Shiv Jee | Shiv Temples
See also Murudeshwar Temple
Mahaabaleshwar Temple is located in Gokarn Kshetra, Sataaraa District in Karnaatak State of India. One can have a glimpse of this 6 feet tall Ling of the Mahaabaleshwar Temple of Gokarn only during the occasion of Asht Bandhan Kumbhaabhishekam, that is once in 40 years. As the Mahaabaleshwar Temple holds the legacy and heroic deed of Lord Ganesh so there is a Ganesh Temple also located nearby the main shrine. Other than these two Gods, the Mahaabaleshwar Temple is also a shrine for gods like Chandikeshwar, Aadi Gokarneshwar, Gokarnanayagee and Dattaatreya.
The devotees always bath in the sea before entering the Temple, as according to the Hindu mythology it is said that one should purify his body and mind before making any prayer to God. There is also a Shiv Ling on the coast, made of sand, which the devotees worship before going to the Temple. Also located around Gokarn are Shejjeshwar, Gunavanteshwar, Murudeshwar and Dhaareshwar. These four temples along with Mahaabaleshwar are known as the Panch Mahaakshetra. This Golden Gokarn is available for anyone who can chant Shree Rudram can go over there and stay for a while and keep chanting the same before Mahaabaleshwar.
Gokarn is also respected as " Siddhi Kshetra", (the more you know of the religious practice, and the more you will honor and worship it. The more you study it, the more it will enlighten you and satisfy your heart). Gokarn is acclaimed as "Mukti Sthal" (After the death of a close relative, Hindu come here to perform their obsequies) of Karnaatak along with the other Mukti Sthal such as Udupee, Kolloor, Subrahmanya, Kumbasi, Kodeshwar, and Shankar Naaraayan.
Another greatness of Gokarn is that the sea water is not salty compared to natural flavor of the sea water
The Legend of Gokarn :
As Raavan was coming near Gokarn, Vishnu who had known well that Raavan was punctual in performing his daily rites (Sandhyaa Vandan), hides Sun with His Sudarshan Chakra (wheel). Thinking that it was time to perform the evening rites, Raavan looked around for somebody who could help him to hold that Ling till he finished his Sandhyaa. He soon found a Braahman boy roaming around. He got very happy to see him and asked him to hold the Aatm Ling in his hand till he came back after finishing his Sandhyaa.
Ganapati agreed to hold the Ling on one condition that he would do so till he would be able to bear the weight of Ling and that thereafter he would call Raavan three times and if failed to come to him by then, he would place the Ling on the ground. Raavan went to do his Sandhyaa but took some to finish it. By then Ganapati got tired and he called Raavan that "come, I am tired, I am going to place the Ling on the ground". Raavan aked to wait for a little while more, but Ganapati was tired so he called him again to come, but Raavan's Sandhyaa was not finished yet, so he asked him to hold it a little while more. But this time Ganapati could not hold it any more, he called him the third time. Although Raavan ran as fast as he could towards the boy, but by the time he reached the boy to take Ling back, the boy had placed the Ling on the ground and vanished.
So he went to urinate, and Saraswatee Jee and her companions increased the amount of his urine that in spite of trying to stop it, he could not stop it. He himself wondered what was happening to him. On he other side the boy was calling him several times and Raavan was always saying to him, "I am coming, I am coming, just wait for a couple of minutes more." But his couple of minutes were not coming to end. After all the boy got tired, he kept the Ling on the ground and went away. As the boy kept the Ling on the ground, Raavan's urine also stopped. Raavan rushed to take the Ling from that boy but the boy had already put the Ling on the ground. Raavan tried his best to list it up but could not. In rage he started beating that Ling and beat it so much that it all went down the earth and remained only equal to a cow's ear. That is why that place came to be known as Gokarn.
The Aatm Ling at once got firmly entrenched in the ground. Raavan came back and found the Ling stuck to the ground. He beat his head and in distress an anger he tried to pull out the Ling, but the Ling did not budge even a little. It resulted in his throwing the coverings of the Ling to Dhaareshwar, Gunavanteshwar, Murudeshwar and Shejjeshwar temples. Raavan was unable to lift the Ling from the ground again and called Shiv Ling as Mahaabal (you are too strong). And ever since the Ling illustrious is known as Mahaabaleshwar. Later he learned that he was tricked by gods.
Shiv learnt all this from Vaayu Dev (Wind god), and came on to Earth with Goddess Paarvatee and other gods. He visited these five places and worshipped the Ling which had now taken five forms. He acknowledged that these five places would be his "Panch Kshetra" (Five Holy Places).
There is a 6-feet tall Aatm Ling here enshrined in a square called Shaaligraam Peeth. It is opened for viewing once in forty years. Now only the tip of the Ling can be seen through an opening in the Peeth. Gokarn means "Cow's Ear". It is believed that Shiv has emerged from the ear of a cow. This town lies between the two Rivers - Gangaavalee and Agha-naashinee and is situated along the Karwar coast by the Arabian Sea.
Gokarn is also mentioned in Shree Mad Bhaagavat Puraan as being the home of the two brothers Gokarn and Dhundhukaaree. Gokarn is called the Kaashee of the southern India. It has been attracting millions of pilgrims for hundreds of years. Gokarn is also an important center of Sanskrit learning and houses Bhandikeree Math and Toggu Math. Many Hindu perform the last rites of a person here.
How to Do Darshan of Mahaadev (according to Puraan)
In fact after No 6 we need to take a dip in many Teerth in and around Gokarn. But most of the Teerth have become wells come under people's houses. Very difficult to identify.
How to Go There
Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on April 11, 2013