An Overview Of the Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple Deoghar
The Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple is located in Deoghar district in Santhal Pargana of the Indian state of Jharkhand. The temple dates to ancient historical days and hence, the exact time of construction and information of the maker is unknown. However, according to a legend, the Jyotirlinga was accidentally placed by the demon king Ravana. So, Vishwakarma, the architect of Hindu Gods built the temple.
A place of religious value
Vaidyanath temple is of immense religious significance to the Hindus. The temple is one the 12 jyotirlinga of lord shiva, the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. The temple is dedicated to the worship of Sree Vaidyanath, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, who is the most powerful entity among the Hindu Gods. The temple has even more significance to the Shaivites, the sect in Hinduism who are ardent followers of Lord Shiva. According to Hinduism, the Jyotirlinga is the supreme eternal ray of light from which Lord Shiva appears. There is a belief in Hinduism that Lord Shiva manifested himself as the Jyotirlinga in this temple.
The presiding deity
Lord Vaidyanath is the presiding deity of this sacred temple. The presiding deity if worshipped in the form of a Shiva Lingam, which represents a phallus. The Lingam is considered as the symbol of energy and revered as Lord Shiva. The Shiva Lingam represents the Brahmanda, according to traditional Hindu religious theory. The deity Lord Vaidyanath is worshipped as the God of doctors. As the literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Vaidyanath suggests, Vaidya means doctor and nath means God. The temple faces the east.
The worshipped form
There is no idol of Lord Vaidyanath in the temple. The presiding deity is revered in the form of a Shiva Lingam. The Lingam is slightly broken on the top. The Lingam is seen placed on top of a block of circular stone, which represents the Yoni. The Yoni is the symbol of the Divine Mother Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Worship is offered to the union of the Lingam and Yoni. This union signifies the eternal source of creative and regenerative energy.
Other holy shrines
Besides the main temple of Lord Vaidyanath, there are twenty-two other minor temples present in the complex of the temple. Most of the other shrines in the temple premises are dedicated to the different incarnations of Lord Shiva. There are smaller temples that are devoted to several significant Gods and Goddesses significant to the Hindu religion.
Rituals of worship
The presiding deity, Lord Vaidyanath is revered in the form of a Shiva Lingam. The Lingam is bathed with water, milk and honey every day. A metal pot containing water can be seen hanging right over the top of the Lingam that continuously drips water on the Shiva Lingam. This phenomenon is done because, according to religious myths, Lord Shiva is fond of water. Moreover, white flowers are offered in reverence to Lord Vaidyanath. Priests at the temple start offering obeisance to the presiding deity even before sunrise. In the course of the day, many other religious rituals are held. Tantric worship of Lord Bhairav, an incarnation of Lord Shiva is also held.
Festivals and ceremonies
Apart from the daily worship of Lord Vaidyanath, there are several religious ceremonies and festivals are also held in the temple of vaidyanath jyotirlinga. Among the events, the most significant are Mahashivaratri and Shravan Mela.
Mahashivaratri is an annual festival held in the month of Magha, which is the tenth month of the Hindu calendar. This festival is one of the most important religious festivities among the Hindus, especially the Shaivites. The celebration of Mahashivaratri is marked by elaborate religious ceremonies. Devotees from every part of India come to the Deoghar Vaidyanath temple to worship the deity. Whole day fasting and all-night vigil are held by the devotees as a token of obeisance to Lord Shiva.
Shravan Mela is another significant religious event. It is marked by pouring of water from the holy river Ganges on the Shiva Lingam. Devotees bring water from the river Ganges in pots called Kanwars. They carry the Kanwars on their shoulders and make a journey on foot from the banks of the river to the Vaidyanath temple. The devotees are known as the kanwariyas. The penance is an obeisance paid to Lord Shiva.
An important place for pilgrims
The holy shrine of Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga in Deoghar is one of the most frequented pilgrimage sites in India. It is eminently popular among the Shaivites, who can consider Lord Shiva as the supreme being of the universe. The huge rush of devotees to this pilgrimage during Mahashivaratri and the month of Shravan are worth a site better experienced than heard.