According to Hindu mythology there are 5 classes of warrior excellence.
Rathi: A warrior capable of attacking 5,000 warriors simultaneously.
Atirathi: A warrior capable of contending with 12 Rathi class warriors or 60,000
Maharathi’s: A warrior capable of fighting 12 Atirathi class warriors or 720,000
Atimaharathi’s: A warrior capable of fighting 12 Maharathi warriors simultaneously
Mahamaharathi’s: A warrior capable of fighting 24 Atimaharathi’s simultaneously
Famous Rathis in hindu mythology are
1. Somadatta – Father of Bhurishrava
2. Shakuni – Kaurava’s maternal uncle and a master mind behind Kurukshetra war.
3. Shishupala – Shri Krishna’s cousin
4. Vrishasena – Son of Karna
Famous Atirathis in Hindu mythology are
1. Shalya – The fourth commander-in-chief of the Kaurava alliance
2. Kripacharya – Teacher and family priest of Kuru dynasty.
3. Yuyutsu – The only son of Dhritarashtra who survived the Kurukshetra war.
4. Drishtadyumna – Commander of the Pandava army during the Kurukshetra War
5. Ghatotkacha – Son of Bhima
6. Angada – Most feared warrior in Ramayana, He was son of Bali and Tara and nephew of Sugriva.
7. Duryodhana, Jayadhradha, Dusassana, Vikarna, all 97 brothers of Duryodhana, Yudhishtir, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva
Famous Maharathis from Hindu mythology are:
1. Parshurama – Sixth incarnation of Lord vishnu.
2. Lord Rama – King of Ayodhya
3. Kumbhakarna -Brother of Ravana
4. Lakshmana – Brother of Lord Rama
5. Ravana – King of Lanka
6. Arjuna – He is the third of the five Pandava brothers
7. Lava & Kusha – Sons of lord Rama
8. Hanuman, Sugriva, Jambavan, Vali, Bhishma, Drona, Ashwatthama, Abhimanyu, Lord Krishna, Balrama, Lord Narasimha.
Famous Atimaharathis from Hindu mythology are:
1. Indrajeet – Son of Ravana
Famous Mahamaharathis from Hindu mythology are:
1. Lord Brahma – The creator
2. Vishnu – The preserver
3. Shiva – The destroyer
4. Durga – The warrior goddess
5. Ganesha & kartikeya – Sons of Shiva and Parvati
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Chakaara chandda taandavam tanotu nah Shivah Shivam ||1||
1.1: From his huge matted hair like a forest, is pouring out and flowing down the sacred water of the river ganga, and making the ground holy; on that holy ground shiva is dancing his great taandava dance;
1.2: Supporting his neck and hanging down are the lofty serpents which are adorning his neck like lofty garlands,
1.3: His damaru is continuously emitting out the sound and filling the air all around,
1.4: Shiva performed such a passionate tandava; o my lord shiva, please extend the auspicious tandava dance within our beings also.
किशोरचन्द्रशेखरे रतिः प्रतिक्षणं मम ॥२॥
Jataa kattaha sambhrama bhraman nilimpa nirjhari
Vilola vichi vallarii viraajamaana murdhani |
Dhagad dhagad dhagaj jwalal lalatta patta paavake
Kishora chandra shekhare ratih pratikshanam mama ||2||
2.1: His huge matted hair are waving round and round; and whirling with it is the great River Ganga.
2.2: And the strands of his hair are like huge creepers are waving like king waves; His forehead is brilliantly wide
2.3: On the surface of that huge forehead is burning a blazing fire with the sound – dhagad,
dhagad, dhagad (referring to his third eye)
2.4: And a young crescent moon is shining on the peak of his head.
क्वचिद्दिगम्बरे मनो विनोदमेतु वस्तुनि ॥३॥
Dhara dharendra nandini vilasa bandhu bandhura
Sphurad diganta santati pramodamana maanase |
Krpa kataksha dhorani niruddha durdhara apadi
Kwachid digambare mano vinodametu vastuni ||3||
3.1: Now he is accompanied by the beautiful divine mother who is the supporter of the earth and the daughter of the mountain king; she is ever his companion in his various divine sports,
3.2: The entire horizon is shaking with the force of that tandava, and the subtle waves of the tandava is entering the atmosphere and raising waves of excessive joy.
3.3: That shiva, the flow of whose graceful side glance can restrain even the unrestrainable calamities.
3.4: Who is digambara, clothed with sky signifying he is ever-free and without any desire, sometimes in his mind materializes the wish to play the divine sports and dance.
मनो विनोदमद्भुतं बिभर्तु भूतभर्तरि ॥४॥
Jataa bhujanga pingala sphurat phanaa mani prabha
Kadamba kungkuma drava pralipta digvadhu mukhe |
Mada andha sindhura sphurat tvag uttariya medure
Mano vinodam adbhutam bibhartu bhuta bhartari ||4||
4.1: The reddish serpents on his matted hairs with the lustre of red pearls on their hood are throbbing with their hoods raised.
4.2: Collectively the sky is appearing like the huge face of a bride adorned with that red saffron
4.3: His upper garment is flying in the breeze and shaking like the thick skin of an intoxicated elephant,
4.4: My mind is experiencing an extraordinary thrill in this divine sport; it is being carried away by the sustainer of all beings.
Kailashnath Mahadev Statue is the world’s tallest Shiva statue. It is situated in Kavrepalanchwok districts in Nepal.
The height of this statue is 144 feet (44 meters). The statue is made using copper, zinc, concrete and steel.
2. Shiva of Murudeshwar. (123 Feet)
Murudeshwar is another name of the Hindu god Shiva. The statue of Murudeshwar Shiva is the world’s second-tallest Shiva statue which is at Murudeshwar town in Karnataka, India. The statue is 123 feet (37 m) tall. It took about two years to build this statue and financed by businessman and philanthropist R.N. Shetty. The cost of building this statue is approximately 5 Crore Rs.
3. Mangal Mahadev statue Mauritius. (108 Feet)
Mangal Mahadev statue is situated in the district of Savanne, in Mauritius. It is the 3rd tallest Shiva statue in the world. The construction of the statue started in 2007 and inaugurated during the Maha Shivratri period of 2008. It is considered the most sacred Hindu place in Mauritius. The height of this statue is 108 feet (33 meter).
4. Shiva of the Har Ki Pauri (100 Feet)
Fourth Largest Statue of Lord Shiva is Shiva of Har ki Pauri located at the banks of river Ganga in the auspicious city of Haridwar. This beautiful statue of Shiva is a 100 feet tall (30.5 meter).
5. Shiva at Kemp Fort, Bangalore (65 feet)
Shiva at Kemp fort is the fifth tallest Shiva statue in the world. The 65 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva seated in Lotus position, with a backdrop of Himalayas and surrounded by a pond.
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Ashta Bhairav are eight manifestations of Kaal Bhairav. They are the guardians and controller of eight directions. Each Bhairav has eight sub Bhairavs under him. So there are 64 Bhairavs in total. All of the Bhairavs are ruled and controlled by Maha Swarna Kala Bhairava, who is considered the supreme ruler of time of the universe and the chief form of Bhairava.
Vahana: Eagle (Garuda)
Worship Benefits: Gives you the power to take massive action.
7. Sri Samhaara Bhairav
Worship Benefits: Complete dissolution of old negative karmas.
8. Sri Kapaala Bhairav
Worship Benefits: Ends all unrewarding work and action.
Each of the Bhairava’s manifestations represent, Akash, air, fire, water and earth and the other three being sun, moon and atma. Each of the Bhairavs are different in appearance, have different weapons, different vahanas. They also represent the Ashta Lakshmis.
Disclaimer: All images, designs or videos in this page are copyright of their respective owners. We don’t own have these images/designs/videos. We collect them from search engine and other sources to be used as ideas for you. No copyright infringement is intended. If you have reason to believe that one of our content is violating your copyrights, please do not take any legal action as we are trying to spread the knowledge. You can contact us directly to be credited or have the item removed from the site.
There is a concept of prakriti and purush in Hinduism. Its a bit tough to explain but let me try to explain you in short. (I will write a big post of prakriti and purush explaining each and every small details later)
Samkhya: Samkhya or Sankhya is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. Samkhya is strongly dualist.
It regards the universe as consisting of two realities, Pursha (consciousness) and Prakriti (matter).
a living being or Jiva is that state in which purusha is bonded to prakriti in some form. This fusion, state the Samkhya scholars, led to the emergence of buddhi (“spiritual awareness”) and ahankara (individualized ego consciousness).
The universe is described by this school as one created by Purusha-Prakriti entities infused with various permutations and combinations of variously enumerated elements, senses, feelings, activity and mind.
During the state of imbalance, one of more constituents overwhelm the others, creating a form of bondage, particularly of the mind. The end of this imbalance, bondage is called liberation, or moksha by Samkhya school of Hinduism.
Its a big topic, so i’ll just simplify it for you. Just learn this, Prakriti = material reality and Purusha = spiritual reality
Material reality is to please our five senses. Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell and touch are the five senses that we have. We work and do everything to please them. Every little and big thing you do in your life is to please one or all of these. From cleaning your house to visiting romantic places and to taste exotic foods.
Apart from this, material reality contains Art, Music, Sex, Pleasure, Prosperity, etc.
You will work hard, earn lot of money, your needs will increase, to keep up with them, you will work harder. It’s a loop. Human needs are unlimited, but the resources he have are always limited.
Material reality is impermanent; Sooner or later it withers away. Today you are eating the best food, tomorrow you may have a great financial loss and you won’t be able to afford what you can afford now. With this there comes a stage where you become restless, frustrated, pain, anxiety, stress, fear and all sorts of emotions.
So Now, Prakriti = material reality = Unstable
Purusha or spiritual growth is the ability to overpower these emotions so that one has the wisdom to appreciate and enjoy all things material without getting needy or clingy. One is happy when the material world favours us and not unhappy when it does not. This can only happen when material growth is accompanied by intellectual growth. Only intellectual growth can control emotional turmoil caused by dependence on material things.
So Now, Purusha = Spiritual reality = Stable
Ok i think you got the basic idea of Prakriti and Purusha. Now, Think of our human body. The heart is on the left side, so the side is unstable. and so that side i.e. the left side of a body is considered as Prakriti Side.
So eventually, the right side, being stable is Purusha Side.
Moving on, When any person wants to go to a temple, he want to go there to calm himself. Technically, to exit the material world and enter the Spiritual world. So sit there, calm himself, to meditate, to pray. So if an individual wants to enter the spirituality i.e. the purusha, then why not to start from spiritual side of the body i.e. the purusha, the stable side, i.e the Right side..
Hope you got the answer.
You can stop reading here. But if you are intrested in further understanding prakriti and purusha side, here is the small explaination.
Visit an temple or see any Hindu GOD’s photo. If the GOD’s right leg is on the ground, He or she represents the Purusha side.
Shiva and shakti are perfect blend of Purusha and Prakriti. SHIVA symbolises consciousness, the masculine principle.
SHAKTI symbolises the feminine principle, the activating power and energy.
In Ganesha’s Idol, even the tusk can tell you that that particular idol represents purusha side or Prakriti side.
Likewise Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti
Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha…
and last but not the least, our Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.
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The Trimurti is a concept in Hinduism “in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver and Shiva the destroyer or transformer.” These three gods have been called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity”, often addressed as “Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara.”
Brahma is the Hindu god (deva) of creation and one of the Trimurti. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Manu, and from Manu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, he is often referred to as the progenitor or great grandsire of all human beings.
Vishnu is one of the three supreme deities (Trimurti) of Hinduism. He is also known as Narayana and Hari. He is conceived as “the Preserver or the Protector” within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the divinity.
Shiva or Mahesh
Shiva also known as Mahadeva (“Great God”) is one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is “the Destroyer” or “the Transformer” among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine.
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1. Shiva’s Trishul or Trident symbolizes the unity of 3 worlds of a human being-his inside world, the immediate world around him and the broader world, a harmony between the 3. The crescent moon on his forehead that gives him the name of Chandrashekar, dates back from the Vedic age when Rudra and Soma, the Moon God, were worshipped together. The Trishul in his hand also represents the 3 Gunas-Sattva,Rajas and Tama, while the Damaru or the drum represents the sacred sound OM from which all languages are formed.
