Gyan Rajhans, scientist, author and broadcaster, relates his true-life experience of receiving the ever-elusive 'true bliss' at the Shiva temple of Baba Baidyanath at Deoghar in Eastern India, thousands of miles away from his home in Canada.
In the winter of 2005, I left for India, accompanied by my wife Nilu, for a 15 day trip to visit the Hindu temples of South India. On our arrival in Delhi we learned that the entire south India was experiencing heavy flood situation and that we may have to either postpone our trip or cancel it. So, we decided to go to Mumbai to visit the Siddhi Vinayak Temple, but that plan did not work out either.
Call of Baba Baidyanath
On my birthday, when I was chanting 'Mahamrityunjay Mantra,' it suddenly dawned on me that Baba Baidyanath, one of the 12 Jyotirlingams of Lord Shiva located at Deoghar is calling me to worship Him and that is why He is creating all these problems with our planned trips. (Lingam is an iconic phallus form of Shiva.)
After convincing Nilu about my inner voice, we departed for Deoghar in the Eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. When we reached the following day, Nilu and I did the 'abhishekam' of Baba Baidyanath Jyotirlingam and planned to do the 'abhishekam' again before leaving. But, Baba had planned something else for me.
About the Temple
The temple of Baba Baidyanathdham is situated in a spacious courtyard bounded by stone walls. In the temple complex are 22 other temples. The Baidyanath temple faces east. The top of the original Shiva Lingam was slightly broken, keeping with the legend that it chipped away when Ravana tried to uproot it (Click here to know more about the legend). The Lingam has since been rebuilt. Near the temple is the Shivaganga Lake. The Chandrakoopa well, near the main entrance is said to have been built and consecrated with water from several pilgrimages by Ravana.
The Touch of Shiva
As soon as I touched the Lingam, unique feeling overpowered me and forced me to promise Baba Baidyanath to do his 'abhishekam' every day of my stay in Deoghar. Consequently, I ended up doing the 'abhishekam' every morning at 7 am. My daily Abhishekam continued for five weeks culminating on January 14, Makar Sankranti day.
Invoking the Lord: Shakti Abhishekam
Although I had originally planned to do the Abhishekam of only the Jyotirlingam, I was convinced by the priests in the shrine to do the Abhishekam of Lord Ganesh and Ma Kali also on a daily basis. Instructions to worship Lord Ganesh (also my 'Ishta Devta' - household god) were in line with the Hindu tradition but why the Abhishekam of Ma Kali. That was because of the Tantrik links of the temple.
A Power Center: Shakti Peetha
I was told by one of the old priests that Baidyanath is also considered as one of the 52 Shakti Peetha shrines of Sati. It is believed that the heart of Sati fell here, when her half burnt body being carried by Shiva at the end her sacrifice at Daksha's Yagna, was chopped to pieces by Vishnu's discus.
Baidyanathdham is a popular Tantrik seat for Sadhakas. Famous scholar and Tantric Gopinath Kaviraj has mentioned Baidyanathdaham as a seat of Tantric Sadhana. There is also one ever flaming Kund where tantrik rituals are being performed for Shakti Sadhana. Tanric Sadhana is the crux to worship Lord Shiva and Shakti.
My Unique Spiritual Experience
Every day after touching the Baidyanath Jyotirlingam I felt the kind of bliss and tranquility I had never felt before in my 64 year old life. The unique and blissful experience I had during this trip is beyond description. I felt truly blessed. It was so intoxicating that I could not wait to go to the temple every morning. Nothing seemed to bother me; bare feet, cold wave, the massive crowd, the mud in the courtyard, long lineup and the persistence of the Pandas.
Experiencing True Bliss
I have never been happier in my life. I kept asking myself: Is this the "true bliss" the scriptures and saints have talked about? Why else, I am not complaining about the unruly crowd, and lack of amenities that I used to during my previous visits. My relatives and friends tried their best to persuade me to visit them but I would not go. I got to have Baba's darshan every day. Mentally I was in a totally different world. Everything and anything I wished for in those five weeks appeared before me without any effort on my part.
As much I want to describe to you how I felt, I can't. All I can say "Experiencing is believing." I had heard in the past that Baba Baidyanath fulfils desires of devotees and hence the number of pilgrims is increasing exponentially every year, especially during the Shravan month. However, I must admit Baidyanath Jyotirlingam is a great power, gracing great effects.
Next Page: A mythological story about the temple