The story of Goddess Mookambika finds mention in the Skanda Purana. The ancient Purana says that a demon called Kaumasura performed great austerities and was given a darshan of Lord Shiva. The demon wanted to ask for the boons of great power and immortality. But Goddess Saraswati as Vagdevi took away his power of speech. Hence, the demon could not ask for any boon, and from that day, he came to be called Mookasura. Thanks to his austerities, Mookasura had become very strong, and he became arrogant. Soon, he began to terrorize the Devas and human beings. To put an end to his atrocities, Goddess Shakti, Lakshmi and Saraswati merged into one and killed Mookasura. Devi then became one with the Shiva Linga at Kollur. Before the Rathotsava (Chariot festival) in the temple, Mookasura is also offered prayers.
At Kollur Mookambika Temple, children are initiated into the world of letters. It is said that children who are initiated into the world of learning at Mookambika Temple will achieve success in life.
Kollur is one of the seven sacred places of Tulunadu created by Parasurama. It is one of the greatest centers of Shakti worship. An inscription dated 1481 AD, which traces the evolution of Shakti worship, says that Goddess Mookambika is Adi Shakti in the Linga form and personifies creation, preservation, and dissolution. It also describes her as the lord of the mountains, which points to her tribal nature.
The deity worshipped in the temple manifested here as Adi Shakti (union of Kali, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi) is the only one of its kind in India. In the Swayambhu or self-manifested Linga of Mookambika, Shiva and Vishnu reside on the right and left sides respectively, suggesting that Shakti and her male partners are inalienable parts of the same divinity.
Adi Shankara and Mookambika
It was the renowned philosopher and theologian, Adi Shankaracharya who installed the huge Jyotirlinga. It is divided by a golden line. The left and larger portion represents Shakti, while the southern portion represents Shiva. Daily morning at the time of the Nirmalya Pooja, devotees can see the Swayambhu Linga.
Adi Shankara was known to be a great devotee of Goddess Saraswati. One day, the Goddess appeared before him and agreed to accompany him to Kerala, as he wanted to install her idol there.
But the Goddess had a condition – she would follow him, but Adi Shankara should not turn back to see if she was following him. If he did so, the Goddess would stop right there.
Shankara agreed to her condition, and both of them began walking. Adi Shankara walked in front, and the Goddess walked behind him. After some time, Shankara felt a bit doubtful and turned to see if she was still there. She was, but the moment he turned back, Goddess Saraswati stopped in her tracks and refused to proceed further, as per the condition she had laid down. She also told him to install her idol at Kollur, the place where she had halted. Adi Shankara begged her to forgive his mistake, and finally, the Goddess came to a compromise. She said that she would be at the Chottanikkara Temple in the mornings but would return to the Kolllur Temple by noon.
Shankara also installed the Panchaloha or five-metal lotus-seated image of Devi on Sri Chakra as he had a vision of the Goddess when doing his penance here. The Panchaloha idol is beautifully carved. She has three eyes and four hands. The two upper hands hold the Shankhu and Chakra, and the lower ones indicate benediction. At the Sri Sankara Simhasana in the inner enclosure of the temple, rituals are performed as per his prescriptions.
The Mookambika Temple is located on the Kodachadri mountain range, which supposedly appeared when a part of the mountain carried by Hanuman to save the injured Lakshmana’s life fell here. So the mountain is also called Sanjeevini Parvatha. Many medicinal plants, herbs, and roots are found here.
There is also a cave here, called Ganapati cave. Legend says that it was at the entrance to the Ganapathi cave that Mookasura sat in penance. Pleased with his penance, Lord Brahma appeared before him and sprinkled some water from his kamandala on the demon’s face. The demon emerged from his deep meditation and drank some water from Brahma’s kamandala. The excess water from it supposedly fell as a shower and is still flowing through an underground channel and emerges beside the Ganapathi cave. This is said to be the origin of the Souparnika River.
The Mookambika Devi Mantra is a Sloka on the Goddess who bestows courage, wisdom, and wealth. It is usually recited before starting a new activity like Akshara abyasa on Vijaya Dashami day, annaprasnam, and even the start of each day to bring in success and prosperity.
Nana kanchi vichithra vasthra sahitham
Nana vidhar bhooshitham
Nana pushpa sukandha malya sahitham,
Nana janaa sevitham
Nana veda purana sasthra vinutham,
Nana kalir pradham
Nana roopa dharmam- mahesha mahishim Mookambika,
O Devi Mookambika, I meditate upon her who clothes herself in various attires who is adorned in different ways, Who wears garlands of different flowers, Who is worshipped by different types of people, Who is recognized in different Puranas, Vedas and Shastras, Who bestows various blessings, Who takes various forms and who is the consort of Mahesha, that is you Devi Mookambika. Please show concern for us Devi!!