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॥ ॐ नमः शिवाय ॥



"Essence of Shiva-Mahapurana"

(English edition by Dr. S. P. Bhagat)


On the basis of materials from 'Shatarudra'

and 'Kotirudra' Samhitas of Śiva-Mahāpurāṇa



Twelve Jyotirlingas

1. Somnath

2. Mallikarjuna

3. Mahakaleshwar

4. Omkareshwar

5. Kedarnath

6. Bhimashankar

7. Kashi-Viswanath

8. Tryambakeshwar

9. Vaidyanath

10. Nageshwar

11. Rameshwar

12. Ghushmeshwar

Notation keys


Twelve Jyotirlingas

Location of 12 jyotirlingas.
Location of 12 jyotirlingas.

Describing about the twelve Jyotirlingas, Sutji told the sages- "There are twelve

Jyotirlingas which are as Follows -

  1. Somnath in Saurashtra,

  2. Mallikarjuna in SriShail,

  3. Mahakal in Ujjain,

  4. Amareshwar in Omkar,

  5. Kedar in the Himalaya,

  6. Bheemashankar at the bank of Bheema river.

  7. Vishwanath in Varanasi.

  8. Trayambakeshwar ar the bank of Gautami river,

  9. Baidyanath at Chitabhumi,

  10. Nagesh which is situated between Darukvan dwarika and Bhet dwarika

  11. Rameshwar at Betubandh and

  12. Ghushmesha in Shivalaya.

These above mentioned twelve Jyotirlingas are considered to the very sacred. A devotee who pays a visit to any of these places and worship, gets all of his wished fulfilled.

Out of these twelve Jyotirlingas, Somnath Jyotirlinga is belived to destroy the sorrows of Moon. A devotee who worships this Jyotirlinga gets cured from incurable diseases like leprosy etc. enjoys all kinds of worldly pleasures and attains salvation.

Similarly having a darshan of Mallikarjuna helps a devotee to fulfill all of his desires.

Having a darshan of Mahakaal at Ujjain helps a devotee to fulfill all kinds of desire and achieve salvation.

Similarly if a devotee merely touches the idol of Omkar linga then he achieves the desired fruits.

Kedarlinga is situated in the Himalayas and is considered to be very sacred.

Lord Shiva took his sixth incarnation as Bheema Shankar to kill the demon Bheema. This incarnation of Shiva took place at a place called Kamarupa in Assam.

The seventh incarnation of Lord Shiva was as Vishwanath at Kashi. This Jyotirlinga is considered to be very sacred and fulfiller of all the desires of a man.

Lord Shiva took his eighth incarnation at the bank of river Gautami at the request of sage Gautam. This Jyotirlinga too is considered to be very sacred and a fulfiller of all the desires of a man.

The ninth incarnation of Shiva was as Baidyanath at Deoghar in Bihar. This Jyotirlinga was established by the demon King Ravana. A devotee who worships this Jyotirlinga gets all of his wishes fulfilled. Because of this, it ia also known as Kamanalinga. Devotees carry the holy water of the Ganges from Sultanganj and both the idol of Baidyanath in the months of Shravan and Bhadrapaksha according to the Hindu calendar.

Lord Shiva took his tenth incarnation to kill the demon Daruk who used to live in Daruk forest. A devotee who worships Nagesh, never faces any calamity. The eleventh incarnation of Lord Shiva was as Rameshwar linga, this linga was established by Sri Ram while the construction of a bridge over the sea was going on. Having a darshan of this Jyotirlinga bestowes both worldly pleasures and salvation.

Lord Shiva took his twelfth incarnation as Dhumeshwar after being pleased by Dhushma - the wife of Sumedha. Having a darshan of this Jyotirlinga helps a devotee to fulfill all of his desires.

All the above mentioned twelve Jyotirlingas are very sacred and give total accomplishment to the devotees. (SS.42)

1. Somnath

Prabhas Patan, Saurashtra, Gujarat, India.
Prabhas Patan, Saurashtra, Gujarat, India.

The moon had twenty seven wives, one of whom was Rohini. The moon loved Rohini very much, which made the rest of his wives very jealous and angry. They went to their father - Daksha and complained about Moon's behaviour.

Daksha went to Moon and advised him to give proper attention to all of his wives. But it did not have any effect on him and he continued giving special treatment to Rohini.

