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The Origin Of 12 Jyotirlinga Of Lord Shiva

The Origin Of 12 Jyotirlinga Of Lord Shiva

India is a land of intense belief. And Lord Shiva is worshipped in all its nooks and corners with great austerity. While speaking of Lord Shiva and his glory, the word that comes to every devoted Hindu would be Jyotirlinga.

And despite the rich history that every chapter carries, consider this a guide to acquaint yourself with the story of the Jyotirlinga. An ardent devotee of Lord Shiva would tell you that there are 12 ones that one should aspire to visit. But before we talk about them and their origins, we shall see how the term ‘Jyotirlinga’ came into being.

Going back to its very origin, we will start with talking about the Shiv Maha Puran. According to this ancient text, when there was absolutely no life anywhere in the universe — however, on a lotus flower originated Lord Vishnu and from his navel, Lord Brahma. As mentioned in our previous stories, Lord Brahma is the creator, Lord Vishnu is the Preserver, and Lord Shiva is known as the destroyer. Both Lord Vishnu and Brahma, when they got to know each other’s existence, started proclaiming one to be superior to the other. Their argument was never-ending, and then, all of a sudden, in the midst sprang a pillar of light. They were asked to reach the respective ends of the column. During this, Lord Brahma decided that he would go upwards, and Lord Vishnu chose to go downwards. Both swam in their respective directions for what could be aeons and yet could not find an end to the pillar.

At last, Lord Vishnu accepted the fact that the pillar had no downward end and came back to the place where he had begun. Lord Brahma, on the other hand, got tired of going upward with no end in sight. He decided he would simply tell Lord Vishnu that he had found the end — thereby claiming his supremacy!

When the two met, and Lord Brahma was not truthful and said that he had seen the end of the pillar. At this point, Lord Shiva who is otherwise formless appeared and told Lord Brahma that what he was claiming was a lie, and in fact, it was he, Lord Shiva, who was the pillar without any beginning or end!

As a result, Lord Brahma was punished, and to date, he is not worshipped anywhere except in one or two places in the country. Lord Vishnu thereby became a favourite of Lord Shiva, and when it was time to distribute the duties concerning creation, protection and destroying of the world, Lord Vishnu is the protector, Lord Brahma, the creator, and Lord Shiva is the destroyer.

Thus 12 Jyotirlinga are at places wherever Lord Shiva appeared for his devotees. The term ‘Jyoti’ is light, and ‘Linga’ in the form with which Lord Shiva is represented and worshipped to denote neither beginning nor end. Infinite.

Click here to read the story of Lord Shiva’s half-open third eye.

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