2. Bhagiratha prayed to Lord Shiva for getting the Ganga to earth, which would flow over his ancestor’s ashes and grant them salvation. However when Ganga was descending to Earth, she was still in a playful mood. She felt she would just rush down and sweep Shiva off his feet. Sensing her intentions, Shiva, imprisoned the falling Ganga in his locks. It was again on Bhagiratha’s plea, that Shiva let Ganga flow from his hair. The name Gangadhara comes from Shiva carrying Ganga on his head.
3. Shiva is represented as Nataraja, the Lord of Dance, and there are two forms, Tandava, the fierce aspect representing destruction of universe, and Lasya, the gentler one. The demon being surpressed under Shiva’s feet is Apasmara symbolizing ignorance.
4. Shiva along with his consort Parvati is represented in the Ardhanarisvara form, which is a half male, half female icon. The concept is of the masculine energy(Purusha) and feminine energy( Prakrithi) of the universe in a synthesis. At another level, this is also used to symbolize that in a marital relationship, the wife is one half of the husband, and has an equal status. That is the reason why Shiva-Parvati are often held as examples of a perfect marriage.
5. Kamadeva, the Hindu god of love, Cupid’s equivalent albeit clothed, was burned to ash by Shiva. This was when Devas were waging a war against Tarakasur. He could only be defeated by Shiva’s son. But Shiva was busy in meditation and well, no one procreates when meditating. So Devas asked Kamadeva to pierce Shiva with his love arrows. He managed except Shiva woke up in rage. Apart from Tandava, the other thing that Shiva is known to do in anger is open his third eye. If he views anyone from his third eye, then the person is burned down. This is exactly what happened to Kamadeva.
6. Ravana was one of Shiva’s greatest devotees. Once he tried to uproot Mount Kailasa, Shiva’s abode in the Himalayas. I cannot remember the exact reason why he wanted to do so but anyway, he could not succeed in this endeavour. Shiva trapped him beneath Kailasa. To redeem himself, Ravana started singing hymns in praise of Shiva. He cut off one of his heads to make a veena and used his tendons as the instrument’s string to make music. Eventually, over many years, Shiva did forgive Ravana and freed him from under the mountain. Also, post this episode, Shiva was so moved by Ravana’s prayer that he became his favorite devotee.
7. He is known as Tripurantaka because he destroyed the 3 flying cities Tripura with Brahma driving his chariot and Vishnu propelling the warhead.
8. Shiva is a pretty liberal God. He allows everything which is otherwise considered unconventional or taboo in religion. One need not follow any set rituals to pray to him. He is not a sucker for rules and is known to grant wishes to anyone and everyone. Unlike Brahma or Vishnu who want their devotees to prove their mettle, Shiva is fairly easy to please.
Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in reverence of the god Shiva. It is the day Shiva was married to the goddess Parvati. The Maha Shivaratri festival, also popularly known as ‘Shivaratri’ (spelt as Sivaratri, Shivaratri, Sivarathri, and Shivarathri) or ‘Great Night of Shiva’, marks the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in month of Magha is known as Maha Shivaratri according to South Indian calendar. However according to North Indian calendar Masik Shivaratri in month of Phalguna is known as Maha Shivaratri. In both calendars it is naming convention of lunar month which differs. However both, North Indians and South Indians, celebrate Maha Shivaratri on same day. Of the twelve Shivaratris in the year, the Maha Shivarathri is the most holy.
The legends signify that this day is the favorite of Lord Shiva and also throws light on his greatness and the supremacy of Lord Shiva over all other Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Maha Shivaratri also celebrates the night when Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the cosmic dance.
In honour of Siva, one of the Hindu Trinity, representing the destructive aspect in the universe.Though generally, the night time is considered sacred and suitable for the worship of the feminine aspect of’ the deity and the day time for that of’ the masculine, yet on this particular occasion Siva is worshipped during the night time, and as a matter of fact, it is specially enjoined to be observed then. The observance of the Vratha is believed to secure for the devotee immunity from the eftects of sin committed either wittingly or unwittingly. The night is divided into four quarters, each quarter going by the name of a Jama called also Yama and pious people keep awake during every one of it , worshipping Iswara.
The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael leaves to Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-vigil (jagaran). All through the day, devotees chant “Om Namah Shivaya”, the sacred mantra of Shiva. Penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life’s highest good steadily and swiftly. On this day, the planetary positions in the Northern hemisphere act as potent catalysts to help a person raise his or her spiritual energy more easily. The benefits of powerful ancient Sanskrit mantras such as Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra increase greatly on this night.
There are many incidents told about the greatness of this day. Once a hunter in a jungle after searching throughout the jungle, was quite tired and could not get any animal. In the nightfall a tiger started chasing him. to escape from that he climbed a tree. That was a Bilva tree. The tiger sat under the tree waiting for him to come down. The hunter who sat on a branch of the tree was quite tense and didn’t want to sleep. He was plucking the leaves and putting down as he was not able to be idle. Below the tree there was a Shiva lingam. The whole night went on like this. God was pleased with the Upavasa (hunger) and the Pooja the hunter and the tiger did even without knowledge. He is the peak of the grace. He gave the hunter and the tiger “Moksha”. The drenching rain constituted a bath and his action of throwing the bael leaves on the Shiva Lingam, the worship of Shiva on the Shivaratri night. Though his actions were not intentional to worship Shiva, yet he is said to have gained heaven as he had observed the Shivaratri Vratha unwittingly.
Once Parvati asked Lord Shiva which devotees and rituals pleased him the most. The Lord replied that the 14th night of the new moon, in the dark fortnight during the month of Phalgun, is his favorite day. Parvati repeated these words to Her friends, from whom the word spread to all creation.
How is Maha Shivaratri celebrated
According to the Shiva Puran, six items are regarded precious to worship and offer Lord Shiva in Maha Shivaratri.
The six Items are Beal fruit, Vermilion Paste (Chandan), Food Items (Prasad), Incense, Lamp (Diyo), Betel Leaves.
1) Beal Leaf (Marmelos leaf) – offering of Beal Leaf represents purification of the soul.
2) Vermilion paste (Chandan) – Applying chandan on Shiva Linga after washing the Linga represents good feature. Chandan is inseparable part of Worshipping Lord Shiva.
3) Food items – Food items such as rice and fruits are offered to the Lord to ensure a long life and fulfillment of desires.
4) Incense (Dhoop batti) – Incense sticks are lit before Lord Shiva to be blessed with wealth and prosperity.
5) Lamp (Diyo) – The lighting of Cotton handmade batti , lamp or diyo is believed to be helpful to gain knowledge.
6) Betel leaves (Paan ko patta) – Beatle leaves or Pan ko pat represents satisfaction with maturity.
Shiva Puran states, the beat of Damaru revealed the first seven letters of music. Those notes are source of language too. Shiva is inventor of notes of music Sa, Re, Ga, Ma Pa, Dha, Ni. He is worshiped as inventor of language on his birthday too.
The Shiva linga is washed with Pancha kavya (mixture of five products of cow) and Panchamatrit (mixture of five sweet things). Pancha kavya includes cow dung, cow urine, milk, Curd and Ghee. Panchamrit includes Cow milk, Yogurt, Honey, Sugar and Ghee.
In front of the Shiva Linga Kalash (Medium size vessel with small neck) filled with mixed water and milk is set. The neck of the Kalash is tied with white and red piece of cloth. Flower, mango leaves, peeple leaves, beal leaves are kept inside the kalash. Mantras are chanted to worship Lord Shiva.
In Nepal, millions of Hindus attend Shivaratri together from different part of the world at the famous Pashupatinath Temple. Thousands of devotees also attend Mahasivaratri at the famous Shiva Shakti Peetham of Nepal.
The indian devotee visits many big and small shiva temples to do their offerings and pray. The 12 Jyotirlingas are the famous of them all.
In Trinidad and Tobago, thousands of Hindus spend the auspicious night in over 400 temples across the country, offering special jhalls to Lord Shiva.
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In the vast sea of knowledge of Hindu mythology, the word “Jyotirlinga” Or “Jyotirling” (ज्योतिर्लिंग) holds a very strong religious and emotional significance as it represents the abode of Lord Shiva. The word Jyotirlinga is derived from the Sanskrit words “Jyoti” meaning “radiance” or “light” and “Linga” referring to the symbol of Lord Shiva, Jyotirlinga embodies the divine cosmic energy of the Supreme Being. These sacred abodes of Lord Shiva are believed to be alive with His presence and are revered as the most visited pilgrimage sites in India.
The origin of the term “Jyotirling” (ज्योतिर्लिंग) can be traced back to ancient scriptures and religious texts. The Puranas, particularly the Shiva Purana and the Linga Purana, extensively mention the significance and stories of the Jyotirlingas. These sacred texts describe the legends associated with each Jyotirlinga and the divine manifestations of Lord Shiva at these holy sites.
The worship of the Shivalinga holds utmost importance for devotees of Lord Shiva, considering it as the primary form of worship. It is believed that the Shivalinga represents the resplendent light or flame-like form of the Shiva himself, one of the principal deities in the Hindu trinity. It is a powerful and ancient symbol associated with the divine masculine energy, creation, and the eternal cycle of life.
Here are some key aspects and interpretations associated with the Shiva Lingam:
Creation and Dissolution: The Shiva Ling represents the union of the cosmic energies of creation and dissolution. It symbolizes the cyclic process of birth, growth, death, and rebirth. The rounded top of the Linga represents the energy of creation, while the cylindrical base represents dissolution or transformation.
Divine Masculine Energy: The Shiva Ling is a representation of the divine masculine principle. It embodies qualities such as strength, power, and spiritual transformation. It is often worshipped by devotees seeking blessings for inner strength, courage, and spiritual growth.
Union of Shiva and Shakti: The Shiva Ling is often seen as a representation of the union between Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Shakti. It symbolizes the harmonious balance of the divine masculine and feminine energies, known as Shiva and Shakti, respectively. The Linga represents the Shiva aspect, while the yoni represents the Shakti aspect.
Fertility and Life Force: The Shiva Ling is associated with fertility and the life force energy. It represents the procreative energy of Lord Shiva and is worshipped for blessings related to fertility, progeny, and the continuation of family lineage.
Spiritual Awakening: The Shiva Ling is revered as a sacred object of meditation and spiritual awakening. Devotees believe that meditating upon the Linga can help awaken the peaceful spiritual energy within and lead to self-realization and liberation.
Ritual Worship: The Shiva Ling is worshipped with great reverence and devotion. Devotees offer water, milk, bilva leaves, flowers, and sacred ash (vibhuti) to the Linga as a gesture of respect and adoration. These offerings are believed to purify the mind, body, and soul and invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva.
It is important to note that the Shiva Ling is not considered a phallic symbol in a purely sexual context. Its representation goes beyond the physical aspect and delves into the profound symbolism of cosmic creation and spiritual transformation.
The manifestation of Lord Shiva as a Jyotirlinga holds a special place in Hindu mythology. It is believed that during the night of the Aridra Nakshatra, Lord Shiva revealed himself as the Jyotirlinga. Though the appearance may not have distinguishing features, it is said that individuals who have reached higher levels of spiritual attainment can perceive these lingas as columns of fire penetrating through the earth. This celestial phenomenon further enhances the true significance attached to the Jyotirlingas.
Initially, there were believed to be 64 Jyotirlingas, but 12 of them hold immense auspiciousness and sanctity. Each of these 12 Jyotirlinga sites is dedicated to a specific presiding deity, considered as distinct manifestations of Lord Shiva himself. The primary image at each of these sacred sites is a linga or lingam, symbolizing the timeless and eternal Stambha pillar, which represents the infinite nature of Lord Shiva.
The Jyotirlingas evoke deep religious sentiments among devotees, who perceive them as powerful sources of divine energy and blessings. Pilgrims from far and wide regions of India and from the world undertake long journeys to visit these sacred sites, seeking spiritual upliftment, inner transformation, and closeness to Lord Shiva. The presence of the Jyotirlingas serves as a constant reminder of the transcendental nature of God and the infinite possibilities of spiritual realization.
