You are on page 1of 6

THE CITY OF SHIVA – I

xaxkrVjek.kh;tVkdykia xkSjhfujUrjfoHkwf"krokeHkkxe ~A ukjk;.kfiz;euaxenkigkja okjk.klhiqjifra Hkt fo’oukFkaAA
“Worship Vishwanatha Shiva, The lord of Varanasi whose locks look charming with the ripples of Ganga. Worship Shiva, who is ever adorned on his left by Gauri. Worship Shiva, who is beloved of Narayana. Worship Shiva, who is the destroyer of cupid’s pride.” Shiva is the lord of Varanasi. There are thousands of Shiva temples here. There were times when Varanasi was not the city of Shiva, although it had the religious significance. Some references manifest Rudra Shiva not being a deity of Aryans, however, he is praised in several hymns of Rigveda. Proofs of Shiva being the Adideva (The first God) had also been found elsewhere. From the Indus valley civilization (around 2000 B.C.), a seal with a engraved figure with three faces and an erect phallus, seated yogic posture, surrounded with animals is found which symbolizes Pashupatinatha, a form of Shiva. It cannot be confirmed that it is a figure of Shiva, but it surely resembles to him. Shiva is also very diverse to the ethics of Hinduism. However, he is very close to the paradoxical attributes, those of Varanasi. He is both auspicious and terrifying. Literally, Shiva means auspicious and salutary, while Rudra means terrifying and wrathful. He is both the ever bestowing and the ultimate destructor as well in the same way as Varanasi is both Mahashmashana (The great cremation ground) and Anandavana (Forest of Bliss). Being the city of Shiva, there are many phrases famous for Varanasi’s relation with Shiva such as puk pcsuk xaxty tks iqjoS djrkj] dk’kh dcgqa uk NkfM+, fo’oukFk njckj ; dadj&dadj esa 'kadj and gj&gj egknso 'kaHkw dk’kh fo’oukFk xaxs

he is the beautiful bridegroom of Parvati. He is the wielder of the delusive power Máyá (ek. when he calls creation into being with the beat of his drum.etc. Each depicts about Shiva’s godly activities. preservation. Ashrama. the thousands of Shiva temples located across the city. ornaments become snakes and the silken garment becomes animal hides. Sthiti. One way of seeing Shiva’s enigmatic many sidedness is in his five faces. consisting of heaven. Shiva turns horrific and terrifying haunter of cremation grounds. Mahashivaratri. respectively. Shiva is believed to be Nirakara. Kula. Shiva’s second face of preservation is to maintain and preserve the ordered cosmos. destruction. He is apt to be in one’s very presence unrealized assuming many forms in his cosmic play. indeed. He dances in rage performing the Tandava (rkaMo) and opens his third eye to destruct the entire world at the end of time’s cycle.k). Panchkroshiya Yatra & Purushottam Masa are related directly to Shiva. earth and netherworlds. But the most famous way to display his creative aspect is Linga symbolizing his creation. The linga. The five faces are Shristi. there are many festivals and religious observances too.e. the cosmos is a systematic whole. Just opposite to his first two faces. When there are too many sinners on earth or too many people have made it to the heaven or when. We will discuss about the Shiva temples in the next lecture. In his creative form. The fourth face displays the concealing and obscure form of Shiva. Gotra or Linga . procreation and definitely eroticism. veiling the . Shiva restores the order everywhere. He cannot be categorized by any means – Varna. anointed with sandal paste. The popular way for it his dancing form. The month of Shravana. He is self-manifested. Damroo(Me:). creation. in one sense is the erect phallus of Shiva. formless. As per Hindu belief. Tirobhava and Anugraha i. decked with crescent moon and is attractive. Samhara. Without Shiva and Ganga. His sandal paste becomes ashes. Despite. Shiva’s creativity is expressed in many ways. The third face of Shiva displays his destructive form. concealment and revelation-salvation. the Asuras (anti-gods) gain too much power. He balances the equilibrium of cosmos. Kashi cannot even be imagined. related to Shiva.

