Shiva, the supreme power as per the Hindu religious beliefs, has played a very important role in the formation of Indian culture. Known as Shiva or Mahadeva in the northern part of the country and Thillai in South, the divinity is considered among the three principle energies behind the formation of this universe. He is viewed as boundless, formless, transcendent and unchanging. Shiva has numerous benevolent and fearsome depictions.
“I want the world to know that the originator of yoga is
the Adiyogi, Shiva himself.” – Sadhguru
Mostly represented in mythologies as a Yogi or a peaceful entity, Shiva is also described as a fierce god in ancient religious texts in the form of Bhairava or Nataraja. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Saurashtra to Assam, he has been worshipped in various forms as the destroyer of evils and rescuer of the innocents.
Different intriguing myths and legends have been focused on the supremacy of Shiva resulting to the development of famous pilgrimage circuits like Dwadasha Jyotirlinga (12 temples), Panch Kedar (5 temples) and Pancha Bhuta Sthalams (5 great elements) in various corners of the country. Around hundreds of temples are found in India which are especially devoted to Samhar Karta (Destroyer) Shiva.
Regardless of whether you want to know joy or you want to know euphoria, for both your system needs to get willing. If you want to know joy, your brain should go to a specific state of readiness and your physical body should be in a specific degree of sensitivity. If you want to know the bliss of being one with something bigger than yourself, indeed your body needs to cooperate. Regardless of whether it is the individual human body or the bigger infinite body, essentially, they are made of five components – earth, water, fire, air, and space. In this, the initial four components are the active participants – space is the catalytic power. It is in the lap of this unfathomable space that these four components play the game. In this way, the Pancha bhutas are the five elements of nature.
What you call “myself” is only a mischief of these five known elements. If you want to understand the maximum potential of this mechanism which you call a human being or if you are someone who wants to rise above this one and become one with the bigger, cosmic mechanism, you need their cooperation. Unless you have a specific amount of dominance over these five elements, you can neither know the pleasure of the individual self nor the ecstasy of the cosmic being.
For the five elements in nature, there are five temples, which are largely geologically situated within the Deccan Plateau – four in Tamil Nadu, and one in Andhra Pradesh.
The major sadhana in yoga to gain mastery over these five components or to filter the elements in the system in such a way that they collaborate is referred to as bhuta shuddhi. If these five elements don’t cooperate, you can struggle as much as you want, and nothing will happen.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar rightly said, “There are five elements that form this creation: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether, and these five things are also called lingam because they signify or tell you that there is something beyond. The Earth represents the un-manifest consciousness, so the Earth is a lingam – means the Earth is an identification and a sign of the infinity. Water is the sign of infinity. You look at the mountain, the mountain tells you that there is some power. So, all the five elements remind you that there is a consciousness that creates orderliness.
If you see any stone, there are patterns in the stone also and there are colors in the stones. Stones are so fascinating. There is orderliness in that and this indicates that there is consciousness. Water has life and memory, have you heard about water having memory? Google this and you can know about the many experiments that reveal that water has memory; water is alive. Water indicates super consciousness.
Similarly, fire tells you there is consciousness. Air reminds you of the divinity, of the Shiva Tattva. Similarly, space tells you there is supreme power. So all these five elements in the planet indicate you towards something which is un-manifest because the five elements are manifest, that is why they are called lingam.
Anything that points towards something big, something that is inexpressible, something that is intangible, truth that is beyond all expressions is expressed in five elements.”
India is a land that has seen a dedicated kind of sadhana, understanding, focus, and authority for quite a while. For the five components in nature, there are five temples, which are for the most part geologically situated inside the Deccan Plateau – four in Tamil Nadu, and one in Andhra Pradesh. These temples were made not for worship, but for sadhana. People moved from one temple to the next to do sadhana on every one of the five elements.
To help you come true with these 5 elements, Sumeru Holidays organizes a Panchbhuta Tour. Embark on this spiritual encounter tour in India, the Panchbhuta Tour and let Sumeru Holidays, which falls under The Art of Living umbrella help you plan your journey, making you able to just concentrate on god and your devotions!
Pancha (Five) Bootham (Elements) Stalam (Place) dictates five temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, each representing the manifestation of the five prime elements of nature – land, air, water, sky, and fire. All of the five temples are located in the southern part of India, four being in Tamil Nadu and one in Andhra Pradesh.
