in 1929 in Kerala's Triponitura village. Mithran studied in a
gurukul. He learnt Sanskrit and studied the Vedas, the Upanishads,
As for spiritual practice, he used the mrityunjya mantra. Then, in a
sun temple, he practised the gayatri and bala mantras. But when he
went to the Mookambika temple to be initiated in the devi's mantra,
the resident priest refused. Mithran begged for it again and again,
but to no avail. The bija (seed) mantra of this devi (goddess) is
not written down in any scripture; it is handed down orally.
Incidentally, the Mookambika temple's uniqueness is that the deity
here is worshipped as Saraswati (goddess of the arts and learning)
the morning, Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and prosperity) in the
afternoon and Kali (signifying the primordial female) at night. A
dejected Mithran left the temple and went into the forest nearby.
After taking a dip in the river and still wearing wet clothes, he
sat under a tree. As the night darkness descended on the forest, he
The only word that left his lips along with the sighs was: Devi,
Devi (goddess). The night wore on while he remained in this state.
Then, in a true miracle, a woman manifested before him. Her forehead
was adorned with a tilak (mark) of sandalwood and sindoor
(auspicious red powder). She was carrying a monk's bowl in her hand
and an ochre cloth wrapped around her back. She appeared to be
barely 25 to 30 years old.
Mithran gaped at her in utter astonishment and confusion. " So, the
priest didn't give you the mantra? " she asked and then added with a
smile: " I've come personally to give you that same bija mantra. "
She whispered the mantra thrice into Mithran's ear, as is customary,
to help him memorize it, and made a covenant that he would not
reveal it to anybody.
The devi disappeared and Mithran, dancing in ecstasy, ran towards
the temple. The temple door was closed. He sat outside waiting for
dawn. Eventually the priest arrived and Mithran caught hold of his
arm. " I've got the mantra, " he exclaimed and said it aloud. Since
only the priest knew the mantra, he was convinced that Mithran was
speaking the truth. Then, the priest told him: " According to this
temple's tradition, anybody who is blessed with the devi's darshan
has to be worshipped. "
This was in January 1961. The priest called for other priests from
neighbouring villages. They robed Mithran in silk clothes and
worshipped him amid much fanfare. Soon after, Mithran went into the
Ganapati cave in a nearby hill and practised the mantra for four-and-
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