Eight forms of Sri Ganesh

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1. Vakratunda

Ganesha’s first avatara is of Vakratunda (twisted trunk) an embodiment of the Absolute Impersonal aspect of Godhood called Brahman in the form of Ganesha.

A demon named Matsara was born out of the Pramaada (Heedlessness) of Indra, the king of Gods.

This demon performed severe penance and invoked the grace of Lord Shiva and obtained the boon of fearlessness from Him.

Having obtained the boon he went about conquering all the three worlds,” He was coronated as the king of Asuras by their preceptor Sukracharya. The defeated gods went to Kailasa and prayed to Lord Shiva for protection. On hearing the mission of gods, Matsara went to Kailas and vaniquished Lord Shiva also.

When the gods were at their wit’s end to know what to do next. Lord Dattatreya came there. He advised the gods to invoke the grace of Lord Vakratunda and imparted to them the secret of the monosyllable mantra Gam. All the gods including Shiva did penance accordingly and at last Lord Vakratunda appeared and assured them that he would subdue the demon. The demon was so terrified at the sight of Vakratunda that he surrendered to Him and sought refuge at His feet. The Lord forgave him, and restored the lost glory and kingdoms to the gods, and to the various kings on earth.

2. Ekadanta

The next incarnation was in the form of Ekadanta (single tusked) who defeated the demon Madasura. The famous sage Chyavana created Madasura.

The Asura sought his father’s permission and went to Sukracharya, who was Chyavana’s brother as well as the preceptor of the Asuras. He prostrated to the Guru and expressed his desire to become the ruler of the whole universe. Sukracharya was pleased with his nephew’s submission and initiated him into the Shakti Mantra Hrim. Madasura did penance on this mantra for thousands of years.

At last the deity of Shakti, appeared, before him and blessed him with the fulfillment of all his desires. Thereafter the demon went about raging battles against all the kings and the gods, and was victorious everywhere. He thus became the ruler of all the three worlds. In his reign, all virtues and righteousness disappeared from the world. He married Saalasa the daughter of Pramada Asura and begot three children in her, viz. Vilasi, Lolupa and Dhanapriya. The worried gods approached Sanat kumara and sought his advice to overcome their plight Sanatkumara instructed them to propitiate Lord Ekadanta and seek his protection.

He also described the glory of Ekadanta thus “Eka stands for Maya the “embodied”. and Danta for Truth (Satta). Thus Ekadanta represents the Supreme Truth which wields the Maya.” The Devas then meditated upon the Lord Ekadanta for hundreds of years. Pleased by their devotion the Lord appeared before them and assured them that He would remove their miseries. Narada, the celestial saint, promptly informed Madasura of the boon given to the gods by the Lord and prompted him to wage war against Ekadanta The demon got ready for a battle with the Lord. But alas as soon as he reached the battlefield and beheld the terrible form of Ekadanta, all his courage drained away and he surrendered to the Lord.

The demon then gave up the worlds held under his reign, and sought the Lord’s protection. The Lord then told Madasura : “Don’t stay in a place where I am worshipped in a Satwic manner. You are free to enjoy the fruits of all actions done with Asuric Bhava”.

3. Mahodara

The third incarnation was of Mahodara who vanquished Mohasura, the demon of Delusion and Confusion. Once again the mouse was the mount of Ganesha.

The confused nature of this tale makes it difficult to understand exactly what was going on. It seems that once Shiva was sunk in meditation for ages and showing no signs of coming out of it. Meanwhile, the gods were in need of help. Parvati therefore assumed an alluring form and wandered round his meditating spot. Shiva was brought back to normal wakeful consciousness by this act and she abandoned the alluring ‘cover’ so as to speak. This abandoned energy form became a demon in its own right over the ages and Ganesha subdued it.

Shiva and Parvati are the parents of Ganesha, so the psychological implications of this tale make the head spin. Mohasur worshipped the Sun God and attained the name of Daitya Raja meaning King of the Demons. He also conquered all the three worlds… “All the gods, sages hid in caves and jungles in fear of him. There was anarchy all over. At this time Surya, Sun God advised all the gods to worship Mahodara ie, Ganesha. “All the Gods and the Sages started worshiping Mahodara. Ganesha was pleased and granted them with a boon, saying that he would slay Mohasur himself. When Shukracharya heard this, he told Mohasur to surrender in front of Mahodara. Lord Vishnu also explained to Mohasur that if he surrendered he will not be killed or destroyed.

That’s why he should accept the friendship of Mahodara. By saying this he started praising and singing the glories of Lord Lambodara. “Listening to this Mohasur became frightened and he requested Lord Vishnu to bring Mahodara giving him due honour and respect. When Lord Mahodara arrived, Mohasur greeted and welcomed him with pomp and gaiety. He sang his praises and asked for forgiveness for his evil sins. Mohasur promised the gods that he would return them their Swargalok and assured that he would be always on the path of righteousness.

He also assured them that henceforth, he would not a dare to harass the Gods and Sages. Listening to this Lord Mahodara was pleased and commanded him to go back to Pataal lok and never return again. All the Gods and the Sages were elated, They all started singing the praise of Lord Mahodara.

4. Gajanana

Equally perplexing in the tangled web of intergenerational sexuality is the next tale, of the avatar of Gajanana or Gajavaktra who defeated the demon Lobhasura (Greed or Covetousness).

Gajanana means “the Lord with an elephant face”, and Lobha was the demon of greed. Kubera, the Treasurer of the heavens, once visited Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva.

There he was blessed with the vision of the Lord and Goddess Parvati. Parvati was so beautiful that Kubera looked at Her with lustful eyes. The Mother became angry at this, and Kubera shivered with fear. From the fear of Kubera, there manifested a demon named Lobhasura. Lobhasura descended to the world of Asuras, where he received his education from Sukracharya, the guru of Asuras.

He was initiated into the mantra “0m Namah Shivaya”. The demon then performed penance and in due course the Lord appeared and blessed him with the boon of fearlessness. The demon Lobha now went about conquering the three worlds and became the sovereign ruler. He sent word to Lord Shiva that he would like to rule over Kailas, and that it would be better if He relinquished His abode. The Lord thought for a while and decided to leave His abode.

The gods, tyrannised by the demonic rule, approached sage Raibhya who instructed them to pray to Lord Gajaanana. The Devas invoked the grace of the Lord and sought His protection. The Lord blessed them, and sent Vishnu as His messenger to the demon to apprise him of the strength of Gajaanana Lobhasura was convinced of the Lord’s strength and surrendered without putting up a fight.

5. Lambhodara

Once upon a time Lord Vishnu had assumed the form of Mohini, the enchantress, to delude the demons. When Lord Shiva beheld this seductive form. He was struck with passion.

Vishnu immediately gave up the Mohini form and assumed His usual form. Shiva became sad and angry. Out of the seeds of His disappointment was born a terrible demon Krodhasura.

This demon invoked the grace of the Lord Sun and became a powerful king. He married “Preeti” the beautiful daughter of Sambara and begot two sons in her—- Harsha and Soka.

The gods undertook penance to invoke the grace of Lord Ganesha in the form of Lambodara. The Lord appeared before them and for the sake of the world, subdued Krodhasura.

 6. Vikata

His next incarnation was of Vikata(”The mishappen”), who subdued Kama, the demon of desire.

The demon named Kamasura, i.e. the embodiment of lust, was born out of the seeds of Lord Vishnu. Like all other demons he was accepted by the preceptor Sukracharya as his disciple. Kamasura performed penance on Lord Shiva and after long and arduous austerities he was blessed by the Lord.

He became the supreme ruler of the three worlds. He was ceremoniously married to Trishna, the daughter of Mahishasura, and begot two sons in her, viz. Soshana and Dushpoora.

The Devas, tormented by his rule, approached Mudgala Rishi for showing them a way out. The teacher advised them to meditate on the mantra OM at a place called Mayuresa Kshetra. Pleased by their devotion. Lord Ganesha appeared to them in the form of Vikata, and brought about their salvation.

7. Vighnaraja

The 7th incarnation of Ganesha Vighnaraja had a very unusual mode of conveyance – a Sheshnaag or Shasha. In this lifetime Ganesha managed to subdue the demon Mamasur (also known as Mamtasur or Mama), the demon of the ego.

This is His (Ganesha’s) most popular incarnation, known as The Remover of Obstacles. Riding his vehicle called Sheshnag, a serpent, he strode into battle with Mamtasur, and overcame him.” Parvati Devi, the daughter of Himavan, was married to Lord Shiva.

After the marriage, one day when She was relaxing in the company of Her friends. She burst out in laughter in a playful mood, and out of Her laughter was born a handsome male form He prostrated to the Mother She was surprised at this manifestation of the form and asked him who he was and what he wanted. He said that he was born from Her laughter and asked Her as to how he could serve Her. She named him Mama, as he was born out of her outburst, when She was swayed by “Maan”, the sense of I-ness, Ego. She then instructed him to remember Lord Ganesha always, who would fulfill all his desires.

