In Saiva literature, Darukavana is well known.
It is a forest region, where Lord Siva quelled the pride of Rshi-s. The Rshis who lived in the forest were of the opinion that Karma was self-endowed with power and was capable of yielding fruits by itself. Their doctrine had no place for an independent Supreme who yielded the fruits of all karma. Lord Siva comes to Darukavana, overcomes the forces of karma that the Rshi-s try to set against Him, and then grants the Rshi-s Jnana.
This Darukavana is a forest of Deva-daru trees – known now as Deodar trees. The Deo-dar stands for Deva-daru or God-tree. This is an evergreen coniferous tree that grows in the Himalayan range at altitudes of around 2000 m and above. The tree itself grows 100 to 150 feet in height, or more. And this tree has been revered by Indians since ancient times.
But first lets visit a village known as Jageshwar in the Himalaya.
My friend BS Rao, visited this village recently, and here is what he says about the place.
“Jageshwar is a small village probably of few thousand people. It is a temple town and wherever you turn, you are welcomed by the sight of Deodar trees, each rising into the sky. The main temple complex consists of several small temples but the three main temples are dedicated to Jageshwar, Mrityunjaya and Pushti Devi. The priests performing the rituals have been handed over the responsibility from generations and their simplicity and devotion is indeed so pristine. It gets pretty cold during the winters and I am told several of the priests walk up to 10 KMs during the chilling winter to perform the morning pooja, before they have their first cup of tea.”
Here is the temple view… A typical Himalayan shrine…
How does one get to Jageshwar?
BS Rao did a bus journey from Delhi – a ten hour journey, which he describes:
“Jageshwar is 40 Km up from Nainital and Nainital is 317 KMs from Delhi . The roads are well laid, most of the time and we pass Ghaziabad , Moradabad , Rampur , Rudrapur, Lalkuan, Haldwani, Kathgodam. Bhimtal and reach Nainital almost at 10 PM. The cities on way are still replete with election posters, and I look at fellow Andhra folks smiling at me from every corner ; Jayaprada and Azharuddin. The route between Haldwani to Nainital is a narrow ghat road and would need considerable skills if you have to navigate it during the night. On the way to Nainital, we bypass the city Pant nagar…”
And then they reach Jageshwar, and Darukavana – the forest of God-trees…
Here is a view of the Deodar trees at Jageshwar. Click on the picture and enjoy a bigger view…
The Deodar tree has fine rot-resistent wood and has been extensively used in building houses, temples, boats, bridges… These last hundreds of years… The tree has also extensive medicinal and aromatic uses… Its a God-tree alright.
As per tradition, Darukavana is the abode of one of the holy Jyotirlingas of Lord Siva. Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada says:
सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम् । उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोकांरममलेश्वरम् ।
परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशंकरम् । सेतुबंधे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारूकावने ।
वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्रयंम्बकं गौतमीतटे । हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये ।
(In Saurashtra is Somanatha, in Shree Shaila Mallikarjuna. In Ujjain is Mahakala and in Amaleshwara is Omkara. In Paralya is Vaidyanatha and Dakini is Bheemashankara. In Sethubandha is Rameshwara and in Darukavana is Nagesha. In Varanasi is Vishwesha, and in the banks of Gautami is Tryambaka. In Himalaya is Kedara, and Ghrishmesha is Shivalaya…)
Many believe that the Nagesha mentioned above is the one in Jageshwar. There is also the belief that Darukavana Nagesha is in Dwaraka, Gujarat. But then, for sure, Jageshwar is a region of Deodar forests till now…Let us say that Nagesha is in both places…
And here, in Jageshwar, is this little shrine of Nagesha, known as Jageshwara… Picture below.
Pradosham day today, sacred to Lord Shiva. Nama Shivaya!
To be continued.