Tag Archives: Parvathi

Sri Kateel Durga Parameshwari

Arunasura was a rakshasa who was creating havoc amongst the sattvic and noble people. He was very arrogant that none could vanquish and kill him. He had performed rigorous tapas and obtained a unique boon from the Creator, Lord Brahma. According to the boon no devata, human being, rakshasa, any two-legged or four-legged creature or any weapon could cause his destruction. Because of his rakshasic ways, the entire land was ridden with drought and everyone was suffering.

The Sage Jabali was filled with compassion for the people around and decided to perform a yagna for the welfare of all. The Sage went to Indraloka and asked Lord Indra to send the divine Kamadhenu with him. Since Kamadhenu was not available then, Indra asked the Sage to take Nandini, Kamadhenu’s daughter, with him.  However, Nandini who was very proud refused to go with the Sage to the realm of mortals. Jabali became very angry and cursed her to become a river and flow in the very region which she refused to grace.

Nandini realized her mistake and sought forgiveness and asked the Sage to take back the curse. Jabali told her that the curse cannot be reversed, but assured her that Adishakti, the Mother of the whole universe would redeem her from the curse at the appropriate time. In the month of Magha on the full-moon day, Nandini descended down and flowed in the form of a river from the Kanakachala mountains.

All the devatas prayed to Adishakti. She appeared in front of them and assured them that she would annihilate the rakshasa. Devi took a beautiful form and as Mohini entered and moved around the courtyard of Arunasura. When Arunasura saw her, he was so enamoured by her beautiful looks and asked for her hand in marriage. Devi started teasing him and running away from him. He ran after her. She ran faster and unable to catch her the rakshasa became furious. As he tried to catch up with her, Devi reached the banks of river Nandini and disappeared into a huge rock in front of her. Arunasura hit the rock very hard with his sword. And a huge bee emerged out and stung the rakshasa to death. The bee was neither a two-legged or four-legged creature. It was a six-footed one. And it did not use any weapon. Its sting killed the rakshasa. The bee was none other than Devi herself who came to be known as Bhramaramba.  (Bhramara means bee)

All the devatas were overjoyed. Indra brought the tender coconut water from the celestial tree and performed abhisheka to Bhramaramba (Devi in the form of a bee) to calm it down. They requested her to stay there permanently for the sake of her devotees. She accepted their request. In the middle of the river Nandini, Devi chose to manifest in a “Linga” form, surrounded by waters on all sides. Since she rose from the river, she is considered as the daughter of Nandini. With that Nandini was redeemed of Sage Jabali’s curse. 

The place became famous as Kateel (Kateel means ‘in the centre’) and Devi is known as Sri Durga Parameshwari. Since she came in the form of a bee and bees repel the smell of champaka flowers, these flowers are not used for her worship. Tender coconut water in this kshetra is first offered to her and only then taken as prasad by devotees.

[Kateel is situated at distance of 18km from Mangalore]

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Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath

Sage Narada once visited Vaikunta to have darshan of his beloved Lord Narayana and His consort Lakshmi. Pleased with his devotion, Sri Lakshmi told him to ask whatever he wanted and she would fulfill it for him. Narada had seen Lakshmi serving food to Narayana and desired to have the food (prasad) served to Narayana. Lakshmi told him that was not possible because she had promised the Lord that food offered to Him would not be given to anyone. Narada insisted saying that she had promised to give him whatever he wanted. 

Goddess Lakshmi was in a dilemma. When she was serving food the next time, she narrated everything to the Lord and asked Him for a solution. The Lord understood the situation and told Lakshmi that He would relax the restriction just for one day and she could give the naivedya prasad to Narada. Lakshmi was very happy and she gave the prasad offered to Narayana to Narada. The moment Narada partook of the prasad, he went into an ecstatic mood. He totally forgot himself and started singing and dancing. He danced his way through all the fourteen worlds and finally reached Kailasa!

