LingamFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search"Linga" redirects here. For other uses, see Linga (disambiguation)."Shivling" redirects here. For mountain, see Shivling (Garhwal Himalaya).Traditional flower offering to a Lingam in VaranasiThe Lingam (also, Linga, Ling, Shiva linga, Shiv ling, Sanskrit ििङगंliṅgaṃ,Tamil லிஙகம , meaning "mark", "sign", "gender", "phallus", "inference" or"eternal procreative germ") is a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva used forworship in temples.The Lingam has been interpreted as a symbol of male creative energy or of the phallus , though many Saivite Hindus deny this and do not view the lingam as a phallus .The lingam is often represented with the Yoni, a symbol of the goddess or of Shakti,female creative energy. The union of lingam and yoni represents the "indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all lifeoriginates". The lingam and the yoni have been interpreted as the male and femalesexual organs since the end of the 19th century by some scholars, while to practisingHindus they stand for the inseparability of the male and female principles and the totalityof creation.Another interpretation suggests that the Lingam represents the beginningless and endlessStambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
Contents[hide] • 1 Definition • 2 History o 2.1 Origin o 2.2 Historical period 2.2.1 Shaiva siddhanta 2.2.2 Sculpture o 2.3 Modern period • 3 Naturally occurring lingams • 4 See also • 5 Notes • 6 References • 7 Further reading • 8 External links DefinitionLinga-Yoni at the Cat Tien sanctuary, Lam Dong province, VietnamSivalingam at the Sri Meenakshi temple in MaduraiThe Sanskrit term ििङगं liṅgaṃ, transliterated as linga, has diverse meaning rangingfrom gender and sex to philosophic and religions to uses in common language, such as a
mark, sign or characteristic. Vaman Shivram Aptes Sanskrit  dictionary provides manydefinitions: • A mark, sign, token, an emblem, a badge, symbol, distinguishing mark, characteristic; • A false or unreal mark, a guise, disguise, a deceptive badge; • A symptom, mark of disease • A means of proof, a proof, evidence • In logic, the hetu or middle term in a syllogism • The sign of gender or sex • In grammar, gender • The genital organ of Shiva worshiped in the form of a Phallus • The image of a god, an idol • One of the relations or indications which serve to fix the meaning of a word in any particular passage • In Vedānta philosophy, the subtle frame or body, the indestructible original of the gross or visible body • A spot or stain • The nominal base, the crude form of a noun • In Sāk philosophy, Pradhāna or Prakriti • The effect or product of evolution from a primary cause and also as the producer • Inference, conclusion History OriginLingobhava Shiva: God Shiva appears as in an infinite Linga fire-pillar, as Vishnu asVaraha tries to find the bottom of the Linga while Brahma tries to find its top. Thisinfinite pillar conveys the infinite nature of Shiva.
Anthropologist Christopher John Fuller conveys that although most sculpted images(murtis) are anthropomorphic, the aniconic Shiva Linga is an important exception.Some believe that linga-worship was a feature of indigenous Indian religion.There is a hymn in the Atharvaveda which praises a pillar (Sanskrit: stambha), and this isone possible origin of linga-worship. Some associate Shiva-Linga with this Yupa-Stambha, the sacrificial post. In that hymn a description is found of the beginningless andendless Stambha or Skambha and it is shown that the said Skambha is put in place of theeternal Brahman. As afterwards the Yajna (sacrificial) fire, its smoke, ashes and flames,the soma plant and the ox that used to carry on its back the wood for the Vedic sacrificegave place to the conceptions of the brightness of Shivas body, his tawny matted-hair,his blue throat and the riding on the bull of the Shiva. The Yupa-Skambha gave place intime to the Shiva-Linga. In the Linga Purâna the same hymn is expanded in theshape of stories, meant to establish the glory of the great Stambha and the supreme natureof Mahâdeva (the Great God, Shiva). Historical periodA Shiva Lingam worshipped at Jambukesvara temple in Thiruvanaikaval (Thiruaanaikaa) Shaiva siddhanta
