SHRI KSHETRA SRIKALAHASTI The miracles of Sri Kalahastheeswara

(a) How Sri Rama was saved
(b) How Sabaris, the hunter-tribe, were protected
(c) How Vijay attained Mukti
(d) The tale of Niladevi
(e) The story of Subhaga
(0 How Chandra (the moon) was saved from waning
(g) How the sins of Surya (the sun) were absolved
(h) How the sins of Sudarshana (the Chakra) were absolved
(i) How Sri Lakshmi came to worship the Lord
(ii) The story of Nandisailavasa
(iii) How a dumb person was absolved of his sins
(iv) How the Lord came to be served by Padmasena and Rajendra
(v) The tale of Chakradhara
(vi) The story of Varanu
(vii) How the Lord was worshipped by Govinda
(viii) How the Lord came to have Brahmapuram and Vishnunagaram as His abode
In the following, accounts of the sixteen episodes bringing out the miracles of Sri Kalahastheeswara will be given:
(a) How Sri Rama was saved
This legend, of the travails faced by Sri Rama, the embodiment of righteous conduct, is based .on Pampapura. As Sri Rama, deeply saddened by Sitadevi’s abduction, was wandering in the forests in search of her, he met Sage Agasthya. The Sage instructed Sri Rama to observe Viraja diksha (vow) wherein the ‘rajas’ tendency is curbed for a period of four months. Sri Rama became anxious about demons attempting, in various guises, to prevent him from observing the vow.
Later, Sri Rama, along with Sitadevi and his brother Lakshmana, began to observe the diksha and worship a Siva linga that he installed on the banks of the sacred Godavari river. Some time later, he heard a very loud sound and was shaken by it. When he looked in the direction from where the sound emanated, he saw a blinding light. Overcoming anger at not being able to see what caused the sound, he prepared himself and readied his bow. We shall see how Lord Siva restrained Sri Rama from taking any drastic action.
Appearing before Sri Rama, Lord Siva addressed him thus, “O Rama! Your righteous conduct under all circumstances shall help guide the people on the earth for centuries to come. You shall establish righteousness in the social fabric of people’s lives enabling them to follow the various injunctions duly. Proceed to Dakshin Kailash and atop Mt. Vidyasailam, undertake a penance on my son Kumaraswamy”. So saying, Lord Siva guided Sri Rama to the proper course of action.

(b) How Sabaris, the hunter-tribe, were protected
Hunter tribes live in jungles and hunt for their living. Lord Siva protects them from the fear of birth and death. In certain instances, the Lord has even liberated some of them.
One day, the tribals were gathered in a mandir (shrine) and deeply engrossed in the worship of the Lord. Some people, jealous of the piety of these tribals, became hostile. Just then, a loud sound was heard. Ignorant as they were, the tribals, fearing that the shrine would collapse ran helter and skelter. The Lord appeared before them and on seeing the Lord, the tribals began chanting the Lord’s name whereupon the Lord assuaged their fears and gave protection.
(c) How Vijay attained Mukti
Long ago, a good Brahmin named Vijay was living close to Sri Kalahasthi. He had qualities of an ascetic. He decided to devote all his time on worshipping the Lord. He obtained permission from his young wife to keep a distance from her. He built a small hut close to the temple of Sri Kalahasthi and had a small garden around it. He meditated upon the Lord with single- minded devotion.
His undivided attention to the Lord, with the Lord’s name, Namasivaya, constantly on his lips, his innate ascetic nature all earned him the name Vijay (Victor). Pleased with Vijay’s bhakti, the Lord appeared before him, praised him for his devotion and granted him liberation.
The legend has it that he was liberated on a full moon day in the month of Sraavan.
We understand from the legend that worshipping Sri Kalahastheeswara will remove our attachments and bondage to worldly desires.
(d) The tale of Niladevi
Nila, a Brahmin woman, once insulted a hundred hermits who were observing a vow. As a consequence, she was wandering as a wretched soul. According to the legend, in her wanderings she met Sage Agastya and on the Sage’s instructions prayed to Bhairava (a lower form of manifestation of Lord Siva) and attained mukti.
It is said that as she was wandering as a consequence of a curse, Sage Agasthya having mercy on her taught her the Sammohana Bhairava mantra. The Puranas say that she transformed to a saatwic natured person, meditated on this mantra with great devotion and attained mukti.