12 Jyotirlinga (ज्योतिर्लिंग) In India – Temples Of Lord Shiva
SomnathJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Veraval, Saurashtra region In Gujarat NageshwarJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Daarukavanam region In Gujarat BhimashankarJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Pune region In Maharashtra TrimbakeshwarJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Nashik region In Maharashtra GrishneshwarJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Aurangabad region In Maharashtra VaidyanathJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Deoghar region In Jharkhand MahakaleshwarJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Ujjain region In Madhya Pradesh OmkareshwarJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Khandwa region In Madhya Pradesh Kashi VishwanathJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Varanasi region In Uttar Pradesh KedarnathJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Kedarnath region In Uttarakhand RameshwaramJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Rameswaram region In Tamil Nadu MallikarjunaJyotirlinga Temple – Located in Srisailam region In Andhra Pradesh
‘Saurashtre Somanaatham Cha Sree Saile Mallikarjunam. Ujjayinyaam Mahaakaalam Omkaare Mamaleswaram. Himalaye to Kedaram Daakinyaam Bhimashankaram. Vaaranaasyaam cha Viswesam Trayambakam Gowtameethate. Paralyaam Vaidyanaatham cha Naagesam Daarukaavane Setubandhe Ramesham Grushnesam cha Shivaalaye ||’
Meaning of Dwadasa 12 Jyotirlinga Stotra in English:
“In Saurashtra is Somnath, and in Shri Shailam is Mallikarjuna, In Ujjain is Mahakala, and in Omkareshwar is Amaleshwara, In Parli is Vaidyanath, and in Dakini is Bhimashankara, In Setubandha is Rameshwara, and in Daruka Forest is Nageshwara, In Varanasi is Vishweshwara, and on the banks of Godavari is Trayambakeshwara, In the Himalayas is Kedara, and in Kashi is Gushmeshwara, By reciting these Jyotirlingas in the evening and morning, A person is relieved from sins committed in seven lifetimes.”
Note: This Sanskrit stotra or hymn highlights the 12 Jyotirlinga, including Somnath, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Vaidyanath, Bhimashankar, Rameshwaram, Nageshwara, Vishweshwara, Trayambakeshwara, Kedarnath, and Gushmeshwara. It emphasizes the power of reciting the names of these sacred lingas in relieving one from the sins accumulated over multiple lifetimes.
1. Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple – Veraval, Gujarat The Eternal Shrine of Lord Shiva
The Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple, in the holy town of Prabhas Patan near Veraval, Gujarat, holds a prime spot among the 12 Jyotirlinga dedicated to Lord Shiva. Enshrining the first and foremost Jyotirlinga, this divine temple radiates with the powerful presence of Lord Shiva. The significance of the Somnath Temple can be traced back to ancient times, as mentioned in sacred scriptures and revered hymns.
Let us embark on a spiritual journey to explore the glory and devotion that surround the first Jyotirlinga – Somnath.
The term “Somnath” is derived from two Sanskrit words – “Soma” and “Nath.” “Soma” refers to the Moon God, while “Nath” translates to “Lord” or “Master.” The name signifies the divine association of Lord Shiva with the Moon God, indicating the significance of this sacred abode.
Importatance of Somnath Temple
The Somnath Temple’s importance lies in its status as the first among the 12 Jyotirlinga. The term “Jyotirlinga” comprises two elements: “Jyoti” meaning “radiant light” and “Linga” representing Lord Shiva’s formless cosmic manifestation. The Jyotirlingas are considered the supreme abodes of Lord Shiva, where devotees can experience his divine presence and seek spiritual enlightenment.
History and Significance Of Somnath Temple:
The history of the Somnath Temple is intertwined with ancient mythology of Indian history. It is believed that Lord Shiva manifested himself as the first Jyotirlinga at Somnath, signifying the eternal divine light. The temple’s origin traces back to the Satyug era, and its prominence finds mention in revered scriptures like the Skanda Purana, Shiva Purana, and Dwadasha Jyotirlinga Stotram.
Throughout its existence, the Somnath Temple witnessed the rise and fall of dynasties, facing numerous invasions and destruction. It stood as a testament to the unwavering faith and devotion of countless devotees, who rebuilt the temple time and again. The temple’s history includes the devastating invasions by Mahmud of Ghazni in the 11th century and subsequent reconstruction efforts by different rulers, explains the resilience and spirit of Shiva devotees.
Architectural Marvel Of Somnath Temple:
The Somnath Temple’s architectural marvel showcases a fusion of ancient and contemporary styles. The temple is truly magnificent, with its beautiful carvings, tall towers, and delicate sculptures. The Shiv ling is inside the gabhara. It represents a never-ending beam of light and reminds us of Lord Shiva’s everlasting presence in the universe.
Architectural Marvel Of Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple. Photo Credits: Gujarat Tourism
Pilgrimage and Worship in Somnath Temple:
Pilgrims from far and wide undertake a spiritual journey to the Somnath Temple, seeking divine blessings, solace, and liberation from the cycle of life and death. The temple resonates with the enchanting chants of Vedic hymns and the deep devotion of devotees, creating an atmosphere charged with spiritual energy.
Festivals like Mahashivaratri, Kartik Purnima, and Shravan Month witness grand rituals and ceremonies at the Somnath Temple. Devotees immerse themselves in sacred rituals, offering prayers and performing abhishekam (ritualistic bathing) to seek Lord Shiva’s divine grace and blessings.
Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple: Dwarka, Gujarat The Sacred Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva – Dwelling of the Mighty Serpent
Introduction of Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
Situated near the city of Dwarka in Gujarat, the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple holds immense significance as one of the 12 Jyotirlinga dedicated to Lord Shiva. Known as the “Dwarka Nageshwar Jyotirlinga,” this divine temple’s sanctorium enshrines the Nageshwar Linga, symbolizing the presence and divine power of Lord Shiva. Let us walk on a spiritual journey to explore the profound history, sacred legends, and the spiritual essence surrounding the Nageshwar Temple.
Nomenclature and Mythological Significance behind Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The term “Nageshwar” is derived from two Sanskrit words – “Naga” meaning “serpent” and “Ishwara” representing “Lord.” Nageshwar signifies the Lord of Serpents, as Lord Shiva is often associated with snakes in Hindu mythology. The temple derives its name from the sacred association with the serpent lord.
Legends and Historical Significance related to Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
According to ancient stories, it is believed that the Nageshwar Temple holds a strong connection with the legendary tale from in the Shiva Purana. The story revolves around the demon couple Daruka and Daruki, who were devotees of Lord Shiva. Impressed by their unwavering devotion, Lord Shiva granted them a boon to be invincible. However, the demon Daruka misused his powers and created havoc on Earth.
To restore balance and protect the world, Lord Shiva manifested as the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga, emerged as a towering column of light, and vanquished the demon Daruka. The temple’s location is believed to be the site where this divine intervention took place, cementing its historical and mythological significance.
Architectural Marvel and Sacred Rituals associated with Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Nageshwar Temple showcases exquicent architectural craftsmanship, blending intricate carvings and vibrant beautiful sculptures. In the sanctum sanctorum holds the Nageshwar Linga, a self-manifested linga, which is a naturally formed oval-shaped stone believed to embody Lord Shiva’s presence.
Devotees gather to the Nageshwar Temple to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and participate in sacred rituals. The Maha Rudra Abhishekam, is performed with great devotion, where milk, water, and flowers are poured over the lingam. The chanting of name of lord shiva and the resonating sounds of bells and conches create an atmosphere charged with spiritual calmness.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Significance of Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
Pilgrims from far and wide landscapes of India and the world takes the spiritual journey to the Nageshwar Temple, seeking solace, divine blessings, and spiritual awakening. The temple radiates a calming aura, inviting devotees to immerse themselves in deep contemplation and connect with the divine essence of Lord Shiva.
Devotees believe that worshiping at the Nageshwar Temple grants liberation from the cycle of birth and death, bringing inner transformation and spiritual enlightenment.
Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple: Pune, Maharashtra The Divine Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva – Manifestation of Strength and Serenity
Introduction about Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple:
Situated in the mid of the scenic Sahyadri Mountains of Maharashtra, the Bhimashankar Temple stands as one of the 12 Jyotirlinga dedicated to Lord Shiva. Known for its mesmerizing natural beauty and spiritual aura, this sacred abode holds deep significance for devotees seeking the divine blessings of Lord Shiva.
Mythological Legends and Significance of Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Bhimashankar Temple derives its name from the ancient mythological tale associated with Lord Shiva’s incarnation as Bhima, known for his immense strength. According to legend, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a fierce and majestic Jyotirlinga to vanquish the demon Tripurasura, who threatened peace and harmony in the universe. The temple’s location is believed to be the spot where Lord Shiva manifested his divine presence to protect and restore cosmic order.
Architectural Marvel and Sacred Surroundings of Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Bhimashankar Temple stands as an architectural marvel, blending traditional Nagara-style and Hemadpanti architectural elements. The temple’s intricate carvings, ornate pillars, and exquisite sculptures create a mesmerizing visuals, transporting devotees into a realm of divinity and soulfullness.
Surrounded by lush greenery and cascading waterfalls, the temple is nestled in the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, providing a serene backdrop for spiritual awakening. The natural splendor and serene atmosphere further enhance the spiritual experience for pilgrims and seekers.
The Sacred Rituals of Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The sanctum sanctorum of the Bhimashankar Temple houses the revered Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga, representing Lord Shiva’s supreme cosmic energy. The linga is adorned with intricate jewelry and offerings.
Devotees engage in various rituals and prayers at the temple to seek the blessings and divine grace of Lord Shiva. The rhythmic chants of Vedic hymns, the fragrance of agarbatti and Dhoopam or Dhoop, and the resonating sounds of bells create an atmosphere charged with spiritual upliftment. The Abhishekam, the ceremonial bath of the linga with holy water, milk, and sacred substances, is performed with utmost devotion, symbolizing the purification of the devotee’s mind, body, and soul.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Essence of Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Bhimashankar Temple attracts devotees from far and wide, who embark on a sacred pilgrimage to seek spiritual solace and enlightenment. The serene surroundings and the divine energy permeating the temple inspire a deep sense of devotion and reverence.
The pilgrimage to Bhimashankar is not only a physical journey but also an inner transformation. The spiritual vibrations and the divine presence of Lord Shiva help seekers attain inner peace, dissolve worldly attachments, and experience the profound connection between the self and the supreme consciousness.
Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple: Nashik, Maharashtra The Sacred Abode of Lord Shiva – The Source of the Sacred Godavari River
Introduction of Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
Located in the beautiful town of Trimbak in Maharashtra, the Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple holds immense spiritual significance as one of the 12 revered Jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva. Known as the “Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga,” this divine sanctuary not only represents the presence of Lord Shiva but also serves as the originating point of the sacred Godavari River. Let us embark on a spiritual journey to explore the ancient legends, architectural splendor, and the profound spiritual essence surrounding the Trimbakeshwar Temple.
Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple: Nashik, Maharashtra: Photo Credits Wikipedia
Mythological Legends and Sacred Origins of Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is steeped in ancient mythology and legends. According to one popular belief, the sacred Godavari River is said to originate from a reservoir called the “Kushavarta Kund” located within the temple complex. It is believed that Lord Shiva himself released the Ganges River from his matted locks, which then flowed down to earth as the Godavari River, bestowing divine blessings upon the land.
The temple’s origin dates back to the ancient times, and its significance finds mention in sacred scriptures such as the Skanda Purana and the Shivapuran. Legends also narrate how Lord Shiva, in the form of Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga, granted salvation to countless devotees who sought spiritual liberation.
Architectural Marvel and Sacred Rituals related to Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple stands as an architectural masterpiece, reflecting the Indo-Aryan style of architecture. The temple’s elaborate entrance, intricately carved walls, and ornate spires create a captivating sight for devotees and visitors. The sanctum sanctorum houses the revered Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga, which is believed to possess immense spiritual power and radiate divine energy.
