Categories: Hindu Shrine

Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple:Sanctum of Divine Light

The Baidyanath Temple, also known as Baba Baidyanath Dham, is a sacred Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva. Situated in Deoghar, within the Santhal Parganas division of the Indian state of Jharkhand, the temple complex consists of the main shrine of Baba Baidyanath and an additional 21 temples.

BaidyanathJyotirlingaTemple

Jyotirlinga

According to the Shiva Purana, there was once a dispute between Brahma and Vishnu regarding who held supremacy in creation. To settle the argument, Shiva manifested as a towering pillar of light, the jyotirlinga, spanning the three worlds. Brahma and Vishnu embarked on a quest to find its ends, with Brahma falsely claiming success and Vishnu acknowledging defeat. Shiva then revealed himself as the true pillar of light and cursed Brahma for his deceit, decreeing that Brahma would be sidelined in ceremonies while Vishnu would be revered eternally. The jyotirlinga represents the essence of Shiva, appearing as a fiery column of light, and the twelve most sacred sites where Shiva manifested are known as jyotirlingas. Each of these sites (12 Jyotirlingas) is dedicated to a different manifestation of Shiva, with the primary image being a lingam symbolizing Shiva’s infinite nature.

The twelve principal jyotirlingas include Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Viswanath in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath in Jharkhand, Nageshwar in Gujarat, Rameshwar in Tamil Nadu, and Grishneshwar in Maharashtra. These sites are revered as places where devotees can connect with the divine presence of Shiva and experience his infinite power and grace.

Legend

According to legend, Ravana, seeking to appease Shiva, performed intense penance in the Himalayas, offering nine of his heads as sacrifices. When he was about to sacrifice his tenth head, Shiva appeared and granted him a boon. Ravana asked to take the “Kamna Linga” to Lanka and to bring Shiva along.

Shiva agreed but warned that once the lingam was placed, it couldn’t be moved. The celestial gods, worried about Shiva leaving Kailash, sought help from Vishnu. Vishnu instructed Varuna to enter Ravana’s stomach while he performed achamana.

As Ravana journeyed with the lingam, he felt the urge to urinate near Deoghar. Vishnu, disguised as a cowherd, handed him a lingam and then made him wait a long time by delaying his relief. Annoyed, Ravana left the lingam on the ground and pressed his thumb on it before leaving, damaging it.

The lingam was worshipped by Brahma, Vishnu, and other deities, and the Baidyanath Temple was built. Since then, Shiva has resided in Deoghar as the Kamna Linga.

Location of Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple

Ancient scriptures like the Dwadasha Jyotirlinga Stotram and the Shiva Purana identify the location of Jyotirlinga, describing it as situated in ‘Chitabhoomi,’ which historically was a place associated with funeral rites and tantric practices. The temple of Baidyanath is situated in Deoghar, Jharkhand, and is one of the three temples claiming to be the authentic site of the Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, the others being Shri Vaijnath Temple in Maharashtra and Baijnath Temple in Himachal Pradesh.

According to legends, Shiva first manifested as a Jyotirlinga on the night of Aridra Nakshatra, bestowing special significance upon these sacred sites. The Baidyanath shrine is also considered one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, where the heart of Sati (goddess) is said to have fallen after being dismembered by the Sudarshana Chakra of Lord Vishnu. This event led to the temple being associated with intense devotion and reverence, with Sati being worshipped as Jayaa Durga and Lord Bhairava as Vaidyanath or Baidyanath.

The Bhavishyapurana further describes the district of Narikhande, where the Baidyanath temple is located, as abundant in thickets and forests, with the shrine being celebrated and worshipped by people from all directions. The temple complex itself is a source of spiritual solace and blessings, attracting devotees seeking divine grace and healing. Overall, the legend and significance of the Baidyanath Jyotirlinga resonate through centuries, drawing pilgrims and worshippers to its sacred precincts in search of spiritual enlightenment and divine blessings.

Description of the Temple

The Maa Parvati temple, intricately tied to the main temple with massive red sacred threads, symbolizes the unity of Shiva and Shakti, a concept revered in Hinduism. According to the tales recounted in the Shiva Purana, the Baidyanath temple mirrors the union of souls, making it a sacred site for Hindu marriages. The temple’s significance extends beyond its religious symbolism; it stands as a testament to the spiritual bond between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

Situated just 7 km from the Baidyanath temple, the Jasidih railway station serves as the nearest transportation hub, located 311 km away from Howrah/Sealdah on the Patna route. The temple’s daily rituals commence at the crack of dawn, with worshippers gathering as early as 4:00 am to witness the opening of the temple doors. During this time, the priests perform the sacred ritual of offering Kacha Jal to Lord Shiva, a tradition observed for a precise 15 minutes. Following this initial ceremony, the head priest conducts the Shodashopachar Puja, also known as Sarkari Pooja, until 5:40 am, marking the beginning of devotees’ worship of the Shivalinga. Notably, the priests initiate the ritual by pouring kuchcha Jal upon the lingam, followed by pilgrims offering water, flowers, and Bilva leaves, signifying their reverence and devotion.

Throughout the day, the temple remains a hub of spiritual activity, with Puja rituals continuing until 3:30 pm when the doors are temporarily closed. However, the evening sees a resurgence of devotion as the temple doors reopen at 6:00 pm for worshippers and pilgrims alike. The evening Puja, known as Shringar Puja, unfolds amidst the tranquil ambiance of the temple, concluding with the closing of the temple gates at 9:00 pm on a regular day. Notably, during the Holy Shravan month, the temple extends its hours to accommodate the influx of devotees seeking blessings. Additionally, unlike other prominent Jyotirlinga temples, Baidyanath offers devotees the unique opportunity to personally perform Abhishek on the Jyotirlinga, fostering a deeper connection between the worshippers and the divine.

The historical significance of the Baidyanath temple is deeply intertwined with the region’s rich cultural heritage. Formerly under the rule of the Kings of Gidhaur, who held a profound reverence for the temple, the area became a focal point for spiritual pilgrimage. In the aftermath of the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the East India Company turned its attention to the temple’s administration. Notably, Mr. Keating, an English collector, spearheaded efforts to oversee the temple’s affairs, eventually relinquishing control to the high priest, recognizing the sanctity and autonomy of Babadham. This historical narrative underscores the enduring spiritual legacy and cultural significance of the Baidyanath temple, making it a revered pilgrimage site for devotees seeking solace and healing.

Festival

Every year, millions of pilgrims flock to a renowned shrine, famous for its Shraavana mela, held between July and August in the Hindu calendar. This sacred site sees an influx of 8 to 10 million devotees from all corners of India who come to offer holy water from the Ganges, known as Uttarvahini Ganga, to the deity. This water, collected from Ajgaibinath in Sultanganj, roughly 108 km away from Deoghar and Baidyanath, holds significant spiritual value. The journey to the shrine is marked by devout worshippers known as Dak Bam, who undertake the arduous trek barefoot, carrying the sacred water in Kavadi. Saffron-clad pilgrims form an unbroken line stretching the full 108 km, showcasing their unwavering devotion throughout the month. These pilgrims, known for their dedication, are relentless, as they do not pause even once on their journey from Ajgaibinath Temple in Sultanganj, Bhagalpur district, to Vaidyanath. After paying homage at the temple, pilgrims often visit the nearby Basukinath temple to complete their spiritual journey.

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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