Friday, 17 July 2015

SarvaMangalaGowri Devi



                Mangala Gouri Temple from Gaya of Bihar state in INDIA is one another from Ashtadasa Shaktipeethas. It is believed that the body part- Breast  of Devi Sati has fallen here when Shri Mahaa Vishnu cuts the corpse of her with his Sudarshanachakra. This temple is a very old one and is built in 15th century. Devotees have to climb up a small hill rock to reach the temple. The temple is facing east, and is built on top of the Mangalagauri hill. A flight of steps and a motorable road lead to the temple. The sanctum houses the symbol of the Goddess and it also has some finely carved ancient relief sculptures. A small hall or mandap stands in front of the temple. The courtyard also houses a fire pit for the home. There are also two minor shrines dedicated to Shiva and images of Mahishasura Mardini, Durga and Dakshina Kali.



At the starting of steps route there is temple of Bhima (One of Five Pandavas). We can see his knee impression here. Here Bhima did Shraddhakarma, hence called as Bhimvedi Gaya.
After climbing around 200 steps we will reach Mangala Gowri temple campus. There are several temples in that campus. Lord Ganesh temple, Lord Shiva temple and very old temple of Lord Janardhan swamy, Kali maa temple, Breast fallen place present in the campus. A Bilwa tree also present in that temple.
Ganesh temple present in front of main temple. Beside that Lord Shiva temple also present. We can do pradakshina to temple. In the backside of temple, adjacent to temple wall there is a sacred place where Sati devi sthana fell. Beside this place Kali maa idol is there. Main temple is very small temple and only 2 to 3 members can go into the temple at a time. There is no idol in the temple. We can see Breast of Satidevi in deepa lighting. Lord Shiva also present in the form of Shivaling beside maa. Some Tantriks will offer Bali to Mother Goddess.



Importance of Gaya:
Gaya will be considered as must see place for every Hindu. This is because of its greatness for Shraddha karmas. This is the best place to do Shraddha karmas. Vishnupad temple, where Lord Vishnu stood upon Dharmavrata Shila on head of Gayasura, is the important temple in Gaya. Lord Gadadhara is the main diety here. This temple present beside Holy Phalguni river. This place is also considered as one of Sapta Mokshapuras and Pancha Gaya kshetras.
Lord Buddha also got salvation in Gaya. He started his teachings after getting Gnana in Gaya. A very famous Bodhivriksha, which is the important tourist place for Buddhists also present in Gaya. Here Lord Buddha statue is completely made up of Pure gold.



History of Gaya:-
Ancient history: Documented history of Gaya dates back to the birth of Gautam Buddha. About 15 km from Gaya town is Bodh Gaya, the place where Gautam Buddha got enlightenment. Since then the places around Gaya (Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Patliputra) had been the citadel of knowledge for the ancient world. These centers of knowledge further flourished under the rule of dynasties like the Mauryans who ruled from Patliputra (modern Patna) and covered the area beyond the boundaries of the Indian subcontinent. During this period, Gaya was a part of the Magadh region.



Medieval history:-

 In the 14th-15th century Gaya was frequently attacked by foreign Muslim invaders including other Hindu holy and sacred places. The Hindu rajputs from rajasthan moved towards north-east to defend Banaras and Gaya, the expedition of Maharana Lakha being the most important. Maharana Lakha, was the forty-fifth ruler of the Mewar Dynasty (r. 1382-1421); succeeded his father, Maharana Kshetra Singh; ruled for thirty-nine years from Chittor. He was a brave and gallant fighter throughout his life and led his life defending Gaya. The remaining army settled in parts of city of Magadha Kingdom. After the attack of the Muslim rulers these centers were severely damaged and along with them the historical city of Gaya lost its glory. But, in the medieval era under the rule of the great Sher Shah Suri (an Afghan ruler based in the Sasaram district of modern Bihar), Gaya got connected with the rest of India by the famous Grand Trunk road (passing through Sherghati) built by the ruler.



Importance to Hindu Mythology:-
Gaya derives its name from the mythological demon Gayasur (which literally means Gaya the holy demon), demon (asur, a Sanskrit word) and Gaya. Over its history dating millennia, the word asur got deleted and the name Gaya remained in currency. Lord Vishnu killed Gayasur, the holy demon by using the pressure of his foot over him. This incident transformed Gayasur into the series of rocky hills that make up the landscape of the Gaya city.