Devotees flock from all over the world to the Trimbakeshwar Temple to engage in various rituals and seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. The Rudra-bhishek, a ceremonial bath of the linga with sacred substances like milk, water, honey, and sandalwood paste, is performed with deep reverence and devotion. The temple resonates with the enchanting sounds of Vedic chants, hymns, and prayers, creating an atmosphere charged with spiritual fervor.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Significance of Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple holds a special place in the hearts of pilgrims who undertake a sacred journey to seek spiritual solace and divine blessings. The temple’s serene surroundings, located between the lush greenery of the Brahmagiri Hills, provide a breath taking environment for introspection and contemplation.
Devotees believe that visiting the Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, taking a dip in the holy Kushavarta Kund, and offering prayers with utmost devotion can purify one’s soul and wash away sins. The pilgrimage to Trimbakeshwar is not only a physical endeavor but also a spiritual quest to experience the divine presence of Lord Shiva, leading to spiritual awakening and inner transformation.
Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple: Aurangabad, Maharashtra The Sacred Abode of Lord Shiva – Gateway to Divine Healing and Blessings
Introduction about Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
Nestled in the serene town of Verul, Maharashtra, the Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple stands as one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga dedicated to Lord Shiva. Known as the “Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga,” this ancient and sacred temple holds immense spiritual significance for devotees seeking divine healing, blessings, and spiritual upliftment. Let us embark on a spiritual journey to uncover the mystical legends, architectural splendor, and the profound spiritual essence surrounding the Grishneshwar Temple.
Image Source: myoksha.com
Mythological Legends and Divine Miracles related to Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is intertwined with captivating mythological legends that depict Lord Shiva’s divine grace and miraculous interventions. One popular legend tells the tale of a devout woman named Kusuma, who was childless and yearned for a child. Impressed by her unwavering devotion, Lord Shiva blessed her with a son at the Grishneshwar Temple. This divine intervention earned the temple its name, as “Grishneshwar” translates to “Lord of Compassion.”
Legends also narrate how Lord Shiva bestowed divine healing and restored the health of devotees who sought solace and liberation at the temple. The sacred space of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is believed to be a powerful conduit for experiencing divine grace and blessings.
Architectural Marvel and Sacred Atmosphere of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Grishneshwar Temple stands as a testimony to magnificent architectural work. The temple showcases beautiful delicate carvings, sculptured walls, and beautifully adorned spires that reflect the grandeur of ancient Indian temple architecture. The sanctum sanctorum houses the revered Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga, emmiting an aura of divinity and tranquility.
The temple’s serene atmosphere, adorned with fragrant flowers and resonating with Vedic chants, creates a sacred ambiance that invites devotees to surrender their minds and hearts to Lord Shiva. The divine energy permeating the temple’s surroundings instills a deep sense of devotion and reverence in the hearts of the seekers.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Significance of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
Pilgrims from far and wide undertake a sacred journey to the Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, seeking divine blessings, spiritual solace, and liberation from worldly afflictions. Devotees believe that worshiping at this sacred abode can bestow prosperity, peace, and fulfillment in their lives.
The temple serves as a spiritual gateway for inner healing, where devotees can offer prayers, perform rituals, and seek divine guidance. The recitation of ancient Vedic mantras and hymns creates an atmosphere charged with spiritual vibrations, facilitating a profound connection between the individual soul and the supreme consciousness.
Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple: Deoghar, Jharkhand The Divine Abode of Lord Shiva – The Epitome of Healing and Well-being
Introduction of Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple:
Nestled in the ancient city of Deoghar in Jharkhand, the Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple stands as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva. Known as the “Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga,” this sacred pilgrimage site holds deep spiritual significance as the abode of Lord Shiva, the divine healer and healer of health and well-being. Let us embark on a spiritual journey to unravel the captivating legends, architectural marvels, and the profound spiritual essence surrounding the Baidyanath Temple.
Mythological Legends and Healing Grace of Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple is steeped in mythological legends that depict Lord Shiva’s role as the divine healer. According to ancient scriptures, Lord Shiva assumed the form of Baidyanath (the Divine Physician) to heal and protect the sufferings of humanity. It is believed that worshiping Lord Shiva in this form at the Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple can restore divine healing, cure ailments, and restore overall well-being.
Legends also narrate how Lord Ravana, the mythical demon king, undertook a rigorous penance to seek Lord Shiva’s blessings at this sacred site. Impressed by his devotion, Lord Shiva granted Ravana a divine linga, which later became the Baidyanath Jyotirlinga, symbolizing the eternal healing power of the divine.
Architectural Splendor and Sacred Atmosphere of Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple showcases exquisite architectural work, blending traditional North Indian and Mughal architectural styles. The temple complex features intricately carved walls, majestic domes, and beautifully adorned spires, all symbolizing the grandeur of divine presence.
Upon entering the temple, devotees are greeted by a serene and sacred atmosphere, resonating with the echoes of devotional chants and prayers. The sanctum sanctorum houses the revered Baidyanath Jyotirlinga, radiating a divine aura that instills hope, faith, and healing energy in the hearts of devotees.
Rituals and Divine Offerings for Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple:
Devotees engage in various rituals and offerings at the baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple to seek divine healing and well-being. The holy water from the Ganges River, also known as “jalabhishek,” is poured over the linga as a symbol of purification and the healing grace of Lord Shiva. Devotees also offer bilva leaves, flowers, and sacred chants to express their devotion and seek blessings for good health.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Significance of Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple:
The pilgrimage to the Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple holds immense significance for devotees seeking healing, both physical and spiritual. It is believed that sincere prayers and offerings at this sacred abode can remove obstacles, and bring about complete well-being.
The spiritual journey to the Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple allows devotees to deepen their connection with Lord Shiva as the ultimate healer and experience profound inner transformation. The serene surroundings and the divine energy of the temple serve as a catalyst for spiritual growth, healing, and self-realization.
Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple: Ujjain, Madhya pradesh The Majestic Abode of Lord Shiva – The Eternal Protector and Destroyer of Time
Introduction of Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga:
Situated on the banks of the holy Kshipra River in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, the Mahakaleshwar Temple stands as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva. Known as the “Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga,” this ancient and sacred temple holds immense spiritual significance as the abode of Lord Shiva, the eternal protector and destroyer of time. Let us embark on a divine journey to explore the rich history, mystical legends, and the profound spiritual essence surrounding the Mahakaleshwar Temple.
Mythological Legends and Timeless Grace of Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga:
The Mahakaleshwar Temple is steeped in captivating mythological legends that depict the awe-inspiring power and grace of Lord Shiva. According to ancient scriptures, Lord Shiva manifested in the form of Mahakaleshwar to protect the universe from evil forces and restore cosmic balance. It is believed that worshipping Mahakaleshwar at this sacred abode can grant liberation from the cycle of birth and death, symbolizing the eternal nature of time and the transcendence of worldly attachments.
Legends also narrate how the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple witnessed numerous divine interventions and miraculous occurrences, amplifying the god’s presence and compassionate blessings of Lord Shiva. Devotees believe that Mahakaleshwar’s grace can bestow divine protection, spiritual awakening, and liberation from worldly illusions.
The Battle between Lord Shiva and Lord Yama:
A legend associated with the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga involves a fierce battle between Lord Shiva and Lord Yama, the god of death. It is believed that the ruler of Ujjain, Raja Chandrasena, once unknowingly disturbed a sage named Vriddhakar and his consort. In anger, the sage cursed the king with a deadly disease. In order to save the king, his wife, Queen Madhavi, performed intense penance to seek Lord Shiva’s intervention. Pleased with her devotion, Lord Shiva appeared and defeated Lord Yama, thus liberating the king from the curse. This event is believed to have occurred at the present site of the Mahakaleshwar temple.
The King Vikramaditya’s Association with Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
King Vikramaditya, a legendary ruler, is said to have played a significant role in the history of the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga. It is believed that he renovated and expanded the temple during his reign. He was a devout worshipper of Lord Shiva and made significant contributions to the temple’s development, making it one of the most prominent pilgrimage sites in India.
Architectural Splendor and Sacred Rituals associated with Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga:
The Mahakaleshwar Temple showcases beautiful architecture, with its towering spires, intricately carved walls, and majestic entrance gateways. The temple’s distinct Bhumija and Maru-Gurjara architectural styles reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region. The sanctum sanctorum houses the revered Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, radiating a divine aura that mesmerizes devotees with its timeless presence.
Devotees flock to the temple to partake in sacred rituals and seek blessings from Mahakaleshwar. The Bhasma Aarti, a unique ritual where the deity is adorned with sacred ash, is performed daily in the early morning hours, creating a mystical atmosphere filled with devotion and reverence. The divine chants, hymns, and prayers reverberate through the temple, creating an environment charged with spiritual energy and devotion.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Significance of Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The pilgrimage to the Mahakaleshwar Temple holds immense spiritual significance for devotees seeking divine grace, protection, and liberation. The temple serves as a gateway to profound spiritual experiences and inner transformation. It is believed that a visit to the temple and sincere devotion can help seekers transcend the limitations of time and attain spiritual enlightenment.
The sacred city of Ujjain, with its association with Lord Shiva and its historical and cultural heritage, further adds to the spiritual significance of the Mahakaleshwar Temple. Pilgrims from far and wide undertake the journey to seek Mahakaleshwar’s blessings, immerse themselves in the divine vibrations, and connect with the eternal essence of Lord Shiva.
Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple: The Sacred Confluence of Devotion and Divinity – Uniting the Divine Energies of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati
Introduction of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
Nestled on the serene island of Mandhata in the Narmada River, Madhya Pradesh, the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple stands as a revered pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Shiva. Known as the “Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga,” this ancient temple holds immense spiritual significance as the abode of Lord Shiva, the supreme consciousness, and represents the cosmic union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Let us embark on a spiritual journey to discover the captivating legends, architectural marvels, and the profound spiritual essence surrounding the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple.
Legends and Divine Confluence of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Omkareshwar Temple is enshrined with captivating legends that depict the divine confluence of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to ancient scriptures, it is believed that Lord Shiva assumed the form of Omkareshwar (the Lord of Omkara) to appease the gods and goddesses and seek their blessings. The temple represents the eternal bond between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, symbolizing the harmonious blending of masculine and feminine energies, creation, and dissolution.
The sacred island of Omkareshwar is said to resemble the shape of the sacred syllable “Om,” representing the cosmic vibration and the primordial sound of the universe. It is believed that chanting the sacred sound of “Om” in the vicinity of the temple enhances spiritual vibrations and leads to self-realization.
The Legend of Vindhya Mountains:
According to Hindu mythology, there was once a rivalry between the Vindhya Mountains and the Mount Meru, both of whom were seeking supremacy. In their quest for dominance, the Vindhya Mountains performed severe penance to please Lord Shiva. Pleased with their devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before them and granted their wish to be known as Omkareshwar, the divine form of Lord Shiva himself. The temple derives its name from this legend.
The Tale of King Mandhata:
The island on which the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is situated is believed to be named after King Mandhata, an ancient ruler mentioned in Hindu scriptures. It is said that King Mandhata undertook a rigorous penance and worshiped Lord Shiva on this island, seeking his blessings and guidance. Lord Shiva was pleased with his devotion and granted him a boon, making the island sacred and declaring it as his abode.
The Divine Confluence of the Narmada and Kaveri Rivers:
One of the unique features of the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is its location at the confluence of the Narmada and Kaveri rivers. This confluence, known as the “Mamaleshwar Sangam,” is considered highly auspicious and is believed to possess immense spiritual energy. It is believed that taking a holy dip at this sacred confluence can cleanse sins and bestow blessings upon devotees.
The Miraculous Appearance of the Lingam:
Another legend associated with the temple tells the story of a devotee named Mandhata. He was an ardent follower of Lord Shiva but was childless. In his prayers, he pleaded for a child. Pleased with his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before him and granted his wish. Lord Shiva transformed himself into a Jyotirlinga and blessed Mandhata. This divine lingam is believed to be enshrined in the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple.
Architectural Splendor and Sacred Significance of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple showcases exquisite architectural splendor, combining the Nagara and Dravidian architectural styles. The temple complex features intricately carved walls, magnificent spires, and ornate gateways, reflecting the grandeur of Indian temple architecture. The sanctum sanctorum houses the revered Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga, radiating an aura of divine energy and profound spirituality.