Mama retired to the forests to meditate on Lord Ganesha. On the way, he met Sambara Asura, who managed to allure him into the Asuric cult and initiated him into the demonic methods of worship. Thus Mama of angelic nature became Mamasura, the demon. He married Mohini, the daughter of an Asura chief in due course he became the ruler of alt the three worlds.

The Devas who were exiled from their worlds propitiated Lord Ganesha, Who incarnated as Vighnaraja, subdued Mamasura and established righteousness and peace.

8. Dhoomravarna

Ganesha has a mouse as his mount here. His life mission this time around was to defeat the demon Ahamkarasur, the demon of self-infatuation.

Once, Brahmaji, the grandsire, bestowed on the Sun deity, the lordship over the ‘world of activities’. One day, a thought dawned in the mind of Sun: “All the worlds are governed by Karma—-activities; and by virtue of my being the Lord of Karma Rajya, I can consider myself to be the supreme governor of all the worlds.

As this thought passed his mind, he happened to sneeze and out of the sneeze there arose a demon. He went down to the world of Asuras and Sukracharya gave him the name “Aham” on account of his birth from the ego of Sun.

He meditated on Lord Ganesha, who appeared before him in the form of Dhumravarna and blessed him to be the sovereign ruler of all the three worlds. Aham married “Mamata”, daughter of Pramadasura, and begot two sons in her named Garva and Sreshta.

Tired of the demonic rule of Aham, the Devas meditated upon Lord Ganesha for salvation, and the Lord descended to their rescue- Ere long, Lord Ganesha in the form of Dhoomravarna subdued the demon Aham.

Dwadash Jyotirlinga

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1. Grishneshwar Temple Jyotirlinga is an ancient pilgrimage site revered as the abode of one of the dwadash Jyotirlinga manifestation of Lord Shiva. The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga shrine is located at a village called Verul, which lies 20 km from Daulatabad (near Aurangabad in Maharashtra) and approximately 100 kms from Manmad station.

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The Grishneswar Temple was constructed by Ahilyabhai Holkar who also re-constructed the Kashi Viswanatha Temple at Varanasi and the Vishnu Paada Temple at Gaya. The Grishneshwar jyotirlinga Temple is also known by several other names like Kusumeswarar, Ghushmeswara, Grushmeswara and Grishneswara.

Legend Behind Grishneshwar Temple

According to Shivapuran, in the southern direction, on a mountain named Devagiri lived a Brahmin called Brahmavetta Sudharm along with his wife Sudeha. The couple did not have a child because of which Sudeha was sad. Sudeha prayed and tried all possible remedies but in vain. Frustrated of being childless, Sudeha got her sister Ghushma married to her husband. On the advice of her sister, Ghushma used to make 101 lingas, worship them and discharge them in the near by lake.

With the blessings of Lord Shiva, Ghushma gave birth to a baby boy. Because of this, Ghushma became proud and Sudeha started feeling jealous towards her sister. Out of jealously, one night she killed Ghushma’s son and threw him in the lake where Ghushma used to discharge the lingas.

Next morning, Ghushmas and Sudharm got involved in daily prayers and ablutions. Sudeha too, got up and started performing her daily choirs. Ghushma’s daughter-in-law, however, saw stains of blood on her husband’s bed and parts of the body drenched in blood. Horrified, she narrated everything to mother-in-law Ghushma who was absorbed in worshipping Shiva. Ghushma did not deter. Even her husband Sudharma did not move an inch. Even when Ghushma saw the bed drenched in blood she did not break down and said he who has given me this child shall protect him and started reciting ‘Shiva-Shiva’. Later, when she went to discharge the Shivalingas after prayers she saw her son coming. Seeing her son Ghushma was neither happy nor sad. At that time Lord Shiv appeared before her and said – I am pleased with your devotion. Your sister had killed your son. Ghushma told Lord to forgive Sudeh and emancipate her. Pleased with her generosity, Lord Shiva asked her another boon. Ghushma said that if he was really happy with her devotion then he should reside here eternally for the benefit of the multitudes in form of a Jyotirling and may you be known by my name. On her request, Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Jyotirling and assumed the name Ghushmeshwar and the lake was named as Shivalaya thereafter.

2. Somnath Temple Jyotirlinga is situated at Somnath Patan (the south coast of Saurashtra), near Veraval in (Prabhas Kshetra) Kathaiwad district in Gujarat. Somnath is considered to be the first of the Dwaadash Jyotirlingas of Shiva and is a revered pilgrimage center in India.

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Legend of Somnath Temple

Skanda Purana, in a chapter on Prabhasa Khanda, describes the emergence of this Jyotirlinga. Legend goes that the moon was married to the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Amongst all his wives, he had special love towards Rohini and neglected the others. Seeing the negligence of Chandra towards his other wives Prajapati Daksha cursed Chandra that he would lose his beauty and radiance. But because of a moon devoid of radiance and beauty the entire world became lifeless. A disturbed Chandra, came down to Prabhasa with Rohini and worshipped the Sparsa Linga of Somnath after which he was blessed by Shiva to grow and shine in the bright half. As the moon regained his light here, this town came to be known as Prabhasa. Brahma, one of the trinity, installed the Brahmashila, and paved way for the construction of the temple. On the request of the Chandrama and other gods Bhagwan Shankar assumed the name Somchandra (Jyotirlinga) and resided there eternally. He became famous by the name Somnath in the three worlds. Since, it was the Prabhas Kshetra where Bhagwan Shri Krishna performed all his Lilas. In this temple there is a small cave in which a lamp burns continuously.

The Skanda Purana describes the Sparsa Linga of Somnath as one bright as the sun, the size of an egg, lodged underground. The Mahabharata also refers to the Prabhasa Kshetra and the legend of the moon worshipping Shiva.

Ransacking and Rebuilding of Somnath Jyotirlinga

Somnath Jyotirling has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times in the history:

Accounts of glory and wealth of Somnath Jyotirlinga temple by the Arab traveler Al Biruni prompted a visit by Mahmud of Ghazini who ransacked and destroyed the temple in 1025 CE. It was immediately rebuilt by King Bhima of Gujarat and King Bhoja of Malwa.

Somnath temple was destroyed again by Alaf Khan, the general of Allauddin Khilji in 1300 CE. It was rebuilt again by King Mahipala of the Chudasama dynasty.

Somnath shrine was destroyed yet again in 1390, 1490, 1530 and finally in 1701 by Aurangazeb. It was rebuilt with perseverance each time after it was destroyed.

3. Mallikarjun Temple Jyotirlingam is situated on Shri Shaila Mountain by the banks of the Patal Ganga, Krishna River in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Also known as Kailash of the South, Mallikarjuna constitutes one of the  Dwaadash Jyotirlingam shrines of Shiva and is one of the greatest Shaivaite shrines in India. The presiding deities of Mallikarjuna Temple are Mallikarjuna (Shiva) and Bhramaramba (Devi). Every year there is a fair organized on account of Mahashivratri.

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Legend of Mallikarjun Jyotirlinga

According to Shiva Purana, when Lord Ganesh was married of before his Kartikeya, and because of this brother Kartikeya became angry. Despite being stopped and consoled by his parents Shiv-Parvati, Kartikeya went away to the Kraunch Mountain. Even the Gods went and tried consoling Kartikeya but all their efforts were in vain. Because of this incident Shiv-Parvati were very sad and both decided that they would themselves go to Kraunch Mountain. However, when Kartikeya came to know that his parents have arrived, he went away. Eventually Lord Shiva assumed the form of Jyotirlinga and resided on that mountain by the name of Mallikarjuna. Mallika means Parvati, while Arjuna is another name of Shiva. In this way both Shiva and Parvati came to reside in this linga. It is said that by merely seeing the tip of mountain one is emancipated from all his sins and worries. The person becomes free from the vicious cycle of life and death.

Architecture of Mallikarjun Temple

The architecture of the ancient Mallikarjun Temple is very beautiful and intricate. The temple has fort like walls, towers and a rich endowment of sculptural work. The huge temple is built in the Dravidian style with lofty towers and sprawling courtyards and is considered to be one of the finest specimens of Vijayanagar architecture. Temple of Tripurantakam, Siddavatam, Alampura and Umamaheswaram located in the vicinity of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlina are considered to be the four gateways to Sri Sailam.

Bhramaramba Shrine

Located adjacent to the Mallikarjun Temple is a shrine dedicated to Goddess Jagdamba who is known as Bhramaramba here. The Bhramaramba shrine is considered to be of great significance. Legend has it that Durga is said to have assumed the shape of a bee and worshipped Shiva here, and chose this place as her abode.

4. Mahakaleshwara Temple Jyotirlinga is located by the banks of river Kshipra, in the dense Mahakal forests in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. It is an important Shaivaite pilgrimage centre in North India and is revered as one of the Dwaadash Jyotilinga manifestations of Shiva.

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Legend Behind Mahaakal Temple Jyotirlingam

According to an episode narrated in Puranas, a five-year-old boy named Shrikar was enthralled seeing the devotion of King Chandrasena of Ujjain towards Lord Shiva. Shrikar took a stone and by considering it a linga started worshipping it regularly. Others thought that his worship as merely a game and tried to dissuade him in all ways. But all the efforts went in vain. On the contrary, devotion of Shrikar increased by every passing day. Pleased by the boy’s devotion Lord Shiva assumed Jyotirlinga form and resided in the Mahakal forest.

