Tales of Mata Vaishno Devi•
Posted on December 22 2022
Mata Vaishno Devi is referred to in Hindu mythology by various names such as Trikuta, Vaishnavi and Ambe. The goddess is considered to be a representation of Adi Shakti or Goddess Durga and is said to have the combined powers of Mahasarawati, Mahakali and Mahalakshmi. Her temple is located atop the Trikuta mountains in Katra in Jammu and Kashmir. The shrine is listed among the 108 Shakti Peethas in honour of Goddess Durga. Diwali and Navaratri are the two key festivals celebrated here.
There are various interesting tales associated with Mata Vaishno Devi. Read on to know a few of these legends.
Meeting with Lord Rama
Maa Vaishno Devi was born to a childless Brahmin couple in South India. Her father Ratnakar on the night prior to the birth of the goddess at their child that he would never interfere in her desires. When she was born, her parents named her Trikuta. She attained the name Vaishnavi later because of her lineage from Lord Vishnu.
When she was around nine years old, Trikuta got permission from her father to meditate on the seashore. She started meditating to Lord Rama, an incarnation of Maha Vishnu. It so happened that in due course Sri Rama reached the seashore in due course with His army in search of His wife Sita Devi. He happened to spot Trikuta who also happened to see the lord at the same time. Trikuta told the lord that she had accepted Rama as her life partner.
Sri Rama replied that it was not possible as He considered only Sita as His wife in that birth and that He could be faithful to only her. He also told her that He would appear before her once again at a later time and if she recognized Him, He would fulfil her wish. He asked her to go and meditate in the cave found in the Trikuta mountain range. She did so and started praying for Rama’s victory against Ravan.
It is said that Lord Rama kept His word and went to her much later disguised as an old man but Trikuta could not identify Him. Lord Rama consoled her and said that He would manifest Himself as Kalki in the Kali Yug. He promised her that He would marry her during this period. Rama also said that the entire universe would sing praise in Her honour as Maa Vaishno Devi.
Encounter with Bhairav Nath
Sridhar Nath was a poor and fervent devotee of Maa Vaishno Devi who lived in a small hut. Once, the goddess took the form of a young girl and appeared before him. She told the humble priest to organise a bhandara feast for a large number of devotees and mendicants. Sridhar Nath was confused about how to do this. Nevertheless, he decided to go ahead with what he was instructed to do.
One of the invitees was Bhairav Nath, an arrogant disciple of Gorakhnath and had gained mastery over all tantrik shaktis. He asked Sridhar Nath what he intended to do and also reminded him of the consequences if he was not able to please all the devotees. This set Sridhar Nath worrying when the same girl appeared before him once again and told him not to be worried as everything had already been taken care of.
When the invitees came over, Sridhar Nath found to his surprise that there was enough space to seat over the 360 people invited in his small hut. Similarly, there was more than sufficient food to treat all of them.
Bhairav Nath understood the girl had divine powers and wanted to test her further. He followed her to the Trikuta hills where she disappeared suddenly. He kept searching for her for nine months but in vain. One day, he suddenly saw her aiming an arrow at a stone and producing water from it. The girl also saw him and raced to the mountain top.
When he reached the mountain top, he saw footprints at the entrance of the cave and deduced that she was inside the cave. As soon as she saw Bhairav Nath, she took her original form and created a rear exit in the cave. She came out of this exit with Her trident and warned him not to follow Her but Bhairav Nath paid no heed to Her words. Ma Vaishno Devi took Her trident and beheaded Him immediately.
However, the immense powers of Bhairav Nath kept him alive. He understood his mistake and pleaded for forgiveness. She did so and blessed him saying that anyone who visited Her shrine would also visit His shrine immediately after that. Today, there is a temple dedicated to Bhairav Nath at the exact spot he was beheaded.
Over the years, Sridhar Nath continued to offer his worship to the Goddess. One day, he had a dream about the Trikuta mountain range and followed the path he visioned in his dream to reach the cave. He began worshipping the goddess from there in different ways. His devotion pleased the goddess who appeared before him and blessed him.
Reference in the Mahabharat
The goddess is mentioned in the Mahabharat epic when the Pandavas and Kauravas assembled in the Kurukshetra war ground for the impending war. On the advice of Lord Krishna, Arjun, the third Pandava brother offered his prayers to the deity with utmost devotion. He addressed her as Jambookatak Chityaishu Nityam Sannihitalaye. This means you who dwell in the temple on the mountain slopes in Jamboo. It is believed that Jamboo refers to Jammu where the shrine of the goddess is currently located.
There are many more interesting tales surrounding Maa Vaishno Devi. The above stories are just three of the popular tales associated with the Goddess. Interestingly, the goddess is not worshipped as an idol but as a rock with three heads known as a pindi.
Written by - Deepthi K