Sages said:- 8. Everywhere the deities are worshipped only in their image. How is that Siva is worshipped both in the image and the linga?Suta said:- 9. O sages, this question is holy and wondrous. Here the speaker is Siva Himself and not any ordinary person. 10. I shall tell you what Siva Himself had said and what I heard from my own preceptor. Siva alone is Niskala (nameless and formless) since He is identical with supreme Brahman. 11. He is also Sakala as He has an embodied form. He is both Sakala and Niskala. It is his Niskala aspect that the Linga is appropriate. 12-13. In the Sakala aspect the worship of His embodied form is appropriate. Since He has the Sakala and Niskala aspects He is worshipped both in the linga and in the embodied form by the people and is called the highest Brahman.
The day on which I manifested myself in the form of a column of fire is the Ardra star in the month of Marga-sirsa (November-December), O children.He who sees me on the day of Ardra star in the month of Margasirsa in the company of Uma and worships my Linga emblem or embodied image is dearer to me than even Guha (Kartikeya)On that auspicious day (Sivaratri) the vision alone accords ample results. If he worships too, the result cannot be adequately described.Since I manifested myself in the form of Linga emblem in the field of battle, this place will be known as Lingasthana.O sons, this column without root or top will henceforth be diminutive in size for the sake of the vision and worship of the world.The Linga emblem confers enjoyment. It is the only means of worldly enjoyment and salvation. Viewed, touched or meditated upon, it wards off all future births of the living beings.Since the Linga emblem rose high resembling a mountain of fire, this shall be famous as Ruddy (Aruna) mountain. Many holy centres will spring up here. A residence or death in this holy place ensures liberation.
That in which all mobiles and immobiles enter, i.e., get dissolved, and that from which the universe is created is Linga.
There are also mukha linga or Lingas with faces. Then there are vigraha Lingas where the full form of Siva is inscribed on the Linga. The faceless Lingas are called Sthanu Linga or Linga columns which form is traced to legendary material about Shiva given in certain Puranas like Linga Purana (ch 17), the Kurma Purana (I.26.68-99) etc where Shiva appeared as a column of fire.
More posts by this author:
- Description of Brahman in our scriptures and according to great spiritual figures
- Who is right, Sankaracharya or Ramanuja?
- The Nature of Brahman
- Free Will – does it exist? What does Vedanta say?
- Some difficult questions answered about Brahman and Advaita
I did my school, college and parts of my University education in Kolkata. I got my M.Sc degree from Kolkata University. I went to USA in 1979 and got my M.S and Ph.D in Physics from University of Pittsburgh in 1984. I did my Post Doctorate in University of Southern California, Los Angeles and then worked as a Research Scientist in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Space Sciences Center of University of Southern California. My scientific work includes heavy ion-atom scattering, multiphoton ionization and heliosphere data analysis of Pioneer 10/111 and Voyager 1/2 deep space spacecaft and analysis of solar extreme ultraviolet data obtained from SOHO spacecraft. I have been a National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration (NASA) Principal Investigator from 2002 – 2007. I have been a member of a NASA awards committee to decide allocation of money to different scientists. I have also refereed scientific articles submitted to Journal of Geophysical Research and Astrophysical Journal.