The sacred Narmada River flows around the island, forming two distinct hills, symbolizing the sacred presence of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Devotees undertake a parikrama (circumambulation) of the island, offering prayers and seeking blessings from the divine couple. The spiritual ambiance of the temple, coupled with the soothing sounds of the flowing river, creates a serene and sacred atmosphere for devotees to connect with the divine energies.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Significance of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple:
The pilgrimage to the Omkareshwar Temple holds immense spiritual significance for devotees seeking divine blessings, spiritual awakening, and liberation. It is believed that sincere devotion and offerings at this sacred abode can bestow inner peace, harmony, and divine grace.
The island of Omkareshwar is considered one of the holiest sites in Hinduism, attracting pilgrims from far and wide. Devotees undertake rigorous penance, perform sacred rituals, and participate in religious festivals to deepen their connection with Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The annual festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated with great fervor, where devotees engage in night-long prayers and immerse themselves in devotion and spiritual practices.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple: The Sacred Abode of Lord Shiva in the Spiritual Capital of India
Introduction of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple:
On the banks of the sacred river Ganges in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Kashi Vishwanath Temple stands as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva. Recognized as the “Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga,” this venerable temple carries immense spiritual weight as the dwelling of Lord Shiva, the supreme luminary and cosmic pillar of light. Let us embark on a spiritual sojourn to unravel the deep-seated history, intriguing myths, and the overwhelming spiritual ambiance that envelops the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Mythological Legends and the Spiritual Legacy of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple:
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is immersed in profound mythological tales that express the extraordinary power and grace of Lord Shiva. Ancient scriptures narrate that Lord Shiva manifested as Kashi Vishwanath to illuminate the universe with divine wisdom and light. Devotees believe that worshipping Kashi Vishwanath at this hallowed site can grant liberation from the cycle of life and death, signifying the transcendence of earthly attachments and realization of ultimate truth.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple has witnessed numerous divine manifestations and miraculous happenings, strengthening the devotees’ faith and reinforcing the ceaseless blessings of Lord Shiva. It’s believed that Vishwanath’s benevolence can confer divine protection, spiritual enlightenment, and liberation from materialistic illusions.
The Legend of Lord Shiva and the City of Light:
One prominent legend associated with the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga involves Lord Shiva and the mystical city of light, Varanasi. It is said that Varanasi is the divine city of Lord Shiva and the center of spiritual wisdom. Shiva resided here and his potent light emanated, piercing through ignorance and darkness. The divine lighthouse, known as Vishwanath, is believed to have manifested in the place where the Kashi Vishwanath temple stands today.
Association of King Harishchandra with Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple:
King Harishchandra, a legendary ruler known for his honesty and integrity, is said to have been closely associated with the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga. His story is a testament to the divine powers of the temple. Harishchandra was blessed by Lord Shiva after enduring many trials and tribulations, reinforcing the spiritual importance of Kashi Vishwanath temple as a place that grants divine blessings and transformation.
Architectural Grandeur and Sacred Rituals of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple:
Kashi Vishwanath Temple exhibits architectural grandeur with its towering spires, exquisitely sculpted walls, and magnificent entrance gateways. The temple’s sanctum sanctorum houses the revered Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga, which exudes a divine aura that spellbinds devotees with its ever-present radiance.
Devotees visit the temple in droves to participate in sacred rituals and seek blessings from Kashi Vishwanath. The Ganga Aarti, a spiritual ritual that pays homage to the holy Ganges river, takes place every day, creating an ethereal ambiance filled with devotion and reverence. The divine chants, hymns, and prayers echo through the temple, enhancing its spiritual vitality and devotion.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Significance of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple:
The pilgrimage to Kashi Vishwanath Temple holds immense spiritual importance for devotees seeking divine grace, protection, and liberation. The temple serves as a doorway to profound spiritual experiences and inner transformation. It is believed that a visit to the temple and earnest devotion can help individuals transcend worldly limitations and attain spiritual enlightenment.
Varanasi, with its historical and cultural heritage associated with Lord Shiva, further adds to the spiritual significance of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Pilgrims from various corners of the world undertake the journey to seek Vishwanath’s blessings, immerse themselves in divine vibrations, and connect with the eternal essence of Lord Shiva.
Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple: A Sacred Himalayan Abode of Lord Shiva’s Divine Presence
Introduction of Kedarnath Temple:
Nestled in the lofty Himalayan peaks in Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand, the Kedarnath Temple stands as one of the most sacred pilgrimage destinations for Hindus. Known as one of the 12 Jyotirlinga, Kedarnath Temple holds immense spiritual significance as the divine abode of Lord Shiva, often depicted as the transformative force of the universe. As we begin our spiritual journey, let’s delve into the rich history, enthralling legends, and the profound spiritual essence encompassing the Kedarnath Temple.
Enthralling Legends and Divine Aura of Kedarnath jyotirlingaTemple:
Steeped in awe-inspiring legends and ancient mythology, Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple symbolizes the omnipotent and merciful nature of Lord Shiva. As per the legends, the Pandavas, after the great Mahabharata war, sought Lord Shiva’s blessings for redemption from the sins committed during the war. Lord Shiva, disguised as a bull, took refuge in Kedarnath to evade the Pandavas. However, when Bhima, one of the Pandavas, tried to hold the bull by its tail and hind legs, it sank into the ground, leaving behind the hump on the surface. This conical projection is worshipped as the idol in the Kedarnath temple.
Another fascinating tale associated with Kedarnath Temple involves the construction of the temple. It is believed that the temple was initially built by the Pandavas, and later, Adi Shankaracharya, the great 8th-century philosopher and reformist, refurbished the current temple.
Adi Shankaracharya’s Samadhi near Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple:
Near the Kedarnath temple, one can find the Samadhi or the final resting place of Adi Shankaracharya. It is believed that Shankaracharya took Samadhi at the young age of 32 after establishing the four ‘mathas’ in the four corners of India. The Samadhi site pays tribute to his remarkable contribution to Hindu philosophy and spirituality.
Architectural Grandeur and Sacred Rituals of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple:
Constructed in a traditional Himalayan architectural style, the Kedarnath Temple showcases intricate carvings and stone-work. The structure is made of large, heavy, and evenly cut grey slabs of stones, bearing the harsh weather conditions of the region.
The sanctum sanctorum houses the revered Shiva Linga, which is worshipped as the hump of Lord Shiva in his bull form. The temple’s spiritual ambiance and serene surroundings, coupled with the enchanting chants and hymns, create an environment filled with spiritual energy and divine blessings.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Significance of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple:
The pilgrimage to Kedarnath Temple is considered an arduous journey, as it involves trekking through challenging terrains, enduring harsh weather conditions, and overcoming physical and mental barriers. Yet, this journey is believed to be a spiritually transforming experience, signifying the human soul’s journey toward divine enlightenment.
Kedarnath is also part of the Chota Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand, which includes Yamunotri, Gangotri, and Badrinath. Undertaking this pilgrimage is considered a path to attain salvation or Moksha in Hinduism.
With its breathtakingly beautiful surroundings, the temple not only offers a spiritual retreat but also a chance to connect with nature. The mesmerizing views of the snow-clad Himalayas, the cascading river Mandakini, and the lush green forests, all add to the divine and serene experience that Kedarnath Temple offers.
Whether it’s the devout pilgrim seeking divine blessings or the passionate traveler intrigued by India’s rich cultural heritage and history, Kedarnath Temple stands as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment, resilience, and eternal devotion to the divine.
Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple: A Sacred Pilgrimage to the Southern Abode of Lord Shiva
Introduction to Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple:
Situated on the peaceful island of Rameshwaram, off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu, the Rameshwaram Temple, also known as Ramanathaswamy Temple, is a celebrated pilgrimage destination revered by Hindus worldwide. The temple venerates Lord Shiva and forms part of the sacred Char Dham pilgrimage, showcasing the diverse spiritual culture and architectural brilliance of India. Let’s embark on this spiritual sojourn, exploring the captivating history, fascinating legends, and the profound spiritual charm of Rameshwaram Temple.
Enchanting Legends and Holy Significance of Rameshwaram Temple:
Rameshwaram Temple is enshrined with engrossing myths and legends from the epic Ramayana. According to mythology, it’s the place where Lord Rama, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, constructed a bridge across the sea to Lanka to rescue Sita from the demon king Ravana.
Before launching the final battle against Ravana, Lord Rama wished to seek blessings from Lord Shiva. To this end, he asked Lord Hanuman to bring a Shiva Lingam from the Himalayas. However, when Hanuman was delayed, Sita made a Lingam out of the sand. This Lingam, called Ramalingam, is the main deity worshipped in the temple.
Lord Rama sanctified this place by worshipping Lord Shiva here, which has since been a sacred spot of worship, and hence, the name Rameshwaram (meaning “Lord of Rama” in Sanskrit).
Architectural Brilliance and Sacred Rituals of Rameshwaram Temple:
The Rameshwaram Temple exhibits the magnificent Dravidian style of architecture with intricately carved granite pillars, towering gopurams (temple towers), and expansive corridors. Notably, the temple boasts the world’s longest corridor among all Hindu temples. The corridor is adorned with around 1212 pillars, each elegantly designed and finely sculpted.
Ritualistic practices at the temple include a ceremonial bath in the 22 holy wells or ‘theerthams’ within the temple precincts, each believed to have medicinal properties. The act of bathing in these theerthams is considered to purify the devotee from sins and afflictions.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Significance of Rameshwaram Temple:
Rameshwaram Temple holds a vital place in Hinduism, being a part of the Char Dham pilgrimage, alongside Badrinath, Puri, and Dwarka. It is also associated with the Pancha Bhoota Stalam and Jyotirlinga, two important pilgrimage circuits of the Shaivites.
Moreover, Rameshwaram plays a pivotal role in the Sethu Yathra, a religious journey associated with performing last rites and rituals. It is believed that performing these rituals here brings peace to the souls of the ancestors.
Rameshwaram, with its serene beaches, vast ocean expanse, and the omnipresent spiritual tranquility, provides a unique blend of divine and natural beauty. The holistic environment, coupled with the echoing chants and hymns, fills the atmosphere with peace, mysticism, and spiritual fervor.
Rameshwaram Temple stands as a beacon of faith, spirituality, and devotion. Its sacred ambience and architectural splendour continue to enchant pilgrims and travelers alike, casting an everlasting impression on those who venture to this divine island city.
Mallikarjuna Temple: The Sacred Abode of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati
Introduction to Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga:
Situated in the picturesque town of Srisailam on the lush Nallamala Hills in Andhra Pradesh, the Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga, also known as Srisailam Temple, is a cherished pilgrimage destination, venerated by devotees across the globe. This ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and forms a crucial part of the 12 Jyotirlinga pilgrimage in India. Let us journey into the entrancing world of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga and delve into its riveting history, enthralling legends, and profound spiritual aura.
Captivating Legends and Divine Significance of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga:
The enchanting lore of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga originates from ancient Hindu scriptures. According to legend, Lord Ganesha was married before his brother Kartikeya, which upset the latter. Kartikeya left for the Kraunch Mountain in a huff. To pacify him, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati assumed the forms of Mallikarjuna and Bhramaramba respectively and resided on the Srisailam Mountain.
The Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is thus the form of Lord Shiva that resides eternally on the Srisailam Mountain. The temple also houses the Bhramaramba Devi, one of the eighteen Maha Shakti Peethas, making it a unique temple where both a Jyotirlinga and a Shakti Peetha can be worshipped together.
Architectural Grandeur and Sacred Rituals at Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga:
The temple is an epitome of the Vijayanagara architectural style, boasting intricately carved stone pillars, resplendent gopurams (temple towers), and an expansive courtyard. The main sanctum sanctorum houses the Jyotirlinga, worshipped as Mallikarjuna, and the shrine of Goddess Bhramaramba.
Devotees engage in various religious practices like Abhishekam, Archana, and Aarti, with profound devotion and reverence. Special rituals are conducted during festivals like Maha Shivaratri, Navaratri, and Karthika Pournami, attracting a multitude of pilgrims.
Pilgrimage and Spiritual Significance of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga:
Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is not only part of the revered Jyotirlinga pilgrimage but also an essential stop in the Shakti Peetha, Pancharama Kshetras, and Astadasa Shakti Peethas circuits.
