Shiva beeja samudbhutam Vedashaakhaabhirujjwalam, Mrukandutanayaadhaaram Rasaalam tam Namaamyaham/
(I commend that Rasaala Vriksha viz. Ekaamra Vriksha, which sprang from the Shiva Rupa Beeja or of the Seed of Shiva and vivified with Branches of Vedas and scripted by Maharshi Markandeya)
In the illustrious Rudra Shaala to the East of Pandava Tirtha there was an Ekaamra Vana which was maintained Deva Parvati herself that was full of Sacred Trees and inhabited by Maha Munis. In this ‘Vana’ was a famed Rasaala Vriksha called Ekaamra also popular as ‘Rudra Koti’ since the Tree was situated in Rudra Shaala. The upkeep and safety of this Tree was entrusted by Maharshi Markandeya in the past. The background was providing this responsibilty was as follows: there were ‘Chatusshasti koti’or Sixty Four Crores of Shiva Shaktis whom all no doubt Shiva was fond of. But in course of time, they claimed equal status and seating arrangement on par with Devi Parvati! Shiva explained to the Shaktis that Parvati’s position was far above that of various Shakis and it was not possible to equate her eminence with that of theirs. The Shaktis stated that Shiva was being unfairly partial to Parvati! Was she superior to them in Knowledge or Grace and Beauty or Susheelata / Sadgunas or Excellence in Romance! They thus challenged him to prove her superiority. Shiva smiled as the Vastras of all the Shaktis slided down their bodies and they had to make desperate efforts to hide their nudity but Devi Parvati’s dress was intact. The Shaktis felt ashamed of their nakedness and Devi Parvati closed Shiva’s three Eyes while the Shaktis were swiftly getting dressed up again. As per the Time calculation of Devas, a full ‘Muhurta’elapsed while the Shaktis were getting dressed up again. During this time, Surya Chandraagnis perished; the entire Universe vanished and the Charaachara Jagat became extinct; there was utter darkness and Maha Pralaya! However Markandeya was still breathing although struggling to gasp finding no way to save himself in that pitch darkness and hopelessly praying to survive.
He then narrated to King Surata as follows:
Aadhaara Kaankshayaan tasmin Kaaleham Parameshwaram, Sadaa Shiveshaana Rudra Hari Brahmaadi kaaranam/
Devi Divya tanou leena chittam Kaameshamavyayam, Mahaa Tripura Sundaryaa Naayakam Nirgunam smaran/
Aadhaaramatra Devesha Dehimey twam kataakshatah, Iti Sampraapya Devesham Jalagarbheyvi- sham shramaat/
Tatah kripaanidhisshambhustatra madrakshaneycchayaa, Chidrupo Rudra shaalaayam vasannavyaktatejasaa/
Chuta beejaakrutirbhutwaa Chaturaamnaaya shaakhinam, Vrikshamutpaadayaamaasa swabeejaatthatra Shankaraha/
Bhitwaa jalanidhim tatra tadjjalaadbhahi raayaou, Atha tacchutavrikshopi kshanena Vavrudhey kramaat/
Tatsshaaakhaa vibhushaadhyam Pralayaateetamunnatam, Athaaham tam tarum drushtwaa taduparyeva samsthitah/
Pralayaarnava –maalokya vismayaannischalaakritih, Tamchutam Shiva rupena dhyaatwaa Saakshaatparasshivah/
(I prayed to that Avyaya- Nirguna Kameshwara who was the ‘Kaarana Bhuta’ or the Original Cause of the existence of Brahma-Vishnu-Rudra-Ishana-Sada Shiva and who was absorbed in the thoughts of Tripura Sundari’s Divya Vigraha; then I meditated Maha Deva desperately to provide me a hold and entered the depths of Pralaya Saagara. Dayanidhi Shankara apparently decided to save me and stood firm in the Rudra Shala; there was the Form of a Mango Seed which germinated within no time, a huge Saala Vrisha with Chatuveda Shaakhaas pierced through the Pralaya Water. It was amazing that there was a Maha Vrisha that grew suddenly and survived in the Pralaya and the Maharshi since rescued got self-convinced that Maha Deva himself assumed the Swarupa of the Vriksha).
Seated on a peacock Shanmukha Skanda sat on the top of the Tree enjoying ripe mango fruits and Maharshi Markandeya enquired as to who that Six-Headed boy was. Kumara Swami replied that whenever there was a Pralaya, this Kanchipura was rescued by the kindness and splendour of Maha Tripura Sundari and that was why this Kanchi Kshetra was famed as ‘Pralaya Jit’or the Victory of Pralaya; this Rasaala Tree was of Shankara’s own Self and whoever consumed the fruits of the Rasala would become Veda Vidya Guru and attain ‘Koti Lingarchana Phala’ by the grace of Maha Deva.
Markandeya narrated the above experience of his own about the Ekaamra Vriksha Mahima to King Suratha and further illustrated the Tree’s significance as follows: There was aVipra named Krouncha who lived on a ‘Shringi Shaila’or a Mountain Top on the banks of Tungabhadra River; he stole a Golden Shiva Linga from a Temple and eked his livelihood. He begot sixteen sons but due to the sin of stealing the Golden Linga they were ‘Linga heenas’or devoid of male organs. Highly disappointed by this calamity, he visited ‘Rudra Shaalaa Kshetra’along with his entire family and rested under the Rasaala Vriksha just for a few moments; he then experienced the miracle of gaining the masculinity of his sons and eversince then continued his life at Kanchipura itself till his death and achieved Rudra Loka. Such was the grandeur of the Ekaamra Vriksha. Whoso ever recited or heard about the glory of the Sacred Tree sincerely with faith would secure the fruit of residing under the shade of the Rasaala!