Different Versions of Lord Ram Worshipping Lord Shiva by establishing a Linga at Rameshwaram
In the Chapter 3 of Brahma Kund (3rd Canto of Skanda Purana)
“Describing how Sri Ram had installed Rameshwar linga, Sutji said--'
After killing Ravan, Sri Ram enthroned Vibhishan as the king of Lanka.
While returning to Ayodhya he made a brief stop at Gandhamadan
mountain. Since the thought of having killed a brahmin (Ravan) kept on
tormenting him, he decided to atone for his sins. In consultation with
sages, Sri Ram decided to perform the ‘Pratishtha’ of Shiva Linga at
the most auspicious ‘Muhurat’ and commissioned Hanuman to bring the
Linga from Maha Deva at Kailasa Mountain. But Unfortunately however
Hunuman could not meet the deadline of the Muhurat for the
Consecration of the Linga and Devi Sita had to prepare a Sand Linga
that was set up as a temporary stop-gap but in reality that became the
real Linga . Meanwhile Hanuman returned from Kailasa but was highly
disappointed and felt that all his efforts proved futile. Sri Rama
consoled Hanuman also did the Pratishtha of the Linga brought by
Rama instructed that Hanuma lingam should be worshipped first since it was brought by Lord Hanuman - the tradition continues even today.
In Chapter 18 of Koti Rudra Samhita of Shiva Purana
It is said that
“Lord Rama After reaching Rameswaram beach and he was thirsty. When he
was drinking water there he heard a celestial voice “you are drinking
water here without worshipping me”’. Rama recognized that voice was of
Lord Siva. Then he made a Sivalingam with beach sand and worshipped
Lord Siva. He prayed Lord Siva to bless him to win the war, and
vanquish Ravana. Lord Siva blessed Rama accordingly. He also prayed
Lord Siva to reside eternally at Rameswaram so that entire mankind
should benefit from it. Lord Siva agreed to Rama’s prayer and
manifested Himself as Ramanatha Jyothirlingam and stayed there for
According to a legend from Linga Purana,
“on the advice of Rishis, Rama wanted to consecrate at Rameswaram a
shrine for Lord Siva to wash off the Brahmahatsya dosha - the sin of
killing Ravana, a Brahmin. An auspicious time for the ceremony was
fixed. Rama rushed Hanuman to Kasi to bring a Sivalingam. The
auspicious time for the installation had neared, but Hanuman had not
returned, Sita made a Sivalingam out of sand and the puja was
performed to this Lingam at the stipulated time. It was consecrated as
Ramalinga. Meanwhile, Hanuman returned from Kasi with two Lingams. He
was disappointed that the ceremony was already over. In anger, he
tried to uproot the sand Sivalingam with his tail, but in vain. Rama
pacified Hanuman and installed one of the Lingams brought by Hanuman
from Kasi to the left of Ramalinga, and ordered that all pujas be
first performed for this Sivalingam, called Kasilingam or
This priority in puja is followed even today.
“Tradition ascribes the authorship of Adhyathma Ramayana to Vedavyasa
since it is said to be an integral part of Brahmanda Purana.
Adhyathma Ramayana is the portrayal of a conversation between Lord
Siva and Goddess Parvati (as reported by Lord Brahma to Sage Narada).
It is this work that provided Tulasidasa with the inspiration to
compose his immortal work, the Ramacharitamanasa. Sri Rama was
described by Valmiki as a perfect human being, a maryada purushottama,
with embodiment of Dharma. In Adhyathma Ramayana we see Rama as
Brahman - omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, the cause without a
cause and the One without a second.
Adhyathma Ramayana speaks about Rama’s installation of the Sivalinga
in Rameswara, before the construction of Sethu for the success of the
enterprise. Rama also declares about the merit of Pilgrimage to
Rameswara and Sethu Bandha here. “
In Lanka Kanda of Ramcharitamanasa
“It is said that Lord Ram installed a linga of Lord shiva before going to going to Lanka.”
In Ramavataram, popularly referred to as Kamba Ramayanam, is a Tamil
epic that was written by the Tamil poet Kamban during the 12th
century. It describes the life of King Rama of Ayodhya. This historic
work is considered by both Tamil scholars and the general public as
one of the greatest literary works in Tamil literature. It also
doesn’t mention about Lord Rama Worshipping Lord Shiva in the form of
a Linga before/ after the war.
In each of the above references one doesn’t confirm to another completely for the above episode in question of Ramayana. There are as many 300 Ramayana’s with varied interpretations.
So taking a cue from Valmiki Ramayan which shows Lord Rama got the grace of Lord Shiva before War and stories from Shiva Purana, RamCharitmanasa, Adhyatma Ramayana which show that Lord Rama installed Linga before war and prayed to it are in perfect contradiction of the sthala purana of the temple of Rameswaram.
Skanda and Linga Puranas are in agreement with the sthala purana.
But here appears a paradox where the former known to be more authentic don’t agree with that of sthala purana. Still it remains a matter of debate as to which one is authentic.
Leaving this aside temple town of Rameswaram is equally revered by Shaivas and Vaishnavas.
Wish may Lord Ram and Lord Shiva instill upon our minds the truth against popular or argumentative opinions.