Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga one of the 12 Jyotirlinga, is also known as Baijnath, Baidyanath or Vaijnath. The temple of Vaidyanath is called as Baba Dham or Baidyanath Dham.
Just like Nageshwar Jyotirlinga, there are various claims of Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga as well. Before we talk about these claims, let’s understand the mythology and scripts in Puranas.
Adi Shankaracharya praised Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga in Dwadasa Jyotirlinga Strotham:
“Poorvothare prajwalika nidhane
sada vasantham girija sametham
srivaidyanatham thamaham namami”
Poorvottare means in North-East, Prajwalika Nidhane means at a funeral place (chithabhoomi), Sadhashiv is Lord Shiva and Girijasametam means with Girija i.e. Parvati.
Per Hindu legends, demon king Ravana worshiped Lord Shiva by offering his ten heads one after another. Lord Shiva pleased with hardship and worship of Ravana and descended to cure injured Ravana. As Lord Shiva acted as a doctor (called in Hindu as Vaidya or Baidya), he got famous as Vaidyanath.
Baijnath temple of Himachal Pradesh, Vaijnath temple of Parli- Maharashtra and Baidyanath temple of Deoghar – Jharkhand are the 3 major Shiva temples who claim to be the real Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga.
Baijnath Temple of Himachal Pradesh:
Baijnath temple in Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh is located on the bank of holy Binwa (also called as Binduka) river. Current temple structure dates back to 1204 and was build by 2 brothers names Manyuka and Ahuka.
The temple is located in the north which doesn’t matches with Adi Shankaracharya‘s description but it’s on the bank of the river which normally can be place of funerals in Hindu.
Vaijnath Temple of Parli – Maharashtra
Vaijnath temple is located on the slope of Meru Parvat – mountain (also known as Nag Narayan parvat) in the town of Parli in Maharashtra. The temple is accompanied by holy rivers like Brahma, Venu, and Saraswati.
Along with the “Ravana and Shepherd” story, the Parli temple does have a famous myth of “Satyavan Savitri” who brought back her husband’s life from the death god Yama.
As against the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga Strotham, the temple is located in the West-Central part of India.
Baidyanath Temple of Deoghar – Jharkhand
Baidyanath temple of Deoghar in Jharkhand is believed to be a place where Ravana offered his heads to Lord Shiva. The temple is famous as Baba Dham.
An ancient name of Deoghar town is ‘Chidabhoomi‘ (or Chithabhoomi), which matches with Vaidyanath Jyotirlingas description. Chidaboomi is a funeral place where corpses are burnt and post-death ceremonies are performed. Thus, Lord Shiva is praised as Smashan Vahin (one who resides in Chidabhoomi) or Bhasma Bhushita (one with ashes of burnt bodies)
It’s all about the faith and belief. Each temple has its glorious history and related mythology. Vaijnath of Parli – Maharashtra is specifically mentioned in the verses of the strotham and is treated as one of the prominent abode of Lord Shiva.
While visiting these temples during my motorbike trips, I felt the same energy and blessing and never thought about the claims 🙂