Mahashivratri Festival :- Manifestation of Lord Shiva as a Jyotirlinga

Puranas says that, once the other two of the triads of Hindu Gods, Brahma and Vishnu were fighting over each other’s prowess. Horrified at the strength of the battle, the other gods asked Shiva to interfere. To make them realize the uselessness of their fight, Lord Shiva assumed the form of a flaming Linga in between Brahma and Vishnu and challenged both of them by asking them to measure the huge Linga (phallic symbol of Lord Shiva).

Awestruck by its importance, Brahma and Vishnu decided to find one end each to establish incomparability over the other. Lord Brahma took the form of a swan and went upwards while Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Varaha (a boar) and went into the earth towards nether land. Both searched for thousands of miles but neither could find the end.

On his journey growing, Brahma came across Ketaki flower. Exhausted and confused with his search to find the maximum limit of fiery column, Brahma made Ketaki agree to lie that he had seen the top of the column where the flower had before resided. Accompanied by his accomplice, Brahma confronted Vishnu and asserted that he had indeed naked the origin of the enormous column.

At this point, the central part of the pillar crack and open and Shiva discovered himself in his full glory. Overawed, both Brahma and Vishnu bowed before him accepted lord Shiva’s supremacy. Lord Shiva also explained to Brahma and Vishnu that both of them were born out of him and that the three were then divided out into three different aspects of divinity.

But, Lord Shiva was angry with Brahma for making a false claim. The Lord cursed Brahma that no one would ever pray to him. Lord Shiva also punished the Ketaki flower for testifying wrongly and banned her from being used as an offering for any worship. (This legend explains why there is hardly any Brahma temple of significance in India.)

Because it was on the 14th day in the dark fortnight of the month of Phalgun that Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a Linga, the day is extremely favorable and is celebrated as Mahashivratri.

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