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1st Jyotirling-Somnaath

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1-Somnaath Temple
Read also   Somnaath Temple-2

Shree Somnaath is first among the twelve Aadi Jyotirling of India. It is the holy place of the Aadi Jyotirling Shree Somnaath Mahaadev and it also has the sacred soil from where Bhagavaan Shree Krishn took his last journey to his Dhaam.

Legend Behind Somnaath Temple
Ancient Indian traditions maintain a close relationship of Somnaath with the release of Chandra (Moon God) from the curse of his father-in-law Daksh Prajaapati. In the dawn of the creation, when Brahmaa wanted to multiply population, he created sage Atri from his heart. With the creator's consent, sage Atri went to the woods for performing a rigorous penance (Tapasyaa) called Anuttar for 3,000 divine years. Owing to the power he developed through this penance the drops that were oozed out by his eyes became beacons to radiate all the directions. This radiance again coalesced to create the Som or Moon. For the welfare of the entire world, Brahmaa established Som (Moon) on his chariot. When the gods detected his brilliance they began to pray him, which made him all the more radiant. The Moon used that very chariot for circumambulating the Earth for 21 times. During this journey wherever his grace touched the earth, there grew up variety of herbs and cereals. Then Somdev performed a penance lasting for 10,000 years to please Brahmaa as much as to make the creator appoint him the Lord of all seeds, herbs, water and Braahman. Brahmaa got pleased and appointed him the Lord of all herbs, vegetation etc. Thus Som became the presiding deity of Braahman and all the edible natural products of the Earth.

It was on the advice of Brahmaa that Somdev organized a Raajsooya Yagya to which all the gods, sages and seers were invited. When the ceremony concluded, Somdev honored each invitee with gifts. In return all the invitees also gave certain gifts to Som. Daksh Prajaapati became so pleased with the Moon that he solemnized the marriage of his 27 daughters to Som. Their names are (the asterisms): Ashwinee, Bharanee, Krittikaa, Rohinee, Mrigashiraa, Punarvasu, Pushya, Aashleshaa, Hast, Ardraa, Maghaa, Poorvaa-Phaalgunee, Uttaraa-Phaalgunee, Chitraa, Anuraadhaa, Swaati, Vishaakhaa, Mool, Jyeshthaa, Poorv-Aashaadhaa, Uttar-Aashaadhaa, Shravan, Shatabhishaa, Dhanishthaa, Poorva-Bhadrapada, Uttar-Bhaadrapad and Revatee. Getting so much honor and rewards Som developed some arrogance. This made him consider himself the super deity and neglect all other deities.

One day Som's vile sight spotted Taaraa, the wife of Dev Guru Brihaspati and he took her to his home. Seeing him acting so immorally all started to condemn him. Although the gods influenced Som to return Taaraa to Brihaspati, he didn't heed. With the result, led by Indra, the gods attacked Som, but they had to face a humiliating defeat as Som had become very strong. Following this defeat, Indra sought advice from Shiv. Getting the details Shiv's wrath grew and riding his mount Nandee, left to teach Som a lesson. Som also came to the battlefield undaunted. Then Brahmaa advised him : "Son! Don't be so adamant. Don't you know Shiv is the primal man? He is veritable the Lord Almighty and can never be defeated. This your temerity may cause your doom. So you must peacefully return Taaraa to Brihaspati with due apologies. Lord Shiv is very kind-hearted. He will surely forgive your offence."

Som realized his folly and begged pardon from Shiv and returned Taaraa to Brihaspati. But he had committed a great sin eloping with wife of his mentor (Budh was his and Mamataa's son). Hence he got afflicted with a consumptive disease and became lusterless. The Moon's losing his radiance created a furor on the earth, causing a disturbance in the natural order. All the sages, seers, gods, men and demons began to cry in distress.

Som was also advised to seek shelter of Brahmaa and asked him to reveal as to how he could be cured. Brahmaa said that he had to bear consequences of his misdeed. However, only Shiv could redeem him : "You should go to Prabhaas Kshetra and chant Mahaa Mrityunjaya Mantra. Only his blessings can cure you."

So Som came to Prabhaas Kshetra and established a Shiv Ling on the shore to start his worship with the recommended Mantra. When he had chanted the Mantra 10 crore times, Shiv appeared before him and said to him : "I am pleased with your Tapasyaa. Have your boon. I shall grant it to you." Soma was delighted to have Darshan of Shiv. Chanting the Mahaa Mrityunjaya Mantra he prayed the Lord, and then said : "Lord, owing to my eloping with the Guru's wife I have been afflicted with deadly consumptive disease. Please redeem me from this affliction."

