Omkareshwar

A view of Omkareshwar Temple on Island Madhanta.
Image Credit : Bharani Bodil Poulsen, Denmark (Link)

Omkareshwar – Khandwa : Omkareshwar is one of the most revered temples of Shiva worshipers. Omkareshwar temple is on island Madhanta. River Narmada branches into two, forming an island Madhanta, to later rejoin and proceed further. We will spend a lot of time in Khandwa.

To give you an idea, Google Maps could come handy !

Hindu Mythology has lot of interesting stories/practices that are followed even today. Every now and then, the age old practices are rejected by some and then with a little bit of critical thinking and scientific analysis, these practices are found to be quite useful and relevant. However, any age old practice requires to be understood well from different perspectives and only then continued. Blind faith leads one no where.

Hindu Mythology has interesting snippets. One can listen to these in complete subservience. Or one can also ponder over such stories and try finding out why this story was registered in hindu scriptures. So here is one story about Jyotirlingam.

There are twelve Jyotirlingams across India. One of these twelve is in Omkareshwar-Khandwa. Once Brahma(the creator God) and Vishnu(the protection & care God) had an argument about who is superior between the two. Shiva(the Destroyer God) tried resolving the dispute. Shiva created a huge column of light called as Jyotirlingam. Shiva asked both the Gods to find the height and depth of the column. The column of light was extended across the three worlds – Earth, heaven and Patala (under the ground). It was an infinite column. The Creator God Vishnu flew upwards and the protector God Brahma went down the earth.

Vishnu could not find the depth of the light column and gave up. He conceded defeat. Brahma too could not find the height of the column. However, Brahma found a flower dropping from the above. Brahma asked the flower where it had fallen from and tried guessing the height or exact position of the tip of the light column. This was a sheer guess and Shiva found out the manipulation that Brahma had done in the challenge. Shiva, as a punishment for the false claim made, cursed Brahma that he shall never be worshiped in the rituals by people. Whereas, rewarding Vishnu for being honest, he was given the honor of being worshiped extensively in all the religious ceremoneies. Those who follow Hindu rituals do know that Brahma is never worshiped whereas Vishnu is revered with all the gusto.

One may stop here and accept this as a tenet of Hinduism. However, we can also analyse this further.

No one wants to appreciate just the start or inception of anything (Referring to the Creator God Brahma). Opening a shop or business is not a big deal ! Any one who has the money can open a shop or business. What matters is the protection and nurturing of the business. That is where the effort lies! We never thank our parents for the act of intercourse which resulted in our conception. However, we love them for nurturing or protecting us while growing up and later. A start is irrelevant. A lot of things start everyday but cease to exist the next day. But if nurtured, they remain and grow !

They say Hinduism is not a religion. Its a philosophy. Its a way of life !

Khandwa has another interesting story woven in its recent history. It was home to a Sheru Munshi Khan. He is an Australian businessman who earlier lived in Khandwa. Son to a laborer mother who was abandoned by her husband, he accidentally got separated from his family when he was five. He mistakenly boarded a train to Kolkata(1500 kilometers from Khandwa) and eventually got adopted by an Australian family in Kolkata. After 25 years, the kid uses Google Earth to trace his roots and in the end is reunited with his biological mother. This story was also made into an Oscar nominated Hollywood movie – Lion.

Its unreal how things can happen in this world !

Sheru’s mother showing a recent picture of her reunion with her son Sheru.
Image Credits – The Guardian

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