Sunday, November 30, 2014

SHIV LINGAM

Photo: THE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SHIV LINGAM :   

=========== Must Read And Share ===========

“Lingam” is one of the most misunderstood motifs of Sanatan Dharma. It has been subject to such a bad smear campaigning by Westerners, especially missionaries, which even Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as a stylized phallic symbol.     

THE MISINTERPRETATION :

This is not only misleading but also base less. Such misinterpretations are done in later Vedic period and popularized much later, when Indian literatures actually came into hands of foreign scholars. It was difficult to interpret the language and a word may have different meaning depending on the context. Some of the easy interpretation may be misleading. Many foreign scholars are of the view that the phallus symbolizes the linga, sexual organ, of Lord Shiva and the basin in connection with it represents the yoni, or vulva, of Goddess Durga. In a sense, the linga united with the yoni symbolizes creation.       


Evidence From Agama Texts :

Expression ‘linga’ in the Agama context signifies ‘symbol’ (chinha). Derived from the root ‘ligi gatyau’, it refers to movement, and words having been movement as their etymological meaning have also connotations of knowledge (‘sarve gatyarthah jnanarthah’). 

Linga therefore means that by which the Divine is cognized or approached (‘lingyate jnayate anena iti lingam’).

The Agama texts also bring out another valid explanation for the word ‘linga’: 

linga in its primary sense is broken up into ‘lin’ (to dissolve, to get merged, to destroy) and ‘gati’ (to emerge, to go out). 

Linga is so called because all phenomena are dissolved in Siva at the time of cosmic dissolution, and it emerges from Siva once again at the time of creation. (Ajitagama, 3, 16-17). 

Literally, in Samskrit, Shiva means Auspiciousness. 


Shiva also means one in whom the whole creation sleeps, after dissolutionand Linga also means exactly the same thing. Thus Shiva(and Linga) is, what is there after the destruction of all the creation,(Pralayam) and before the beginning of the next cycle of creation. Hence it is a symbol of Auspiciousness and of 'that' which is beginningless and endless, the GOD Himself.    


From Shvetasvatara Upanishad :

One of the first uses of the term ‘linga’ in association with Shiva is found in the Shvetasvatara Upanishad – it says that Lord Shiva, the Supreme Being, has no linga (sign or symbol). In simple terms, it is impossible to define Brahman or that is Alinga.    


From Skanda Puran :

Another authentic reference comes from Skanda Puran where lingam is clearly indicated as the supreme Shiva from where the whole universe is created and where it finally submerge.

आकाशं लिंगमित्याहु: पृथ्वी तस्य पीठिका।
आलय: सर्व देवानां लयनार्लिंगमुच्यते ॥
.......... (स्कन्द पुराण)

" The endless sky (that great void which contains the entire universe) is the Linga, the Earth is its base. At the end of time the entire universe and all the Gods finally emerge in the Linga itself.Now this should clarify the settle the doubts once and forever."    


THE PERFECT REBUTTAL FROM ATHARVA VED BY SWAMI VIVEKANANDA  :

Swami Vivekananda gave by far the best rebuttal to Western claims that it might be a symbol of phallic worship, by giving proof from the Skambha Sukta of Atharva Ved 10:7 .

Swami Vivekananda gave a lecture at the Paris Congress of the History of Religions in 1900 during which he refuted the statements of some Western scholars that referred to Shiva linga as phallic worship. Vivekananda’s words at the congress were in connection with the paper read by Mr.Gustav Oppert, a German Orientalist, who tried to trace the origin of the Shalagrama-Shila and the Shiva-Linga to phallicism. 

To this Vivekananda objected, adducing proof from the Vedas, and particularly the Skambha Sukta of Atharva-Ved Samhita, to the effect that the Shiva-Linga had its origin in the idea of the Yupa-Stambha or Skambha—the sacrificial post, idealized in Vedic ritual as the symbol of the Eternal Brahman.

In that hymn a description is found of the beginningless and endless" Stambha or 'Skambha' and it is shown that the said Skambha is put, in place of the Eternal Brahman.Afterwards, the Yajna(the sacred fire)and its flames gave place to the conception of the brightness of Shiva's body. The Yajna's smoke was symbolised as Shiva's dark matted hair, the soma plant used in the Yajna was symbolised as Shiva's Blue Throat (Neelakantan)the ashes of the Yajna became the ashes applied to Shiva's body and the ox that used to carry on its back, the wood for the Yajna, was conceptualised as the carrier (Nandi)the Vahana of Shiva. Just so, the Yupa Skambha in time was symbolised as the Shiva-Linga and was deified to the high Deva -hood of Shri Shankara. In the Atharva Veda Samhita, even the sacrificial cakes, are also extolled along with the attributes of the Brahman.    


