SOMNATHA
16-18 November 2005
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Somnath is a temple town of ancient history. The famous Jyotirlinga Shiva temple immortalized by Sri Adi Shankara in his authoritative Jyotirlinga prayer "SAURASHTRE SOMANATHANCHA". The area is known as Prabhasa Teertha and has numerous places of historical and spiritual significance. The town itself has the Somanatha temple, Swayambhu Kali Mandir, Swayambhu Madhusudan Mandir. The place where Krishna left his mortal coil - DEHOTSARJAN STHAL is just two kilometres from the Shiva temple. The famous Gir forest, which has the only known population of Asiatic lions, is 60 Kilometers away. It is in this forest is the sacred Girnar hill. A steep 10,000 steps would lead to the Dattatreya Mandir on top of the hill.

Sri Swamiji had completed the visit of Dwaraka and Nageswar and arrived in Somnath on 16th November 2005 evening. Sri Swamiji was received by the temple administrator Sri Ashok Sharma and others. In the evening, Sri Swamiji visited the Shrine of Sri Somanatha Shiva Linga at 8 PM. The beauty of the temple on the coast of the sea is a feast to the eyes. Immense and huge, the temple is made of lime stone available locally. The intricate carvings, the numerous pillars, the stepped Gopura construction - they all were grand and superb. All the tiredness caused by the long journey disappeared when stood in front of the towering Shiva Linga which is about four feet tall and six feet in circumference. The priests offered the Prasadam of Somanath Mahadev to Sri Swamiji.

Later we attended a sound and light show of the temple's history. The show too is as grand as the temple itself. The idea is well conceived and executed. The narrator of the story is the sea God who outlines the history of the temple. The story's summery is

Somnath Sound and Light show

Moon God married the 27 children of Daksha Prajapati. They are the 27 stars (Ashwini, Bharani, Krittika, Rohini..........Revati). However Moon God showed special affection to only Rohini. This caused jealousy and worry among the other 26 stars. They complained to their father Daksha Prajapati. The aggrieved father in law cursed his son in law (Moon God) that he should lose His lustre because of which he was egoistic. The curse had immediate effect and the moon became a un shining Goblet. (Before this curse, it is said that the Moon always was full moon and there was no waning or waxing effect (Shukla Paksha or Krishna Paksha). A dejected moon ran to Brahma for the way to get de-cursed. Brahma suggested him to go to the holiest of places - PRABHASA TEERTHA and perform penance in honor of Lord Shiva. Moon God did so. Prabhasa Teertha is the famed area now in Gujarat state's Junaghad region.

Moon came to this spot and performed a long penance. A pleased Lord Shiva appeared and suggested the Krishna Paksha - Shukla Paksha system - waning and waxing effect. This caused the moon to regain his lost lustre.

Moon God built a Golden temple for Shiva in the present temple spot.

It is said that Ravana of Ramayana fame had built a Silver temple for Lord Shiva here. In Dwapara Yuga, Lord Krishna who hails from the same region, had built a Sandal Wood temple of Shiva.

The dark part in the present history of this temple starts in the 11th century when Mohmud Ghazni, “an insatiable invader and an intrepid marauder - destroyed the temple in 11th century. The spirited devotees reconstructed the temple only to see it attacked seven more times till 18th century. Every time the temple was rebuilt. The last rebuilding effort was undertaken by the Iron Man of modern India - Sardar Vallabhai Patel - rebuilt the entire temple in 1951 and restored it to its previous glory. Entire temple including the Shiva Linga is newly built.

The sprawling open area around the temple lets visitors to enjoy all the architectural heritage of this magnificent edifice designed and built by the local Sompuria craftsmen. The lapping waters of the sea add a pleasant background roar.

Details of the temple -

The huge Shiva Lingam is installed in a spacious Garbhalaya (inner Sanctum). The other deities in the temple are Nandi, Kurma and Hanuman. Inside the Garbhalaya, there are idols of Suryanarayana, Brahma, Parvati, Vishnu, Durga, Ganga and Shesh Naag.

There is Akhanda Jyoti in a special enclosure.

Outside the temple are two shrines. Ganapathy and Kashta Bhanjan Hanuman.

Each morning Abhisheka to this huge Lingam is performed at 6.15 AM.

Overflowing with happiness, we retired for the day.

17th November 2005:

As we were in the Prabhasa Teertha - an area glorified in Puranas.as a very sacred spot where many holy placed and activities have taken place, Sri Swamiji visited the Triveni Sangam - where the sacred rivers, Hiranya, Kapila and Saraswati (subterranean) meet - before joining the sea couple of kilometers away.
From there , Sri Swamiji visited SRI KRISHNA DEHOTSARGA DHAM - now renamed as GOLOKA. This is on the banks of Hiranya river. It was in this very place that Lord Krishna left his physical body. A Geeta Mandir and a Lakshmi Narayana Mandir have been built recently in this place. In Gita Mandir, all the 18 chapters of Bhagavad Gita have been carved on marble.

The foot print of Bhagwan Sri Krishna is carved here to mark the divine memory of Sri Krishna Nija Dham Prasthan Leela. Baladeva, elder brother of Sri Krishna also took his last journey from here in his original serpent form. It is marked by an ancient holy cave called Dauji - ni - Gufa. It is said that it was in this very spot that Lord Krishna left his body. Sri Swamiji performed Abhisheka to the Padukas as Purusha Sukta mantras were chanted.

