Ravana,the king of lanka, was a great devotee of Shiva. He often went to Kailasa.There he worshipped Shiva with great devotion.Once,as usual, he had gone to Kailas. Lord Shiva was very pleased with his devotion.”I am pleased with you” he told Ravana.”ask for any boon. I shall grant it,”when all the world will end in the great floods,”said Ravana, “Lanka should be spared. That’s the only boon I want! Shiva was little puzzled.
Ravana had already proved troublesome to the gods. Having the boon granted he would trouble the gods still more. So what should be done? Shiva thought of a clever idea He gave Ravana a Shivalinga.” take this Shivalinga,”Shiva told him, “wherever you put it down, it would stick fast there That place will be protected from the floods. If you wish to protect Lanka,make sure you put it down on reaching Lanka! Ravana was overjoyed. But shiva warned him, “hold it in both hands.If you leave it anywhere else it will stick to that spot,Then it will not be possible to remove it. So be careful with it!”Ravana eagerly started for Lanka. Meanwhile,the gods learnt of Shiva’s boon to Ravana.
They were horrified They went to Ganesha for help. They told him what had happened.”please do something,God,” they pleaded to Ganesha,”so that the Shivalinga does not reach Lanka. If it reaches there;Ravana would become more powerful.” Ganesha thought for a moment. He had a bright idea,”all right,”he assured them a solution” I shall see that the Shivalinga does not reach Lanka.”then Ganesha, in the disguise of a cowherd, stood in Ravana’s path.Ravana had walked a long way, was tired and sweating.
He wanted to wipe his sweat. But he could not do so;cause he had the heavy Shivalingain his hands. Just then Ravana saw the cowherd boystanding in his path.Behind him there was a river.”hey boy! Come here.” Ravana called out to the boy.”What do you want?” the boy asked;without moving from where he stood.”I am very thirsty,”replied Ravana. “Please hold this Linga for just a minute. Do not put it down. I wish to go to the river for a drink of water.I shall not take long.””All right!” said, Ganesha “but the Linga seems very heavy; if my hands get tired I shall call you three times If you don’t come immediately back, then I shall put it down!” he warned.”Don’t worry! “Ravana said.”I shall be quick.”With a great relief he handed over the linga to the boy.
Then he hurried to the river. And as soon as Ravana reached the river; the boy called out;”Ravana, Ravana, Ravana!” and quickly put the linga down.Immediately it stuck there.When Ravana came back from the river;there was no sign of the boy. And the linga had stuck to the ground. Ravana tried to pull it.But it did not move a bit.Yet,because of Ravana’s great strength it lost the shape.It now resembles the ear of a cow. That is why it is known as Gokarna.The place became a famous place of pilgrimage. Even to-day we know it as Gokarna Mahabaleshwar.