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Devi Mookambika

AdiSankaracharya was travelling through southern India and reached Kollur. As he was crossing through the dense forest of Kudajagiri, he was in awe of the mystique of mother nature and sat down in a place to offer his penance to Devi Mookambika in front of a Swayambhulingam. Devi was pleased with the prayers of her most lovable devotee and appeared before him. Sankara was overwhelmed with the darshan of the Devi and expressed his wish to take her to Kerala. Devi smiled and replied that she would most willingly follow him but on one condition - as she would start following, Sankaracharya should never look back. Sankara was ecstatic and bowed down before Devi, seeking permission to start his journey along with the Devi. As Sankara started walking, he could distinctly hear the sound of the Devi’s anklets which reassured him that Devi was following him. After walking for some time, he stopped as he was not able to hear the sound of her anklets anymore. Perplexed with the sudden silence, Sankara turned back. According to their agreement, Devi stood there, refusing to move ahead. Sankara was disappointed but prostrated before Devi, taking it to be her wish. Adi Sankaracharya installed a panchaloha (made of five metals-gold, silver, copper, iron and lead) deity mounted on Shree Chakra and enshrined the Devi near the Jyotirlinga.

Sri Mookambika Temple, encircled by the never-drying river Souparnika, is located near the scenic hills of Kodajaadri in Kollur near Mangalore. Kollur, referred to as Maharanyapura in Skandha Puran, was the land of many ancient yogis and rishis. Maharishi Kola, enchanted by the beauty of this place, did penance on a rock near the river Agneeteertham, a tributary of Souparnika. He closed his eyes and invoked Devi. Swayambhulinga manifested itself when Lord Shiva drew the Srichakra with his toe beside the place where Kola Maharshi performed a long-lasting penance. Lord Shiva advised the sage to worship the lingam and proclaimed that Shakti would appear as Mahalakshmi there. Hence the place was called Kolapura which eventually became Kollur. Goddess Mookambika is in the form of a Jyotirlinga, merging of both Shiva and Shakti.

A demon named Kaumasura had received a boon from Lord Shiva and had become very powerful. Blind with arrogance, he ravaged the land, torturing the sages and pious souls. Unable to face his atrocities, the helpless pious souls stayed hidden in Kudajagiri. All the rishis began praying to bring an end to the demon. Meanwhile, the Guru of the Asuras, Shukracharya, told the demon that he would soon be killed at the hands of a woman. In order to win over his death, Kaumasura went into a severe penance and invoked Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, pleased with his penance was eager to grant a boon and asked Kaumasura to utter whatever he wished. Seeing this, the helpless ascetics prayed to Goddess Saraswati to save them. Goddess Saraswati, also known as Vagdevi, the goddess of speech, knew that Shiva’s boon would make this demon invincible which would lead to more death and devastation. So, Shakti cursed the demon to become mooka or dumb. The dumb demon couldn’t verbalise his wish and came to be known as Mookasura. After losing his speech the demon became even more ferocious and kept attacking the innocent with vengeance. To bring an end to his atrocities, the Devi vanquished Mookasura.

After vanquishing Mookasura, the Devi is believed to have merged with this self-manifested lingam in the temple. A golden line was formed in the lingam which is wider and taller on the left side. About 24 kilometres from Kollur is ‘Maarana Ghat’, where the Devi killed Mookasura. In the temple at Maarana Ghat, a ‘Shree Chakra’ symbolising the Devi is worshipped. After killing Mookasuru, Devi has resided in this place called Kollur as Mookambika Devi, fulfilling the wishes of all her devotees. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati have all merged in the left side and Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Parameshwara reside in the right side of the Swayambhulingam. Goddess Mookambika in this temple is worshipped as Sri Saraswati in the morning, Sri Lakshmi at noon and Sri Durga in the evening.

Situated in Udupi District of Karnataka, the Mookambika Temple, with gold plated crest and copper roofs, is one of the seven most sacred spots of salvation in Parasurama Kshetra, dedicated to the Goddess of emotional power and strength. The linga is worshipped as Moola Devi and the representation of devi as a four-armed goddess was installed by Adi Shankara.  It is said that Sri Shankaracharya scripted the hymns "Soundarya Lahari" at the Mookambika Temple.

Devi Mookambika Temple, Kollur

Image Courtesy: Shyama Mohanty



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