When Daksha came to know about this, he became very curious. He cursed Moon to become weak and devoid of radiance. The moon then sent the deities to Lord Brahma to seek his help. At first, Lord Brahma became very angry with Moon, but later on he cooled down and told the deities, that Moon can get liberated from the curse, if he chants 'Mahamrityunjaya mantra' by going to Prabhas area.

Moon went to Prabhas area and chanted Mahamrityunjaya mantra for ten crore time after sitting in one posture. Lord Shiva appeared before him and asked him to demand anything he wished.

Moon requested Lord Shiva to liberate him from the curse given by Daksha. Lord Shiva told moon that the words of Daksha can never became untrue. However he blessed moon by saying that he would wane during the dark lunar phase due to the curse, but wax during the dark lunar phase due to his (Shiva's) blessings. Lord Shiva also provided moon that he would be present along with Parvati near him (moon).

Thus Lord Shiva established himself as Somanath. The deities constructed a 'Kunda' named Chandrakunda. It is believed that the Moon because liberated from the curse by taking a bath in this Kunda. (KS.14)


Shree Somnath Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


2. Mallikarjuna

Karnulu, Gujarat, India.
Karnulu, Gujarat, India.

Once, under the influence of Sage Narad, Kartikeya had gone to the Kraunch Mountain to do penance. Shiva and Parvati could not bear the pain of his separation for long. Both of them went to the Kraunch mountain to see him.

When Kartikeya saw them coming he moved to some other place. When Lord Shiva saw this he established himself in the form of Jyotirlinga, which later on became famous as Mallikarjuna jyotirlinga. (KS.15)


Shree Mallikarjuna Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


3. Mahakaleshwar

Mahakala, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Mahakala, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India.

There used to live a brahmin at Avantikapuri. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and used to worship dialy.

This brahmin had four sons whose names were Devapriya, Medhapriya, Sukrit and Dharmabahu. By the blessings of Lord Shiva the brahmin enjoyed a very happy and contented life. After his death, the brahmin's son continued the tradition of Shiva's worship.

There was a mountain named Ratanak on which a demon named Dushan used to live. Being intoxicated by the boons received from Lord Brahma, he used to torment all the people. He had all the surrounding area under his control except the house in which the brahmin family lived.

Dushan ordered his fellow demons to bring the brahmin after capturing them. All the demons went to Avantikapuri and created havoc. They went to the brahmins and told them about Dushan's order. The brahmins were busy doing worship at that time so they did not give ear to their words. The brahmins continued with their worship. The demon became very angry and tried to attack them.

Suddenly the earth cracked with a tremendous sound and Lord Shiva manifested from within the cracks. He killed all the demons. He then went to the Ratnamala mountain and killed Dushan. He again returned to the brahmins and expressed his desire of fulfilling their wishes. The brahmins expressed their desire of getting liberated from the bondage's of this world. They also requested him to remain at that place. Lord Shiva accepted their request and established himself in the form of Mahakal. (KS.16-17)


Shree Mahakaleshwar Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


4. Omkareshwar

Island on the Narmada River, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Island on the Narmada River, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Once, Narad had gone to meet Vindhya mountain. Vindhya was very arrogant in his behaviour. Narad told him that Sumeru mountain was even greater than him and so his false pride had no basis.

Vindhya became very dejected and disheartened. He went to Amgreshwar and started worshipping Shiva after making a Parthiv linga. Lord Shiva became very pleased by his penance. He appeared before Vindhya and blessed him. After sometime the sages too arrived there and worshipped Shiva. They requested Lord Shiva to remain at that place forever. Lord Shiva established himself as Parameshwar Linga. One Shivalinga already existed at Amareshwar, which became famous as Omkareshwar. (KS.18)


Shree Omkareshwar Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


5. Kedarnath

Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, India.
Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, India.

Two incarnations of Lord Vishnu by the names of Nara and Vishnu did penance at Badrikasharam. Both of them used to worship the idol of Shiva daily. Lord Shiva used to arrive in his subtle form and accept their offerings without being noticed by them.

One day Lord Shiva appeared before them. Nara and Narayana eulogized him and requested to remain at that place forever. Lord Shiva accepted their request and established himself as 'Kedareshwar jyotirlinga'. (KS.19)


Shree Kedarnath Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


6. Bheemashankar

Bhimashankar, Maharashtra, India.
Bhimashankar, Maharashtra, India.

