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Tryambakeshwara Jyotirlinga

(Ref: Shiva Purana - Koti Rudra Samhita - 24 to 27)

Shiva Tryambakeshwar JyotirlingaMeditation: I meditate on the Tryambakeshwara Jyotirlinga at Brahmagiri mountain where sage Gautama worshipped Lord Shiva as an act of repentance for (a false accusation of) killing a cow; and Lord Shiva appeared before him and relieved him from the false accusation, and also released river Gautami Ganga (Godavari) from his matted hairs.

Sage Gautama performing penance: In ancient times there lived a famous sage known as Gautama with his chaste wife Ahalya (who subsequently performed tapas for thousand years in the Brahmagiri hills). Once there was no rainfall for hundred years. All living beings suffered greatly. Sage Gautama performs tapas with pranayama for six months and pleases Varuna Deva. As a boon Varuna Deva fills a pit dug by Gautama with perennial water. Due to this perennial water supply, the ashrama of Gautama becomes filled with various foodgrains, trees, flowers and fruits. Knowing about this, thousands of sages, animals, birds and other beings arrive there. The place develop into a beautiful forest.

Once when the disciples of sage Gautama goes to the water pit to fill water, the wives of the other sages rebuke them saying that they were entitled to fill water first, being the wives of the sages. The disciples return and tell this to Devi Ahalya. When she accompanies them and gets the water, the other wives rebuke her also. Thereafter those wives instigate their husbands to drive away sage Gautama. The sages in delusion invokes Ganeshwara and ask for the boon of getting Gautama driven out of the ashrama. Ganeshwara tries to abstain them from their intentions in various ways, warning them that this will bring about their downfall. However the sages remain adamant.

Ganeshwara takes the form of a skeleton cow and enters the field of the ashrama. Gautama takes a straw to drive out the cow but the cow instantly falls down and dies. The other sages take this opportunity and blames Gautama of killing a cow. They ask him to leave the ashrama. Gautama leaves the place and builds an ashrama one krosha away. He asks the sages for the method of repentance. The sages tell him to circumambulate the Brahmagiri mountain one hundred eight times, bring Ganga on earth and have a bath in that, and worship Lord Shiva by making one crore Parthiva Lingas. Thereafter taking bath in the Ganga, go around the mountain eleven times, and then bathe the Parthiva Lingas in Ganga water hundred times.

Gautama goes round the Brahmagiri mountain and then makes a Parthiva Linga and starts worshipping Lord Shiva. He was accompanied by Devi Ahalya.

Lord Shiva appearing before sage Gautama: Lord Shiva becomes pleased and appear before sage Gautama. Shiva tells Gautama to ask for a boon. When Gautama tells the Lord to relieve him of the sins, Shiva reveals the conspiracy of the sages and tells that Gautama is always pure. Sinful persons become pure by looking at him. So Shiva tells Gautama to ask for another boon. Gautama thinks that the news of his sin has spread everywhere and his intention of purification should be carried out. He therefore requests the Lord to make Ganga flow there. Shiva grants the boon and makes the remaining water of the Ganga flow down the Brahmagiri hill. The gods arrive there and eulogize Lord Shiva and Devi Ganga. They request them to stay there permanently. The gods tell that when Guru (Jupiter) will come in Simha Rasi, all the gods will also arrive there. At the request of gods and sage Gautama, Ganga flowed there by the name Gautami, and Lord Shiva abided there as Tryambakeshwara Jyotirlinga. Both of them wash away great sins.

Flow of Gautami Ganga: The flow of Ganga starts in Brahmagiri hills from Udumbara branches. Sage Gautama takes bath there. The place is known as Gangadwara and washes away all sins. When the sages who hatched conspiracy against Gautama comes there for bath, river Ganga disappears. Gautama out of mercy tells the sages to perform repentance by circumambulating the mountain hundred and one times. After the completion of their repentance, at the request of sage Gautama, river Ganga appears there again from Kushavarta, a place below Gangadwara. A person taking bath there is relieved of all sins.

Pilgrimage: Tryambakeshwar Jyotirlinga, Nashik district, Maharashtra Tryambakeshwar Jyotirlinga, Nashik district, Maharashtra Tryambakeshwara Jyotirlinga is identified with Tryambakeshwar temple in the Nashik district of Maharashtra.


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Last updated on Dec-2021

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