Jyotirlinga

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A Jyotirlinga (Sanskrit: ज्योतिर्लिङ्ग, romanizedJyotirliṅga, lit.'lingam of light')[1] or Jyotirlingam, is a devotional representation of the Hindu god Shiva. The word is a Sanskrit compound of jyotis 'radiance' and linga. The Śiva Mahāpurāṇam (also Shiva Purana) mentions 64 original jyotirlinga shrines in India, 12 of which are most sacred and they are called the Maha Jyotirlingam (The Great Jyotirlinga.)

Hinduism[edit]

Legend[edit]

According to a Shaiva legend from the Shiva Purana, once, Brahma (the god of creation) and Vishnu (the god of preservation) had an argument over their supremacy.[2] To settle the debate, Shiva pierced the three worlds, appearing as a huge, infinite pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Brahma and Vishnu decided to ascend and descend across the pillar of light respectively, to find the end of the light in either direction. According to some iterations, Vishnu assumed his Varaha avatar to achieve this task, while Brahma rode a hamsa (swan).[3] Brahma lied that he had discovered the end of the light, producing a ketakī flower as proof, while Vishnu admitted that he could not find the end of the light from his journey.[4] The dishonesty of Brahma angered Shiva, causing him to curse the creator deity that he would not be worshipped; He also declared that Vishnu would be eternally worshipped for his honesty.[5] The jyotirlinga shrines are regarded to be the temples where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light.[6][7]

Original 64[edit]

Originally there were believed to be 64 jyotirlings while twelve of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy.[2] Each of the twelve jyotirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity, each considered a different manifestation of Shiva.[8] At all these sites, the primary image is lingam, representing the beginningless and endless stambha pillar, symbolising the infinite nature of Shiva.[8][9][10]

Sanskrit shlokas[edit]

The following shloka (द्वादश ज्योतिर्लिंग स्तोत्रम् Dvādaśa Jyotirliṅga Stotram) describes the 12 jyotirlingas:[11]

Sanskrit transliteration translation
सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम्। Saurāṣṭre Somanāthaṃ cha Śrīśaile Mallikārjunam Somnath in Saurashtra and Sri Mallikarjuna in Srisailam;
उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोङ्कारममलेश्वरम्॥ Ujjayinyāṃ Mahākālam Omkāram Mamaleśwaram Mahakala (Mahakaleshwara) in Ujjain, Omkareshwara in (Khandwa);
वैद्यनाथम् चिताभूमो च डाकिन्यां भीमशङ्करम्। Vaidyanāthaṃ chitha bhumo cha Ḍākinyāṃ Bhīmaśaṅkaram Baidyanath in Deoghar and Bhimashankara in Dakinya;
सेतुबन्धे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारुकावने॥ Setubandhe tu Rāmeśaṃ Nāgeśaṃ Dārukāvane Ramesham (Rameshwara) in Sethubandh, (Nagesham) Nageshwara in Daruka-Vana;
वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्र्यम्बकं गौतमीतटे। Vārāṇasyāṃ tu Viśveśaṃ Tryambakaṃ Gautamītaṭe Vishwesham (Vishweshwara) in Varanasi, Tryambakam (Trayambakeshwara) at bank of the river Gautami (Godavari);
हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये॥ Himālaye tu Kedāraṃ Ghuśmeśaṃ ca Śivālaye Kedar (Kedarnath) in the Himalayas and Ghushmesh in Shivalay ,(Ghushmeshwar) at (Shiwar, Rajasthan) , or, (Grishneshwar) at (Aurangabad, Maharashtra).
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.
एतेषां दर्शनादेव पातकं नैव तिष्ठति। eteṣāṃ 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.

List of 12 most sacred sites[edit]

The names and the locations of 12 jyotirlingas are mentioned in the Shiva Purana (Śatarudra Saṁhitā, Ch.42/2-4). The detailed stories are given in Kotirudra Saṁhitā, chapters 14 to 33. These temples (not in order) are:

