by Shiv Kumar Pandey
The mythological story behind the origin of Agni Teertham in Rameshwaram, India and how it has become a popular destination for spiritual tourism in Rameshwaram
We humans are always related to various kinds of sentiments and rituals. Even history seems to have witnessed all the dedications that have been shown by us towards the worship of God. Since from the day that we have taken birth in this holy planet which was though said to be created by the divine powers as a means of preserving the goodness in nature, we have shown our greatest of gratitude for all the privileges that were given to us by the almighty and have fought against all the wrongs that were done by the demons. The story of Agni Theertham is one mythological story that confirms how righteous our great heroes were and how much they could devote themselves for purity and serenity.
The tale behind the origin of Agni Teertham
Rameshwaram is a place where thousands of people who believe in God come to purify their souls from the sins that they might have done intentionally or unintentionally during their lifetime. Though the truthfulness and effectiveness of the rituals that are regularly done here for almost a timeless period depends on the personal believes of the people who come here from all corners of the world. Rameshwaram is the place where; after the defeat of the king of demons- Ravana, Lord Rama and his wife Sita along with their squad made their prayers to God Shiva in front of a ‘shiv linga’ that was only made up by Sita using the sands of the seashore. There is also a temple that was situated by the Lord Rama and which was named as Ramanathaswamy temple.
Agni Theertham is the eastern seashore that falls exactly on the opposite side of the temple. In the Ramayana it has been said that; after Lord Rama successfully rescued Sita from the captivation of Ravana, he ordered his beloved wife Sita to give the proof of her purity. Sita during the attempt of proving her purity didn’t show a slightest of hesitation while stepping into the fire. She constantly prayed to the God of fire ‘Agni’ to save her if she was pure. Since Sita was pure, the god of fire ‘Agni’ therefore appeared in front of them and said to Lord Rama that Sita was pure and her purity was absolute. Later for the charge of touching a virtuous woman the god of fire ‘Agni’ was punished with a sin which he had to remove by praying to Lord Shiva and bathing in the sea. The place where the god of fire freed himself from the sin is called Agni Theertham. Unlike the other theerthams Agni Theertham isn’t located inside the premises of the Ramanathaswamy temple.
Reason that makes people take uncountable dips in Agni Theertham
Agni Theertham is very popular among the pilgrims since there are some powerful religious stories related to it. Everyday thousands of people come to take bath in it and they also go to Ramanathaswamy temple to worship afterwards. Recognizing this ever growing demand, out of all the hotels in Rameshwaram, quite a few have come up in the area near Agni Teertham and Rameshwaram Temple.
Just like the god of fire washed his sin in the holy water of Agni Theertham, people believe that if they take dip in the water then they will also be cleansed of their sins. Some also believe that if the couples who can’t have children bath together in the sacred water of Agni Theertham and offer their prayers to Lord Shiva then they are blessed with healthy children.
These religious sentiments are the important strings that have kept us connected with the goodness and tranquility of life. Though there are hundreds of beliefs that are alive in our heart and soul, it is our responsibility to keep faith in them and never lose hope.
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