There are many sevas,service to God,special offerings/Pooja conducted to Lord Balaji, Venkateswara of Thirupathi,the Abode of Lord Vishnu.
Of these sevas,there is a Seva called Arjitha Seva.
In Arjitha Seva,108 Golden Lotuses are offered to Lord Balaji after second Aarthi.
This procedure was not in practice till 1984.
A Muslim Sheikh Masthan whose native place was Guntur,reached Tirupati from Hyderabad where he was living by walk informed the TTD authorities that his family were ardent devotees of Lord Venkateswara and his ancestors used to worship Balaji Daily with Venkateswara Astotra and on Tuesdays and Saturdays with all these stotras and Mangalasasanam.
His ancestors had saved some golden Lotuses ,each weighing about 23 grammes
What was started by his grandfather was continued and he could complete 108.
He requested that the offering may be accepted.
So from 1984,this Seva was started to respect and honour the devotee.
‘This seva is conducted after the second bell. This ritual was first introduced in Srivari Temple in 1984 on the Golden Jubilee Year of TTD, when a Muslim Devotee offered Lord Srinivasa 108 gold lotuses.
The archaka commences the puja by offering dhupa(arti stick) and dipa(lit the lamp) to the main deity. Then he recites the divine names (108) of the Lord.
While uttering each name of the Lord, one golden lotus is offered at the holy feet of the lord. On completion of the archana to the Mula Virat, archana is offered to Goddesses Lakshmi and Padmavati. Later Ratha Harati is offered first, followed by ordinary Harati.
Sir my name is Sheikh Mastan.. Am a small merchant from the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.. For over several generations now my family members have been great devotees of Sri Venkateswara Swamy..
As a rule my entire family stands every morning in front of Sri Varu, and recites Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatam.. Without any mistakes we also recite Sri Venkateswara Sthotram, Srinivasa Prapatti and Mangala Sasanam.. On my own I can even recite Srinivasa Gadyam fully..
Sir, for many generations now, it is a sacred tradition in our family to perform ashtottara sata nama puja (a prayer during which time 108 holy names of Lord Venkateswara are recited) to Sri Varu in our house every Tuesday.
We perform this pooja with different varieties of flowers we are personally growing in our back yard.. We also place one flower each at the holy feet of Sri Varu every time we recite one of His 108 names during this sacred pooja.
But sir, several decades ago my paternal grand father had made a vow to himself that he would place 108 Golden Lotus Flowers at the holy Lotus feet of our Sri Varu for using them during a similar seva at the Tirumala Temple.
Since our financial resources were not substantial enough those days, my grand father could only procure a few Golden Lotuses in his lifetime.. Later, my father had procured a few more and finally I could finish the final count with my earnings and procure all the 108 Golden Lotus flowers.
Sir, it was with great difficulty we could acquire all these Golden flowers.. Each one of these flowers weighs about 23 grams..
I now request you all, with folded hands, to please accept these Golden Lotuses as a gift from our poor family to Sri Varu and make good use of them by placing them at His Lotus feet during the ashtottara sata nama pooja or any other Seva you think they are worth using..
Sir, if you can please consider our family’s request without rejection, our entire family would forever be thankful to you.. Even my grand father’s soul shall now rest in peace at His holy feet.. That’s all I have to convey you sir.. I now leave the decision entirely to you..”