Nov 30, 2023
Nov 30, 2023
by P C K Prem
As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 108
Sage Suta speaks of the significance and glory of Shiva-linga at Somanath…prayers, worship at this tirtha cure a man of any fatal disease, and if he takes bath in the holy water, it cleanses him of impurities … Jyotirmalingams – Mallikaarjuna (Parvati and Shiva) and Mahakaala exercise purifying influence and free man from various evils
Saga Suta continued to sing glory of Shiva-lingas. He narrated how the lord situated ‘the self’ in the image of lingam at Somanatha, considered very sacrosanct, heavenly and important among the Shiva-lingas and therefore, people visit the holy place, pray and worship.
Ages back, prajapati Daksa had married his twenty-seven daughters including Ashwini to Chandrama. If Chandrama was happy to have Daksa’s daughters as spouses, Ashwini and her sisters were equally happy and blessed. However, Rohini was very dear to Chandrama and it caused heartburning among other spouses. They sought shelter at father’s capital. Daksa heard and was anguished and so advised Chandrama to treat queens equally without sense of prejudice. Nevertheless, Chandrama continued to love Rohini and therefore, Daksa was angry and issued a curse against him that he would suffer death because of a lethal disease.
Very soon, a deadly disease afflicted Chandrama. It was cause of worry and anxiety among the gods of heavens and so they went to sage Vasistha and later, appeared before Brahma.
Brahma advised, “Go to the region called Prabhasa, meditate on Shiva, establish lingam at the place and here, Chandradeva should undertake intense tapa and please lord Shiva.”
Chandradeva was now, engaged in tapa for six months, chanted the powerful mantra of Maha-mrintyunjya and delighted Shiva. After the request of god Moon, the lord said, “O Chandradeva, you will decrease in your art in the first paksa and in the second you will increase in art, size and power.” He was happy with the gods of heavens, stayed for the enhancement of glory of gods, and gave name of Someshwara, and later people knew it as Somanatha. If a man offers prayers and then worships the holy lingam, the lord blesses and a man is free from fatal disease. Later, with the blessings of gods holy sarovara – water pond came up and its water was so effective that a mere bath in the holy water cleansed men of impurities.
Origin and birth of illuminated lingams – Mallikaarjuna and Mahakaala exercise blissful influence on devotees, ward off evil forces and liberate a man from sufferings and sins. It carries an interesting background the monk told further.
After going around the world, Kartekeya, elder son of Shiva-Parvati and killer of daitya Taraka, returned and found that Ganesha had been married. It disappointed him and so he left Kailasa despite pleas of parents and went to Krauncha Mountain. When Shiva and Parvati requested him to return, he went twelve kosa beyond and therefore, all persuasions failed. It was here that Shiva and Parvati transformed into an image of illuminated lingam and stayed. People believe that Shiva and Parvati often visit the place to have glimpse of Kartekeya on Amavasya and Pooranmasi – full moon. Thus, it became famous as Mallikarjuna (Mallika means Parvati and Arjuna is Shiva), in the three worlds and people believe that prayers and worship of sacred lingam bless devotees. Brahmins appeared extremely pleased and after some time, he narrated to the curious blessed listeners the legend of Mahakaaleswara.
Mahakaaleswara is another tirtha of great import and it blesses the devotees because the lord guards devotees from evil and wicked people. The tale of Chandrasena, a scholar of the Vedas, who knew the essence of life and existence, was also a devotee of lord Shiva. He was a close friend of one of the most celebrated parshadas Manibhadra, who gave a glittering jewel, which became a cause of conflict and later, he sought refuge at Mahakaaleswara. Later, blessing of lord on the shepherd boy for whom a temple came up because the lord was happy. It was a marvel and the god’s unique blessings amazed everyone. His mother was rich and happy, and narrated the tale to the king who along with ministers and others arrived at the temple, and they immediately were engaged in bhakti. When the kings, who wanted Chandrasena to surrender to them earlier, now repented and became devotees. Later, shepherd boy became the head of gopas and in this family, later in the 8th generation, Nanda took birth…and so the legendary tale moved on to Krishna and Mahabharata.