According to another popular legend related to Mahakal Temple, a demon by name, Dushana tormented the residents of Avanti. Shiva appeared from the ground and vanquished the demon. Then, upon the request of the inhabitants of Avanti, Shiva took up a permanent abode here as Mahakaleshwara Jyotirlinga.

Architecture of Mahakal Temple

Bhagwan Mahakaleshwar Temple is located near a lake and has a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls. The temple has five levels, one of that is underground. Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum or Garbha Griha where the Jyotirlinga is situated. The Linga is quite big in size and is encircled by a snake of silver. On one side of the Linga there is the idol of Lord Ganesha while on the other side, idols of Goddess Parvati and Kartikeya are installed. The shikhara of temple is adorned with sculptural finery.

Significance of Mahakaleshwara Temple

Mahalakesheshwar Temple is consider significant by the Hindus for the following reasons:

Mahakaleshwara Temple Jyotirlingam in Ujjain is regarded amongst the seven holy places that can liberate a human. The other six Mukti-Sthal being Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Benares, Kanchipuram and Dwarka.

All devotees that come to participate in the famous Kumbh Mela organized year on the banks of the Kshipra River consider it important to seek blessings of Lord Mahakaleshwar. The Mahakaleshwar Temple has also been referred to in the Tamil hymns of the Nayanmar saints of the 1st millennium CE.

5. Omkareshwar Temple Jyotirlinga is situated on the mountain Mandhata by the banks of Narmada River in the Malva area in Madhya Pradesh. Omkareshwar Temple is one of the Dwaadash Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. The temple is closely linked with Mammaleshwar Temple (situated on the south of river Narmada) as both the forms of Shiva have been counted as one.

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Legend behind Omkareshwar Temple

Shiva Purana describes the greatness of Omkareshwar and Mammaleshwar. It says, two sons of the sun dynasty Mandhata – Ambarish and Mucchkund practiced severe penance and austerities here and pleased Lord Shiva. They also performed great religious sacrifices in this place because of which the mountain is named Mandhata.

Another popular legend says that once upon a time Vidhya Parvat practiced severe penance and worshipped Parthivarchana along with Lord Omkareshwar for nearly six months. As a result Lord Shiva was pleased and blessed him with the desire boon. On the sincere request of all the gods and the sages Lord Shiva made two parts of the lings. One half being Omkareshwara and the other Amaleshwara or Amareshwar.

Structure and Significance of Omkareshwar Temple

Omkareshwara Temple is located at a distance of about 12 miles from Mortakka in Madhya Pradesh. A special feature of the location of Omkareshwar Temple is that the river Narmada branches into two and forms an island Mandhata or Shivapuri in the center. The shape of the island resembles that of the visual representation of the Omkara sound, Om. There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar and one to Amareshwar.

The Omkareshwar Temple is built in the Nagara style and is characterized by a lofty shikhara. There are also shrines to Annapurna and Ganesha here. Before entering the temple one has to pass through two rooms. The Omkareshwar is not affixed to the ground but is naturally installed there. There is always water around it. The significance of this linga is that the linga is not situated below the cupola. The idol of Lord Shiva is situated on the top of the temple. The temple can be reached by ferry from the banks of the river. A huge fair is organized here on the day of Kartik Poornima.

6. Baidyanath Temple Jyotirlinga, also called Vaijnath Temple and Vaidyanth Temple is located at Deogarh in the Santal Parganas region of Bihar in the south west of Keeul Station. Baidyanath shrine is revered as one of the  Dwaadash Jyotirlingam of Shiva. It may be noted that some schools of thought believe Vaidyanath near Parali in Andhra Pradesh to be the Vaidyanatha Jyotirlingam.

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Devotees of Lord Shiva believe that by sincere worship of Vaijnath Jyotirlinga a person is relieved of all worries and miseries in life. It is also said that by worshipping in the shrine a person attains Moksha and all types of happiness. As a tradition, devotees carry ‘Kanwars’ on their shoulders and complete their travel here.

Legend Behind Vaidyanath Temple

Legend has it that demon King of Lanka, Ravana meditated upon Lord Shiva, as he wanted to request him to come over to Sri Lanka and make his capital invincible. It is said that Ravana attempted to lift Mount Kailash and take it with him to his capital. However, Lord Shiva crushed it with his finger. Ravana prayed to him and sought his mercy, after which Bhagwan Shiva gave him one of the twelve Jyotirlingams on the condition that if it were placed on the ground it shall fix itself to the ground and shall remain there for eternity. Ravana thanked Lord Shiva and holding the Linga carefully started of to the Lanka. However, Varuna the God of Water, entered his belly and caused him to feel an urgent need to relieve himself. Vishnu then came down in the form of a lad and volunteered to hold the Jyotirlingam as he relieved himself. Before Ravana returned, Vishnu placed the Jyotirlingam on the ground and it became rooted to the spot. A disappointed Ravana offered severe penance to Shiva here, and cut off nine of his heads. Shiva revived him and joined the heads to the body, as if by the work of a Vaidya or a physician, hence this Jyotirlingam goes by the name Vaidyanath.

According to another legend, Baidyanath is one of the 52 Shakti Peeth shrines of Sati. It is believed that the heart of Sati fell here, when her half burnt body being carried by Shiva at the end of Daksha’s Yagna was chopped to pieces by Vishnu’s discus.

Some people believe that this temple was re-discovered by a cowherd Baiju and hence named Baijnath.

Structure of Baidyanath Jyotirlingam

Baidyanath Temple at Deogarh houses a spacious courtyard bound by stone walls. In the temple complex are twenty-two other temples. The Baijnath or Vaidyanath temple faces east. The top of the Shiva Lingam is slightly broken, keeping with the legend that it chipped away when Ravana tried to uproot it. Near the temple is the Shivaganga Lake.

7. Bhimashankar Temple Jyotirlinga is situated in the ghat region of the Sahyadri hills in the village of Bhavagiri, 50-km north west of Khed, near Pune in Maharashtra. Bhima Shankar Temple lies on the banks of the river Bhima. Bhimashankar is also the source of the river Bhima, which flows southeast and merges with the Krishna River near Raichur. The other Jyotirlinga shrines in Maharashtra are Tryambakeshwar and Grishneshwar. It may be noted that according to the Shiv Purana the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is situated on the Mountain Brahmapur in district Kamrup, Assam.

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Legend behind Bhimashankar Temple

According to the legends, once a demon called Bhima lived with his mother Karkati in the dense forests of Dakini, on the lofty ranges of the Sahaydris. It is said that Bhima was so cruel that every one was scared of him. But what tormented Bhima was his curiosity regarding his own existence. One day, Bhima urged his mother to tell him who his father was and why had he abandoned them in the wilderness of the forest. His mother revealed that he was the son of Kumbhakarna, the younger brother of the mighty King Ravana – the King of Lanka. Bhima’s mother Kartaki also told him that Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Lord Rama annihilated Kumbhakarna. This infuriated Bhima and he vowed to avenge Lord Vishnu.

Bhima performed severe penance to please Lord Brahma. The compassionate creator was pleased by the dedicated devotee and granted him immense prowess. With so much power, Bhima began to cause havoc in the three worlds. He defeated King Indra and conquered the heavens. He also defeated a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva – Kamrupeshwar and put him in the dungeons. All this angered the Gods and they along with Lord Brahma beseeched Lord Shiva to come for their rescue to which Lord Shiva agreed.

Tyrant Bhima asked Kamrupeshwar to worship him instead of Lord Shiva. When Kamrupeshwar refused, Bhima raised his sword to strike the Shiva Linga. But as soon as he raised his sword, Lord Shiva appeared before him in full magnificence. Then the terrible war began. Holy sage Narad appeared and requested Lord Shiva to put an end to this war. It was then that Lord Shiva reduced the evil demon to ashes and thus concluded the saga of tyranny. All the Gods and the holy sages present there requested Lord Shiva to make this place his abode. Lord Shiva thus manifested himself in the form of the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga. It is believed that the sweat that poured forth from Lord Shiva’s body after the battle formed the Bhimarathi River.

Structure of Bhimashankara Temple

Bhimashankara Temple is situated in picturesque extreme end of the Sahayadri Ranges and provides a wonderful view of the forts, the rivers and the hill stations around. The dense forests surrounding the high ranges also play an abode to the rare species of flora and fauna.

Bhimashakara Temple dates back to mid 18th century and is a composite of old and the new structures and is built in the Nagara style of architecture. The shikhara of the temple was built by Nana Phadnavis. Shivaji – the great Maratha ruler is said to have facilitated the carrying out of worship services. As with other Shiva temples in this area, the sanctum is at a lower level. The best time to visit the Bhimashankar Temple is said to be Maha Shivaratri as the temple organizes grand festivities on the occasion.

8. Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlingam is situated in the island of Rameswaram, off the Sethu coast of Tamil Nadu and is reached via the Pamban Bridge across the sea. The huge temple is known for its long ornate corridors, towers and 36 theerthams.

