Sanatan Dharm is a spiritual philosophy and a way of life. Science is something inherent to it and at the same time it’s a philosophy much beyond those realms. One of the mysteries in Hinduism is the significance of the Shiva Lingam. There are too many questions and misconceptions related to Shiv Linga.
I am Shashi Gossain, In this article we will discuss What is the real meaning of Shivling?, Why is Lingam in that shape?, What is Yoni in Shivling?, Can female touch Shivling?, Why we put milk on Shivling?
Which is the oldest Shiva temple?
You may have seen this structure in many forms sizes & made from different materials. The oldest symbols have been unearthed, & are dated back to 2300 BC from the Indus Valley civilization
What is the real meaning of Shivling?
Some revere it as a Symbol of the Universe, while some regard it as a male sex organ, denoting Lord Shiva. So let’s look at the Mythology behind this sacred object-
The Sanskrit word for phallus, the male sex organs, is Shishinam, not Ling. Ling means Symbol.
The Shiva Linga is a symbol of Lord Shiva: a mark that reminds of the Omnipotent Lord, which is formless.
It represents the whole universe that comes from Shiva, stays in him, and goes back into him. Shiva has no start and no end, no form, no birth, and no death. His presence is the entire universe.
Another explanation is that Shiva means auspicious. So the linga is the shapeless symbol for the great god of auspiciousness. It is intended to bring the shapeless unknown into our attention.
According to our Sacred Scriptures, The linga puran also supports this interpretation of lingam as a cosmic pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva
Why is Lingam in that shape?
The Linga is like an egg and represents the Brahmanda (the cosmic egg), which is the symbol of the Universe, and the bottom base represents the Supreme Power that holds the entire Universe in it.
The Kedarnath jyotirlinga is triangular & the base is square. There are naturally formed Shivlings found on the Narmada River bed, which are cylindrical in shape, standing on a pedestal or peeth, which is designed for water drainage in one direction .
Shiva Linga, here is depicted as an upward focused energy, the pillar that supports the entire universe.
As the most powerful of deities, Temples are built in his honour that includes a Shiva Linga, representing all the energies of the world and beyond.
Spiritually, it is only the outward symbol of the formless being, Lord Shiva, who is the undying soul seated in the chambers of your heart.
He is your in-dweller, your innermost self or Atman, and he is also identical with the supreme Brahman.
There is a mysterious power, or Shakti in the Linga. It is used in meditation, as it is believed to induce concentration of the mind and help focus one’s attention.
That is why the ancient sages and seers of India prescribed Linga to be installed in the temples of Lord Shiva.
Practitioners in healing crystals and rocks believe the Shiva Lingam to be among the most powerful.
It is said to bring balance and harmony to those who carry it and have great healing energy for all seven chakras of the body.
There are many examples to emphasise the fact that the Lingam is not a sex object.
Three Parts of Shiva Linga:
A Shiva Linga consists of three parts:
- The lowest part of Shiv Linga is called the Brahma-Pitha, associated with creation.
- The middle one, the Vishnu-Pitha, associated with preservation.
- Both these together form the pedestal.
- The uppermost cylindrical portion, the Shiva-Pitha, associated with Lord Shiva symbolizes the projecting flame of fire. This flame also represents the destructive aspects as well as the preserving power of God.
Is Shivling a male organ? What is Yoni in Shivling?
The other belief is that the Shiva Linga is a symbol of fertility; it symbolizes the union of mind and soul. It also physically symbolizes the male and female reproductive organs in a state of bliss.
Phallus: Male sex organ, the emblem of the generative power in nature.
Yoni represents Goddess Shakti in Hinduism. Yoni in Sanskrit means the womb.
Linga signifies that the creation is affected by the union of the male and the female powers of Nature. A symbol for positive & negative, or the static and dynamic energies of the Absolute.
It is used as a healing stone, particularly for sexual fertility and potency as well as overall well-being, power, and energy.
Can female touch Shivling?
According to the strict rules of Hinduism, women during menstruation should stay away from the lingam, and since the lingam represents the male reproductive organ, unmarried women are not allowed to touch it, worship it, or offer water.
Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva
Huge temples have been built to honour Lord Shiva, e.g the Mahalinga Temple in Madhyarjuna, in South India, is regarded as one of the greatest Shiva temples.
Shiva’s numerous shrines throughout India hold many yogic powers .
A steady stream of pilgrims attends these Shiva sanctuaries regularly today as they have for thousands of years.
There are 12 Holy Jyotir-lingas and five Pancha-bhuta Lingas in India.
- Jyotir-lingas: Found in Kedarnath, Kashi Vishwanath, Somnath, Baijnath, Rameswar, Ghrusneswar, Bhimshankar, Mahakal, Mallikarjun, Amaleshwar, Nageshwar, and Tryambakeshwar
- Pancha-bhuta Lingas: Found in Kalahastishwar, Jambukeshwar, Arunachaleshwar, Ekambareshwar of Kanjivaram, and Nataraja of Chidambaram
- The Kumbha Mela, the world’s largest religious gathering, provides a centre stage to his worship extending to hundreds of millions of devotees led by Shaivite Naga Sadhu
Why water is poured over the Shiv ling?
The reason Lord Shiva is often worshiped by pouring Ganges water over the lingam is that it represents the Ganges descending from heaven on to Shiva’s head.
The legend is that when the Ganges first began to flow to the earthly planet from the heavenly region, the force of it would have destroyed the earth.
To prevent this, Lord Shiva agreed to let the river first fall on his head before forming into a river.
It is the symbolic offering of us to God.
Why we put milk on Shivling?
According to Ayurveda science, the Vata element, which is found in milk, is too high, during the month of Shravan, which leads to ailments. Hindus offer milk over Shivling, as a symbol of the poison that lord shiva consumed during the “churning of the ocean” by the Gods & the Demons.
The Shivling has the power to continually absorb the negative energy from the surroundings, cold milk is poured over it to cool the object & transmit positive vibes.
When a Shiva linga is installed, called Prana Prathista, it is done so by performing the Vedic rituals and chanting of mantras.
According to Vastu Shastra, it is placed in the North direction, which is towards Lord Shiva’s abode, the Mount Kailash.
We pray to Lord Shiva to reside in the Linga to
- Protect us from all calamities
- Destroy all our sins
- Gain boundless virtue
- Fulfil our desires
Legend has it that the sage Bhrighu cursed Shiva so that he could only be worshipped like a lingam, instead of in his true form.
This curse came about when Bhrigu tried to visit Shiva, he was turned away by Nandi, the gatekeeper, because Shiva and Parvati wished to be left alone.
The mannerism of worship varies in different parts of India & although there are two schools of thought, which seem completely different but they are connected in their underlying meaning and connection to Lord Shiva.