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"Divine Awakenings: The Significance of 12 Jyotirlingas in the Month of Sravana"

Sloka for the 12 Jyotirlingas:

सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम्।

उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोङ्कारममलेश्वरम्।।

परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशङ्करम्।

सेतुबंधे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारुकावने।।

वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्र्यम्बकं गौतमीतटे।

हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये।।

एतानि ज्योतिर्लिङ्गानि सायं प्रातः पठेन्नरः।

सप्तजन्मकृतं पापं स्मरणेन विनश्यति।।

Saurāṣṭre somanāthaṁ ca śrīśailē mallikarjunam।

Ujjayinyāṁ mahākālamōṅkāramalēśvaram।।

Paralyāṁ vaidyanaṁthaṁ ca ḍākinyāṁ bhīmaśaṅkaram।

Sētubandhē tu rāmēśaṁ nāgēśaṁ dārukāvanē।।

Vārāṇasyāṁ tu viśvēśaṁ tryambakaṁ gautamītaṭē।

Himālayē tu kēdāraṁ ghuśmēśaṁ ca śivālayē।।

Ētāni jyōtirlin̄gāni sāyaṁ prātaḥ paṭhēnnaraḥ।

Saptajanmakṛtaṁ pāpaṁ smaraṇēna vinaśyati।।

Note: This sloka mentions the names of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the order they are typically recited in the mantra.

Now, let's list the 12 Jyotirlingas along with their current locations and states:

  1. Somnath - Prabhas Patan, near Veraval in Saurashtra, Gujarat.

  2. Mallikarjuna - Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh.

  3. Mahakaleshwar - Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.

  4. Omkareshwar - Mandhata Island, Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh.

  5. Kedarnath - Kedarnath in Uttarakhand.

  6. Bhimashankar - Pune district in Maharashtra.

  7. Kashi Vishwanath - Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

  8. Trimbakeshwar - Trimbak, near Nashik in Maharashtra.

  9. Vaidyanath - Deoghar in Jharkhand.

  10. Nageshwar - Dwarka in Gujarat.

  11. Ramanathaswamy - Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.

  12. Grishneshwar - Ellora, near Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

The 12 stories associated with each Jyotirlinga, as per the Shiva Mahapurana, are quite extensive and elaborate. It would be impractical to include all of them here in detail. However, I can provide a brief summary of the stories:

  1. Somnath Jyotirlinga - Prabhas Patan, Gujarat: According to legends, the Moon God, Chandra, married the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati, but he favored only Rohini among them. This partiality angered the other 26 daughters, who complained to their father. Daksha cursed Chandra to wane and suffer from a disease. Distraught and weakened, Chandra prayed to Lord Shiva for deliverance. Pleased with Chandra's devotion, Shiva granted him a boon, and Chandra built the Somnath temple to worship the Jyotirlinga. The Somnath temple was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt through history, and it remains a symbol of faith and resilience.

  2. Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga - Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh: The Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is associated with the divine marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Once, Goddess Parvati playfully closed Lord Shiva's eyes during a celestial dance performance. This act led to the cessation of cosmic activities, causing chaos in the universe. To resolve the situation, Shiva and Parvati separated from each other. Realizing the implications of their separation, both of them decided to reunite on the sacred mountain of Srisailam, where they performed penance to marry each other. This is the divine abode of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga.

  3. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga - Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh: Legend has it that a demon named Dushana wreaked havoc on the residents of Avanti (Ujjain). The people prayed to Lord Shiva for protection, and he appeared as Mahakaleshwar, the Lord of Time, to vanquish the demon and restore peace. The temple of Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain is famous for its unique Bhasma Aarti, where sacred ash is offered to the deity during the morning prayers.