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga represents the southernmost of the  Dwaadash Jyotirlingams of India and has been a time honored pilgrimage center held on par with Banaras. Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga is associated closely with the Ramayana and Rama’s victorious return from Sri Lanka.

Rameshwaram Temple Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga

Watch on You tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYM3S85ST-4

Legend behind Rameshwaram Temple

According to a popular legend, it was Lord Rama who installed this Linga here. Story goes that when Lord Ram was on his way to attack Ravana, he reached this place where he made a linga of sand and worshipped it. It is said that when Lord Rama was drinking water on the seashore there was a celestial proclamation – “You are drinking water without worshipping me”. Listening to this Lord Rama made a linga of sand and worshipped it and asked to be blessed so that he could vanquish Ravana. Lord Shiva blessed him accordingly. He also requested Lord Shiva to reside eternally here so that entire mankind should benefit from it. Shiva then manifested himself as the Linga and got installed there for eternity.

According to yet another legend, while returning to Ayodhya, Ram worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam made of earth by Sita. It is said that Hanuman was entrusted with the task of bringing an image of Viswanathar from Banaras. Anticipating delay in Hanuman’s return from Benares, Rama offered worship to a Shivalingam at a pre-chosen auspicious moment. This lingam is referred to as Ramalingam and the town is known as Rameswaram.

There is yet another Shivalingam here – Viswanathar said to have been brought by Hanuman from Banares. This Shivalingam is referred to as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. Prayers are offered to Viswanathar before they are offered to Ramanathaswamy.

Structure of Rameshwaram Temple

Rameswaram Temple is spread over an area of 15 acres and has lofty gopurams, massive walls and a colossal Nandi. Rameswaram Jyotirlinga also boasts of a 4000 feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 pillars, supposedly the longest in the world. The carved granite pillars are mounted on a raised platform. Worth noticing fact about this corridor is that the rock is not indigenous to the island and is said to have been brought in from elsewhere in Tamil Nadu across the sea.

The eastern Rajagopuram towers to a height of 126 feet and has nine levels. The Western Rajagopuram is also quite impressive though not as tall as the Eastern one. The temple also has several mandapams with mini shrines to other deities. There is a huge Nandi measuring 12 feet in length and 9 feet in height with the idols of Viswanatha Naicker and Krishnama Naicker. The lingams are housed in the inner section of the Ramalingeshwara. High walls enclose the temple, forming a rectangle with huge pyramidal gopura entrances on each side.

9. Nageshwar Temple Jyotirlinga or Nagnath Temple is located on the route between Gomti Dwarka and the Bait Dwarka Island on the coast of Saurashtra in Gujarat. The Jyotirlinga enshrined in the Temple of Nagnath is known as Nageshwar Mahadev and attracts thousands of pilgrims all round the year. This powerful Jyotirlinga symbolizes protection from all poisons. It is said that those who pray to the Nageshwar Linga become free of poison. The Rudra Samhita sloka refers to Nageshwar with the phrase ‘Daarukaavane Naagesham’.

nageswar jyotirlingam1 nageshwara temple

Legend Behind Nageshwar Temple

According to Shiv Purana, a Shiva devotee by name Supriya was attacked by a demon Daaruka while in a boat. The demon imprisoned him along with several others at his capital Daarukaavana where he resided with his wife Daaruki. Supriya advised all prisoners to recite the mantra ‘Aum Namaha Shivaya’. When Daruk came to know about this he ran to kill Supriya. Instantly Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a Jyotirlingam and vanquished the demon with the Paasupata Astram.

This Jyotirlinga manifestation of Shiva is worshipped as Nageswara. Two other sites in India, one near Audhgram near Purna in Andhra Pradesh and another near Almora in Uttar Pradesh also enshrine temples to Nageswara Jyotirlingam. According to the Shiv Purana, any one who ever with devotion reads the birth and greatness of this Jyotirlinga shall beget all material happiness and divine status in the end.

Structure of Nageshwar Temple

Nageshwar Mahadev Sivalingam is facing South while the Gomugam is facing east. There is a story for this position. A devotee by name Naamdev was singing bhajans in front of the Lord. Other devotees asked him to stand aside and not hide the Lord. To this Naamdev asked them to suggest one direction in which the Lord does not exist, so that he can stand there. The enraged devotees carried him and left him on the southside. To their astonishment, they found that the Linga was now facing South with the Gomugam facing east.

10. Kaashi Vishwanath Temple Jyotirlinga is located amidst the crowded lanes in the holy city of Varanasi also known as Kashi and Benares. The Vishwanath Temple enshrines one of the  Dwaadash Jyotirlingam of Lord Shiva and is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites for Hindus. It is believed that Varanasi is the point at which the first Jyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light by which Shiva manifested his supremacy over other gods, broke through the earth’s crust and flared towards the heavens. More than the Ghats and even the Ganga, the Shivalinga installed in the temple remain the devotional focus of Varanasi. Millions of pilgrims converge here to perform an abhishekam to the sacred Jyotirlingam with sacred water of river Ganga.

Kashi-Vishwanath-jyotirlinga Kashi-Vishwanath-Temple1

Significance of Vishwanath Temple

Also famous by the name of Shiv Vishwanath Kashi, Shri Vishweshwar Temple is said to be dear to Lord Shiva. Hindus believe that those who come and die here attain liberation. It is said that Lord Shiva gives the Tarak Mantra to the ones who are going to die here. Some also believe that the Lord resides here and is the giver of liberation and happiness. The one who prays and worships Vishweshwar with devotion attains all his desires and one who incessantly recites his name attains all siddhis and finally gets liberated.

Structure of Shri Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple

Shri Vishwanatha Temple is situated amidst the crowded lanes of Varanasi on the banks of the rive Ganga. The temple can be approached from a lane called Vishwanatha lane. Beside its religious significance, the temple is also an architectural marvel. The magnificent edifice offers a breathtaking view to the onlooker. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is also popularly known as the ‘Golden Temple’ due the gold plating done on its 15.5-meter high spire. One tonne of gold donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been used in the gold plating of the spire.

Inside the courtyard is the temple of Vishwanatha surrounded by many subsidiary shrines. A well, called Jnana Vapi i.e. ‘wisdom well’ located to the north of the main temple. The Vishwanatha temple consists of a mandapa and a sanctum. Inside the sanctum a linga is set into the center of the floor in a square silver altar. The Linga is of black stone. Though the interior of the temple is not large and elaborate it presents the peaceful atmosphere ideal for worship.

History of Vishwanath Temple

The famous Vishwanath Temple has been rebuilt several times. The original was supposed to have been built in 1490. However, the original Jyotirlinga of Kashi Vishwanath is a not available. The old temple was destroyed as a result of the Mughal invasion and Aurangazeb built a mosque in place of it. The ancient idol of Vishweshwar is situated in Jnana-Vapi. Even today the western wall of the mosque show the remnants of a temple which had very intricate and fine artwork on it. Both the Kashi Vishwanath and the Gyanvapi Mosque are adjacent to each other

The latest structure standing here dates back to the 18th century. It is said that once Lord Shiva came in the dream of Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. She, being a devotee of Lord Shiva, got the current temple built in 1777 at a distance from the original one.

11. Shri Trimbakeshwar Temple Jyotirlinga is located at a distance of about 30-km from Nasik in Maharashtra near the mountain named Brahmagiri from which the river Godavari flows. Trimbakeshwar Temple is revered as one of the  Dwaadash Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva and as the source of the river Godavari. Just as Ganga is known as Bhagirathi and is one of the most important river in North India, in the same way, Godavari is also known as Gautami Ganga and is the most sacred river in South India.

According to Shiv Purana, it is because of the earnest request of Godavari, Gautam Rishi and other gods that Lord Shiva agreed to reside here and assumed the famous name Trimbakeshwar. Interestingly, locals refer to the river here as Ganga and not as Godavari. All the heavenly Gods promised to come down to Nasik, once in twelve years, when Jupiter resides in the zodiac sign of Leo. On this a grand fair is organized at this place. Devotees take a holy bath in the Gautami Ganga and then seek the blessings of Trimbakeshwar.

trambakeswar Temple trambakeswar lingam

Legend Behind Trimbakeshwar Temple

Legend goes that a sage name Gautam Muni resided on the Brahmagiri hill with his wife Ahilya. By virtue of his devotion, the sage received from Varuna, a bottomless pit from which he received an inexhaustible supply of grains and food. The other rishis, jealous of his fortune, arranged for a cow to enter his granary and caused it to die as Gowtam Rishi attempted to ward it off with a bunch of Darbha grass.

Gautam Rishi, therefore, worshipped Lord Shiva to bring the Ganga down to his hermitage to purify the premises. Pleased with devotion, Shiva requested Ganga to flow down and make Sage Gautam pure. After that Ganga flowed down. Lord Shiva told Ganga to stay there eternally for the good of everyone. All the Gods started singing the praises of Gautam Rishi, Ganga and Lord Shiva. On the request of all the Gods, Lord Shiva resided by the river Gautami by the name Trimbakeshwar (one of the Jyotirlingas). Hindus believe that Trimbak Jyotirlinga is one, which fulfills everyone’s desires. It emancipates all from their sins and miseries.