Swami Sivananda's View :

Swami Sivananda, also explains why equating Siva Lingam with the phallus is a mistake. According to him, “This is not only a serious mistake, but also a grave blunder. In the post-Vedic period, the Linga became symbolical of the generative power of the Lord Siva. Linga is the differentiating mark. It is certainly not the sex-mark. You will find in the Linga Puran:

“Pradhanam prakritir yadahur-lingamuttamam; Gandhavarnarasairhinam sabda-sparsadi-varjitam”   
...... Linga Puran

—" The foremost Linga which is primary and is devoid of smell, colour, taste, hearing, touch, etc., is spoken of as Prakriti (Nature).”  


The Identity Of Brahman And Shakti :  

Another interpretation considers Shiva Lingam to be divided in two parts – Shiva (Brahman) and Shakti . Thus Shiva Lingam are symbols to represent the aspects of the union / identity  of Brahman and Shakti. From one view Shiva is Shiva and Shakti both.

According to some people, the Shiva Lingam generally signifies the magnificent light that is the indication or identity of Lord Shiva. This light or flame is solidified and makes the Shivlinga. The lower base of the structure is said to represent the lamp and the upper section, the flame. Now it is not possible for a common man to pray to Brahman which is beyond any characteristic. Human beings need a form to worship. In Sanatana Dharma, each individual has the freedom to define the Supreme Being or Brahman in the most convenient way he/ she is comfortable.   


Many of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu is known to have worshipped the Shivlinga including Lord Ram, Parashuram and Krishna. In the ‘Mahabharata’, one comes across the incident of Arjuna's invocation of the holy Shiv Linga and his attainment of the great weapon Pashupathastra. 

In most Shiva temples, the bull Nandi is depicted facing the sanctum, symbolizing the human soul Jeevatma yearning for realizing its oneness with Paramatma, the ultimate reality.    


"Om Shanti Shanti Shanti"SHIV LINGAM : ONE OF THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD MOTIFS

Please Read The Actual Explanation Here ......
THE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SHIV LINGAM :

=========== Must Read And Share ===========

“Lingam” is one of the most misunderstood motifs of Sanatan Dharma. It has been subject to such a bad smear campaigning by Westerners, especially missionaries, which even Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as a stylized phallic symbol.

THE MISINTERPRETATION :

This is not only misleading but also base less. Such misinterpretations are done in later Vedic period and popularized much later, when Indian literatures actually came into hands of foreign scholars. It was difficult to interpret the language and a word may have different meaning depending on the context. Some of the easy interpretation may be misleading. Many foreign scholars are of the view that the phallus symbolizes the linga, sexual organ, of Lord Shiva and the basin in connection with it represents the yoni, or vulva, of Goddess Durga. In a sense, the linga united with the yoni symbolizes creation.


Evidence From Agama Texts :

Expression ‘linga’ in the Agama context signifies ‘symbol’ (chinha). Derived from the root ‘ligi gatyau’, it refers to movement, and words having been movement as their etymological meaning have also connotations of knowledge (‘sarve gatyarthah jnanarthah’).

Linga therefore means that by which the Divine is cognized or approached (‘lingyate jnayate anena iti lingam’).

The Agama texts also bring out another valid explanation for the word ‘linga’:

linga in its primary sense is broken up into ‘lin’ (to dissolve, to get merged, to destroy) and ‘gati’ (to emerge, to go out).

Linga is so called because all phenomena are dissolved in Siva at the time of cosmic dissolution, and it emerges from Siva once again at the time of creation. (Ajitagama, 3, 16-17).

Literally, in Samskrit, Shiva means Auspiciousness.


Shiva also means one in whom the whole creation sleeps, after dissolutionand Linga also means exactly the same thing. Thus Shiva(and Linga) is, what is there after the destruction of all the creation,(Pralayam) and before the beginning of the next cycle of creation. Hence it is a symbol of Auspiciousness and of 'that' which is beginningless and endless, the GOD Himself.


