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A Jyotirlinga or Jyotirling or Jyotirlingam (Sanskrit: ज्योतिर्लिङ्ग), (Devnagari: ज्योतिर्लिंग) is a devotional object representing the god Shiva. Jyoti means 'radiance' and lingam the 'mark or sign' of Shiva, or a symbol of the pineal gland; Jyotir Lingam thus means the The Radiant sign of The Almighty. There are twelve traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India.
It is believed that Lord Shiva first manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the Aridra Nakshatra, thus the special reverence for the Jyotirlinga. There is nothing to distinguish the appearance, but it is believed that a person can see these lingas as columns of fire piercing through the earth after he reaches a higher level of spiritual attainment.
According to Śiva Mahāpurāṇa, once Brahma (the God of creation) and Vishnu (the God of Preservation) had an argument over supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split 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 jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyothirlinga shrines thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity, each considered a different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. The twelve jyothirlinga are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath Temple at Parli in Beed District in Maharasthra , Aundha Nagnath at Aundha in Hingoli District in Maharashtra, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Ellora near Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
The following sloka (द्वादश ज्योतिर्लिंग स्तोत्रम् Dvādaśa Jyotirliṅga Stotram) describes the 12 Jyotirlingas:
|सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम्।||Saurāṣṭre Somanāthaṃ ca Śrīśaile Mallikārjunam||Somanath in Saurashtra and Mallikarjunam in Shri-Shailam;|
|उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोङ्कारममलेश्वरम्॥||Ujjayinyāṃ Mahākālam Oṅkāram Amaleśvaram||Mahakaal in Ujjain, Omkareshwar in Amleshwar;|
|परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशङ्करम्।||Paraly Vaidyanāthaṃ ca Ḍākinyāṃ Bhīmaśaṅkaram||Vaidyanath in Paralya and Bhimashankaram in Dakinya;|
|सेतुबन्धे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारुकावने॥||Setubandhe tu Rāmeśaṃ Nāgeśaṃ Dārukāvane||Ramesham (Rameshwaram) in Sethubandh, Nagesham in Daruka-Vana;|
|वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्र्यम्बकं गौतमीतटे।||Vārāṇasyāṃ tu Viśveśaṃ Tryambakaṃ Gautamītaṭe||Vishwa-Isham (Vishvanath) in Vanarasi, Triambakam at bank of the river Gautami;|
|हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये॥||Himālaye tu Kedāraṃ Ghuśmeśaṃ ca Śivālaye||Kedar (Kedarnath) in Himalayas and Gushmesh (Gushmeshwar) in Shivalaya (Shiwar).|
|एतानि ज्योतिर्लिङ्गानि सायं प्रातः पठेन्नरः।||etāni jyotirliṅgāni sāyaṃ prātaḥ paṭhennaraḥ||One who recites these Jyotirlingas every evening and morning|
|सप्तजन्मकृतं पापं स्मरणेन विनश्यति॥||saptajanmakṛtaṃ pāpaṃ smaraṇena vinaśyati||is relieved of all sins committed in past seven lives.|
|एतेशां दर्शनादेव पातकं नैव तिष्ठति।||eteśāṃ darśanādeva pātakaṃ naiva tiṣṭhati||One who visits these, gets all his wishes fulfilled|
|कर्मक्षयो भवेत्तस्य यस्य तुष्टो महेश्वराः॥:||karmakṣayo bhavettasya yasya tuṣṭo maheśvarāḥ||and one's karma gets eliminated as Maheshwara gets satisfied to the worship.|
The names and the locations of 12 other Jyotirlinga's are mentioned in the Shiva Purana (Śatarudra Saṁhitā, Ch.42/2-4). These shrines are:
|1||Somnath||Gujarat||Prabhas Patan, Saurashtra||Somnath is traditionally considered the first pilgrimage site: the Dwadash Jyotirlinga pilgrimage begins with the Somnath Temple. The temple, that was destroyed and re-built sixteen times, is held in reverence throughout India and is rich in legend, tradition, and history. It is located at Prabhas Patan (Somnath - Veraval) in Saurashtra region of Gujarat state in western India.|
|2||Mallikārjuna Swāmi||Andhra Pradesh||Srisailam||Mallikārjuna, also called Śrīśaila, is located on a mountain in Kurnool District in Rayalaseema. It enshrines Mallikarjuna in an ancient temple that is architecturally and sculpturally rich. It is a place where Shakti peetha and Jyotirlingam are together. Adi Shankara composed his Sivananda Lahiri here..|
|3||Mahakaleshwar||Madhya Pradesh||Ujjain||Mahakal, Ujjain (or Avanti) in Madhya Pradesh is home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple. The Lingam at Mahakal is believed to be Swayambhu, the only one of the 12 Jyotirlingams to be so. It is also the only one facing south and also the temple to have a Shree Yantra perched upside down at the ceiling of the Garbhagriha (where the Shiv Lingam sits). It is a place where Shakti peeta and Jyotirlingam are together.|
|4||Omkareshwar||Madhya Pradesh||Omkareshwar||Omkareshwar is in Madhya Pradesh on an island in the Narmada River and home to a Jyotirlinga shrine and the Mamaleshwar temple.|
|5||Kedarnath||Uttarakhand||Kedarnath||Kedarnath in Uttarakhand is revered as the northernmost and the closest Jyotirlinga to Lord Shiva's eternal abode of Mount Kailash. Kedarnath forms a part of the smaller Char Dham pilgrimage circuit of Hinduism. Kedarnath, nestled in the snow-clad Himalayas, is an ancient shrine, rich in legend and tradition. It is accessible only for six months a year. It is also one of the Padal Petra Stalam of Vada Naadu mentioned in Thevaaram. Shiva assumed the form of wild boar and dived into the earth at Kedarnath to emerge at Pashupatinath. Pure ghee is applied at Kedarnath lingam as the boar was injured.|