A 10th century four-headed stone Lingam from NepalAccording to Saiva Siddhanta, which was for many centuries the dominant school ofShaiva theology and liturgy across the Indian subcontinent (and beyond it in Cambodia),the linga is the ideal substrate in which the worshipper should install and worship thefive-faced and ten-armed Sadāśiva, the form of Shiva who is the focal divinity of thatschool of Shaivism. SculptureThe oldest example of a lingam which is still used for worship is in Gudimallam.According to Klaus Klostermaier, it is clearly a phallic object, and dates to the 2ndcentury BC. A figure of Shiva is carved into the front of the lingam.1008 Lingas carved on a rock surface at the shore of the river Tungabhadra, Hampi, India Modern periodBritish missionary William Ward criticized the worship of the lingam (along withvirtually all other Indian religious rituals) in his influential 1815 book A View of theHistory, Literature, and Mythology of the Hindoos, calling it "the last state of degradationto which human nature can be driven", and stating that its symbolism was "too gross,even when refined as much as possible, to meet the public eye." According to BrianPennington, Wards book "became a centerpiece in the British construction of Hinduismand in the political and economic domination of the subcontinent." In 1825, however,
Horace Hayman Wilsons work on the lingayat sect of South India attempted to refutepopular British notions that the lingam graphically represented a human organ and that itaroused erotic emotions in its devotees.Monier-Williams wrote in Brahmanism and Hinduism that the symbol of linga is "neverin the mind of a Saiva (or Siva-worshipper) connected with indecent ideas, nor withsexual love." According to Jeaneane Fowler, the linga is "a phallic symbol whichrepresents the potent energy which is manifest in the cosmos." Some scholars, such asDavid James Smith, believe that throughout its history the lingam has represented thephallus; others, such as N. Ramachandra Bhatt, believe the phallic interpretation to be alater addition. M. K. V. Narayan distinguishes the Siva-linga from anthropomorphicrepresentations of Siva, and notes its absence from Vedic literature, and its interpretationas a phallus in Tantric sources.Ramakrishna practiced Jivanta-linga-puja, or "worship of the living lingam". At theParis Congress of the History of Religions in 1900, Ramakrishnas follower SwamiVivekananda argued that the Shiva-Linga had its origin in the idea of the Yupa-Stambhaor Skambha—the sacrificial post, idealized in Vedic ritual as the symbol of the EternalBrahman. This was in response to a paper read by Gustav Oppert, a GermanOrientalist, who traced the origin of the Shalagrama-Shila and the Shiva-Linga tophallicism. According to Vivekananda, the explanation of the Shalagrama-Shila as aphallic emblem was an imaginary invention. Vivekananda argued that the explanation ofthe Shiva-Linga as a phallic emblem was brought forward by the most thoughtless, andwas forthcoming in India in her most degraded times, those of the downfall of Buddhism.According to Swami Sivananda, the view that the Shiva Lingam represents the phallus isa mistake; The same sentiments have also been expressed by H. H. Wilson in 1840.The novelist Christopher Isherwood also addresses the interpretation of the linga as a sexsymbol. The Britannica encyclopedia entry on lingam also notes that the lingam is notconsidered to be a phallic symbol;Wendy Doniger, an American scholar of the history of religions, states:For Hindus, the phallus in the background, the archetype (if I may use the word in itsEliadean, indeed Bastianian, and non-Jungian sense) of which their own penises aremanifestations, is the phallus (called the lingam) of the god Siva, who inherits much ofthe mythology of Indra (OFlaherty, 1973). The lingam appeared, separate from the bodyof Siva, on several occasions... On each of these occasions, Sivas wrath was appeasedwhen gods and humans promised to worship his lingam forever after, which, in India theystill do. Hindus, for instance, will argue that the lingam has nothing whatsoever to dowith the male sexual organ, an assertion blatantly contradicted by the material.However, Professor Doniger clarified her viewpoints in a later book, The Hindus: AnAlternative History, by noting that some texts treat the linga as an aniconic pillar of light
or an as an abstract symbol of God with no sexual reference and comments on thevarying interpretations of the linga from phallic to abstract.According to Hélène Brunner, the lines traced on the front side of the linga, which areprescribed in medieval manuals about temple foundation and are a feature even ofmodern sculptures, appear to be intended to suggest a stylised glans, and some features ofthe installation process seem intended to echo sexual congress. Scholars like S.N.Balagangadhara have disputed the sexual meaning of lingam. Naturally occurring lingamsLingam in the cave at AmarnathAn ice lingam at Amarnath in the western Himalayas forms every winter from icedripping on the floor of a cave and freezing like a stalagmite. It is very popular withpilgrims.Shivling (6543m) is also a mountain in Uttarakhand (the Garwhal region of Himalayas).It arises as a sheer pyramid above the snout of the Gangotri Glacier. The mountainresembles a Shiva linga when viewed from certain angles, especially when travelling ortrekking from Gangotri to Gomukh as a part of a traditional Hindu pilgrimage.