Saturday, 14 October 2017

Draksharamam Temple - Andhra Pradesh, Bhimeswara Swamy Temple

Near the delta of the sacred Godavari River, in the northeastern costal regions of Andhra Pradesh, India, exists an ancient storehouse of Divine Energy, a timeless treasure known as Draksharamam Temple. The temple stands on hallowed land that has witnessed some of the most significant events in Sanatana Dharma (Hindu) faith. Today, Drākṣārāmam Temple enshrines the world’s largest svāyambhu (or self-born) Śiva Lingam and is one of the 18 Śaktī Peethas (or centers of divine feminine energy in the world). The Śiva lingam here is 14 feet tall and known as Śrī Bhīmeśwara Swāmi, which literally translated means the awe-inspiring form of Lord Śiva. His consort is the Goddess Śrī Māṇikyamba Devī, one the 18 Shakti Peethas in the world as recognized by Ādi Śaṅkarācārya, the great saint who lived in the 8 century CE that with unified the main branches of thought within Hinduism.

Drākṣhārāmam Shakti Peetham The history of this important pilgrimage place begins countless of years ago,in previous yugas (or ages), with the story of Lord Śiva and the human incarnation of the Divine Mother known as Satī Devī. At times the Divine Mother, Śakti, has taken birth as a human being to reunite with and marry Lord Śiva. Such was the case when Satī Devi was born into the family of a powerful but arrogant ruler,  Dakṣha Prajāpati. The Prajāpati despised Lord Śiva. But despite her father’s staunch disapproval, Satī Devī eventually married Lord Śiva. After their marriage, Dakṣha Prajapati traveled from North India to Drākṣhārāmam to perform a large yajnam, or fire ceremony, that has become known as Dakṣha Yajnam. Dakṣha invited the entire celestial realm, all of the Devatas (Gods) were invited, with the the exception of Lord Śiva and Satī Devī. In an attempt to convince her father to accept Lord Śiva as both her husband as well as a form of the Supreme Being, Satī Devī left Lord Śiva and attened Dakṣha’s Yajnam. Tragedy soon followed when the Prajāpati refused Satī Devī and her requests to welcome Lord Śiva. Dakṣha continued to insult the Lord and Satī Devī, until enraged Satī Devī was driven to end her human existence by self-immolation.
Upon witnessing this awful scene, the all-knowing Lord Śiva descended to earth and mourned the loss of his eternal Love, the complement of his own Self in human form, Satī .  Today, a portion of the remains of Goddess Satī still remain at Drākṣhāramam, and the other locations in the world where they are known as the Śaktī Pīthas.  It is worth noting that Drākṣhārāmam was earlier known aDakṣhārāmam.

The portion of Satī Devī that exists in Dakṣaramam was installed by Lord Śiva.  Much later, about 1200 years ago, the Ādi Śaṅkarācārya visited this place and installed a powerful Śrī Chakra here in the shrine of the Goddess. This extremely powerful form of Divine Mother is known as Māṇikyamba Devī, and is one of the 18 recognized Śaktī Pīthas. Today the temple is under the shield of the Indian government’s archeological department.
Neighboring the Drakṣhārāmam Temple we can still see today the Dakṣha Prajāpati’s Homa Kunda (or sacrificial fire pit) where Satī Devī left her body. Now the homa kunda retains water and has become a small tank. An effigy of the Goddess Satī has been enshrined in the center and small temple exists adjacent to the homa kunda.
Śrī Bhīmeśhwara Swāmi – the largest svāyambhu lingam in the world.  Towering at 14 feet high and tunneling to unknown depths underground, Śrī Bhīmeśwara Swāmi is an awesome experience to behold.  The lingam was not carved or fashioned by any human hands, rather it is svāyambhu (or self born).  It is a sphaṭika (or crystal) lingam that now has an opaque hue from ages and ages of abhiṣhekam (bathing the lingam in various auspicious substances). It is one of the five Panchārāma Lingams, which literally means a Lingam of the ‘five pieces’. Each of these five Śiva lingams were originally a single, extremely powerful lingam that came from the ātma of Lord Śiva Himself.  As such, this lingam grants health, wealth, material needs and comforts to His devotees. And most importantly Śrī Bhīmeśwara Swami bestows mokṣha or spiritual illumination to the devout.

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