Thus we may understand the lingam as being a primordial axis mundi - a form of world- tree or shaman's ladder which passes through all of the known worlds. In the microcosm, the lingam springs forth from the bindu (point) within the triangle formed by Iccha-Kriya- JnanaShaktis (the powers of 'think-decide-act') and rises, piercing the chakras.
A central concept in Tantra is that of divine immanence – that one can experience the divine through the worship of god or goddess in a living form. This commonly appears in the forms of tantric puja (ritual) where a goddess is worshipped in the form of a living woman, ŚriMataji - woman in the role of Guru. Tantrics notes the teachings of Vaishnavacharan, a nineteenth - century tantric contemporary of Ramakrishna, whose Kartabhaja School of tantrics practised the method of "delighting in God in the forms of man", that means to prise living Guru! That is to say, Vaishnavacharan's followers sought to experience divine ecstasy by making a living man the subject of their adoration. Jivantalingapuja - this is Worship of the Living Lingam during Gurupuja and during Puja, the Guru is Jivanta Lingam!
Types of LingasLingas range from temporary versions made of sandalwood paste or river clay for a particular rite to more elaborate ones of wood, precious gems, metal, or stone. There are precise rules of proportion to be followed for the height, width, and curvature of the top.
Variations include the mukhalinga, with one to five faces of Shiva carved on its sides and top, and the lingodbhavamurti, a South Indian form that shows Siva emerging out of a fiery linga to demonstrate his superiority over Vishnu and Brahma. Some lingas are topped with a cobra, symbolizing the kundalini chakra located at the base of the spine (see Kundalini Yoga).
The most revered lingas are the svayambhuva ("self-originated") lingas, which were made directly from light without human assistance. Nearly 70 are worshipped throughout India and are places of pilgrimage. Lingayatis have small Lingas materialised through siddhi power help.
A Glorious Worship - Shiva LingamShiva Lingam is the holy symbol of Lord Shiva that is considered quite sacred and worshipped with devotion by the devotees. The sanskrit word li.ngam (IAST) means symbol, so shiva lingam means symbol of Shiva (Siva). It is considered the foremost sacred symbol for shaivaites and has been worshiped for ages. The purANas like shivamahApurANam discuss about the superiority of li.nga worship. (1) (The Indus valley excavation is an example for the presence of this worship in olden times.)
Once the god of creation brahma and the god of protection mahAvishNu entered in an argument on deciding who is greater. When those two great gods were fighting between themselves, the Greatest of all Lord shiva who is formless and transcends everything appeared as a pillar of flame. God told brahma and vishNu that whoever finds the head or the foot of His flame form would be considered greater. brahmA took the form of swan (ha.msam) and set out to reach the top of the Fire. vishNu became a wild pig to see the foot of the Fire. Where are the limits for the infinite God? They could not succeed in spite of their heavy effort. They realized their mistake and the peerless greatness of Lord shiva. The God who can never be reached by ego appears as the form of love to those who surrender to Him. Lord shiva appeared in the form of shivali.ngam (which is the shape of flame) for their benefit. They worshiped that oldest form of Him and got blessed. The God who came to bless them from the Flame, from the li.ngam is known as li.ngodbhava (2). This incident is depicted in shivamahApurANam (1) and many other scriptures.
As the God stood as pillar of flame, the natural adornment for the Lord is Holy Ash. (As ash would be found on the surface of the fire). As the God stood as the Luminat Flame that stood up the shivasahasranAma hails God as Urdvaretas and the shivaaShtottara as hiraNyaretas. The hymn that starts nidhanapatayenamaH, refers to many similarities of Flame and shivalinga.
God is formless, attributeless and omnipresent. This state is called arUpa (formless). For the benefit of the pashus, He took the form of shivali.ngam which is neither form nor formless but is a symbol. This symbol of Him is called arUparUpam (formless form). He took many forms out of His mercy to bless all, which are called rUpams. (2). shaivam worships the God in all these three states. The oldest form that the formless God took namely the shivali.ngam is called sadAshivamUrtam and is worshipped in the altar of His abodes (temples). The forms that He later took which are called mAhEshwaramUrtam are worshipped in the outer circles in a temple.
