Monthly Archives: July 2015

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga

The story of Nageshwar Jyotirlinga – Lord Shiva

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga – Lord Shiva

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is an important temple of Lord Shiva near Dwarka. Here, Lord Krishna Himself used to worship and perform Rudrabhishekam. The Rudra Samhita sloka refers to Nageshwar with the phrase Daarukaavane Naagesham.  This shloka is also the source about the controversy of the location of this temple.

Nageshwar Temple

Nageshwar Temple

Controversy about the location

At present there is debate on the actual location of the legendary forest of Darukavana, so identifying the Jyotirlinga of Nageswaram remains difficult. Since there are no other important clues in the text as to the location of the Jyotirlinga , ‘Darukavana’ remains the vital, and only, clue.

The written name of Darukavana could be misread as ‘Dwarakavana’ which would lead us to the Nageswara temple at Dwarka. In fact there is no forest in this part of Dwarka that finds mention in any of the Indian epics. In the narratives of Shri Krishna, we find mention of Somanatha and adjoining Prabhasa tirtha, but never is there any mention of Nageshwara or Darukavana in Dwarka or thereabouts.

Dwarka – A unique distinctive city from mythological point of view

Nevertheless, Dwaraka has a great distinction in Indian mythology. It is one of the Sapta-puris or seven holy towns- Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kashi, Ujjain, Kanchipuram and Dwarka; and one of the four Dhamas or holy places Rameshvaram, Puri, Badrinath and Dwarka.

Story behind the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga

There is a popular legend, related to Nageshwar Jyotirlinga. According to the legend, there was a businessman with an immeasurable faith in god and karma . He was highly devoted to Lord Shiva.Despite being busy in his business and work, whatever spare time he used to get, he exhausted it in praying, adoring, and serving Lord Shiva. Seeing his devotion in Lord Shiva, a monster named Daruka got angry .Being a monster in nature, he was never in favour of Lord Shiva and infact hated him.

That demon, always looked for an opportunity, to disrupt merchant’s devotion . One day that merchant was going in a boat for some business purpose. The monster saw this, and with the found opportunity he attacked the merchant’s boat and took all the travellers to the capital and imprisoned them.

Even in the prison, the merchant use to pray Lord Shiva constantly. When the demon, got to know about about it, he got aggressive and visited the merchant in prison,in the spirit of anger.The merchant was meditating at that time .The monster, started to resent at the merchant in that state only. When the demon saw, that his resentment is not affecting the merchant at all, he instructed his slaves to kill the merchant. Even this instruction could not act as a barrier to his meditation. The merchant kept on praying for his and his fellow people’s liberation. Lord Shiva was pleased with this devotion, and appeared in the prison in the form of Jyotirlinga and gave Pashupata, a weapon to the merchant, to protect himself.. He killed Rakshas Darukk, and his disciples from the weapon given by Lord Shiva. Since then this Jyoitirlinga is established there, and was named Nageshwar.

Interesting story of why the temple faces south

Nageshwar Mahadev Shivalingam is facing South while the Gomugam is facing east. There is a story for this position. A devotee by name Naamdev was singing bhajans in front of the Lord. Other devotees asked him to stand aside and not hide the Lord.
To this Naamdev asked them to suggest one direction in which the Lord does not exist, so that he can stand there. The enraged devotees carried him and left him on the southside.
To their astonishment, they found that the Linga was now facing South with the Gomugam facing east.

Aurangzeb wanted to destroy this temple

Aurangzeb, the notorious Mughal emperor, wanted to destroy this Hindu temple. When he tried, thousands of bees came out of the temple and attacked Aurangzeb and his army. He left the demolition work midway and went away. The devotees rebuild the broken temple.

Speciality of this temple

Another specialty of this Shivalinga is that unlike the other Shivalingas, which are made of black stone and look like a neat pillar rounded off at the top, this one is made of a stone known popularly as Dwaraka Shila, which has small chakras on it. The shape of the linga is more or less like a oval 3 mukhi Rudraksha.

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga

Rameshwaram Jyotirlniga

Lord Shiva’s jyotirlinga at Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram  is one of the 12 jyotirlinga. The temple is situated on Rameshwaram island in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India.

Rameshwaram Shivlinga

Rameshwaram Shivlinga

The Temple

The primary deity of the temple is Ramanathaswamy (Shiva) in the form of lingam. There are two lingams inside the sanctum, one built by Goddess Sita, from sand, residing as the main deity, Ramalingam. Second one brought by Lord Hanuman from Kailash called Vishwalingam. Rama instructed that Vishwalingam should be worshipped first since it was brought by Lord Hanuman – the tradition continues even today.

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga temple of Lord Shiva

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga temple of Lord Shiva

Rameswaram Temple is spread over an area of 15 acres. The temple has high compound wall  on all the four sides, measuring about 865 feet from east to west and 657 feet from north to south. It has with huge towers (Gopurams) at the east and west and finished gate towers on the north and south.The outer set of corridors is reputed to be the longest in the world. The total length of those corridors is thus 3850 feet. There are about 1212 pillars in the outer corridor.The main tower or rajagopuram is 53 m tall. Most pillars are carved with individual composition.

An ancient time image of the temple corridore

An ancient time image of the temple corridor

Modern time image of the temple corridor

Modern time image of the temple corridor

The temple also has several mandapams with mini shrines to other deities. There is a huge Nandi measuring 12 feet in length and 9 feet in height.

