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Kedar JyotirLinga: Story of Nara and Narayana

Kedar JyotirLinga: Story of Nara and Narayana



The fifth of the jyotirlingas is Kedara. In one of Vishnu’s incarnations, he revealed himself as the two sages, Nara and Narayana. These two sages prayed for a long time in the hermitage known as vadrikashrama. Near this hermitage there was a peak of the Himalayas named Kedara.
After the two sages had prayed to Shiva for a very long time, Shiva appeared and said, I don’t understand why the two of you worshipping me. It is you who should be worshipped. But since you have been praying to me, let me grant you a boon.
Nara and Narayana desired that Shiva should always be present in the form of a linga on the peak Kedara.

OM NAMO NARAYANAYA

Omkara JyotirLinga: Story of Vindhya Mountai

Omkara JyotirLinga: Story of Vindhya Mountain

The fourth of the jyotirlingas is Omkara.
Narada had once gone on a visit to the mountain Vindhya. Vindhya worshipped Narada. But because Vindhya was slightly proud, he also said. I am full of all the desirable objects that one can think of.
Perhaps, replied Narada. But Mount Sumeru is superior to you, because the gods are always there.
Vindhya decided to become the equal of Sumeru. He began to pray to Shiva. For six months he prayed. When Shiva appeared, Vindhya desired that Shiva might always be present there so that he might become the equal of Sumeru.
The linga that Vindhya worshipped as called Omkara.

OM NAMO NARAYANAYA

Mahakala JyotirLinga: Story of demon Deshana and four brahmanas

Mahakala JyotirLinga: Story of demon Deshana and four brahmanas




The city of Avanti is on the banks of the river Kshipra (Shipra).
A brahmana named Vedapriya used to live in the city of Avanti. He used to worship Shiva everyday and he had brought up his four sons to do the same. These sons were named Devapriya, Priyamedha, Suvrita and Suvrata.
Not very far away, on a hill named Ratnamala, there used to live an asura named Dushana. Dushana was evil, he could not stand the idea of the Vedas being read and the religion prescribed in them followed. He went about destroying this righteous religon wherever he could. Dushana got to know that in the city of Avanti there lived four brahmanas who followed the righteous religion and worshipped Shiva. These were Devapriya, Priyamedha, Suvrita and Suvrata. Their father Vedapriya had died by then.
Dushana and his cohorts came and attacked the city of Avanti. They threatened to kill the four brahmanas, but the brothers were not at all perturbed. They con…

Mallikarjuna JyotirLinga

Mallikarjuna JyotirLinga
(I would suggest readers to read this legend http://bhagavanbhakthi.blogspot.in/2014/01/ganesh-and-kartikeya-quarrel.html before reading the below legend)


You already know that Kartikeya felt cheated when Ganesha got married. He decided that he would not live with Shiva and Parvati any longer, and began to live on the mountain Krouncha.
Parvati was miserable that her son had left her. She sent gods, sages, gandharvas and apsaras to bring her son back. But Kartikeya would not return. Shiva and Parvati then went to visit Kartikeya themselves, but Kartikeya would not let them get too close.
Shiva and Parvati started to live at a place that was about six miles away from where their son was living. They are always there, so as to be near their son. This place is known as Mallikarjuna.


OM NAMO NARAYANAYA

Somanatha JyotirLinga

Somanatha JyotirLinga



Twenty-seven of Daksha’s daughters were married to the moon-god Chandra. One of these wives was named Rohini and Chandra loved Rohini more than he loved the other wives. The other wives felt neglected and they complained to their father. Daksha repeatedly warned his son-in-law to devote himself equally to all twenty-seven wives. But Chandra was in no mood to listen.
Daksha thereupon cursed Chandra that he would gradually fade away. Chandra didn’t know what to do. He went and sought advice from Brahma and Brahma told him that the only rescourse was to pray to Shiva. Chandra went to Prabhasa tirtha and made a linga on the banks of the river Sarasvati. He prayed to Shiva for six months.
At the end of the tapasya Shiva appeared before Chandra and offered to grant him a boon. Chandra explained what the problem was.
Well, said Shiva, Daksha’s curse cannot be entirely ignored. Let us have a compromise. During krishnapaksha you will wane. And during shuklapaksha (the bright …

