In many Indian temples, you will find a scary disembodied head staring or smiling above the main entrance or at the entrance to the sanctum of temples. What is the story behind this face of Kirtimukha demon who is above the gods ?
Story behind it
There is a wonderful story behind it. Once there was a yogi who got some powers through meditation with the help of which he could do many things. He could burn anything to ashes, he could walk on water if he wanted, and he could do things that other people couldn’t do.
He became proud of this and started feeling himself all-powerful. Then he was roaming proudly in the forest, where Shiva was in his full frenzy. When Yogi saw him, he started making fun of him and insulted him. Then Shiva, who was in a completely inert state, suddenly appeared like fire in a completely alert and spontaneous state because he was not intoxicated by anything, he was intoxicated by his own will. Whenever they feel like it, they get drunk and stagger at will. But once he came out of that situation, he became fierce.
Shiva came in front of Yogi
This was a surprise for Yogi. Shiva was angry – ‘You insulted me?’ At the same time, Shiva created a new demon and said to him, ‘Eat this Yogi.’ Seeing the size and ferocity of the demon, the Yogi fell at the feet of Shiva and took pity on him. He started begging. Shiva became angry when he was drunk, but as soon as the Yogi fell at his feet, he was filled with compassion and said to the demon, ‘Okay, don’t eat him, you go away.’
Demon want to fulfill his purpose
The demon said, ‘You created me only to eat this Yogi. Now you are refusing to eat it. So, what do I do? I was created for this very purpose.’ But Shiva had again reached his mad state, in the same mood he said, ‘Eat yourself.’ By the time he turned back, the demon had eaten himself. He had eaten every part of his body. Only his face was left and two hands were going into his mouth, only two hands were left to eat.
Shiva gave him boon for obedience
Shiva saw this and said, ‘Oh wait, you are a yashashvi face.’ Everything else was finished, only the face was left, so he said, ‘You are the most glorious face on this earth, in this entire existence.’ Because when Shiva, in his unmat state, told him to ‘eat yourself’, he immediately obeyed. That’s why Shiva said, ‘You are above all the gods.’ That’s why if you go to any Indian temple today, you will see this face above the gods temole, with two hands going inside the mouth. He is known as Kirtimukha. Kirtimukh means a famous, glorious face. So he has a very big mouth that is eager to eat himself.
Kirtimukha remains above the gods even being a demon
Kirtimukha is believed to be above time and space and everything. Being above the gods means that Kirtimukha has risen above all these dimensions because even the gods are subject to certain realities. He is above all this.