Worship of Lord Shiva as Omkareshwar! 

There is no dearth of holy places in India. The country is blessed with the presence of divinity throughout its length and breadth. In such a place we will never fall short of temples to explore. So, today we head to the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh to visit the Omkareswar temple. Its exact location is on an island called Shivapuri, on the banks of river Narmada. The religious significance of the temple has made it one of the 12 Jyothirlingas. An interesting thing to note about the Omkareswar temple is the fact that, the island on which it is located, is in the shape of the Hindu symbol Om.

Although the presiding deity of this temple is only one god – Lord Shiva, there two temple structures in this complex. One temple is dedicated to Omkareshwar and the other is dedicated to Amereshwar. The former means the Lord of the sound Om and the later means the Lord of the immortals or the Lord of the immortal devas.

There are many legends associated with the Omkareshwar temple. Let us explore two most interesting versions. The first version narrates the story of the Vindhya Parvat [Mount]. Once sage Narad went to the Vindhya Parvat and told him that the Meru Parvat [Mount] is much bigger than him and hence much greater. This made Vindhya Parvat jealous of Meru and he started doing a severe penance for Lord Shiva.

When the Lord appeared, Vindhya Parvat asked for a boon to be able to grow as big as he wants. Lord Shiva granted this boon with a condition that, his growth should not cause any trouble to his devotees. Vindhya Parvat kept this in mind but when he grew to a certain size, he started obstructing the sun. To ask for a solution to this problem, all the devatas went to sage Agastya. So, he went to Vindhya Parvat along with his wife and asked him to stop growing until they returned from penance.

Saying this, the couple went to Srisailam which is considered to be Dakshina Kashi and never returned. This way the Vindhya Parvat was stopped from growing and this place gained religious significance. There is another story associated with the Omkareshwar temple. According to this legend, there was once a war between the gods and the demons in which the later won. In order to save the world from destruction, all the gods prayed to Lord Shiva. The merciful Lord appeared as Omkareswar and defeated the demons. This way the world was saved and Lord Shiva thereafter was being worshipped as Omkareswara too. May the Lord bless all those who worship him in this form with love and devotion.

......Kruti Beesam

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