The 52 parts of Sati’s body fell in different parts of India and Pakistan. Wherever a part fell a “temple” was created and was called Shakti Peetha (seat of Shakti – consort of Lord Shiva). Ambaji near Mt. Abu, Vaishno Devi etc. are part of these 52 Shakti Peethas. The Brahm (scalp and the forehead) fell at Hinglaj. Sati’s forehead had Sindur (Hingol) and hence the area came to be known as Hingol and the Shrine as Hinglaj.
There is another legend involving a King named Hingol but generally the legend explained here is more popular and accepted. [Image above shows a female Hindu devotee from Pakistan throwing rose petals while praying at the Shri Hinglaj Mata Temple April 25, 2011. Every year thousands of Hindus from Pakistan and India gather to attend a four-day ritual at the temple].
LEGEND OF HINGLAJ MATA
by Jay Shah
Legend is that Sati the daughter of one of the most powerful King Daksha had fallen in love with Lord Shiva and had married Him. Lord Shiva is part of the Trinity – Lord Brahma (Creator), Lord Vishnu (Sustainer) and Lord Shiva (Destroyer). Lord Shiva lives a simple life of an ascetic in Himalayas with long braided hair, His loin cloth is the skin of a tiger with a cobra in His neck as His garland and surrounded by spirits as His escorts and spends most of time in penance. Obviously the mighty King was not too happy about this marriage. Once there was a meeting of many Sages (Rishies) and Lord Shiva was present there doing his penance with closed eyes. King Daksha came there and all of the Saints and Sages stood up in respect but Lord Shiva was in His penance and He did not notice the King and did not get up. The King felt insulted and decided not to ever invite Lord Shiva to his home.
Later on the King had arranged for a big Yagna and invited everyone with special instruction to come via the Himalayas but did not invite Lord Shiva and Sati. As Sages and other invitees were going through the Himalayas Sati inquired and found out that her father had arranged for a Yagna. Traditionally, Lord Shiva gets the first seat in any Yagna but He was not invited. She asked Lord Shiva to go to the Yagna but He explained that her father, in his ego, had not invited them and it is not proper to go where you are not invited. Sati felt that the daughter does not need an invitation to go to her father’s home and insisted on going. Lord Shiva reluctantly agreed to let her go with His escorts but He stayed in Himalayas.
When Sati reached her father’s home, She noticed that her father purposefully ignored Her and said some insulting chosen words about her husband – Lord Shiva. Sati realized her mistake in coming and decided that she cannot go back when her husband was so badly insulted by her father and immolated herself in fire produced by her Yogic power. The escorts protested and started disrupting the Yagna.
There was exchange of curses between the King, chief escort Nandi and Sage Bhrugu who was to conduct the Yagna. Nandi cursed the King that he will have a face of a goat. In the meantime Lord Shiva came to know the sad demise of His beloved Sati. He produced Veer Bhadra spirit from His hair and asked to go destroy the Yagna and the King. Lord Shiva took the body of Sati in His hands and went in a trance of Tandav Nrutya – a dance that is supposed to be the pre-cursor of the total destruction of the Bhramand (Universe). Veer Bhadra severed the head of the King and the Yagna stopped. People got frightened with the pending total annihilation of the Universe and requested Lord Vishnu to stop Lord Shiva’s dance
Lord Vishnu took His Sudarshan Chakra (Golden Discus) and cut the Sati’s dead body in 52 parts to calm Lord Shiva from His Tandav dance. Lord Bhrama praised Lord Shiva and asked Him to forgive the King and to restart the holy Yagna. Lord Shiva calmed down and took a head of a goat and put on the body of the King and made him alive (Nandi’s curse was thus fulfilled) and took the first seat in the Yagna and let it commence.
WHAT ARE THE SHAKTI PEETHA
The 52 parts of Sati’s body fell in various areas of the South Asia subcontinent. Wherever a part fell a “temple” was created and was called Shakti Peetha (seat of Shakti – consort of Lord Shiva). Ambaji near Mt. Abu, Vaishno Devi etc. are part of these 52 Shakti Peethas. The Brahm (scalp and the forehead) fell at Hinglaj. Sati’s forehead had Sindur (Hingol) and hence the area came to be known as Hingol and the Shrine as Hinglaj. There is another legend involving a King named Hingol but generally the legend explained here is more popular and accepted.
All Shakti Peetha have no idol of Sati, as is generally the case in any temple, and instead there are two Shaligrams (large stones) with two eyes – one Shaligram is for the Sati and other of Bhairav (Lord Shiva). The Hinglaj Shrine is in an open “cave” with two Shaligrams, a Trident and picture depicting Lord Parsuram (reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) who annihilated the Khastriya (Warrior) clan for insulting Brahmins instead of protecting them and the clan heads ran to Hinglaj Mata for protection and Mataji asked Lord Parsuram to stop the annihilation.
Legend has it that Lord Ram came here with Queen Sita and brother Laxman for penance after killing King Ravana who was a Brahmin. It is said that in recent times Guru Nanak also has done pilgrimage of Hinglaj Mata and so did the great Sufi poet Rumi.
To learn more about the legend and list of all Shakti Peethas search for Shakti peethas at en.wikipedia.org or cut and paste this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakti_Peethas in your browser.
As I mentioned, this Shrine is also revered by Muslims as Nani Bibi Mandir. My attempts to find the legend behind Nani Bibi have not taken fruit yet. On a Mountain top there is another temple but, due to time constraints, I was not able to go there. There are three water wells also on the mountain top. Two wells have bitter tasting water and the middle one has sweet water. Legend has it that Sita was very thirsty and Lord Ram used His arrow to open the Earth and get the sweet water. Legend of Nani Bibi has similar story that a person used His sword to get the sweet water from the Earth.
As I left Shrine with sad but overjoyed heart the Volvo group people asked me to stay and have dinner with them. Clearly I would have loved to do that but I was with 30 other people and it was getting late to go to the Hingol River bank and set up a camp for the night. In the end I did get to eat Prasad of delicious and famous Dakor Gota!
[As always, click on individual image to see full size].
1. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 2. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! 3. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan
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