This shivali.nga worship is superior because it makes the worship simple because of the form while maintaining the truth that God is not having any definite form. There are a lot more marvelous principles
Tantric Worshipping Shivalinga at HomeBefore starting the Puja, the devotee takes a bath and wear freshly washed clothes. Hymns praising Lord Shiva or the mantra 'Om NamahaShivaaya' are repeated to create a mood for worship. Then, the devotee sits in front of the Lingam and blows conch or ring bells. This indicates the beginning of the Puja.
First it is the Pancamritaabhisheka - the libation of five holy liquids over the lingam. The libation can consist of any five of the following – water from river Ganga, honey, sugarcane juice, milk, yogurt, ghee, seawater, coconut water or milk, fragrant oils, rose water or other precious liquids. Usually, only milk of cow is used. While pouring the liquid, mantram Om NamahShivaya is uttered. Some devotees utter the Lord's name 108 times and some 1008 times. There is no fixed rule.
After the PanchamritaAbhisheka, the Lingam is cleaned with water from Ganga. (This is might not be possible always so just normal water.) After this the lingam is smeared with sandalwood paste and is decked with flowers. Water and sandalwood paste is used to keep the lingam cool, as Lord Shiva is always in a highly inflammable state. In some Shiva temples, cooling liquid constantly drops from pot hung above the Lingam.
Next, sweets, coconut and fruits are offered to the Lord. Camphor and incense are lit and 'Aarati' is conducted. Some devotees fan the lingam and sing praises of the lord.
Finally, ringing of bells or blowing of conch indicates the end of Puja. White ash (vibhuti) is rubbed on the forehead and it is also distributed. Fruits, sweets and coconut are distributed as 'prasad.'
Simple Linga WorshipIn Practice, Linga Puja is the adoration of Linga with different kinds of offerings, treating Isthalinga as you would treat your most beloved and revered friend and guest. You do all the nice, pleasant things for the Linga, like offering fragrant sandalwood paste, beautiful flowers, incense, auspicious light, mantras and songs in His praise. These offerings are called Upacaras. The prescribed number of Upacaras are in groups of eight, sixteen, thirtytwo or forty eight (to be performed as time and place permit). Commonly used Upacaras are eight (AstavidaLingarchana) or sixteen (Shodashopacara). However one offering more or one less is not critical. Linga Puja can be simple or as elaborate and time consuming as you would want it to be. It is important that you do the Lingapuja and offer your prayers to God at least once a day. When all the Linga Puja items are not available use as many as you can find. At least bathe the Linga with water, apply Vibhuthi, concentrate your thoughts on God in the form of Linga, say Om NamahShivaya and do Namaskara. If nothing else you can think of God with devotion, say Om NamahaShivaya and bow to Shiva at any place any time.
Lingapuja as private practice is to be performed daily, preferably in the morning, after bathing at home in a Puja room and when not in home in a clean, quite palce. By doing the Lingapuja in the morning you will be starting the day in a calm and pleasant state of mind. The Astavaranas: namely the Guru (spiritual master), Linga (emblem of God), Jangama (traveling spiritual guide), Vibhuti (sacred ashes), Rudrakshi (a berry sacred to Shiva), Mantra (sacred syllables), Padodaka (Conserated Water) and Prasada (Blessing in the form of flowers or food) are considered as eight aides to the spiritual development of a Lingayatis.
Here again we do not spot doing puja if one or more of the Astavaranas are missing. For instance if Rudrakshi is not available , we should person Puja without it, instead of not doing Puja at all. Also remember that Linga represents both Guru and Jangama for everyday Puja.Most important is our devotion and prayers said in sincerity.We must concentrate completely on God and surrender ourself to His care.
Rub tip of right middle finger on top of Vibhuti,. Write Om ( Kannada / Sanskrit )with the vibhuti-coated middle finger tip, in the fresh water to be used for Puja. This sanctifies the water. Sprinkle a few drops on your head and on Puja utensils.