Another popular legend behind Trimbakeshwar Temple is the legend of Lingodbhava manifestation of Shiva. It says once Brahma and Vishnu searched in vain to discover the origin of Shiva who manifested himself as a cosmic column of fire. Brahma lied that he had seen the top of the column of fire and was hence cursed that he would not be worshipped on earth. In turn Brahma cursed Shiva that he would be pushed underground. Accordingly, Shiva came down under the Brahmagiri hill in the form of Tryambakeshwar. Trimbakeshwar Temple is the only place where Shivlinga is not out but it’s inside the floor.

Some scholars say that Goddess Parvati also came down along Lord Shiva and Ganga. The place is therefore called Tryambakeshwa (three lords). Others believe that the place is so called because of the presence of three Shivlinga of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The Shivlinga of Lord Mahesh has always-flowing water among the three Shivlingas.

Structure of Trimbakeshwar Temple

Trimbakeshwar Temple is an ancient shrine, however the current structure is a result of the reconstruction efforts undertaken by the Peshwa Balaji Bajirao in mid 18th century. The temple is built of black stone in the Nagara style of architecture and is enclosed in a spacious courtyard. The sanctum internally a square and externally a stellar structure houses a small Shivalingam – Tryambaka. The sanctum is crowned with a graceful tower, embellished with a giant Amalaka and a golden kalasha. In front of the garbagriha and the antarala is a mandap with doors on all four sides. Three of these doorways are covered with porches and the openings of these porches are ornamented with pillars and arches. Curvilinear slabs rising in steps form roof of the mandapam. The entire structure is ornamented with sculptural work featuring running scrolls, floral designs, and figures of gods, yakshas, humans and animals.

The Shivalingam is seen in a depression on the floor of the sanctum. Water constantly oozes out from the top of the Shivalingam. Usually, the Shivalingam is covered with a silver mask but on festive occasions a golden mask with five faces, each with a golden crown covers it.

12. Kedarnath Temple Jyotirlinga : One of the holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus, Kedarnath Temple Jyotirlinga is located in the picturesque surroundings of Rudra Himalaya Range at a height of 12000 feet on a mountain named Kedar. Near Kedarnath is the source of the river Mandakini that joins Alakananda at Rudraprayag. This place is approximately 150 miles away from Hardwar and 132 miles north of Hrishikesh and is accessible by foot.

Kedarnath Jyotirlinga kedarnath temple Kedarnath-temple

The temple at Kedarnath enshrining the Jyotirlingam of Shiva opens only 6 months a year (April-November) when the sun enters the zodiac sign of Aries and it is closed when the sun enters Scorpio. The priests then go to Ukhimath, where the worship of Kedareshwara is continued during the winter season.

Tradition has it that when undertaking Kedarnath Yatra pilgrims first visit Yamunotri and Gangotri and bring with them the holy waters from the sources of the rivers Yamuna and Ganga and offer abhishekams to Kedareshwara. The traditional pilgrim route is Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devaprayag – Tehri – Dharasu – Yamunotri – Uttar Kashi – Gangotri – Triyugnarayan – Gowrikund and Kedarnath. The alternative route to Kedar from Rishikesh is via Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag and Ukhimath.

Legend Behind Kedarnath Temple

Legend goes that Nara and Narayana – two incarnations of Vishnu performed severe penance in Badrikashraya of Bharat Khand, in front of a Shivalingam fashioned out of earth. Pleased with their devotion, Lord Shiva appeared in front of them and said that they may ask for a boon. Nar and Narayan requested Shiva to take up a permanent abode as a Jyotirlingam at Kedarnath so that all people who worship Shiva shall be freed from their miseries.

According to yet another popular legend related to Kedar Temple, Goddess Parvati worshipped Kedareshwar to unite with Shiva as Ardhanareeswarar. Besides, the Pandavas are believed to have visited this area several times. Arjuna is believed to have come here to pray to Shiva to obtain the coveted Pasupataastra. The other Pandavas are believed to have come here in search of him, where Draupadi came across the heavenly lotus Kalyana Saugandikam, and requested Bhima to bring here some more of the same. It was during his venturing out to seek these flowers that Bhima met Hanumaan.

Significance of Kedarnath Temple

Located in the lofty Himalayas, Kedarnath Temple is one of the best known Shivasthalams in India and is considered to be one of the most sacred pilgrimage centers of the country. It is believed that by praying to Kedareshwar, one can get all his desires fulfilled. Importance of the shrine can be further understood from the beliefs that Upamanyu prayed to Lord Shiva in this place in Satayuga while in Dwapar, the Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva here. Even the spiritual leader Adi Sankaracharya is closely associated with Kedarnath.

Structure of Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Shrine is scenically placed amidst the lofty, snow – covered mountains and grassy meadows covering the valleys. Immediately behind the temple is the high Keadardome peak, which can be sighted from great distances. It is believed that the temple of Kedarnath was constructed by the Pandavas. At the entrance of the temple is the statue of Nandi, the divine bull of Shiva. Walls inside the temple are exquisitely carved with images. The revered Shiva Lingam housed in the temple is in the unusual pyramidal form.

Where the Saligramas are found and what are they

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The Saligramas are found only in the Gandaki River at Mukti Kshetra – also called Muktinath and Damodar Kunda, one of the most sacred pilgrimage places in north-west Nepal. Here the natural elements are displayed in a miraculous form. Flickering blue flames of natural methane gas burn on water, earth and stone – in an offering said to have been first lighted by Brahma, the Hindu Creator. Muktinath’s sanctity goes far back into antiquity. The Indian epic Mahabharat mentions it, calling the place Shaligram. The river Gandaki is a very ancient river; and the geologists say that it existed even before the formation of the Himalayan ranges. It rises beyond the Himalayan ranges, probably in Tibet, and flows (in the north-south direction) into Nepal, which is the southern valley of the Himalayas, and India. The situation of the birth of the river is given as North 27 27 and East 83 56’; it courses in the south-western direction, and joins Ganga in a place called Bhavatyapur in Bihar. It is an important tributary of the river Ganga. It is called Salagrami or Narayani in Uttar-pradesh. It was known to the Greek geographers as Kondochetts.

The glossy black fossils called shaligram are found in here. On the outside they look like small rounded rocks, but split open they reveal the imprint of ammonites formed 140 million years ago. Because of its wheel-like shape or chakra, the shaligram is associated with the Hindu god Vishnu. The chakras on the stones are formed by the river worms called Vajra-keeta. Its teeth/nails are said to be harder than granite stone. The Vajra keeta worms drill the stones, get inside and live there. During their stay inside the stones, they cause these chakras. Similarly outside chakras also are caused by the worms only. Saligrama are used as living place by the worms not used as shells. The chakra formation is found both on the outer and inner surface of the saligrama. Sometimes this can be seen through the holes on the Saligrama with the aid of torch light. The holes are termed as vadana or mouth.

 What the scriptures say about Saligramas

 Padma Purana: 

Salagrama Sila Rupi Yatra Tisthati Kesavah |

Tatra Devasurayaksa Bhuvanani Catur Dasa ||

With Keshava in the form of Salagrama Sila reside all the devatas, asuaras, yaksas and the fourteen worlds.

Lord Shiva further declares that, “My devotees who offer obeisances to the shalagrama even negligently become fearless. Those who adore me while making a distinction between myself and Lord Hari will become free from this offence by offering obeisances to shalagrama. Those who think themselves as my devotees, but who are proud and do not offer obeisances to my Lord Vasudeva, are actually sinful and not my devotees. O my son, I always reside in the shalagrama. Being pleased with my devotion the Lord has given me a residence in His personal abode.

Giving a shalagrama, is the best form of charity, being equal to the result of donating the entire earth together with its forests, mountains, and all.

The Garuda Purana describes the glories of keeping a shalagrama-shila with the auspicious mark of a cakra in one’s house.

Ato’dhisthana Vargesu Suryadisviva Murtisu |

Salagrama Silaiva Syad Adhisthanottamam Hareh ||

The Lord resides in many places in which he may be worshipped, but of all the places Salagrama is the best.

Skanda Purana

– Haribhakti vilas

Drstva Pranamita Yena Snapita Pujita Tatha |

Yajna Koti Samam Punyam Gavam Koti Phalam Bhavet ||

Lord Siva spoke to Skanda, his son, saying that any person who has seen Salagram Sila, paid obeisances to Him, bathed and worshipped Him, has achieved the results of performing ten million sacrifices and giving ten million cows in charity.

Pujito’ham Na Tair Martyair Namito’ham Na Tair Narah |

Nakrtam Martya Loke Yaih Salagram Silarcanam ||

(Lord Siva speaks to his son, Skanda) In this mortal world, if anyone does not worship Salagram Sila, I do not at all accept any of their worship and obeisances.

Brahma Purana the Supreme Lord Vishnu states that any shila from the place of shalagramas can never be inauspicious though cracked, chipped, split in two though still in one piece, or even broken asunder.

Lord Shiva also confirms in the Skanda Purana that even if a shila is cracked, split, or broken it will have no harmful effect if it is worshiped with attention and love by a devotee. It further states there that the Supreme Lord Hari, along with His divine consort, Lakshmi, live in the shalagrama that has either the mark of a chakra, a chakra along with the mark of a footprint, or a mark resembling a flower garland.