In the holy city of Avanti, Suta told about the third lingam that liberated devotees from sufferings and granted joy of life here and beyond. In the city, a learned brahmin, a scholar of the Vedas pursued Vedic dharma, established a lingam, worshipped the image of lord and was engaged in sacred karmas. He religiously organised yajnas and offered oblations to please gods. Attainment of supreme wisdom through virtuous karmas granted him liberation. His sons – Devpriya, Priyamedah, Sukrita and Suvrita were also men of virtues and so made this city famous as they filled it with the radiance and blessings of Brahma.
Once, a daitya served brahmin and so he blessed him but later, the wicked demon began to torture brahmins and invaded their land and ashramas. Devotee Brahmin told citizens to pray before lord Sankara.
At that time, daitya Dushana again asked soldiers to take brahmins into custody or kill. However, the scholars of the Vedas and devotees of lord continued dharmic karmas uninterrupted. Shiva was in intense meditation and when he knew the intents of daitya, he, with a deafening sound, created a huge hole at the place of lingam, and it appeared in the most horrifying manifestation as the image of Mahakaala, and immediately finished the wicked daityas along with the lord of daityas Dushana. Later, on the request of brahmins, the lord stayed at the place to protect and bless devotees and so it was Mahakaaleswara. To satisfy the curiosity of brahmins, he narrated the life tale of Chandrasena.
Chandrasena was a famous king of Ujjaiyani in ancient times. When a devotee talked of illuminated lingam Mahakaala, one recalled him fervently. He was a man of the Vedas, knew the essence of life and existence because he was also the knower of scriptures, and so, was a revered devotee of Shiva. An important parshada of Shiva Manibhadra was his intimate friend. He offered a precious jewel Chintamani that carried the radiance and dazzle of Sun god and the king wore it in the neck. It caused greed and jealousy in the hearts of other kings, who gathered forces and surrounded the capital of Chandrasena from all sides. The king sensed danger, sought shelter at the feet of Mahakaaleswara, and meditated on him.
Incidentally, when the king was engaged in serious tapa, a shepherd woman, who was a widow came to the temple with a five-year old child and witnessed the king in deep meditation. She offered prayers and returned. However, the little boy became a great devotee. He picked up a small stone, thought it Shiva-lingam, began to worship, and was lost in bhakti. She tried to call him for food but he did not come to take food, and therefore, she dragged him but the boy was adamant. In anger, she threw the stone – a lingam at the boy but still she failed. The boy wept and wept and cried – ‘O god, O god, O Mahadeva’ and fell unconscious. A stream of tears rolled on and when after some time, he opened eyes he saw a fantastic and majestic temple of lord Mahakaala, a blessing of lord Shiva. Its pillars appeared fully ornamented with valued jewels. It had inexpressible grandeur and expansiveness beyond imagination.
The boy, a son of shepherd was astonished. He came out of the temple and saw his cottage transformed into a wonderful palace, completely decorated with pearls, jewels and gold and it emitted radiance and light of blessing. He saw his mother on a magnificent bed. She had attained blessing of Shiva, for she had given birth to a son, who was a great devotee of Shiva. Shepherd woman, now a rich person appeared before the king, a devotee of Shiva and narrated the entire charismatic influence and blessings of bhakti of her son. The king, the ministers, the priests, the courtiers, and other noteworthy citizens saw a unique phenomenon and were lost in intense bhakti when they came to the temple. It was celebration of devotion as everyone began to sing hymns of glory, and spent the night in bhakti.
The kings, who had wanted to annex the kingdom of Chandrasena, now found it difficult to secure victory as to defeat a great devotee of Shiva was impossible and it was also considered a sin to oppose a devotee. They thought to surrender, sought consent of Chandrasena, entered the region of Mahakaala, prayed, and later praised the king, the boy devotee. Chandrasena welcomed the kings in a grand manner. Later, the boy, a gopa became the king of all the gopas – the shepherd boys, who lived in different regions of various kingdoms.
At this time, Hanumana appeared and therefore, all the kings stood up to greet him and paid obeisance. Hanumana was delighted and told that through worship, the boy had gained immense inspiration and therefore, enjoyed glimpses of lord and attained the great status, who would ultimately attain moksa.
“In the dynasty of gopa, in the eighth generation, Nanda would take birth and at his house Krishna would appear with a divine motif,” the great bhakta told. Later, he narrated the legend relating to monk Gokarna and origin of Onkareshwara Jyotiralingam.
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