(Last Updated on : 08-11-2017)
Lingam is the representation of Lord Shiva
. The lingam is a column-like or elliptical egg-shaped sign of Lord Shiva. Lingam in Sanskrit
means Gender. The Shiva Lingam is symbolized by a cylindrical stone rounded off at the top; and at the other end inserted in stonework or in the ground, but transfixing another horizontal and flat stone named Yoni. This emblem is placed in the open field, on the way side, and in temples
, and worshipped everywhere in the world. The worship of the Lingam and Yoni marks the Shaivism
. Again the worship of the Lingam alone denotes the Veerashaivism
. The latter attach a further meaning to the word, indicating various heaven
s or Lokas
in the invisible world.
Origin of Lingam
In the Hindu mythology
, there is a hymn
in the Atharva Veda
that honours a pillar and this is one probable derivation of Lingam worship. In the Linga Purana
, the same hymn is developed in the shape of stories designed to set up the glory of the great Stambha and the superlative nature of Lord Mahadeva. A parallel interpretation is also found in the Skanda Purana
tradition, the Lingam is considered as the first form to happen when creation occurred, and also the last form before the ending of the creation. It is therefore seen as an entrance to Shiva which lies beyond physical creation. In Mahabharata, at the end of Dwapara Yuga
, Lord Shiva says to his followers that in the coming Kali Yuga
, He would not emerge in any exacting form, but instead as the formless and universal. The oldest example of a Lingam that is still used for worship is in Gudimallam (Village)
. It dated to the 2nd century BC. A figure of Lord Shiva is carved into the front of the Lingam.
Concept of Lingam
According to myths, Shiva Lingam is the mark of lord within its formation. Everything in the world happens out of a dome. Everything being round is a sign of the Lord Shiva. Since Lord Shiva cannot be grasped, people worship his mark. Philosophically, Shiva Lingam consists of three parts. The base part which is four-sided remains underground, the centre part which is eight-sided remains on a platform. The top part, which is in reality worshipped, is round. The height of the round part is one-third of its perimeter. The three parts symbolize Brahma
at the bottom, Vishnu
in the middle and Shiva on the top. The platform is presented with a way for draining away the water that is poured on the top.
Myths of Lingam
In myths, Sage Vyasa
mentions that Lord Shiva is greater than everything supreme. He is the source of energy in all the living things. He has overwhelmed the whole world. He is Timeless. There is a mysterious or unspeakable power in the Shiva Lingam to persuade the attention of the mind and helps focus ones attention. The worship of Shiva Lingam is stated in the epics
. In Ramayana, before crossing Sri Lanka, Rama
approached a Shiva Lingam at Rameswaram
for worshipping Lord Shiva. These examples demonstrate that God
may be conceptualized and worshipped in any suitable form.
According to the puranas
, the myth of Shivalingam is associated to the Mahashivaratri
, a significant festival of Hinduism
. It is the legend of unsuccessful hunt of Brahma and Vishnu which was about to find out the Aadi (means beginning) and the Antha (means end) of Lord Shiva before the beginning of universe.
Aspects of Lingam
In Veerashaivism, Lord Shiva is divided from His Absolute form into Lingam, the Supreme Lord and Anga, the individual soul
. There are three aspects of Shivalingam in myths. First is the Ishtalingam that is the personal form of Shiva, in which the lord fulfils his desires and removes afflictions. The second aspect is Bhavalingam, this means Shiva beyond space and time, the highest divine principle, knowable through intuition. The last is the Pranalinga, the reality of God which can be detained by the mind.
Types of Lingam
In Hinduism, Shiva Lingam is divided into many types according to the materials used to make it such as sandalwood paste, river
clay, wood, stones, white marbles
, precious gems
, metal, mercury, gold
, etc. Around 70 Shiva Lingams are worshipped throughout the world and have become the places of pilgrimage
. Following are the types of Lingam:
Black Shiva Lingam: Black Shiva Lingam is considered as sanctified and sacred form and it contains very protecting energies. This Lingam helps in resonating energies of all components like water, earth, fire, air and stone.
White Marble Shiva Lingam: This kind of Lingam is made up of white marbles and very helpful for the people having suicidal inclinations. Worshiping this Lingam changes the mind completely and prevents from the suicidal attempt by removing harmful thoughts.
Parad Shiva Lingam: Parad Shiva Lingam is of great significant for Hindu devotees and worshipped with absolute process, belief and dedication It is worshiped to be physically strong, mentally, religiously and psychologically as well as get protected from the natural calamities, evil control, tragedy and other bad effects.
Significance of Lingam
Shiva Lingam is spoken itself as Nature which marks the existence of shapeless Lord. It is a form of never-ending soul who dwells into deepest self means Atman
. Lingam is not only a block of material or stone or other things; instead it is a medium to attach with God. It raises mind and body awareness and helps to get attention at one place. The Lingams are used in meditation
, carried with the person throughout the day, or used in healing ceremonies and rituals
Sacred Shiva Lingams in India
Of all the Shiva Lingams in India, a few stand out as holding the most significance. The temple of Lord Mahalinga
at Tiruvidaimarudur, Thanjavur
which is also famous as Madhyarjuna, is regarded as the great Shiva temple
of South India
. There are 12 Jyotir-Lingams
and five Panchabhuta
Lingams in India.
Jyotir- Lingams: Kedarnath, Kashi Vishwanath, Somnath, Baijnath, Rameswar, Ghrusneswar, Bhimshankar, Mahakal, Mallikarjun, Amaleshwar, Nageshwar, and Tryambakeshwar.
Panchabhuta Lingams: Kalahastishwar, Jambukeshwar, Arunachaleshwar, Ekambareshwar of Kanjivaram and Nataraja of Chidambaram.
The practice of worshipping Shiva Lingam as the sacred symbol of Lord Shiva has been from time immemorial. Shiva Lingam observes in it a representation of fruitfulness.