Ravana once went to meet Maharudradeva in Mount Kailasa. He was stopped at the foot of the mount by Nandi as the Lord was Maa Parvathi privacy. Feeling insulted Ravana tried to lift the mount. Maharudradeva pressed the ground with his big toe and the mighty Ravana was stuck beneath the huge mount.
Now humiliated Ravana wanted to please his Lord who was fond of music. He ripped opened his belly pulled out his intestine and started to play it as Veena. Nandi who was witnessing this was shocked to see the height of devotion.
Maharudradeva who is the darling of his devotees came down and was generous enough to grant him a boon. Seizing the opportunity Ravana asked Maharudradeva to give him the Atma Linga.
Atma Linga is an ovaloid of the supreme self having the center everywhere and the circumference nowhere. It is the source of Shakti, the power.
Ravana was very careful to take it to Lanka. The uniqueness of it was thwasif placed on the ground the Atma Linga would stay fixed. Ravana was a Asura (Demon) and the legend says that the one who worshiped Atma Linga would become immortal. The Suras (Demi-Gods) requested Maha Vishnu to foil the attempt of Ravana to take the Atma Linga to Lanka.
Maha Vishnu asked Ganesha to approach Ravana in the guise of a young Brahmin and using his Sudarshana veiled the sun. Thinking it to be twilight Ravana thought of performing the Sandhyavandana (Sun worship). He could not place the Atma Linga down. He saw the young Brahmin and gave it to him asking him not to let Atma Linga down.
The Brahmin boy agreed on one condition that he would call out trice and if Ravana did not come he would place the Atma Linga on the ground. Ravana had started his Sandhyavandana when the Brahmin called out three times and placed the Atma Linga on the ground.
Ravana came back and tried to lift the Atma Linga but all his efforts went futile. The Atma Linga got fixed to the earth. Frustrated Ravana used all his strength and pushed it into the earth further, so that only a little tip was visible. That little tip resembled the ear of the cow. Gokarna is the place and the Atma Linga is Sri Mahaballeshwara. The
Temple is in the costal region of Karnataka.
Atma Linga is two word i.e. is Atma and Linga.
Atma is the main source of Power. Atma is the creator, destroyer or maintainer of the world. Linga is that which gives identity in this materialistic world.
Every individual has Atma Linga within which aid to contemplate on and experience the eternal bliss.
Har Har Mahadeva!!!