Gautamiya Tantra States that merely by touching a shalagrama one becomes freed from the sins of millions of births, so what to speak of worshiping Him! By shalagrama puja one gains the association of Lord Hari.

 The Mythological story

When Sree Vishnu got ‘Satitwa’ of “Tulsi” –( wife of the demon Shankhachur to kill him because Lord Shiva gave him the blessing of immortal upto that day whenever his wife will remain ‘Sati’  in the form of Sankhachur), then Tulsi gave ‘shap’ to Vishnu that he will remain in the form of black stone. Then Vishnu blessed her and said that her wish will be fulfilled. Vishnu said that her body will remain in the earth as Holy Gandaki River and her hairs will remain as ‘Tulsi tree’, and assured that the leaves of  Tulsi always on his stone form. So without Tulsi leaves worship of Sri Vishnu is not completed till date.

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Photographs are taken from the book “Bhagaban Vishnu and Saligram Shila” by Ashoke Roy. Interested persons may read his another book ” Shaligram Shilar Sandhane”.

 

More photographs of Shaligram Shila’s variety:

images10 images4 images5 images6 images7 images8 images9Kurma Murtikurma_shaligram_5_c_482 Kurma Murti

Lakshmi Keshava MurtiLakshmi Keshava Murti

Lakshmi Narasimha Murti Lakshmi Narasimha Murti Lakshmi Narasimha Murti 2 Laxmi Narasimha Salagram OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Laksmi-SalagramLaksmi-Salagram

Madhurakavi-dasanMadhurakavi-dasan2011-2 Madhurakavi-dasan2011-6 Madhurakavi-dasan2011-8 Madhurakavi-dasan2011-21 Madhurakavi-dasan2011-23 Madhurakavi-dasan2011-29

sudarshan-shaligramsaligram Sudarshana saligramam sudarshan-shaligram salagram_8

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Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page1_image3 lor19h

THE MAHAMANTRA
This Maha mritunjaya mantra is from the Rig-Veda (7th Book or Mandala, 59 Chapter) and needs initiation for attaining Siddhi. Anybody can recite this mantra and attain good health, release from bondage and other problems. This is the greatest panacea for all evils and can be recited at any time like any other Maha-mantra. I will advise its recitation for forty days both in the morning and evening, after lighting a lamp and sitting in any yogic posture (preferably Padmasana which is the picture of Lord Shiva in the picture) while facing east. Recite the Maha-mantra 108 times (one rosary) or its multiples in each sitting. This is the greatest work of Maharishi Vashistha. Before commencing the Mahamrutunjaya mantra recite the following small prayer to the everlasting spirit of the Maharishi for his blessings and guidance.

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page1_image2

(21 Times) (Rig Veda III.62)

Translation: We pray to Brihaspati (the Lord of this Universe and the teacher of this Vedic Knowledge), whose wishes are inviolable, for good thoughts (that will lead to good speech and actions that cannot be violated as it will be the truth).

Steps in mantra siddhi:

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page2_image4

Recite this mantra 21 or 108 times . This is the prayer to Maharishi Vashistha
(whose Holy Spirit is Omnipresent).

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page2_image3

The students of SJC and the Vaishnava’s can recite the Vyasa Mantra “Samputita” with the Kahola Beeja Mantra as described below. The initiated should practice the Pranayama ten times with the Beejakshara Mantra “OM HOUM JUM SAH”. It is also advisable to practise VAMADEVA RISHI’S SADASHIVA BEEJAMANTRA (OM HOUM SAH) and KAHOLA RISHI’S MRITUNJAYA BEEJAMANTRA (OM JUM SAH) separately (This is my personal recommendation and is in the lines of the standard texts on Tantra). Others can skip this and go to the Mahamantra directly.

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page2_image2    Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page2_image1

The Vyasa Mantra : Those who are belonging to the Vaishnava
parampara should worship the Jagadguru Maharishi Veda-Vyasa instead with the
Kahola Mritunjaya Mantra prefixed and suffixed. KAHOLA RISHI’S MRITUNJAYA
BEEJAMANTRA OM JUM SAH added gives this most powerful and all fulfilling
mantra.

Vedavyasa Mantra:

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page3_image2

Vyasa Mrityunjaya mantra: OM JUM SAH VYAM VYASADEVAYA NAMAH SAH JUM OM

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This is to be followed by the Dhyana Mantra (Meditation) of Sri Tryambakeswara (One of the twelve Jyotirlinga) and then meditate on Sri Tryambakeshwara (Lord Shiva) and Sri Amriteshwari (Gouri or Parvati Shakti) with the relevant beejakshara and Rudra Pooja. Meditate for at least 15 Minutes before starting the Japa (Recitation of Mantra). Those conversant with TM or other forms of meditation, dhyana, dharana etc. can use the MANTRA’S described above. Vamadeva Rishi’s Sadashiva Beejamantra gives all happiness and removes all evils and sins. Tamas is destroyed resulting in quick progress into Satwa Guna. Kahola Rishi’s Mritunjaya Beejamantra gives good health, vitality and the native as removed from sin. The intelligence is restored and all forms of black magic etc. are destroyed by the insurmountable OMNIPOTENT Lord Shiva in the form of
SRI TRYAMBAKESHWARA.

Then repeat the following Mritunjaya mantra 108 times or multiples of this number. The Mritunjaya Mantra reads:

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page6_image2

Thereafter, perform Rudrabhishek (Ritual offering of the Panca-Amrita or the five
forms of nectar as Honey, Ghee, Curd, Milk and Water) on the Shiva linga.

UNDERSTAND THE MAHAMANTRA

It is important to understand the meaning of the words as this makes the
repetition meaningful and brings forth the results.

1. OM is not spelt out in the Rig-Veda, but has to be added to the beginning
of all Mantras as given in an earlier Mantra of the Rig-Veda addressed to
Ganapati.

2. TRYAMBAKKAM refers to the Three eyes of Lord Shiva. ‘Trya’ means
‘Three’ and ‘Ambakam’ means eyes. These three eyes or sources of
enlightenment are the Trimurti or three primary deities, namely Brahma,
Vishnu and Shiva and the three ‘AMBA’ (also meaning Mother or Shakti’
are Saraswati, Lakshmi and Gouri. Thus in this word, we are referring to God as Omniscient (Brahma), Omnipresent (Vishnu) and Omnipotent
(Shiva). This is the wisdom of Brihaspati and is referred to as Sri
Duttatreya having three heads of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

3. YAJAMAHE means, “We sing Thy praise”.
4. SUGANDHIM refers to His fragrance (of knowledge, presence and strength
i.e. three aspects) as being the best and always spreading around.
Fragrance refers to the joy that we get on knowing, seeing or feeling His
virtuous deeds.

5. PUSTIVARDHANAM: Pooshan refers to Him as the sustainer of this world
and in this manner, He is the Father (Pater) of all. Pooshan is also the
inner impeller of all knowledge and is thus Savitur or the Sun and also
symbolizes Brahma the Omniscient Creator. In this manner He is also the
Father (Genitor) of all.

6. URVAAROKAMEVA: ‘URVA’ means “VISHAL” or big and powerful or deadly.
‘AAROOKAM’ means ‘Disease’. Thus URVAROOKA means deadly and
overpowering diseases. (The CUCUMBER interpretation given in various
places is also correct for the word URVAROOKAM, but not apt for this
mantra). The diseases are also of three kinds caused by the influence (in
the negative) of the three Guna’s and are ignorance (Avidya etc),
falsehood (Asat etc as even though Vishnu is everywhere, we fail to
perceive Him and are guided by our sight and other senses) and
weaknesses (Shadripu etc. a constraint of this physical body and Shiva is
all powerful).

7. BANDANAAM means bound down. Thus read with URVAROOKAMEVA, it
means ‘I am bound down by deadly and overpowering diseases’.

8. MRITYORMOOKSHEYA means to deliver us from death (both premature
death in this Physical world and from the neverending cycle of deaths due
to re-birth) for the sake of Mokshya (Nirvana or final emancipation from rebirth)

9. MAAMRITAAT means ‘please give me some Amritam (life rejuvinating
nectar). Read with the previous word, it means that we are praying for
some ‘Amrit’ to get out of the death inflicting diseases as well as the cycle
of re-birth.

Shiva Purana

The mantra is is Anusthub chanda i.e. it has a perfect order of 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 =
32 syllables. This is one of the oldest meters and has four pada (feet) each
measuring 8 syllables. It is exactly one pada (8 phonemes) more than the
gayatri. Gayatri chanda is for merging with God and is of the form of God while
Anustubh is for following God. Anustubh means following (as it follows the
Gayatri with one more step) and is the meter for the faithful followers.

