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The Story of Shiva as Mahakala - Mahakaleshwar

Shiva is worshipped as Mahakala in Ujjain and the Mahakala Shiva Temple in Ujjain is counted third among the twelve Jyotirlingas. There is an interesting story which explains about the Mahakaleshwar form of Shiva – a fierce form which is beyond imagination and description. The story took place when Ujjain was known as Avanti and is mentioned in the Shiva Purana.

Once there lived a pious man in Avanti who was an ardent devotee of Mahadev Shiva. He had four sons and the family worshipped Mahadeva Shiva daily.

Not far away from their home in a hill named Ratanmala there lived an Asura (demon) named Dooshana. Demon Dooshana hated all forms of Shiva and vedic worship. He went around killing people who worshipped Shiva. Soon Dooshana came to know about the family in Avanti that worshipped Shiva.

Soon the demon arrived with his army and attacked the city. But the family continued to worship Shiva in the form of a Shivling.

Finally, the demon and soldiers reached the home of the pious man and started hurling weapons. The demon broke open the door and advanced towards the Shivling by raising a sword.

Suddenly, there was a deafening sound and there appeared a dreadful form beyond explanation before the Shivling. A single glance by the Mahakala form of Shiva burned the demon and his army into ashes. Uncontrollable and unsatisfied, the form of Shiva gave a huge roar; the entire universe trembled in fear.

The family was but delighted to see Mahakala Shiva and continued chanting his glory and prayers. Before his true devotees, Shiva is always the Bholenath – one can be easily influenced. Hearing the prayers of his devotees, His anger subsided.

But the family who was aware of the dangers of the world realized that the form of Shiva as Mahakala was essential for peace and prosperity and asked him to reside in this form at Ujjain. Since then Shiva remains at Ujjain Mahakal Temple as Mahakala – the one with the power to annihilate all living and nonliving.

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