Lord Shiva has been worshipped, since time immemorial in the form of Shivling (Shiva Lingam). Shivling puja or Shiva Lingam worship in temples and at homes is done by performing Abhishekh or Abhishekam and is the way to invoke the Supreme Lord Shiva. 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 any beginning nor an end and is without a form. As it is difficult for a devotee to understand this formless nature. Therefore Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga before Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, which is represented by the Shivlinga. Each time Shiva Linga puja is done, gradually step by step, it takes the devotee to the eternal truth - that he/she is part of the Supreme Being.
The Shiva Purana narrates an interesting story of the Jyotirlinga appearance which also is an answer to, why do we worship Shivling?. Once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu got into a war with each other, to prove their supremacy. This was a situation that would have caused widespread destruction. The Gods and Demi-Gods resorted to Lord Shiva to stop this situation. Lord Shiva conceded and appeared as a huge pillar of Light in between Lord Vishnu and Brahma. Lord Vishnu and Brahma did not know the identity of the pillar of Light but heard a voice which told both of them to find the beginning and the end of the Light and specified that whoever found the limit of the light would be declared supreme. Vishnujee went downwards and Brahmajee went upwards to accomplish the task, but both returned without any answer. It is then that Lord Shiva emerged from the pillar of Light, the Jyotirlinga, and explained to Lord Vishnu and Brahma that They were born out of Him and were in the different Divine forms, both were equally powerful. Since that time the Shivlinga is worshipped as Lord Shiva's abstract, formless representation.
How to Worship Shivling at Home? How To Do Shivling Pooja?
Shivling worship, be it Linga Pooja at home or in Temples, is done by performing Abhishekam or the sacred bathing of the Shivling. Divine Lord Shiva is very easy to please and it is said even if a devotee offers Him water and Bilva(Bel tree leaf) leaf, He happily accepts it and blesses the devotee equally as He blesses the ones who offer the best of things. Every ingredient offered during Abhishek has a symbolism. It is believed that devotees who have a Shivling at home should perform Abhishekham daily. You may perform the shorter version of Abhishekam. Performing the Abhishek with total dedication and focus gives magical Shivling Puja benefits.
We are providing the Vedic ritual procedure for performing Shivling Abhishekam (Abhishek):
Panchamrit - Water mixed with Gangajal, Milk which is not boiled (preferably Cow's Milk), Curd, Ghee (clarified butter), Honey or sugar. Other liquids used during the Mahashivratri Rudrabhishek or elaborate Rudrabhishek are Sugarcane Juice/Fruit juices, Milk.
Bel Patra (Bilwa leaves), Flowers
A mixture of Water with Gangajal in Achamani pot with Kusha grass for sprinkling and a spoon.
Dhoop, Incense sticks, Camphor
Ghee Lamp, Sacred Red Thread (Mouli)
Vibhuti, Akshat, Sandal Paste
Fragrant Rose Water, Attar, Aromatic Oils
Offerings - Sweets, New Clothes, Fruit, Flowers, Durva Grass, Betel Nuts and Leaves, Cloves, Green Cardamom, Coconut. . For items not available, substitute with flowers or unbroken rice.
Shivling Abhishek should be performed after having a bath in the morning.
First, ensure that the Yoni of your Shivling faces the North direction, you should be facing the West face of the Lingam and look towards the East. Ideally, one should sit on an Asana made of Wool or Kusha Grass, wear a Rudraksha Mala for performing the Abhishek of Shivalinga.
1) Sprinkle Gangajal (water of Ganges River) on yourself and all items of Puja, while chanting the Mantra: "Om Apavitrah Pavitro Va Sarva Vastan Gatopi Va Yah Smaret Pundari Kaksham Sa Bahya Bhyantarah Shuchi" Translation: May all things unholy become holy, may all lower tendencies depart, just as soon as we transcend may within and without be purified!
