Saturday, 5 July 2014

The twelve Jyotirlingas of India ­­– Seats of Silence for the World

A Jyotirlingam (Sanskrit: ज्योतिरिनगम ) is a focal point, or seat, of silence, and represents the great deity Shiva, the embodiment of silence. Jyoti means 'radiance' and lingam the 'mark or sign' of Shiva, or a symbol of the pineal gland; Jyotir Lingam thus means the The Radiant sign of The Almighty. There are twelve traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India.
It is believed that Lord Shiva first manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the Ardra Nakshatra. It is assumed that a person who reaches a higher level of spiritual attainment can see these lingas as columns of fire piercing through the earth.
Vedic Literature on Jyotirlingas
According to Śiva Mahāpurāṇa, once Brahma and Vishnu had an argument over their relative supremacy. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in Vedic Yagya (ceremonies) while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity.
The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyothirlinga shrines thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity, each considered a different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.

Locations of the 12 Jyotirlingams


Vedic sloka 

The following sloka (द्वादश ज्योतिर्लिंग स्तोत्रम् Dvādaśa Jyotirliṅga Stotram) describes the 12 Jyotirlingas:

Sanskrittransliterationtranslation
सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम्।Saurāṣṭre Somanāthaṃ ca Śrīśaile MallikārjunamSomanath in Saurashtra and Mallikarjunam in Shri-Shailam;
उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोङ्कारममलेश्वरम्॥Ujjayinyāṃ Mahākālam Oṅkāram AmaleśvaramMahakaal in Ujjain, Omkareshwar in Amleshwar;
परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशङ्करम्।Paralyāṃ Vaidyanāthaṃ ca Ḍākinyāṃ BhīmaśaṅkaramVaidyanath in Paralya and Bhimashankaram in Dakniya;
सेतुबन्धे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारुकावने॥Setubandhe tu Rāmeśaṃ Nāgeśaṃ DārukāvaneRamesham (Rameshwaram) in Sethubandh, Nagesham (Nageshwar) in Darauka-Vana;
वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्र्यम्बकं गौतमीतटे।Vārāṇasyāṃ tu Viśveśaṃ Tryambakaṃ GautamītaṭeVishwa-Isham (Vishvanath) in Vanarasi, Triambakam at bank of the river Gautami;
हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये॥Himālaye tu Kedāraṃ Ghuśmeśaṃ ca ŚivālayeKedar (Kedarnath) in Himalayas and Gushmesh (Gushmeshwar) in Shivalaya (Shiwar).
एतानि ज्योतिर्लिङ्गानि सायं प्रातः पठेन्नरः।etāni jyotirliṅgāni sāyaṃ prātaḥ paṭhennaraḥOne who recites these Jyotirlingas every evening and morning
सप्तजन्मकृतं पापं स्मरणेन विनश्यति॥saptajanmakṛtaṃ pāpaṃ smaraṇena vinaśyatiis relieved of all sins committed in past seven lives.
एतेशां दर्शनादेव पातकं नैव तिष्ठति।eteśāṃ darśanādeva pātakaṃ naiva tiṣṭhatiOne who visits these, gets all his wishes fulfilled
कर्मक्षयो भवेत्तस्य यस्य तुष्टो महेश्वराः॥:karmakṣayo bhavettasya yasya tuṣṭo maheśvarāḥand one's karma gets eliminated as Maheshwara gets satisfied to the worship.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Transcendental India - images of deep meditation & communing with divinity

The oldest living spiritual wisdom on earth, the Veda, emerges from reverberations of transcendental consciousness, available to anyone through Transcendental Meditation. Cognised in holistic completeness as coherent formulae by the great seers of India to guide humanity for eternity, and preserved by the Vedic families of India for millennia, the deep silence of self-referral consciousness is the means to unfold enlightenment for any individual and create heaven on earth.


Mother India plays a special role in the family of nations as the heart and soul of all spiritual traditions by virtue of the timeless preservation of its ancient spiritual truths. Below are images which are evocative of the natural inclination towards spirituality here in India in its numerous expressions.



Maharishi - very early picture


Maharishi Pandits meditating at Brahamasthan, Madya Pradesh 

Varanasi ghat

Monday, 31 March 2014

Uttaranchal: Switzerland of India - Part 1

Nanda Devi

Excerpts from Capt. M.S. Kohli’s book

The enchanting land of Uttaranchal, with legends of lord Shiva,Guru Gobind Singh and goddess Nanda Devi, has all the Himalayan assets—nurnerous snow—clad peaks, enchanting rivers and glacial lakes, ancient shrines, ski slopes, beautiful hill stations, national mountaineering institute, camping meadows, and hundreds of trekking trails.

Uttaranchal, comprising of the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalaya, interlocked in an eternal embrace that in the adventurer’s eye all demarcatjng lines disappear making it djfficult to discover where one ends and the other begins. The single uniting factor is the snowline that rums along the horizon in the north like a golden wave, west to east. No surprise our ancestors divined in this scrawl the signature of God and named it as Dev Bhumi, Land of Gods.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Himalayas and the Ganges


In 1929, Mahatma Gandhi took time out from the freedom struggle to visit the Himalayas and wrote in his inimitable biblical simplicity of language:
"In these hills, Nature's hospitality eclipses all man can ever do. The enchanting beauties of the Himalayas, their bracing climate and the soothing green that envelope you leaves nothing more to be desired. I wonder whether the scenery of these hills and the climate are to be surpassed, if qualified, by any of the beauty spots of the world."

