When we examine the puranic legends, we will notice the role played by sadgurus in uniting the devotee with God.
It may even be said that the seven sages (sapta rishis) have played a stellar role in this regard. A closer examination of Sri Kalahasthi Mahatmya reveals that Sage Vashishta, as guru to Sri Rama in Treta Yuga, has played an important part. It is also said that Sage Bharadwaja had visited Sri Kalahasthi temple and offered prayers. It is to be noted that the temple priests of today are the descendants of Sage Bharadwaja.
Likewise, legend has it that it was due to Sage Agastya that the river Ganges flowed here as ordained by Lord Siva.
We can say definitely that the deeds of the seven sages benefit Mankind – an example being the glory of Sri Kalahasthi.
We shall now know the importance of the River Suvarnamukhi. According to a sloka in Koorma puranam, the linga faces westward and the nearby Suvarnamukhi river flows to the north of Sri Kalahasthi temple. The sloka is as follows:
thasyaam chiva poojaartham
When the hermits of Bilwaka grove pleaded with Sage Agastya on lack of water, he brought river Akash Ganga to the earth. As ordained by Lord Siva, Akash Ganga flowed as Suvarnamukhi and sanctified the temple at Sri Kalahasthi.
suvamamukhari namanirvakti moolapuranam
suvarnamiva lokanaam bhaagadheyaviyannadi
agastyena bhuvam nitha mukharikrta dijnmakheti
There are two names to this river: Suvarnamukhi and Suvarnamukhi. There are two legends associated with these names. As one legend has it, the Himalayan mountain ranges underwent a slight shift, unable to bear the burden of the devas, of the dikpalakas, of Sri Vishnu and his consort Sri Lakshmi, of Goddess Saraswati and Lord Brahma, of Sri Devi, of Sri Bhudevi, and others who had. assembled at King Himavant’s palace to witness the grand spectacle of Parvati‘s wedding with Lord Siva. In panic, everyone rushed to Lord Siva for help. Lord Siva thereupon summoned Sage Agastya and directed him to stay in the Bilwaka grove in the south. Sage Agastya in reply regretted thus:”0 Lord! The grove does not have a perennial river. Before thee and Goddess Parvati grace Sri Kalahasthi, please arrange, with the help of Brahma, Akash Ganga to flow near the grove”. Lord Siva agreed to Sage Agastria’s request and asked Brahma to let Akash Ganga flow near the Bilwaka grove.
According to another legend, Lord Siva directed Sage Vashishta to proceed, along with Arundhati, to Sri Kalahasthi in the south. Sage Vashishta finding that there was no water in the vicinity undertook a penance invoking Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma approached Lord Siva and told Him about the cause of Sage Vasishta’s penance. Thereupon Lord Siva unlocked Ganga from his matted hair and allowed her to follow Brahma. Gangadevi sparkling in golden hue rushed to the place where Sage Vashishta lived. Thus, the river here got its name Suvarnamukhi. Lord Siva made his abode in the north as Viswanatha on the banks of river Ganga in Varanasi and in the south, as Sri Kalahastheeswara on the banks of river Suvarnamukhi.
There is a story associated with this river. According to this, a Chola king had asked the workers to bring sand from the Suvarnamukhi riverbed for the construction of the outer walls of the temple. The story has it that the workers received gold coins in direct proportion to the effort they put in.
It is indeed significant that this river is flowing near the sacred temple of Sri Kalahasthi known otherwise as Dakshin Kailash.
narmada sindhu kaveri
The purifying influence of the sacred water of river Suvarnamukhi has rendered Sri Kalahasthi as a great pilgrimage centre.
It is said in the Puranas that Lord Indra, king of devaloka (the celestial world), was liberated from Sage Gauthama’s curse by bathing in the river Suvarnamukhi.
As the riverbanks on either side are densely populated by screw pine bushes (termed ‘mogali’ in Telugu), the river is also known as ‘mogaleru’ and as the river is flowing near the temple of Sri Kalahasthi, it is also known as ‘Mogaleswara’ temple. Folklore has it that Nakkeera of yore cured himself of leprosy by bathing in this river.
We come to understand from all the legends and folklore that the Suvarnamukhi river is a sacred river, like the Ganges, and is remover of sins and purifies anyone bathing in it.
The importance of this, river can also be gauged from the social custom people practise of immersing the ashes of the deceased to liberate the souls of the ancestors.
The wise consider that the place where a temple is located on the banks of a river flowing in the northerly direction as sacred. Sri Kalahasthi temple dedicated to Lord Siva and his consort Jnanaprasoonambika situated on the banks of the Suvarnamukhi river flowing in the northerly direction is therefore regarded as very sacred.