 Gaya was so holy that he had the power to absolve the sins of those who touched him or looked at him; after his death many people have flocked to Gaya to perform shraddha sacrifices on his body to absolve the sins of their ancestors. Gods and goddesses had promised to live on Gayasur's body after he died, and the hilltop protuberances of Gaya are surmounted by temples to various gods and goddesses. These hilltop temples at Rama Shila, Mangla Gauri, Shringa Sthan and Brahmayoni are part of the pilgrimage circuit, and grand staircases have been built up to most of them.

Vishnupad temple:-

Vishnupad Temple is marked by a footprint of Vishnu. This footprint is the significance of the act of Lord Vishnu crushing Gayasur under his foot. The temple that stands today was rebuilt by Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar in the 18th century. As per the Buddhist tradition and culture, this footstep mark is regarded that of Lord Buddha who is said to be the avatar of Vishnu.
The temples and the Ghats that are present by the River Falgu are also of great spiritual significance. Some trees are also held sacred by the Hindus and in Gaya one would find Pipal trees, Akshayavat and the undying Banyan which are also offered prayers and offerings in huge numbers by the pilgrims coming into the city.


Gaya is held as an important spiritual center by Hindus as a site which offers salvation to the souls. Buddhists hold Gaya as an important pilgrimage center because of the presence of the Brahmayoni or the Gayasia hill where Buddha preached the Fire Sermon or the Adittapariyaya Sutta.

Akshayavata (Imperishable Banyan Tree):-
It is said that as per Mythology at the time of deluge (Pralaya) when the entire earthgot submerged into water Lord Maha Vishnu slept on the leaf of Banyan Tree in the form of a child. Lord Maha Vishnu is also called by name Vatapathra Sai. Thisbanyan tree is said to be in existence since time immemorial, undecaying andperpetual. Symbolized as a link between earth and heaven where ancestral rites areperformed as a part of Gaya Shraaddha. 


Generally once in a year every banyan tree releases all its leaves, but it is said that this Akshayavat tree does not release itsleaves at all and remain green always even in draught condition. It is said that thetree has existed since Thretha Yuga when Sitadevi gave a boon that the tree wouldremain immortal. It is located in the courtyard of Vishnupada temple.

Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya:
ahabodhi Temple In Bodh Gaya, Bihar The Mahabodhi Temple is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment. Bodh Gaya (located in Gaya district) is located about 96 km (60 mi) from Patna, Bihar state, India. Next to the temple, to its western side, is the holy Bodhi tree. In the Pali Canon, the site is called Bodhimanda,and the monastery there the Bodhimanda Vihara. The tallest tower is 55 metres (180 ft) tall. The construction uses the styles of Dravidian Architecture, as opposed to Nagara Temple style.

 

sarvamangaLa mAngalyA gayA mAngalya gaurikA / 
arthadA mOkSHadA dEvi akSHayya phaladAyinI //

Sharada Peeth


    Sharada Peetha from Jammu is another Ashtadasa Shakthipeeth of Devi Sati. It is believed that the Lips of Devi Sathi has fallen here when Shri Maha Vishnu cuts the corpse of her with Sudarshan chakra. It is located on the banks of Neelum river in Azad Kashmir. This place is once celebrated as centre of learning in India. The temple is so ancient that Kashmir State was earlier known as 'Sharada Peeth'. It is at this temple that Sankaracharya received the right to sit on the Sarvanjnanapeetham or Sarvajna peetha(Throne of Wisdom).



              
                    The temple is at a height of 11000 feet above the sea level and is about 70 miles from Srinagar, summer Capital of Indian Administered Kashmir. The length of the temple is 142 feet and width is 94.6 feet. The outer walls of the temple are 6 ft. wide and 11 ft long. And there are arches with 8 ft. height. It is a very good example of architecture. The Śāradā image at Shringeri Sharadamba temple was once said to have been made of sandalwood, which is supposed to have been taken by the Sankaracharya from here.


               A mandir to Lord Shiva has also been built adjacent to the Saraswathi Mandir. There are four gates in four directions for entering Sharada Nilaya. Eminent scholars and philosophers had entered it from various directions and had established their scholarly merit But no one so far had adorned this chair of Sarvajna. And also till their no one had even attempted to enter the temple through the Southern gate May be this gate was waiting for Acharya Shankara. only who was from the South! Scholars of many group and communities were waiting for him in ‘ the premises of Sir Sharada Nilaya All were filled with a feeling of reverence to see him who was learned in both Jnana and Vijnana Yet the scholars in religious philosophies of Jaina, Bouddha, Samkhya, Yoga, Nays and Vaisheshika confronted him at the time of his entry to the temple, Shankara defeated all of them in philosophical debate and then entered the temple through the Southern gate.