2. Vibhuti Or Bhasma
Wearing Vibhuti denotes purity of mind and submission to God.
Coat the inside of the three middle fingers of your right hand with Vibhuti by rubbing on top of the Vibuthi block.
With Vibuthi-coated three middle fingers of your right hand apply Vibuthi on your forehead from left to right. Using the middle finger tip apply a dot of Vibuthi between he two eyebrows – the center of Knowledge.
4. SarvangaVibhutiAlso apply Vibuthi to both sides of the wrists, arms and upon the heart.
5. RudrakshiWear either 108,32 or at least one Rudrakshi, on a string around your neck.
6. AbishekhaPour sanctified water in a stream over the Linga held in center of your left palm. You may hold down the Linga with the middle finger so that the Lingawont fall.
7. VastraWipe Linga and your hands with Vastra (towel reserved for Puja only)
8. Shatkona and OmWith the edge of Vibuthi draw a six-sided star (a triangle pointing upwards, overlayed with a triangle pointing down) on your left palm. Write Om in the center (kannada/Sanskrit)
9. Panchakona and OmAlternately draw a five sided star and Om (kannada/Sanskrit) on your left palm with Vibuthi.
10. AsanaPlace Linga upon the star on your left palm. Make sure that the Jalahari is pointing to your right side (Jalahari is indicated either by an Om, or by a small nick in the side of the Linga)
11. Vibhuti for LingaUsing thumb, middle finger and ring finger apply three timeVibuthi around Linga in a circular motion. (Alternately Vibuthi may be applied to the Linga with three middle fingers the same way that you apply Vibuthi on your forehead).
12. GandhaDip Right fingue in the Gandha (sandal wood paste). Apply a dot of Gandha in the center, to the face of Linga.
13. AkshataApply two to five grains of Akshata (raw unbroken rice / jowar / sajje) over Gandha dot.
14. Patri and PushpaUsing thumb, middle and ring fingers put flowers and Bilva leaves on top of Linga.
15. DhoopaWake lighted incense stick before the Linga.
16. Ghante /GhantaSound the bell using a rattling motion.
17. AratiGently wave Arati lamps in a clockwise up and down motion before the Linga.
18. KarpuraDeepaLight Karpura (camphor) piece in metal camphor holder and wake before Linga.
19. Dristi YogaBring the Linga on your palm to your eye level.Focus eye and thoughts upon Linga.
20. MantraWhile focusing on the Linga softly say "Om NamahaShivaya" Mantra twelve times and meditate (In the beginning say the mantra only once. Over a period of time you may gradually increase the number of times that you will repeat the mantra – Om NamahaShivaya.
21. JapavidhiThe illustrated diagram shows the pattern. Start from 1 count clock wise with the tip of your thumb until you reach 9. Continue counting No 10 and 11 with pointer finger. Resume counting with thumb. End on bottom of middle finger. With each count say "Om NamahaShivaya" once. To count 26 times go around once more in the same pattern, continue for two more counts, ending on bottom part of the little finger.
22. Japamala"Om NamahaShivaya" Mantra may be uttered 51 times, 108 times, or 1000 times with the help of Japamala (counting beads or rosary), preferably made of Rudrakshi. Start with the bead next to the shikamani or top bead. (Shikamani is the bead tied so that it will protrude). Every time you repeat the Mantra move one bead towards you until you reach the Shikhamani. Stop on the Shikhamani.
23. NaivedyaIn a small plate arrange a few raisins. Wave your palm over the raisins and towards the Linga, indicating offering of food (After completion of Puja you may eat the raisins as Prasada).
24. AchamanaAfter naivedya offer water by pouring some water from the jar into the Majjanasali (bowl)
25. NamaskaraBow to the Linga by touching your forehead to the palm area next to the Linga.
26. NirmalyaUsing thumb and pointer finger remove flowers and leaves off the Linga and drop them into the Majjanasali. (Later empty the Majjanasali at the base of a living plant).
