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Lord Shiva who is popularly known as Mahadev (the supreme God) is widely worshipped among the Hindus. Devotees of Lord Shiva have immense faith in him and therefore, they are often seen worshipping Shivlinga, the mystic form of Lord Shiva. In addition to worshipping the Shivlinga, devotees also worship Jyotirlinga, the pillar of light and often pay a visit to it throughout the year, especially during Maha Shivratri. This year Maha Shivratri will be celebrated on 21 February 2020.
Devotees believe that worshipping Shivlinga will bring wealth, health, eternal peace and it purifies their soul. Whereas it is also believed that worshipping Jyotirlinga brings prosperity, good fortune and blessings in many other forms.
There are a total of 12 Jyotirlingas present all over the country. However, one may find numerous Shivlingas across the country. Devotees worship both mystic forms of Lord Shiva with equal dedication and faith.
But do you know the difference between a Jyotirlinga and a Shivlinga?
Difference Between Jyotirlinga And Shivlinga
The meaning of 'Linga' means the symbol and gender which is associated with Lord Shiva. Jyotirlinga is the manifestation of Lord Shiva which is 'Swayambhu' (the one occurring on its own). The 12 Jyotirlinga came into existence on their own. According to mythological stories in Shiva Purana wherever Lord Shiva appeared in the form of light and was pleased by his devotees, he manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga in that place. Hence, Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of Jyotirlinga at 12 different places in India. These 12 Jyotirlingas rule the 12 different zodiac signs.
Whereas a Shivlinga is the mystic idol of Lord Shiva that is either man-made or appears on its own. There are numerous Shivlinga across the country and people worship them with utmost devotion.
Story Of Jyotirlinga
According to a mythological story in Shiva Purana, once Lord Brahma, the creator of Universe and Lord Vishnu, the nurturer of the Universe had a debate on who among them is the greatest. They started discussing like anything and this worried the other Gods. In order to stop the discussion between the Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, the other Gods approached Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva hence appeared in the form of a pillar of light. Lord Vishnu and Brahma were amazed by the Jyoti (light) Pillar but were unable to find the source and the end of the light. Hence, both of them decided that the one who will first reach either end will be the greatest of the two. Both of them went on to search the source and end of the light but were unable to find so. This is when Lord Shiva came into his original form and explained that none of the trio i.e., Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva) was greater than each other. But together, the trio's collective energy makes them greatest of all.
The Jyoti Pillar later came to be known as the 'Jyotirlinga' as Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a pillar of light.
The 12 Jyotirlingas are as follows:
1. Somanath Jyotirlinga: This Jyotirlinga is considered to be the first-ever Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva and is situated in Gujarat.
2. Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga: This is situated in Andhra Pradesh and is the only Jyotirlinga which symbolises both Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati. It is also known as the 'Kailash of South India'.
3. Mahakaleshwar: This Jyotirlinga is present in the Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh. During ancient times, it was also known as Avantika.
4. Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga: This Jyotirlinga is also situated in the Madhya Pradesh on the banks of the Narmada River.
5. Kedarnath Jyotirlinga: This great Jyotirlinga resides on Kedar Mountain in Uttarakhand.
6. Bheemashankar Jyotirlinga: This Jyotirlinga is situated on the banks of the Bheema river in Maharashtra.
7. Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga: It is situated in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and has held a great significance among the Hindus. This Jyotirlinga is also known as Shri Vishwanath or Shri Vishweshwar. It is considered to be 7th Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva.
8. Trayambakeshwar Jyotirlinga: This is the eight Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva and is situated near the Godavari river, in Nasik, Maharashtra.
9. Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga: This is another most important Jyotirlinga and is situated in Deoghar, Jharkhand. Devotees also call it as Baijnath Baba.
10. Nageshwar Jyotirlinga: This is another Jyotirlinga which is situated in Gujarat near the banks of the Gomti river.
11. Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga: This is the Jyotirlinga that came into existence when Lord Rama was heading towards Lanka to rescue his wife, Goddess Sita. This Jyotirlinga is situated in Tamil Nadu.
12. Ghrishneshwar Jyotirlinga: This is situated in Aurangabad, Maharashtra and is considered to be the form of Lord Shiva that blesses the devotees with eternal peace and fortune.