               Acharya went to ascend Sarvajna Peetha. Sri Sharada, the presiding deity of all learning, herself set a test for him. Shankara passed this test also. After this the Goddess Herself blessed him, proclaiming his omniscience. So say the ‘Shankara Vijayas’.

             We can take this to be an allegory of all the struggles Shankara had to face in his life. Ascending the seat of Sarvajna situated in Kashmir of the North is a symbol. The meaning of it is that Shankara reached the peak of spirituality. We can get an idea of his greatness from the fact that a person of just thirty had ascended the throne of all knowledge.

            And this temple is presently completely destroyed in the hands PAK citizens.One belief is that knowing the future the Jagatguru brought her to Shringeri.Meanwhile the whole kashmir pandits and devotees of Sharada maatha are requesting POK Government permission for a visit to this shrine.It seems a Hindu Priest daily visits this temple and light a deepa daily.My knowedge also says that this is presently in the hands of PAK army and they are using the premises for military reasons.I dont think i need to specially mention what could be the status of this temple when it is in the hands of PAK.


Legend: 

                Goddess Sarada was worshipped by a Successor of Matanga maharshi by name Snadalya. He chanted Sarada mantra for a long period. He did worship with the help of a Sarada Yantra which includes three forms of the Goddes in it's three corners of central Trigone. They are Narada (Origin of Knowledge), Saraswati (Collection of Knowledge) and Vagdevi (Outcome of Knowledge). Sarada can be understood as a collection of all these three powers. After some time, Muni Sandalya got a divine advice to go to Sarada vana (Sarada forest). At first Sarada devi appears before him in the form of a glow. Because of his curiosity Sandalya reaches Gautama Ashram searching the goddess. In Gautama ashram he gets an intuition to go the confluence of river Madhumati with Kishenganga. Sarada devi shows him many a illusions but, after being prąyed by Sandalya she reveals her holy home, Sirahsila. The story of Sarada devi was written in detail in "Sarada Mahatmya". "Sarada Mahatmya" tells only about the success of Muni Sandalya in reaching the Goddess.



We are unable to protect our temple from the foreign Invaders who has ruined the old temple.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Vaishno devi



                     The Vaishno Devi temple is recognized as one of the "Shakti Peeths" of goddess ' Durga'.This holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi which is situated in the folds of mighty 'Tirkuta' Hills' attracts lakhs of devotees.
   
                     Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the oldest shrine of India, located at a height of 5300 feet on the holy Trikuta Hills of the Shivalik Hill Range. The Holy cave is 13 Kms from the Base Camp Katra. The Town Katra is 50 Kms away from Jammu and 35 Kms from District HQ Udhampur and is linked by road. The Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the most popular Shrines of India. 


                        The Goddess Mata Vaishno Devi's abode is in 100 feet long cave with a narrow opening. The holy cold and crystal clear water washes the lotus feet of the Mata's "Pindian". There are three natural pindies representing Maha Sarswati, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Kali, which represent creative, preservative, and destructive aspects of the Super Power. It is an ancient shrine whose reference is found in the Vedas and ancient scriptures.

Sthala Puran

                      'Vaishnavi' means the one who is related to lord "Vishnu''. Goddess Vaishnavi is the manifestation of the collective spiritual strengths of Mata Maha Kali, Mata Maha Lakshmi and Mata Maha Saraswati. It is described in Durga Sapatshati that the goddess was born as a young girl of extraordinary beauty and strength, out of the collectively pooled 'Tejas' of various 'Devtas' and three lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shankar. The immediate purpose of the creation of the goddess was the annihilation of Asura (Devil) Mahishasura. However another purpose of her creation was that she might usher on earth an era of pious and ascetic life so that the peace could prevail upon the world and she through her penance could rise to higher levels of spirituality and ultimately merge with Vishnu.