Bheema - the demon, was the son of Kumbhakarna and Karkati. After Kumbhakarna was killed by Sri Ram. Karkati and Bheema went to live at Sahya mountain.

When Bheema grew up he asked Karkati about his father. Karkati told him that his father had been killed by Ram. Bheema swore to avenge his father's death. He did a tremendous penance to please Lord Brahma. Brahma appeared before him and blessed him with insurmountable power and strength.

Bheema then drove out the deities from heaven. He went to Kamarupa and defeated the king. He captured the king and put him in prison. The helpless king used to pass his time by chanting the mantra- Om Namah Shivay. His wife worshipped the Parthiva linga of Shiva for the release of the king.

All the deities went at the bank of river Mahakeshi and worshipped the Parthiva linga of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared before them and assured them that the end of Bheema was near.

Lord Shiva went to the king who had been held captive by Bheema. His ganas too accompanied him. All of them waited for the opportune time to kill Bheema.

Meanwhile somebody informed Bheema that the king was doing worship of Shiva in the prison, with the objective of getting Bheema killed.

Bheema arrived at the spot in the prison where the king was worshipping the Parthiva linga of Lord Shiva. He made fun of Shiva and struck the Shiva linga with his sword.

Right then, Lord Shiva appeared. A tremendous battle was fought between both of them. The battle continued for a long period. Sage Narad requested Lord Shiva to kill Bheema as soon as it was possible.

Lord Shiva produced fire by his loud roar. In a very short time the fire spread in the whole forest. All the demons including Bheema were burnt to death. The deities and the sages arrived there. They requested Lord Shiva to remain there. Lord Shiva accepted their request and established himself in the form of Bheema Shankar Jyotirlinga. (KS.20-21)


Shree Bheemashankar Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


7. Kashi-Viswanath

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

With the desire of giving liberation to the living creatures of this world, Lord Shiva had kept some portion of land on his Trishul after separating it from the rest of Brahma's creation. The name of this sacred place is Manikarnika. The Shiva linga by the name of Avimukta was established by Lord Shiva himself. Later on this sacred place was brought down from the Trishul and established on the land of Shiva. This sacred place of pilgrimage later on became famous as Kashi and the Shivalinga as Avimukta Visheshwar. (KS.22-23)


Shree Kashi-Vishwanath Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")

the story of Kashi-Vishwanath starts at 25:55


8. Tryambakeshwar

Tryambakeshwar, Maharashtra, India.
Tryambakeshwar, Maharashtra, India.

During the ancient time there lived a famous sage named Gautami. The name of his wife was Ahilya. Once it did not rain for one hundred years as the result of which the whole area was affected by drought.

Sage Gautami did a tremendous penance to please Varun appeared before Gautam, he was requested to cause rain. But Varun expressed his inability in causing rain. He told Gautam to please Lord Shiva so that his wish could be fulfilled. Later on Varun instructed Gautam to dig a up a pit, which he (Varun) filled with water. Varun blessed Gautam by saying that this pond would never dry up. The sages who had abandoned that place returned there. Everybody became happy and satisfied.

One day, sage Gautam instructed his disciples to fetch some water from that pond. When the disciples reached there, they found the wives of numerous sages present at the bank of the pond. The sages' wives did not allow them to take water and instead they rebuked them. The disciples returned back to the hermitage and narrated the whole story to sage Gautam.

Ahilya pacified the angry disciples and went to the pond to fetch water. From that day onwards this became very daily routine. One day Ahilya met the wives of the sages. They tried to prevent her from fetching water. Not only that they went back to his respective hermitages and filled the ears of their husbands. All the sages became very angry.

The sages worshipped Lord Ganesha to please him. When Ganesha appeared, they requested him to drive Gautam out from that place. At first Ganesha was reluctant to accept their demand but when they kept a persisting he agreed at last.

Ganesha entered the field of Gautam in which barley was being cultivated. Ganesha had disguised himself as a cow. He started grazing the barley crops.

When Gautam saw the cow grazing crops, he tried to drive her out from the field by hitting a grass on her back. The artificial cow died instantly. Gautam was very sorry for his act. Meanwhile all the sages from the surrounding area arrived there. They forced Gautam to abandon that place at once.