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page6_image2

Sukracharya(Venus in astrology) said

“The first pada isMaha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page6_image1 and means – we worship or sing the praise of Lord Trayambaka. ‘Tryambaka’ is the name of Lord Shiva as the father of the three
worlds – bhu, bhuva and svarga lokas. He is the father and lord of the three
mandala’s – Surya, Soma and Agni mandala. He is Maheswara, the lord of the
three Guna’s – Satva, Rajas and Tamas. He is the Sadashiva, the teacher of the
three tatvas – Atma tatva, Vidya tatva and Shiva tatva. He is the father (cause
and source) of the three energies (agni) – Aavahaniya, Garhapatya and
Dakshinagni. He is the father of all physical creation through the three murti
bhuta – Prithvi (solid), Jala (liquid) and Tejas or agni (energy). He is the lord of the three heavens created by the dominance of the three Gunas – Rajas
(Brahma), Satva (Vishnu) and Tamas (Shiva). Know Him to be the nirakara
(formless) Sadashiva as He is above this physical mode and is their Maheswara.
This is the first foot of the mantra (composed of eight syllables).”

“The second pada of the mantra,” continued Sukracharya, “is Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page7_image2 . ‘Sugandhim’ refers to the fragrance of the flower
that spreads in all directions, and in a similar way Shiva is present in the entire
creation, both animate and inanimate. In all the bhutas (modes of existence), in
the three Gunas (nature of creation as being Satva, Rajas or Tamas), in the ten
indriyas (five gyana-indriyas or senses and five karma-indriyas or organs of
action), in all the devas (33 devas are the source of all illumination and
enlightenment) and the ganas (hosts of demi-gods), Shiva exists and pervades
as the illumine atma (soul) and is their essence. ‘Pustivardhanam’ is now being
explained. That inward dwelling spirit (atman), the Purusha Shiva is the real
sustainer of Prakriti (and not vice-versa as all people perceive). Starting with the
mahatatva (primordial state of matter/energy) to the individual parts of
creation, the entire sustenance of the physically created beings (both animate and inanimate) is done by the imperishable Purusha. You, I, Brahma, Vishnu,
the Munis and even Indra & devas are maintained/sustained (by the atma and
that is Him). Since the Purusha (atma – Shiva) is the granter of sustenance to
prakriti (body/nature), he is ‘Pusti-vardhana’.”
Having explained the first two pada of the mantra, Sukracharya continued to
explain the remaining two pada. He said ” the next two pada (consisting of
sixteen syllables) is Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra_page7_image1 meaning
– Prabhu! just as the ripe cucumber is severed from the bondage of the creeper,
in the same manner may we be delivered from death for the sake of immortality
(moksha). Rudra deva is like amrita (nectar of immortality). Those who worship
Him with good karma, penance and repentance, meditation, contemplation,
prayer or praise, will surely renewed life and vigor. The strength of truth force
(in this mantra) is such that Lord Shiva shall definitely free the worshipper from
the bondage of death because Shiva alone is the giver of bondage and moksha.
This is the Mritasanjivani mantra and has the power to give back life and rescue
from death and great evils.

Ganesh Sadhanas

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Lord Ganesh is the elephant-headed God, with one tusk.
He is called Ganesh, the chief of Shiva Ganas or attendants of Shiva , and also
Vigneshwar, the remover of all obstacles. (vigna = obstacles)
Ganesh is to be worshipped before doing pooja of any other gods.
There are 32 Types of Ganeshas (Ganapathies):
1. Bala Ganapathi
2. Sakthi Ganapathi
3. TharunaGanapathi
4. Bhakta Ganapathi
5. Veera Ganapathi
6. Dwija Ganapathi
7. Siddhi Ganapathi
8. Uchhistha Ganapathi

9. Vigna Raaja Ganapathi
10. Kshipra Ganapathi
11. Herambha Ganapathi
12. Lakshmi Ganapathi
13. Nritha Ganapathi
14. Oordhwa Ganapathi
15. Ekaakshara Ganapathi
16. Varada Ganapathi
17. Thrayaakshara Ganapathi

18. Kshipra Prasada Ganapathi
19. Haridraa Ganapathi
20. Eka Dhantha Ganapathi
21. Shrishti Ganapathi
22. Uddhanta Ganapathi
23. Rina Vimochana Ganapathi
24. Thushti Ganapathi
25. Dwimukha Ganapathi
26. Thrimukha Ganapathi
27. Simha Ganapathi
28. Yoga Ganapathi
29. Vallabhha Ganapathi

30. Maha Ganapathi
31. Durgaa Ganapathi
32. Sankata Hara GanapathI
Ganesh gives health, wealth, and fame to his devotee.

Hanuman (Anjaneya)

Hanuman

Hanuman (known also as ‘Anjaneya’), is one of the most important personalities in the
Indian epic, the Ramayana.
Hanuman is the monkey deity renowned for his courage, power, and faithful and
selfless service.
Hanuman is a monkey god. He is a noble hero and great devotee of Lord Rama of the
Ramayana.
This deity is a provider of courage, hope, knowledge, intellect and devotion. He is
pictured as a robust monkey holding a mace (gada) which is a sign of bravery and
having a picture of Lord Rama tatooed on his chest which is a sign of his devotion to
Lord Rama.
He is also called Mahaveera (the great hero ) or Pavan-suta (son
of air) or Bajarangbali.
Hanuman can be seen in temples throughout the country. In
some temples his image is set up alone standing with a mace in
the right hand or sitting in a devotional posture before the
images of Rama and Sita. He is considered to be the god of
power and strength, who remained celibate through his whole
life. he is worshipped as being the greatest devotee of Rama, who
loves Hanuman the most.

Sri Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami was the main deity of Sri Raghavendra Swami. The
place where he meditated on this five-faced form of Hanuman is now known as
Panchamukhi, wherein a temple for him has been built. There is also a shrine for
Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, India. A 40 feet tall
monolithic green granite murti of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman has been installed in
Thiruvallur, also in Tamil Nadu. This place was known as Rudravanam in olden times
when many saints and seers had blessed this place with their presence. The
Panchamukha Hanuman Ashram itself was established by a saint called Venkatesa
Battar.

Sri Panchamukha Hanuman (Hanuman with five
faces) —

panchmukhi hanuman

1. Sri Hanuman faces east. He grants purity of mind and
success.
2. The Narasimha faces south. He grants victory and
fearlessness.
3. The west facing Garuda removes black magic and
poisons.
4. The north facing Varaha, showers prosperity, wealth.

5. The Hayagriva mukha faces the Sky.

Hanuman Mantras

Hanuman is all powerful and removes all problems and
sorrows.
Before yourself place Hanuman Yantra in some plate. On it
smear vermilion. Next offer a mixture of jaggery, ghee and
chapati. Thereafter chant 11 rounds of the following
Mantra with Red Coral rosary.
Om Namo Hanumantaay Aaveshay Aaveshay Swaahaa.

After completion of the Mantra recitation go to sleep. This Sadhana should be tried only
at night and must be continued for 11 days. Let the sweet offered remain at its place.
The next day put it in some utensil and offer fresh sweets.
The eleventh night Lord Hanuman without fail manifests before the Sadhak and
provides solutions to the problems of the Sadhak or blesses him with desired success.
After completion of Sadhana give away the sweet collected on all eleven days to some
poor person or go and bury it in the earth in South direction from your home.
Many of the Sadhaks have managed to get rid off problems, ailments, and even
possible incarceration through this Sadhana.

Some more hanuman mantras

Om Namo Hanumathe Rudraavtaaraay Vishwa Roopaay Amitha Vikramaay Prakata
Paraakramaay Mahaabalaasaya Soorya Koti Samaprabhaay Raamadoothaay Swaahaa.
**********
Om Namo Hanumathe Rudraavataaraay Sarva Shathru Sanhaaranaay Sarva
Vashikarrannaay Ramdhootaay Swaahaa.
**********
Om Namo Hanumathe Rudraavataaraay Bhakta Jana Mana Kalpanaa Kalpadrumaaya
Dushta Monoratha Stambhanaay Prabhanjana Prana Priyaaya Mahaabala
Paraakramaaya Mahaavipatti Nivaaranaaya Putra Poutra Dhana Dhaanyaadi Vividha
Sampatpradaaya Raamdhootaaya Swaahaa.

Panchamukhi Hanuman Mantra

Om hreem kleem hroom hraim panchamukha hanumaan mahaadeva om patu swaaha.
Disclaimer: Without a guru/spiritual teacher mantras should not be recited according to
tantras and any problem you face by reciting mantra, publisher of this post is not
responsible.

The Hindu Scriptures

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The teachings of the Hindu seers comprise the religion known as Hinduism or Hindu dharma. The holy texts that contain these teachings are known as the Shastras or scriptures.

Who is God? Where does He dwell? What does He look like? How are we related to Him? Why should we strive to realise Him? One may learn all these from the Scriptures. Moreover, the Scriptures teach us the methods of realising God. How are we to bring put the Divinity within us? What are the obstacles in the way? How are we to get over them? How should we behave? What acts are we to perform? What acts are we to refrain from? The Scriptures teach us all these as well.

The Hindus have been treading the path of religion for scores of centuries. Throughout this period countless earnest souls have reached the goal of religion by realising God. Many of these sages struck new paths leading to the same goal. Thus many methods of reaching perfection were discovered in this holy land by the Hindu sages. This is why the Hindu Scriptures., unlike the Scriptures of other religions, are many in number and variety. Moreover, the need of explaining religion to different classes of people gave rise to different classes of Shastras.

