[Advaita-l] Question regarding mahAlasA/mhALasA

Satish Arigela 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.
-Then malla 
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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