Atrishvara Tirtha

Atrishvara Tirtha
There was a forest named Kamada. It did not rain there for a hundred years. The leaves dried up and the dwellers of the forest started to suffer.
The sage Atri decided that he would meditate to try and bring the rains. Atri’s wife was Anasuya and she thought that she might as well perform tapasya together with her husband. Both of them started to pray to Shiva and it was very difficult to decide whose tapasya was the more difficult. Fifty-four days passed and they meditated without eating or drinking anything.
Atri’s meditation was finally over and he felt thirsty. He therefore asked his wife to go and fetch some water so that he might quench his thirst. While Anasuya was going to fetch the water, the river Gang appeared before her.
I am pleased with your tapasya, said Ganga. What boon do you desire?
If you are pleased with me, replied Anasuya, please make a pond here and fill the pond with your water.
Ganga obliged. Anasuya filled her water-pot from the pond and brought t…

Nadikeshwara Tirtha

Nandikeshvara Tirtha
A tirtha is a place of pilgrimage. At a tirtha named Nandikeshvara, there is a famous Shiva linga.
In a city named Karnaki there used to live a brahmana. He left his two sons with his wife and went to visit the city of Varanasi. It was then learnt that the brahmana had died in Varanasi. His widow brought up her sons and eventually married them off. She became old and it was time for her to die. But death would not come. It seemed to the sons that their mother was hankering after something and would not die until her wish had been satisfied.
Mother, they asked, What is it that you want?
I have always wanted to visit the tirtha of Varanasi, the mother replied. But now I am going to die without ever visitng the place. Promise me that when I am dead, you will take my ashes to Varanasi and throw them into the river Ganga there.
We will, said the sons. You can die inpeace.
The mother died and the sons performed her funeral ceremony. Then the eldest son, Suvadi, set out for Va…

JyotirLinga

JyotirLinga



A linga is an image of Shiva. There are several lingas. Whichever is the place where devotees congregate, there Shiva manifests himself in the form of a linga.
However, there are twelve important lingas and these are known as jyotirlingas are Somanatha, Mallikarjuna, Mahakala, Omkara, Kedara, Bhima-shankara, Vishvanatha, Trymbaka, Vaidyanatha, Nagesha, Rameshvara and Ghushnesha.

OM NAMO NARAYANAYA

Ganesh and Kartikeya quarrel

Ganesha and Kartikeya quarrel

Shiva and Parvati had two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya. Both sons wanted to get married. And Shiva and Parvati found it difficult to decide who should be married first. The other one was bound to feel hurt. Both the sons were equally dear to them.  They decided to have a test. They called Ganesha and Kartikeya to them and said, We have devised a competition. Both of you have to travel around the world and return here. Whoever returns first will be married first. That should be fair and square. 



As soon as these words were out, Kartikeya dashed out on his journey. But Ganesha tarried and pondered. He realized that this was a task that was impossible for him to accomplish. He found it difficult enough to travel a couple of miles.
Ganesha found a solution. First, he bathed. Then, he made Shiva and Parvati sit on two seats. He worshipped them and circled them seven times. After he finished circling them. Ganesha said, Now please make arrangements for my wedding.
Wh…

Ganesha's birth

Ganesha's birth



The door to Parvati’s place was guarded by two of Shiva’s companions, Nandi and Bhringi. But Parvati’s companions, Jaya and Vijaya, didn’t like this at all. They thought that there should be a guard who would be answerable to Parvati rather than to Shiva. It was Parvati’s place, not Shiva’s. Moreover, Shiva was in the habit of walking in at awkard moments, and Nandi and Bringi never stopped Shiva. Jaya and Vijaya asked Parvati to do something about this.
Parvati took some clay of a pond and fashioned the clay into a very handsome son. She dressed the son in beautiful clothes and jewellry. He was named Ganesha. Parvati told Ganesha, You are my son. Stand at the gate and do not allow anyone to enter.
Ganesha picked up a rod and began his duty as sentry. Parvati went to have a bath.
Soon Shiva turned up with his companions. Where are you going? asked Ganesha. You cannot pass. My mother is having her bath.
I am Shiva, answered Shiva.
Who is Shiva? retorted Ganesha. I don’t k…

Shiva doesn't accepts Ketaki and Champaka flowers: Stories of Sita and Narada

Shiva doesn't accepts Ketaki and Champaka tree: Stories of Sita and Narada

Romaharshana while reciting the Shiva Purana told the assembled sages, It is easy to please Shiva. But Shiva must never be worshipped with a ketaki or a champaka flower.
Why, what is wrong with these flowers? asked the sages. 