Another Legend
Another legend goes like this - Moon was married to 27 daughters of Daksh. In spite of warning of Daksh Jee that Chandra will not favor any one wife, he favored Rohinee and neglected his other wives. The aggrieved Daksh cursed Moon and the Moon lost power of light. With the advice of Brahmaa Jee, Chandra arrived at the Prabhaas Teerth and worshipped Bhagavaan Shiv. Lord Shiv replied : "Som, Every being has to bear the consequences of his misdeeds. But since you have done a strict penance to please me, I grant you this boon that you shall alternatively wax and wane for fortnight. Thus you may lose your radiance for 15 days and gain it in the subsequent fortnight. Thus with Shiv's grace the Moon began to gain his lost energy.

Pauraanik traditions maintain that Moon then built a golden Temple of Shiv Jee, followed by a silver Temple by Raavan. Krishn is also believed to have built Somnaath Temple with Sandalwood. The spot where he had established the Ling of Shiv became famous as Someshwar (Lord of Som) Teerth (Place of Pilgrimage). It is believed that Shiv's worship at this Temple cured even the most deadly afflictions like tuberculosis and leprosy. Now it is known as Somnaath Temple. This place holds a great importance because of this Jyotirling known as Somnaath.

Located as it is, it is widely believed that if one were to sail from here in a straight line, the end of the journey would be at the North Pole, without having to travel over land.

There is a place where Krishn was hit by the arrow of the hunter named Jaraa. This place is near Prabhaas Patan and known as Bhalak Teerth. And the place where Krishn left his body is known as Dehotsarg. These two places are situated between Prabhaas Patan (the main town) and Somnath Temple. There is also a place where Parashuraam Jee did his Penance . This place is known as Parashuraam Tapo Bhoomi.

The research based on ancient Indian classical texts shows that first Somnaath Jyotirling Praan-Pratisthaa was done on the auspicious 3rd day of bright half of Shraavan month during the 10th Tretaa Yug of Vaivaswat Manvantar. Swaamee Shree Gajananand Saraswatiji, Chairman of Shrimad Aadya Jagadguru Shankaracharya Vedic Shodh Sansthan, Varanasi suggested that the said first temple was built 79,925,105 years ago as derived from the traditions of Prabhaas Khand of Skand Puraan. Thus, this Temple is a perennial source of inspiration for millions of Hindu since time immemorial.

The later sources of history account for several desecrations by Muslims invaders during 11th to 18th century AD. The Temple was rebuilt every time with the reconstructive spirit of the people. The modern Temple was reconstructed with the resolve of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel who visited the ruins of Somnaath Temple on November 13, 1947. Then President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, did the Praan-Pratisthaa at the existing Temple on 11 May 1951.

Somnaath Temple stands at the shore of the Arabian ocean on the western corner of Indian subcontinent in Gujaraat State. This pilgrimage is one of the oldest and finds its reference in the ancient texts like Skand Puraan, Bhaagvat Puraan, Shiv Puraan etc. The hymn from Rig Ved quoted below mention the Bhagavaan Someshwar along with the great pilgrimage like Gangaa, Yamunaa and Eastward Saraswatee. This signifies the ancient value of this Teerth Dhaam.

Somnaath is in Prabhaas Patan very near to Veraval. Somnaath means "The Protector of Moon God". The Somnaath Temple is known as 'the Shrine Eternal', as although the temple has been destroyed six times, it has been rebuilt every single time.

Brahmaa Jee, one of the trinity, installed the Brahmshilaa, and paved way for the construction of this temple. On the request of Chandramaa and other gods Bhagavaan Shankar assumed the name Somchandra (Jyotirling) and resided there eternally. He became famous by the name Somnaath in the three worlds. Since, it was the Prabhaas Kshetra where Krishn performed all his Leelaa. In this temple there is a small cave in which a lamp burns continuously.

The Skand Puraan describes the Sparsh Ling of Somnaath as one bright as the Sun, the size of an egg, lodged underground.
The Mahaabhaarat also refers to the Prabhaas Kshetra and the legend of the Moon worshipping Shiv.



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Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on February 12, 2013