Situated in the Khandwa district in MP, Omkareshwar temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. As I’ve been reiterating that other common pieces of information are easily available on Wikipedia, it’s a matter of interest for the readers and pilgrims if an extra dose of interesting facts are added to the already available legend(s) of Omkareshwar.
The great traveller Rahul Sankrityayan called Omkareshwar the most important among all 12 Jyotirlingas, though comparisons in religious matters are often debatable as well as odious.
Om is the primordial sound in the Universe. The island could be in the shape of Om, but it’s the echo of the sound Om that keeps ringing in the air and ambience of this place making it eponymous.
Om vristi garjanam Shivastu (Ohm/Om is the roar of the Lord Shiva). It’s the sound that predates time and the creation of the Universe: Na vastuyem, na astitvam samay cha brahmandam, shabdam parivedh sarvada astu (Whether time’s measured or creation of the Universe is calculated, Om was and will always be there).
Omkareshwar Temple, the 4th Jyotirlinga, is said to be the giver of blissfulness as all 12 Jyotirlingas are known to have a specific attribute. The very sound Om is synonymous with bliss: Shabdam parmanandam astu Om.
It’s believed that Lord Shiva, in the form of Omkareshwar, vanquished Danavas when Danavas defeated Devas. Badly trampled Devas prayed to Lord Shiva and he emerged as Omkareshwar to uproot Danavas.
Legend has it that Adi Shankara met his Guru Govindpada in a cave at Omkareshwar. It’s interesting as well as coincidental that the way Shiva emerged as a rescuer for the defeated Devas, Adi Shankara also became a rescuer of vanishing Hinduism when Buddhists and Jains posed a threat to beleaguered Hinduism. So it has a metaphorically telepathic connection with the Shiva and (Adi) Shankar. The latter is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Shiv shaktim parmarthe poojyate (Shiv is worshipped for the welfare of all). The writer of this piece visited this place along with a pastor from Jabalpur, who knew Sanskrit and was well-versed in the legends of all 12 Jyotirlingas.
I was mesmerised by the serenity of this place. The spiritual undercurrents of river Narmada lend greater significance to the legend of Omkareshwar.
Whether or not you’re a believer (yours truly is an atheist), you’ll feel the electrifying serenity ( a kind or divine oxymoron) of this place.
Omkareshwar (this is the right orthography rather than the erroneous Onkareshwar) is a place where the mahima (divinity/Divine influence) of Hindus’ pristine god can be felt and experienced.
Visit it when you visit Indore, Khandawa, Ujjain or Jabalpur. Omkareshwar Temple Timings are 5:30 am to 9 pm.
K P Saxena, the famous Hindi humorist, visited this place in 1960 when he was a professor at a college in Jabalpur. He said that the visit changed his religious beliefs and he turned a theist from being an atheist.
However, yours truly is still a non-believer, though he admits that the place is surcharged with some kind of divine effulgence and energy.
Lastly, a Sanskrit shloka in praise of Omkareshwar:
Na ahmo viniyogam, na sthitam Omkareshwaram
Means, ‘The place (Omkareshwar) will forever remain on top.’
There can’t be two views about it. This is indeed a Numero Uno pilgrim spot.