A Jyotirlinga or Jyotirling or also referred as Jyotirlingam is a divine object. It represents the God Shiva. Jyoti is a word meaning ‘radiance’ and lingam means a ‘mark or sign’ of Shiva, or a symbol of the pineal gland (an organ of the brain). Jyotirlingam Thus, it means ‘The glowing sign of The Supreme’. There are twelve traditional Jyotirlinga tombs in India.
Why is Jyotirlinga considered worship worthy?
The worship of Shivalinga is considered the superior worship for the followers of Lord shiva. The worship of all other forms is considered next or secondary. The importance of the shiva linga is that it is the shining light (flame) avatar of the Supreme. It is to make the worship of it easier. This shows the true nature of God – having no form and taking various forms whenever he wills.
There is a believe that Lord Shiva first appeared as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the Aridra Nakshatra. The special devotion is given to the Jyotirlinga. There is nothing to differentiate the appearance, but it is said that a person can see these lingas as ‘pillars of fire sharply going through the Earth after he reaches a greater level of spiritual fulfillment.
Earlier, it was a believed that there are total 64 Jyothirlingas and only 12 of them are considered to be very special and holy. Each of the 12 Jyothirlinga locations takes the name of the ruling deity, each means a different appearance of Shiva. At all these locations, the first image is ‘lingam’ presenting the formless and endless Stambha or pillar, meaning the huge and wide nature of Shiva.
Wadasa Jyotirlinga Stotra by AdiShankaracharya is given below:
‘SaurashtreSomanaatham Cha SreeSaileMallikarjunam
Himalaye to KedaramDaakinyaamBhimashankaram
Vaaranaasyaam cha ViswesamTrayambakamGowtameethate
ParalyaamVaidyanaatham cha NaagesamDaarukaavane
SetubandheRameshamGrushnesam cha Shivaalaye’
Chiranjeevi : The seven undying Lords of Hindu Mythology, Part 4
Facts about twelve Jyotirlingams:
Facts about twelve Jyotirlingams:
1.) Somanatheshwara: Somanaatheshwara is situated in Somnath. It is the first of the twelve Jyotirlinga memorials of Shiva, held with respect throughout the India. It is rich in its stories, traditions, and history. This is placed at PrabhasPatan in Saurashtra in Gujarat.
2.) Mahakaleshwara: Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga shrine is situated in Ujjain. The old and historical city of Ujjain or Avanti in Madhya Pradesh. It is home to the Jyotirlinga tomb of Mahakaleshwar.
3.) Omkareshwara: Also known as Mahamalleshwara. Omkareshwar is an island in the flow direction of the river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh. It is home to the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga tomb and the Amareshwar temple.
4.) Mallikarjuna: SreeSailam nearby Kurnool has the Mallikarjuna in an old temple rich in architecture and art wealth. Aadi Sankaracharya created his Sivanandalahiri here.
5.) Kedareshwara: Kedaareshwara situated in Kedarnath is the Northernmost of the Jyotirlingas. Kedarnath rests in the snow covered the Himalayas. It’s an ancient shrine rich in tradition. It has way in only on foot, six months in a year.
6.) Bhimashankara: Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga tomb is linked with the legend part of Shiva destroying the evil Tripurasura. Bhimashankar is situated in the Sahyadri hills of Maharashtra, has its way from Pune.
7.) Kashi Vishwanatheshwara: KaashiVishwanaatheshwara is in Varanasi. It is a commonly visited site in India. The Vishwanath temple in Benares, Uttar Pradesh is the goal of the thousands of pilgrims that go to this city. The Vishwanath tomb is respected as one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva.
8.) Triambakeshwara: Triambakeshwara or Tryambakeshwar links its origin from the river Godavari. This Jyotirlinga shrine is near Nasik in Maharashtra.
9.) Vaidyanatheshwara: Vaidyanath temple which is at Deogarh. One of the oldest pilgrimage town of Deogarh in the Santal Parganas area of Bihar. It is holy as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva is here.
10.) Naganatheshwara: Nageshwar nearby Dwarka in the city of Gujarat. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga tombs of Shiva.
11.) Grishneshwara: Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Shrine is a temple in the neighborhood of the tourist town Ellora. Which contains several rock-cut monuments from the 1st millennium CE.
12.) Rameshwara: – Rameswaram is a vast temple in the island of Rameswaram, in Southern Tamil Nadu. It has Ramalingeswarar and is holy as the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlinga tom of India lays here.