Mahadev or Lord Shiva is of foremost importance in Hinduism. He is the main pillar of the holy trinity. Jyotirlinga is the divine place of Lord Shiva, where he resides in different forms.
1. Jyotirlinga: Meaning
The word Jyoti means light or radiance and linga or lingam means a sign or image. So the word Jyotirlinga means radiant signs of Lord Shiva. The Jyotirlinga is said to have appeared in places where Lord Shiva himself manifested on earth, thus giving them the name Swayambhu, meaning self-manifested.
Each Jyotirlinga is considered to be a different manifestation of Lord Shiva. In this article, we will narrate to you the story behind the third of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple, which is located in Ujjain and is one of the most popular Jyotirlingas of the 12 in central India.
2. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga: Location
It is located in a dense, Mahakal forest in Madhya Pradesh and is on the banks of the Shipra river. The Jyotirlinga here is Dakshina Murthy Swayambhu self-manifested, which derives power within itself, unlike others where Lingas were installed. The Omkareshwar linga on the first floor is open for visitors around the year, whereas the Nagchandreshwara linga situated on the third floor is open only on the day of nag Panchami, like all old structures and the stories that surround them.
3. The Legend of Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga
The legend behind Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga has many versions. One of them goes like this. According to the Puranas, the city of Ujjain was called Avantika and was famous for its beauty and its status as a devotional epicenter. It was also one of the primary cities where students went to study holy scriptures. According to legend, there was a ruler of Ujjain called Chandrasena, who was a pious devotee of Shiva and worshiped him all the time. One day a farmer’s boy named Srikhar was walking on the grounds of the palace and heard the king chant Shiva’s name and rushed to the temple to start praying with him.
4. Lord Shiva appeared as Mahakal to Defeat Demons
However, the guards removed him by force and sent him to the outskirts of the city near the river Shipra rivals of Ujjain, primarily king Ripudamana and king Singhaditya of the neighboring kingdoms, decided to attack the kingdom and take over its treasures around this time. Hearing this Shrikhar started to pray and the news spread to the priest. The priest was shocked to hear this and upon the urgent pleas of his sons started to pray to Shiva at the river Shipra. The kings chose to attack and were successful with the help of the powerful demon Bhushan, who was blessed by Brahma to be invincible.
They plundered the city and attacked all the devotees of Shiva. Upon hearing the pleas of His helpless devotees, Shiva appeared in his Mahakala form and destroyed the enemies of King Chandrasena. Upon the request of his devotee, Shikhar, and Riti, Shiva agreed to reside in the city and become the chief deity of the kingdom and take care of it against its enemies, and protect all of his devotees from that day on Shiva resided in his light form.
5. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
As Mahakala in the lingam that was formed on its own from the powers of Shiva and his consort, Parvati. Shiva also blessed his devotees and declared that people who worship him in this form would be free from the fear of death and diseases. Also, they would be granted worldly treasures and be under the protection of Lord Shiva himself. This temple is also known to be a Muktisthal that is supposed to liberate a human from the cycle of birth and death.
This temple faces the south, unlike most Vedic temples. It also has the Rudra yantra in the Garbhagriha, which is fixed upside down the Shaktipeeth and the Jyotirlinga are together. It is a temple where tantric and yogis come for deliverance.