Jyotirlinga Ghushmesha or Grishneshwar - Shiva Purana
The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, sometimes referred to as the Ghrneshwar or Ghushmeshwar, Kusumeswarar, Ghushmeswara, etc. Grishneshwar Temple is the holy abode and one of the 12 jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. The word Ghrneshwara means "lord of compassion" and it is an important pilgrimage site in the Shaiva tradition, which considers the last or twelfth Jyotirlingas.
Grishneshwar temple is located at a distance of 11km from Daulatabad and 35 kms away from Aurangabad and about 2 km away from the UNESCO-listed Ellora Cave in Maharashtra. Daulatabad was once known as Devagiri.
It is believed that the temple structure was destroyed by the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th and 14th-century, and it was rebuilt several times after being destroyed during the Mughal-Maratha conflict. It was rebuilt in the present form in the 18th century under the sponsorship of Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore. Temple is constructed in the traditional South Indian temple architectural style, the Grishneshwar Temple exhibits an elaborately designed five-tier shikhara.
The temple complex comprises a sanctum sanctorum, which is a square room measuring about 289 square feet, and inner chambers. Sculptures and carvings of several Hindu Gods and Goddesses adorning the temple complex. The Dashavataras or the ten forms of Vishnu depicted on red stones.
Shiva appeared here and informed that He shall be named as Ghusmesa. Ghusmesa shall confer happiness. Phallic image named Ghusmesa is auspicious and famous. The lake is the storehouse of phallic images. Hence it is famous in the three worlds in the name of “Shivalaya.” This lake yields desires by its mere sight.
Legend as per Shiva Purana:
There is the excellent mountain in the Southern region named Deva. A certain brahmin Sudharma who was the most excellent among the knowers of Brahman and who was born of Bharadwaj Family lived near it. His beloved wife Sudeha was interested in Shaivay cult and sacred rites. She was skilful in all household activities and she devoutly served her husband. The excellent brahmin Sudharma worshipped gods and guests. He was devotedly attached to the Vedic path and scrupulously maintained the sacrificial fires. He had the brilliance of the Sun. He performed Sandhya prayers thrice a day. He taught disciples and was an expert in the Vedas and Sastras both. He was affluent and had also the qualities of gentlemanliness. He was a liberal donor, a devotee of Shiva, a favourite of his followers and he engaged himself in the sacred rites of Shiva-cult.
A long period in his life thus passed when he continued his religious rites but no son was born to him. His wife’s menstrual periods were fruitless. She did not conceive. He did not grieve over this because he realised the reality of different things. He knew that the soul is the uplifter of the soul and the soul is the sanctifier of the soul. Thinking thus he did not feel aggrieved even mentally. But Sudeha was distressed for not having a son. Every day she implored her learned husband to strive for the acquisition of a son. He used to reproach her saying, “O gentle lady, there is no son, no mother, no father, no lover. Everyone is selfishly inclined in the world, there is no doubt about this. Know this particularly with a keen intellect. Do not be aggrieved. O gentle lady, misery shall be eschewed by you, certainly. O one of auspicious rites, you shall not pester me like this every day.” After enlightening her, he became interested in the worship of the lord. He was perfectly contented. He did not feel the misery or joy of mutually contrary interests.
Once Sudeha went to the neighbour’s house for a friendly chat but a quarrel arose there. She was reproached by the neighbour’s wife as natural to women. Sudeha was aggrieved with her harsh words. The neighbourly woman said: — “O barren woman, why are you arrogant? I have son who will inherit my wealth. But there is none to inherit your property. Undoubtedly the king will confiscate your estate. Thus, reproached by her she returned home depressed. She narrated to her husband all what her neighbour had said to her. The intelligent brahmin was not grieved by hearing it. He said “Let her say what she wishes, O beloved, what is destined to happen will happen.” Thus, pacified and consoled again and again by her husband she did not stop worrying. She again pleaded. Sudeha said: — “You are my husband. Somehow you shall beget a son. O excellent among men, otherwise I shall cast off this body.”
On hearing what she said, Sudharma the excellent brahmin, harassed by her importunities, mentally remembered Shiva. The alert brahmin offered two flowers to the sacrificial fire. He thought in his mind that the right-side flower would yield a son. Making this as a condition the brahmin told his wife. “You shall take one of these two flowers to decide about the acquisition of a son” 27-28. She thought “I will surely have a son. Let the insignia flower come to me.” Then she bowed to Shiva and the sacrificial fire. After praying again, she picked up one of the flowers. The insignia flower was missed by her due to delusion caused by Shiva’s desire. On seeing it the husband sighed deeply. Remembering the lotus-like feet of Shiva he spoke to his beloved. Sudharma said: — “O beloved, how can what be ordained by the lord be otherwise. Cast off your vain hopes. Render service to the lord.” After saying so and giving up hope himself, the brahmin became engaged in sacred rites and meditation on Shiva.
Yearning for a son Sudeha did not leave off her pleadings. With palms joined in reverence and bending her head she lovingly said to her husband. Sudeha said: — “Let there be no son born of me. With my consent you shall take another wife. Undoubtedly, she will bear you a son.” Requested thus by his beloved wife, that brahmin the most excellent of the devotees of Shiva and fond of sacred rites spoke to her. Sudharma said: — “Our miseries have gone off, O beloved, do not put obstacles in our holy rites now.” Although prevented thus, she brought her mother’s younger daughter to her house and said to her husband “Take her. Now you say that she must be my beloved wife. But should she give birth to a son you will begin to be jealous of her.”
When thus warned by her husband, Sudeha joined her palms in reverence and spoke to him: -- “O excellent brahmin, I will not be jealous of my own sister. Please marry her and beget a son. I urge upon you.”
