Before we delve in to the mystical Shiva Lingum, we first must understand who Shiva is. Shiva, in Hinduism, is considered one of the supreme beings who form the trinity along with Brahma and Vishnu. Shiva is often referred to as ‘the destroyer,’ but his role encompasses far more than just destruction. This destruction is not arbitrary, but constructive, signifying the shedding of our old habits and attachments, giving way to new and improved versions of ourselves. Shiva also represents the profound peace that comes with spiritual enlightenment and self-realisation.
The Shiva Lingum: A Glimpse into Its History
The Shiva Lingum, or Lingam, is one of the most iconic representations of Shiva. The term Lingum is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘ling,’ meaning ‘symbol’ or ‘sign’. Thus, the Shiva Lingum symbolises the divine mystery and power of Lord Shiva.
The origin of the Shiva Lingum can be traced back to the ancient era of Indian civilisation, as early as the Indus Valley Civilisation (3300–1300 BCE). Archaeological excavations have revealed Lingum-like structures in the remnants of this civilisation. The Shiva Lingum’s depiction in various texts, such as the Vedas and Puranas, offer diverse interpretations and tales about its inception.
Venerating the Shiva Lingam
The veneration of the Shiva Lingum is an essential part of Shaivism, the Hindu tradition focused on the worship of Shiva. The rituals often involve anointing the Lingum (Abhishekam) with various substances like milk, honey, ghee, yoghurt, and sandalwood paste, followed by offerings of flowers and Bilva leaves.
This ritualistic worship is not just a physical act but a spiritual practice aiming to bring the devotee closer to the divine. It is believed to bestow the devotee with blessings of health, prosperity, and liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Acquiring a Shiva Lingam
Obtaining a Shiva Lingum for your home is a step towards creating a personal sacred space. You can purchase a Shiva Lingum from a range of sources. Online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay stock a variety of Shiva Lingums made from different materials like stone, marble, brass, or crystal. Additionally, many religious and spiritual shops, both physical and online, offer a selection of Shiva Lingums.
Beginning the journey of worship at home
Starting the worship of the Shiva Lingum at home can be a fulfilling spiritual experience. Begin by choosing a quiet and clean space in your home for the Lingum. It should be placed on a small altar or raised platform, and the area should be kept clean and uncluttered.
An important part of the worship involves the daily ritual of Abhishekam, the act of bathing the Lingum. This can be done using water, milk, or yoghurt, and then drying the Lingum carefully. This is followed by anointing the Lingum with sandalwood paste or vermilion. Offering fresh flowers and Bilva leaves, if available, are also part of the daily ritual.
It’s essential to remember that the actual rituals can be less significant than the devotion and intention behind them. The key is to approach the process with a sense of reverence, respect, and humility.
Learning and adhering to all the specific rites can feel overwhelming at first. But, as with any spiritual practice, patience, perseverance, and the willingness to learn are vital. Books, online resources, or guidance from a learned person or guru can be very helpful. *Bhakti Marga run Puja Courses both online and in-person – please contact us to learn more.
The Shiva Lingum – In Summary
In conclusion, the Shiva Lingum represents the divine mystery of Lord Shiva, symbolising an individual’s path towards enlightenment and self-realisation. Tracing its history back to ancient Indian civilisation, it is deeply entrenched within Hindu culture and spirituality. The process of veneration goes beyond ritualistic practices and embodies a connection to the divine. The path to setting up a personal Shiva Lingum for worship in one’s home is accessible to all, and can be a profound spiritual journey. While it requires dedication and patience, the symbolic representation of the divine in your living space fosters a constant connection with spirituality, encouraging peace and self-improvement. Regardless of the specific rituals, it’s the devotion, intention, and respect one holds towards the Lingum that truly kindles the divine blessings of health, prosperity, and spiritual liberation.