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Traditionally, the Ramayana is attributed to Valmiki. The Hindu tradition is unanimous in its agreement that the poem is the work of a single poet; the sage Valmiki, a contemporary of Rama and a peripheral actor in the epic. The story's original version in Sanskrit is known as Valmiki Ramayana.

Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is considered as the Adi Kavya, equivalent to Veda itself. As per Valmiki Ramayana there is no instance which shows that Lord Ram worshipped Lord shiva.

But the latter traditions (Ramcharitmanas) and Puranas (Shiva Purana) show that Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva and also he installed a Shiva Linga which now became the famous temple of Rameshwaram.

How far are these latter traditions and puranas are to be accepted when the Valmiki Ramayana doesn't mention of Lord Rama worshipping Lord Shiva?

Is there any other scriptural evidence regarding the worship of Lord Shiva by Lord Rama which is as valid source as Valmiki Ramayana?

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    Natives born in constellations of Jupiter(Nakshatras of Jupiter) are natural devotees of Lord Shiva .Similarly natives born in Moon's Nakshtaras are also natural devotees of Lord Shiva.That is why Lord Rama(born in Punarvasu Nakshatra,a Jupiter's constellation) & Lord Krishna (born in Rohini Nakshatra ,a constellation ruled by Moon) were both devoted towards Lord Shiva during their lifetime – Rickross Mar 10 '16 at 6:06
  • @Rickross This is interesting. Could you list all these stars/nakshatras?Thx. – user1195 Mar 10 '16 at 6:44
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    @moonstar2001 ketu-chandika,durga,navadurga,ven-skanda,sun-shiva,rudra ,surya,moon-shiva,shiva+shakti(ardhanareeswara),mars-agni,ambika,gowri,mer-vishnu,jup-shiva,dakshinamurty,,sat-hanuman.lakshmi rahu-durga,bhairava,ganapaty. – Rickross Mar 10 '16 at 7:06
  • @sv., btw the other question you linked in your comment How to introduce Hinduism to Children? is actually a good candidate of being reopened. That's feeling I got from the other users' sentiments in the meta post. – iammilind Mar 11 '16 at 2:21
  • Yes lord rama worship lord shiva. After killing ravana, on his return from sri lanka. Lord Rama offered prayers to lord shiva to remove all his sins by killing ravana. – shazz 15 Jan 8 '18 at 10:00
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Yes, he did. This is clearly written in Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda in the scene where Rama , Sita and their retinue are returning to Ayodhya in the pushpaka vimAna and Rama is showing Sita all the places that he had visited during his journey to Lanka.

"See this island, located in the middle of the ocean, where my troops were stationed. At this place, the lord Shiva (the supreme deity) formerly bestowed his grace on me."

Quote taken from Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda, Sarga 123, Verse 19

This indicates that Rama worshipped Shiva before the great war with Ravana and not after as is popularly believed. Nonetheless, it is indisputable that he worshipped Lord Shiva.

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    Best Answer for those who say story of "Rama worshiping Siva" as interpolation. – The Destroyer Mar 10 '16 at 12:15
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    Verse 8 of the "Shiva Daridra Dahana Stotram" composed by Rishi Vasistha starts with "Ramapriyaya Raghu nada Vara Pradhaya," meaning "Who is dear to Rama ,Who granted boons to Rama".This implies that Sri Rama was Lord Shiva's devotee . – Rickross Mar 10 '16 at 12:32
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    @moonstar2001 well it doesn't answer my question. It isn't mentioned in the valmiki ramayan. You are only inferring from the given sloka that he worshipped him. Where it is given that he established a linga to win the war over ravana or to do away with the sin of killing ravana(who was brahman). – KIRAN KUMAR Mar 10 '16 at 14:54
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    @KIRANKUMAR "bestowed his grace on me". What else would it mean? Valmiki Ramayana implicitly says Rama worshiped Shiva on island of Rameswara. Actually Rama worshiped Shiva's earthen image according to Shiva Purana. Later Shiva decided to stay there as Linga. – The Destroyer Mar 10 '16 at 16:13
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    @KIRANKUMAR See this answer. – The Destroyer Mar 10 '16 at 16:15
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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 Hanuma.”

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 eternity.”

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 Viswanathalingam."

This priority in puja is followed even today.

Adhyathma Ramayana

“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.”

Kamba Ramayanam

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.

