Jyotir Linga Vaidyanath at Deogarh, Bihar

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Trithalam trigunadhaaram trinetram chatriyayudham |
Trijanma-papasamharam Yega-vilvam Sivarpanam ||

Though this is a write up on Deogarh Vaidyanath temple, there is a strong possibility the original Jyotir Linga is at Parali, Andhra Pradesh... Quoting the stotram - Paralyam Vaidyanatham

It’s a peaceful evening, as one walks around this quaint temple complex. This complex originally had 12 but now there are 22 temples in all that are dedicated to various Gods, the primary deity being Lord Shiva. Temple bells ring as devotees intimate the Lord that they have come to visit him. A bath in the nearby Shivaganga Lake purifies them before they make their way towards the main sanctum.

This temple complex is simple, with small shrines scattered around within its walls. The interesting aspect about this temple is that even today modern scientists have not been able to open a ventilated door; hence the popular belief of the common folk is that this temple has originally been built by Lord Viswakarma. This temple complex is also famous for being one of the 52 Shakti peethas of Sati. It is believed that when Vishnu used his Sudarshan chakra to destroy her half burnt body as Lord Shiva carried it; her heart fell here at Deogarh.

This temple complex lies on the undulating land of the plateau landscape among small hills, near the Shivaganga. The well-lit courtyard of this complex in ancient days would have had fire torches lighting up the various passages around the temples with oil lamps within shrine chambers, bringing the presence of the luminous Jyotir Linga out for any ardent aspirant to witness.

Talking about devotees, there were none as great as Ravana himself, who is known to be one of the greatest bhaktas of Lord Shiva. It is believed that it was his wish to bring the Jyotir Linga back with him to Sri Lanka. He is known to have attempted to raise the very peak of Mount Kailasa, which has been so beautifully depicted in the Ravana Anugrahamurti. Lord Shiva, pressed him down with his toe and promised to give Ravana a Jyotir Linga to take back home, with a condition that should he ever keep the Linga on the ground, it would take root again.

Having accepted the condition, Ravana started his long trek back to Lanka. On his way back to Lanka, Varuna the Lord of water created a disturbance in his stomach, and Ravana felt the need to relieve himself. Vishnu disguised as a lad offered to hold the Linga, but soon got tired and laid the Linga on the ground. With this the Linga was finally rooted to the ground here at Deogarh. Ravana tried very hard to uproot it, damaging it a little in the process. The Linga still carries the chip. Ravana, disappointed with the event, decided to worship Lord Shiva, and came to cutting off 9 of his heads. It was then that Shiva descended in the disguise of a Vaidhya and joined the various heads of Ravana, back on him. Shiva is therefore known as Shiva Vaidyanatha at Baidhyanath Dham.

At the entrance of this temple is a well called the Chandrakoopa well, the waters of which are considered very holy since the well has been built and consecrated with water from several theerthas by Ravana himself. It is believed that all physical ailments get cured when one visits this temple.

They say that this temple went into ruins and was later discovered by a young man called Baiju. According to folklore he used to religiously worship the Linga and hence this jyotir linga came to be known as Baidhanath.

Photo courtesy: © Kundan Amitabh, Angika.com 2004


Dr.Anil Joshi said...

kavitha,Ringing a bell to announce one's arrival!What a romantic concept!!I never really gave a thought as to why we ring a bell before we enter the sanctum sanctorum.Please clarify the point abount the vetilated door further.

kavitha said...

Hi Anilji,

Indeed it is a very romantic thought. Surprisingly it is a practice in the north and no south indian temple to my knowledge has bells hanging for the same purpose.

You know having lived there, there is a particular charm about the north which is missing here. People are warmer, there is respect, hospitality, and faith is in the form of devotion and not ritualistic orthodoxy. You will hear fewer comments like "do this or do like that" you can do what you want. I miss the north.

Coming to the door, i am not sure about the authenticity of the door, but a lot believe this temple was built by Viswakarma. Only once source chose to explain why. It is a possible theory but i dont think any book has specifically written about it. There are no books that i found in a few shops here dedicated to jyotir lingas. They might come as a passing mention in Shiva purana translations or life of Shankara but nothing more than that.

Am still digging meanwhile.


Dr.Anil Joshi said...

Kavitha,Two more theories to explain the "ringing bells"
1.The sound of bells drives away the evil spirits
2.It helps one to concentrate.
The story about Ravana trying to bring the Linga to lanka & keeping it down on the way also relates to Gokarna Mahabaleshwar temple.I agree with you that the orthodoxy is less in north.Incidently what do you think about the theory of Aryan Invasion.

kavitha said...

