Updated: Sep 7
According to the Shiva Purana, there are 64 Jyotirlinga in India, among which 12 are of utmost importance and are referenced as Maha Jyotirlinga (Great Jyotirlinga). Each Jyotirlinga holds immense spiritual and historical significance, and devotees believe that worshipping them can bring blessings and fulfil their wishes.
The 6th Jyotirlinga mentioned in Shiva Purana is Bhimashankar. The controversy surrounding the 6th Jyotirlinga is related to its location. The location of the 6th Jyotirlinga, currently in Pune, Maharashtra, has sparked controversy after the Assam government tourist department advertised location of the same in Kamrup, Assam.
"We are not shifting the Temple from Maharashtra. We have not invented a new Jyotirlinga. There is mention in Shiv Puran of Kamrupeshwar and Dakini hills. If some politicians in Maharashtra are upset, they should show resentment to Odisha and Jharkhand too where temples of the same name exist. "said Assam Chief Minister, Himanta Baswa on an interview given to India Today. Scholars and Hindu devotees are divided on the issue, with some considering the Maharashtra site to be the true 6th Jyotirlinga due to its historical and spiritual significance, while others question its eligibility based on location Kamrup specified in Koti Rudra Samhita of Shiv Purana.
Uncovering the location of Sixth Jyotirlinga through Dwadasa Jyotirlinga Stotram
The Dvadasa Jyotirlinga Stotram was composed by the Hindu philosopher and saint Adi Shankaracharya, who is believed to have lived in the 8th century CE. The hymn describes each of the twelve Jyotirlingas, their location, and their significance in Hindu mythology.
“Paraly Vaidyanāthaṃ cha Ḍākinyāṃ Bhīmaśaṅkaram” Translation: In Parali is Vaidyanathan, and in Dakini is Bhimashankara This verse is a part of the “Dwadasa Linga Sthavam” and describes the location of the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Shrine in Dakini. Controversy surrounds the location of Bhimshankar Jyotirlinga as the name "Dakini" is associated with both the hills in Guwahati Assam and the region where the temple in Maharashtra is situated. An interesting addition is that there are two different legends that connects the Jyotirlinga to two different places.
The History of Bhimashankar Temple: Two Legends, Two Locations
According to one legend, a demon named Tripurasura performed intense penance and austerities in the Bhimashankar jungle to please Lord Shiva and request the gift of immortality from him. Lord Shiva was pleased with his devotion and bestowed the boon of immortality upon Tripurasura on the condition that he uses the power for the goodwill of the people.
Tripurasura initially agreed to the condition but eventually forgot his promise and used his power to harass people and other gods. When the gods requested Lord Shiva to intervene to prevent the ensuing chaos, he prayed to his consort Goddess Parvati and Both of them appeared as Ardhanari Nateshwara and killed Tripurasura.
It is believed that the battle lasted for days after which Lord Shiva rested on the Sahyadri hills and the sweat that poured forth his body formed the source of the Bhima River originating in Maharashtra which flows southeast to merge with the Krishna River.
The second legend is that in ancient times, there was a demon named Bhima and his mother Karkati who lived in the jungle. One day, Karkati revealed that Bhima's father was Khumbakarna, the younger brother of King Ravana, and how Lord Vishnu had destroyed their family. Enraged, Bhima performed severe penance for 1000 years to please Lord Brahma and gained the blessing of immense strength from Brahma. Bhima used his immense strength to defeat gods, including Lord Vishnu. Bhima then return to earth with the aim of capturing it, starting with Kamrup (modern-day Assam) and imprisoning its king, Sudarshin (also known as Kamrupeshwar), who was a devotee of Lord Shiva.
While in prison, Sudharshin made a statue of Lord Shiva and began to worship it. Bhima became angry and demanded that Sudharshin worship him instead. When Sudharshin refused, Bhima attempted to break the Shiva Linga with his sword. Lord Shiva appeared and, with his arrow, broke Bhima's sword and reduced him to ashes. Upon the request of the gods and sages, Lord Shiva resided at that location and manifested himself as the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga to mark his victory over Bhima.
Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple: Maharashtra
Bhimashankar Temple is located amidst lush green forests in the Sahyadri Mountains of Pune, Maharashtra, and is believed to have been built during the 13th CE. Phadnavis constructed the Sabha mandap in the 18th century.
The temple's architecture is a beautiful blend of old and new Nagara and styles, with intricate carvings showcasing Vishwakarma Sculptors' craftsmanship. There is also a shrine of Kamalaja, the incarnation of goddess Parvathi who aided lord shiva in the battle against Tripurasura near the Bhimshankar temple.
Visitors to the temple can participate in various rituals and offerings, including the Rudrabhishekam, which is considered to be a highly auspicious offering to Lord Shiva. The temple also hosts several festivals throughout the year, including Maha Shivaratri, which draws thousands of devotees from across India.
Bhimeshwar Dham: Assam
Bhimeshwar Dham is located in Guwahati Daikini Hills. Surprisingly, no temple has been built here, and the Jyotirlinga is surrounded by a hill stream that flows continuously over the Linga.
According to locals’ attempts were made several times to build a temple around the Bhimshankar Jyotirlinga, but all attempts proved futile as wild elephants living in the forest destroyed the structures built.
There is also a Lord Ganesha temple halfway to the Dham, which is believed to guard Bhimshankar.
The Timeless Legacy of Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga in Maharashtra: Understanding Its Significance Despite Controversies
Despite the controversies regarding the historical and religious significance of Bhimshankar Jyotirlinga in Maharashtra, the temple continues to attract millions of devotees and is considered the 6th Jyotirlinga.
Scholars have different opinions on the origin of the term "Dakinyam" about the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga. Some suggest it refers to the deity Daakini, while others think it means south, indicating that Maharashtra is a more fitting location for the temple than Assam.
The significance of the temple does not limit to its religious importance but extends to its ecological and cultural significance.
The temple is located within the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including the Indian giant squirrel and the Malabar grey hornbill. Scientists and conservationists who have worked to protect the sanctuary and its biodiversity have recognized its ecological importance.
The temple's annual festival, Maha Shivratri, is widely celebrated and draws a large number of devotees. In Maharashtra, the festival is a major cultural event.
Fireflies Festival is also held in the village every year before monsoon.
Fascinating Facts about the Bhimshankar Jyotirlinga of Maharashtra
1. In contrast to other Jyotirlingas carved from stone, the Jyotirlinga at Bhimashankar is thought to have formed naturally from the ground.
2. The basalt rock formations in the area are said to be over 65 million years old and are of great geological significance.
3. The shrine is located 3500 feet above sea level. 4. A roman style bell was offered to the temple by Chimaji Appa to mark his victory over the Portuguese from Vasai Fort.
5. The Jyotirlingas are often mapped with the 12 Rashis. Every aspect of life signifies 12 Rishi and 27 Nakshatra inside them. Bhimshankar represents the Makar (Capricorn) Rashi. https://kaalchakraa.com/rashi-and-jyotirlinga/
Despite the many different arguments and perspectives that exist, the 6th Jyotirlinga continues to capture the imagination and curiosity of Hindus worldwide. As we continue to explore and debate this elusive and enigmatic aspect of Hinduism, we are reminded of the many mysteries and wonders that lie at the heart of this ancient and complex religion