There are sixty-four Tīrthas (holy water bodies) in and around the island of Rameshwaram. According to Skānda Purāṇa, twenty-four of them are important. Bathing in these Tīrthas is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameshwaram and is considered equivalent to penance.Twenty-two of the Tīrthas are within the Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple. The number 22 indicates the 22 arrows in Rama’s quiver. The first and major one is called Agni Theertham.

Legend behind the temple

According to Ramayana, Rama is believed to worshipped and prayed to Shiva here to absolve sin of killing a brahmana, committed during his war against the demon king Ravana.  Rama wanted to have the largest lingam to worship Shiva. He directed Hanuman.  to bring the lingam from Himalayas. Since it took longer to bring the lingam, Sita, built a small lingam out of the sand available in the sea shore, which is believed to be the lingam in the sanctum.

Another  Story

According to another popular legend, It is believed that the Ling was installed by Lord Rama, himself. On the way to attack Ravana, when Lord Rama reached this place he started drinking water at the sea shore. There was a celestial proclamation, that “You are drinking water without worshipping me”. Then Rama made a linga of sand and worshipped Lord Shiva, and asked Shiva to bless him to defeat Ravana. Lord Shiva blessed him accordingly. Rama also requested Shiva to reside there eternally for the benefit of mankind. Lord Shiva then manifested himself as the Lingam and got installed there for eternity.

Significance of the Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga

Significance of the Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga has been described through a shloka in Manas.

Je rameshwar darshan kari hahi |
Te tanu taji mam loka sidaari hahi ||

Meaning: Those who go to Rameshwar and seeks my blessings, shall always reside in Shivloka.It is said that there is greatness associated with the ceremonial bath given to the linga by water of the Ganga.

 

Unknown Facts from Mahabharata

Few interesting facts from Mahabharata, which are not known

One warrior from Shri Krishna’s army did not fight alongside Duryodhana, contrary to the arrangement

This is a well known fact that Shri Krishna promised his army to Duryodhana, and he said that he will accompany Pandavas in the war, yet there was one person from his army, who helped Pandavas. He was Satyaki and he was like a disciple to Arjuna. He has helped Pandavas greatly when Drona was trying to capture Yudhishthira with the formation of chakravyuha.  Satyaki was rescued by Arjuna when Bhurisharava was trying to kill him and eventually Satyaki killed Bhurishravas. This happened on the fourteenth day of Mahabharata war.

Satyaki defeated Drona

Satyaki even engaged in a long fight with Drona, in which he breaks Drona’s bowstring 101 times successively. Drona gets so frustrated by Satyaki, that he even uses divine weapons, which Satyaki counters using his knowledge of divine weapons from his education under Arjuna.

Another fact about Satyaki

When Shri Krishna went to Duryodhana for one final attempt to maintain peace, Satyaki accompanied him. It was then when Duryodhana ordered him to be imprisoned, Satyaki draws his sword to fight. But Shri Krishna holds him back.

Krishna and Satyaki

Krishna and Satyaki

Death of Satyaki

Satyaki dies when the curse of Gandhari came to its fulfillment. Satyaki in anger said that he would kill Kritavarma for slaying the warriors of the Pandava army while they were asleep. Having said this he rushed towards Kritavarma and severed his head with a sword. He then started killing the warriors who were on Kritavarma’s side. Krishna then ran to stop Satyaki.

The Bhojas and the Andhakas incensed at Satyaki surrounded him. Krishna knowing the character of the hour stood there unmoved. The Bhojas and Andhakas started striking Satyaki with the pots in which they had been eating.

Bhagdatta and his eyelids

There is an interesting story of Bhagdatta’s eyelids. Bhagdatta was a fierce warrior who fought from the side of Duryodhana. He used Vaishnavastra on Arjuna, but as Lord Krishna was there, it fell upon him as a garland. Shri Krishna then advised Arjuna to first cut the support to his eyelids, as Bhagdatta was old and his eyelids were blocking the vision. He used to tie them up so that he could see properly. Duly, Arjuna cut the ropes holding his eyelids. This made him virtually blind, and then Arjuna killed him.

Arjuna kills Bhagaddatta

Arjuna kills Bhagaddatta

Bhima was captured by a python – Nahusha

There were few times in Mahabharata, when even Bhima was helpless. One was a great lesson of humbleness with Lord Hanumana. Another is presented here. What happened that there was a king named Nahusha, who became the gods of devtas. He became arrogant and wanted to marry Shachi. Shachi convinced him to come in palanquin, which should be shouldered by great sages. Nahusha did the same and even went one step further by kicking Sage Agastya. By doing this, he lost all his virtue and also became a python by the curse of Sage Agastya. But he was told that when Yudhishthira explained him the virtues of good king, he will become a man again.

Nahusha's downfall

Nahusha’s downfall

When Lord Krishna moved calendar

Sahadeva, the youngest Pandava was a great astrologer. Once, on the request of Duryodhana, he advises Duryodan the most auspecious time for stating the war will be the amavasya day. Lord Krishna overheard this and plans to do what next. Krishna performs amaysya tarpan one day earlier to the scheduled data and seeing Krishna performing tarpan one day earlier everybody starts doing the same. Seeing this,  moon god and sun god  comes down and ask Krisna why he is performing tarpan one day earlier .To this, Lord asked when does Amavasya happen? It is not when sun and moon face each other? They replied yes. Then Lord said that then today is amavasya since both you are facing each other. Unfortunately Duryodana also performs tarpan on a day prior to real amavasya and brings his downfall.