Jyotir Lingum Yatra

A travel log for my journey to 10 Jyotir Lingums throughout south and central India, November-December 2002 with my yoga group, Dhyanyoga Centers.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Darshan, loosely translated, means "to see." But darshan in a Hindu temple is a two-way street: not only are you getting to see God, but God is getting to see you too!

In the West we typically relate to the Divine in our own physical image, especially through a God/Man, like Jesus Christ or the Heavenly Father. While in the East, God is also worshiped commonly in both male and female human forms, God is also venerated in other shapes, such as the Shiva Linga. Lingums are typically an oval-shaped form of the Universe, the Cosmic Egg, so to speak, which represents the Totality of the Divine.

Whether the devotee prefers to relate to God in a human form, a lingum, or even the formless are considered all equally valid approaches in Hinduism, and much Eastern thought, in general.

So with that brief explanation, allow me to take you inside the Jyotir Lingum temple at Mamaleshwar.

It is customary to ring the bells outside a temple entrance. Although I had not thought about it until now, it's kind of like God's doorbells, to let Him know you're coming inside.

The Shiva Lingum itself is that black stone in the middle of the copper platform. You'll notice the offering of bilva leaves, flowers, and some coconuts.

A copper pot of water is suspended above the lingum so that a drip of water is constantly offered.

The inner sanctum was a rather small space, and people had to split up in groups of about 7-10 to fit inside.

If you have any questions about these pictures, or anything else about my trip photos, please feel free to email me and I will answer your questions to the best of my understanding.

Next time I will take you inside a temple dedicated to the Divine Mother, to show you the contrast.