|6||Bhimashankar||Maharashtra||Bhimashankar||Bhimashankar is very much debated. There is a Bhimashankara temple near Pune (pictured) in Maharashtra, which was referred to as Daakini country, but Kashipur in Uttarakhand was also referred to as Daakini country in ancient days and a Bhimashkar Temple known as Shree Moteshwar Mahadev is present there. Another Bhimashankar is in the Sahyadri range of Maharashtra. The Bhimashankar temple near Guwahati, Assam is the jyotirlinga according to Sivapuran. According to Linga Purana, Bhimasankar temple in Bhimpur near Gunupur of Rayagada district in South Orissa is also believed as Bhimasankar Jyotirlinga, which is situated at the western part of the holy Mahendragiri mountains and at the river bank of Mahendratanaya(which is also believed as the Daakini area by many historian), was excavated in the year 1974, having quadrangular Shakti around the Linga and decorated by a Upavita as per the puran.|
|7||Kashi Vishwanath Temple||Uttar Pradesh||Varanasi||The Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh is home to the Vishwanath Jyotirlinga shrine, which is perhaps the most sacred of Hindu shrines. It is also one of the Padal Petra Stalam of Vada Naadu mentioned in Thevaaram. The temple is situated in Varanasi, the holiest city for Hindus, where a Hindu is expected to make a pilgrimage at least once in his life, and if possible, also pour the remains of cremated ancestors on the River Ganges. The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganges, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. In fact, it is a place where Shakti peeta and Jyotirlingam are together. It is the holiest of all Shiva temples. The main deity is known by the name Vishwanath or Vishweshwara meaning Ruler of the universe. The temple town, which claims to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history, is also called Kashi.|
|8||Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple||Maharashtra||Trimbakeshwar, near Nashik||The Trimbakeshwar Temple, near Nasik in Maharashtra, is a Jyotirlinga shrine associated with the origin of the Godavari River.|
|9||Vaidyanath Temple at Deogarh||Jharkhand||Deogarh, Deogarh District||Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple, also known as Baba dham and Baidyanath dham is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the most sacred abodes of Shiva. It is located in Deoghar in the Santhal Parganas division of the state of Jharkhand, India. It is a temple complex consisting of the main temple of Baba Baidyanath, where the Jyotirlinga is installed, and 21 other temples.
According to Hindu beliefs, the demon king Ravana worshipped Shiva at the current site of the temple to get the boons that he later used to wreak havoc in the world. Ravana offered his ten heads one after the another to Shiva as a sacrifice. Pleased with this, Shiva descended to cure Ravana who was injured. As he acted as a doctor, he is referred to as Vaidhya ("doctor"). From this aspect of Shiva, the temple derives its name.
The location of Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga is disputed. The claimed locations are:
Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, Deogarh, Jharkhand Vaijnath temple, Parli, Maharashtra Baijnath temple, Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh
|10||Aundha Nagnath Temple||Maharashtra||Hingoli District, Marathwada region||Nagesh Jyotirlinga is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana (Śatarudra Saṁhitā,Ch.42/2-4, referred as "nagesham darukavane"). Nagesh is believed as the first Jyotirlinga on the earth. There are three major shrines in India which are believed be Jyotirlinga. the Nageshvara temple near Dwaraka in Gujarat state and the Jageshwar temple near Almora in Uttarakhand state.other Naagnath temple which is believed to be Jyotirlinga is Nagnath temple in Aundha in Maharashtra state,|
|11||Rameshwar||Tamil Nadu||Rameswaram||Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu is home to the vast Ramalingeswarar Jyotirlinga temple and is revered as the southernmost of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of India. It enshrines the Rameśvara ("Lord of Rama") pillar. It is also one of the Padal Petra Stalam of Pandya Naadu mentioned in Thevaaram.|
|12||Grishneshwar||Maharashtra||Verul, Daulatabad, Maharashtra||Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana (kotirudra sahinta,Ch.32-33 referred as "Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga"). Grishneshwar is believed as the Last or 12th (twelfth) Jyotirlinga on the earth. This pilgrimage site is located at a village called Verul which lies at a distance of 11 km from Daulatabad (Devagiri) and 30 km from Aurangabad. It lies at a close proximity to the Ellora caves.|
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- "Welcome To Bhimsankar Jyotirlinga Temple". bhimsankarjyotirling.org. 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
a Quadraple Shakti, a rare one.There is a sign of 'Yajna Upabita' (Janev in Hindi) is clearly visible in the Linga.T
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jyotirlingas.|
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- Baidyanath Dham Deoghar
- Learn about the Jyotirlingams
- The 12 Jyotirlingas with the story Lord Shiva
- Jyotirlingas on Google Maps
- ज्योतिर्लिंग स्तोत्रम् Dvādaśa Jyotirliṅga Stotram