Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga: Shiva, the Destroyer of Life Cycle

Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple is nestled in enchanting greenery. It is standing tall, narrating the ancient tales on the western bank of the Ganges at Varanasi. Varanasi is the oldest city in Indian culture, with the surviving Majesty of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. He is also called Vishweshwara or Vishwanath. Devotees of Mahadev visit Kashi to seek the blessings of the Lord and level up their spiritual peace. Many people visit Vishwanath to confer liberation and get free from the bondage of Maya and the entanglements of the material world. Let’s discover the legends of Shiva with us at Vedic Story

Significance of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple

It is believed that whoever visits and gets a glimpse of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga experiences divine energy. They gain a better understanding of life and purpose after a soul-cleansing experience at the temple. Devotees wish to walk on the path of devotion and Vedic knowledge. 

Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has transcendental surroundings that keep devotees away from the bondage of material greed. Sanatan Dharma is an abider of ancient texts and Indian mythology, lives a life of timeless tradition, and keeps spiritual values within her heart. 

The Great Saints of Ancient India and Devotees of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga

The Indian history of the Bhakti Movement has seen many great saints who devoted their lives to making people go on self-discovery journeys through the path of Bhakti. 

  • Adi Shankaracharya
  • Ramkrishna Paramhansa
  • Swami Vivekanand
  • Goswami Tulsidas
  • Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati
  • Gurunanak 

Vishweshwar Jyotirlinga: The Cosmic Fire and Cycle of Infinity

According to ancient texts, especially the Shiva Purana and Vedas, Lord Shiva is Shrishti (evolution), Sthiti (existence), and Samhara (involution). Hindu culture and its texts, epics, and folklore have these three cosmic realities and thoughts. 

Each of the forms is governed by a god. 

  • Brahma, the creator of the world, is the controller of Shrishti.
  • Vishnu, the preserver of the world, is the controller of Sthiti. 
  • Shiva, the destroyer of the world, is the controller of Samhara. 

They are famous as the Trinity, or Trimurthy. 

Lord Shiva, being the last, signifies the completion of the cycle and the beginning of the cycle. He is now the Supreme. He is the linga and represents the unity of all three states of the cosmos. 

Vishweshwar Roop: Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga iconography

Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga consists of three parts. Many devotees and people don’t know the meaning of it. However, today we at Vedic Story are going to explain the whole thing. 

A Square Base: It is the first part of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga at the bottom. It showcases the three mythical realms, or lokas, and signifies the evolution and permanent place of Brahma. 

An Octagonal Round: It is the second part of the Vishwanath Jyotirlinga. It comes in the middle, shows the eight directions, and signifies perseverance or existence. This eternal part of linga is the permanent abode of Vishnu. 

A Cylinder: The third part of the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga is the cylinder. It is the topmost of all three realms, with a spherical end. This cylinder signified involution, the completion of the cosmic cycle. This eternal part of Linga is the heavenly place of Shiva. 

This cosmic icon of Linga is showcasing supreme energy and a state of integrity. Shiva linga is the infinite cosmic mandala. 

  • As Sadasiva, the eternal reality, he is the linga, the fire, and complete knowledge.
  • As Rudra, the destroyer, Lord Shiva is the husband of Goddess Kali, the 1st Dasha Mahvidya.
  • As Bhairava, the terrible destroyer, he is the spouse of Goddess Durga.
  • As a household member who lives in the Himalaya, he is the beloved husband of Parvati.

Shiva: The Rhythm of Life and Movement

Lord Shiva, the Vishwaveshwar, is the possessor of all forms of heavenly powers. He rests at the bottom of everything as a breath and is thus known as Ishvara. 

Shiva: The Cosmic Dance

Mahadev is the eternal rhythm of life who dances on his cosmic aura and is known as the Tandava Nartakari, the cosmic dancer. He is the one who keeps the music high in the world of the cosmos. 

Legend of Shiva’s Appearance

Shiva in Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple is known as Vishwaveshwar or Vishwanath, the ruler of the universe. 

As per ancient texts and mythology, he manifested in Kashi, now Varanasi, to bless the beautiful city and its devotees. People believe that whoever visits Kashi gets moksha, or salvation from the life cycle. 

Legend of Kaal Bhairav, the Terrifying One

Kall Bhairav, the terrifying one, is the form of Lord Shiva. He is the guardian of Kashi and Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple. Kaal Bhairav ensures that a sinful person with impure intentions cannot enter Varanasi. 

We can find one of the incidents in the Vedas and Shiva Purana, where Kaal Bhairav cut off Brahma’s head as a punishment for his great arrogance, leaving the four heads. 

Folklore of Goddess Annapurna

Annapurna Temple is adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple, dedicated to the goddess of food and nourishment. 

As per the Shiva Purana, Parvati once wanted to playfully argue with Shiva about the importance of nourishment and sustenance. 

To showcase her point, she disappeared. The world began to suffer from hunger. Thereafter, to bring her back, Lord Shiva took the form of a beggar and visited Kashi. The goddess Annapurna fed him wholeheartedly. Lord Shiva was grateful for her nourishment and promised that no one would fall into poverty in Kashi. 

Legends of Manikarnika Ghat

Another Vedic story comes from the Shiva Purana, which narrates the story of Nirgun Shiva. Mahadev created a world for Vishnu to reside in. 

As per the legends, once Lord Vishnu tilled his head, and mistakenly, his one ear fell, and the Manikarnika Ghat came into existence. 

Lord Shiva created the Panch Koshi area of Manikarnika and the water using his trident. As a result, Brahma was born from Vishnu’s navel. 

Brahma thereafter created the material world. Lord Shiva removed the city of Kashi from Trident and established it in the mortal world. 

However, during the Holocaust, he saved the Manikarnika in his Trishul, and thus the area is known as Avi Mukta Kshetra. 

Shiva: The Salvation Blower with a Mantra

There are many legends of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga; however, one such folklore is recorded: a devotee can get moksh from his life cycle by only worshiping Shiva. 

During the death of a human, Lord Shiva comes and helps devotees attain moksha by blowing a mantra into their ear and taking them to Mount Kailash. 

They die naturally, and Lord Yamraj does not come to take them forcefully. 

Architectural Significance

Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple is a beautiful melange of culture and history, with small shrines known as the Vishwanatha Galli.

The main temple is surreal in appearance, as it is in the form of a quadrangle with shrines dedicated to other gods and goddesses. They are Dhandapani, Kaal Bhairav, Vishnu, Avimukteshwara, Sanishwara, Vinayaka, Virupaksh Gauri, and Virupaksha.

The Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple structure seems like a Sabha Griha, or Congregation Hall. It then leads to the inner Garbha Griha, or Sanctum Sanctorum.

The temple is built in three parts:

  • The first part consists of a spire on the temple of Lord Vishwanath.
  • The second is a swarn or gold dome.
  • The third is also a swarn or gold spire placed at the top of Lord Vishwanath. He is carrying a flag and a trishul.

Around the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga temple, devotees can find a cluster of five lings, known as the Nilakantheswar temple.

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