From Shvetasvatara Upanishad :

One of the first uses of the term ‘linga’ in association with Shiva is found in the Shvetasvatara Upanishad – it says that Lord Shiva, the Supreme Being, has no linga (sign or symbol). In simple terms, it is impossible to define Brahman or that is Alinga.


From Skanda Puran :

Another authentic reference comes from Skanda Puran where lingam is clearly indicated as the supreme Shiva from where the whole universe is created and where it finally submerge.

आकाशं लिंगमित्याहु: पृथ्वी तस्य पीठिका।
आलय: सर्व देवानां लयनार्लिंगमुच्यते ॥
.......... (स्कन्द पुराण)

" The endless sky (that great void which contains the entire universe) is the Linga, the Earth is its base. At the end of time the entire universe and all the Gods finally emerge in the Linga itself.Now this should clarify the settle the doubts once and forever."


THE PERFECT REBUTTAL FROM ATHARVA VED BY SWAMI VIVEKANANDA :

Swami Vivekananda gave by far the best rebuttal to Western claims that it might be a symbol of phallic worship, by giving proof from the Skambha Sukta of Atharva Ved 10:7 .

Swami Vivekananda gave a lecture at the Paris Congress of the History of Religions in 1900 during which he refuted the statements of some Western scholars that referred to Shiva linga as phallic worship. Vivekananda’s words at the congress were in connection with the paper read by Mr.Gustav Oppert, a German Orientalist, who tried to trace the origin of the Shalagrama-Shila and the Shiva-Linga to phallicism.

To this Vivekananda objected, adducing proof from the Vedas, and particularly the Skambha Sukta of Atharva-Ved Samhita, to the effect that the Shiva-Linga had its origin in the idea of the Yupa-Stambha or Skambha—the sacrificial post, idealized in Vedic ritual as the symbol of the Eternal Brahman.

In that hymn a description is found of the beginningless and endless" Stambha or 'Skambha' and it is shown that the said Skambha is put, in place of the Eternal Brahman.Afterwards, the Yajna(the sacred fire)and its flames gave place to the conception of the brightness of Shiva's body. The Yajna's smoke was symbolised as Shiva's dark matted hair, the soma plant used in the Yajna was symbolised as Shiva's Blue Throat (Neelakantan)the ashes of the Yajna became the ashes applied to Shiva's body and the ox that used to carry on its back, the wood for the Yajna, was conceptualised as the carrier (Nandi)the Vahana of Shiva. Just so, the Yupa Skambha in time was symbolised as the Shiva-Linga and was deified to the high Deva -hood of Shri Shankara. In the Atharva Veda Samhita, even the sacrificial cakes, are also extolled along with the attributes of the Brahman.


Swami Sivananda's View :

Swami Sivananda, also explains why equating Siva Lingam with the phallus is a mistake. According to him, “This is not only a serious mistake, but also a grave blunder. In the post-Vedic period, the Linga became symbolical of the generative power of the Lord Siva. Linga is the differentiating mark. It is certainly not the sex-mark. You will find in the Linga Puran:

“Pradhanam prakritir yadahur-lingamuttamam; Gandhavarnarasairhinam sabda-sparsadi-varjitam”
...... Linga Puran

—" The foremost Linga which is primary and is devoid of smell, colour, taste, hearing, touch, etc., is spoken of as Prakriti (Nature).”


The Identity Of Brahman And Shakti :

Another interpretation considers Shiva Lingam to be divided in two parts – Shiva (Brahman) and Shakti . Thus Shiva Lingam are symbols to represent the aspects of the union / identity of Brahman and Shakti. From one view Shiva is Shiva and Shakti both.

According to some people, the Shiva Lingam generally signifies the magnificent light that is the indication or identity of Lord Shiva. This light or flame is solidified and makes the Shivlinga. The lower base of the structure is said to represent the lamp and the upper section, the flame. Now it is not possible for a common man to pray to Brahman which is beyond any characteristic. Human beings need a form to worship. In Sanatana Dharma, each individual has the freedom to define the Supreme Being or Brahman in the most convenient way he/ she is comfortable.


Many of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu is known to have worshipped the Shivlinga including Lord Ram, Parashuram and Krishna. In the ‘Mahabharata’, one comes across the incident of Arjuna's invocation of the holy Shiv Linga and his attainment of the great weapon Pashupathastra.

In most Shiva temples, the bull Nandi is depicted facing the sanctum, symbolizing the human soul Jeevatma yearning for realizing its oneness with Paramatma, the ultimate reality.