Ujjain

The only ‘Svayambhu’ (Self-born) Jyothirlinga of Lord Siva in the form of Mahakal originating ‘Mantra Shakti’ (Power of Mantras) from within is indeed a unique specimen among all the Jyotir- Lingas on the banks of River Kshipra. This is the only Temple of various Jyotirlingas maintained on Tantrik Principles. While Mahakaleswar faces south as a Dakshina murthi, the Idols of Ganesh, Parvati, Kartikeya and Nandi are installed on West, North, East and South respectively. Shree Yantra is perched upside down at the Ceiling of Garbha Griha where the Main Linga is situated. The Temple has five levels including an underground and on the third level is installed the idol of Nagchandreswar open for public view only on Nag Panchami days. Experience at the time of very early morning ‘Bhasmabhishekhas’or the spread of ash along with the loud chanting of Mantras of the Deity and with the thrilling and reverberating sounds of various percussion and bronze gong instruments takes one to devotional ecstasy. [It is stated that the Bhasmabhishekas are performed by using the ashes of the first dead bodies of the previous day, sanctified by Mantras from the holy waters of River Kshipra. Ladies are not allowed to enter the Sanctum at the time of the Bhasmabhishekas although they could witness the proceedings on Close Circuit TVs.]The mythological background of the Temple was that there was a pious Brahmana well versed in Vedas and Scriptures had four learned sons named Devapriya, Priyamedha, Survita and Suvrata. A demon named Dushana lived nearby on a hill Ratnamala who could not tolerate the very concept of Vedas and its applications and particularly hated the Brahmana brothers. One day the Demon decided to destroy the brothers who were unfazed and continued their worship of Maha Siva. As the Demon and his cruel followers were about kill the brothers there was such a ‘Hunkar’or roaring sound of Mahakal which itself took away the breath of the entire band of Danavas headed by Dushan instantly. The Brahmana brothers prayed to the Lord who appeared on the spot and implored His manifestation of ‘Mahakala’ to stay put for the greatest benefit of posterity and conducted daily worship from generation to generation.[ Ujjain, the erstwhile Capital of Avanti, had considerable importance of India’s ancient history ruled in the past by Mauryas and Guptas. Memories of King Vikramaditya still linger in the City till date.His Nine Gems of Poets especially Kalidasa who scripted famed Works like Megha Sandesam, Abhijnana Shakuntalam and so on, the other Gems being Dhanvantari, Kshapanaka, Amarasimha, Sankhu, Vetala Bhatta, Ghatakopara, Varahamihira and Vara Ruchi. Bhartruhari the step brother of King Vikramaditya became an ascetic and the Caves of Bhartruhari are on the tourist map of the City as many believe that a person entering the maze of the Caves seldom returns! Kalbharava Temple too is an interesing feature; as much of liquor poured as Naivedya (offerings) in the Deity’s throat (in the form of a Dog), half of it is returned as ‘Prasad’! Ujjain is one of the Seven ‘Mukti Sthalas’ (Salvation Places) of India, besides Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Benares, Kanchipuram and Dwaraka.]

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by
V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager,
India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India
The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in