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6.Lingam

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One of the popular forms of worshiping Shiva is through a Lingam. What is this Lingam? As per the yoga shikha upanishad, the word Lingam comes from the word That is, one object means or represents the other. So, Lingam, means a mark. That which leads one to in for something. What is a Shiva Lingam a mark of then? To see this we will go to a beautiful story in the Shiva purana. Immediately on creation, the creator Brahma, has a question as to how this creation happened. Brahma asked this question of Vishnu from whose navel Brahma himself originated. Vishnu answered, "I am thy Father". Brahma was not satisfied with the answer. And a lot of questions and answers ensued between the two of them. Which led to the display of their respective powers. At that time, Vishnu and Brahma spotted a third entity apart from themselves. Which was a column of fire. The two, Brahma and Vishnu wanted to find out as to what this column of fire was. Brahma flew towards one end to search for its origin. While Vishnu penetrated towards the other end taking the form of Varaha the boar. to bow to its other depths. In their search, both could not reach the two ends of the column. And the story in the Shiva Purana goes that they both came back to where they started from. With the realization, that this prapancha had expanded almost instantaneously. From the most minuscule size to the universal in magnitude. This fact of the story is now worn out. From the scientific understanding, that this universe, instantaneously on the big bang. Expanded to universal size, beyond measure. This column of fire, is considered as the first manifestation of Shiva at the instant of creation. And the Shiva Lingam is a mark from this event. This story of the event of creation has been beautifully brought out through the sculpture of of Lingodbhava. The story of the Lingodbhava and the column of fire that manifested during creation, also finds expression through the form of the 12 Jyothir Lingams spread all over India. Even to this date. While all this can be an explanation to a puranic story, you may be curious to know is there is a real Shiva Linga from ancient times. The earliest Shiva Lingam that has been archaeologically excavated and dated seems to be from the Harappa - Mohenjodaro sites of the Sindhu Saraswati civilization of the period 3000 BCE or before. This area in the north western part of India, where the Sindhu Saraswati flourished about 5000 years ago was also the soon geographical region described in the historic epic- Mahabharata. Of the historical characters of the Mahabharata text, The prominent on of them being Arjuna, propitiated to Shiva for his boons. This archaeological find of that region and the literary details of the Shiva Linga worship of that period, tally well. Here archaeological finds meet literary history. And bring forth clearly to us that, the worship of shiva through the Shiva Lingam has been a continuous practice of this land. From well over, 5000 years and more. Ramayana is another historical epic of India. And deals with the life and events of one of the most popular kings of the land. Namely Rama. In this epic, Ravana, who abducted Sita, Rama's wife, and whom Rama fought and killed in a fierce battle, was the king of Lanka. This Ravana, despite of his one unlawful act of abducting Sita, was a well read scholar, and a good king for his subjects. He was a great devotee of Shiva. And had built a number of temples for Shiva in Lanka. And consecrated Linga in them. This implies that Shiva must already have been a very established and popular divinity. Even before the times of Ravana. Similarly, the famous Rameshwaram temple in south India and the Shiva Lingam there, Ramalingam, is also said to date back in the period of Rama and Ramayana. Using an integrated approach of correlating literary records with geography. Marine archeology and Archaeo astronomy, we have now been able to place ramayana at 5114 BCE. That is over 7000 years ago. Thus, the worship of Shiva and that too in the form of a Lingam could well be bracketed with some of the longest, continuous, unbroken practices of this globe. Going back to won over 8000 years ago.

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Posted by: pgtranscribes on Apr 10, 2015

6.Lingam

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