Sita and the Ketaki Flower

Romaharshana me tell you about the ketaki flower first, replied Romaharshana.
Rama’s father Dasharatha asked Rama to spend fourteen years in the forest. So Rama went to the forest with his brother Lakshmana and his wife Sita. The three of them started to live on the banks of the river Falgu. News reached the forest that Dasharatha had died in their absence and a shraddha (funeral) ceremony had to performed for the dead king.
Rama sent Lakshmana to a nearby village to get the necessary ingredients. Time passed and Lakshmana did not return. Rama then went to get the ingredients and look for Lakshmana. But Rama too did not return. It was almost noon and the ceremony …

Shiva and Parvati's wedding and eventually killing of Tarakasura by Skanda

Shiva and Parvati's wedding and eventually killing of Tarakasura by Skanda



There was an asura (demon) named Taraka. Tara’s son was Taraka.
Taraka wished to defeat the gods. He therefore went to a place named Madhuvana and began to perform very difficult tapasya. He gazed at the sun and stood there with his arms raised. He stood on one leg and that too, only on the toes of his feet. A hundred years passed. For those hundred years, Taraka drank only water and had no food to eat. For the next hundreds, he gave up that also and lived only on air. A hundred years were spent in performing tapasya inside water, another hundred years on earth and a hundred years more inside fire. For a hundred years he performed tapasya upside down, standing on his hands. And for yet another hundred years, he hung upside down from the branches of a tree.
The meditation was so difficult that Brahma was pleased. He appeared before Tarakasura and said, I am pleased with your tapasya. What boon do you want?
If yo…

Vamana and the king Bali or Vali

Vamana and the king Bali or Vali




There was a demon named Vali or Bali who was descended from Hiranyakashipu. Extremely strong, he defeated the gods and drove them out of heaven. The mother of all the gods was Aditi and Aditi was despondent that her sons should suffer so at the hands of demons. She therefore began to pray to Vishnu so that she might have a powerful son who would provide a fitting reply to the demons, particularily to Bali. 
For a thousand years, Aditi meditated. Vishnu was pleased at these prayers and appeared before Aditi. "What boon do you wish for?" he asked. "The demons are oppressing my children," replied Aditi. "Please grant me a son who will defeat the demons." "Do not despair," said Vishnu. "I myself will be born as your son. I will take care of the demons." We should note the husband of Aditi is Kashyapa.
Kashyapa and Aditi accordingly had a son. This son was a dwarf (vamana). Bali happened to organize a yajna and…

Savitri and Satyavana

Savitri and Satyavana


There used to be a king named Ashvapati who ruled in the kingdom of Madra. Ashvapati had no sons. He therefore began to pray to the goddess Savitri so that he might have a son. He performed thousands and thousands of yajnas. Eventually the goddess appeared before the king and said, "You will not have a son. But I am going to grant you a daughter.’ The daughter was named Malati. But since she was born as a result of a boon received from the goddess Savitri, she was more popularly known as Savitri. 
When Savitri grew up, she was married to Satyavana, the son of King Dyumatsena. The sage Narada once came to visit them and told them. "Satyavana is going to die within a year." Hearing this, Savitri and Satyavana went off to the forest to prepare themselves for the impending death. When only four days of the appointed life span were left, Savitri observed a religious rite that has now become famous savitri v rata. Amongst other things, this involved fastin…

Tarakasura

Tarakasura




Taraka (Son of Vajranga and Varangi) was hell bent upon defeating the gods. But he realize that, prior to waging war on the gods, he would have to become powerful. Such powers could not be attained but through tapasya. Taraka went to the Pariparta mountains and selected a cave there for his meditation. For some days Taraka ate nothing, for some more days he survived only on water, and on other days he ate only leaves, Every day he sliced off some flesh from his body and offered it to the fire as a token of his devotion. All this hardship pleased Brahma and he appeared before Taraka. 
"Enough is enough," said Brahma. "I am pleased at your devotion. What boon can I grant you?" 
"I want to fight with the gods," replied Taraka. "The gods have been giving the demons a hard time and I intended to reverse the tide. Please grant me the boon that I may be invincible and immortal." 
"Immortality is not a boon that can be granted to any living …

Vajranga, the father of Taraka

Vajranga, the father of Taraka


Indra had killed many of Diti’s children, the daityas. Diti had wished to obtain a son who would kill Indra. But because she had not been able to adhere to the stipulated religious rites, the sons who had been born had become friends and companions of Indra. But Indra continued to attack and kill the demons. Diti therefore prayed to her husband Kashyapa yet again that she might have a son who would defeat Indra.  "Your wish will be granted," said Kashyapa. "But you will have to meditate hard for ten thousand years". 
Indra’s weapon is the vajra and the son who will be born will have a body (anga) that is as tough as the vajra will be able to do him no harm. Diti meditated for ten thousand years and in due course, gave birth to this powerful son. Vajranga was invincible. 
When Vajranga grew up, Diti told her son, "Indra has killed many of my sons. I am thirsting for revenge. Go and kill Indra." Vajranga set for heaven. He defeate…