Kashmir – The Land of Lord Shiva


“Wuchtan ye Jabbar Janda – Haarus ti korun wanda”
Look at this awful Jabbar. He turned summer into winter

Kashmir is the land of Mahadev Shiva and Maa in all Her splendour. It is the land of Shiva Sutras and also Kheer-Bhavani. Sharada or Saraswati is KashmiraPura Vasini. It is the land of the Sharada Peeth, where Adi Shankaracharya had to debate and explains His works to the souls of earlier JagadGurus to earn the title of a Jagadguru Himself.

One of the most important festivals in Kashmir is Maha Shivratri, which comes in the month of March / Phalgun Krishnapaksh Trayodashi (depending on the Hindu calendar one follows – it usually comes in February). Usually, most Hindus worship Shiva in the month of Shravan (July/August) and Kartika (November, in the South). Shravan Somvaar is considered very holy. In Kashmir too, people visit Amarnath cave in this month. But it is the MahaShivratri of February which is celebrated the most in Kashmir.

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In Kashmir, the story of the great Jwala Linga or pillar of light, which appeared on Mahashivratri day is told as follows:

The flaming Linga appeared at Pradoshakala or the dusk of the early night as a blazing column of fire and dazzled Vatuka Bhairava and Rama (or Ramana) Bhairava, Mahadevi’s mind-born sons. They approached it to discover its beginning or end but couldn’t find it. They were terrified of the pillar of fire and they began to sing its praises and went to Mata Parvati, who Herself merged with the awe-inspiring Jwala-linga. The Goddess then blessed both Vatuka and Ramana that they would be worshipped by human beings and would receive their share of sacrificial offerings on that day and those who would worship them would have all their wishes fulfilled.

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But what is the connection of this story with the verse at the beginning? Mahadev is not called Maha-Dev for anything. He is Ashutosh – He loves His Bhakts. Once, Jabbar Khan, the Pathan Governor of Kashmir, forbade the Kashmiri Hindus from celebrating Shivratri in February. The Kashmiri Hindus had a ritual of making little Shivlingas out of SNOW and doing Puja to it. This Jabbar Khan told them not to celebrate in February when it used to snow, but to celebrate it in July when there was no chance of it snowing.

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But guess what happened next???? It snowed on the Shivratri day in July. And the Kashmiris were able to make Shivlingas from snow and offer their prayers to the Mighty Shiva! Shivratri is called ‘Herath’ in Kashmiri, a word derived from the Sanskrit ‘Hararatri’ the ‘Night of Hara’ (another name of Shiva). But after this day, the Muslims there called it “heiraath” from the word “Amazement / Surprise”. That’s Shiva – ParaBrahman, Ashutosh, doer of Miracles.

Bam Bam Bhole! Har Har Mahadev!

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