Lord Shiva is one of the most revered deities in India. Lord Shiva is one of the Trimurtis and is the God of destruction. Lord Shiva is commonly worshipped in the form of 'Lingas' instead of statues.
The 12 Jyotirlingas or Shivalingas are of special significance. All true devotees of Lord Shiva try to pay their homage to Lord Shiva at the Jyotirlingas. It is not always possible to visit all of them in one go. Therefore, devotees try to visit one or two of these at a time and try visit all the 12 Jyotirlingas in their lifetime.
The 12 Jyotirlingas are also known as the Dwadasha Jyotirlingas. It is said that the Lord appeared in these places and is ever present in the Shiva Lingas here. The person who goes on a pilgrimage of all the 12 Jyotirlingas is freed of the cycle of life and death.
He then attains moksha and attains the holy feet of Lord Shiva. Another unique belief about the Jyotirlinga is that though the Jyotirlinga is in the shape of a Shiva Linga, it contains a divine light or 'Jyoti'. This Jyoti cannot be seen by everybody. One needs to be a true devotee who has reached a high spiritual level.
The 12 Jyotirlingas are described in a Sanskrit shloka as:
Saurashtre Somanathamcha Srisaile Mallikarjunam|
Ujjayinya Mahakalam Omkaramamaleshwaram||
Paralyam Vaidyanathancha Dakinyam Bheema Shankaram|
Setu Bandhethu Ramesam, Nagesam Darukavane||
Varanasyantu Vishwesam Tryambakam Gautameethate|
Himalayety Kedaaram, Ghrishnesamcha Shivaalaye||
Etani Jyotirlingani, Saayam Pratah Patennarah|
SaptaJanma Kritam Paapam, Smaranena Vinashyat||
It says that one who remembers and worships the Lord Shiva present in the 12 Jyotirlingas in the morning is absolved of all the sins committed in all of his seven lives.
Read on to know more about the holiest of all the Jyotirlingas - The Someshwar Jyotirlinga.
Where Is It Located:
Someshwar also known as Somnath Temple is situated in Prabhas Patan- Surashtra, Gujarat. Gujarat has another Jyotirlinga at Dwaraka called the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga.
When Was It Built:
The Temple is the first among the Jyotirlingas and was first built in the 7th century. The Temple was destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries. The present Temple was established after India won its independence.
How Was The Name Obtained:
Somnath is described in the Skanda Purana in the chapter of Prabhasa Kanda. It says that the Shivalinga at Prabhasa was called the Kalabhairava Shivalinga. It was worshipped by the Chandra, the moon God and is known as ‘Somnath - the master of the moon.' The Mahabharata also has a reference of the legend of the moon God worshipping Lord Shiva at Prabhasa Kshetra.
Why Was It Termed As A Jyothirlinga:
The Sparsha Linga is said to have appeared here as a beam of blazing fire. The Jyotirlinga is seen as Rig Veda in the morning, Yajur Veda in the noon, Sama Veda in the evening and Atharva Vada in the night.
Description Of The Linga:
The Sparsha Linga here is of the size of an egg and is said to be as bright as the sun. This Linga is underground and cannot be seen.
The Legend Behind This Jyothirlinga:
The story goes that The 27 stars were the daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Daksha Prajapati married them to the handsome moon god, Chandra Dev. But Chandra Dev was Partial to Rohini and ignored the rest of his wives. Daksha Prajapati was angry about this and cursed Chandra Dev to dissolve into nothingness. This is shown in the waning phase of the moon. The cursed Chandra Dev went to the town called prabhasa and prayed to the Sparsha Linga of Someshwar. Lord Shiva appeared and blessed him. Lord Shiva said that though he couldn't nullify the curse, he would modify it. Chandra Dev would wane into nothingness in the dark half and then grow back in the bright half.
Mythological Significance Of This Jyothirlinga:
Lord Bhramha, one of the Trimurtis, is the one who installed the Bhramhashila and also started the building of the first Temple built here.
Famous Festivals That Are Celebrated Here:
Maha Shivaratri is one of the most important festivals of Someshwar Jyotirlinga. The other festival that is celebrated here is the Somnath Mahadeo Fair. This fair is conducted to celebrate the birth of Lord Shiva's son - Lord Kartikeya. Folk dances, stage performances and music shows are put up in Lord Kartikeya's honour.