Monday, August 25, 2008

A Journey to Marvel

I have been following news updates lately, the two main reason beings:
1) India’s performance in Olympics 2008– which has been really exuberant this time
2) The latest Amarnath land issue which is in vogue these days.
In my following post I am not going to present my view on what is right or wrong - I mean whether the land should be granted (to Shrine Board) or not but my focus will dwell deep inside the history of how Amarnath came into existence. Before going any further, I would like to recite a few lines from the poem “Path of Peace” by “Paul Mc Cann” which goes like this:

Peace is an easy path to tread,
Peace is where our fears are mislaid,
Peace is beginning to restore,
Peace for each man, woman and child,
Peace for the troubled streets gone wild,
Peace is for the old and the young,
Peace in the end will overcome,
Peace builds trust into a lifestyle,
Peace is a friendly open hand,
Peace is a place to understand,
Peace in the end will overcome,
Peace is for the old and the young,
Peace is a legacy to leave,
Peace is when we don't have to grieve,
Peace is and end to all the hate,
Peace is why we negotiate,
Peace for all the victims of war.

Any way let me not deviate more from my path. Here is a brief history of Amarnath.

About Shiva:
The Sanskrit word Shiva - is an adjective meaning kind, friendly, gracious or auspicious. Shiva is regarded as the supreme God in the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism. Usually worshipped in the form of Shiva linga, Shiva - in images is generally represented as immersed in deep meditation.

State : Jammu & Kashmir
Situation: In Kashmir valley to the north of Anantnag. The base village is
Bailganv (Pahalgam). One has to trek 32 km from Chandhanvari (16 km from
Bailganv) to reach the cave. It is at an altitude of 13500 feet from the mean sea level.

About Amarnath Temple:
Amarnath shrine is about 5,000 years old and is an important part of Hindu mythology. The shrine is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is dedicated to the lord Shiva. Inside the main Amarnath cave lies an ice stalagmite resembling the Shiva Linga, which waxes during May to August and gradually wanes thereafter. This lingam is said to grow and shrink with the phases of the moon, reaching its height during the summer festival. According to Hindu mythology, this is the cave where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort Parvati. There are two other ice formations representing Parvati and Shiva's son, Ganesha.

According to an ancient tale, there was once a Muslim shepherd named Buta Malik who was given a sack of coal by a sadhu. Upon reaching home he discovered that the sack, in fact, contained gold. Overjoyed and overcome, Buta Malik rushed back to look for the sadhu and thank him, but on the spot of their meeting discovered a cave and eventually this became a place of pilgrimage for all believers. To date, a percentage of the donations made by pilgrims are given to the descendants of Malik. and the remaining to the trust which manages the shrine.

Yet another legend has it that when Kashyap Reshi drained the Kashmir valley of water (it was believed to have been a vast lake), the cave and the lingam were discovered by Bregish Reshi who was travelling the Himalayas. When people heard of the lingam, Amarnath for them became Shiva's abode and a center of pilgrimage.

Amarnath is an extremely crucial centre of pilgrimage and though the route is as difficult to trespass as it is exciting, every annum, millions of devotees from the subcontinent come to pay homage before Shiva in one of his Himalayan abode. For those who journey with faith, it is a rewarding experience, this simple visitation to a cave-shrine, the home of the Himalayan mendicant who is both destroyer and healer, the greatest of the Hindu deities.

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