Navaratri Special : Ashtadasa Shakthi Peetham – Bhramarambha Devi, Srisailam
Srisailam is located on the banks of River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh is one of the prominent Jyotir Ingas where lord shiva is worshipped as Mallikarjuna and Parvathi as Bhramarambha Devi. It has the distinction of being both one of the most prominent Jyothirlinga’s and also Shakthi Peetham. It is believed that Sati’s “ Neck” has fallen here after Daksha Yagna.
At Srisailam the holy river Krishna is in the form of Patalaganga (underground spring) and lakhs of devotees take a holy dip here and then go for the Darshan of the JyotirLinga.
About the Temple
The main temple of Bramarambha devi , one of Asthadasa maha Shakthi peethas is the most prominent one in the temple complex. One can hear butterfly’s sound (Bhrama means butterfly) in the back side of the main temple. Devotes are not allowed inside the temple where as in the Mallikarjuna swamy temple.
The shrine of Lord Mallikarjuna picturesquely situated on a flat top of Nallamalai Hills, Srisailam is reputed to be one of the most ancient kshetras in India. It is on the right side of the River Krishna in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. This celebrated mountain is also named as Siridhan, Srigiri, Sirigiri, Sriparvatha and Srinagam. It has been a popular centre of Saivite pilgrimage for centuries.
The prominence of this Divya Kshetram is highlighted by the fact that while performing our daily household rituals we specify place of location of our existence with reference to Srisailam.
The presiding Deities of this kshetram Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy is one of the twelve Jyothirlingas and Goddess Bhramaramba Devi is one of the eighteen Mahasakthis and both are self-manifested. The unique feature of this kshetram is the combination of Jyothirlingam and Mahasakthi in one campus, which is very rare and only one of its kind. There is a common belief in vogue that this Holy Kshetram exists from times immemorial. The antiquity and origin of God Mallikarjuna Swamy and Goddess Bhramaramba Devi is not known.
The Mallikarjuna Linga is accessible to each and every devotee and anybody can go into the sanctum sanctorum of Mallikarjuna, touch him and perform Abhishekam and Archana himself to recitation of Mantras by Archakas without caste or creed or religion. This clearly reveals that socialistic pattern of society started from this place and it is still in existence.
Srisailam was famous in the 4th century A.D, according to Nasik inscription in this inscription mountain was divided into 3 parts. One of them was sirithan. Later it was called as Nallamala. Nasik inscription was carved by pulomavi belongs to satavahana dynasty. He ruled Deccan from 102 to 130 A.D. thus; about Srisailam primarily we can see in this inscription only.
Satavahanas was the oldest dynasty, which ruled Andhra. Their rule was ended in 3rd century. Ikshavakas came to powers that were Samanthas to satavahanas. Ikshavakus were also known as Sriparvatiyas. They built Vijayapuri near Nagarjunakonda and ruled part of East Deccan.
Later it was worshipped and developed by Pallava’s Vishnukundina’s, Kakatiya’s, Reddy Raju’s and it flourished during the period of Vijayanagara. It is said that Srikrishna devaraya divided Srisailam and made it into a separate state.
Srisailam in Literature
Srisailam with the unique distinction of being both Jyothirlingam and Shakthi Peetham was mentioned many a times in literature. Srisailam was mentioned in all Puranas, mentioned in Padmapuranam, Markandeya puranam, Shivapurana Rudrasamhita, Adityapuranam, and Mahabharatha Vanaparvam, Bhaghvatha Dasamaskandam, and many more. Adisankar’s ‘Shivanandhalahari’, Someswara’s ‘Kathasarithsagarm’, Siddhanadhuni’s Rasaratnakaram, Bhavabhuthi Malathimadhvam Bhanabhathu’s Kadhambari, Sriharsha’s ‘Ratnavali’, Nannaya Bharatam, Jakkannas Vikramarka charitra, Palkuriki Samantha’s Baswapuranam also mention Srisailam.
