Centuries ago Lord Shiv is said to have revealed himself to his true devotees in the form of a jyoti or a light. On their request for Him to reside by them for an eternity, He installed Himself near them, as a linga, which is now known as Jyotirlinga.
In this series of articles we will take you through the 12 Jyotirlingas as described in the following sanskrit sloka (Dwadasha Jyotirlingum Strota) –
सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम्। उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोङ्कारममलेश्वरम्॥
परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशङ्करम्। सेतुबन्धे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारुकावने॥
वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्र्यम्बकं गौतमीतटे। हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये॥
एतानि ज्योतिर्लिङ्गानि सायं प्रातः पठेन्नरः। सप्तजन्मकृतं पापं स्मरणेन विनश्यति॥
एतेशां दर्शनादेव पातकं नैव तिष्ठति। कर्मक्षयो भवेत्तस्य यस्य तुष्टो महेश्वराः॥:
द्वादश ज्योतिर्लिंग स्तोत्रम्
Somnath is the first among the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the Somnath Temple was originally built in gold by Somraj, the moon God. It was later rebuilt by Ravan in silver and then again by Lord Krishna in wood and yet again by King Bhimdev Solanki in stone in the 10th century.
According to the Prabhaskhand of Skanda Purana, Chandra was married to the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati but showed more love and affection towards Rohini. The remaining 26 wives of Chandra felt neglected and insulted. They were disappointed with their husband and told their father about their husband’s discrimination. Daksha tried to convince his son-in-law to change himself but in vain. The angered Daksha cursed him to wane into nothingness. A disturbed Chandra, along with Rohini, went on penance for six months and worshipped the Sparsa Linga of Somnath at the end of which Lord Shiva appeared before him. He gave Chandra the boon that in a month, he would grow for fifteen days till the full moon and in the next fifteen days he would keep losing one kala (shade) per day and decrease in size. From that day Lord Shiva himself came to be known as Someshwar, meaning Lord of the Moon.
The Somnath Temple is known as the “Shrine Eternal” as it has withstood the shocks of time and attacks from various invaders. As per the historians the temple was destroyed six times and was rebuilt on every occasion. In 1706 AD the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb also destroyed it and it was rebuilt the seventh time in 1950 AD with the support of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The present temple is a beautiful structure with its exterior adorned with marvelous sculpture. The temple is located in Prabhas Patan near Veraval in Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat, such that there is no landmass from the Somnath sea shore till Antarctica in the South Pole making it the first landmass in north from the south pole on that longitude. Outside the temple are two shrines of Lord Ganesh and KashtaBhanjan Lord Hanuman.
For the benefit of mankind, Adidev Mahadev Shiv blesses 12 shivlings with his divine light. The proof of Lord Shiva’s power is evident from the fact that despite being invaded by every possible community and race, all 12 Jyotirlingas still stand intact; each Jyotirlinga, blessing the created world, with a unique energy. We shall make an honest attempt to delve into this aspect of Hindu Gods.
A word of caution here, the Jyotirlingas and any other place of pilgrimage are vortices of energy, places where rishis and munis have performed penance and concentrated the shakti of their tapobal. These are neither picnic spots nor wishing wells, and must only be visited for the purpose of sadhna as guided by one’s Guru. These are places to open up the blocks in one’s sadhna and untie the bondages of maya, visiting them with the desire for physical (maya) or entertainment only leads to a mismatch in energy of the visitor and the place, and may have adverse effects.
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