It is unique due to the fact that both Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are present here as the Jyotirlinga. Mallikarjuna is an amalgamation of two words, wherein 'Mallika' refers to Goddess Parvati and 'Arjuna' is one of the many names of Lord Shiva.
Also Read: These are the various forms of Lord Shiva
Another significance of the Mallikarjuna jyotirlinga is that it is also one among the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams. Paadal Petra Sthalams are temples and places of worship that are dedicated to Lord Shiva. The verses in the Shaiva Nayanars describe these temples as the greatest and most important places of worship in the 6th and 7th centuries.
Mallikarjuna As A Shakti Peetha
Mallikarjuna is one among the 52 Shakti Peethas. When Lord Shiva danced the dance of destruction with the burnt body of his spouse, Goddess Sati, Maha Vishnu cut the body into pieces using his Sudarshana Chakra. These pieces fell on to the earth and formed an important place of worship for the followers of Shakti. These places are revered to as Shakti Peethas.
It is said that the upper lip of the Goddess Sati fell on to the earth at Mallikarjuna. Therefore, Mallikarjuna is more holy for the Hindus.
Legends Of The Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga
There are many stories associated with the Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga and devotees may differ in the story they prefer. Here, we are going to cite two of the most popular stories.
The following story can be found in the 15th chapter of Kotirudra Samhita in the Shiva Purana.
Once, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati decided to get their sons, Lord Ganesh and Lord Kartikeya, married to suitable brides. An argument arose regarding who among the two is to be married first. Lord Shiva suggested that whoever goes around the world in a pradakshina and returns first will be wedded first.
Lord Kartikeya jumped on to his peacock and started his pradakshina. Lord Ganesha shrewdly went around his parents seven times and claimed that his parents were the world to him. Thus, having won the competition, Lord Ganesha was wedded to Goddesses Riddhi and Siddhi. When Lord Kartikeya returned, he was enraged at the unfairness meted out to him. He left Kailasa to live on Mount Krouncha. At Mount Krouncha, he took up the name Kumarabrahmachari.
The turn of events saddened Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. They decided to visit Lord Kartikeya on Mount Krouncha. When Kartikeya realized that his parents were to arrive, he moved away to another place. The place where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati waited is now known as Srisailam. It is said that Lord Shiva visits Lord Kartikeya on amavasya days and Goddess Parvati visits him on poornima.
The next story is that of a princess called Chandravati. The story can be found sculptured into the walls of the Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga Temple.
Chandravati was born a princess but decided to give up royalty and spend her life doing penance. She was in Kadali forest immersed in meditation when she saw a Kapila cow approaching a Bilwa tree. The cow was bathing the ground near the tree with milk from its four udders. This kept happening every day. Perplexed, the princess dug up the ground under the tree. It was here that she found a 'Swayambhu Shiva Linga' -- a Shiva Linga that was formed in the nature. The Shiva Linga was bright and looked like it was on fire.
Chandravati worshipped the Jyotirlinga and eventually made a huge Temple to house the Jyotirlinga.
It is said that Chandravati was a very dear devotee of Lord Shiva. When her time came, she was carried to Kailasa by the winds. She attained Moksha and Mukti there.
Significance Of Worshipping Lord Shiva At The Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga
It is believed that praying to Lord Shiva here brings immense wealth and fame. Showing true devotion to Lord Shiva will help fulfill all kinds of wishes and desires.
Festivals At Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga
Maha Shivaratri is the most important festival that is celebrated here. Every year, the occasion is celebrated with great grandeur and pomp. This year, Maha Shivaratri falls on the 23rd of February.