When Kumar Kartikeya returned to Kailash after completing his trip around the earth, he heard about Ganesha’s marriage from Narada. This angered him. In spite of being restrained by his parents, he touched their feet in obeisance and left for Krounch Mountain. Parvati was very distraught at having to be away from her son, implored Lord Shiva to look for their son. Together, they went to Kumara. But, Kumara went away a further three Yojanas, after learning about his parents coming after him to Krouncha Mountain. Before embarking on a further search for their son on each mountain, they decided to leave a light on every mountain they visited.
Once, a princess named Chandravati decided to go to the Jungles to do penance and meditation. She chose Kadali Vana for this purpose. One day, she witnessed a miracle. A Kapila cow was standing under a Bilwa tree and milk was flowing from all of its four udders, sinking into the ground. The cow kept doing this as a routine chore everyday. Chandravati dug up that area and was dumb founded at what she saw.
There was a self-raising Swyambhu SivaLinga. It was bright and shining like the sun rays, and looked like it was burning, throwing flames in all directions. Chandravati prayed to Siva in this JyotirLinga. She built a huge Shiva Temple there. Lord Shankara was very pleased with her. Chandravati went to Kailash wind borne. She received salvation and Mukti. On one of the stone-inscriptions of the temple, Chandravati’s story can be seen carved out.
A number of legends have grown round Srisailam and its principal deities. Among them the most significant one is that Parvatha, son of Silada Maharshi is said to have performed penance, pleased Siva and made him agree to live on his body. This Parvatha assumed the shape of big Hill “Sriparvatha” and Siva lived on it’s top as Mallikarjuna Swamy.
According to one story Chandravathi the ruler of Chandraguptha Patana situated near Srisailam on the opposite bank of the river Krishna ran away from her father who made amorous advances to her went up the hill and settled down there with few servants. One day she found that one of her cows standing above a natural rock formation resembling the Sivalinga and shedding its milk over it. The princess in dream was informed that the piece of the stone was a self-manifested Linga of God Mallikarjuna and took to worshipping it. This story is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. Two sculptures of the Prakara Wall of the temple also represent this story.
According to another story “Sri” the daughter of a Rishi did penance, pleased Siva and got her name associated with the name of the Hill( Sailam ) which thereafter came to be known as Srisailam.
Temples near by
Mallikarjuna Swamy temple
Vrudhamallikarjuna Swamy lingam is said to be oldest than the present Mallikarjuna swamy Lingam. There is no Nandi(Bull , vechicle of Lord) infront of it. Ihe Lingam is uneven on its outer face which indicates the old age of Lord Shiva which was prayed by Chandravathi. Hence it is called Vrudhamallikarjuna swamy
Ardhanareeswar idol is in northern side of the main temple.this is the oldest idol. Detail and period of the idol is unknown.
Lingas incarnated by Pandavas: Five temple are situated besides Arthanareseswara temple. These were incarnated by Pandavas according to sources.
Mallika Gundam: (Mallika water point) According to mythology , yhis Gundam was part and parces of Saraswathi river, which flows in inner of the Krishna river. This Saraswathi river is called ‘Antaarvahine’ which means it is flowing along with other river i.e. Krishna. Many devotees used this Mallika Gundam water to heal their diseases. Another important thing in shrine of Mallikarjunas temple shade is being reflected in this ‘Gundam’.
Veerabhadra Swamy Temple -This idol is intemple and having North face. He is guarding the Lord Mallikarjuna swamy always.
Sanagalabasavanna- It is situated infront of the Verasiro mandapam. it is known as “nandi mandapam”. This Nandi is called Nandeeswara(Baswanna).Kannadigulu calls this as ‘Chennu kallu Baswanna”.
Addala(Mirror) Mandapam- Place for Swamy where he takes rest in the nights called as pavalinpu seva.
Tri fruit tree(Triphala uruksham)– Juvvi( ),Ravi( ),and Medi( ) plants together become grown as one tree. It was said that Acharya Nagarjuna and others were done deeksha under this tree. One superstition was there, that couples who haveno children, simply they do pradakshins(walking round the tree) will get children(santanam) in coming years.
Sri Rama and Sita Devi’s sahasralingams- Shahasra meang thousand. Sahasra linga means 1000 lingas carved in one linga. Srirama’ linga is situated in swamy temple where Sitadevis is in Ammavari temple. These are incarnated by Srirama and Sitadevi.