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Shiv Linga | Shiv Linga Meaning & Detail Information

It is traditional to worship Lord Shiva in the form of Shiv Linga by all Hindus. Different sizes of Shiv Lingas are worshipped in all temples dedicated to Shiva, as the symbol of God. Mostly, the Shiv Lingas are made of natural stone, metal, or clay and have a cylindrical shape, placed in a disc-shaped platform that represents Mother Goddess. It is an abstract representation of God, instead of worshipping the idol of Lord Shiva.

Shiv Linga

Shiv Linga | Image Resource : upload.wikimedia.org

True Meaning Of Shiv Linga

According to Upanishads, Shiv Linga represents the supreme generative power of God. It shows the creative power and fertility of this cosmic world. The word ‘Linga’ means ‘symbol’ or ‘mark’ in Sanskrit. Thus, Shiv Linga symbolizes almighty God who does not have any definite form and lies as the soul or Atma within every creature of the world. The Shivling meaning as per the Linga Purana and Skanda Purana shows the union of Purush and Prakriti or the male and female supreme powers of the universe. It is also the mark of eternal knowledge, truth, and infinity, termed in Sanskrit as Jnana, Satya, and Ananta.

Ideally, a Shiv Lings comprises three parts; namely the Brahma-Pitha, Vishnu-Pitha, and Shiva-Pitha, denoting the presence of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva together. The lowest round-shaped base is termed as Brahma-Pitha, which holds a bowl-shaped structure called Vishnu-Pitha where one side is elongated like a spout of a teapot. Shiva-Pitha is the cylindrical part with a rounded peak that rests on the Vishnu-Pitha. Thus, the worship of Shivling means paying reverence to all forms of God. So, ancient sages initiated the tradition of worshipping God in the Linga form, to maintain harmony among all devotees.

History Of The Origin Of Shiv Linga

The origin of Shivling had been traced to a hymn of Atharva Veda, where an endless Stambha or pillar represented almighty God who has no beginning or end. Shaiva Siddhanta is another ancient scripture, which mentions the worship of Shivling as the perfect symbol of Sadashiva who is depicted with five heads and ten arms. Several Puranas have also written stories about Brahma and Vishnu trying to find the ends of a huge pillar of flame that extended all over the universe. As they failed to find the beginning or end of that pillar, they acknowledged the supremacy of Shiva, and thus, this flaming pillar is accepted as the root of Shivling history. Since the appearance of this pillar of light occurred on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Phalgun month as per the Indian calendar, this day is observed as Maha Shivratri to date by all devotees.

Interesting Information About Parad Shivling

Parad Lingam is the Shivling made from solidified mercury or Gallium. In Sanskrit, the word ‘Parad’ means ‘mercury’ while this liquid element is called ‘Pada-rasam’, for which the Shivling is called Rasalingam. Ancient Tamil sages or Siddhas knew the techniques of solidifying mercury, to render the cylindrical shape of Shiva linga. They added sulfur to the mercury and considered this non-metal as the symbol of Mother Goddess while mercury represents Lord Shiva. Thus, the resultant solid mixture was held with great reverence by these Tamil Siddhas and used to carve out the Shiva Lingas of suitable sizes. Normally, the Parad Shivling is seen to be worshipped only in Shiva temples and ashrams. People believe that touching and worshipping this mercury Shivling can ensure good health, longer life, and spiritual happiness in all worlds. This kind of Shivling can be seen in Masilamaniswara Temple in Thirumullaivoyal, Dhyanalinga temple in Coimbatore, Shiva Temple in Vishakhapatnam, Paradeswar Temple in Dharamgarh of Odisha, and Siddha Ashram in Ujjain. India is a large producer of bauxite, from which gallium is extracted. Thus, it is suspected that most of the Parad lingas are actually made of an alloy of gallium and not mercury, as the density of these Shiva lingas matches with that of gallium and much lower than mercury.

Information About The Specialty Of Narmadeshwar Shivling

A special kind of Shiva linga is available on the bed of river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh, which is called Narmadeshwar Shivling or Banlinga. It is known as very auspicious to all devotees of Lord Shiva, as per the cultural tradition in India and the notes mentioned in ancient scriptures. It is an elliptical-shaped stone with a smooth surface. As the river Narmada is known as the daughter of Shiva, it is said that each pebble on this river bed is the personification of God. The waves of the river create a definite oval shape and marks on the stones of its bed, turning each one into a Banlinga. This natural process might have taken centuries to render the present appearance to these stones. If any stone is shaken, the sound of water inside it can be heard. Thus, Banlinga is very precious to many ardent Shaiva followers and they consider it to be the mark of five deities, namely Shiva, Durga, Surya, Ganesha, and Vishnu. Alternatively, in some scriptures, it is described as the mark of Panch Tatwa comprising air, water, fire, sky, and earth. Brihadeeshwara Temple of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu contains the largest Banlinga.

Detail Information About Spatik Shivling

When a Shivaling is made of quartz, it is called Spatik Shivling as the word ‘Sphatikam’ means ‘crystal’ in Sanskrit. Thus, it is also called Crystal Shivling and it is known as the purest material that can be used to make a Shiva linga. Only the best quality quartz is used for this purpose and a single piece of crystal with special optical properties is carved out to make the Shivling. It is believed that this Shivling depicts the Nataraja form of Lord Shiva and thus, one can be free of all negative effects and curses by worshipping this Crystal Shivling. Since it is very rare, the Spatik or Crystal Shivling can be seen in Thillai Nataraja Temple of Chidambaram, Meenakshi Amman Temple of Madurai, Ramanathaswamy Temple of Rameshwaram, Swetharanyeswarar Temple of Thiruvenkadu, Ekambaranathar Temple in Kanchipuram, Sankara Narayanan temple, Sankarankovil, and Kadavul Temple in Hawaii Island, USA.

Thus, devotees of Lord Shiva can worship any form of Shiva Linga at home or in the temples, to get all worldly pleasures and salvation.

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