Jarandaya is a celebrated deity, worshipped throughout Tulunadu, extending from Mangalore to Barkur. He is revered as the defender of the borders of the kingdom and the one who has taken up the responsibility of looking after all the devotees in his charge. He has the status of a Rajandaiva or royal deity. This special status is restricted to just a few deities like Jumadi, Panjurli, Pilicandi, Bobbarya, Kodamantaya, etc.
Some of Jarandaya’s Legends are as follows:
BIRTH OF JARANDAYA
Once Goddess Gowri, wife of Lord Parameswara sacrificed her life by jumping into the sacrificial Yajna Kunda of her father King Daksa. On hearing this news, Lord Parameswara became furious and with burning rage, he lashed upon the earth the strands of his entangled hair which manifested into the ferocious deity – Virabhadra, who has a significant importance across Indian culture. As per the command of Lord Parameswara, Virabhadra destroyed King Daksha. Still raging with wrath, Virabhadra asked Lord Parameswara about his next task, which he would be happy to carry out. But Lord Parameswara advised him to become calm and to descend upon our earth where he would take up the responsibility of protecting the devotees who would follow the righteous path of virtue and would punish those who would transgress the rules of Dharma. Hence he came to be known as ‘Dharma Jarandaya‘, often simply invoked as ‘Jarandaya’ .
After Dharma Jarandaya came to earth, he went on a quest to find a suitable spot to settle down. During this time in a place called Jara, near Kulur in Mangaluru, a name Abbu Baidedi from the Baidya community, was picking up shellfish alongside a small river and she happened to pick up a strangely beautiful stone slab. Its beauty mesmerised her and she thought that it would be a good gift for her brother Jatti Baidya, hence she kept in her basket. Miraculously that day her basket got miraculously filled up with shellfish. On returning home, she informed her brother about her find. That night a divine revelation was made to Jatti Baidya through a dream, he realised that this stone slab was a sign of Dharma Jarandaya’s arrival in Jara. He placed it on a clay pedestal and started worshipping it. Soon Jatti Baidya was blessed by Dharma Jarandaya and his life of abject poverty turned into a state of plentiful prosperity, with many instances where Dharma Jarandaya’s miraculous powers manifested themselves to protect him.
One such instance was when there was an altercation between the King of Kuloor and Jatti Baidya. Jatti was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, but he stepped out unharmed. However, the oil dripping from his hair strands severely burnt the skin of the King’s clan surrounding him.
Jatti Baidya immersed himself into the devotion of Dharma Jarandaya and offered the land of Jara for the service of Jarandaya.
Thereafter Jarandaya went northward and came to the Savira Sime of Padubidri and requested Lord Mahalingeswara of Padubidri for a shrine in this land. But Lord Mahalingeswara sent him to Goddess Khadgeswari since this land was under her jurisdiction. When Jarandaya asked for a shrine in her place, the Goddess said that she herself had no shrine, nor did Babbarya and Kordebbe! She said there would be no place for Jarandaya to stay in her domain. But Jarandaya persisted in his request for seven nights and seven days without a break. At last, Goddess Khadgeswari relented because of his ardent devotion and promised to settle him in a place nearby. Accordingly, Jarandaya came to Bettu, negotiated with Goddess Dhumavathi of Gaggelle Kote and settled in Kallatte Guttu. Here he came to be known as ‘Kallatte Jarandaya’.
But he realized that a single household could not afford to perform all Nemas, Tambilas as well as Utsavas for him and hence he acquired the control of the eastern, western and middle portions of Gundladi belonging to the jurisdiction of the deity known as Dhumavathi. Hence he started receiving worship from Guttu, Billava, Mohada Patna, Devadiga, Brahmins as well as other families and became famous as the local village deity. In deference to the gift of the land made by Goddess Khadgeswari, Jarandaya ruled that no religious ritual should begin in his shrine before the arrival of the representative of the Gurikar (chief officer) of the Brahma Sthana of Goddess Khadgeswari.
A poor but virtuous fisherman called Manju Marakala belonging to the community of Kadipatna of Padubidri, was an ardent devotee of Jarandaya. Everyday before fishing to earn his livelihood, he would offer ardent prayers to Jaranadaya.
Once Manju Marakala arrived in Kallatte on his way to the sea for fishing. Here, Jarandaya appeared before him, and asked him to offer him a horse, because he had no horse to ride. The poor Manju Markala pleaded his inability to offer him a horse owing to his extremely poor condition. Jarandaya took pity on his devotee and blessed him with fame and prosperity. When Manju Marakala’s fortune changed owing to this blessing, he offered a beautiful horse to Jarandaya, thus fullfuilling his deity’s request.
Thus there is a close affinity between Kallatte Jarandaya and the family of Manju Markala. Even today this tradition is followed by his desendents by offering the gift of a horse (wooden) to Jarandaya.
There are many such ancedotes about the miraculous feats of the Jarandaya deity.