Located in five south Indian temples, the Bhuta Lingams are said to be places where Shiva manifested himself as the natural elements.
The temples and their respective elements are
- Chidambaram or Chidambareshwar: ether (akasa)
- Sri Kalahasti or Kalahastishwar: wind (vayu)
- Tiruvanaikka/Jambunath / Jambukeshwar near Sriramgam: water / jala
- Ekambareshwar Temple: (prithvi) earth
- Tiruvanamalai (Arunachalam): (Agni) fire
- Deity: Ekambareswar
- Manifestation: Earth.
- Location: Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu.
This eminent temple in Kanchipuram, South India is one of the five significant Shiva temples or Pancha Bootha Sthalams representing the element of – Earth. Goddess Parvati worshipped Lord Shiva under a mango tree, as linga made with earth or prithvi to rejoin with him. This antiquated temple has been in presence even prior to 600 AD and has been sung by the loved Saivite Saints like Sundaramoorthy Nayanar, who recovered his lost eyesight after worshipping the lord of this temple.
- Deity : Jambukeshwar
- Manifestation : Water.
- Location : Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu.
Tiruvanaikovil is a little town, 3 kms from Trichy in South India, on the banks of River Cauvery. The presiding divinities of the temple are Lord Jambukeshwar and Goddess Akhilandeshwari. One can see water overflowing out of the linga in this holy place and subsequently the name Appu linga or Lingam of water. Being one of Panchabhootha sthala it is called Appu Sthalam. It is likewise called ‘Upadesha sthala’ as the altars of Lord Shiva and Parvati are seen confronting one another. The Goddess herself got inception into inestimable realities from Lord Shiva in this hallowed spot, similar to an understudy from a venerated Guru.
- Deity : Arunachaleswar
- Manifestation : Fire.
- Location : Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu.
Legends state that Lord Shiva manifested as a column of fire in Tiruvannamalai to teach a lesson to Vishnu and Brahma. He took the form of Ardhanarishwara in this heavenly spot. The entire mountain is a linga, the manifestation of Shiva in the form of fire in Tiruvannamalai. Annamalaiyar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, situated at the base of the Annamalai slope in Thiruvannamalai town. Saivite artists like Appar, Sambandar, Sekkizhar and Arunagirinathar have sung in commendation of the Lord here.
- Deity : Kalahastheeswar.
- Manifestation : Air.
- Location : Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh.
Situated in the state of Andra Pradesh on the banks of River Swarnamukhi, is another linga of Shiva. It is said that Lord Brahma offered prayers to Shiva and washed in this waterway to get rid of “Sisuhathya patakam”, the wrongdoing of killing kids. It is called Vayu sthala or the Air linga. As indicated by legends, it is in this temple, where Lord Shiva shows up with five faces implying the five components – earth, water, fire, sky and air. Saints of yesteryear have proclaimed that simply one visit to this temple is sufficient for an aspiring devotee to achieve salvation and free himself from the wrongdoings of past lives. All the malefic impacts caused because of the two serpentine planets Rahu and Ketu in an individual’s horoscope, are alleviated when prayers are offered in this temple. Another fascinating element of this temple is that Lord Shiva embodies himself all the 8 planets with the exception of Saturn. One can’t find separate sanctum sanctorum for the eight planets, aside from one for planet Saturn.
- Deity : Nataraja
- Manifestation : Sky.
- Location : Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu.
The temple town of Chidambaram has the celebrated Saivaite temple devoted to Lord Shiva as Nataraja. Nataraja is found in the well known anandha tandava pose, the dance of creation. The presiding deity of the temple is Nataraja with his associate Sivagami. Shiva is adored as space or ether known as Akasa Lingam. The prestigious Saivaite saint poets Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar have sung hymns in glory of the ruler of this temple, Nataraja.
To free yourself from the process of birth and re-birth, one should visit all these 5 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Embark on this spiritual encounter in India, the Panchbhuta Tour and let Sumeru Holidays, which falls under The Art of Living umbrella help you plan your journey, making you able to just concentrate on god and your devotions! Plan your spiritual walk with Sumeru Holidays, which is a one-stop solution to all travel-relatedn problems!
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