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    What does the Sthala Purana of Rameswaram say exactly? – sv. Aug 30 '16 at 21:42
  • Hmm..Kalpa Bheda resolves this problem. – The Destroyer May 27 '17 at 15:20
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    @TheDestroyer Kalpa Bheda is the answer to every question. Solved. :P – Sarvabhouma May 27 '17 at 15:27
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    @SreeCharan hmm.. you can only get it when you read Puranas completely. :P – The Destroyer May 27 '17 at 16:09
  • @Kiran Kumar - May I request for the exact chapter and verses in The Linga Purana that refers to this story (and what you have mentioned above)? Thanks in advance. – Vidyarthi Nov 24 at 0:54
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I'm giving here instances other than Rameshwaram. Lord Rama being a perfect example for every human being, prays and respects every divinities. It is also seen in Ayodhya Kanda:

वैश्वदेवबलिम् कृत्वा रौद्रम् वैष्णवमेव च |
वास्तुसंशमनीयानि मङ्गळानि प्रवर्तयन् || २-५६-३१
जपम् च न्यायतः कृत्वा स्नात्वा नद्याम् यथाविधि |
पाप संशमनम् रामः चकार बलिम् उत्तमम् || २-५६-३२

Having taken bath in the river as prescribed Rama offered oblations to Lord Rudra (Shiva) and Lord Vishnu after offering tributes to Vaisvadeva. He performed benedictions relating to the purification of house and also a silent prayer as per prescribed rites. He finally offered excellent tributes to the deities, for removing sins.

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    Once again, this verse is missing in the critical edition of Valmiki Ramayana. – I will close your question Apr 7 at 3:05
  • Yes, this verse has been excised from the CE of VR. See this translation of Bibek Debroy based on the CE. No mention of Shiva being worshiped. – sv. Apr 8 at 21:23
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I like to add another reference, which is Ananda Ramayana. This is not attributed to Sage Valmiki, and the exact authorship, and time of composition are not clear. Many stories and accounts are new in this version of The Ramayana.

That said, the Sara-Khanda, 10th Sarga talks about Lord Rama establishing the Shiva Linga in great detail. This is narrated for about 40 plus slokhas starting from roughly around 121 (of Sarga 10 of the sara khanda)

The account varies from The Valmiki Ramayana in one key aspect - Lord Rama, as per The Ananda Ramayana, installs The Shiva Linga AFTER the war. The story goes like this (in brief) -

Having killed Ravana, who was a Brahmin and the devotee of Lord Shiva, The Lord Rama wants to consecrate a Shiva Linga, and asks Lord Anjaneya to get a Shiva Linga from Varanasi. By the time Lord Hanuman returns back it was late, and Lord Rama (or Mother Sitha, I don't recall from my memory) installs a Linga. Lord Anjaneya returns back with two Lings and gets disappointed to see The Linga pratishta was already done. He asks Lord Rama, who tells him to take The Linga from the ground if he could. Anjaneya tries to pull The Linga and loses the tail. Then Lord Rama convinces Anjaneya to install The Linga He brought to the North of the Linga established by Mother Sitha. Lord Rama also restores Hanuman's tail. The Linga brought by Lord Anjaneya is called Vishwanatha. The story further states that Lord Rama ordained that the Linga brought by Lord Anjaneya should be worshiped first before the main murthi of Rameshwaram.

This account is more or less in alignment with the sthala-purana of Rameshwaram, though deviates from The Valmiki Ramayana (in which the implied meaning is, Lord Rama worshiped Lord Shiva before crossing the ocean, on HIS way to Lankha. There is no explicit reference in The Valmiki Ramayana about a Linga Pratishta. It just says through the words of Lord Rama that HE worshiped Lord Mahadeva)

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To add to the list, it is also mentioned in Sri Nrsimha Purana (which is considered a upa-purana).

Chapter 58, slokhas 121 and 122 -

pratishTAya mahAdEvam setumaDyE sa raGHavah || (121) (Lord Rama made pratishta of Lord Shiva on the bridge constructed across the ocean)
labDHAvAn paramAm BHaktim shivE shamBO(r)agurahAt |
ramEshvara iti khyAtO mahAdEva(h) pinakaDHrk || 122

PS: I don't have Sanskrit fonts on my system, which is one of the reasons I resist typing the slokhas here, but any way for now let me type in English. This is not any standard transliteration - just a quick and approximate one until I get around to install one of the Sanskrit fonts that works well with my Linux system

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    What is mentioned? Can you quote that part? – TheLittleNaruto Nov 22 at 5:22
  • Just edited my previous response. Thanks for reminding me for the reference. – Vidyarthi Nov 23 at 23:47

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