Monday, 30 July 2018

Kasi Visvanath temple, Varanasi and the legend of Jyothir Linga

Lord Shiva in the form of a pillar of fire (Agni)The Hindu FAQ
Shiva as a pillar of fire. Jai Shiva Shankar - Tumblr
Above image: Lord Shiva in the form of a  huge column of fire. Brahma taking the form of a bird (hamsa) to reach the crown and Lord Vishnu taking the form of Varaha (boar) to see the bottom (pathal) ............
Believed to be one of the most ancient towns of India, Kashi, a revered place, is the most popular pilgrimage center in India. It is at the confluence of the Varuna and Asi rivulets with the holy river Ganges. This place is so sacred, it is mentioned in the  Skanda Purana, an ancient Hindu scripture. The famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva  is steeped in history  and has been around for centuries. The presiding deity is in the form of ''Linga'' and is enshrined in the Garbagraha / sanctum. This city is visited by Hindus in thousands on any given  day and they never fail to do Thithi or Shardham for their fore-fathers (pithroos). 

It was in this place Jyotirlinga is said to have  appeared out  of the earth's crust here and flared towards heavens in the form of a huge column of Agni (fire) as Shiva manifested his supremacy. So, among the Jyotirlinga shrines Kasi Visvanath temple is the foremost one. This temple's consecration was done on 5 July 2018 for the first time ever after a gap of more than two centuries. Rani  Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780 built this temple. This popular temple was destroyed by some fanatic Muslim rulers originally from NW of India.  Tradition has it that here Lord Shiva is all pervasive  and benevolent and free the humans, who spend the last part of their lives here, from the cycles of birth and death. They can attain Moksha (heaven) or Mukti (salvation) by staying in Khasi. It means there will be no rebirth on this earth, free from Samsara Bandham (family ties / Commitments) and sinful people on this earth.
There is no Hindu temple that does not have a sthala purana - a legend closely linked to the temple. This place has an interesting legend:   According to Śiva Mahāpurāṇa  one fine day Lord Brahma, the Trinity God in the Hindu pantheon in charge of 'Creation' and Lord Vishnu, another Trinity God in charge of protection and sustenance on earth  had a  heated argument over their supremacy and  creative powers.  Both of them,  after a long session
of debate, decided to approach Lord Shiva for his council  and judgement to decide which one of them was  superior in terms of divine and mystical powers. Having heard their unending debate, Lord Shiva took the form of a huge infinite column of fire  - Agni covering the three worlds - Akash (sky), Boomi (earth) and Pathal (nether world). He appeared in Jyotisorupam - an endless pillar of light, shining and resplendent.
Thazhampoo  ( screw pine)Madraasi - a tamilian tales
Lord Shiva asked Brahma to find his Crown (Sirasu) in the pillar of fire and Lord Vishnu the bottom (end /patham). Whoever comes first after noticing my crown  and feet will be the winner. Brahma took the form of a bird (hamsa) and tried to see Shiva's crown. Several days went by and, at last, he saw leaves of Thazhambu flower floating down. Brahma asked Thazhambu flower (screw pine) about Shiva's crown. It said I had been floating downward for a pretty long time so it would be difficult for you  to see Shiva's crown. Realizing his endeavor would end in failure, Brahma asked the flower to give a false statement  to Lord Shiva by lying that he saw Brahma reaching  Shiva's crown. The flower finally agreed  to  support Brahma. In the mean time, Lord Vishnu who took the form of a Varaha (boar)  and tried to reach the pathal loka to see the bottom of the light.  Realizing it was an impossible task, he gave up his attempt midway, got back to Shiva and accepted his inability to see the bottom of the fire.  Brahma, now approached  Shiva and told him  that he saw his Crown and his witness was Thazhambu flower.

Upon hearing this whooping lie from  God Brahma, Lord Shiva could not contain his rage and cursed Brahma  for uttering falsehood. He said there would be a few temples on earth dedicated to lord Brahma.  People will never worship him.  Being a god Brahma failed to uphold the truth and was not worthy of worship. As for the flower Tazhampoo  that gave a false witness for Brahma,
Location of Jyotirlinga Temples with name of City as labelen.wikipedia.org
Lord Shiva said that the flower would be unfit for worship of gods, in particular, Shiva.   Lord Shiva was  in praise  of Vishnu and  said that his temples would be revered  and flourished across India. The motto behind this legend is:  "Arrogance and ego will take us to the path of ruin, whereas humility and contended life will put us on the path to success and happiness".

12-jyotirlingas,india-map. Shree Hindu Mandir Photo by:Templr
gold-plated tower. Old Kashi Vishwanath TempleTripAdvisor
jaipurmoortimahal.blogspot.com
Overlooking the Western bank of River Ganga, Kashi Viswanath Temple is one of the most prominent of the twelve Jyotirlingas of the country.  The jyotirlinga is the Supreme Siva,  part less reality, out of which Shiva appeared in another Form, Lingodbhava. The jyothirlinga shrines are Temples where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light.

The other shrines  include:   Somnath (Gujarat), Mallikarjuna (Andhra Pradesh),  Mahakaleswar (Madhya Pradesh), Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh),  Kedarnath (Uttarakhand), Bhimashankar (Maharashtra), Triambakeshwar (Maharashtra), Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga,  Deogarh (Jharkhand), Nageswar (Gujarat),  Rameshwar (Tamil Nadu) and Grishneshwar (Maharashtra).
Among the 12 temples mentioned above, Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi is the most significant one.
https://navrangindia.blogspot.com/2016/11/god-shiva-pillar-of-fire-jyotiswarupam.html
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashi_Vishwanath_Temple