27. AparaSnanaWash Linga Once More. Dry with vastra.
28. ChidbasmaAgain apply Vibhuti to Linga with thumb, middle finger and ring finger (or with three middle fingers)
29. Padodaka or TeerthaPour some water on the Linga to consecrate the water and collect it under the Linga on your palm.
30. TeerthaSweekaraHolding Linga with right hand, sip Teertha (water consecrated by Linga)
31. HudugadaPavudaDry the Linga and place it on HudugadaPavuda (new cloth approximately 2" x 2" in size reserved for the linga). Fold the four sides of the Pavuda towards the top center to cover the Linga. Place HudugadaPavuda and Linga together in the lower half of the Gandagadigi/ Karadige.
32. Gandagadigi/ Karadige.Slide top of the Gandagadigi over the bottom half and secure them together by forming a knot with the Shivadhara (thread holding the Gandagadigi) over the side columns.
33. LingayatWear the Gandagadgi around your neck so that the Linga will be next to your heart.
34. Final PrayersAt the end of the Puja say "Jaya Namaha Parvathi Hara HaraMahadeva" (Glory to Parvathi and Shiva).
Some of the common items used for Shiva Abhisheka are
4.Tender Coconut Water
5.Vibhuti (holy ash)
6. Panchamruta (Curd based delicacy consisting of Panch(5) items: Milk, Sugar, Ghee (clarified butter), Honey, Bananas)
9. Ghee (Clarified butter)
Since Shiva is said to wear Nageshwara (Snake God) as an ornament around his neck, it is said that the fragrance of Aloe (which attracts snakes) is also a very holy item to be used for the worship of Shiva.
In contrast, it said that Lord Vishnu is AlankaraPriyar (Desirous of ornamentation). Hence Vishnu Sthalas (places of worship of Lord Vishnu) have elaborately carved idols of Lord Vishnu with the alankaram (decoration ceremony) post the abhishekam, being a very elaborate ritual.
In any discussion of Hinduism, it is important to remember that these rituals are an off shoot of the interpretation of Vedas, the holy text of Hindus. These texts by themselves do not outline the deities or rituals for their worship thereof.
ABISHEKA NAME - ITS EFFECTS
PANCHAGAVYAM - Removes all sings of mankind
PANCHAMRUTHAM - Gives wealth
GHEE- Gives Moksha state
MILK - Gives long life
CURD - Gives Good Children
HONEY - Melodious voice
RICE POWDER - Frees from debts
SUGAR CANE JUICE - Gives good health and removes enmity
LIME JUICE - Removes fear of death
TENDER COCONUT JUICE - Gives enjoyment and full satisfaction in life
COOCKED RICE (ANNAM) - Gives Majestic life
SANDAL PASTE - Gives Lakshmi's Grace
SUGAR - Removes enmity
Merits of Shivaratri Puja (Pooja)According to Shiva Purana, sincere worship of Lord Shiva yields merits including spiritual growth for the devotees. It also provides extensive details on the right way to perform Shivratri Puja.
Shiva Purana further says that performing abhisheka of Shiva Linga with six different dravyas including milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water while chanting Sri Rudram, Chamakam and DasaShanthi pleases Lord Shiva the most. According to the mythology, each of these dravya used in the abhisheka blesses a unique quality:
Milk is for the blessing of purity and piousness.
Yogurt is for prosperity and progeny.
Honey is for sweet speech.
Ghee is for victory.
Sugar is for happiness.
Water is for purity.
Besides, worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri is also considered to be extremely beneficial for women. While, married women pray to Shiva for the well being of their husbands and sons, unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband.
Getting Ready for Shivaratri PujaTo perform the worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in the holy waters of river Ganga. This is followed by worship to Sun God, Vishnu and Shiva in accordance with the purification rite observed on all-important Hindu festivals. Devotees then wear fresh new clothes and pay a visit to the nearest Shiva temple. As a tradition, devotees observe a fast on a Shivaratri day. Some do not consume even a drop of water.
