GODDESS DEVI BRAHMARAMBIKA: There are many ways of reminding oneself of sweetness inherent in nature. Bees collect their honey from nature and give us honey as a reminder that God’s sweetness also is concealed just about anywhere. It is fo...r us to become aware of it. That alone is symbolical of a self-realization path, isn’t it? ‘Brahmara’ means bee. Bhramaramba or Bhramarambika is one of the eighteen Shakti peethas. The Greeva or Neck of Devi is said to have fallen here, form the 15th among the fifty one Shakti Peethas. It is located in Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, a prominent pilgrimage point.
Here Devi takes the form of Goddess Mahalakshmi as Shiva’s consot. The Lord Siva appears as Shambarananda Bhairava. Mother is also the Shakti of Mallikharjuna Swamy, a regional reference to Siva. So She is worshipped as Brahmani Shakti. The temple in Srisailam is devoted to Sri Mallikarjunaswamy and his consort Devi Bhramarambika. It is also one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India, the temple is situated on the south bank of
Krishna River in Nallamalai forest.
Goddess Bhramarambika is is also Parvati, the consort of Lord Mallikarjuna Shiva. She is said to have assumed the form of a bee and worshipped him. The goddess is worshipped as Brahmani Shakti. The sanctum of the temple, a shell-like structure, enshrines Lord Mallikarjuna. Legend says that one can get mukti by taking birth at Srisailam. After worshipping Thirupathi Venkadachapathi bhaktas frequent Sri Sailam Shakti Peetham to get the blessings Shiva-Shakti.
She is the Goddess of Black Bees or Nectarine Goddess. Srimad Devi Bhagavatam, Book 10, Chp 13 gives an insight by way of the sage Narada questioning Lord Vishnu and the myth of Bhramari’s nature gets told. The demon Arunadanava drives the devas from their kingdom. Their wives chastity is also under threat. So the devas
approach Lord Siva together with their wives. The Lord asks them to pray to Goddess Parameshvari Devi. She transformed herself into a large bee from which a swarm of bees emanated. These surrounded the wives to give them protection. The sky was overcast with swarms of bees and the world was cast in darkness. They also tore the demons apart. Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara at the appearance of a giant bee and wondered if it was all maya. It was Mother Adi Shakti who chipped in to manifest as a divine bee and stung the asura Arunadavana to death. Devas and their Devis used various musical instruments such as mridangas, murajas and sankhas to sing Mother Bhramari Devi’s glory in all the worlds. The music and
blessing reached the earth as buzzing of bees.
Lord Karthikaya, after his round the earth trip, he learns from Narada that Ganesha
has been handed the jnana phalam and declared the winner. He gets angry, touched
the feet of the divine parents in obeisance and goes off to Kurunchi Mountains.
Mother Parvathi craves for her son but he did not welcome them. He was not to be
found. So the divine couple took residence in the hills of Sri Saila and the
place gets called Jyotirlinga Mallikarjuna. From there Parvathi made her
periodical visits to ses Karthikeya. She told him numerous stories of Shiva lila
and made Kartikeya realize the omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience of
Shiva. It is believed that Shiva-Parvathi visit this place on Amavasya and
Pournami days. Apparently when they were in Sri Sailam hills, a buzzing sound
emanated from within the granite hills. Divine bees from Goddess Brahmari had
taken residence but they did not harm bhaktas.
The Puranas refer to Srisailam ‘Sri Giri’, ‘Sriparvata, ‘Rudra Parvata’ and ‘Seshachalam’.
It is situated in the thick and inaccessible forests of the Nallamalai hills, in
the northeastern portion of the Nandikotkur Taluk of Kurnool District. The place
is boosted with spiritual energy with ancient history of sacredness. The
religious Brahamaramba shrine stands on the Rishabhagiri hill, on the southern
bank of the sacred river Krishna. Srisailam is mentioned in several Puranas such
as in 20th Chapter of Padmapuranam; 11th Chapter of Markandeya Puranam, 6th
Chapter of Shivapuranam; 80th Chapter of Bhagavatha Dasamaskandam; 40th Chapter
Sheshadarmam of Harivamsam and 64th Chapter of Srisailakandam. Adi
Shankaracharya is said to have composed the great poem, the Shivananda Lahari at
the Sri Sailam temple.
DEVI BHRAMARAMBA TEMPLE: Mallikharjuna Swamy
temple is of ancient origin. Shiva Linga of Driddha Mallikarjuna is the main
deity. He is also known as Jayasena and Malleshwara. The idol of Bhramaramba is
in the form of Maha lakshmi. There is also a temple of Uma Devi Ardhanariswara
in the compound. An idol of Lopamudra, the wife of Agastya, is present in the
Garbha griha. It is said that there is a Triphala vriksha under which Agastya
Munivar resides in hidden form.A Sri Yantra is present in front of the Garbha
griha. There are kundams or wells and the water from the Manohara kundam is used
for Shivabhisheka. The Krishna River passing through this shrine, is the holy
teerth known as Pathalaganga. Indeed the Krishna river is also known by this
name. Pilgrims take holy dip in this river.
Another significance of the
Temple is a legend in the Mahabaratha in which Lord Shiva confessring Arjuna
with the Paasupata Astra. The Vijayesvara temple and Malleshvaraswamy temple
established by Arjuna and Yidhishtira respectively are located near to this
BRINGI: The temple not only houses Sahasralinga and Nataraja
but also a sculpture of the sage Bringi standing on three legs. Bringi is an
ardent Shiva-bhkata. He transformed himself to be a bee to circumambulate Lord
Shiva’s head. Mother fused herself as Ardhanariswara but he became a worm to
penetrate and go around Shiva’s half. Mother gets angry and subjects Bringi to a
curse of muscle-waste. He begs for mercy. At the instance of the Lord, Mother
Parvathi gave him a third leg to support himself and hobble around the divine
couple. There would be a separate postings on Bringi)
PURANA: This Purana has a slightly different version. Bhramaramba or Bhramari
means the Mother of bees. The asura Arunaasura chanted Gayatri mantra and
performed tapasya for a very long time, and pleased Lord Brahma. He is given a
boon that he should not be killed by anything moving on two or four feet. As
usual, Brahma is generous and gives the boon. One would wonder why Brahma has
been handing out so many boons to asuras but then again each episode seems to
have some spiritual significance. Anyway, with this Arunaasura captures and
rules the whole world.
The Devathas were worried and prąyed to Mother
Adi Shakti. But then, here you have Arunaasara chanting gayatri all the time and
he cannot be killed unless he stops worshiping her. Brihaspathi, the head of the
Devas, devises a plan to meet Arunaasura. The demon asks Brihaspati the purpose
of the visit and he challenges the asura if Goddess would meet him first as they
both worship the same deity and chant the same mantra. The devas, after their
capture were deemed to be inferior and Arunaasura felt ashamed of himself for
worshiping Gayatri, who is also being worshiped by Devathas and stopped
worshiping her. This angered Mother Adi Shakti. She then took the form of
Bhramarambika and created a swarm of bees, all with six legs. Arunaasura and his
whole army was attacked by the bees and wiped off within seconds.
SADHANA: Ashviyja, Navaratri festival is conducted in the Bhramaramba temple
every year. Around April or the month of Chithirai a local festival by name
Kumbham is held every year. The Mallikarjuna Linga is accessible to bhaktas and
anybody can go into the sanctum sanctorum of Mallikarjuna, touch and feel His
bliss. The archakas supplement prayers with mantras but one is able to perform
abishekam and archana. Mother Bhramaramba, in that sense is open to all her
children to motivate personal prayers.
Yogi Ananda Saraswathi