Panchbaktar Temple- Jammu

September 28, 2010

Jammu is known as the city of temples. Panchbaktar Mahadev Mandir (popularly known as Rupai Wala Mandir) occupies a unique place, in this crown. It is one of the oldest Shivalya in the city. Old tales and oral histories state that Adi Shankryacharya visited this site and stayed here; while some believe that it was discovered much later, during the reign of Raja Mal Dev, in early fourteenth century. The Lingam in this temple is self manifested (Aap Shambu).

Guru Nanak Dev visited this temple during the period of his second Udasi, in 1514. It is believed that he stayed here for about three days. The King of Jammu, Raja Khokhar Dev, visited Guru Nanak, at this temple, with his entire entourage, and his queen. He offered gifts and respect to Guru Nanak Dev and urged him for insstructions and blessings. Guru Nanak Dev expounded a discourse on him on “Raj Dharma”. He advised him that his foremost duty was to do justice with his subjects and to keep them happy in every respect, even by sacrificing his own comforts. No one in the State should be deprived of livelihood. He should have devotion and faith in God and rule the State with compassion and justice. If he ruled the State this way with devotion and for welfare of people, his rule would extend to twenty two “Dhars”. (Refer Guru Nanak Parkash by Bhai Santokh Singh): A beautiful mural has been in existence in this temple for centuries, depicting this event, to constantly remind humanity of this historical event. The berry tree, under which the discourse appears to have been rendered, is represented in the painting, and still stands and remains ever blooming throughout the year and is highly revered.

It is pertinent to mention that during this period much of concentration of Jammu city was towards Purani Mandi, and areas around it, as Royal Palace, originally constructed by Raja Mal Dev, was located there. While, the area around present Panchbaktar temple was a thick forest, extending to bank of river Tawishi. It was a reign when Jammu city was often subjected to raids and plunder, being a rich and important city, and being geographically located at a vantage point. During this period a small temple in form of “Thakurdwara” was in existence, at the present site of temple Panchvaktar. In sixteenth century, residency area for Mughal developed, in this side of the city, which later came to be known as ‘Urdu Bazar’ and Residency area. It was, though, still much later, that a bigger Panchbaktar temple was constructed in 1751, in place of small temple, during the reign of Maharaja Ranjeet Dev, a benevolent Dogra Ruler, by his General Mian Rattan Dev, who was a very kind, dignified and great warrior, whose glories are sung till date, in form of “Bhakks”.

Ahmad Shah Durrani, while returning, after plunder of Punjab, in 1751, had deputed Haji Nawab Khan, for the invasion and plunder of plains under Dogra Rule. He, heading ferocious force of Afghans, subjected this part to plunder, right from Basohli to the foot-hills. After having plundered this area and having carried away women and children, the muraders were camping at Habal, on the bank of Chenab river. The Maharaja found himself helpless and effete. Afghans had also taken away wife and virgin daughter of a Brahmin from Raipur-Jandi. He approached Maharaja to seek justice. He beseeched him to have his daughter and wife recovered from Afghans. But, Maharaja expressed his inability to do so, as Afghans were known to be very ferocious and they were a very strong force. The Maharaja did not want to annoy them and earn the displeasure of Ahmad Shah Durrani. The Brahman took out a dagger, in the Raj Darbar, in order to commit suicide. General Mian Rattan Dev, who was present in the Darbar, was a great devotee of Mahadev. He caught hold of his arm and prevailed upon him to keep patience for one night, and justice would be delivered to him.

Mian Rattan Dev, at night, approached Amar Singh Randhawa, a Sikh warrior, who was present across river Tawi, at Jammu, with three hundred horsemen. Latter had been urging Maharaja to attack Afghans, but he was avoiding to do the same. He realized that this was a rare opportunity to avenge the defeat at the hand of Afghans, and to teach them a lesson. Mian Rattan Dev with the help of three hundred warriors, without the knowledge of Maharaja, attacked the camp of Afghans. They badly vanquished the army of Afghans, causing severe mayhem and terror in the camp. Afghans were badly wounded and mutilated. They took to their heels and had to flee away from the camp. Haji Nawab Khan, fled away in terror, to join the Royal Camp, at Gujarat. The women folk and others were rescued. They were brought to the bank of river Tawishi, at Bahu and ceremonies of “shudi karan” were performed, with the holy bath, at Surya Putri, and feast was prepared, and women were restored to their family. Thus, the justice was delivered to the old Brahmin from Raipur-Jandi. This victory was a rare and exceptional, at that time, when Afghans had established their reputation of being ruthless, ferocious warriors and were almost invincible. They had established their unassailable control. This was a very heroic and historical victory, with far reaching impact on the history of State. Mian Rattan Dev was a great devotee of Mahadev Panchbaktar and attributed this historic and unprecedented victory to the grace and blessings of Mahadev. He made a big temple in place of old temple to commemorate this victory. This temple was constructed by him, during the Mahantship of Kashi Gir, who was a great sage of that time and Mahant of the temple.

