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Maa Mauliksha & the Myths
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By seeing the huge number of temples of different gods and goddesses at Maluti one can easily imagine that at one point of time, the village was prosperous with a high degrees of religious zeal. Today the religious fervor has come down comparatively but the tradition has not been lost. It can be seen through puja and seva of numerous idols representing various deities both males and females. We find in this village Vedic gods like Narayana in the form of Saligram shila, Shiva in the form of Shiva Linga and goddess like Durga, Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped with great enthusiasm. At the same time people adore Manasa and Dharmaraj, the local two gods equally. The coordination between Vedic and local gods are unique. Above all goddess Mauliskha, the tutelary deity of royal dynasty receives highest adoration from all corners. She draws a good number of pilgrims throughout the year.

 

Mauliskha — the word Mauliksha has come from union of two words. Mauli and iksha. Mauli means mastak (head) and iksha denotes darshan   (to see). Actually the goddess has only a well curved stone head fixed on the wall. Rest of the body is absent. The lustrous icon has smiling face. It is made out of laterite stone, nicely chiselled has been given the shape of an idol.

 

She has been placed on a platform inside the garva-griha or sanctum sanatorium. Goddess Mauliksha is worshipped as Singha Vahini Durga. However, the deity has no resemblance with idol of Durga as described in different texts. The name Mauliksha also could not be found among Hindu or Buddhists god or goddesses. So it is still a mystery how the name came.

 

On the other hand, this area was under the influence of Vajrayani Buddhist and may idols of Buddhist gods and goddesses are available in many villages of Bengal. In this respect Buddhist history expert Dr. Binoytosh Bhattacharya describe the "influence of Vajrayani was much more in whole of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The idols of Buddhist gods and goddesses are available in maximum quantity at these places. Looking from this angle the icon of Mauliksha has some similarity with 'Pandara', the Shakti (female strength) of Amiatava. Vajrayani Buddhist regards Amitava as Dhyani Buddha. The creation of Dhyani Buddha is described in Buddhist religious book "Gujhya Samaj Tantra". Dhyani Buddhas have come from Adi Buddha or Vajradhar.  Another Buddhist sacred book Sadhan Mala described Buddhist tantra in detail. The names of five Dhyani Buddhas and their shaktis are available in different Buddhist texts.

 

Incidentally, the icon of Mauliksha is facing westward. Her colour is red. A lotus-designed halo is present behind the icons. So talking all these factors into account, the probability is there, that the icon had been established long back by the Buddhist monks inside the forestry long before the village Maluti was built as the capital of the tax-exempted kingdom. The original ancient temple was in ruins when the royal family members discovered the idol. The original temple was perhaps destroyed by an earthquake. As the temple collapsed on the idol, the nose of the idol was damaged. So the idol was covered with layer of gala. The current temple was constructed on the original foundation.

 

Goddess Mauliksha is said to be the elder sister of goddess Tara of Tarapith. This is so, because the renowned yogi (ascetic) Bamakhepa attained his Siddhi (enlightenment) from Mauliksha first and then from Tara. A number of miraculous stories are heard about Mauliksha. Many people have seen during night a flame springing out from the Hom-Kunda (pit for receiving the fire for oblation) all, on a sudden. Desceendants of Kamala Kanta, a great ascetic saint was thrown out in midnight while he was in deep meditation before the deity. Another story relates that sometimes in night, the sound of sweepoing with broom-stick at different places at a time is heard from inside the boundary of the lonely temple.