Saturday, 16 July 2011

Jwalamukhi Shakti Peeth

One of the 51 Shaktipiths of India, the temple of Jwalamukhi is in Jwalamukhi town which is about 70 kilometers from Dharamsala. Jwalamukhi is a famous temple of Goddess Jwalamukhi, the deity of flaming mouth, believed to be the manifestation of the Goddess Sati. In this temple there is a copper pipe through which natural gas comes out and the priest of the temple lights this. This flame is worshiped as a manifestation of the goddess Jwalamukhi. The nine flames have been named after goddesses - Mahakali, Unpurna, Chandi, Hinglaj, Bindhya Basni, Maha Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ambika and Anji Devi, continuously burning without any fuel, or assistance,may be seen erupting from a rock-side.
The deity is- offered Bhog of Rabri or thickened milk, Misri or candy, seasonal fruits, milk and arti is done. The puja has different 'phases' and goes on practically the whole day. Arti is done five times in the day, Havan is performed once daily and portions of "Durga Saptasati" are recited.

Ancient legends speak of a time when demons lorded over the Himalaya mountains and harassed the gods. Led by Lord Vishnu, the gods decided to destroy them. They focused their strengths and huge flames rose from the ground. From that fire, a young girl took birth. She is regarded as Adishakti-the first 'shakti'.
Known as Sati or Parvati, she grew up in the house of Prajapati Daksha and later, became the consort of Lord Shiva. Once her father insulted Lord Shiva and unable to accept this, she killed herself. When Lord Shiva heard of his wife's death his rage knew no bounds and holding Sati's body he began stalking the three worlds. The other gods trembled before his wrath and appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu let fly a volley of arrows which struck Sati's body and severed it to pieces. At the places where the pieces fell, the fifty-one sacred 'shaktipeeths' came into being.
Sati's tongue fell at Jwalaji (610 m) and the goddess is manifest as tiny flames that burn flawless blue through fissures in the age-old rock. Even the Pandavas are believed to have visited this sacred place.

After Daksha Yoga Bhagna, Lord Shiva placed the burnt dead body of Sati on his shoulders and started wandering about in a state of madness. To save the world from the destructive wrath of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu started cutting the limbs of the dead Goddess Parvati one by one. The places where they fell became sacred centers for the worship of Shakti. The tongue of Sati fell at the place where the temple of Jwalamukhi is situated. The flames that come out of the openings in the earth?s surface are regarded as the manifestations of the fallen tongue of Sati and are worshipped as "Jwalamukhi Devi" (Goddess, who emits flames from her mouth).

The Devi then deputed another disciple Bhim to find out the whereabouts of Gorakhnath and to bring him back. Bhim traced Gorakhnath at the confluence of the Rohini and Tapti rivers. This place has come to be known as Gorakhpur. The Guru had a begging bowl, which would never get filled up though maunds of rice and dal (lintels) might be put into it. Similarly he cooked khichiri with five seers of rice and dal and the food would never be exhausted though thousands ate. The Jwalamukhi Devi agreed and kept the hot water boiling but Guru Gorakhnath has not yet returned. The Devi waited and waited and then sent her disciple Naga Arjan to trace the Guru. Naga Arjan failed and started meditating on the top of the Jwalamukhi range. He has not returned also. It is said that Guru Gorakhnath once visited Jwalamukhi. The Jwalamukhi Devi requested Guru Gorakhnath to receive her hospitality. Gorakhnath refused to have food even if cooked and served by the Devi as people visiting her were not all strict about their food. On the Devi's repeated request Gorakhnath agreed to cook khichiri (rice and dal mixed and boiled with some condiments and served with ghee) at her place but said he would go round begging for alms as usual and on return would cook khichiri himself. He asked the Devi to keep water boiling so that he could straightaway cook without wasting time.

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