Since then the present bigger temple of Panchvaktar (five faces) Mahadev has come into existence. Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, in eighteenth century, considering the importance of the temple, attached land in two villages, situated at Nawade Chack, in Jammu district, and Sarwar Chak, for the temple. While, Maharaja Partap Singh, himself a profound spiritual adept, had a great reverence for this temple. In 1888, Maharaja covered whole of Jhelari with silver, in offering.
According to Shiva-Rahasya five faced Lord Shiva is the prime cause of entire creation. Mahadev Shiva is mainly seen in five of His aspects Rudra (or Saddyojat), Aghora, Vamadeva (Varna Deva), Tat Purusha and Ishana. They also represent five Maha-Bhutas or elements. Panchavaktra or Panchamukhi is the combination of all these five forms and is commonly depicted as five-headed Mahadev.

Rudra (Sadyojata) is the creative and destructive power of Shiva. He is associated with wrath and anger. He is the western face of Panchamukha Sivalingam. He represents earth element and is Ichha Shakti of Mahadev.
Vamadeva (Varna Deva) is the female aspect of Shiva. He is graceful and is associated with water. He is the northern face of Panchamukha Sivalingam. He is a healer and bestower of health both mental and physical. He represents Knowledge or Vigyan Shakti of Mahadev. This face is Vishnu Swaroop. Aghora is the destructive aspect of Shiva. He is associated with death. He is said to devour life and make way for new creation or regeneration. He is southern face of Panchamukha Sivalingam. He represents fire element. He represents Kriya Shakti of Mahadev.

Tat Purusha is the ego aspect of Shiva. Associated with meditation, enlightenment this form is often associated with sages, ascetics and celibacy. He faces east on a Panchamukha Sivalingam. He represents air element. He represents Anand Shakti of Mahadev. Ishana is omnipresent and omnipotent. He is depicted as an all-pervading and eternal Shiva. He is cause of creation. He faces the north-east on a Panchamukha Sivalingam. He represents Akash elements. He represents Chit Shakti of Mahadev.
Five facets of Lord Shanker are – Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Mahadeva and Sadashiva. Shiva is known as Panchbaktra because he is manifested in the aforesaid forms. Omkar and Namah Shivaya mantras have originated from Panchvaktra Mahadeva only.
Panchbaktra Mahadev, is also called Sacchand Bhairav in Kashmir Shaivism, having five Mukhas (faces) representing five shaktis of Panchvaktar Mahadev, engaged in the creation, maintenance, destruction, concealing His nature and revealing His nature. He has his abode at Kailash Parbat.

It is also believed that five faces of Mahadev represents five Chakras, as well. In spiritual sense it is said to be sitting in the heart, as the heart also has five holes.Panchbaktra or Panchamukhi is the combination of all the five forms and represents, all encompassing and pervading Power of Mahadev, Meditation on Panchamukhi (Panchbaktra) Shiva bestows the aspirant with good mental health, the ability to see things clearly, protect one from all diseases, purify the mind and body, destroy ignorance. Perhaps, this is the only temple, in this part of country where Mahadev has manifested as Aap-Shambu, in the form of Panchbaktar. The temple of such a rare antiquity, heritage and spiritual importance, is situated in the heart of the city, in an area of more that twenty five kanals, at Panchvaktar Mahadev Road, Jammu. It has since long been known as Dashnam Akhara and has been so shown in the list of temples of Jammu, in the list of temples 1914. It was very deeply connected with Amar Nath Yatra and it was a Padayo (camp) for Sadhus visiting Amar Nath Yatra, in Yores. Presently, a Gau Shalla, being the oldest Gaushalla in Jammu, a Yoga Centre, a Hostel for students studying in Sanskrit Vidyala, exist in the temple premises.

Courtesy:- Daily Excelsior

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