The serene natural surroundings, the calming chants reverberating in the air, and the spiritual energy that permeates the atmosphere makes Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga a spiritual haven. The divine vibes of the temple bestow peace upon the minds of the devotees, inspiring a sense of spiritual liberation and inner tranquility.
Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga stands as a profound testament to India’s rich spiritual heritage, its enigmatic myths, and architectural brilliance. The temple continues to lure pilgrims and tourists with its mesmerizing blend of divinity, serene ambience, and ethereal beauty, imparting an ineffable sense of peace and spirituality.
The 12 Jyotirlingas of India stand as profound pillars of the country’s profound spiritual history, reflecting the indelible footprints of divine energy of lord shiva, spread across its sacred landscape. Each Jyotirlinga, uniquely stands strong in different parts of India, ranging from the bustling cities to the tranquil mountains, narrates tales of divine interventions, ancient traditions, and enchanting legends. They echo the celestial tunes of spirituality, speaking volumes about India’s rich mythology, deep-rooted faith, and grand architectural splendor.
From the snow-clad peaks sheltering Kedarnath to the coastal tranquility of Rameshwaram, the deep forests of Srisailam hosting Mallikarjuna to the vibrant city of Varanasi reverberating with the energy of Vishwanath, each of these 12 Jyotirlingas offers a distinct spiritual experience. Each temple serves as a beacon of peace and spiritual awakening, attracting seekers from all walks of life. They offer solace, inspiration, and a profound sense of connection with the divine.
The spiritual journey across these 12 Jyotirlingas is not just a pilgrimage, but an expedition that instills serenity, invigorates the soul, and elevates one’s consciousness. It is a pilgrimage that offers a deeper understanding of India’s spiritual heritage, allows one to delve into the essence of devotion, and leaves one with an indelible imprint of divinity on their hearts.
The spiritual saga of the 12 Jyotirlingas thus unfolds, guiding seekers through the path of divine enlightenment and the eternal cosmic dance of creation, preservation, and dissolution. The aura of these sanctums continues to illuminate the spiritual paths of countless devotees, kindling in their hearts the eternal flame of faith, devotion, and spiritual bliss.
Parshuram a.k.a Parashurama, Parashuraman is the sixth avatar of Vishnu. He is son of Renuka and the saptarishi Jamadagni. Parshurama is one of the seven Immortals. Lord Parashuram was the Great Grandson of Bhrugu Rishi, after whom the “Bhruguvansh” has been named. He lived during the last Dvapara Yuga, and is one of the seven immortals or Chiranjivi, of Hinduism. He received an parashu(axe) after undertaking terrible penance to please Shiva, who in turn taught him the martial arts.
Parashurama is most known for ridding the world of kshatriyas twenty-one times over after the mighty king Kartavirya killed his father. He played important roles in the Mahabharata and Ramayana, serving as mentor to Bhishma, Karna and Drona. Parashurama also fought back the advancing seas to save the lands of Konkan, Malabar and Kerala.
Renuka devi and the clay pot
Parshurama’s parents were great spiritual achievers his Mother Renuka devi had command over the water elments and his father Jamadgani over fire. its even said that Renuka devi could fetch water in the even in a wet clay pot. Once Rishi Jamadgani asked Renuka Devi to fetch water in the clay pot, some how Renuka Devi was distracted from the thought of being a women and the clay pot broke. Seeing Renuka Devi wet the enraged Jamadgani called his son Parshurama. He ordered Parshurama to cut Renuka devi’s head. Parshuram obeyed his father. Rishi Jamadgani was so pleased with his son that he asked him for a boon. Parshurama asked Rishi Jamadgani to restore the breaths of his mother, thus Rishi Jamadgani who was the owner of Divya Shakties (divine Powers) brought back the life of Renuka Devi. Kamdhenu Cow
Rishi Jamadgani and Renuka Devi both were blessed not only for having Parshuram as their son but they were also given the Kamdhenu Cow. Once Rishi Jamadgani went out from his Ashram and in the mean while some Kshatriyas (worriers) arrived at their Ashram. They were in search of food, the Ashram Devies gave them food they were so surprised to see the magical cow Kaamdhenu, the cow would give any Dish she asked for. They were so amused and they put up the purposal of buying the cow for their king Kartavirya Sahasrarjuna, but all the Ashram sahadus (sages) and Devies refused. they forcefuly took away the cow. Parshurama killed the entire army of King Kartavirya Sahasrarjun and restored the magical cow. In Revenge Kartavirya Sahasrarjun’s son killed Jamadgani. When ParshuRama returned to the ashram he saw his father’s body . He noticed the 21 scars on Jamadgani’s body and took the pledge to kill all unjust kshatriyas 21 time on this earth. he killed all the sons of king.
Shri Parashuram left home to do devout austerities to please Lord Shiva. Considering his extreme devotion, intense desire and unmoved and perpetual meditation, Lord Shiva was pleased with Shri Parashuram. He presented Shri Parashuram with Divine weapons. Included was His unconquerable and indestructible axe shaped weapon, Parashu. Lord Shiva advised him to go and liberate the Mother Earth from felons, ill-behaved people, extremists, demons and those blind with pride.
Lord Shiva and Parshuram
Once, Lord Shiva challenged Shri Parashuram to a battle to test his skills in warfare. The spiritual master Lord Shiva and the disciple Shri Parashuram were locked in a fierce battle. This dreadful duel lasted for twenty one days. While ducking to avoid being hit by the Trident (Trishul) of Lord Shiva, Shri Parashuram vigorously attacked Him with his Parashu. It struck Lord Shiva on the forehead creating a wound. Lord Shiva was very pleased to see the amazing warfare skills of His disciple. He passionately embraced Shri Parashuram. Lord Shiva preserved this wound as an ornament so that the reputation of his disciple remained imperishable and insurmountable. ‘Khanda-parshu’ (wounded by Parashu) is one of the thousand names (for the salutation) of Lord Shiva.
Shri Parashuram, clipped the thousand arms of Sahasrarjun, one by one, with his Parashu and killed him. He repelled his army by showering arrows on them. The whole country greatly welcomed the destruction of Sahasrarjun. The king of Deities, Indra was so pleased that he presented His most beloved bow named Vijaya to Shri Parashuram. Lord Indra had destroyed demon dynasties with this bow. By the fatal arrows shot with the help of this Vijaya bow, Shri Parashuram destroyed the miscreant Kshatriyas twenty one times. Later Shri Parashuram presented this bow to his disciple Karna when he was pleased with his intense devotion to the Guru. Karna became unconquerable with help of this bow Vijaya presented to him by Shri Parashuram
In Valmiki Ramayana, Parashurama stops the journey of Sri Rama and his family after his marriage to Sita. He threatens to kill Sri Rama and his father, King Dasharatha, begs him to forgive his son and punish him instead. Parashurama neglects Dasharatha and invokes Sri Rama for a challenge. Sri Rama meets his challenge and tells him that he does not want to kill him because he is a Brahmin and related to his guru, Vishwamitra maharshi. But, he destroys his merit earned through penances. Thus, Parashurama’s arrogance gets diminished and he returns to his normal mind.
Mentorship of Drona
At the end of his time in the Vedic period, Parashurama was renouncing his possessions to take sanyasi. As the day progressed, Drona, then a poor Brahmin, approached Parashurama asking for alms. By that time, the warrior-sage had already given the Brahmins his gold and Kasyapa his land, so all that was left were his body and weapons. Parushurama asked which Drona would have, to which the clever Brahmin responded:
“O son of Bhrigu, it behoveth thee to give me all thy weapons together with the mysteries of hurling and recalling them.”
Thus, Parashurama gave all his weapons unto Drona, making him supreme in the science of arms. This becomes crucial as Drona later became the guru to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas who fought against each other in the Kurukshetra War. It is said that Lord Parashurama carried Lord Vishnu’s “Sudharshana Chakra” and “Bow” and Lord Balram’s “Gadha” while they fulfill their education with Guru Sandeepani
According to Puranas, Parashurama travelled to the Himalayas to pay respect to his teacher, Shiva. While travelling, his path was blocked by Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati. Parashurama threw his axe at the elephant-god. Ganesha, knowing the weapon had been given to Parashurama by his father, allowed it to sever his left tusk.
His mother Parvati was infuriated, and declared she would cut off the arms of Parashurama. She took the form of Durgama, becoming omnipotent, but at the last moment, Shiva was able to pacify her by making her see the avatar as her own son. Parashurama also asked her forgiveness, and she finally relented when Ganesha himself spoke on behalf of the warrior-saint. Parashurama then gave his divine axe to Ganesha and blessed him. Another name for Ganesha because of this encounter is Ekadanta, or ‘One Tooth’.
Beating back the Arabian Sea
Puranas write that the western coast of India was threatened by tumultuous waves and tempests, causing the land to be overcome by the sea. Parashurama fought back the advancing waters, demanding Varuna release the land of Konkan and Malabar. During their fight, Parashurama threw his axe into the sea. A mass of land rose up, but Varuna told him that because it was filled with salt, the land would be barren.
Parashurama then did a tapasya for Nagaraja, the King of Snakes. Parashurama asked him to spread serpents throughout the land so their venom would neutralize the salt filled earth. Nagaraja agreed, and a lush and fertile land grew. Thus, Parashurama pushed back the coastline between the foothills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, creating modern day Kerala.
The coastal area of Kerala, Konkan, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, are today also known as Parashurama Kshetra or Land of Parashurama in homage. Puranas record that Parashurama placed statues of Shiva at 108 different locations throughout the reclaimed land, which still exist today. Shiva, is the source of kundalini, and it around his neck that Nagaraja is coiled, and so the statues were in gratitude for their baneful cleansing of the land.
Parshurama and Surya:
Parashurama once became annoyed with the sun god Surya for making too much heat. The warrior-sage shot several arrows into the sky, terrifying Surya. When Parashurama ran out of arrows and sent his wife Dharani to bring more, the sun god then focused his rays on her, causing her to collapse. Surya then appeared before Parashurama and gave him two inventions that have since been attributed to the avatar, sandals and an umbrella
Kalaripayattu The indian Martial Arts
Parashurama and the saptarishi Agastya are regarded as the founders of kalaripayattu, the oldest martial art in the world. Parashurama was a master of shastravidya, or the art of weaponry, as taught to him by Shiva. As such, he developed northern kalaripayattu, or vadakkan kalari, with more emphasis on weapons than striking and grappling. Southern kalaripayattu was developed by Agastya, and focuses more on weaponless combat. Kalaripayattu is known as the ‘mother of all martial arts’.
Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, also practiced kalaripayattu. When he traveled to China to spread Buddhism, he brought the martial art with him, which in turn was adapted to become the basis of Shaolin Kung Fu
Unlike other incarnations of Vishnu, Parashurama is a Chiranjivi, and is said to still be doing penance today in Mahendragiri. The Kalki Purana writes that he will reemerge at the end of Kali Yuga to be the martial and spiritual guru of Kalki, the tenth and final avatar of Vishnu. It is foretold that he will instruct Kalki to perform a difficult penance to Shiva, and receive the celestial weaponry needed to bring about end time.
Parashurama as per Theory Of Evolution:
The sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu was Parashuram, a rugged primitive warrior with a battle axe. This form could be a symbol of the cave-man stage of evolution and his usage of the axe could be seen as man’s evolution from the stone age to the iron age. Man had learnt the art of using tools and weapons and exploit the natural resources available to him.
Parashurama is worshipped as mool purush, or founder, of the Bhumihar Brahmin, Chitpavan, Daivadnya, Mohyal, Tyagi, Shukla, Awasthi, saryupareen, Kothiyal, Anavil, Nambudiri bhardwaj and gaud Brahmin communities.
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Narasimha Avatar (नरसिंह), Narasingh, Narsingh and Narasingha, in derviative languages is an avatar of Vishnu and one of Hinduism’s most popular deities, as evidenced in early epics, iconography, and temple and festival worship for over a millennium.
