[Advaita-l] Question regarding mahAlasA/mhALasA
satisharigela at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 27 03:28:31 CST 2011
>I would like to know if there is any text, Tantric or otherwise, that
>describes mahAlasA or mhALasA devI, as She is called in Maharashtra.
Please see this by Harsha Ramamurthy: http://www.kamakotimandali.com/blog/index.php?p=365&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1
He mentions a certain work mailAra tantra by name where there could be some information on this devata.
Also see the below write-up : One of my teachers once mentioned to me a relatively late tAntrika work by name mArtANDa bhairava tantra popular among some brAhmaNa-s in mahArAShTra. I do not remember exactly but vaguely remember that it contains some material on the related devata-s i.e. mallAri/mallikArjuna/mArtANDa bhairava and his shakti-s possibly mahAlasA
However, I am not aware of this material published in Sanskrit, Telugu or Hindi. Maybe they were published in Kannada or Marathi..I do not know
After visiting the shrine of the fiery ulka, accompanied by his two
shaktI-s, the muni and me were filled with the urge to pay a visit to
the massif of Jejuri atop which stood the shrine of khaNDobA, a pastoral deity in Andhra, Karnataka and Maharashtra. A Sanskrit tale is narrated in association with this shrine:
-The brAhmaNa-s inform rudra that the world was being tormented by the demons maNi and malla.
-They go to rudra to ask him to save them from the demons. From his locks he produces a fierce shakti named ghR^itamArI
himself manifests as mArtANDa bhairava. He is described as having
golden flaming robes, with teeth like flashing rubies and he was
surrounded by a troop of fierce dogs.
-mArtANDa bhairava appointed kumAra as the commander of his forces with a horde of skandagraha-s mounted on peacocks.
further partitioned his division under indra, agni, yama, nirR^iti,
varuNa, kubera, brahmA and viShNu. There was also a horde of vinAyakas
mounted on rodent-faced horses led by the fiery ulka.
-The forces of mArtANDa bhairava and those of maNi and malla fought a fierce battle.
the final fierce battle the horse-faced maNi fought mArtANDa bhairava
riding a white horse. Finally, he was struck by an arrow of the bhairava
and thrown into a lake termed maNichal along with his horse. mArtANDa
bhairava then stamps him underfoot, when he pleased the god with a hymn,
and asks for a boon to be stationed at the door-step of his temple. He
also gives his white horse as a vAhana to the bhairava.
attacked the deva army with his own personal force by uttering so loud a
roar that it caused pArvatI-s crown to fall in kailAsha. mArtANDa
bhairava dispatched ghR^itamArI to attack his hordes.
-ghR^itamArI swooping down on them like a kR^ityA swallowed all of them and ground them the dust.
ghR^itamArI and malla fought a terrible battle. He pierced her head
with 100 arrows, her breasts with 27 arrows each and another 100 to
immobilize her shoulders and neck.
-Then mArtANDa bhairava entered
the field riding his white horse. With a cresent-headed arrow he cut off
the demon’s bow, but the demon retaliated by hurling his axe to cut the
bow of the bhairava. The then two joined a hand-to-hand fight with
-Finally the bhairava struck him down and placed his foot on
him. Before he was beheaded, he asked the flaming bhairava that his head
should be placed outside the temple of the god and that he should be
given sacrifices of goats or sheep. He also asked that his name be
mentioned before that of his conqueror. mArtANDa bhairava conferred
these boon and dispatched him — he took the name mallAri to satisfy the
point of the the asura’s name coming first.
This is the canonized Sanskrit work. However, the shUdra-s of
maharAShTra and Andhra also narrate a colloquial version. Several
shUdra-s I have spoken to were well aware of the connection between
mArtANDa bhairava and khaNDobA, and also generally know the Sanskrit
version of the story. The colloquial version is usually narrated by a
pious shudra bard called a vAghyA or in the midst of the shepherds by a
sooth-sayer termed the “devarShi”. The Andhra and mahArATTa version
differ in minor points, mainly place names. Some Andhras seem to located the tale to Mallikarjuna or shrIshailam, in the kaNNaDa country I have
noticed some say that it was malleshvaraM, now within Bangalore city.
