The abode of the Goddess Vaishno Devi is in the Moutains of Trikuta Hills, in the Jammu and Kashmir State of Northern India. Ma resides in a beautiful cave in the form of 3 ‘Pindis’ namely, Maha-Kali, Maha-Laxmi and Maha-Sarawati. Ma Vaishno Devi took birth in the South of India in the home of Ratnakar Sagar, Her worldly parents had remained childless for a long time. Ratnakar had promised, the night before the birth of the Divine child, that he would not come in the way of whatever his child desired. Ma Vaishno Devi was called Trikuta as a child.
Later She was called Vaishnavi because of Her taking birth from Lord Vishnu’s lineage. When Trikuta was 9 years old, She sought her father’s permission for doing penance on the sea-shore.
Trikuta prayed to Lord Vishnu in the form of Rama. During Shree Ram’s search for Sita, He reached the sea-shore along with His army.
His eyes fell on this Divine Girl in deep meditation. Trikuta told Shree Ram that She had accepted Him as Her husband. Shree Ram told Her that during this Incarnation He had vowed to be faithful to only Sita.
However the Lord assured Her that in ‘Kaliyuga’ He would manifest as ‘Kalki’ and would marry Her. In the meantime Shree Ram asked Trikuta to meditate in the cave found in the Trikuta Range of Manik Mountains, situated in Northern India. Ma decided to observe the ‘Navratra’ for the Victory of Shree Ram against Ravan. Hence one reads the Ramayana during the 9 days of Navratra, in remembrance of the above connection.
Shree Ram promised that the whole world would sing Ma Vaishno Devi’s praise. Trikuta was to become famous as Vaishno Devi and would become immortal forever.
With the passage of time many more stories about the Mother Goddess emerged. One such story is about Shree-Dhar. The above story is about 700 years old. Shri-Dhar was an ardent devotee of Ma Vaishno Devi. He resided in a village called Hansali, 2 Km away from the present Katra town. Once Ma appeared to him in the form of a young bewitching girl. The young girl asked the humble Pandit to hold a ‘Bhandara’. (A feast to feed the mendicants and devotees) The Pandit set out to invite people from the village and near-by places.
He also invited ‘Bhairav Nath’. Bhairav Nath asked Shri-Dhar how he was planning to fulfill the requirements. He reminded him of the bad consequences in case of failure. As Panditji was lost in worry, the Divine girl appeared and told Him not to be despondent as everything had been arranged. She asked that over 360 devotees be seated in the small hut.
True to Her word the Bhandara went smoothly with food and place to spare. Bhairav Nath admitted that the girl had supernatural powers and decided to test Her further. Bhairav Nath followed the Divine girl to Trikuta Hills.
For 9 months Bhairav Nath was searching for the mystic girl in the mountains. He saw the ‘girl’ hitting the stone with an arrow and water gushing out of the stone. He ‘saw’ the ‘girl’ sitting on the mountain top. When Bhairav went to that place, he saw footprints on the stone. Bhairav wondered how the ‘girl’ had eluded him for 9 months! Wondering whether she was hiding in the cave (Adi Kunwaari), he decide to enter it.
On seeing Bhairav entering the cave, Ma tore open a path behind the cave, by Her trident and came out. Ma reached the beautiful cave in the Trikuta mountain. She urged Bhairav not to follow Her.
But he disobeyed. The Goddess took the shape of Fierce Chandi and killed Bhairav. The head of Bhairav fell on the mountain peak. Bhairav had Spiritual powers. So though his head was severed, he still retained consciousness. Bhairav repented for his conduct. Ma forgave him and granted him the boon that whosoever worshipped Her would later visit his shrine. Meanwhile, Pandit Shree- Dhar became impatient. He started to march towards Trikuta Mountain on the same path that he had witnessed in a dream.
He ultimately reached the cave mouth. He made a daily routine of worshipping the ‘Pindis’ in several ways.
His worship pleased the Goddess. She appeared in front of him and blessed him. Since that day, Shree-Dhar and his descendants have been worshipping the Goddess Mother Vaishno Devi.