Rishika was a devout Brahmin woman who was married to a Brahmin man as per the customs and rituals. However, in her past life, due to some unfortunate circumstances, she had become a widow. Driven by a deep devotion to the divine, she began following strict penances and rituals, including the arduous task of Parthiva Puja, in order to seek spiritual redemption.
Once, while performing her penances, At that time, a notorious and powerful demon named Muda, who was a great deceiver, happened to come to the region where Kama, the god of love, was causing trouble.
He saw a beautiful maiden engaged in meditation and began to lust after her, displaying various forms of temptation and requesting to have intercourse with her but
The virtuous and devoted ascetic woman, who was focused on observing strict vows and meditating on Lord Shiva, did not cast her gaze upon him.
Ignored by the Brahmani who was engrossed in meditation, the demon king Muda became angry and revealed his terrifying form to her, after being rejected by the chaste young woman.
After that, the wicked asura made fear-inducing derogatory remarks and repeatedly tormented the Brahmin’s wife. She trembled with fear and called out to Lord Shiva affectionately multiple times
Being a devotee of Lord Shiva, the Brahmin’s wife completely relied on him for protection. The woman who chanted Lord Shiva’s name became very agitated and sought refuge in Lord Shambhu to protect her.
Then, to protect the refuge, establish righteousness, and to provide happiness to the Brahmin’s wife, Lord Shiva appeared there.
The affectionate God Shiva immediately reduced the arrogant demon king to ashes and, looking upon the Brahmin’s wife with compassion, generously offered her his protection by saying, “Ask for a boon.”
Upon hearing this statement from Lord Maheshwara, the pious Brahmin’s wife beheld his auspicious and blissful form.
The saintly woman joined her hands and bowed her head in reverence to Lord Shiva, the giver of happiness to all. She spoke, “Oh great Lord Shiva, protector of your devotees, you are compassionate towards the foolish and the helpless.
You have protected my faith by defeating the demon named muda. By doing so, you have saved the entire world. Now, please bless me with the highest and purest form of devotion at your feet,
oh Lord. This is my greatest desire. Also, please remain here forever for the benefit of all.
Lord Shiva replied, “Oh virtuous brahmini, you are always righteous and especially devoted to me. I have granted all the boons you have asked for.”
At that moment, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, along with other deities, arrived and paid their respects to Lord Shiva with great joy and affection.
They also bowed their heads in reverence. Meanwhile, the goddess Ganga praised the saintly woman for her good fortune with a contented heart.
Ganga said, “O Brahmini! During the month of Vaisakha, I also should give you a promise to stay here for a day. I also want to reside in this holy place on that day.”
Upon hearing Ganga’s request, the virtuous and devout rishika, who was committed to the observance of excellent vows,
joyfully said for the welfare of all, “Very well, let it be so.” Upon hearing this, Lord Shiva became extremely pleased and dissolved himself into the linga made of earthly matter.
Upon seeing this, all the gods were delighted and began to praise Shiva and the sages, and then departed for their respective abodes.
From that day on, the Narmada River became such an excellent and sacred pilgrimage site, and Shiva, who destroys all sins, became famous there by the name of Nandikeshwar.
Ganga also visits there every year on the seventh day of the month of Vaishakh by her own wish to wash away the sins that she has taken from humans.
The story of Lord Shiva and his devout rishika and ashram Nandikesh is a beautiful example of the power of devotion and the importance of fulfilling one’s promises. It continues to inspire people to this day, and the sacred Narmada River remains a popular destination for those seeking spiritual purification.