Home of the Ganga

'Sindhu' is the word used for a big river - 'Sapta Sindhu' - the land watered by the seven big rivers, the main streams of the Ganga flowing in the Garhwal. The seven are: The Vishnu Ganga (Alakananda), The Dhauli Ganga, The Nandakini, The Pinder, The Mandakini, The Bhagirathi and The Nayar.  The confluence of the seventh river, Nayar with the mainstream of the Ganga has been called 'Sapta Samudrik Teerth' in the Skanda Purana. 

Jawaharlal Nehru (The Discovery of India) wrote:

'They move silently and majestically like the seven streams of the Ganges. Rising in the icy heights of Himavat, at Gangotri, the Ganges girdles the region for nearly 500 kilometres, before it enters the plains, encompassing, since aeons, the life of the people of Garhwal. Cradle of the Ganga, and with the climate favourable for the development of terrestrial life. 
Through narrow winding gorges, the mighty river carries the message of the snows into the distant plains, the sacred life giver of toiling millions, while in the mountain ranges, waterfalls break into a thousand-cornered spedorama of colours and relentless glaciers wind their way down into dark precipices. The riches of natural beauty, as are found in the Himalayas are not to be seen anywhere here on this earth.  
The Ganga, above all (other rivers), is the river of India, which has held India's heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganga, from her source to the sea, from old times to the new, is the story of India's civilization and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of the great and proud cities, of the adventure of man, of the quest of the mind which has so occupied India's thinkers, of the richness and fulfillment of life as well as its denial and renunciation, of ups and downs, of growth and decay, of life and death.'
Nehru in Bhutan on a yak, 1958


PILGRIMAGE  


"He who thinks of the Himalayas, though he should not behold them, is greater than he who performs all worship in Kashi... As the dew is dried up by the morning sun, so are the , sins of mankind by the sight of the Himalayas."
Skanda Purana. 

In the Bhagavata Gita, Lord Krishna commanded his disciple Uddhava to go to Badrikasrama and contemplate on Him. The shastras state that no pilgrimage is complete unless a yatra is performed to the Shrine of Sri Badrinath.


For thousands of years pilgrims have braved the snows and dangers of every mountain pass to reach Kailash, fabulous abode of Shiva, and the eternal waters of the Mana lake, a region of sublime beauty.



See my more in-depth site on world peace at http://worldpeacesolutions.blogspot.in


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Monday, 17 February 2014

'Himalayas' means heaven ---Maharishi Mahesh Yogi


Q.: ...you spoke about the importance of Himalayas. It is also said in the olden days people used to go to the Himalayas for meditation and gyan. Does Himalaya still having the spiritual value? What is your opinion?

Maharishi:

"Himalayas will always remain Himalayas. They'll always be on top of the world. There are about 100 Purusha practicing Transcendental Meditation, living Purusha life, of absolute Brahmacharya Purusha life. They are gaining command over Prakriti. Prakriti is the Daivi Shakti, which functions for the individual as the individual Purusha value inside, witnessing value, self-referral value, Purusha value increases in daily life. Himalayas will always be the guiding light of purity, of affluence, of gaining authority in Nature.

Uttar Kashi has been a place where Guru Dev has been, and Guru Dev's Guru Dev has been. It's a fountainhead of Pure Knowledge. One cannot sing the glory of the Himalayas enough. And throughout the ages Vedic literature is full of the glory of the Himalayas: Gangotri, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Rishikesh. Beautiful, beautiful fortune of the people takes them on pilgrimage year after year Ö thousands of the people. They have a glimpse. They go there to breath a few breaths of peace and happiness and satisfaction. And they rise in Atma Vigyan, in Brahma Vigyan.

It's a very fortunate thing to be going to the Himalayas from time to time. It's a different world. One cannot describe in words. Yatho vacho nivartante/Tad dharma parama mama--'That is my abode, says the Lord, from where speech returns.' Sahasrakshara parame vyoman 'Transcendental is that field'. Shivam shantam advaitam chaturtam manyante, sa atma, sa vigyeya. 'That is the Self, the Atma, which is absolute silence, Shivato, which is the source of all dynamism'. It's a very complete culture of life for supreme state of evolution Chetana, Unity Consciousness.

Something that is real to life is housed in the Himalayan heights: peace eternal. And peace eternal is the basis of all possible dynamism in human awareness. That is why the concept is Yogasthah kurukarmani, 'Established in Yog, established in Unity Consciousness, perform action.' Beautiful philosophy of practical life.

We are building in different parts of the Himalayas for the busy people of the world to go some time there and refresh their soul, refresh their intellect, refresh their mind so that their speech and behavior will be the guiding light for human existence. It's very beautiful. 'Himalayas' means 'heaven'." 


See my more in-depth site on world peace at http://worldpeacesolutions.blogspot.in