Thursday, 7 July 2011

Hari-Hara Kshetra - Bhuvaneshvar, India

pilgrimage to India I have visited Sri Jagannatha Puri
and the famous Lingaraja temple of Lord Shiva in Bhuvaneshvar, Orissa,
the city which is named after Him but orginally known as 'Ekaamra
Vana' (Siddhaamra Shetra).

The history of this place is interesting.

One Puranic source stated that Lord Shiva after visiting His Beloved Krishna at Nilachala Jagannatha Puri, ecstatic in Divine Love, came to this 'Ekaamra Vana' (Garden of Wish-yielding Mango tree) and stayed meditating on Lord Krishna and could not leave the beautiful mango grove. Pleased and satisfied Lord of Nilachal, Sri Krishna appeared and asked Lord Shiva that how He could bless this sacred place. Lord Shiva multiplied into many forms of Shiva Lingas and requested that here after this 'Ekamra Vana' shall be known as 'Bhuvaneshvara' or 'Tri bhuvaneshvara', other epithets of Lord Shiva. Since Lord Krishna has blessed this place of Divine Love meditation of Lord Shiva, it is now known as Bhuvaneshvar.

It is also known as 'Hari-Hara Kshetra' as the Shiva linga (Image of Lord Shiva) that is worshipped in the Lingaraja temple contains Shaligrama (Lord Vishnu's image) in the middle, broadcasting the eternal union of Lord Krishna and Shiva.

The priests do worship the images with both 'Bilva' leaves (dear to Lord Shiva) and Tulasi leaves (dear to Lord Vishnu), 56 offerings of food preparations done everyday to the Lords. Sacred vedic hymns of Shiva and Kesava are chanted in aratis. Seems like the Vaishnavas and Shaivas are in peace here.

Another source from Skanda Purana revealed that an ancient king of Varanasi (Benares) desired to fight with Lord Krishna and prayed Lord Shiva to be on his side. To fulfill the desire of His devotees Lord agreed. But in the fight the king was defeated and the City of Varanasi was totally burned to ashes by Lord Krishna's 'Sudarshan (Wheel) Chakra. So the homeless Lord Shiva came to Nilachal Jagannath at Puri and prayed to stay closer to Him. Lord Krishna was happy to
let Lord Shiva to reside not only here but also at all 'Vishnu Tirthas' (sacred abodes of Lord Krishna) and thus Bhuvaneshvar happened to be another 'Varanasi' as the holy city of Lord Shiva, at the out skirts of Jagannath Puri.

It appears to me that with the pretext of a fight and fire, Lord Shiva Himself renounced His own abode Varanasi to stay closer to His Beloved at Jagannath Puri.

The auspicious lake at the Bhuvaneshvar temple is known as 'Bindu Sarovar' which had been formed by the sacred waters of all the holy rivers on the earth.

When Lord Ramachandra wanted to perform the worship and bathing of Shiva Linga (Lord Shiva) at Rameshvar, He asked Sri Hanumanji to bring the sacred waters of all the holy places on earth. Following his Lord's order, when flying Hanumanji was bringing the water for the worship of Lord Shiva, one drop from the sky fell down at Bhuvaneshvar and became the holy lake 'Bindu Sarovar'! So the purifying effects of the water from this lake includes the auspiciousness of all sacred rivers on earth!

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