Explore the Story of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga: Kailash of the South

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is the second Shiva Lingam temple among the 12 Jyotirlingas. The ancient shrine also has the Shakti Peetha of Sati, the first wife of Shiva. Earlier, we at Vedic Story narrated the story of Lingodbhava Murthy. Thereafter, we told you the story of Somnath Jyotirlinga, the first Shiva Lingam of Lord Shiva.

Today, in the series of 12 Jyotirlingas, we are narrating the story of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga, Kailash of the South.

The Enticing Legend of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga

According to the Koti Rudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, once Goddess Parvati was concerned about Kartikeya and Ganesha futures because they had already reached their marriageable age. She was searching for the right brides; however, more than that, she was concerned about whom she married first.

Thereafter, she discussed this matter with Lord Shiva. He agreed with Parvati. Lord Shiva suggested to Parvati that she should talk about the marriage with Kartikeya and Ganesha so that they could know their perceptions about it.

Parvati asked her sons to be present to discuss a matter of great concern that needed their approval.

“Kartikeya and Ganesha, my son’s, today’s meeting is arranged to discuss your marriage,” Parvati said politely.

Hearing their mother, the sons seemed excited and happy.

Parvati further said, “Sons, I and your father wanted to know what you think about the decision. We didn’t want to fix the marriage without your approval. Thus, make us aware of your thinking about it so that we can discuss it further and arrange accordingly.”

Ganesha said, “Maa, I do everything that you and my father want. Thus, I don’t have any problem with your decision.”

Parvati and Lord Shiva were pleased and happy to hear Ganesha.

Parvati, thereafter, said, “Kartikeya, you haven’t shared your feelings about the decision to marry you off with a future bride. Is there any problem, son?” Mahadev also desired to know what his son was thinking or had any other plans.

However, this time, he kept quiet about the decision, but he rather asked Parvati, “What was the concern, mother, you were talking about and thus wanted us to be present here?”

Kartikeya asked with calm composure and was more interested in knowing the concern.

“Son, aren’t you happy with our decision to get you married, or is there something else you want to talk about?” Parvati asked with a sad face. “No, Mother. I am happy with the decision. However, I want to know what the thing is that makes you concerned.”

“Kartikeya, I and your father weren’t able to decide who would be the one of you to get married first. Mahadev came up with a solution to arrange a race between you and Ganesha.” Parvati told both of her sons excitedly. Thereafter, Lord Shiva and Parvati narrated the rules.

“Kartikeya and Ganesha, whoever successfully goes around the entire universe seven times and returns first, would be married first.”.

Seven Takes Around the Universe: The Race Between Kartikeya and Ganesha

Listening to the rules of Lord Shiva and Parvati, Kartikeya geared up for the competition, as he always believed in a fair win. Thereafter, Lord Shiva told them about the venue and time of the competition and when it was going to happen.

As soon as Lord Shiva announced the quest, gods, goddesses, Gan-Pret (goblins), and other divine beings were present to witness the most amazing event of Kailash.

Kartikeya came up to the venue with his mount, the peacock. Ganesha came up with his mount, Moshak, the mouse.

Lord Shiva set off the race, and Kartikeya didn’t wait any longer and flew up to go around the universe seven times.

On the other hand, Ganesha remained at the venue and was engulfed in thinking. He knew that going around the world on his mouse would take him years to complete. Thus, he will never be able to come first.

Ganesha thought of an idea and requested Lord Shiva and Parvati to sit together. All the divine beings were perplexed by the action of Ganesha. They all wanted to know why Ganesha didn’t take part in the quest. However, when Lord Ganesha made his parents sit in a place, he went around them seven times and bowed with devotion.

Seeing this unusual activity of Ganesha, Goddess Parvati asked him, “Son, why didn’t you go around, and what is this you just did?” Lord Ganesha replied, bowing in front of his parents, “Mother, you and Father are the world to me. Therefore, I went around you and also took part in the quest. Father, the Vedas say that he who worships his parents and goes around them circumambulates the entire world. I have, thus, completed my seven rounds of the whole universe and fulfilled my duty as a son and as a participant.”