Thus, implored by her, Sudharma married that lady Ghushma with due ceremonies. After marrying her he requested Sudeha, “O my pious beloved, this is your younger sister. You must bring her up.” Sudeha served her sister like a hired wench eschewing all opposition and lovingly nurtured her. The junior wife with the consent of her sister, made hundred and one earthen idols every day. According to the sacred rules Ghushma rendered devotional services to these images and threw them in the neighbouring lake. Thus, she performed the wish-yielding worship of Shiva every day leaving them off and invoking them again in accordance with the rules of devotional service. Performing the worship of Shiva thus regularly she completed a hundred-thousand images and their worship which would yield the benefits of all desires. By the mercy of Shiva, a son was born to her. He was beautiful, fortunate and endowed with all auspicious qualities. On seeing him the brahmin was much delighted. Being the most excellent of all who knew virtue and engrossed in the virtues of knowledge he enjoyed the pleasure with due detachment. Then Sudeha grew fiercely jealous of her. Her heart which was cool and quiet before began to blaze like fire now.
On seeing the son of the younger sister, the elder sister was much distressed. Unable to see her pleasure she became inimical. Her people celebrated the birth of a son continually. But she could not bear the sight of the beautiful child. On seeing the son, a great favourite of the parents and endowed with all good qualities, her heart began to blaze like fire. In the meantime, many brahmins came there offering their daughters in marriage. Sudharma celebrated the marriage of his son duly. Sudharma was extremely delighted in the company of Ghusma. All the relatives honoured Ghusma much. On seeing that, Sudeha blazed furiously in her mind. Extremely distressed she began to lament, “O I am doomed.” When the daughter-in-law came to the house and the son was duly married, Sudharma evinced his enthusiasm to both the wives with an intention of delighting them equally. But Ghusma was delighted and Sudeha was distressed. Unable to bear her happiness, she fell on the ground. Ghusma said: — “These are your own son and daughter-in-law not mine.” But the daughter-in-law considered Sudeha her mother-in-law and the son considered her his mother. The husband too loved the elder more than he loved the younger. Still the elder wife retained dirt in her mind. One day the senior wife Sudeha, extremely distressed in her heart, thought how she could subdue her misery.
Sudehā said: — “Certainly the fire in my heart can be tranquilised only through the tears of Ghusma caused by her misery and not otherwise. So, I shall kill her son today, the son that speaks pleasing words to her. What is destined to happen shall happen. This is my final decision.”
The inimical nature among co-wives is extremely ruthless and suicidal. The wicked and the mean do not ponder what shall be done or not done. 15. One day during the night as the son was sleeping with his wife, she took a big knife and cut off his limbs. The senior wife cut off the limbs of Ghusma’s son at night. Strong that she was she took them to the lake where the earthen images of Shiva were usually hurled by Ghusma. After casting off the limbs into the lake she returned and slept. In the morning Ghusma got up and performed her daily household duties. Sudharma too performed his daily sacred rites. In the meantime, the senior wife too got up and performed her duties with great pleasure, now that the fire in her heart had been tranquilised. Getting up in the morning, the daughter-in-law saw to her horror the bed wet with blood and a few scattered pieces of the body. She told her mother-in-law, “Where has your son gone? The bed is wet with blood. Pieces of the body are also seen.” The daughter-in-law fond of her husband began to lament— “O I am doomed. O my mother of holy rites, who has perpetrated this wicked deed?” The senior wife, though delighted inwardly, showed great distress outwardly saying “O I am doomed!” Ghusma heard the pitiable lamentation of her daughter-in-law but did not leave off her sacred rite, the daily worship of Śiva’s earthen image. Her mind did not exhibit any agitation. The husband too remained calm till the completion of the sacred rite. At noon when the worship was concluded she looked at the terrible bed. Still Ghusma did not show signs of grief. “He who has given this boy will protect him too. The annihilator of Kala, the goal of the good, is famous as a favourite of his devotee. Our protector, the sole lord, Shiva is like a gardener. He separates those whom he has united. What can I gain by worrying over it?” Realising this truth, being emboldened in dedicating herself to Śiva she did not grieve much. Taking the day’s earthly phallic images, she went towards the bank of the lake repeating the names of Shiva, maintaining the normalcy of her mind as afore. When she cast off the earthen phallic images and returned, she saw her son standing on the bank of the lake. The son said: — “I shall meet my mother. After dying I have been resuscitated, thanks to the power of her virtue and the mercy of Shiva.” On seeing her son restored to life the mother was not delighted as she was not distressed before. At that time, lord Shiva, appeared before her immediately in the form of a mass of splendour. He said delightedly. Shiva said: — “O excellent-faced lady, I am delighted. Mention the boon you wish to have This boy had been killed by that wicked lady. I shall kill her with my trident. Bowing down to Shiva she requested for the boon “O lord, Sudeha, my sister, must be protected by you.” Shiva said: — “Harm has been done by her. Why should you render help to her? Sudcha the perpetrator of wicked deeds must be killed. Ghusma said: — “No sin stays, the moment you are seen. Now, on seeing you her sin will be reduced to ashes. Sin is far removed at the mere sight of the person who renders help to those who harm him. These wonderful words of the lord have been heard by me O lord. Hence, O Sadashiva let it not be done otherwise.”
Thus, requested by her, lord Shiva the ocean of mercy, favourably disposed towards his devotees was delighted and spoke thus.
Shiva said: —"O Ghusma, request for another boon. I shall grant you what is beneficial to you. I am delighted at your devotion and your nature of being free from aberrations.” She said after hearing his words “If a boon is to be given by you, you shall stay here in my name for protecting the worlds.” Then the delighted lord Shiva said— “I shall stay here in your name.
Reference: Shiva Purana, Koṭirudra Saṃhita, Chapters - 32, 33