We all know the story of Srinivasa repaying the money he borrowed, with interest to Kubera. But how on earth did the temple get so rich?

A comment on my previous post made me look for the words for a song of Kanaka Dasa (1509 AD- 1609 AD, as per Wikipedia). Kanaka Dasa is one of the very prominent dAsas in the haridasa tradition of Karnataka.

I had heard about this song before, but never heard anyone sing it. As always, Sri Lakshman provided the lyric in an instant!

If Purandara Dasa praised Tirupati Timmappa for selling dOse, and rice dishes, here is Kanaka Dasa is turning it into a complaint! Kanaka Dasa  gives a much longer list, and criticizes the business🙂 practices followed by his lord!

ಬಂದೆವಯ್ಯಾ ಗೋವಿಂದಶೆಟ್ಟಿ

ಬಂದೆವಯ್ಯಾ ಗೋವಿಂದಶೆಟ್ಟಿ!

ಇಂದು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಹರಿವಾಣ ಪ್ರಸಾದವುಂಟೆನಲಾಗಿ|| ಬಂದೆವಯ್ಯ ಗೋವಿಂದ ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ||

ಅಪ್ಪಾಲು ಅತಿರಸ ತುಪ್ಪ ಕಜ್ಜಾಯವು ಒಪ್ಪುವ ಯಾಲಕ್ಕಿ ಶುಂಠಿ ಮೆಣಸು
ಅಪರೂಪವಾದ ಕಜ್ಜಾಯ ರಾಶಿಗಳ ಛಪ್ಪನ್ನದೇಶಕ್ಕೆ ಮಾರುವ ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ||ಬಂದೆವಯ್ಯ ಗೋವಿಂದಶೆಟ್ಟಿ||

ಒಡೆದ ಮಡಕೆಯೆನ್ನು ಬಿಡದೆ ನಾಮವ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಡುವೆ ನೀ ಕಾಸಿಗೆ ಒಂದೊಂದನು
ಒಡಲು ತುಂಬಿ ಮಿಕ್ಕ ಅನ್ನವ ಮಾರಿಸಿ ಒಡವೆಯ ಗಳಿಸುವ ಕಡುಲೋಭಿ ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ||ಬಂದೆವಯ್ಯ ಗೋವಿಂದಶೆಟ್ಟಿ||

ಶೇಷಗಿರಿಯಮೇಲೆ ಇಪ್ಪ ತಿಮ್ಮಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ದೇಶಕೆ ಪ್ರಸಾದವ ನಡೆಸುವ ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ
ಆಶೆಯಿಂದ ಹಣಕಾಸು ಗಳಿಸುವ ಆದಿಕೇಶವ ನಾರಾಯಣನೆಂಬ ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ||ಬಂದೆವಯ್ಯ ಗೋವಿಂದಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ||

For those, who can’t read Kannada script, here it is transliterated into dEvanAgari:

बंदॆवय्या गोविंदशॆट्टि*!

इंदु निम्म हरिवाण प्रसादवुंटॆनलागि  ॥ बंदॆवय्य गोविंद शॆट्टि ॥

आ पालु अतिरस तुप्प कज्जायवु ऒप्पुव यालक्कि शुंठि मॆणसु
अपरूपवाद कज्जाय राशिगळ छप्पन्नदेशक्कॆ मारुव शॆट्टि     ॥बंदॆवय्य गोविंदशॆट्टि॥

ऒडॆद मडकॆयॆन्नु इडदॆ नामव माडि कॊडुवॆ नी कासिगॆ ऒंदॊंदनु
ऒडलु तुंबि मिक्क अन्नव मारिसि ऒडवॆय गळिसुव कडुलोभि शॆट्टि   ॥बंदॆवय्य गोविंदशॆट्टि॥

शेषगिरियमेलॆ इप्प तिम्मशॆट्टि देशकॆ प्रसादव नडसुव शॆट्टि
आशॆयिंद हणकासु गळिसुव आदिकेशव नारायणनॆंब शॆट्टि   ॥बंदॆवय्य गोविंदशॆट्टि ॥

(Click here to listen to this song. There are some minor changes in the text between this version, and what is posted on this page.)

Shetty – This Kannada word is derived from the samskrita word ‘shrEShTi’ , generally refers to a  merchant/trader.

Kanaka Dasa calls Tirupati Timmappa as Govinda Shetty. Why?

Here is a loose translation of the devaranaama:


We have come here, Oh  Govinda Shetty!

Anupallavi: Hearing that there is a plate full of offerings today || we have come here , oh Govinda Shetty||

charaNa 1:

You are the miser merchant selling  everything from heaps of atirasas made of milk, kajjaayas made of ghee  to spices like cardamoms, ginger and pepper all around in  all  fiftysix countries! Oh Govinda Shetty, here we come!

charaNa 2:

You don’t even throw broken pots, but turn them into ‘nAma’s (colored sticks) , and sell each piece for a ‘kAsu’ (a denomination of money).  When your stomach is full, you don’t hesitate to sell the leftovers for buying some more jewellery! Here we come, Oh Govinda Shetty!


Oh Timmappa Shetty, you reside in Sheshagiri (which is another name of Tirumala hill)  and grace this country. You are none other than Adikeshava Narayana, the great trader whose only desire is to earn money! Govinda Shetty, Here we come!

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about commercialization of temples🙂 from this song, several centuries old.