Performing Maha Shivaratri PoojaFollowing the method prescribed in Shiva Purana, priests perform ritual puja of Shiva Linga every three hours all through the day and night of Shivaratri Festival. During this pooja, chants of Om NamahShivaya and sounds of bells reverberate in the temple. Following the bath with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water that helps in the purification of the soul a vermilion paste is applied on the Linga as it represents virtue. These six items form an indispensable part of Shivaratri, be it a simple ceremony at home or grand temple worship
After this, Bilwa leaves, which have to be a stalk with three leaves, is kept on top of the Shivalinga to cool the hot-tempered deity. Ber or jujube fruit is also offered to Lord Shiva, as it is symbolic of longevity and gratification of desires. Some devotees also offer the auspicious betel leaves to Lord Shiva marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures. Garlanding of Linga with flowers and garlands is also a part of the ritual Shivaratri Puja. Devotees also burn incense sticks as is said to yield wealth. Many also light lamps to symbolize attainment of knowledge. It is said that by offering water, hugging the Linga, lighting the diya and incense and ringing the temple bells, devotees call into focus all their senses, making them acutely aware of themselves and the universe to which they belong.
This ritual worship of Lord Shiva continues through the day and night of Shivaratri. Devotees stay awake and spent the night in Shiva temples by chanting 'Om NamahShivaya' and singing hymns and verses in praise of Lord Shankar. Devotees observing vrat on Shivaratri break it only the next morning by partaking prasad offered to Lord Shiva.
Brahma MuraariSuraarchita Lingam
Tat PranamaamiSadaa Shiva Lingam
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is adored by Brahma, Vishnu and other Gods, which is praised by pure and holy speeches and which destroys the cycle of births and deaths.
Tat PranamaamiSada Shiva Lingam
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is the destroyer of desires, which the Devas and the sages worship, which is infinitely compassionate and which subdued the pride of Raavana.
Siddha SuraasuraVanditha Lingam
Tat PranamaamiSadaa Shiva Lingam
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is lavishly smeared with variegated perfumes and scents, which elevates the power of thought and enkindles the light of discrimination, and before which the Siddhas and Suras and Asuras prostrate.
Kanaka MahaamaniBhushitha Lingam
Daksha SuyajnaVinaashaka Lingam
Tat PranamaamiSadaa Shiva Lingam
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, the destroyer of Dakshas sacrifice, which is decorated with various ornaments, studded with different gems and rubies and which glows with the garland of the serpent Lord coiled around it.
Tat PranamaamiSadaa Shiva Lingam
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is smeared with saffron and sandal paste, which is decorated with lotus garlands and which wipes out all accumulated sins.
Bhaavair Bhakti Bhirevacha Lingam
Tat PranamaamiSadaa Shiva Lingam
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga which is worshipped by the multitude of Gods with genuine thoughts full of faith and devotion and whose splendor is like that of a million suns.
Tat PranamaamiSadaa Shiva Lingam
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, destroyer of all poverty and misery in its eight aspects, which is the cause of all creation and which stands on the eight petalledLotus.
Tat PranamaamiSadaa Shiva Lingam
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga which is the Transcendent Being and the Supreme Self, worshipped by all Suras and their preceptor (Brhaspathi), with innumerable flowers from the celestial gardens.
PROCESS OF SHIVA ADORATIONAfter taking bath, wearing neat and clean clothes, the worshipper should make oneself sanctified. All the things for Shiv-poojan, as given before in the list of substantial material required, should be kept ready. The CHAUKI, on which the Shiv-Diety is to be throned should be covered by the white cloth and then the phallus-deity be enthroned after giving it a bath in milk, then in GANGAAJAL (water of river Gangaa) in full devotion.
In the same way, the SHIV-TALISMAN should also be placed on the CHAUKI. Shiv-Deity, may be of any metal, stone, wood or clay. It is convenient to have an inscribed Talisman on a copper-plate, otherwise it can be drawn on a bark of birch tree by white sandal.
After giving throne to Lord Shiva, incense stick and the clay-lamp be lighted. The KALASH should also be placed on the right side, filled with water. The leaves of the wood-apple should be sanctified by giving them wash in clean water. It is the assumption that "Raamâ", "Raamâ" is also written on these leaves by white sandal, it is more pleasing to God Shiva. To begin with Pooja after having seat on the Aasaninfront of the Diety.