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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Vaidyanath ( At Deogarh / Parli)


The legendary background of Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga is related to Ravanasura the Epic Villain of Ramayana. The King of Lanka carried out a relentless meditation to Bhagavan Siva at Kailash Mountain for mighty supremacy and indomitability in the Three Worlds. But as Siva was still not responsive, he moved out from Kailasa to Vrikshakandhaka towards south of Kailasa. He dug up a pit and worshipped a Sivalinga even by sacrificing his ten heads, one by one and at the end Lord Siva became visible and gave away boons of supremacy as also to let a Sivalinga to carry to his Kingdom on the condition that he should reach Lanka directly without even a single halt, lest the Linga if kept down would never be pulled out! Devas became afraid that once Ravana turned unquestionable, there would be chaos in the Three Lokas and Dharma would be wiped out. Thus Devas prayed to Devi Parvati and Ganesha to somehow avert the risk of the Sivalinga to reach Lanka. Parvati appeared on way to Ravana in disguise and in collaboration with Varuna, tempted pure waters of major holy Rivers to quench Ravana’s thirst. The King’s stomach got bloated and he wished to stop over urgently for a relief and luckily for him, there was a lad whose assistance was sought to hold the Linga for a few moments without placing it on the Ground. By the time Ravana returned, the lad- Lord Ganesha-disappeared and the Linga was stuck to the Ground and no force applied by Ravana was a match to Bhagavan’s decision. That was the Jyotirlinga of Vaidyanath who was a ‘Vaidya’ (Physician) and he helped to piece together the slashed heads of Ravana at the time of his sacrificing them one by one.
‘Baidyanathdham’ (Baba dham) at Deogarh (Jharkhand) is some seven km from the Jasidhi Junction on Howrah-Delhi main line. It is 220 km away from Patna. The Baidyanath Shrine attracts lakhs of pigrims from all over a year normally, but they were in millions during the entire ‘Shravan’ month (July-August). Several of them carry Ganges water from Sultanganj to Deogarh- a distance of about hundred km-to perform ‘Abhishekams’ to the Jyotirlinga, and many saffron clad Sadhus carry the Ganges water by walk barefooted covering this distance! Pilgrimage to ‘Babadham’ is considered incomplete without visiting Basukinath Siva Temple some distance away. A well maintained Nandi Temple edging the Nandan Pahad (hill) faces a beautiful lake on one side and the Siva Temple on the other. Sivaganga is a pond very near the Main Temple, where Ravana desired to wash but since there was no water nearby, he used his fist and hit the Earth and a pond appeared. Other places of interest at Deogarh include Naulakha Mandir, Satsang Ashram of Radha Swami, Tapovan with many caves where Valmiki is said to have stayed for penance, Rikhia Ashram of Yoga, Hamira Jori where Ravana handed over the Holy Linga to Ganesh before his ablutions and Trikut Parvat with a Maha Deva Temple. Inside the huge complex of Babadham itself are situated some 22 Temples viz. Neelkantha and Parvati before Babadham and on either side a cluster of Shrines devoted to Sri Ram, Ananda Bhairavi, Ganga, Gauri Shankar, Tara, Maha Kali, Annapurna, Lakshmi Narayana, Surya Narayan, Bhavani, Sandhya, and so on.
There is a controversy about the location of Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga at Parli in Maharashtra called Kantipur (Madhyarekha Vijayanti or Vijayanti), which is some 26 km from Ambejoga in the Beed District. One legend of this Temple often heard in the vicinity was that Amba Yogeshwari of Ambejoga wedded Maha Deva Vaidyanadha and the marriage party arrived late after the ‘Muhurtha’ (the precise time) for the wedding and Devi was waiting for long; She cursed the members of the Party to turn into stone statues. Another Story was that after the churning of Ocean for Amrit ( nectar), fourteen gems emerged among which were Dhanvantari and Amrit which were hidden inside the Shivalinga, but as Demons tried to take them forcibly, huge flames came out and they had to retreat. Till date, devotees have strong faith that Amrit and Dhanvantari or disease killing medicinal flows emerge from the Abhisheka waters.Thus Lord Lingamurthi is called as Amritamurthi and Dhanvantari. In fact, all the devotees-irrespective of caste or creed-are allowed touching the Linga and performing Abhishekas by themselves. Daily Rudra Parayana Mantras are reverbrated in the entire Complex. This Sacred Temple is also believed to be the Place where Lord Vishnu as Mohini distributed Amrit to Devas, and hence is called Vijayanti. The other legend associated with the Temple is that of Ravana’s carrying the Linga as described above.Incidentally, the surrounding mountains, forests and rivers are stated to abound medicinal sources. Over the last hundred years or so, considerable construction was made around the Swayambhu Linga by way of strong walls, Enclosures, ‘Mahadwara’ (the Main Gate) and several other Gates, a number of windows (one of which allows morning Sunrays inside one Enclosure by means of which Sun God is worshipped), minarets, lighting and various facilities to lakhs of Visitors. This Temple is a hallowed place particularly to Vira Shaiva Lingayats and devotees of Lord Harihara.There is a Harihara Teertha in the vicinity. Many festivals connected with Siva, Krishna and Bhagavati are celebrated with fervour; Mondays, Fridays, Ekadasis, Chaitra Padava, Dussehras, Tripura Pournami, the entire Kartika month, Sivaratris, Sravana month and so on are observed with reverence. A Pond in the Area is associated with Markandeya’s extraordinary devotion to embrace the Linga firmly defying Yamaraja’s order of death and Bhagavan’s subsequent appearance giving His blessing of immortality to the devotee. A Vateswara Temple reminds the devotees of a ‘Vata’ or Banyan Tree around which was the Story of Satyavan and Savitri over Yama’s sanction of long- life