Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 4

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BY: SUN STAFF - 22.11 2017

 

Sri Eklingji

A serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.

 

Lord Brahma at Eklingji

In a village twelve miles north of Udaipur, Rajasthan, is an ancient temple compound known as Eklingji Mandir. The temple is home to Sri Eklingji, a Trimurti lingam who was the family deity of the Maharanas of Mewar. The temple was originally built by Bappa Rawal in 734 A.D., and was later rebuilt by Maharana Raimal in the 15th century, after the attacking Mohammedans brought it to ruin.

Eklingji Temple entrance

While many consider this temple to be the abode of Shiva as Sri Eklingji, the black marble linga is actually a four-faced embodiment of deities. Sri Eklingji is considered to be the guardian deity of Mewar, and He was regarded as the virtual king by the Maharajas of Mewar, who considered themselves to be the servitors, or regents (dewans) of Sri Eklingji.

 

Sri Eklingji

Also known as Kailashpuri, Eklingji is situated in a beautiful valley of the Udaipur region, which is a destination for throngs of pilgrims each year. Many come to visit Nathdwara, and also visit here. The architecture of Eklingji Temple resembles that of a Jain basadi. The two-story main temple has an ornately carved tower and a pillared mandapa with an enormous pyramidal roof.

Eklingji Temple compound

The temple complex occupies a large tract of land, about 25,000 sq. feet, surrounded by a fortified wall built of local sandstone and marble. The main entrance to the temple is on the Western side, where devotees step into a large hall with ornately carved columns. Altogether there are four entrances, each with a Nandi guarding the door. In the west is a silver Nandi; another is made of black stone, and one of brass. All four Nandis face the presiding deity.

 

Sri Eklingji in Sanctum

Sri Eklingji, also known as Eknatha, is a beautiful black marble lingam that is said to 'lengthen' to a height of 50 feet tall. We are not sure exactly what 'lengthen' means in this regard. The shikharor tower over the sanctum is also 50 feet high, with a 60 foot circumference.

Eklingaji's four faces embody Lord Brahma in the west, Lord Visnu in the north, Maheshwar in the South, and Surya in the east. In later segments of this series we will explore the introduction of Surya and Somaskanda worship in South India, which gradually replaced Brahma worship. Here we see an early example of that trend far to the north, in Rajasthan, where worship of Lord Brahma gave way to Shiva worship.

The flat top of Sri Eklingji is covered with a yantra representing the ultimate reality, Parabhrama, and a silver Naga winds around the lingam. The lingam's top is considered by some to be a fifth face, embodying Sadashiva and his consort.

Lord Shiva's family also reside here at Eklingji in subsidiary deity shrines, including Parvati, Ganesha, and Karttikeya. Lord Brahma's consort Saraswati is also here, along with Yamuna Devi. Elsewhere in the temple compound are small shrines for Ambamata, Kalka Mata, and Ganesh. In fact, there are some 80 shrines around the temple complex, and many are very striking monuments. The Nathon Ka Mandir in the complex has inscriptions dating back to the 10th century CE. The Lakulish Temple, built in 971 A.D., is said to be the only temple of the Lakulish sect in all of India.


Indra Sarovar

In the northern part of the complex are two theerthams, namely the Karz Kund and Tulsi Kund. The water of these tanks is used during the elaborate daily program of worship for Eklingji.

One of the important legends associated with Eklingji Temple is that of Lord Indra slaying the demon Vrakshasura, in Satya yuga. Afterwards, he came to this place to do penance and be freed of any sins. During the Treta-yuga, Kamadhenu came running to Sri Eklingji, afraid of Vishwamitra. She Prayed to the deity and the armies of Vishwamitra were defeated, to the delight of Guru Vashistha.


Eklingji Compound

It is also said that in the 8th century, Bappa Rawal saw the Eklingji deity in a dream, at a time when he was having serious troubles. Once his problem was solved, he constructed the temple and later built the Mewar kingdom. Today, more than a hundred area temples surround the Eklingji temple, which is the spiritual center.


Takshak Kund Shiv Temple

Because of its history, the Eklingji Temple remains a private temple, not a public one. Over the centuries, puja has been performed in a royal way, and no change is possible in that program of worship. Only the Maharana of Mewar can perform puja for Sri Eklingji, or pujaris personally appointed by him who swear an oath to serve Sri Eklingji as the Mewari ruler. Likewise, the Maharana must meet all the expenses of the temple, and no monetary gifts are accepted from devotees.

A major festival is held for Shivratri, and for this event the presiding deity is bedecked in elaborate jewelry. Navratras also attract multitudes of devotees. Pradosh and Makar Sankaranti are also observed. Mondays are the most important day of worship here.

Mataji shrine in rocks below Rashtra Senalji Mountain