The puranas also mention that a dialogue took place between Niladevi and Bhairava. Bhairava addressed Niladevi thus, “Your chanting of this mantra will cause my stay her. I shall subject you to great sufferings for a period. If you can, with unwavering mind, meditate and chant prayers on Lord Siva, the Lord will have mercy on you and grant you liberation.”
We know from legends that people who give up their lives at Varanasi are taught the Taraka mantra by Viswanatha and granted liberation. The devotees of Lord Siva may note from Niladevi’s life that meditation on Bhairava mantra led her to be liberated.
(e) The story of Subhaga
Subhaga was a Brahmin woman who lived in the vicinity of Sri Kalahasthi temple. She was endowed with great beauty, good qualities and was chaste. She got married, at an auspicious time, to a good youth. However, the person was a great Siva bhakta and, was constantly thinking of Lord Siva, and knew no other worldly pursuits. She was totally dedicated to her husband and desired nothing else. As time went by, noticing her husband’s attitude, she decided that she too would worship Lord Siva. Accordingly, she applied the sacred ash on her body, wore rudraksha mala, and began a penance. Sri Kalahastheeswara, pleased with her devotion, granted her mukti. Subhaga Shobha Bhajana came to be an epithet of Sri Kalahastheeswara following this episode.
(f) How Chandra (the moon) was saved from waning
Chandra, the moon, is the second of the nine heavenly bodies and adorns, like a flower, the matted locks of Lord Siva. The legends associated with Chandra can be found in Matsyapurana, Varahapurana and Markendeyapurana.
According to Matsyapurana, once Maharishi Atri (one of the seven rishis) was ordained by Brahma, the creator, to perform the act of creation. Soon, a brilliant light emanated from the eyes of Maharishi Atri and spread in various directions. Lord Brahma gathered this light to one spot and transformed it into a human form. Acceding to the prayers of the devas, Brahma named the human being Soma.
It is said that Chandra is the left eye of Lord Vishnu. Due to the curse of Daksha, Chandra disappeared.
Due to the absence of Chandra, crops failed on .earth, rains failed medicinal herbs, plants and trees did not grow, Yajnas were not performed regularly, and the supply of food to devas was reduced. The devas appro .ched Brahma and pleaded with him to have Chandra back.
According to Varahapurana, Chandra was brought back from the churning of the milky ocean by devas and asura‘s.
The legend in Markandeyapurana goes like this: Chandra went along with others to witness Daksha’s yajna. When Lord Siva went about destroying Daksha’s yajna with his foot, Chandra too was crushed. Chandra prayed to Lord Siva who having mercy on him made him an ornament on his matted locks.
The story goes that Chandra singled out only Rohini for his affection and love, among his 27 wives (daughters of Daksha) and neglected the rest. The daughters of Daksha were upset and sought Daksha’s help. Daksha cursed Chandra, whereupon Chandra prayed to Lord Siva to be liberated from Daksha’s curse.
Daksha, in anger, tried confronting Siva whereupon Vishnu intervened and established a truce. Accordingly, Brahma divided Chandra into two, one part that does not wax or wane and the other part that is subject to waxing and waning. The unchanging part adorns Siva’s matted locks. The waxing and waning part was given to Daksha’s daughters. Thus, it is said that Siva helped prevent the perishing of Chandra.
(g) How the sins of Surya (the sun) were absolved
Surya was born of Aditi and Kashyap. The daughter of Viswakarma, Sunjna, is Surya’s wife. Sraaddhadeva was born to them. Sunjna gave birth to Yama, who had control of the senses, and Yamuna. Sunjna, unable to withstand the effulgence of Surya, had Chaaya take her place while she left for the Kuru kingdom in the east taking the form of a white female horse. Chaaya gave Surya two sons, Sanischarya and Saavarni, and a daughter Tapati. When Yama alleged step-motherly treatment from Chaaya, Surya coming to know of the whereabouts of Sunjna took the form of a white male horse and met Sunjna. There, Sunjna gave birth to the sons Aswani.
