Friday, August 31, 2007


The dark half of Magh the great night of Shiva is celebrated. On this day the devotees of Shiva observe fast.

Once a hunter set out for a hunt. He came near a pond, and for the purpose of hunting he climbed a “bel” tree (sacred to Shiva). Sitting on a branch he waited for game. But since the leaves obstructed his vision, he began to pluck a few leaves, which by chance fell on a Shiva Linga (“pindi”), which happened to be under that tree. Then a herd of deer came to drink water. The hunter took aim at a hind (female deer). But as she noticed the movement of the hunter, she cried out, “Please, wait a moment, before you shoot let me go home and meet my young ones for the last time. Afterwards you may take my life at your pleasure.”

The hunter gave the hind permission to go home, and re-mained sitting on the tree waiting for her to return. Waiting the whole night he was forced to observe fast. On the Shiva Linga he had inadvertently offered the “bel” leaves. With his mouth he uttered the name of Shiva, thus he fulfilled the conditions needed for the observance of the Maha Shiva Ratra vow. So without knowing how, his heart was changed and he was filled with sentiments of mercy.

Before dawn the mother deer came back with the entire herd. “Now you may take my life at your pleasure,” she said. Seeing the hind’s honesty the hunter’s heart was further softened, and he completely gave up his thought of killing the hind. Shankar was so pleased that immediately making all of them sit in a plane he took them to heaven. Both the hind and the hunter can be seen at night in the sky among the stars in the constellation of Orion (“Mrugshirsh nakshatra”).

Twelve Jyotirlingas

The Shiva Linga is the most common object of worship all over India. But twelve such stones are considered more important and are known as Jyotirlinga. They are situated in the following places:
1. Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh
2. Rameshwar in Tamil Nadu
3. Bhimashankar in Daminyal near Pune in Maharashtra
4. Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh
5. Somanath in Saurashtra
6. Nageshwar in Dwarka
7. Mallika1 in Uttar Pradesh,
8. Kedarnath in the Himalayas,
9. Dhushmeshwar in Ellora near Aurangabad
10. Trimbakeshwar near Nashik
11. Vishvanath in Benares and
12. Vaidyanath in Parli in Marathvada.

No comments: