In Sathyaloka one day, Lord Brahma, Lord Shankara, Indra, Saptha Rushas, Ashta Dikpalakas, Thumbura, Saint Narada as well as other saints and deities come together. In the meeting they discuss about the magic of Lord Vishnu (Vishnu Maya) and Lord Brahma asks others if anyone can recognize Vishnu Maya. And no one replies as they feel that it is impossible to recognize Vishnu and his true magic.
Hearing this, Saint Narada comes forward, and with a feeling of pride says that he can find out the magic of Vishnu because of the reasons that he is an unmarried saint and he chants the name of Lord Vishnu always, roaming all around the three worlds, Thrilokas.
It is mentioned that Lord Shankara was earlier saved from Bhasmasura by Vishnu in his Mohini Avatara and Lord Brahma too could not recognize Vishnu Maya.
As the meeting proceeds, Lord Brahma tells Saint Narada that he will come to know more about Vishnu Maya when he lives as a human being on Bhooloka (earth).
After a few days, Narada visits Bhooloka, soon after his visit to Thriloka and it is almost evening. Saint Narada approaches the nearby lake to take a bath and performs the Surya Namaskara, leaving his kamandala and thumbhura on the banks of the lake. Soon after taking the third dip in the lake, Narada becomes a lady, and his kamandala and thumbara disappear. Now Narada (in the form of a lady) spends time roaming all around the forest and eats fruits.
After quite a few days, the King of Peethikaapura, Nikunthamani comes to the forest for hunting and sees Narada in his lady form. He takes the lady to his kingdom and makes efforts to find out about her identity and her relatives by sending her pictures to neighbouring countries and palaces, but there is no response.
Later the king decides to marry the lady on her acceptance since nobody has come forward to reveal her identity or to take her. The lady marries the king and gives birth to sixty children whose names become the names of sixty years. Over time, all the sixty children grow and start ruling the kingdom well.
After a few years, a message is received from King Nipunjaya saying that he is going to wage a war. The war takes place between the two kingdoms and King Nikunthamani, his sixty children and his complete defense force perishes in the war. On hearing the news, Narada in his lady form comes to the war land and cries.
After some time, she feels hungry and looks around for some fruits to eat. She sees a fruit on a tree but cannot reach it, so she arranges the dead bodies all around her, one by one including the dead body of her husband as steps to reach the fruit. Just then, Lord Shri Mahavishnu comes in the disguise of a Brahman and asks her why she has done such a thing? She then narrates the complete story to him. On hearing the story, the Brahman advises her to take a bath to pure herself and fulfill her hunger. She prays to him to help her.
Then, Lord Vishnu (in this Brahman form) creates another lake next to the existing lake and asks her to take a bath three times in it while lifting her left hand up. By the time she finishes her bath in the lake, the Brahman disappears. The lady now returns to her original man form as Narada but her bangles still remain on the left hand.
He then recollects everything that has happened, starting from the discussion in Sathyaloka. He realizes that this was the Magic of Lord Vishnu (Vishnu Maya) and performs a great penance for 10,000 years, here at Shri Pathala Bhavanarayana Swamy temple.
Lord Maha Vishnu appears in front of Saint Narada on his Garuda Vahana and asks him what he desires. Saint Narada asks for a boon to remove the bangles on his left hand and also prays to Lord Vishnu and Rajyalakshmi to be present at this temple.
Lord Vishnu agrees and asks Saint Narada to manifest Lord Vishnu along with Rajyalakshmi in the front portion of the temple (Garbha Gudi).
Therefore the Lord is called Shri Bhavarayana swamy as he removes the pride and arrogance of Saint Narada.
The temple festival is celebrated on four Sundays of the month of Maghamasa. And the wedding ceremony of Lord is performed on Vaishakha Shuddha Ekadasi.