Shiva while on a hunt happened to hear a sweet voice in the jungle. He was surprised to find that it belonged to a tribal girl, “Kulivaka” (Pronounced as Koolivaaka) – a girl of immense beauty. The solitude in that forest area called Kuli van, and the wild beauty of the forest girl, made the Lord lustful. He informed Kulivaka of his wish and told her to wait for him until he returned from his hunt.
Kulivaka, who was a devotee of Parvati realized that mating with lord would bring forth the wrath of the goddess upon her; but she feared the wrath of Shiva also in case she refused him. She prayed to her Goddess to save her from the predicament. Parvati, pleased with her innocence appeared before her and revealed her true identity. In her previous birth Kulovaka was Manaswini, a servant in the retinue of Parvati. One day she happened to breast-feed Ganesha who was a baby at that time. Parvati didn’t appreciate the fact of a servant breast-feeding her baby. She cursed Manaswini that she would be born in a chandala(outcaste)family. When Parvati’s anger subdued, she took pity on Manaswini. Devi Parvati blessed her that although she be born as a chandala she would get the opportunity to breast-feed the son of Shiva.
Devi disclosed that it was the pre-ordained fate that made possible her meeting with Lord Shiva and his passion for Koolivaka. She told the girl that she herself would take on the form of Koolivaka and deceive the Lord Shiva. She also informed Koolivaka that the son born from such a union would be the killer of Jalandhara, a powerful Asura. Thus revealing the course of fate, she sent the innocent girl away.
The pseudo Koolivaka started swinging on a creeper attached to a jackfruit tree and waited for the arrival of Lord Shiva. A child with divine power was born through their union. Lord Shiva arranged a buffalo for the protection of the child. This divine child who came to be known as Chathan was given to Koolivaka for rearing. Koolivaka thus became the mother of Chathan, son of Lord Shiva fulfilling the boon of Parvati.
Chathan lived with Koolivaka for about seven years. The tribals loved the boy who saved them from many dangers. He roamed the jungle riding his buffalo and playing a musical instrument known as “Ezhara”.
On his seventh birthday, the tribals held a feast in his honour. During the feast the sage, Narada manifested himself. He revealed to Chathan the secret of his birth. Moreover, Narada advised Chathan to visit his true parents in Kailasa. He also told Chathan the true purpose of his birth.
Chathan started his journey to Kailasam with the permission of his foster mother and friends. He rode on his buffalo to Kailasam. When he was about to reach Kailasam he realized that Nandikeshwara would not allow him to enter Kailash in his present form. So he took the form of Lord Vishnu. On seeing their son, Shiva and Parvati were very happy and hugged their son. Lord Shiva blessed him, saying, “You invoked the form of Vishnu by Maya (magic). So you will be known as Vishnu Maya”. Moreover, he taught him the art of warfare and the secrets to kill Jalandhara (an asura who had been harassing the Devas).
Jalandhara was an asura who had got a boon from Indra and he was terrorizing the three worlds (Heaven, Pathala (Nether World) and Earth). Chathan challenged him to battle. After a fierce battle, Chathan took the form of Sudarsana Chakra with his Maya to behead Jalandhara. Sensing danger, he escaped and hid himself in the seas. Chathan as Chakra followed him. Due to the heat of the fiercely revolving Chakra the water where Jalandhara was hiding started to boil. Unable to bear the heat, Jalndhara came out and he was promptly beheaded. Thus came the end of Jalandhara. With the killing of Jalandhara, the power of Chathan was recognized by the Devas. Indra invited him to Heaven. But Chathan declined the offer saying that his place was among the poor people who needed his protection. Chathan returned to his own people.
Another powerful Asura called Briga saw Koolivaka in the forest and wanted to take her as his wife. He had come with a large force and tried to capture her. Chathan along with his trusted follower, “Karimkutty” resisted the attack.
Chathan was injured in the conflict. From the blood that fell on the ground, there arose 400 “Kuttichathan”s. Sensing his immediate defeat, Briga used ten Brahmastras against Chathan, ten Kuttichathans valiantly swallowed the weapon and gave up their life. The remaining 390 Kuttichathans defeated the army while Chathan killed Briga with his Kuruvadi (short Stick).