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Published by: abhadrike on Oct 11, 2010
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 Suarashtre tu Somanatham, Shri shaile Mallikarjunam||Ujjayinyaam Mahakaalam Omkaare Mamaleshwaram||* In Saurashtra Somanatha:Gujarat* In Shrishailam Mallikarjunam:Andhra Pradesh* Mahaa kaala in Ujjain: Madhya Pradesh* Mamaleshwara in Omkareshwar:an island in Narmada shaped like OM,Madhya PradeshHimalaye tu Kedaaram,Dakinyaam Bhima Shankaram||Vaaranasyam tu Vishvesham Tryambakam Gautamitate||* Kedaranath in the Himalayas:Uttarakhand* Bhimashankara in Dakini:(Dakshin?) Maharashtra* Vishveshwara in Vaaraanashi:Kashi in Uttar Pradesh* Tryambaka in Gautami sthala :near Nashik, MahaaraashtraParalyam Vaidhyanatham Nagesham cha Daruka vane||Setubandhe tu Ramesham Ghrishnesham cha shivalaye||* Vaidyanatha in Parali: Maharashtra* Naagehswar in Daruka forest:Gujarat* Rameshwar in Setubandam:Tamil Nadu* Ghrishneshwara:MahaaraashtraaAetani Jyotirlingani Sayam Prataha Pathennaraha ||Sapta Janma Kritam Papam Smaranen Vinashyati || Two on the sea shore, three on river banks, four in the heights of the mountains andthree in villages located in meadows; the twelve Jyotirlingas are spread out like this.Every place has been described in glorious words by many detailing the surroundingsetc.About the Somnath Temple it is said that : One who recites these 12 names regularly inthe morning and evening he washes all the sins committed in the previous 7 births andattains all the powers and Siddhis.A Jyotirlinga or Jyotirling or Jyotirlingam is a shrine where Lord Shiva, an aspect of God inHinduism is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlingam or "Lingam of light." There are twelve traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India. It is believed that Lord Shiva firstmanifested himself as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the Aridra Nakshatra, thus the specialreverence for the Jyotirlinga. There is nothing to distinguish the appearance, but it isbelieved that a person can see these lingas as columns of fire piercing through the earthafter he reaches a higher level of spiritual attainment.History of Shri Somnath Temple : Skanda Purana, in a chapter on Prabhasa Khanda,describes the emergence of this Jyotirlinga. The Divine Mother took birth in Daksha house in the form of Sati and after performingtapasya, became Shiva wife, and went to live with him on Mount Kailash. Her 27 sistersas the purana says wwere married to the Moon God i.e. 27 daughters of DakshaPrajapati. Amongst all his wives, he had special love towards Rohini and neglected theothers.Seeing the negligence of Chandra towards his other wives Prajapati Daksha cursedChandra that he would lose his beauty and radiance. But because of a moon devoid of radiance and beauty the entire world became lifeless. A disturbed Chandra, came downto Prabhasa with Rohini and worshipped the Sparsa Linga of Somnath after which he wasblessed by Shiva to grow and shine in the bright half.
As the moon regained his light here, this town came to be known as Prabhasa. Brahma,one of the trinity, installed the Brahmashila, and paved way for the construction of thetemple. On the request of the Chandrama and other gods Bhagwan Shankar assumed thename Somchandra (Jyotirlinga) and resided there eternally. He became famous by thename Somnath in the three worlds. Since, it was the Prabhas Kshetra where BhagwanShri Krishna performed all his Lilas. In this temple there is a small cave in which a lampburns continuously. The Skanda Purana describes the Sparsa Linga of Somnath as one bright as the sun, thesize of an egg, lodged underground. The Mahabharata also refers to the PrabhasaKshetra and the legend of the moon worshipping Shiva.A reference of the presiding deity of the temple, Lord Someshwar is also available in theRig Veda, which is acknowledged by the secularist brigade / western historians tobe ...............more than 3500 years old , much to their chagrin . It was also a sacred placein the days of the Mahabharat. It was called Bhairavashwar in Satya Yug,Shravanikeshwar in Treta Yug and Shrigaleshwar in Dwapur Yug. The Prabhas Khanda inSkand Purana giving description of the Linga of Somnath says that it is a SwayambhuLinga of great prowess, as bright as the disc of Sun, surrounded by a serpent, of the sizeof the egg of a hen, called Sparalinga and situated underground.Somnath Temple was first built with gold by Moon God, with silver by Ravana, withsandalwood by Lord Krishna, and about 2500 years ago by The Great King Emperor of  Jambudwip Shri Vikramaditya of Ujjaini fame , The second was built in the period 480-767A.D. by the Vallabhi kings. This was again replaced by the Pratihara king Nagabhattta IIin 815 A.D and with stone by Bhimdeva Solanki, Gurjar Ruler of Gujarat.As many as 2000 Brahmin priests were engaged in temple activities and the revenuecollected from ten thousand villages were used for its maintenance. Prayers wereannounced by ringing the bell which was attached to a golden chain. Its walls werenothing less than pages of History. The exquisite sculptures were a reflection of the timesand the pillars even had the names of the sculptors carved on them. The following extract is from “Wonders of Things Created, and marvels of ThingsExisting” by Asaru-L- Bilad, a 13th century Arab geographer. It contains the followingdescription of Somnath temple and its destruction:“Somnath: celebrated city of India, situated on the shore of the sea, and washed by itswaves. Among the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idolcalled Somnath. This idol was in the middle of the temple without anything to support itfrom below, or to suspend it from above. It was held in the highest honor among theHindus, and whoever beheld it floating in the air was struck with amazement, whether hewas a Musulman or an infidel.