Gautam left that place and made his hermitage at a little distance from there. One day he came to the sages and asked them as to how could he atone for his sins. The sages told him that his sins could be atoned only when he circumambulates the whole earth thrice, all the while saying, 'I have killed a cow'. They also told him that after that he would have to perform austerities for one month.

If this is not possible then you will have to help Ganga manifest herself and take bath in her water. Otherwise you will have to worship three crores Parthiva lingas. Only then, you can get liberated from the sin of killing a cow," said the sages.

Gautam made the Parthiva lingas and started worshipping them. Lord Shiva became very pleased by his devotion and appeared before him. Sage Gautam requested Lord Shiva to liberate him from the sins of killing a cow. He also requested Lord Shiva to manifest the stream of river Ganga that place.

Lord Shiva tried his best to make him understand that he was innocent and the real culprits that he was innocent and the real culprits were those wicked sages. But, Gautam was unconvinced. At last Lord Shiva instructed Ganga to appear in the form of a woman. Gautam eulogized Ganga. By the blessings of Lord Shiva Gautam was liberated from his sins of killing a cow. After that Ganga expressed her desire to go back but Lord Shiva asked her to remain on the earth till the twenty-eighth nanvantar. Ganga accepted to do that, on the condition that Lord Shiva along with Parvati too would remain present on the earth. Lord Shiva established himself as Trayambakeshwar Jyotirlinga and Ganga became famous as Gautami Ganga. (KS.24-27)


Shree Tryambakeshwar Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


9. Vaidyanath

Jharkhand, Deoghar, India.
Jharkhand, Deoghar, India.

The demon king- Ravana did a tremendous penance to please Lord Shiva and to get a boon from him. Even after his severe penance when Lord Shiva did still not appear, he started offering his heads one by one to Lord Shiva. This way he already severed his nine heads and offered them to Shiva. When he was about to severe his last remaining head, just the Lord Shiva appeared before him. He blessed Ravana with unparalleled power and strength. Lord Shiva also made him a ten headed demon once again.

But Ravana was not satisfied. He requested Lord Shiva to come along with him to Lanka. Lord Shiva gave Ravana s Shivalinga and warned him against keeping it on the earth, as then no power on the earth could lift that Shivalinga from there.

Ravana proceeded with the Shivalinga. On the way he felt the urge of urinate. Ravana gave that Shivalinga to a cowherd boy and went to urinate. The cowherd boy held the Shivalinga for sometime. He felt that the Shivalinga was becoming heavier and heavier. He could not bear the weight of the Shivalinga for too long. He kept it on the ground. When Ravana returned he became very sad after seeing the Shivalinga on the ground. He knew that, now it was impossible to lift it from that place. Ravana established the Shivalinga there, which became famous as 'Baidyanath jyotirlinga'. (KS.28)


Shree Vaidyanath Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


10. Nageshwar

Darukavana, Dwaraka, Gujarat, India.
Darukavana, Dwaraka, Gujarat, India.

During ancient times, there lived a demon named Daruk. The name of his wife was Daruka. They used to torment the people living in that area. The residents of that area went to sage 'Aursh' and narrated about their miseries and requested him to end this menace.

'Aursh' assured them that very soon their hardships would come to an end. He then went to do his penance. The deities appeared before him after being pleased by his tremendous penance. Sage 'Aursh' requested the deities to kill the demons.

The deities went to fight with the demons. The demons got scarred and started thinking about the means by which their lives could be saved. Daruka the wife of Daruk had received a boon from goddess Parvati due to which she had gained unparalleled power. She carried the whole forest and placed it in the middle of the sea. This way the demons again lived without being perturbed by the threat of the deities' attack.

One day the demons saw many boats sailing in the sea, on which were many people on board. The demons made all the people captive. There was a man named Supriya who was great devotee of Lord Shiva. He used to worship Lord Shiva daily, even though he saw held under captivity. Rest of the people too got influenced by his devotion and everybody started worshipping Lord Shiva.This way, six months had passed.

One day a demon saw Supriya worshipping the idol of Lord Shiva. He went to Daruk and informed him. Daruk became extremely furious. He asked Supriya as to whom was he worshipping. Supriya still engrossed in his worship did not give any reply. This made Daruk even more angry. He tried to kill Supriya. Lord Shiva appeared and killed all the demons.

