Shivalinga and Worship:
Shivlinga or Shiva lingam connects a devotee with the Supreme Being - Lord Shiva. The lingam is the symbol of Lord Shiva and Lingam puja helps the devotee in aligning with Shiva consciousness. The Lord cannot be described, but still we say he is without a beginning and an end and is without a form. It is difficult for a devotee to understand this formless nature. Therefore Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga before Brahma and Vishnu. Each Lingam puja, step by step, takes the devotee to the eternal truth - that he/she is part of the Supreme Being.
Worship Procedure (Short Version)
While chanting "Om Namah Shivaya" or singing "Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra", do abhisheka of lingam with clean water. Follow this with milk and then with rose water and clean water. Then follow with panchamrit abhishek and thereafter offer Ganges water to the lingam. Water and sandalwood paste is used to keep the lingam cool, as Lord Shiva is always in a highly inflammable state. In some Shiva temples, cooling liquid constantly drops from pot hung above the Lingam.
Wipe with a soft cloth and install in place of worship with full love and devotion. Apply Vibuthi, sandal paste and saffron. Offer incense/Dhoop of Gugal and deck with flowers. For items not available, substitute with flowers or unbroken rice.
Bel leaf is most important offering to Lord Shiva. It is kept on the pindi with its back facing upwards and the stalk pointing toward the worshipper. The intention is to draw the combined energy from these three leaf petals towards oneself, leading to the reduction of one's trigunas.
Nextly, sweets, coconut and fruits are offered to the Lord. Camphor and incense are lit and 'aarti' is conducted.
Finally, ringing of bells or blowing of conch indicates the end of Puja. White ash (Vibhuti) is rubbed on the forehead and it is also distributed. Fruits, sweets and coconut are distributed as 'prasad'.
Rudram chanting pleases Lord Shiva which is either recited or played during the Abhisheka (Divine Bathing). The divine vibrations of these mantras cleanse the soul and environment. A prayer done with pure heart and a desire to surrender to the consciousness is always heard.
Read Shivalinga Abhishek procedure in detail
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