JYOTHIRLINGAS–PART ONE

Courtesy:Sri.PP.Ramachandran

THE TEMPLE SHIVA LINGA

Jyot

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irlingas are the 12 special shrines dedicated to Shiva since ancient times .A Jyotirlinga is a shrine where Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyothirlingam

There are Twelve Jyothirlinga Temples in India.

Somnath Jyot

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irling in Saurashtra (Guj),

Mallikarjun jyotirling in Srisailam (A.P.),

Mahakaleshwar jyotirling in Ujjain (M.P.),

Omkareshwar jyotirling in Shivpuri / Mamaleswara (M.P.)

Lord Baijnath jyotirling in Devghar (Bihar)

Nageswar jyotirling in Darukavanam (Guj)

Kedareswar jyotirling in Kedarnath / Himalayas (Utt)

Triambakeswar jyotirling in Nasik (Mah)

Rameshwar jyotirling in Setubandanam / Rameshwaram (T.N.)

Bhimashankar jyotirling in Dakini (Mah)

Visweswar jyotirling in Varanasi (U.P.) and

Ghrishneswar jyotirling in Devasrovar (Mah).

Two jyotirlinga are on the sea shore, three jyotirlinga on river banks, four jyotirlinga in the heights of the mountains and three jyotirlinga in villages located in meadows.

Triambakeshwar

This is an ancient Hindu temple in the town of Triambak, in the Triambakeshwar tehsil in the Nashik District of Maharashtra, India, 28 km from the city of Nashik.

Kusavarta, a Kund (sacred pond) in the temple premises is the source of the Godavari River, the longest river in peninsular India. The current temple was built by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao (1720–1761).He was known as Nanasaheb.

The temple is located between three hills namely Brahmagiri, Nilagiri and Kalagiri. The temple has three lingams (an iconic form of Shiva) representing Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. The temple tank is called Amritavarshini, which measured 28 m by 30 m . There are three other bodies of water, namely, Bilvatheertha ,Viswananthirtha and Mukundathirtha. There are images of various deities, namely, Gangadevi, Jaleswara, Rameswara, Gautameswara, Kedarnatha, Rama, Krishna, Parasurama and Lakshmi Narayana.

As per the Shiva Purana, once Brahma and Vishnu had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the Jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma went their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity.

The Jyothirlinga shrines are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Originally there were believed to be 64 Jyotirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve Jyotirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity – each considered different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha , symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.

Mythology

Triambakeshwar is a religious centre having one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The extraordinary feature of the Jyotirlinga located here is its three faces embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rudra. Due to excessive use of water, the linga has started to erode. It is said that this erosion symbolizes the eroding nature of human society. The Lingas are covered by a jewelled crown which is placed over the Gold Mask of Tridev (Brahma Vishnu Mahesh). The crown is said to be from the age of Pandavas and consists of diamonds, emeralds, and many precious stones. The crown is displayed every Monday from 4-5 pm.

All other Jyotirlingas have Shiva as the main deity. The entire black stone temple is known for its appealing architecture and sculpture and is at the foothills of a mountain called Brahmagiri. Three sources of the Godavari originate from the Brahmagiri mountain

Story related to the Godavari river

Brahmadev worshipped God Trivikram when he came to Satya Loka (on earth) with the same holy water of the Ganges, to get the river Ganges held up by God Shankar on his head, to flow. There was a famine of 24 years and people were affected by the pangs of hunger. However, Varuna – the God of Rains, pleased with Sage Gautama arranged rains every day in Gautama’s Ashram (dwelling place) which was in Triambakeshwar. Gautama used to sow rice in the surrounding fields of his Ashram in the morning, reap the crop in the afternoon and with it fed a large group of rishis, who took shelter in his Ashram on account of the famine. The blessings of the group of rishis increased the merit (Punya) of Gautama. Lord Indra’s position became shaky because of his increased merit. So Indra ordered clouds to rain all over Triambakeshwar, so that the famine will be over and Rishis will go back and the increasing merits of Gautama will be weakened. Although the famine was over, Gautama urged the Rishis to stay back and kept on feeding them and gaining merit.

Once he saw a cow grazing in the paddy field and he drove her away by throwing Darbha (sharp, pointed grass). The slender cow died by this. It was Jaya – Parvati’s friend, who had taken the form of a cow. This news upset the Rishis and they refused to lunch at his Ashram. Gautama requested Rishis to show a way out of this sin. He was advised to approach Lord Shiva and request him to release Ganges and a bath in the Ganges would set him free of his sins. Gautama then practised penance by going to the peak of Brahmagiri. Lord Sankara was pleased by his worships and gave him the Ganges.

However, Ganges was not prepared to part with Lord Shiva, which irritated him. He made Tandav Nrutya (dance) on the peak of Brahmagiri and dashed his jata there. Frightened by this action, Ganges appeared on Brahmagiri. Later on Ganges appeared in the Triambak Tirtha. Gautama praised her but she off and on appeared on the mountain at various places and disappeared in anger. Gautama could not bathe in her waters. Ganges then appeared in Gangadwar, Varaha-tirtha, Rama-Laxman tirtha, Ganga Sagar tirtha. Still Gautama could not bathe in her waters. Then Gautama surrounded the river with enchanted grass and put a vow to her. The flow stopped there and the tirtha thus came to be called Kushavarta. It is from this Kushavarta that the river Godavari flows up to the sea. The sin of killing a cow by Gautama was wiped off here.

This place is famous for lots of religious rituals (vidhis). Narayan Nagbali, Kalasarpa Shanti, Tripindi vidhi are done here. Narayan Nagbali puja is performed at Triambakeshwar only. This puja is performed in three days. This puja is performed on special dates. Some days are not suitable to perform this puja. This puja is performed for many reasons like to cure an illness, going through bad times, killing a Cobra (Nag), childless couples, financial crisis or you want to perform some religious puja to have everything.

The existing temple was built out of basalt after it was commissioned by Peshwa Nanasaheb. It so happens that the Peshwa made a bet on whether the stone surrounding the Jyotirlinga, is hollow from the inside or not. The stone was proved to be hollow, and on losing the bet, the Peshwa built a marve;lous temple out of it. The Shiva deity of the temple consisted of the world-famous Nassak Diamond. It was looted by the British in The Third Anglo-Maratha War and lies with one owner or the other ever since. The diamond presently lies with Edward J. Hand, a trucking firm executive from Greenwich, Connecticut, USA.

The place is known for its scenic beauty in rainy/monsoon season and is surrounded by lush green hills untouched by pollution. Anjaneri mountain, the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, is 7 km from Trimbakeshwar.

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