Later, Surya approached Brahma and requested him to reduce his brightness. Viswakarma thereupon removed some portions of Surya – a part which became Vishnu’s chakra, a part which became Siva’s trishul, and a part which became conches for the eight Vasuvus. Due to Jamadagni‘s curse, Surya would be engulfed by Raahu (the demon), every now and then. Once Surya and Varuna encountered Urvasi, the celestial maiden renowned for her beauty, in their travel. They were greatly Enamoured by her beauty. While the seminal fluid from Surya, stored in a pot, gave birth to Vashishta, the seminal fluid from Varuna, stored in a pot, gave birth to Agasthya. Surya cursed Urvasi that she should go to earth and become the wife of Pururava.
When Kuntidevi sought Surya using the mantra given to her by^ Sage Durvasa, he appeared before her and granted her a son, Kama.
When Dharmaraja prayed to Surya, while observing the fourteen-year exile in a forest, Surya presented him the akshaya patra (a bowl that provides an inexhaustible supply of food).

When Sri Sadasiva (another name of Lord Siva) ordered Surya to drive Divodasa from the city of Kasi, Surya, not willing to undertake the task, stayed back in Varanasi. Taarka and Udayaarka were among the twelve names by which Surya was known at Varanasi. Poet Mayura got rid of his incurable diseases by worshipping Surya. Sri Rama meditated on ‘Aditya Hridayam’ (Aditya: Surya), taught to him by Sage Agastya, before vanquishing Ravana.
King Daksha is said to have been born from the right thumb of Brahma. He married Dharani, born out of the left thumb of Brahma. They had fifty daughters and five sons. Once, Daksha decided to conduct a Yajna ignoring Lord Siva. He further made derogatory remarks about Lord Siva. Satidevi who attended the Yajna also passed derogatory remarks on Lord Siva. Surya was among those who committed the sin of hearing these remarks. As the legend goes, Surya prayed to Sri Kalahastheeswara to be absolved of his sins.
Thus, Sri Kalahastheeswara has been the saviour of all who worshipped Him.
(h) How the sins of Sudarshan (the chakra) were absolved
Ruclra (manifestation of Siva), in a state of anger, at finding that no weapon could destroy Jalandhara, the demon, rubbed his right thumb on the earth and generated fire. Sudarshan chakra, borne out of this fire, was handed over to Lord Vishnu by Lord Siva, for destroying the demon. Lord Vishnu destroyed the demon with the help of this chakra. But, there arose a tussle between Sudarshan and Vishnu as each claimed the honour of slaying the demon. Lord Vishnu, angry with this, cursed Sudarshan that he lose his brightness. Sudarshan thereupon prayed to Sri Kalahastheeswara with great devotion. Lord Siva arising from the linga pointed out the mistake that Sudarshan committed and absolved him of the sin that accrued as a consequence.
Even today, in the temple of Sri Kalahasthi, to the east of the image of Sri Durga, one can see a linga with an epithet Chakreshwara to reflect this episode. The fifth day of the full moon in the month of Chitra is reckoned as the day on which Sri Kalahastheeswara absolved Sudarshan of his sin.
(i) How Sri Lakshmi came to worship the Lord
Sri Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, consort of Lord Vishnu, is said to be treasured to be on the right side of Lord Vishnu’s chest. Due to circumstances, she was separated from Lord Vishnu. When the devas and asuras were churning the ocean for nectar, Lakshmi emerged, among others. Saddened at the separation from Lord Vishnu, she prayed to Sri Chakra. Lord Siva appeared before her and granted her wish to be reinstated on Lord Vishnu’s chest.

(j) The story of Nandisailavasa
A little to the west of Sri Kalahasthi temple, there lived a great pundit named Nandinatha in a place called ‘ Nandisaila. He was a devout Virasaiva (worshippers of Siva in the form of a linga). A Japala (woman belonging to the cowherd community) was leading her life by tending goats. She married him and as a devotee of Lord Siva led a chaste and devout life. On his deathbed, his wife sought permission to give her life up following his death. He however instructed to serve the devotees of Lord Siva and as he did not have progeny, asked her to distribute all his wealth to the devotees of Lord Siva. On his death, she did as instructed by her husband. Lord Siva wishing to test her devotion took the form of a Sannyasi and came to her door seeking alms. Pleased with her devotion and service, Lord Siva granted her liberation.
