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About 12 Jyotirlingas

According to Linga Purana once Brahma and Vishnu started fighting over who was the supreme being. Suddenly, there appeared a Shivalinga before them as a huge column of fire. Both of them decided to find one end each. Whoever returned first would be acknowledged as supreme. Vishnu assumed the form of  Varah and went down. Brahma, in the form of a swan, flew upwards. They searched for days but in vain. Then Shiva appeared in the fiery column. Brahma and Vishnu realised their mistake and acknowledged Shiva as the Supreme Being. The Shivalinga represents that column of fire as 12 Jyotirlingas. This incident took place on Krishna Chaturdashi of the Phalgun month in the Ardra nakshatra. This day is celebrated today as the festival of Mahashivratri.

There are 12 famous Jyotirlingas where Lord Shiva appeared in the form of light (Jyothi) lingam. These have been worshipped from time immemorial. They are mentioned in the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga Stotra given here.

Saurashtra Somnatham Cha Shrishaile Mallikarjunam ||
Ujjainyam Mahakalomkare Mammaleshwaram ||
Parlyam Vaijnatham Cha Dakinyam Bheem Shankaram ||
Setu Bandhe Tu Ramesham Nagesham Daruka Vane ||
Varanasya      Tu       Vishwesham      Tribakam           Gautamitate||
Himalaye Tu Kedaram Ghurmesham Cha Shivalaye ||
Aetani Jyotirlingani Sayam Prataha Pathennaraha ||
Sapta Janma Kritam Papam Smaranen Vinashyati ||

English Translation(Literal).

Somanath in Saurashtra and Mallikarjunam in Shri-Shail. .

Mahakaal in Ujjain and Amleshwar in Omkareshwar. .

Vaidyanath in Paralya and Bhimashankaram in Dakniya..

Rameshem (Rameshwaram) in Sethubandh and Nageshem (Nageshwar) in Darauka-Vana.

Vishwa-Isham (Vishvanath) in Vanarasi and Triambakam at bank of Gautami River. .

Kedar (Kedarnath) in Himalayas and Gushmesh (Gushmeshwar) in Shivalaya (Shiwar).

One who recites these Jyotirlingas every evening and morning. He is relieved of all sins committed in past seven lives.One who visits these, gets all his wishes fulfilled

The word Jyotirling is derived from the words Jyoti (vision) and ling (symbol of Shiv). From a philosophical viewpoint, it means the vision that shows a devotee the path toward unison with Shiv, and by treading the path, one can be in complete harmony with Shiv.

Jyotirlinga or Jyotirling or Jyotirlingam is a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva where Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlingam or “Lingam of Light”. There are said to be twelve Jyotirlinga shrines in India although their location is not consistently identified. The Jyotirlingas look like any other Shiva Linga. However, it is believed that a person who has attained a certain degree of spirituality sees these lingas as columns of fire piercing through the Earth.Jyotirlinga are the 12 special shrines dedicated to Shiva since ancient times .
Significance of greatness of the Jyotirlingas. It goes on to say that by reciting the name of 12 Jyotirlinga a devotee can eliminate all the sins.

It is  said that after attaining a certain level of devotion to Shiv, the devotee can see the stone ling as a glow of light radiating from the Earth.

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