Lord Shiva was surprised to see Narada in this never before intense blissful state, and enquired of him the reason for his ecstasy. Narada replied, “It is all the glory of the Mahaprasad of Lord Vishnu”. Sankara immediately asked Narada if he had brought some prasad for him. Narada said he hadn’t, but suddenly saw a small particle of the prasad still on one of his fingers. Very happily, he gave the grain of prasad to Lord Shiva and he joyously relished it. The moment Sankara partook of the prasad, he too got into an ecstatic mood and started dancing his tandava! 

All the gods were now worried. The Lord’s dance can initiate an untimely deluge. At this point of time, Uma, Shiva’s consort came along and seeing Narada and Shiva in such a joyous state, asked them for the reason. When she heard that it was the greatness of the Mahaprasad of Lord Vishnu, she felt left out and became angry that she had been deprived of the prasad. 
All the gods now rushed to Vaikunta, and narrated what had happened in Kailasa and requested Lord Vishnu to calm down Sankara and pacify Uma. Lord Vishnu came riding on his Garuda vahana. On seeing the Lord, Sankara and Narada calmed down. But Parvati was still angry. Lord Vishnu consoled her and promised her a share of His prasad. Parvati, the Mother of the universe told Vishnu that not only she should get the prasad, but the Lord should make His prasad available to all living beings and they should equally be benefited by it. Only then she would be happy and satisfied. Vishnu promised her that in future when he takes up his abode in Nilachaladham (Puri),  Parvati will also be there as Devi Bimala in the same courtyard and the naivedyam offered to him will in turn be offered first to her. Only then it will become Mahaprasad and will be distributed to everyone alike, without any distinction. 

Mahaprasad at Puri

Even to this day, after the naivedyam is offered to Lord Jagannath, it is first taken to Devi Bimala’s shrine. After it is offered to her it becomes MAHAPRASAD. Sri Jagannath temple is famous for the Mahaprasad. Every day all the devotees who reach the temple partake of the Lord’s Mahaprasad. Even to this day, neither there is a shortage of the prasad nor is there too much extra on any day, irrespective of the number of devotees reaching the temple. That is the glory of Lord Jagannath’s Mahaprasad!

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Full moon on Amavasya day!

Abhirami

Subramanya Iyer was a great devotee of Devi Abhirami (Parvathi) of Tirukadaiyur. He would sit for hours together lost in contemplation in front of Devi. So intense was his devotion that he looked upon all women as manifestation of Mother Goddess and run to them and fall flat at their feet addressing them as ‘O! Mother’, whether in the temple or on the street. People even thought he was mad.

Serfoji I Bhonsle, who was King of the Thanjavur Maratha Empire from 1712 – 1728, came to the temple for darshan on a particular new-moon day. Everybody there made way for him. But Subramanya was sitting right in front of the deity, completely immersed in dhyana. On seeing him, the king enquired and was told by people around that he was an insane person. To test this, the king put forth a question to him asking what was the ‘tithi‘ that day. Subramanya who was in ecstasy, mentally seeing nothing but Devi’s divine face, beautiful and shining like the full-moon in the autumn sky, blurted out that it was full-moon day! The angry king walked away with a challenge that if he failed to see the full-moon at dusk, Subramanya would be burnt alive.

The temple priest woke him up from his meditation and explained what had happened. Subramanya was unperturbed. He said, “My divine Mother made me utter these words and so it is now Her responsibility to keep up Her words”.

Subramanya was made to climb onto a suspended wooden plank which was slowly being lowered. Down below was raging fire. It was dusk. Subramanya invoked His Mother, Sri Abhirami with beautiful verses. When he had just completed the 79th verse, Goddess Abhirami gave darshan to him in the skies. She removed Her diamond ear-ornament and tossed it into space. It stood there in the sky shining like the full-moon for all to see! Subramanya continued to sing Her praises. The ropes snapped, the fire got extinguished. The king realized his mistake and sought forgiveness from the great devotee of Abhirami.  Subramanya was henceforth called “Abhirami Bhattar”. His beautiful collection of verses are known as Abhirami Anthaadi. Anthaadi means “End – Beginning”. The last word of each verse is the beginning of the next verse! Even to this day, devotees sing these verses on Amavasya and Poornima days at Devi’s Altar.

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]