(k) How a dumb person was absolved of his sins
There lived a hermit, Nadasarma by name, in Vriddachalam. Bhima was one of his disciples. Nadasarma taught Bhima everything except Vasikarma. One day, Bhima stole the text relating to Vasikarma. On learning this, Nadasarma cursed Bhima that he would become dumb and asked him to leave the ashram. Bhima realising his mistake proceeded to Sri Kalahasthi and at some distance from the South Gate of the temple installed a Siva linga and performed intense penance. Sri Kalahastheeswara granted him mukti.

(!) How the Lord came to be served by Padmasena and
Long ago, in Kashmir, there lived a king, Yamadhwaja, who had Srinagara as his capital city on the slopes of Mt. Manobhanga. Satyavati and Kantimati were his two wives. Padmasena was the son of Satyavati and Hemu was the son of Kantimati. The king loved Kantimati, the younger of the two wives, more. Kantimati desired that her son Hemu should succeed the throne. Getting to know about this, Padmasena sought permission from his mother and proceeded to Varanasi for higher learning. He wanted to show his father what he was capable of. He spent some time worshipping Lord Siva. On the suggestion of Sage Narada, he meditated on Sri Kalahastheeswara on the banks of Suvarnamukhi river. Sri Kalahastheeswara pleased with Padmasena’s bhakti, granted him the knowledge relating to the four modes of warfare, presented him with a lotus and a conch, and vanished.
There is another legend. King Rajendra, belonging to the Chola dynasty, was ruling his kingdom from the capital city Dharmapuri. He had two , wives Chandralekha and Kantimati. As part of the routine, the king went to Siva temple to perform pooja. He received as prasad an extremely beautiful flower. Now, this flower had been presented to Sri Kalahasthi temple by a Mahayogi, Sivaraata, of Kashmir. Sivaraata, while worshipping Maatrubhuteswar, his deity, brought forth two beautiful flowers. One was presented to sri Kalahasthi temple. Another was presented to the temple visited by King Rajendra. This was the flower given as prasad to Rajendra. He proudly presented it to Kantimati who wore it. Soon, animosity developed between Chandralekha and Kantimati. The flower, Chandralekha felt, was to be offered to Siva and not worn by any one. Rajendra, realising that Lord Siva alone can resolve the issue, undertook a severe penance. Meanwhile Chandralekha gave birth to a child. He was named Maatrubhuteswar.
Sri Kalahastheeswara appeared before Rajendra and told him that if he proceeded to meditate on Him by installing a linga on top of a nearby hill, he would be granted liberation. Chandralekha and her son approached Rajendra and requested him to come back to the kingdom. Rajendra however refused to go back and advised them to take care of the kingdom. In course of time, Rajendra attained liberation.
(m)The tale of Chakradhara
Chakradhara was a king with a large army who true to his name protected his subjects. He had two daughters. His ancestors, were worshippers of Sri Kalahastheeswara. The Sanskrit phrase Bhruta Chakradhara Prabhuah according to some should be followed by Vibhuah. But, this will mean that Sri Kalahastheeswara would have 101 instead of 100 names. However, Sri Kalahastheeswara has been praised by Maharishis like Mrutyu, Mrukanduja, Romasha, and Bharadwaja as Sri Kalahastheeswara satanaamaabja malika. Therefore, it is considered inappropriate to have Vibhuah following Bhruta Chakradhara Prabhuah.
(n) The story of Varaguna
The kingdom of Soundarapandya was ruled by Varaguna. His family deity was Sundareshwara. However, he neglected the worship of his family deity. When he sought Sage Pushpalada’s guidance on whom to worship, the Sage taught the king the panchaakshara mantra.
The king neglected to meditate on this mantra too as he came under the influence of Buddhists. As a consequence, he lost his wealth and his kingdom faced hardships. The Buddhists deserted him at this stage. Some time later, Sage Narada appeared before Varaguna and pointed out that his plight was due to the negligence in following the Guru’s teachings. The Sage advised him to steady his mind and pray to Sri Kalahastheeswara with devotion. King Varaguna, repenting for what he did, decided to follow Sage Narada’s advice.
We may think of two reasons as to why Maharishi Pushpalada’s mantra did not have the desired effect. One is that the King neglected worship of his family deity and the other is that the King came under the influence of Buddhists who were atheists and became an atheist himself.
We can understand several things from this episode. Once a vow is taken to worship a particular deity, no other deity should be worshipped. Devotees of Siva need not find fault with devotees of Vishnu. Ignorance makes man dwell on the differences between Siva, Vishnu, and Brahma. This ignorance can bring endless suffering to man.
