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The meaning of the name Venkateswara

The name Venkata is exclusively used to refer to Balaji. It is not used for any other deity. There are two different meaning for Ventaka in Sanskrit – the first is ‘destroyer of sins.’ It is said that Brahma promised Vishnu that whoever visits the Tirumala hills will redeem their sins. Thus the Seshadri hill on which Venkateswara sits came to be known as Venkata and Vishnu came to be known as Venkateswara. This meaning of Venkata is based on the use of the term found in the Brahmanda Purana and Bhavishyottara Purana.

Another meaning of Venkata is ‘giver of worldly wealth.’ This meaning is found in the Vayu Purana. Scholars are of view that this meaning relates to one of the qualities of Venkateswara.

The earliest reference of the term Venkatam is found in Tamil Grammar Text, Tholkaappiyam, which is believed to have been written around 200 B.C. The meaning of the term here is ‘burning debts’ – ‘Ven’ means burning and ‘kadan’ means debt. This meaning relates to the debt that Venkateswara took from Kubera.

Some scholars suggest that ‘Kadam’ means mountain slope and suggests to the frequent forest fires that used to engulf the hills.