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  • Writer's pictureScarlett Demy

The Shiva Lingam

Shiva is the exalted male principle, the silent unmanifest and counterpart to Shakti -dynamic manifestation.

Lingam means mark, sign, emblem or characteristic.

While many view the Shiva Lingam as a phallic physical representation of Shiva’s lingam, some argue that It represents the union of the feminine and masculine principles, the totality of all existence.

The lingam is typically set in the center of a pindika (also called yoni or pithas, symbolizing Shakti). A Shiva Linga consists of three pithas. The lowest of these is called the Brahma-Pitha; the middle one, the Vishnu-Pitha; the uppermost one, the Shiva-Pitha. These are associated with the Hindu pantheon of gods: Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver), and Shiva (the Destroyer). In the Shiva Purana, Lord Shiva is pictured as emerging from the lingam – the cosmic pillar of fire – proving his superiority over the gods Brahma and Vishnu.

During rituals of worship, flowers and offerings are placed on top of the stone and milk oil and holy water are poured over it.

What is most evident is that the lingam represents a model of the universe. It is said to be representative of the two stages of creation, Nadha (the first stage, which means sound, or name), and Bhindhu (the second stage, which means form). The first stage, Nadha, is symbolized by a line, and the Bhindu stage is symbolized by a disk.

Interestingly, the Lingam is also associated with an egg shape, including the Shiva Lingam stones, and there are various mentions of the universe as a cosmic egg. In Kashmiri Shaivism the Sri Yantra represents the expansion of the universe from the cosmic egg. The Brahmanda (Cosmic Egg) Puranas or Hiranyagarbha (Golden Cosmic Egg) explained in the Vedas explain more of this Universal Cosmic Egg.

Om Namah Shivaya.

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