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Q: What is the significance of a Jyotirlinga?

Jyotirlinga in India Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Art of Living

Q: What is the significance of a Jyotirlinga?


#SriSri: ‘Jyoti’ means flame. The consciousness of a saint is like a flame. In the older days, wherever the saints stayed, they established these Jyotirlingas. They asked people to come there and meditate. If you see, the form of god is like a light and like a stone. He is the light within us. To make people aware of this the Jyotirlingas were established. People would go there, sit, pray and meditate – then they would discover their being. These places were called ‘Jyotirlingas’ because it is where people realized that they are the form of 'Jyoti' within. To identify these places, they called it Linga. What is a Linga? It means to identify. It is a marker. When a child is born, how do you identify whether it is a boy or a girl? You identify it by looking at the genitals. They give the sign of the gender. That’s why the genitals are also called the ‘Lingas’. Linga means the sign. Like ‘Gau’ means cow, thought and movement. How has the name for the cow been given as ‘Gau’? That is because the cow moves. Knowledge, movement, thoughts & liberation - these four are the root of ‘Gau’.Similarly, Linga means the identification. The genitals are the identifiers of the Gender. Similarly, the Shivalinga is the identification that there is God in the world. It is the identification for the God. You place a stone there; by looking at the stone you would remember the god which is in the form a flame; that which is omnipresent. These places were called Jyotirlingas, because there were saints present at the places. In the presence of Saints in the satsang – people would meditate and would find their light within. The Flame doesn’t refer to the flame of a lamp - but that we are ourselves are light. This is how the song – ‘Shivoham, Shivoham’ originated.
Then, these were spread throughout India for the people who could not travel from the North to the South or from the East to the West. In every corner of the country these 12 Jyotirlingas were created. From the Himalayas to Rameshwaram; from Vadiyanathdham to Gujrat these were established. This means at all these places the saints were present and they would help people in identifying the ‘Jyoti’. This is the significance of Jyotirlinga.

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