There used to be a sampanna-graamam near Devagiri in Southern Bhaarata-desham. A Braahmana by name Sudharma used to live there. His patni’s name was Sudeha. Sudeha was sad because they didnt have any santaanam. She then arranged Kalyaanam of her sister, Ghushma and Sudharma, hoping to get santaanam. Ghushma was a great Shiva-bhakta. She used to do archana of 101 Paarthiva-lingams (Shiva-Lingam made of sand) everyday.
On a sumuhuurtam, Ghushma gave birth to a boy. Everyone was happy. But the happiness didnt last for long. Many used to give more respect to Ghushma than Sudeha and used to say Sudeha was a Vandhya (woman with no children). Slowly Iirsha and Asuuya started in Sudeha on Ghushma.
Meanwhile the kid grew up and Sudharma did his Kalyaanam. The putra (son) and snusha (daughter-in-law) always used to respect Sudeha and look after her with prema. Similarly Sudeha and Ghushma also loved her. However because of Iirsha and asuuya, Sudeha’s heart was burning.
Finally Iirsha turned into Matsaram and one night she went near the newly married couple and killed the putra when they were sleeping. She then cut him into pieces and put the body into a kuupam where Ghushma used to put Nirmaalyam and used Paarthiva-Lingams! She came back and slept peacefully as if nothing happened.
Next day morning Sudharma and Ghushma were inolved in their Dina-charya and Sudeha was in kitchen acting as if nothing happened. But the snusha, to her terror, found that her husband was missing and she saw blood and flesh pieces. She tried to tell Sudharma and Ghushma, but they didnt respond as their were completely immersed in Daiva-dhyaanam.
When Ghushma was returning after putting that day’s Paarthiva-Lingams in the kuupam, she saw her putra walk towards her! At the same time Parama Shiva gave His divya-darshanam to Ghushma and told her to ask for a Varam. Ghushma said “please appear here as a Jyotirlingam and bless all of us”. Immediately Parama Shiva took the form as “Ghushmeshvara Jyotirlingam” (one of the 12 Jyotirlingams). The Kuupam became a Pushkarini by name “Shivaalayam”.
Morals in the story:
- Iirsha, asuuya and Matsaram are very terrible. They change even a woman, with Komala Hrudayam into a Kathinaatma. Sudeha, who herself did Kalyaanam of Ghushma and Sudharma, developed Iirsha and finally did Mahaa-paapa kaaryams.
- Bhakti of Ghushma and Sudharma are well shown in the story. Nothing disturbed them, they had 100% belief in God. God always protects such Bhaktas.