The Dwadasa Jyotirlingas are the 12 special shrines dedicated to Shiva since ancient times. ‘Dwadasa’ means 12 and ‘Jyotirlinga’ is a pillar of light. To us normal mortals, the lingas appear as the normal stone lingas in any temple of Shiva. But it is believed that at the 12 Jyotirlingas a person who has attained a higher level of spirituality can see the lingas as columns of fire piercing through the earth.
Many believe that the Jyotirlinga is the primal manifestation of the Supreme God. The Shiva Purana recounts how Shiva appeared as a Jyotirlinga to settle a dispute between Vishnu and Brahma. Brahma and Vishnu had a fight to ascertain who was more powerful. The fight grew so intense that the existence of the world was threatened. The Devas requested Shiva to intervene. Shiva assumed the form of a lingam from which emenated a huge column of bright light that went on infinitely in both directions. Shiva then asked Brahma and Vishnu to find the end of the column. Whosoever found it first would be declared more powerful. Brahma went upwards and Vishnu went downwards. They traveled for a thousand years but neither reached the end. Brahma then saw a ketaki flower falling down in the light. He asked the flower if it had seen the end of the column. The flower replied that it had been placed on the top of the column as an offering of worship.
Brahma decided to take this flower and stake the claim that he had found the end of the column. Both Vishnu and Brahma returned to the lingam. Vishnu admitted that he did not find the end of the column. Brahma, on the other hand, claimed that he had found the end of the column. He showed the ketaki flower as proof, but this did not convince Shiva. Shiva told Brahma and Vishnu that light travels forever and hence it is not possible for anyone to find the end.
The day Shiva appeared in the form of the Jyotirlinga was the 14th night of the waning moon of the month of phalguna. Hence, this day is celebrated as Mahashivratri to acknowledge the greatness of Shiva.
Shiva Linga's fall into three categories. The first are the Anadi or Svayambhu, or self-generated linga's. They are believed to be the most sacred and are said to have fallen from heaven. Next are the Sithavara, or fixed linga's. These are crafted and then, after an initiation ceremony done according to Puranic rites, installed at a sacred location. It is believed that once a linga is installed, it should never be moved as that would result in a calamity. The third category of linga's are the Jangam, or movable lingas. These are the miniature linga's, which are made of stone, clay, metal, or other material.
There are traditionally twelve Jyotirlinga shrines in India.
1) Somnath in Saurashtra
2) Mallikarjuna in Srisailam
3) Mahakaleswar in Ujjain
4) Omkareswar in Shivpuri / Mamaleswara
5) Vaidyanath in Parali
6) Nageshwar in Darukavanam
7) Kedareshwar in Kedarnath
8) Tryambakeswar in Nasik
9) Rameswar in Setubandanam / Rameswaram
10) Bhimashankar in Dakini
11) Visweswar in Varanasi
12) Ghrishneswar in Devasrovar
Today we will be visiting the 2nd Adi Jyotirlinga of Mallikarjuna in Srisailam, AP
“Jaya Mallikarjuna! Jai Mallikarjuna”
Srisailam is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. This whole area is full of forests of Kadali, Bilva trees, mountain ranges and Patalaganga (Krishnaveni river). All of them echo from these joyous voices of devotees.
Shaila Mallikarjuna’ s holy place is located on the banks of River Krishna. Here River Krishna is in the form of Patalaganga (underground spring). Lakhs of devotees take a holy dip here and then go for the Darshan of the JyotirLinga
Sthala Puranam: When Siva and Parvathi decided to find suitable brides for their sons, Ganesha and Muruga argued as to who is to get wedded first. Lord Siva bade that the one who goes round the world in Pradakshinam could get married first. By the time Lord Muruga could go round the world on his vahana, Lord Ganesha went round his parents 7 times (for according to Sastras, going in pradakshinam round one's parents is equivalent to going once round the world (Boopradakshinam) . Lord Siva got Siddhi & Buddhi, the daughtersof Viswaroopan married to Lord Ganesha. . When Kumar Kartikeya returned to Kailash after completing his trip around the earth, he heard about Ganesha’s thread marriage from Narada. This angered him. In spite of being restrained by his parents, he touched their feet in obeisance and left for Krounch Mountain. Parvati was very distraught at having to be away from her son, implored Lord Shiva to look for their son. Together, they
went to Kumara. But, Kumara went away a further three Yojanas, after learning about his parents coming after him to Krouncha Mountain. Before embarking on a further search for their son on each mountain, they decided to leave a light on every mountain they visited. From that day, that place came to be known as JyotirLinga Mallikarjuna. It is believed that Shiva and Parvati visit this palce on Amavasya (No moon day) and (full Moon day) Pournami, respectively. The place where Lord Siva and Parvathi stayed came to be
known as Sri Sailam.
Puranic History of Srisailam
Once, a princess named Chandravati decided to go to the Jungles to do penance and meditation. She chose Kadali Vana for this purpose. One day, she witnessed a miracle. A Kapila cow was standing under a Bilwa tree and milk was flowing from all of its four udders, sinking into the ground. The cow kept doing this as a routine chore everyday. Chandravati dug up that area and was dumb founded at what she saw. There was a self-raising Swyambhu SivaLinga. It was bright and shining like the sun rays, and looked like it was burning, throwing flames in all directions. Chandravati prayed to Siva in this JyotirLinga. She built a huge Shiva Temple there. Lord Shankara was very pleased with her. Chandravati went to Kailash wind borne. She received salvation and Mukti. On one of the stone-inscriptions of the temple, Chandravati’s story can be seen carved out.
Visiting this JyotirLinga not only blesses one with innumerable wealth, but also name and fame and fulfils all the desires.
The Mallikarjuna Temple top,crowning the Mallikarjuna Jyotir Lingam
May this Jyotirlinga of Mallikarjuna fulfill all our wishes and bless our lives with lots of love , joy and good health