Daruka's heart became full of grief at the news of her husband's death. She went to Parvati and told her how Lord Shiva had killed Daruka. Parvati met Lord Shiva and both of them decided to protect there respective devotees by establishing themselves at that place. Thus, Nageshwar jyotirlinga came into existence. (KS.29-30)


Shree Nageshwar Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


11. Rameshwar

Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, India

After Hanuman brought the new that Sita had been held captive by Ravana at Lanka, Sri Ram proceeded towards Lanka with a huge army. After receiving the seashore he faced the problems of crossing over the sea.

Sri Ram made a Parthiva linga of Shiva and worshipped it. Lord Shiva became very please with him and appeared. He blessed Sri Ram to be victorious. Sri Ram on the other hand, requested him to establish himself in that Parthiva linga, to which Lord Shiva agreed. This way 'Rameshwar jyotirlinga' came into existence. (KS.31)


Shree Rameshwar Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


12. Dhushmeshwar

Aurangabad (near Ellora), Maharashtra, India.
Aurangabad (near Ellora), Maharashtra, India.

There used to live a brahmin by the name of Sudharma, who belonged to the lineage of sage Bhardwaj. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Sudeha was his wife. Sudharma had no son.

Sudeha desires for a son. She expressed her desire to Sudharma but he did not listen to her pleas. One day Sudeha had gone for an outing accompanied by her companions. Incidentally a quarrel ensured among them and her companions made fun of her issue less status. Sudeha became very sad. After returning to her hermitage, she narrated the whole incident to Sudharma.

Sudharma meditated on the form of Shiva and threw two flowers, towards his wife. He thought that if Sudeha picks up the flower, which he had thrown with his right hand, then certainly a son would be born. But if she picks up the another flower then there is no chance of her giving birth to a son. Unfortunately Sudeha picked up the flower which Sudharma had thrown with his left hand.

Sudharma told his wife that she was never going to become a mother. He advised her to dedicate her life in the devotion of Lord Shiva. When Sudeha learnt that there was no chance of her becoming a mother, she insisted her husband to marry for a second time, so that he could become a father. But Sudharma refused to marry for the second.

Sudeha brought her younger sister -Dhushma to the hermitage and married her with reluctant Sudharma. Dhushma proved to be a very faithful wife. She engaged herself in the service of Sudharma and Sudeha. She also used to worship the Parthiva-linga of Shiva daily.

After her worship she used to immerse the Parthiva lingas in a pond. This way, when she had accomplished the worship of one lakh Parthiva lingas, Lord Shiva blessed her with a son. Sudharma was extremely pleased but Sudeha became jealous of her own sister.

When the child grew up, he was married to a beautiful brahmin girl. Dhushma instructed the bride to take a special care of Sudeha. So the bride engaged herself in the service of everybody. She took special care of looking into the needs of Sudeha. But still, Sudeha's jealousy did not diminish.

One day engripped by excessive jealousy and anger, she killed Dhushma's son while he was asleep. She cut his body into many pieces and threw those pieces into the same pond, in which Dhushma used to immerse the Parthiva lingas.

When the daughter in law noticed a piece of flesh on the bed she started crying. She went to Dhushma and narrated the whole story. Hearing the news of her son's killing, Dhushma too started crying Sudeha also wept artificially.

Sudharma arrived there. Though he himself was very sad yet he instructed Dhushma to do the daily worship of Parthiva linga as usual. Dhushma obeyed the command of her husband, She worshipped the Parthiva lingas and went to the pond of immense.

By the blessings of Lord Shiva, her son was standing at the bank of the pond alive. He came towards his mother and said- "Mother! I have become alive even after my death."

Dhushma was still engrossed in her thoughts of Lord Shiva, so she could not listen to her son. Lord Shiva appeared and blessed Dhushma. He also expressed his desire to punish her wicked sister - Sudeha for her evil deed, but Dhushma requested him to forgive her. She also requested Lord Shiva to stay there forever. Lord Shiva accepted her demand and established himself in the form of Dhushmeshwar Jyotirlinga. Sudharma and Sudeha arrived at that place and worshipped Shiva. At last everybody returned home happily. (KS.32-33)

This jyotirkinga also known as Ghushmeshwar, Ghrshneshwar and Dhrshneshwar.


Shree Ghushmeshwar Jyotirling ("Shiv Mahapuran")


Notation keys:

  • SS - 'Shatarudra Samhita'.

  • KS - 'Kotirudra Samhita'.

  • digits - chapter numbers.


ॐ नमः शिवाय

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