“When the king asked his companions what they had to say about the marvel of the idol,and of its staying in the air without prop or support, several maintained that it wasupheld by some hidden support. The king directed a person to go and feel all around andabove and below it with a spear, which he did, but met with no obstacle. One of theattendants then stated his opinion that the canopy was made of loadstone, and the idolof iron, and that the ingenious builder had skillfully contrived that the magnet should notexercise a greater force on anyone side-hence the idol was suspended in the middle.Some coincided, others differed. Permission was obtained from the Sultan to removesome stones from the top of the canopy to settle the point. When two stones wereremoved from the summit the idol swerved on one side, when more were taken away itinclined still further, until at last it rested on the ground.” The Hindus used to go on pilgrimage to it whenever there was an eclipse of the moon,and would then assemble there to the number of more than a hundred thousand. They
believed that the souls of men used to meet there after separation from the body, andthat the idol used to incorporate them at its pleasure in other bodies, in accordance withtheir doctrine of transmigration. “The ebb and flow of the tide was considered to be theworship paid to the idol by the sea.Everything of the most precious was brought there as offerings, and the temple wasendowed with more than 10,000 villages. There is a river (the Ganges) which is heldsacred, between which and Somnat the distance is 200 parasangs. They used to bringthe water of this river to Somnath every day, and wash the temple with it. A thousandbrahmins were employed in worshipping the idol and attending on the visitors, and 500damsels sung and danced at the door–all these were maintained upon the endowmentsof the temple. The edifice was built upon fifty-six pillars of teak, covered with lead. The shrine of the idolwas dark. hut was lighted by jeweled chandeliers of great value. Near it was a chain of gold weighing 200 mans. When a portion (watch) of the night closed, this chain used tobe shaken like bells to rouse a fresh lot of Brahmins to perform worship. “When theSultan Yaminu-d Daula Mahmud Bin Subuktigin went to wage religious war against India,he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnat, in the hope that the Hindus wouldthen become Muhammadans. As a result thousands of Hindus were forcibly converted toIslam. He arrived there in the middle of Zi-l k’ada, 416 A.H. (December, 1025 A.D.). “Theking looked upon the idol with wonder, and gave orders for the seizing of the spoil, andthe appropriation of the treasures. There were many idols of gold and silver and vessels set with jewels, all of which hadbeen sent there by the greatest personages in India. The value of the things found in thetemples of the idols exceeded twenty hundred thousand dinars.Lane Poole, author of Medieval India, has said that Mahommad of Ghazni, "who hadvowed that every year should see him wage a holy war against the infidels of Hindustan"could not rest from his idol-breaking campaign so long as the temple of Somnathremained inviolate. It was for this specific purpose that he, at the very close of his career,undertook his arduous march across the desert from Multan to Anhilwada on the coast,fighting as he went, until he saw at last the famous temple.Mahmud Ghazni attacked this temple in 1026 A.D. and after a week-long resistance,captured it. When the soldiers scaled the walls with ladders all they found inside weredefenseless worshippers. Fifty thousand devotees praying to the linga and weepingpassionately with hands clasped were massacred in cold blood. The Shiva Linga, adornedwith gems and precious stones was broken and the temple burnt. After the battle,Mahmud and his troops are described as having carried away across the desert theequivalent of 6.5 tons of gold. The fragments of the idol were carried off to grace theconquerors' palace and the temple gates were set up at Ghazni.Mahmud was hailed throughout the Islamic world as a second Mohammed and hissmashing of Somnath was lauded in the Sufi poetry of Attar, Sanai and Omar Khayyam. These poets equated Somnath with the temples to the pagan goddess Al-Manatdestroyed by Mohammed and viewed its destruction as the 'will of Allah' and the'enlightened march of Islam.' The sack of Somnath made Mahmud of Ghazni a championof the faith in the eyes of every Muslim.Minhaj-as-Siraj tells us how Mahmud became widely known for having destroyed as manyas thousand temples, and of his great feat in destroying the temple of Somnath andcarrying off its idol, which he asserts was broken into four parts. One part he deposited inthe Jami Masjid of Ghazni, one he placed at the entrance of the royal palace, the third hesent to Mecca, and the fourth to Medina. The folding doors shown were reputed to be the famous Sandalwood Doors, carried off in1026 by Mahmud after his destruction of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat, during the last

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