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Nageshvara

According to a narrative, the Balakhilyas, a group of dwarf sages worshipped Shiva in Darukavana for long time. To test their devotion and patience, Shiva came to the Darukavana as an digambara  ascetic, wearing only Nagas in his body. Wives of sages were attracted and ran after the ascetic, leaving back their husbands. Sages got very disturbed and frustrated with this. They lost their patience and cursed ascetic to loose his linga. Shivalinga fell on the earth and whole world trembled. Brahma and Vishnu came to Shiva, requested him to save earth from destruction and take back his linga. Shiva consoled them and took back his linga.(Vamana Purana Ch.6 and 45)

Shiva promised his divine presence in Darukavana as Jyotirlinga for ever. Later Darukavana became favourite place of Nagas and Vasuki worshipped Shiva here for long and there after the Jyotirlinga came to be known as Nagnath or Nageshvara.

It is also said that a demoness ‘Daaruka’ worshiped Mata Parvati. Pleased with the great penance and devotion of Daruka, Mata Parvati gave her a boon that she would be the queen of the forest and the forest would be called ‘DARUKAVANA’. Devi Parvati gave her the power to shift the forest.To save denoms, Daruka used her special powers she had got from goddess Parvati. She shifted the entire forest into the sea. From here they continued their operation against hermits. They used to kidnap sages and kept them in their new place. Once they captured a great Shiva devotee, Supriya. Arrival of Supriya changed the situation. He made all captives recite powerful Om Namaha Shivay mantra of Lord Shiva. Taking this as a rebellion, demons decided to kill Supriya, but they failed as Lord Shiva appeared there and saved him. Daruka realized her mistake. Then Shiva and Parvati stayed there. Lord Shiva once again assumed the form of Jyotirlinga with the name Nageshwar and Goddess Parvati was known as Nageshwari. Lord Shiva said that he will show the correct path to one’s who will worship him.

Nageshvara Jyotirlinga is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana (Śatarudra Saṁhitā,Ch.42/2-4, referred as “nagesham darukavane”). The Shiva Purana says Nageshvara is in the Darukavana, which is an ancient epic name of a forest in India. Darukavana finds mention in Indian epics like Kamyakavana, Dvaitavana, Dandakavana,etc. ‘Darukavana’ can also be taken to exist adjacent to Vindhya Mountains. It is south-southwest of the Vindhyas extending to sea in west.

In the Dvadasha Jyotirlinga Stotra (6), Shankaracharyapraised this Jyotirlinga as Naganath:

Yamye sadange nagaretiramye vibhushitangam vividhaishcha bhogai Sadbhaktimuktipradamishamekam shrinaganatham sharanam prapadye

The Jyotirlinga in the temple is known as Nageshwar Mahadev. The Jyotirlinga situated in the temple is considered to protect everybody from all sort of poisons. It is believed that one who offers prayers in the temple becomes poison free. It is said that those who pray to the Nageshwar Linga become free of poison. The Rudra Samhita sloka refers to Nageshwar with the phrase ‘Daarukaavane Naagesham’

Nageshwar Mahadev Sivalingam is facing South while the Gomugam is facing east. There is a story for this position. A devotee by name Naamdev was singing bhajans in front of the Lord. Other devotees asked him to stand aside and not hide the Lord. To this Naamdev asked them to suggest one direction in which the Lord does not exist, so that he can stand there. The enraged devotees carried him and left him on the southside. To their astonishment, they found that the Linga was now facing South with the Gomugam facing east.

   

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