In this aspect.human perception of truth. 1983. showing his leniency. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------References: Eck Diana L. Shiva bestows grace. The fifth face is the supreme one.. London. This is the fully known face bringing liberation to his devotees. Banaras:City of Light. . 94-106.

e. the centripetal movement of condensation. . the evolution of the One into the multiplicity of the created universe. The Linga is. representing his form of Ardhanárishwara i. the centrifugal movement of expansion into the infinite variety of “names and forms. Beside them. self-manifested. seat. the involution. the symbol of the wholeness of the Hindu universe. It is believed that once Brahma and Vishnu had an argument over being the supreme. Where the shaft displays Shiva. Today. the involution. the female half of Shiva. Shakti. represents Pravritti (izo`fÙk). we will discuss about the Jyotirlinga literally meaning the Linga of light.” Nivritti (fuo`fÙk). the divine energy of life. The shaft of the Linga is set in a circular base Peetha i. the seat personifies the Shakti. both Brahma and Vishnu decided to determine the source of it. A huge shaft of light split the earth between them and blazed up through the sky piercing the highest heavens. The myth of Jyotirlinga is of major importance to the mythology and symbolism of Varanasi. where Vishnu went deep down to the netherworlds and Brahma flew to the highest heavens but even after a search of thousands of year they returned empty handed as all there efforts were in vain. is represented by Shiva. Shiva emerged from the light in his partial bodily form.THE CITY OF SHIVA – II In Varanasi. where idols of Shiva are installed in temples and shrines dedicated to him. the balancing of the multiplicity back into the One. At that time. First. unlike most of the other cities. The Linga is certainly a bisexual symbol. It is said to be Dwádasha Jyotirlingas (twelve lingas of light) as the most significant ones and some of them are believed to be Swayam Bhoo i. in a wider sense.e. we will discuss about the main Shiva temples of Varanasi in a classified manner. half-women lord. In great astonishment. he is worshiped in the form of Linga.e.

Also known as Vishweshwara. it is the most important and famous linga of All-India. Situated in Vishwanatha gali. and continues to be.This is the most prominent Linga of Varanasi today. TILBHÀNDESHWARA – This temple is also a very famous temple of the city frequently visited by devotees. The current structure was built by Ahilyábái Holkar. near Dasháshwamedha. Today it does not have that amount of attraction of the devotees. . the queen of Indore in the late 18th century. KEDÀRESHWARA – This temple was. AVIMUKTESHWARA – This temple is located just to the north of the Jñanavápi mosque. TRILOCHANA – This temple is also a very crowded temple. It is believed to be spiritually connected with the celebrated Kedárnatha temple in Himalayas. Omkáreshwara means the “lord of the syllable Om”. one of the most frequented in the city. The old name of the city was Avimukta. Today. This was the dominant temple in the first millennium before the rise of Vishwanatha. VISHWANÀTHA . and thus the lord of the city Avimukteshwara. It is situated in the vicinity of the ghat named after the very temple.some Lingas of Varanasi are equally significant and popular among the Hindu devotees. It was destroyed many times during the Muslim reigns and evasions. It is not widely known today but that does not decrease its significance as an ancient Tirtha. it is crowded with devotees and pilgrims through out the year and especially in the month of Shrávana. The large building of the temple rising from the bank of the Ganges is located at the ghat named after the very temple. only the ruins are left and there is a small temple at the site. OMKÀRESHWARA – This is one of the most important Shiva Lingas of Varanasi. The Linga situated here is believed to increase by the size of a sesame seed on the every Maháshivaratri. The splendid temple complex stood on the banks of a large inland lake known as ‘Matsyodari’.

However. London. here. 1983. Shooltankeshwara. They are Vaidyanatha. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------References: Eck Diana L. Beside these. 180-82. 1998. PASHUPATISHWARA – This temple was built by the King of Nepal in 1843. Jageshwara and much more to be mentioned . 186. Dandpanishwara. it is strikingly picturesque structure and resembles to the Pashupatinatha temple of Kathmandu. 144-45. Banaras: City of Light. located in Ujjain. Nepal. From the mid of Ganges. The wooden structure and erotic engravings on it are really agreeable. there are enormous Shiva Lingas and temples in Varanasi and it is impossible to list and mention all of them.. Swami Medhasananda. Varanasi. Varanasi: At Crossroads. we can list some of the most significant ones other than the above-mentioned Lingas. Krittivaseshwara.VRIDDHAKÀLESHWARA – This is also a very-very famous and renowned temple in the city. 112. Tarakeshwara. Ghantakarneshwar. It resembles the Linga of Mahakaleshwara.