Sri Gajanana Nanda Saraswati, acclaimed scholar has calculated the exact date and time of this event and has declared that Lord Krishna left earth on 18th February 3102 BC at 02.27 hours.

Sri Swamiji then sat on the bank of the river. Sri Ashok Sharma, Administrator of the Somnath temple gave a short welcome speech and introduced the sacredness of the area. The devotees who numbered more than 100 and had accompanied Sri Swamiji (Most of them were devotees from Surat and Baroda - cities in Gujarat state). Sri Swamiji seemed lost in a different world. He then addressed the devotees and said thus:

Sri Swamiji's lecture in Somnath

One of my great grand fathers - Sheshappa Das - was a great Harikatha vidwan (bard). He died while telling the story of Krishna Niryana (Krishna's passing). Since then, the entire family had decided not to visit this place in his honor. But today, i have broken that. Like we plan for our daily life, family, future living etc., one should also plan for after life. Death is inevitable. It will come to everyone and everything. As it is said in Mahabharata, after one is born, death is the ONLY certain thing to happen. Many wonder why Krishna had to meet such a ghastly end (He was mistaken and hit in the feet by a tribal huntsmen - while he was lying under a tree). Krishna met such fate because of all the sins he carried from the Pandavas and the Mahabharata war. What to do? Even I have to suffer for many of my devotees. You all don't even do small activities of ACHARA - noble conduct. you look for easy and convenient life. It is mandatory in our Shastras, that one should wash the feet after returning home. It is mandatory that one should wash hands and feet before and after eating. How many of you do it? Very few - I guess. I urge you all to follow these two basic requirements. It causes you no pain, it does not take too much time. It is hygienic and good for you.

We are in the holiest of holy places. Prabhasa Teertha has been glorified in many scriptures. Somanatha temple is the first of the 12 Jyotirlinga Shiva temples. Even the great Adi Shankara has sung about Somanath first in his poem "Saurashtre Somanathancha Sri Shaile Mallikarjunam"This is the area of Lord Shiva as well as Krishna. Even Krishna worshipped Shiva. It goes to show that there is no difference between them. Hari and Hara are the same forces of energy.You all are very very lucky to be with Sri Swamiji in this sacred Shiva place during the sacred Karthika month. It is indeed the Blessings of Lord Datta I have traveled and come here. - Jaya Guru Datta

In the afternoon, the Surat devotees met Sri Swamiji and sought directions for the development of the Ashrama in Surat.

In the evening, Sri Chakra Puja was conducted in the Sankeertana Bhavan of the Somnath temple. After the Puja, Sri Swamiji witnessed Arati performed to Lord Somanatha Linga To witness this sacred activity was a 20 minutes of intense energy transmission. Sri Swamiji sat in the temple complex for a while. Later Sri Swamiji visited the Ahalyeshvar Shiva temple - opposite the Somnath mandir. Ahalya Bhai Holker was a righteous queen who ruled Indore kingdom in the 18th century. She dreamt Lord Shiva instructing her to visit Somnath and rebuild the temple - which had been ransacked by the invading Moslems. She visited the site and was distressed by the sight she saw - a heap of rocks. She then rebuilt a subterranean temple of Lord Shiva so that future invaders cannot identify it. For over 300 years, this temple was revered as the original Somnath temple - until the present one was built. Sri Swamiji offered Bilva Patra leaves to the Shiva Lingam.

18 November 2005 - Friday

Sri Swamiji offered Purnahuti to the Rudra Homa performed in Shiva temple Mantapa. Later Sri Swamiji strolled around the Mandir, took Darshan of Sakshi Ganapathy Mandir and traveled to Rajkot and then to Mumbai in the evening.

The lucky group of devotees who accompanied Sri Swamiji on this sacred pilgrimage
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Sri Swamiji in front of the Somanath Mahadev Mandir
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Somanath Mahadev Mandir, Sri Swamiji and the full moon. It was Moon God who first built the temple
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The grand stone Mandir - overlooking the sea
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The Somanatha Mandir and the entrance arch
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Sri Swamiji offers Puja at the Triveni Sangama- the confluence of three rivers - Hiren, Kapila and Saraswati
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Arghya from the sacred hands of Pujya Sadgurudeva
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Sri Swamiji in the Mantapa where Krishna Padukas are installed. It is said that it was in this exact spot Lord Krishna left his physical body after the Krishna Avatara. This mantapa over looks the Hiranya (Hiren) river
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Abhisheka by Sri Swamiji on the Krishna Padukas
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Sri Swamiji in Sheshnaag Guha (Cave of the serpent). It is said that Krishna's elder brother Balaram assumed the form of serpent and left for Vishnu Loka after the Krishna Avatar on the same day as Krishna ended his Avatara
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Sri Swamiji addresses devotees
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Sri Swamiji sports Tulsi leaves in the head gear. It looked like the peacock feather sported by Lord Krishna

Sri Ashok Sharma, Administrator of Somnath temple speaks about the sacredness of the Prabhasa Kshetra
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Banyan tree in Krishna Dehotsarga Kshetra
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Dwaraka

Nageswar

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prasad/18.November 2005