Clearly these places were there in the mahArATTa mind too, because
shivaji bhosle and his clan, great worshipers of khaNDobA associated
him with shrIshailaM and malleshvaraM. shivaji even wanted to renounce
the world and become a mendicant at shrIshailaM, but his men reminded
him of his great role to play for svarAjya. shahu himself, like a vAghyA came to his court along with his dog on which he placed the royal crown thinking of khaNDoba. But I supply below the story as narrated in the
frame of the mahArATTa country, for that is where I have explored the
many shrines of the deity:
The brAhmaNa-s asked shiva to help the people from the depredations
of the two demons on earth. shiva told umA that he was leaving kailasa
to deal with two asuras.
umA:” You are always taking avatara-s leaving me alone here. I want to come along this time.”
“Alright, after I kill the asuras you can come along. We will settle
there and live for a while. You incarnate as mhALsA the daughter of a
tima-sheTTi, a li~NgAyata shopkeeper. After killing the asura-s I will
come marry you and take you to my palace atop the hill of jejuri.”
ga~NgA who saw all this, held in the coils of rudra’s hair said: “This time I want to come too”.
“OK- you take the incarnation of a shepherd girl bAnU among the
shUdra-s known as the dhangar. I will come to you hamlet and bring you
over to my palace.”
umA: “Alright, but why can’t we come now? You may need us for battle.”
ga~NgA: “You will need us! see when the time comes, you will need us.”
shiva: “OK ladies go and take you incarnations, I really need to be doing this man’s work of fighting asura-s.”
took some haridra and sprinkled it on his snake — it became a metal
chain that he wore around his neck. In due course rudra incarnated as
mallaNNa or khaNDobA starts a war on maNi and malla. viShNu also
incarnates as IThobA or hegaDi pradhAn as bAnU’s brother.
In the fight maNi on being wounded starts spawning new maNi-s from
his blood- like raktabIja or andhaka. khaNDobA seeing the trouble sends
for the ladies mhALsA and bAnU to come an join him in the battle. mhAlsa taking up a sword and spear rushed to the field. bAnU picked up a magic bow and arrows and ran to the field. Behind bAnU came their dog. First
the two ladies try to drink up the blood. But seeing it to be too much
they used skull of beheaded asuras to catch the blood. When even that
did not suffice they ran around shouting in consternation and were hit
by the arrows of the asuras. Then their dog seeing the predicament came
and lapped up all the blood. With his blood drying up maNi was losing
strength. Then IThobA also came to the field and gave khaNDobA a chakra, with which he killed maNi.
bAnU and IThobhA killed many demons in malla’s army. Then khaNDobA
attacked malla, with mhAlsA mounting his horse and wielding a spear.
After a prolonged fight, malla finally rushed on khaNDobA and seized his horse’s reins. But the horse reared and allowed mhALsA to spike him on
his flank, even as khaNDobA struck off his head with his sword. The day
of victory was a bright ShaShThI day in mArgashIrSha. Then khaNDobA
married mhALsA and also brought bAnU along, and settled down with the
two ladies in his hill-top palace at jejuri [kaNNaDa-s explicitly call
bAnU a concubine].
In jejurI the shrine of viShNu as IThobA or
hegaDI pradhan is half-way up the hill. In front of his shrine goat
sacrifices are made- he is suppose to convey the goat sacrifices to the
recipients. khaNDoba himself only takes vegetarian offerings in the main
shrine on the top of the hill. There, on one side in the courtyard,
there is a large image of maNi and one of the steps the image of the
head of malla. mhALsA has her own shrine, while bAnU has a little
platform on which her image is placed. In the smaller, but venerated,
dhamankeL shrine in Junnar near Pune, khaNDobA is seated on a muNDa
mancha with the two demons’ heads as the foot-rests. mhALsA is seated
next to him, while bAnU is peeping from behind his shoulder. In his
hands he has a sword, trident and shield. Besides the 3-peaked tryambaka
li~Nga, IThobA or viShNu stands with a sword and shield.
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