Hi Anilji

The theory of the Aryan invasion is a controversial one which has been supposedly manipulated by the British before they left this country. Their primary objective being that they wanted to create discord around before they left.

The point is if this theory is not true, then we dont have any other to replace it. Was the caste system inbuilt in India or brought to us by Aryans - assumed to be of Mongolian origin - is debatable.

End of the day, we have it and its a way of life.

Deviating a little, and also observing history as it has been, most of the temples once rich under dynastic rule seem to have always been found in ruins. Its a little strange because temples were never built in remote places but belonged to towns or cities.

And there was never any exodus recorded in history, to make these temples go into ruins.

Cant explain it...


Dr.Anil Joshi said...

Kavitha,I referred to the Aryan Invasion theory in a lighter vein to explain{? } the attitudal differences between the north & the south!
Your observation regarding the once rich temples is indeed true & needs further evaluation.
The caste system is like the wound of "Ashwathama" & seems that it would haunt our otherwise great country for eternity.....

Dr.Anil Joshi said...

Kavitha,Are you aware of the various publications of the Gita Press Gorakhpur.They are doing a great job.Please visit their site www.gitapress.org.

kavitha said...

Hi Anilji,

I am not aware of it, i will go through their site for sure.


JC Joshi said...

Hi Anilji, Kavitha... We have earlier also seen how mythological stories convey the so-called science of creation of the physical universe based on common principles.

In the present too it is expressed to the effect that microcosm and macrocosm behave similarly. The structure of human form was realized to behave similar to the solar system. The ancient astrologers and palmists therefore appear to have treated human form related to permutations and combinations of the essences of the selected members of our solar system upto Jupiter to explain the variety and hierarchy in Nature vis-a-vis man.

Similarly the same essences were believed to represent the solar system members as Mahashiva, and earth also to contain the same as Shiva.

Venus was related with Ravana in a typical human form. It was related with steel/ iron and blue colour too that represented the throat of Mahashiva as Neelkantha or the Blue throated one. Therefore, the story perhaps conveys volcanic activity and folding of rocks containing iron that perhaps gave strength to other rocks also to remain in the folded form to sustain the mountain peaks, such as Kailash, to a certain height...

JC Joshi said...

Continuing, I would add that South direction was realized as under the control of SUN while North as controlled by MOON.

The main source of energy, our sun, apparently moves between these two directions represented by the Poles - its own original location existing closer to the base of Earth. Thus, 'Uttarayan', that is, sun's movement northwards, in the words of Yogis, is expressed as 'activation of kundalini' in human form, as model of EARTH that is SHIVA...

Also, Moon was realized to represent 'Shakti', or 'Sati' the consort of Shiva (that is, the concentrated infinite energy at the core of earth and, therefore, Sita expressed as 'vaidehi' or formless). Also, in human form the essence of Moon was realized to be housed in the head.

Thus, one could perhaps visualize how the human characters in the North gave importance to Lord Vishnu or Planet Saturn - from which even today one could hear the sound of bell believed as the source of creation - as the 'witness', or a super conscious being in 'Yognidra'/ Moon or Mother Durga who believably represented the original infinite
Cosmic energy, the 'beej mantra', OM...

JC Joshi said...

All 'educated Indians' today refer to Indu, Chandrama, Shashi, Soma etc., that is different names related with MOON/ Shiva, but they apparently fail to realize why the 'wise' ancients gave importance to this particular Heavenly Body, or that Shiva could refer to Earth/ Tiger or eight-handed Durga/ Parvati!

The 'western historians' apparently rejected the claims of certain Rajputs to their having descended from moon, that is, their belonging to 'Chandravansha' or the family of moon, like Krishna the ruler of the dark night, complementing the Suryavanshi kings or rulers of the day, like Arjuna/ Lord Rama...

JC Joshi said...

The mythological story of Parvati pressing Shiva's throat after He had consumed 'halahal' or 'kalkoot' the deadliest poison that had emerged - when the milky ocean was churned - so as not to allow it to reach His heart,thus saving His life, although resulting in His throat turning blue, conveys the natural pollution of earth's environment due to activities related with 'industrial revolution'/ ritualistic practices of humans belonging to different 'religions' without proper knowledge of the purpose of human life, that is desirable actions to be performed by all concerned with proper in-depth analysis with a view to achieving all round happiness to the majority of people.

The story further indicates how, after moon had evolved as one of teh objects of further churning, moonrays eventually provided immortality to the 'devtas', or the members of the solar system.

Hence, the belief of Formless Shiva also as Vaidyanath or Baijnath, that is, the lord of the doctors...

iza roberto iza said...

One of the loviest blogs. Compliments!