Custom Search

Tale of Devi Vaishno and Bhairav Nath

by Geetika Sodhi Lohan
(Ghaziabad, India )

The Lesser Known Tale of Devi Vaishno and Bhairav Nath.

In a village in Jammu there lived a very poor priest called Damodar who was a staunch devotee of Vaishno Swarup Durga. He and his family were socially rejected by most people in the village as they lived impoverished lives. He would often be suggested to take some part of offerings in the temple, he served, as salary for the well being of his loved ones but he would refuse to dishonor the sanctity of the pledge.

Once when Navratris were being observed there came a time when Damodar and his family didn't have food to eat, let aside doing a genial feast he had wished to organise to grace the arrival of Ma in Navratris. He sat wailing at his poor conditions and inability to offer anything but his service to the Gooddess.

The lore has it that in that moment Ma appeared as a light and told him to invite the whole village for a feast on Asthami. The priest didn't know whether to be jumping with joy for his experience or be distressed about fulfilling the order the deity had given for he had nothing to feed guests.

Despite all the revolt from his family he surrendered to Ma and abided by the command by inviting everybody in the village. On Asthami people started collecting and taking their seats in the lawn of the priests house, his kitchen still dark without a morsel of food. His wife welcomed everyone well aware of the humiliation it was to bring. People took their seats, gossip taking rounds, everyone was waiting to hear how the priest couldn't fulfill his promise. There were no signs or aroma of food. The priest stood with folded hands in front of Ma awaiting the miracle. As minutes passed laughter started filling the room, his wife turning red with shame not able to face the huge mass of people and the priest too started to realise his mistake dismissing the encounter with Devi as a delusion.

They say till you are praying for miracles you aren't really surrendered and until there is complete surrender there are no miracles.


Just when the priest gave up on praying - his mind numb and heart gripped with fear - a voice called his name. At the gate of his house stood a smiling girl, Vaishnavi, in her teens, her face illuminated with a divine glow. She called his name again and as he came out running she told him to make arrangements for everyone's food. Such was the aura of the damsel that sounds in the room silenced and everyone sat there looking at her.

Then the miracle happened. The girl started serving food on everyone's plate from the pot she carried. The pot had infinite supply and the food just kept coming out with hundreds of villagers unbelievably eating and singing the glory of the little girl and Damodar. The feast went on for two days.

The news reached by and far within hours and touched ears of disciples of Baba Gorakhnath passing the village for an expedition. Led by one of the most powerful sages of the times and Gorakhnath's most favourite disciple Baba Bhairav Nath, the troop reached Damodar's house. Young and arrogant Bhairav nath wanted to know more about the divine teenager everyone spoke highly of and praised for her beauty. Villagers had already started calling Damodar as the biggest adherent of Devi as they had all accepted that Vaishnavi had divine powers and was Durga herself.

As she started serving food to the group of disciples Bhairavnath got smitten by her beauty. She had an air of Spiritual strengths that only Devi could possess and Bhairavnath was a master of Tantra and Tantric Practices which he had attained after years of renunciation and meditation. As a young sage with exceptional powers his attraction- a blend of lust and willingness to possess her, Bhairavnath couldn't keep himself from holding her hand and pulling her close as everyone looked on.

Angry and Embarrassed Vaishnavi left the house. Bhairavnath didn't give up and decided to chase her. To save herself from the eyes she kept running towards the mountains as Bhairav Nath followed her and finally caught hold of her trying to express his wish to marry her. His mien forceful and compelling, he wanted her at all costs, desire and greed to capture her prowess to get salvation, easily dodging his sainthood.

Vaishnavi after trying to explain it to him why it wasn't possible, lost her patience
and finally gave up on her human embodiment and that is when Kaali rose and beheaded Bhairavnath. Before taking his last Bhairav apologised. He lost sight of righteousness and humanity as desire blinded him and as penance pledged to honour Durga in all his lifetimes as a devout adherent without accepting any fruits of attainment of supreme that he had earned through years of renunciation and meditation.
Aware of his good deeds and spiritual strengths Durga not only forgave but blessed him that whoever will pray Vaishnavi will remember Bhairavnath and that her abode and prayer would be incomplete without his name.

The holy shrine is known as one of the most powerful of the 51 Shakti Peethas with Durga's emanation blessing the abode. In the age of Mahabharata when Pandavas roamed homeless in forests they constructed the temple of Mata Vaishnavi on Trikut Mountain and since then the holy shrine is visited by believers from around the country.


Click here to post comments

Return to Stories for Children.