Ganesha’s beautiful explanation and unmatchable intelligence pleased Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

On the other hand, Kartikeya was still in his parikrama, or circumambulation, to the entire world on his peacock, and thus he would take years to return. Therefore, Lord Shiva and Parvati decided to arrange Ganesha’s wedding.

Ganesha’s Marriage

Kailash was decorated with flowers, and all the gods, including Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati, and other divine beings of heaven, were happy.

Lord Shiva and Parvati found suitable brides for Ganesha and arranged his marriage with Siddhi and Buddhi, the daughters of Prajapati Viswarupa.

Ganesha married Prajapati Viswarupa’s two daughters, Siddhi and Buddhi, in the presence of their parents and all the divine beings. They got blessings to start a new life in a grand wedding ceremony and enjoyed the day with great joy and pleasure.

Kartikeya’s Return to Kailash

After some years, Kartikeya returned to Kailash by fulfilling his mission to circumambulate the entire world seven times. After returning home, he soon came to know that Ganesha had already won the quest and got married first.

Kartikeya was disappointed and furious in anger, and he felt cheated by Ganesha. Kartikeya thought that he fulfilled the quest with honesty, but on the other hand, Ganesha unfairly won the race.

Kartikeya was so hurt by the actions of Lord Shiva and Parvati because they supported Ganesha and then married him first.

Lord Shiva and Parvati tried their best to reason, but Kartikeya was inconsolable. He was so furious at the unfairness of his parents that he left Kailash to live the rest of his life at Kronch Parvat in Uttarakhand. Kartikeya also vowed to never get married.

Srisailam: The Home of Kartikeya

Ganesha, gods, and Parvati’ relatives tried to reason with Kartikeya, but he wasn’t pacified by any means. Kartikeya left for Kroanch Parvat to live alone. Lord Shiva and Parvati decided to go to Kronch Parvat to plead with Kartikeya for his return. But when he learned about it, he even moved further away and resided in Srisailam.

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga: Kailash of South

Kartikeya wanted to come out from the shadow of his parents and desired to be alone. Thus, he came to be known as Kumarabhramachari. However, on the other hand, Lord Shiva and Parvati assumed an avatar of Mallika, and Arjuna.

Together, they became Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga and began living in the mountains near Skanda.

According to the Purana, Lord Shiva came to meet his son on the night of an amavasya, or new moon, and on the night of a poornima, or full moon, Parvati came to meet Kartikeya.

The Geography of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is situated in the Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna temple at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh. It is a beautiful location with flora, fauna, trees, mountains, and streams. The temple in Srisailam is known as the Kailash of the South. The shrine rests on the shores of the Krishna River. It becomes PatalGanga when it enters the vicinity of the temple.

The Krishna River is one of the seven most holy rivers. It gets its name from Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is the temple that has been blessed by Shiva and Parvati together.

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga: The Eighteenth Shakti Peetha of Sati

Ancient Indian mythology and the Shiva Purana narrate the devastating story of Sati, the first wife of Lord Shiva and the daughter of Prajapati Daksha. She was an incarnation of Shakti, or energy, who took an avatar of a human to get married to Mahadev.

However, her destiny was different. Daksha arranged for her Swayamvar to choose a suitable husband to forget Shiva, but she found the whole ceremony void and listened to her heart, saying, “Whoever is my soul, the Swayamvara garland will fall on his neck.”

As a result, she was married off to Lord Shiva, but Daksha was not happy. Thus, he planned to arrange a yagna to insult Mahadev and Sati.

In the same Yagna, sacrificial fire, Sati immolates herself without resisting the fact that she is the daughter of such an arrogant and proud king and finds herself unsuitable for Lord Shiva.

It is believed that Lord Shiva became so remorseful that, to save the world, it became important to get him out of that situation. Thus, Lord Vishnu cut off Sati’s body into pieces with his Sudarshan Chakra, which Mahadev was holding and roaming the world in pain. Sati’s upper lip has fallen over at the same location, and thus it is known as the Srisaila Shakti Peetha in the vicinity of the Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga temple.

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