King Varaguna, guided by Sage Narada’s instructions, shed his perceived differences and attained liberation through worship of Sri Kalahastheeswara.
(o) How the Lord was worshipped by Govinda
An epithet of Lord Vishnu, Govinda
nayanaarchita refers to the worship, by eyes, of Govinda, the protector of cows. It is as if Lord Vishnu is worshipping Lord Siva! There are several legends wherein Lord Vishnu comes in various forms to worship Lord Siva and where Lord Siva seeks Lord Vishnu’s help. We recall the legend of Sri Chakra and how it was used to kill the demon Jalandhara. We also recall the legend where Daksha proceeded to perform a Yajna without inviting Lord Siva. Virabhadra (a lower manifestation of Lord Siva) started destroying everything that was around and in the process swallowed the Srichakra. Having destroyed the yagasala, Virabhadra went to Mt. Kailash and reported whatever happened to Lord Siva. Thus, Lord Vishnu lost the Srichakra again. To regain it, he planned to offer a thousand lotuses to Lord Siva. He discovered that he had two short of the thousand lotuses. He thereupon offered his two lotus-like eyes along with the other lotuses to Lord Siva. Pleased with the gesture, Lord Siva gave the Chakra back to Lord Vishnu.
It is said in the Skaandapuranam that Lord Vishnu addressed Virabhadra thus, “O Virabhadra! You are powerful as the vajrayudham (diamond-edged weapon), capable of breaking apart many mountains. It is difficult even to handle the Sudarshana chakra and you have swallowed it! Lord Siva presented it to me. Is it not improper on your part to take away what your Guru has given me?”
According to the Sharabhopanishad, Lord Siva says, “Lord Vishnu offered his two lotus-like eyes to me. Pleased with this, I have presented the Srichakra to him. Lord Vishnu therefore worships me as tasmy rudraya namo asthviti.”
Although Nandikeshwara disallowed many who sought sivadarshan at Mt. Kailash, Lord Vishnu was never stopped. As Lord Vishnu is an amsam (aspect) of Lord Siva’s consort, Parvati, he is always regarded as being close to the divine couple.

(p) How the Lord came to have Brahmapuram and Vishnunagaram as His abode
In the puranas, Sri Kalahasthi has been described as Brahma puram, Vishnu nagaram, and Dakshin kailasam. However, there are no explanations as to why these descriptions exist. Our body, created b> Brahma, can be thought of as Brahmapuram. Although men are different outwardly, one a king, one a subject, one a hermit, one a pundit etc. Inwardly, all men are manifestations of the Soul. We have to approach a Guru and seek their guidance in our endeavour to realise our spiritual identity. Our body has to be purified and used carefully in this noble endeavour. We must understand that the Lord assumes different forms for our sake and to remove our doubts. The all-pervading Lord is manifest in concrete and tangible forms to guide us in our spiritual evolution. However, as man is governed by Nature he has also to follow his instincts and perform his duties. In the small space within the body, close to the physical heart, resides the Lord. To realise and know this is difficult for man.
These names have deeper significance and can be understood by following yogadcirshanam, the treatise on yoga. The highest goal in yoga is the union with Siva, and the various postures, purificatory practices are for the control of the senses and the mind, aimed towards the attainment of mukti or liberation. Lord Siva can, therefore, in the philosophical sense and in the spiritual sense, be said to exist in our body.

There are many texts such as agastyasamhitam, sutagita, mulapuranam wherein it is mentioned that Lord Siva resides in Brahmapuram and in Vishnupuram. It is said that Sri Kalahastheeswara resides in Sri Kalahasthi temple as in the kantam (neck) of the shodasa patra kamalam (eight-petalled lotus).
Mulapurane dakshina kailasa purasya Sri Vishnu
puram, Brahmapuramityaadi namaantarayuktam. Na
cha tatkaaranam vivrutam tasmaadayamardhah
Ouchityaadevasethsyati. Anyadhaa Sri Kalahasthi
naamaprasiddhivath. Vishnyaadibhyo pi varadaanath
tanmaammankitamiti pakshepoorva poorvadatta
paradaana muchidyeta. Tadaa varadaana
shravanaabhaavaachcdameva samanjasamati
manishinah prityaanugrhnantu.

Leave a Reply