Friday, 13 July 2012

Cave Sculptures of Murudeshwar - Beautiful Narration of The Story Of Aatmalinga

As I had written in my previous post on Murudeshwar, I am here with the description of those beautiful sculptures in an artificial cave on Kanduka hills of Murudeshwar. This artificial cave is situated at the base of the biggest Shiva Statue. You can enter this cave by paying an entry fees of 10Rs. The collected amount is utilised for Annandana  -  lunch facility to the visitors. Once entered, a colourful magnificent sculptures - made of plaster of paris take you to a mythological world. These Sculptures narrate the story of Aatmalinga - How Ravana took the AatmaLinga from Lord Shiva and what made him to throw the AatmaLinga. This is narrated by a sound and light show.  You can move seeing each of the sculptures and listening to the story.
The story of Aatmalinga (Soul Of Shiva):
Raavana's mother was a devotee of Shiva. She worshipped Shiva Linga made of sand.She wished to worship Aatmalinga and conveyed her wish to her son Raavana.
It is believed that by worshipping Aatmalinga one will attain immortality and invincibility. Even the Lanka King Ravana wanted to attain immortality by obtaining the AtmaLinga.  Ravana worshipped Shiva with devotion. 
This became cause of worry to Naarada. Naarada thought if Raavana gets Aatmalinga then he will misuse its power to cause the evil to the world. So Naarada approached  Shri Vishnu and requested him to change Raavana's mind.
In spite of Raavana's severe penance , Lord Shiva did not appear. So Raavana became furious and lifted the Kailasa Parvata.
Satisfied by Raavana's worship, Lord Shiva appeared with wife Parvati. By this time, Vishnu had played his trick to divert Raavana's mind. Because of this trick, Raavana asked Parvati from Shiva. And Shiva let Parvati go with Raavana.
On his way back to Lanka Narada tells Ravana that Lord had not given him the real Parvathi and that the real Parvathi was in Paatala (The world below the earth). When Raavana turned back, Parvati appeared as Mahakaali.
Horrified by this, Raavana went to Paatala Loka.In Paatala Loka, Mandodari, daughter of the King looked like Parvati to Raavana and he married her.
When Raavana returned with his wife, his mother scolded him for not bringing the Aatmalinga.
Ravana then comes to know of the tricks played on him by Lord Vishnu. He therefore prays to Lord Shiva again, begging for his forgiveness. He started sacrificing himself to Lord Shiva, cutting every organ.
Finally when he started cutting his head, Shiva appeared and gave him the Aatmalinga with the condition that it should never be placed on the ground. If the Atmalinga was ever placed on the ground/earth, all the powers would return to Lord Shiva again. Having obtained his boon, Ravana started back on his journey to Lanka.
Sage Narada, who came to know of this incident, realised that with the AtmaLinga, Ravana may obtain immortality and create havoc on earth. He approached the Lord Ganesh and requested him to prevent the AatmaLinga from reaching Lanka. Lord Ganesh knew that Ravana was a very devoted person who used to perform prayer ritual in the evening (Sandhya Vandana) every day without fail. He decided to make use of this fact and came up with a plan to take back the AatmaLinga from Ravana.
As Ravana was nearing Gokarna, Lord Vishnu masked the sun with his Sudarshana Chakra to give the appearance of evening. Ravana now had to perform his evening rituals (Sandhya Vandana) but was worried because with the AtmaLinga in his hands, he would not be able to do his rituals. At this time, Lord Ganesh in the disguise of a Brahmin boy accosted him. Ravana requested him to hold the AtmaLinga until he performed his rituals, and asked him not to place it on the ground. 
Ganesh struck a deal with him saying that he would call Ravana thrice, and if Ravana did not return within that time, he would place the AatmaLinga on the ground. As predicted, before Ravana could return after completing his rituals, Ganesh had already placed the AtmaLinga on the ground. Raavana became very furious and hit Ganesha on his head. As the result Ganesha had a small hole like structure on his head. 
 Vishnu then took his Sudarshana Chakra back to remove the  illusion and it was daylight again. Ravana, realising that he had been tricked, tried to uproot and destroy it. Due to the force exerted by Ravana, some pieces were scattered.
The case of the Aatmalinga fell in Surathkal and worshipped as Sajjeshwara.
The lid of the case fell in a place called Gunavanthe and worshipped as Gunavantheshwara.
The thread of the Aatmalinga fell in a place called Dhareshwara worsipped as Dharanatha.
The cloth covered to Aatmalinga fell on Kanduka hill, and now it is called and worshipped as Murudeshwara.
The place where Aatmalinga placed on the earth, is called Gokarna and worshipped as Mahabaleshwara. 
I was lost in the mythological world and had gone to those days of Ramayana. When I came out of the cave I realized that I am in Kaliyuga :) The sculptures are built so nicely that expressions on the face are very clear.  Hats off to the brain behind this awesome cave. Dont miss to enter this cave whenever you visit Murudeshwar. You will be in the hangover of these sculptures for many days.


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