VEDAS

Of these many and diverse Hindu Scriptures, the oldest are the Vedas. The rest derive their origin from HINDUISM AT A GLANCE the Vedas. The Vedas are based on direct revelation. This is why they are called Shruti and their authority is unquestioned. All other Hindu Scriptures owe their authority to the Vedas and are known as Smriti.

The Vedas are older than any other Scripture of the world. Derived from the Sanskrit root vid which means ‘to know’, the word Veda came to mean ‘knowledge of God\ As the creation is infinite and eternal, so is the knowledge of God infinite and eternal. Hence Veda, as knowledge of God, is inexhaustible and it exists eternally in the universe. Portions of this knowledge were discovered by hundreds of Hindu seers, and these we find recorded in what has come dowrn to us as the Vedic texts. The Hindu seers who discovered these are known as the Vedic rishis. It is worth noticing that in the Vedas more prominence is given to the truths discovered than to the discoverers. As a matter of fact many of the rishis did not care even to leave their names behind.

The Vedas are four in number. They are known as Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda and Atharva- Veda. Each of these consists of two sections, namely, Samhita and Brahmana. The Samhita section contains hymns or mantras and the Brahmana section dwells on the meaning and ‘use of these hymns.

The Hindus of yore would not worship gods and goddesses in images as we do now. Their worship consisted in reciting hymns (mantras) and offering oblations in sacred fire. This kind of worship is called yajna (sacrifice). The Brahmana sections of the Vedas describe the various kinds of yajna. The mantras contained in the Samhita sections have to be recited in course of the yajnas. From the Brahmana sections one may learn when, how and which mantras have to be recited during the performance of any yajna.

UPANISHADS

Certain portions of the Vedas are known as the Upanishads. They are also called Vedanta either because they occur towards the end of the Vedas or because they contain the cream or essence of the Vedas.

The bulk of the Vedas deals with details related to yajnas. The yajnas, that is, the ancient modes of worship, are nothing but ceremonials to be performed for purifying one’s mind so that it may become fit for i receiving the knowledge of God. Hence this portion , of the Vedas concerned mainly with ceremonials (karma) is known as the Karma-kanda. On the other hand, the portions of the Vedas known as the Upanishads dwell primarily on the knowledge of God. This is why they constitute what is known as the Jnana-kanda of the Vedas.

Where and how does God exist ? How are man and the universe related to Him ? How and why- should one try to realise God ? What does exactly happen when one realises Him ? All these may be learnt from the Upanishads (or Vedanta). The Upanishads are many in number. Each of the four Vedas contains several Upanishads. Of these the following may be remembered : Isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Aitareya, Taittiriya, Chhandogya, Brihadaranyaka and Shwetashwatara.

SMRITIS

Some sages like Manu and Yajnavalkya compiled codes or manuals of Hindu life. These are known particularly as Smritis, though the term Smriti in a broader sense covers all Hindu Scriptures except the Vedas. From these Smritis by Manu, Yajnavalkya and other sages a Hindu learns how he has to spend his entire life. They instruct him as to how he should behave at different periods of his life (ashrama) and also what special duties are enjoined on him due to his birth in a particular social group (varna). These also describe all ceremonies connected with the domestic life of a Hindu. Moreover, these lay down domestic and social laws for the Hindus, and some of these are operative even under the British rule.

These Smritis, in short, prescribe certain acts and prohibit some others for a Hindu according to his birth and stage of life. Their sole object is to purify the mind gradually so that one may advance step by step towards perfection. They are no doubt based on the teachings of the Vedas. Yet it is to be noted that their injunctions (vidhi) and prohibitions (nishedha) are related to the particular social surroundings. As these surroundings of the Hindu society changed from time to time new Smritis had to be compiled by the sages of different ages and different parts of Hindusthan. Thus Raghunandana’s Smriti is of a much later age than Manu’s and it is applicable particularly to the Hindu society of Bengal. As our present-day society has changed considerably since the days of the last Smriti-maker, time is perhaps ripe for a fresh Smriti for the Hindus of our days.

DARSHANAS

The knowledge of God found in the Vedas gave rise to six different schools of thought. The sages Jaimini, Vyasa, Kapila, Patanjali, Gotama and Kanada introduced these different schools. Each of them wrote what is known as a Darshana ; and the six together are known as Shad-Darshana. Purva Mimansa, Uttara Mimansa (Vedanta), Sankhya, Yoga., Nyaya and Vaisheshika are the six Darshanas named in order of their authors mentioned above. Each of these is written in a peculiar style, namely, in aphorisms (sutras). The sutras of Sanskrit grammar remind one of the style of the Darshanas. These terse sutras of the Darshanas require explanation and these naturally gave rise, in the course of time, to a vast number of notes and commentaries on each of the Darshanas.

Of these Darshanas, the Purva Mimansa deals with the Karma-kanda of the Vedas and the Uttara Mimansa with the Jnana-kanda. The latter is derived directly from the Upanishads. This Darshana com- posed by the great sage Vyasa is also known as Vedanta Darshana or Brahma Sutras. This may be said to be one of the corner-stones of the Hindu religion. Great saints like Sri Shankaracharya and Sri Ramanujacharya in later days wrote brilliant commentaries on this Vedanta Darshana.

PURANAS

The Darshanas are no doubt very stiff. They are meant only for the learned few. For the common folk another class of Scriptures was brought out by the Hindu sages. These Scriptures are called the Puranas. Through these, religion is taught in a very easy and interesting way. The teachings are driven home through inspiring stories and parables. Moreover, glimpses of the ancient history of Hindusthan may bt had through the Puranas. We have eighteen Puranas in all. Of these the names of the following may be remembered: Vishnu Parana, Padma Pur ana, Vayu Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Markandeya Purana and Bhagavata. A portion of the Markan- deya Purana is well known to all Hindus as Chandi. Worship of God as the Divine Mother is its theme. Chandi is read widely by the Hindus on sacred days.

RAMAYANA AND MAHABHARATA

Like the Puranas the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are two very popular and useful Scriptures of the Hindus. These are two epics (Mahakavya) pro- duced by the sages Valmiki and Vyasa respectively. They are classed as Itihasas (histories) and they give us interesting stories through which all the essential teachings of Hinduism are stamped on one’s mind. These have been translated in many Indian vernaculars. It is through these translations that the bulk of the Hindus get acquainted with their religion.

GITA

A portion of the Mahabharata is known as the Gita. The Mahabharata describes the battle of Kurukshetra. The Kauravas and their cousins, the Pandavas, were the contending parties. Of the five Pandava princes, Arjuna was the third and the greatest hero. Bhagavan Sri Krishna chose to be his charioteer. Just on the eve of the great battle Bhagavan Sri Krishna explained the essentials of the Hindu religion to Arjuna. This sec- tion of the Mahabharata containing the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Krishna is known as Shrimad-Bhagavad Gita. Just as the Upanishads contain the cream of the Vedas, so does the Gita contain the cream of the Upanishads. Of all Hindu Scriptures the Gita has come to be by far the most popular one.

PRASTHANATRAYA

The Upanishads, the Vedanta Darshana and the Gita are grouped together and called the Prasthancttraya. These are looked upon as the basic Scriptures of the Hindu religion. They are highly authoritative. The founders of the important sects of Hinduism had to base their teachings on the Prasthanatraya. Only they interpreted it in different ways and came to different conclusions, such as Advaita-vada (monism), Vishishtadvaita-vada (qualified monism) and Dvaita- vada (dualism).

TANTRAS

There is yet another group of Scriptures known as the Tantras. These dwell on the Shakti (energy) aspect of God and prescribe numerous courses of ritualistic worship1 of the Divine Mother in various forms. The texts are usually m the form of dialogues between Shiva and Parvati. In some of these Shiva, as the teacher, answers the questions put by Parvati ; in others the goddess is the teacher answering Shiva’s questions. The former texts are known as Agama and the latter as Nigama. There are numerous Tantras, of which sixty-four are said to be prominent. The fol- lowing may be remembered: Mahanirvana, Kularnhva, Kulasara, Prapanchasara, Tantraraja, Rudra Yamala, Brahma Yamala, Vishnu Yamala and Todala Tantras.

PANCHARATRA SAMHITAS AND SHAIVA AGAMAS

Allied to the Tantras are the Pancharatra Samhitas of the Vaishnavas and the Shaiva ^gamas.1 Like the Tantras, these also claim to present easier cults and doctrines more suited to this age (Kali Yuga) than the Vedas. Unlike the other Scriptures mentioned above* these do not derive their authority from the Vedas, to which, however, they are not openly hostile. Another feature of this group of sacred texts is that they are open to all castes and both the sexes after they are initiated (dikshita).

Of the Pancharatra Samhitas, though two hundred and fifteen separate texts are mentioned, the names of the following may very well be remembered: Ishwara, Paushkara, Parama., Sattwata, Brihad-Brahma and Jnanamritasara Samhitas.

There is a traditional list of twenty-eight Shaiva agamas, each with a number of Upagamas. Of these however, only fragmentary texts of twenty are extant.