Narasimha is often visualised as half-man/half-lion, having a human-like torso and lower body, with a lion-like face and claws. This image is widely worshipped in deity form by a significant number of Vaishnava groups. He is known primarily as the ‘Great Protector’ who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of need. Vishnu is believed to have taken the avatar to destroy the demon king Hiranyakashipu.
Hiranyaksha’s brother Hiranyakashipu wants to take revenge by destroying Lord Vishnu and his followers. He performs penance to please Brahma, the god of creation. Impressed by this act, Brahma offers him any thing he wants.
Hiranyakashipu asks for a tricky boon from Brahma which goes like this.
“O my lord, O best of the givers of benediction, if you will kindly grant me the benediction I desire, please let me not meet death from any of the living entities created by you. Grant me that I not die within any residence or outside any residence, during the daytime or at night, nor on the ground or in the sky. Grant me that my death not be brought about by any weapon, nor by any human being or animal. Grant me that I not meet death from any entity, living or nonliving created by you. Grant me, further, that I not be killed by any demigod or demon or by any great snake from the lower planets. Since no one can kill you in the battlefield, you have no competitor. Therefore, grant me the benediction that I too may have no rival. Give me sole lordship over all the living entities and presiding deities, and give me all the glories obtained by that position. Furthermore, give me all the mystic powers attained by long austerities and the practice of yoga, for these cannot be lost at any time.”
Brahma grants the boon.
With virtually no fear of death he unleashes terror. Declares himself as god and asks people to utter no God’s name except his.
One day while Hiranyakashipu performed austerities at Mandarachala Mountain, his home was attacked by Indra and the other devatas. At this point the Devarshi (divine sage) Narada intervenes to protect Kayadu, whom he describes as sinless.Following this event, Narada takes Kayadu into his care and while under the guidance of Narada, her unborn child (Hiranyakashipu son) Prahalada, becomes affected by the transcendental instructions of the sage even at such a young stage of development. Thus, Prahlada later begins to show symptoms of this earlier training by Narada, gradually becoming recognised as a devoted follower of Vishnu, much to his father’s disappointment.
Hiranyakashipu furious at the devotion of his son to Vishnu, as the god had killed his brother. Finally, he decides to commit filicide. But each time he attempts to kill the boy, Prahlada is protected by Vishu’s mystical power. When asked, Prahlada refuses to acknowledge his father as the supreme lord of the universe and claims that Vishnu is all-pervading and omnipresent.
Hiranyakashipu points to a nearby pillar and asks if ‘his Vishnu’ is in it and says to his son Prahlada. Prahlada then answers,
“He was, He is and He will be.”
Hiranyakashipu, unable to control his anger, smashes the pillar with his mace, and following a tumultuous sound, Vishu in the form of Narasimha appears from it and moves to attack Hiranyakashipu. in defence of Prahlada. In order to kill Hiranyakashipu and not upset the boon given by Brahma, the form of Narasimha is chosen. Hiranyakashipu can not be killed by human, deva or animal. Narasimha is neither one of these as he is a form of Vishu incarnate as a part-human, part-animal. He comes upon Hiranyakashipu at twilight (when it is neither day nor night) on the threshold of a courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the demon on his thighs (neither earth nor space). Using his sharp fingernails (neither animate nor inanimate) as weapons, he disembowels and kills the demon.
Aftermath: There is another story of Lord Shiva fight with Narasimha to calm him. After slaying Hiranyakashipu, Narasimha’s wrath was not appeased. The world trembled, fearing what he might do. The Devas (the gods) requested Shiva to tackle Narasimha.
Initially, Shiva brings forth Virabhadra, one of his terrifying forms, in order to calm Narasimha. When that failed, Shiva manifested as the human-lion-bird Sharabha. Shiva then assumed the Sharabha form.
Sharabha then attacked Narasimha and seized him up until he was immobilized. He thus quelled Narasimha’s terrifying rage. Narasimha became a devotee of Shiva after being bound by Sharabha. Sharabha then decapitated and de-skinned Narasimha so Shiva could wear the hide and lion-head as a garment. The Linga Purana and Sharabha Upanishad also mention this mutilation and murder of Narasimha. After the mutilation, Vishnu assumed his normal form and retired to his abode, after duly praising Shiva. It was from here on that Shiva came to be known as “Sharabeshamurti” or “Simhagnamurti”.
This myth is particularly interesting because it brings to forth the past rivalries between Shaivites and Vaishnavites.
Narasimha as per Theory Of Evolution:
The mammals or semi-amphibians gradually evolved to become human-like creatures, which could walk on two legs, used their hands to hold things, but the brain was still not that developed. They had a human like lower body and animal like upper body.
Though not exactly apes, Narsimha Avatar fits into the above description pretty well. Though not a direct reference, it would certainly mean an ape man.
An interesting point here is that those who are aware of the story of Narsimha, he appears at a time, place and setting, where each attribute is in the middle of two things(neither human nor animal, neither at home nor outside, neither day nor night)
Temples: There are more than 100 temples of Narasimha. Of which, the famous are, Ahobilam. Ahobalam is located in the Allagadda mandal of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh. This is the place where the Lord killed Hiranyakasipu and saved Prahalada.
Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple, Which is located about 55 km from Chennai and 21 km from Arakkonam, in Narasingapuram, Thiruvallur
Credits: Photo and Image Credits to the Original Artists and Uploaders
In Dashavatars, Kurma (कूर्म; ) was the second Avatar of Vishnu, succeeding Matsya and preceding Varaha. Like Matsya this incarnation also occurred in Satya yuga.
Durvasa, The Sage, once gave a garland to Indra, the king of Gods. Indra placed the garland around his elephant, but the animal trampled it, insulting the sage. Durvasa then cursed the Gods to lose their immortality, strength, and all the divine powers. After losing the kingdom of heaven, and every thing they once had and enjoyed, they approached Vishnu for help.
Vishnu advised that they had to drink the nectar of immortality (Amrit) to regain their glory. Now to obtain the nectar of immortality, they needed to churn the ocean of milk, a body of water so large they needed Mount Mandara as the churning staff, and the serpent Vasuki as the churning rope. The Devas were not strong enough to churn on their own, and declared peace with their foes, the Asuras, to enlist their help.
The gods and demons got together for the the herculean task. The huge mountain, Mandara, was used as the pole to stir the waters. But the force was so great the mountain began to sink into the ocean of milk. To stop this, Vishnu quickly transformed himself into a tortoise and placed the mountain on his back. This image of Vishnu as the tortoise was his second avatar, ‘Kurma.’
Once the pole was balanced, it was tied to the gigantic snake, Vasuki, and the gods and demons started pulling it from either side.
As the churning began and the massive waves whirled, from the depths of the ocean also came out the ‘Halahal’ Or ‘Kalkoot’ visha(poison). When the poison was taken out, it started heating up the cosmos considerably. Such was its heat that people started running in dread, animals started dying and plants started withering. The “Visha” had no taker hence Shiva came to everyone’s rescue and he drank the Visha. But, he did not swallow it. He kept the poison in his throat. Since then, Shiva’s throat became blue, and he came to be known as Neelkantha or the blue-throated one. This is the reason why shiva is always high on marijuana, being a God.
The churning continued and poured forth a number of gifts and treasures. They included Kamdhenu, the wish-fulfilling cow; the goddess of wealth, Laxmi; the wish-fulfilling tree, Kalpavriksha; and finally, came Dhanvantari carrying the pot of amrita and a book of medicine called Ayurveda. Once the amrita was out, the demons forcefully took it away. Two demons, Rahu and Ketu, disguised themselves as gods and drank the amrita. The sun and moon gods recognised it to be a trick and complained to Vishnu, who in turn, severed their heads with his Sudarshan Chakra. As the divine nectar did not get time to reach below the throat, the heads remained immortal, but the body below died. This helps Rahu and Ketu take revenge on the Sun and Moon by devouring them every year during solar and lunar eclipse.
Kurma as per Theory Of Evolution:
The second step of evolution of life, were creatures that could live on land as well as in water, like
the tortoise. The reptiles appeared almost 385 million years ago on earth.
As mentioned above, Kurma Avatar is in form of a tortoise.
There are three temples dedicated to this incarnation of Vishnu in India, Kurmai of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Kurmam in Andhra Pradesh, and Gavirangapur in the Chitradurg District of Karnataka.
The name of the village Kurmai mentioned above originated as there is historical temple of Kurma Varadarajaswamy(Kurmavatar of Lord Vishnu) god in this village. The temple located in srikurmam in srikakulam district, andhra pradesh is also the avatara of kurma.
Credits: Photo Credits to the original Uploaders and Artists (They are not my property)
History: It is described that while Durvasa Muni was passing on the road, he saw Indra on the back of his elephant and was pleased to offer Indra a garland from his own neck. Indra, however, being too puffed up, took the garland, and without respect for Durvasa Muni, he placed it on the trunk of his carrier elephant. The elephant, being an animal, could not understand the value of the garland, and thus the elephant threw the garland between its legs and smashed it. Seeing this insulting behavior, Durvasa Muni immediately cursed Indra to be poverty-stricken, bereft of all material opulence. Thus the demigods, afflicted on one side by the fighting demons and on the other by the curse of Durvasa Muni, lost all the material opulence’s in the three worlds.
Lord Indra, Varuna and the other demigods, seeing their lives in such a state, consulted among themselves, but they could not find any solution. Then all the demigods assembled and went together to the peak of Sumeru Mountain. There, in the assembly of Lord Brahma, they fell down to offer Lord Brahma their obeisances, and then they informed him of all the incidents that had taken place.
Upon seeing that the demigods were bereft of all influence and strength and that the three worlds were consequently devoid of auspiciousness, and upon seeing that the demigods were in an awkward position whereas all the demons were flourishing, Lord Brahma, who is above all the demigods and who is most powerful, concentrated his mind on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus being encouraged, he became bright-faced and spoke to the demigods as follows. Lord Brahma said: I, Lord Siva, all of you demigods, the demons, the living entities born of perspiration, the living beings born of eggs, the trees and plants sprouting from the earth, and the living entities born from embryos—all come from the Supreme Lord, from His incarnation of rajo-guna [Lord Brahma, the guna-avatara] and from the great sages [rishs] who are part of me. Let us therefore go to the Supreme Lord and take shelter of His lotus feet.
For the Supreme Personality of Godhead there is no one to be killed, no one to be protected, no one to be neglected and no one to be worshiped. Nonetheless, for the sake of creation, maintenance and annihilation according to time, He accepts different forms as incarnations either in the mode of goodness, the mode of passion or the mode of ignorance.
after Lord Brahma finished speaking to the demigods, he took them with him to the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which is beyond this material world. The Lord’s abode is on an island called Svetadvipa, which is situated in the ocean of milk.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead directly and indirectly knows how everything, including the living force, mind and intelligence, is working under His control. He is the illuminator of everything and has no ignorance. He does not have a material body subject to the reactions of previous activities, and He is free from the ignorance of partiality and materialistic education. I therefore take shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, who is eternal, all-pervading and as great as the sky and who appears with six opulence’s in three yugas [Satya, Tretä and Dväpara].
When offered prayers by Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Vishnu was pleased. Thus He gave appropriate instructions to all the demigods. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as Ajita, unconquerable, advised the demigods to make a peace proposal to the demons, so that after formulating a truce, the demigods and demons could churn the ocean of milk. The rope would be the biggest serpent, known as Vasuki, and the churning rod would be Mandara Mountain. Poison would also be produced from the churning, but it would be taken by Lord Siva, and so there would be no need to fear it. Many other attractive things would be generated by the churning, but the Lord warned the demigods not to be captivated by such things. Nor should the demigods be angry if there were some disturbances. After advising the demigods in this way, the Lord disappeared from the scene.
One of the item come from the churning of ocean of milk was nectar which will give strength to demigods (Amrit). For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and demons fought in the sky for possession of this pot of Amrita. From this nectar some drops spills at Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik while they were fighting for nectar . So on earth we celebrate this festival to get the pious credits and meet the purpose of life that is going to back to godhead our eternal home where our father is waiting for us. This is opportunity we get after associating with saints or holy man who follow scriptures.
Kumbh mela provides us this great opportunity to purify our soul by bathing in holy river and serving saints.