                   The 'Goddess' having been created by the Devtas and the three lords ordained the human form in the house of one Ratnakar as his daughter whom the family named as Vaishnavi. The girl right from her childhood displayed a hunger for knowledge which was like a vortex and which no amount of teaching and learning could sufficiently satiate. Subsequently, Vaishnavi started looking into her inner self for knowledge and soon learned the art of meditation and realized that meditation and penance only could bring her close to her greater objective. Vaishnavi thus relinquished all household comforts and went deep into the forest for Tapasaya (meditation). Meanwhile, Lord Rama, during his fourteen years of exile happened to visit Vaishnavi who recognized him immediately as no ordinary being but the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and immediately asked him to merge her into himself so that she could become one with the supreme creator. However Lord Rama, knowing that it was not the appropriate time, dissuaded her by saying that he will visit her again after the end of his exile and at that time if she succeeded in recognizing him, he will fulfill her wish. True to his words, Rama visited her again after being victorious in the battle, but this time he did so in the guise of an old man. Unfortunately, Vaishnavi was unable to recognize him this time and was distraught. Upon this, Lord Rama consoled her that the appropriate time for her being one with the creator had not come and he will eventually do so in 'Kaliyug' in his incarnation of 'Kalki'. Rama also directed her to meditate and set up an Ashram at the base of Trikuta hills to elevate her level of spirituality so as to bless the mankind and rid the poor and destitute of their sufferings and only then will 'Vishnu' merge her into himself.

                       The 'Goddess' having been created by the Devtas and the three lords ordained the human form in the house of one Ratnakar as his daughter whom the family named as Vaishnavi. The girl right from her childhood displayed a hunger for knowledge which was like a vortex and which no amount of teaching and learning could sufficiently satiate. Subsequently, Vaishnavi started looking into her inner self for knowledge and soon learned the art of meditation and realized that meditation and penance only could bring her close to her greater objective. Vaishnavi thus relinquished all household comforts and went deep into the forest for Tapasaya (meditation). Meanwhile, Lord Rama, during his fourteen years of exile happened to visit Vaishnavi who recognized him immediately as no ordinary being but the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and immediately asked him to merge her into himself so that she could become one with the supreme creator. 

                         However Lord Rama, knowing that it was not the appropriate time, dissuaded her by saying that he will visit her again after the end of his exile and at that time if she succeeded in recognizing him, he will fulfill her wish. True to his words, Rama visited her again after being victorious in the battle, but this time he did so in the guise of an old man. Unfortunately, Vaishnavi was unable to recognize him this time and was distraught. Upon this, Lord Rama consoled her that the appropriate time for her being one with the creator had not come and he will eventually do so in 'Kaliyug' in his incarnation of 'Kalki'. Rama also directed her to meditate and set up an Ashram at the base of Trikuta hills to elevate her level of spirituality so as to bless the mankind and rid the poor and destitute of their sufferings and only then will 'Vishnu' merge her into himself.

                                 Vaishnavi, after immense hardships reached the foot of the Trikuta Hills and after setting up her ashram there she began to meditate. As predicted by Lord Rama, her glory spread far and wide and people began to flock to her Ashram to seek her blessings. As the time passed, a Tantrik named Gorakh Nath who had a vision of the episode between Lord Rama and Vaishnavi in the retrospective time frame, became curious to find out whether Vaishnavi has been able to attain a high level of spirituality or not. He, therefore, sent his most able disciple 'Bhairon Nath' to find out the truth. Bhairon Nath on locating the ashram started observing Vaishnavi secretly and realised that though a 'Sadhvi' she always carried bow and arrows with her and was always surrounded by langoors (apes) and a ferocious looking lion. Bhairon Nath was enamored by Vaishnavi's extraordinary beauty and losing all good sense he began to pester Vaishnavi to marry him. Meanwhile a staunch devotee of Mata Sridhar organised a Bhandara (Community meal) in which the whole village and Guru Gorakh Nath along with all his followers including Bhairon were invited. During the course of Bhandara Bhairon Nath attempted to grab Vaishnavi but she tried her best to daunt him. 


                         On failing to do so, Vaishnavi decided to flee away into the mountains to continue her 'Tapasaya' undisturbed. Bhairon Nath however chased her to her destination. The goddess after halting at Banganga, Charan Paduka, and Adhkwari, finally reached the holy cave Shrine. When Bhairon Nath continued to follow her despite the goddess trying to avoid a confrontation, the goddess was compelled to kill him. Bhairon Nath met his ultimate fate when the goddess, just outside the mouth of the cave, beheaded him. The severed head of Bhairon fell with a force at a distant hilltop. Bhairon Nath upon death realised the futility of his mission and prayed to the deity to forgive him. The almighty 'Mata' had mercy on Bhairon and gave him a boon that every devotee of the goddess shall have to have the Darshans of Bhairon after having the Darshans of the goddess and only then shall the yatra of a devotee be complete. Meanwhile, Vaishnavi decided to shed off her human form and assuming the face of a rock she immersed herself into meditation forever.