According to legend, in the Satya Yuga, the 1st of the four yugas, the Rishis wanted to perform uninterrupted yagyas for the benefit of mankind and asked Lord Brahma for a suitable place. Lord Brahma created a huge wheel, called Manomaya Chakra. He dedicated it to Lord Siva and released it and instructed the sages to follow it. He also told them that the place where it broke down would be very auspicious for doing penance.
The sages followed the Manomaya chakra, which after traveling for a long time fell down on a large segment of land as predicted by Brahma, Naimi means circumference of a wheel and Aranya means forest; together meaning the forest where the circumference of the Chakra broke. This segment of land became famous as Naimisharanya.
LINGA DARSHINI SHAKTI: As soon as it got destroyed, from the spot a huge gush of water sprouted up in the form of a Shiva-linga. As the water was flooding the place, the Rishis prayed and Mother Shakti appeared and absorbed and stopped the flow of water. Hence Naimisharanya is also a Shakti Peetha and has a famous ancient Lalita Devi temple. She is also called Linga-Dharini Shakti. There is another version of this legend in the Varaha Purana.
VARAHA PURANA: It states that Vishnu once destroyed the entire army of Asuras in a second at this place with his Chakra. Nimish means an instant and Aranya means forest; together meaning the forest where the demons were destroyed in a second.
There is a huge hexagonal pond called the Chakra Kunda or Wheel Pond, which is said to be the place where the Manomaya Chakra landed rupturing the ground. Because of the emergence of Shakti at Naimisharanya, it is a famous Shakti Peeth with a temple dedicated to a manifestation of Shakti known as Linga Dharini Shakti.
NAIMISHRANYA TIRTH: Another legend from Vayu Purana is that the name of Naimisharanya Tirth comes from Naimisha Forest. The story regarding the importance of this forest is that, after the great battle of Mahabaratha, sages and saints, who were very much concerned about the beginning of Kali yuga, approached Lord Brahma. Being aware of the extreme effects of the yuga, they urged Brahma to show them a place which can stay untouched by the effects of Kaliyuga.
Brahma took out a sacred wheel, the chakra and rolls it down on the earth and said, where ever that wheel stops, that would be the place. The sages followed the wheel, which stopped in the forest of Naimisharanya. Thus, sages and saints, made it their abode for further penance.As per the legends, Lord Brahma had himself indicated that in Kaliyug era, Naimisharanya would be the most sacred and holy place for meditation.
Naimishranya is where Vedavyasa taught the Vedas and all the Puranas to his disciples. Later it is in this very holy place that Romaharshana or Lomaharshana, Vedavyasa’s disciple, narrated the Puranas to several Rishis. It is also the blessed place where Ugrasrava, Suta Gosvami, the son of Romaharsana, narrated the story of Shreemad Bhagavatam to several Rishis.
MAHAPURANAS: These are upper corpus of Puranas composed by sage Vyasa Bhagavan, the narrator of Mahabaratha. But it is generally agreed that they were written all over India and rewritten here and there with additions and deletions. ‘Purana’ means ‘belonging to ancient times’. It can also mean ancient tale. Most of the Mahapuranas were written roughly between the 5th and 10th centuries. But it refers to older content.
It is traditionally agreed that 18 of the Puranas constitute the Mahapuranas.
The eighteen maha-puranas are divided into three groups and each group has six texts. The groups contain descriptions of the Hindu trinity lords namely, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Since all three of Them are give due emphasis in any Purana. But it is noted that each group highlights their own Bhagavan and contradict who eulogise who.
The Mahapurnas are Brahmanda, Padma, Vishnu, Vayu, Bhagvat, Naradiya, Markandeya, Agneya, Bhavishya, Brahmavaivarta, Linga, Varaha, Skanda, Vaman, Kurma, Matsya, Garud and Brahmand Purana.
PADMA PURANA: Of the Mahapuranas it is said that six belong to the three gunas or quality of goodness, six to passion, and six to ignorance. These are:
1. Sattva ("truth; purity"): Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Naradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana
1. Rajas ("dimness; passion"): Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana
1. Tamas ("darkness; ignorance"): Matsya Purana, Kurma purana, Linga Purana, Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana
Hara Hara Mahadeva
(Forests: Nature in the Hindu Way of Life)