  4. Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga - Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh: The Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga is associated with a prideful Vindhya Mountain, who once wanted to surpass Mount Meru in height. This pride led to a conflict, and the Vindhya Mountain started causing trouble for the sages and devotees. The sage Narada informed Vindhya about the greatness of Omkareshwar, an island formed in the shape of the Om symbol. The Vindhya Mountain worshipped Lord Shiva as Omkareshwar and was blessed with wisdom and humility.

  5. Kedarnath Jyotirlinga - Kedarnath, Uttarakhand: After the great Kurukshetra War, the Pandavas wanted to seek Lord Shiva's blessings for redemption from their sins. Lord Shiva, not willing to meet them directly, took the form of a bull and hid among the cattle. Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers, spotted the bull and recognized it to be Lord Shiva. He tried to catch the bull, but it dived into the ground. Lord Shiva then appeared from the ground in the form of the Kedarnath Jyotirlinga, leaving behind his hump on the surface.

  6. Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga - Pune, Maharashtra: Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is associated with a demon named Bhima, who was causing havoc in the region. The demon was a devotee of Lord Shiva and performed severe penance. Pleased with his devotion, Lord Shiva granted him the boon of immense strength, but Bhima's arrogance led him to misuse his powers. To stop him, Lord Shiva took the form of Bhimashankar and defeated the demon, restoring peace to the region.

  7. Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga - Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh: The Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga is situated in the holy city of Varanasi. The story goes that Varanasi was a city of immense beauty and wealth, but its pride and arrogance led to its downfall. Lord Shiva appeared as Kashi Vishwanath to protect the city and its people. It is believed that those who die in Varanasi attain salvation and liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

  8. Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga - Trimbak, Maharashtra: The Godavari River's origin is attributed to the Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga. The story goes that Sage Gautama performed rigorous penance to bring the sacred River Ganga to purify the land of Trimbak. Pleased with his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared and manifested as Trimbakeshwar, causing the River Ganga to flow through the region and bless it with abundance.

  9. Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga - Deoghar, Jharkhand: Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga is associated with the demon king Ravana, a devout worshiper of Lord Shiva. To attain invincibility, Ravana performed intense penance, cutting off his heads as offerings to Shiva. Impressed with his dedication, Lord Shiva granted him a Jyotirlinga, now known as Vaidyanath, to carry to Lanka. However, the condition was that Ravana should not place the Linga on the ground during the journey. Trickery by gods made Ravana place the Linga on the ground at Deoghar, and it became rooted there.

  10. Nageshwar Jyotirlinga - Dwarka, Gujarat: Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is associated with a demon named Daruka who troubled the people and devotees. A sage named Supriya was tormented by Daruka and sought help from Lord Shiva. Shiva emerged as Nageshwar and defeated the demon, bringing peace to the region. The temple of Nageshwar in Dwarka is considered an important pilgrimage site.

  11. Ramanathaswamy Jyotirlinga - Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu: The Ramanathaswamy Jyotirlinga is associated with Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. After the great battle with Ravana, Rama desired to seek forgiveness for the sin of killing a Brahmin (Ravana). He installed the Ramanathaswamy Linga to atone for the sin. It is believed that Lord Rama sent Hanuman to Kailash to bring the Linga, and since it took time for Hanuman to return, Sita made a Linga from sand to perform worship. This sand Linga is known as Ramalinga, and it is said that it still exists in the temple.

  12. Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga - Ellora, Maharashtra: The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga is associated with a pious woman named Kusuma, who was childless and longed for a child. She performed intense penance to please Lord Shiva and sought his blessings for a son. Impressed with her devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before her and granted her a boon. Kusuma requested that a Jyotirlinga be installed in the area so that people could come and worship the Lord. Lord Shiva fulfilled her wish, and the Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga came into existence at Ellora.

These are the twelve Jyotirlingas, each with its unique legend and significance. Devotees undertake pilgrimages to these sacred sites to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and find spiritual solace. The stories associated with these Jyotirlingas have been passed down through generations and continue to inspire devotees on their path of faith and devotion.

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