2) Remembering Guru, Lord Ganesha, presiding Deity, and your Parents chant the Mantra: "Om Gurubhyo Namaha; Om Ganeshaya Namaha; Om Kula Devatabhyo Namaha; Om Ishta Devatabhyo Namaha; Om Mata Pitribhyam Namaha" Translation: I bow to the guru, I bow to Ganesha, I bow to the family deity, I bow to my deity, I bow to my parents.
3) Achamani - From the Achamani pot, take a spoonful of water in your right palm and put it in your mouth after chanting each line of the following 3 Mantras: "Om Keshavaya Namaha Om Narayana Namaha Om Madhavaya Namaha"
4) Taking a spoonful of water in your right palm pour on the ground, chanting: "Om Govindaya Namaha"
5) Abhishek Steps:-
While chanting "Om Namah Shivaya" or singing "Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra", do Abhisheka of Lingam with clean water. Now offer a Belpatra on top of the Lingam and offer all the other liquids by pouring it slowly on top of the Belpatra, i.e. first Milk, then Sugarcane juice, followed by Fruit juice, Gulabjal, Honey. Keep the chanting on all through. Offer the Panchamrit mixture. Now rinse the Shivling with clean water and pat it dry with a clean soft cloth.
"Om Namaha Shivaya" Now Chant the Mahamritunjaya Japa on your Rudraksha Mala. "Om Haum Joom Sah, Om Bhur Bhuvaha Swaha Om Triambakam Yajamahey,Sungandhim Pushti Vardanam Urvar Ukamiva Bandhanan, Mrityor Muksheeya Mamritat Om Swaha Bhuvaha Bhu Om Sah Joom Haum Om"
Lastly, bow down or supplicate, then end worship with the chant:
On Mondays, Shivratri days, Mahashivratri and Shavan Masa, Shivling Abhishek should be done, if you have a Shivling at home. On a daily basis, a simple Water and Milk Abhishek can also be done.
Why do we offer Milk to Lord Shiva - Offering Milk to Lord Shiva bestows longevity to the devotee.
Shivling Puja Rules
While doing Shiva Linga Puja there are a few rules regarding the offerings made to Lord Shiva. However, Bholenath is all-forgiving for people who do things out of ignorance, unknowingly.
Tulsi leaves, Turmeric or Haldi, Kumkum, Ketki Flowers are forbidden to be offered to Lord Shiva.
Steel pots should not be used for Jal Dhara.
It is said more than one Shivling should not be kept in the house.
Shivalinga should always have Goddess Parvati’s image kept nearby.
Worship Procedure (Short Version)
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 pots 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
Bel leaf is the 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 consciousness is always heard.
Benefits of Shivling Abhishek Benefits
Shivling Puja or Abhishek is highly meritorious. It not only aligns your energy with Divine Lord Shiva's but bestows multiple blessings. Performing Shivling Abhishek with pure intentions is the way to receive Lord Shiva's grace.
Performing Shivling Abhishek brings peace, calm to the mind. Relationships become harmonious.
Lord Shiva blesses with prosperity, name, fame when Shivling worship is conducted.
The devotee and family are under the protective shield of the Lord. He protects from negative energies, evil spirits, etc.
Shivling worship brings unity, harmony in all relationships, especially for relationship equations between spouses.
For difficulty in conceiving a child, Shiva Linga Puja blesses with benevolent outcomes.
For those desirous of getting married or those who are finding it challenging to get a suitable life partner, Shivling Puja for marriage brings the suitable person forward and hindrances in getting married are removed.
Worshipping Lord Shiva by performing Abhishekam protects the devotee from the ill effects of malefic Planets.
Performing regular Shivling Abhishek pleases Lord Shiva, and it can absolve all sins and bless the devotee with liberation or Moksha.
Lord Shiva blesses with spiritual growth, understanding one's true self, and much more.
By the grace of Lord Shiva diseases are healed and protection from ailments is provided when Shivling Abhishek is performed.
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