Shivling or Shivlinga is the symbol of the birthless and deathless Lord Shiva, representing the Infinite in Hindu belief. It is an installation of black stone that is worshipped widely in temples and homes. The Shivalinga represents the potent energy manifest in the cosmos. It takes the form of an erect black phallus emerging from a yoni, symbolic of Goddess Shakti, the female creative energy. This union of Shiva and Shakti represents the male and female aspects of creation, the passive space and active time from which the whole of existence has sprung up. Shivlinga thus signifies the Cosmic Egg or Brahmanda which has neither beginning nor end. In traditional Hindu belief, this constantly evolving world ultimately dissolves into the formless infinite before another one is created.
Origin of the Shivlinga
The history of the Shivling is recorded in the Shiva Puran as well as the Linga Puran, which observes the lingam to be the endless Cosmic Pillar of Fire, the source of everything. Once upon a time, Lord Bramha and Lord Vishnu were engaged in a contest to prove their superiority. The battle lasted so long that all devtas went to Lord Shiva to seek his intervention. When Lord Shiva reached the place of duel, Bramha and Vishnu were on the verge of using their deadly weapons, Maheshwar and Pashupat. To stop the destruction that would surely follow, Lord Shiva manifested himself as a pillar of light between them. Both Bramha and Vishnu were shocked to see the pillar so enormous in size. Vishnu assumed the form of a boar and went into the underworld to gauze the depth of this Pillar of Light, but he couldn’t find its end. Bramha assumed the form of a swan and flew into the sky, but he too couldn’t find the origin of this Pillar of Fire. However, when he went back to Vishnu, Bramha lied that he had seen the limit of the Pillar of Fire and Vishnu accepted Bramha’s superiority.
At this, Lord Shiva’s became so furious that he destroyed one of Bramha’s five heads. He also pronounced that since Bramha had lied in order to improve his status, he would not be worshipped by anyone. After this Lord Vishnu and Bramha worshipped Lord Shiva for the first time. Since that time, the festival of Shivratri has been celebrated. This day is the most auspicious for worshipping Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is sometimes depicted as emerging from this Pillar of Fire, the Shivling, thus cementing his status above Vishnu and Bramha.
Significance of Shivling
The Oval stone on the top of the Shivling symbolises the formless Lord of the Universe while the Yoni at the base is the Supreme Shakti that holds the entire Universe within it. This union of Shiva and Shakti also represents the convergence of the Soul (the Being) with Chitta (the mind). The lingam is represented as an erect phallus emerging from the ground. This signifies that through sadhana, the mind can be purified of all fixed beliefs, limiting thoughts and illusions. Once the limiting ego has been annihilated, this will lead to the realisation of the Being.
In this moment, the mind realises that its true nature is Sat Cit Ananda (truth, consciousness and bliss). This realisation of the Soul and the mind leads to the Being to discover that he is himself the Creator. From this moment onwards, he lives in a continual state of bliss or Ananda.
How to do Shivaling Puja
The Shivlinga is the easiest way to access Lord Shiva or Formless Absolute God. The month of Shravan is dedicated especially for the worship of Lord Shiva. You can also conduct worship of Shivlinga on Mondays, the day of Lord Shiva or on Pradosh to attain liberation from all worldly bondage.
On Mondays and during Pradosh, Shivling puja is primarily done in the form of Abhishek. This ritual involves bathing the Shivalinga with six different liquids and other aromatic items with an including of flowers and fruits. The Shiv Purana states that devotees must use milk, honey, yoghurt, ghee, ganga jal and sugar for the Abhishekam. After washing the Shivlingam with milk, honey, curd, ghee, gingerly oil and ganga jal, you should offer sugar, bhasma and sandalwood paste to the Shivling. Also offer turmeric and Dhatura as well as three leaves of bel patra, Lord Shiva’s favourite fruit in addition to a coconut.
At the time of Abhishekam, you can recite Sri Rudra Chamakam, Dasa Shanthi or the Mahamrityunjaya mantra. According to the Ras Maartand, worship of a Parad Shivling is equivalent to worshipping a thousand Shivlings. Even the sight of a Parad Shivling purifies one of a thousand of sins. Therefore, you can try installing a Parad Shivling in your house to attract Lord Shiva’s boundless grace.
Shivling Puja Benefits
The Shivalinga is the ultimate symbol of self-realisation and depicts Shiva as the formless, Absolute God, worship of the Shivling has numerous spiritual and material benefits.
- The root cause of human suffering is the separation of the Atma from the Supreme Soul. Shivling puja and Abhishek is a cleansing ritual where the worshipper washes away all negativity, limitations, impurities, illusions and bad karma. Every Abhishek takes one closer to the self to realise his union with the Absolute God.
- For unmarried women looking for a match, Shivling puja is believed to bring them a match like Lord Shiva.
- Those who are married perform Shivling Puja for the welfare of their husband and children.
- Lord Shiva is also the controller of the planet Saturn and Shiv puja is beneficial for removing the difficulties and delays in life imposed by Saturn.
- Lord Shiva is also known as Mahamrityunjaya, the defeater of death and death giving diseases. Shivling puja along with chanting the Mahamrityunjaya mantra is believed in bringing relief from the most adverse diseases.
- Shivlinga puja blesses the worshipper with peace, prosperity, knowledge and good health.