# Jyotirlinga Image State Location Description
1 Somnath Somnath-current.jpg Gujarat Veraval, 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 Srisailam.jpg Andhra Pradesh Srisailam Mallikārjuna, also called Śrīśaila, is located on a mountain in Kurnool District in Rayalaseema.[12] 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 Shivananda Lahari here.[citation needed]
3 Mahakaleshwar Mahakal Temple Ujjain.JPG 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 Rudra Yantra perched upside down at the ceiling of the Garbhagriha (where the Shiv Lingam sits). It is a place where Shakti Peetha and jyotirlingam are together.
4 Omkareshwar Omkareshwar Temple 01.jpg Madhya Pradesh Khandwa Omkareshwar is in Madhya Pradesh on an island in the Narmada River and home to a jyotirlinga shrine and the Mamaleshwar temple.
5 Kedarnath Kedarnath Temple.jpg 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 Paadal Petra Sthalam of Vada Naadu mentioned in Thevaaram. Shiva assumed the form of wild boar and dived into the earth at Kedarnath to emerge at Doleshwor in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Pure ghee is applied at Kedarnath lingam as the boar was injured.
6 Bhimashankar Bhimashankar.jpg Maharashtra Khed taluka, Pune Khed taluka is also referred to as the Daakini country, hence this temple is also called Daakini temple,
7 Vishwanath Benares- The Golden Temple, India, ca. 1915 (IMP-CSCNWW33-OS14-66).jpg Uttar Pradesh Varanasi The Kashi Vishwanath (Vishweshwar) 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, is considered the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history, is also called Kashi.
8 Trimbakeshwar Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple, Trimbak, Nashik district.jpg Maharashtra Trimbak, near Nashik The Trimbakeshwar Temple, near Nashik in Maharashtra, is a jyotirlinga shrine associated with the origin of the Godavari River.
9 Nageshwar Nageshwar Temple.jpg Gujarat Near Dwarka Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is one of the 12 jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana and the Dvādaśa Jyotirliṅga Stotram, says one of the jyotirlinga namely Nagesh is situated in Daruka-Vana and most probably the present day Dwarka region. Other claims to the Nagesh Jyotirlinga status come from - Aundha Naganath (Hingoli District of Maharashtra) and Jageshwar (Almora District of Uttarakhand)
10 Baidyanath Baba Dham.jpg Jharkhand Deoghar Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga temple, also known as Baba Baidyanath dham and Baidyanath dham is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, the most sacred abodes of Shiva. It is located in Deoghar in the Jharkhand state of 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 scriptures, 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 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.

11 Rameshwaram Ramanathar-temple.jpg 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 (God of Rama) pillar.[12] It is also one of the Padal petra stalam of Pandya Naadu mentioned in Tevaram.
12 Grishneshwar Grishneshwar temple in Aurangabad district.jpg Maharashtra Aurangabad Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, referred to as the Grishneshwar temple in Shiva Purana, is one of the 12 jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana. According to Shiv Puran, Grishneshwar is one of the Shiva Jyotirlinga which is situated Ellora, less than a kilometer from Ellora Caves in Maharashtra.

See also[edit]

  • Ardhanarishvara – Composite form of the Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati
  • Harihara – Fused Hindu deity of Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara)
  • Parikrama – Religious practice
  • Tridevi – Trinity of chief goddesses in Hinduism
  • Trimurti – Hinduism's supreme triumvirate or triple deity of supreme divinity
  • Vaikuntha Kamalaja – Composite of Hindu deity couple Vishnu and Lakshmi
  • Yatra – Pilgrimage in Indian religions

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Wisdom Library 2019
  2. ^ a b Venugopalam 2003, pp. 92–95
  3. ^ Pattanaik 2017, p. 126
  4. ^ Kumar 2003, p. 1645
  5. ^ Gangashetty 2019, p. 102
  6. ^ Eck 1999, p. 107
  7. ^ Gwynne 2009, section on Char Dham
  8. ^ a b Lochtefeld 2002, pp. 324–325
  9. ^ Harding 1998, pp. 158–158
  10. ^ Vivekananda, v. 4
  11. ^ Vaidika Vignanam n.d.
  12. ^ a b Chakravarti 1994, p. 140

Works cited[edit]

  • Chakravarti, Mahadev (1994). The Concept of Rudra-Śiva Through The Ages (Second Revised ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-0053-2.
  • Chaturvedi, B. K. (2006). Shiv Purana (First ed.). New Delhi: Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. ISBN 81-7182-721-7.
  • Eck, Diana L. (1999). Banaras, city of light (First ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-11447-8.
  • Gangashetty, Ramesh (30 October 2019). Thirtha Yatra: A Guide to Holy Temples and Thirtha Kshetras in India. Notion Press. ISBN 978-1-68466-134-3.
  • Gwynne, Paul (2009). World Religions in Practice: A Comparative Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publication. ISBN 978-1-4051-6702-4.
  • Harding, Elizabeth U. (1998). "God, the Father". Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 156–157. ISBN 978-81-208-1450-9.
  • Kumar, Naresh (2003). Encyclopaedia of Folklore and Folktales of South Asia. Anmol Publications. ISBN 978-81-261-1400-9.
  • Lochtefeld, James G. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M. Rosen Publishing Group. p. 122. ISBN 0-8239-3179-X.
  • Pattanaik, Devdutt (7 May 2017). Devlok 2: 2. Random House Publishers India Pvt. Limited. ISBN 978-93-86495-15-0.
  • "Dwadasa Jyotirlinga Stotram". Vaidika Vignanam (in Sanskrit). n.d.
  • Venugopalam, R. (2003). Meditation: Any Time Any Where (First ed.). Delhi: B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd. ISBN 81-8056-373-1.
  • Vivekananda, Swami. "The Paris Congress of the History of Religions". The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Vol. 4.
  • "Jyotirlinga, Jyotirliṅga, Jyotis-linga, Jyotirlimga: 5 definitions". Wisdom Library. 28 December 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2022.

External links[edit]