Of all the avataras Mohini is the only female avatar. But the most beguiling of them all. She is portrayed as an enchantress, who maddens lovers, sometimes leading them to their doom. Unlike the Dasavataras, which appear on Earth during a certain period, Vishnu takes up Mohini avatara during many time periods. In the original text, Mohini is referred to as simply an enchanting, female form of Vishnu. In later versions, Mohini is described as the maya(illusion) of Vishnu (mayam ashito mohinim).
Almost all her tales has that element of slyness. Most of which were the ones leading the asuras (the bad guys) to doom. Bhasmasur was one such asura. Bhasmasur was a devotee of Lord Shiva (Well, Lord Shiva had no restriction upon who could worship him. He was known as Bholenath – easily pleased). He used to perform long penances in order to please Shiva. Shiva being pleased with his austerities, granted him one wish. Bhasmasur, asked him for the one obvious wish – immortality. However, this was out of Shiva’s ‘pay-grade’. So, he asked for the next coolest wish – the license to kill. Bhasmasur asked that he be granted the power that anyone whose head he touched with his hand should burn up and immediately turn into ashes (bhasma).
Well, so far things were going fine for Shiva. Bhasmasur, now sees the beautiful consort of Shiva – Parvati. A pervert and wicked asura as he was, wanted to possess her and marry her. He, thenceforth tries using his newly granted boon on Shiva himself (one piece of rotten asura he is). Shiva, being bound by the ‘contract’ had no power to take back his grant. He fled, and was chased by Bhasmasur. Wherever Shiva went, Bhasmasur chased him down. Somehow, Shiva managed to reach Vishnu to seek a solution to this predicament. Vishnu on hearing Shiva’s problem, agreed to help him out.
Vishnu took up the form of Mohini and appeared in front of Bhasmasur. Mohini was so exceedingly beautiful that Bhasmasur immediately fell in love with Mohini (This is what years of austerity does to you). Bhasmasur asked her (Mohini) to marry him. On a side note, the asuras of the vedic times were real gentlemen. The only way to be with a woman was to marry them. Anyways, Mohini asked her out on a dance, and would marry him only if he could match her moves identically. Bhasmasur agreed to the match and hence they started dancing. The feat went for days at an end. As Bhasmasur matched the disguised Vishnu’s move for move, he began to let his guard down. While still dancing, Mohini, struck a pose where her hand was placed on top of her own head. And Bhasmasura, whose eyes were constantly fixed upon Mohini’s beautiful face, completely forgot about Lord Shiva’s boon, and put his hand on his head too and turned into ashes.
Jarasandha (Sanskrit: जरासंध) was A badass villain from Hindu Mythology. He was the king of Magadha. He was the son of a Vedic king named Brihadratha. He was also a great devotee of Lord Shiva. But he is generally held in negative light owing to his enmity with the Yadava clan in the Mahabaratha.
Brihadratha was the king of Magadha. His wives were the twin princesses of Benares. While he led a content life and was a famed king, he was unable to have children for a very long time. Frustrated over his inability to have children, he retreated to the forest and eventually ended up serving a sage named Chandakaushika. The sage took pity on him and on finding the actual cause for his sorrow, gave him a fruit and told him to give it to his wife who in turn will soon become pregnant. But the sage did not know that he had two wives. Not wishing to displease either wife, Brihadratha cut the fruit in half and gave it to both of them. Soon both the wives became pregnant and gave birth to two halves of a human body. These two lifeless halves were very horrifying to view. So, Brihadratha ordered these to be thrown in the forest. A demoness (Rakshasi) named “Jara” (orBarmata) found these two pieces and held each of these in her two palms. Incidentally when she brought both of her palms together,the two pieces joined together giving rise to a living child. The Child cried loudly which created panic for Jara. Not having the heart to eat a living child, the demoness gave it to the king and explained him all that happened. The father named the boy as Jarasandha (literally meaning “joined by Jara”).
Chandakaushika arrived at the court and saw the child. He prophesied to Brihadratha that his son will be specially gifted and would be a great devotee of Lord Shiva.
In India, descendants of Jarasandh still exist and use Joriya (which means piece of flesh named after their ancestor, “jarasandha”) as their suffix while naming themselves.
Jarasandha became a famed and powerful king, extending his empire far and wide. He prevailed over many kings, and was crowned emperor of Magadha. Even while Jarasandha’s power continued to grow, he had concerns over his future & that of the empires, as he had no heirs. Therefore, on the advice of his close friend kingBanasura, Jarasandh decided to get his two daughters ‘Asti and Prapti’ married to the heir apparent of Mathura, Kansa. Jarasandha had also lent his army and his personal advise to Kansa to create a coup d’état in Mathura.
When Krishna killed Kansa in Mathura, Jarasandha become enraged because of Krishna and the entire Yadavas clan on seeing his two daughters being widowed. So, Jarasandha attacked Mathura repeatedly. He attacked Mathura 17 times. Sensing danger over the repeated attack on Mathura by Jarasandha, Krishna relocated his capital city to Dwaraka. Dwaraka was an island and it was not possible for anyone to attack it at all. Hence, Jarasandha could not attack the Yadavas anymore.
Yudhisthira was planning to make a Rajasuya yagna or Ashwamedha Yagna in order to become the emperor. Krishnaconvinced him that Jarasandha was the only obstacle to oppose Yudhisthira from becoming an emperor. Jarasandha raidedMathura (Krishna’s ancestral capital) and got defeated by Krishna every time. At one stage to avoid unnecessary loss of lives, Krishna moved his capital to Dwaraka, in one stroke. Since Dwaraka was an island city guarded heavily by Yadava Army, Jarasandha was not able to invadeDwaraka anymore. To attain the capacity to invade Dwaraka, Jarasandha planned to conduct a Yagna to please Lord Shiva. For this Yagna, He had imprisoned 95 kings and was in need of 5 more kings, after which he was planning to perform the Yagna, sacrificing all the 100 kings. Jarasandha thought that this Yagna will make him win the powerful Yadava Army.
The kings captured by Jarasandha wrote a secret missive to Krishna to rescue them from Jarasandha. Krishna, not wanting to go for an all out war with Jarasandha to rescue the captured kings, in order to avoid a major loss of lives, devised a plan to eliminate Jarasandha. Krishna advised Yudhisthira that Jarasandha was a major obstacle and must be killed before Yudhisthira starts performing the Rajasuya yagna. Krishna planned a clever scheme to eliminate Jarasandha by making Bheemawrestle with the Jarasandha in a dual fight, who killed Jarasandha after a fierce battle (Dwandwa yudha), which lasted for 27 days.
Like Karna, Jarasandha was also very good in giving charity donations. After performing his Shiva pooja, he used to give whatever the Brahmins asked for. On one such occasion Krishna, Arjuna and Bheema in the guise of Brahmins met Jarasandha. Krishna asked Jarasandha to choose any one of them for a wrestling match. Jarasandha chose Bheema, the strongman, to wrestle. Both of them fought for 27 days. Bheema did not know how to defeat Jarasandha. So, he sought the help of Krishna. Krishna knew the secret by which Jarasandha could be killed. Since, Jarasandha was brought to life when the two lifeless halves joined together, conversely, he can be killed only when these his body was torn into two halves and find a way as how these two don’t merge. Krishna took a stick, he broke it into two and threw them in both directions. Bheema got the hint. He tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw the pieces in two directions. But, these two pieces came together and Jarasandha was able to attack Bheema again. Bheema got tired after several such futile attempts. He again sought the help of Krishna. This time, Lord Krishna took a stick, broke it into two and threw the left piece on right side and the right piece on the left side. Bheema precisely followed the same. Now, he tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw them in opposite directions. Thus, Jarasandha was killed as the two pieces could not merge into one.
Long long ago there lived an asura(demon) named Dambhodbhava. He wanted to become immortal and so prayed to the Sun god, Surya. Pleased with his penance, Surya appeared before him. Dambhodbhava asked Surya to make him immortal. But Surya couldnt grant this boon since anything, anyone who was born on this planet will have to die. Surya offered him to ask for something else instead of immortality. Dambhodbhava thought of tricking the sun god and came up with a cunning request.
He said that he has to be protected by a thousand armors and laid the following conditions:
1. The thousand armors can be broken only by someone who performs penance for a thousand years!
2. Whoever breaks the armor should die immediately!
Surya was horribly worried. He knew that Dambhodbhava had performed a very powerful penance and that he could get the entire boon he had asked for. And Surya had a feeling that Dambhodbhava was not going to use his powers for good. However having no choice in the matter, Surya granted Dambhodbhava the boon. But deep down Surya was worried and seeked Lord Vishnu’s help, Vishnu asked him not to worry and he would save earth by eliminating adharma.
Immediately after getting the boon from Surya, Dambhodbhava started wrecking havoc on people. People were scared of fighting with him. There was no way of defeating him. Anybody who stood in his way was crushed by him. People started calling him Sahasrakavacha [meaning one who has a thousand armours]. It was around this time that King Daksha [the father of Sati, the first wife of Shiva] got one of his daughters, Murti married to Dharma – one of the ‘Manas putras’ of Lord Brahma, the God of Creation
Murti had also heard of Sahasrakavacha and wanted to put an end to his menace. So she prayed to Lord Vishnu to come and help the people. Lord Vishnu pleased with her appeared before her and said
‘I am pleased with your devotion! I will come and slay Sahasrakavacha! Because you have prayed to me, you would be the reason for slaying Sahasrakavacha!’.
Murti gave birth to not one child, but twins- Narayana and Nara. Narayana and Nara grew up in the ashrama surrounded by the forests. They were great devotees of Lord Shiva. The two brothers learnt the art of warfare.The two brothers were inseparable. What one thought the other was always able to finish. Both of them trusted each other implicitly and never questioned the other.
As time went on, Sahasrakavacha started attacking the forest areas surrounding Badrinath, where both Narayana and Nara were staying. As Nara was meditating, Narayana went and challenged Sahasrakavacha for a fight. Sahasrakavacha looked at the calm eyes of Narayana and for the first time since he got his boon, felt fear building inside him.
Sahasrakavacha faced the attack of Narayana and was astounded. He found that Narayana was powerful and had indeed got a lot of power from the penance of his brother. As the fight went on, Sahasrakavacha realized that the penance of Nara was giving Narayana strength. As Sahasrakavacha’s first armour broke he realized that Nara and Narayana were for all purposes one. They were just two persons having the same soul. But Sahasrakavacha was not too worried. He had lost one of his armours. He watched in glee as Narayana dropped dead, the minute one of his armours broke!
As Narayana fell down dead, Nara came running towards him. By his years of penance and pleasing Lord Shiva, he had gained the Maha Mritunjaya mantra – a mantra which brought back dead to life. Now Nara took the fighting with Sahasrakavacha while Narayana meditated! After thousand years, Nara broke another armor and dropped dead while Narayana came back and revived him. This went on until 999 armors were down. Sahasrakavacha realized that he could never beat the two brothers and ran away seeking refuge with Surya. When Nara approached Surya to give him up, Surya did not since he was protecting his devotee. Nara cursed Surya to be born as a human for this act and Surya accepted the curse for this devotee.
All this happened at the end of Treta yuga. Immediately after Surya refused to part with Sahasrakavacha, the Treta Yuga ended and the Dwapar Yuga started. To fulfil the promise to destroying Sahasrakavacha, Narayana and Nara were reborn – this time as Krishna and Arjuna.
Due to the curse, Dambhodbhava with Surya’s ansh within him was born as Karna, the eldest son of Kunti! Karna was born with one of armours as a natural protection, the last one left of Sahasrakavacha.
As Arjuna would have died if Karna had had the armour, on Krishna’s advise, Indra [Arjuna’s father] went in disguise and got the last armor of Karna, much before the war began.
As Karna was actually the monster Dambodbhava in his previous life, he led a very difficult life to pay for all the sins committed by him in his past life. But Karna also had Surya, the Sun God inside him, so Karna was a hero as well! It was Karna’s karma from his previous life that he had to be with Duryodhana and take part of the all the evil things he did. But the Surya in him made him brave, strong, fearless and charitable. It brought him long lasting fame.
Thus after learning the truth about Karna’s previous birth, Pandavas apologised to Kunti and Krishna for lamenting them…