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'Trayambakeshwara Ji at bank of the river Gautami'
'Trayambakeshwara Ji in Kashi'

There are twelve Jyotirlingas on all India basis and there are twelve important Shiva Lingas in Kashi which represent the above twelve Jyotirlingas. The above deity is worshiped as Trimbakeshwar (Nashik, Maharashtra). Once the Lord, in the form of Kriti Vaseswara, was sitting with Goddess Uma Devi, when Nandi offered his prayers and said that there are 68 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in this holy place. Many idols/Shivling have been brought from many places and installed in Kashi.
A linga by the name of Trimbak from Trisandhyam Tirtha has appeared in the holy city of Kashi, called Trimbakeshwar. By worshiping this deity the devotee will get the respect normally given to the Lord. (In other words, they would be held in high esteem).

Sage Gautama started doing his regular activities and also sowed different types of grains, from which many types of trees and different types of flowers, fruits etc. grew there. Thereafter the various living beings returned to that place and lived there in harmony.

Once the disciples of Sage Gautam went to take water from this Jal Tirtha. At the same time the wives of other sages also came to collect water from there. At Jaltirtha, there was a dispute between the disciples of sage Gautama and the wives of other sages as to who would get the water first.

Meanwhile, Ahilya, the wife of Sage Gautama came there and asked the wives of other sages to let the disciples get the water first as they had come there before them. This made the other sages' wives feel inferior and thought that Ahalya was taking the side of the sage's disciple because of the penance of the water sage Gautama. Therefore, dissatisfied with Ahalya, the wives of the sages instigated their husbands to humiliate sage Gautama.

Thereafter, all the sages started worshiping Lord Ganesha for this purpose. Pleased when Lord Ganesha appeared before him, he asked Lord Ganesha to somehow get Gautam Rishi out of this hermitage. Hearing this, though Lord Ganesha tried to convince the sages that this was unfair, they all remained firm in their wish. Eventually, Lord Ganesha had to grant her wish. Therefore, Lord Ganesha took the form of a weak cow and began grazing grain in the field of sage Gautama. Seeing a cow grazing in his field, the saint gently tried to remove the cow from his field. During this the cow fell on the ground and died. When all the sages came to know about this they blamed sage Gautama for Gau Hatiya (cow slaughter) and expelled him from the hermitage along with his family.

Gautam Rishi was deeply saddened by this whole incident and he started living about 2 miles away from the ashram. But all the sages made it difficult for him to stay there too. He also deprived sage Gautama of the right to pray and perform yagya. When Gautama Muni asked other sages about the method of atonement, the sage told that the only method of atonement is to circumambulate the whole earth three times and then come back to this place and observe a month's fast or Brahmagiri.

 

The mountain should be circumambulated. doing. about a thousand times and then by his penance he should bring the Ganga to the place where he should take a holy bath and then he should establish about one crore Parthiv Shivlingas and perform Rudrabhishekam to them, then only he can get rid of his sin . This is cow slaughter. Sage Gautama agreed to this and after circumambulating the Brahma Giri mountain, installed the Shivalinga and started worshiping it, his wife accompanied him along with all the disciples of the sage. As told by the sages, sage Gautama performed all the rituals and then he started worshiping Lord Shiva. Pleased with his prayer, Lord Shiva appeared before him and asked him to ask for a boon.

 

As a boon, Sage Gautama asked Lord Shiva to absolve him of the sin of cow slaughter. Hearing this, Lord Shiva told the sage that he had been falsely convicted for cow slaughter, instead the sages who had convicted him were the real culprits and should be punished for it. But Sage Gautam requested Lord Shiva to forgive him as it was because of him that he could see Lord Shiva.

 

Lord Shiva was pleased with this behavior of the sage and he again asked the sage to ask for a boon. In response the sage asked Lord Shiva to give him Gangaji so that he could save the world. Lord Shiva agreed and gave her a portion of the Ganges which was gifted by Lord Brahma to her on her marriage. As a result Gangaji appeared there in the form of a beautiful woman. Seeing her there, Sage Gautama praised her and asked her to purify him with his holy water. Hearing this wish of sage Gautama, Lord Shiva ordered Ganga to purify the sage. Hearing this Ganga agreed to purify the sage, but insisted that after doing so she would return back to heaven.

 

Then Lord Shiva ordered Gangaji to stay there till the end of Kalyug. Gangaji agreed to this and asked Lord Shiva to reside on earth with Goddess Parvati. Thus Ganga originated as Godavari in the south. All the sages including sage Gautama worshiped Lord Shiva and Gangaji and Lord Shiva established himself there in the form of Trimbak Jyotirlinga. As a result of the worship of Gautam Rishi, Gangaji originated from that mountain and from that time this place became famous as Gangadwar. It is believed that the devotee who worships here and has darshan becomes free from all kinds of sins. When all the other sages came to Gangaji to purify themselves, Gangaji disappeared. Seeing this, Gautam Rishi requested the river Ganges to give darshan to other sages as well. Then it was said in the sky that the sins of those sages would be removed only when they would circumambulate the Brahmagiri mountain a hundred times and only then they would see the holy river Ganga.

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12 Jyotirling Google Map:- https://goo.gl/maps/3bLWqQKXKCBB7Hms9

12" Jyotirlinga Story

According to a Shaiva legend from the Shiva Purana, once, Brahma (the god of creation) and Vishnu (the god of preservation) had an argument over their supremacy. To settle the debate, Shiva pierced the three worlds, appearing as a huge, infinite pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Brahma and Vishnu decided to ascend and descend across the pillar of light respectively, to find the end of the light in either direction. According to some iterations, Vishnu assumed his Varaha avatar to achieve this task, while Brahma rode a hamsa (swan). Brahma lied that he had discovered the end of the light, producing a ketakī flower as proof, while Vishnu admitted that he could not find the end of the light from his journey. The dishonesty of Brahma angered Shiva, causing him to curse the creator deity that he would not be worshipped; he also declared that Vishnu would be eternally worshipped for his honesty. The jyotirlinga shrines are regarded to be the temples where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light.

Originally, there were believed to have been [64] jyotirlings of which [twelve 12] are considered to be very auspicious and holy. The twelve jyotirlinga sites take the names of their respective presiding deity, and each is considered a different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam, representing the beginningless and endless stambha pillar, symbolising the infinite nature of Shiva.

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