Pramod kumar Sharma
The twelve jyotirlingas are the most significant places of pilgrimage for Hindus. Five of them happen to be in Maharashtra. Shiva has been worshipped in these places for centuries. Vaijnath is one of them. This place is 130 km away from Nanded. The temple is east faced having doors in south and North direction. There is a huge pillarless hall upon entrance constructed totally out of swan wood.
The significance of this temple is that here God Shankar is residing with Goddess Parvati, so for pilgrims importance of this place is more than Kashi. The famous tale of Satyawan and Sawitri is also believed to happen here.
Gudhi Padwa, Vijaya Dashmi, and Mahashivratri are special occasions here. A large number of pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka visit here on these occasions.
Yogeshwari of Ambejogai was married to Lord Vaidyanatha of Parali. But by the time the marriage party reached, the auspicious time of the wedding had passed. As a result, the people of the marriage party turned into stone statues. Yogeshwari was waiting away from Parali. This is one story that is frequently heard there.
When the Gods and Demons made their combined effort in Amrit Manthan (Churning for Nectar), fourteen gems emerged. There were Dhanwantari and Amrit Ratnas in it. When the Demons rushed to grab Amrit, Lord Vishnu hid the Amrit and Dhanwantari in the Shiva Linga of Lord Shankara. Just as the Demons tried to touch the Linga, flames started emanating from the Linga. The scared Demons ran aay. But when devotees of Lord Shankara touched the Linga, there was a free flow of Amrit from the same. Even today, devotees touch the Shiva Linga as a part of taking Darshan. Here, there is no discrimination between caste, creed or colour. Anyone can come and visit this place. As the Lingamurthy is supposed to have Amrit and Dhanvantari, it is also known as Amriteshwar and Dhanvantari.
The mountains and jungles and the rivers, are full of useful medicinal herbs. That is why Parali JyotirLinga is also known as Vaidyanatha. It is here that Lord Vishnu successfully helped the Devas to obtain Amrit. Therefore, this place is also known as ‘Vaijayanti”.
Once the Demon King Ravana went to Kailasa mountain and did a severe penance to please Lord Shankara. Put up with cold, heat, rains and fine and even then when Lord Shiva did not appear before him, he began to cut his head off in order to offer it to the ShivaLinga. Then the Lord appeared after Ravana tried to offer his tenth head. He restored all of Ravana’s heads and granted him boons. Ravana expressed his desire to take Lord Shiva to Lanka as a boon. He said, “I want to take you to Lanka”. Shankara, who is very soft hearted to His devotees, agreed to accompany Ravana to Lanka. He told Ravanan, “You must carry my Linga with care and devotion, but do be careful not to put it down on the earth until you reach your destination, or else, it will stay at whichever place you put it down” Shiva cautioned. Ravana began the journey homeward carrying the Shivaling. On the way, he wanted to relieve himself by urination. He bid a cowherd boy to hold the Linga while he relieved himself. The cowherd was not able to bear the weight of the Linga and when he could no longer hold it, he put it down on the earth. And the Shiva Linga put there stayed as Lord Shiva already ordained and came to be known as Vaidyanatheswar.
Here, the gods were sad about Ravana taking away Shiva to his Lanka. They requested saint Narada to do something. Narada met Ravana and said to him by way of praising his penance and Tapas. “You made a mistake in trusting Shiva. Believing Shiva’s word was wrong. Go to him and slander him and get your way. Go to Kailasa and move it entirely. Your success will be gauged by your art of moving Kailasa from there”.
Ravana was tricked into believing Narada. Ravana promptly carried out Narada’s bidding. Lord Shiva saw the ego driven mischieves rAvaNa and told him: “A unique power is soon going to born which will destroy your pride in the strength of your arms”. Narada informed the Gods of these tidings and his success in his mission. The gods were relieved and were happy. In the meanwhile, Ravana too was happy with the boon he received from Lord Shiva. He returned and was in a trance and was under the influence of Shiva’s mythical power. He was heady and drunk with power. He decided to conquer the entire universe. To subdue his ego only God had to descend on the earth in the Avatar of Rama.
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