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7-Why Worship in Ling Form

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7-Why Shiv is Worshipped in Ling Form?
[Koti Rudra Sanhitaa, Ch 12]

Many people ask the reason for worshipping the Shiv Ling with Yoni and why devotees do not worship the image of Lord Shiv himself. Here is the narration of the same from the holy Shiv Puraan, Koti Rudra Sanhitaa, chapter 12:

"Sages asked Soot Jee to narrate the story behind the worship of phallic form of Shiv to which sage Soot Jee said - "Once upon a time in the forest of Daaruk, sages were all devotees of lord Shiv and worshipping him daily. To test their devotion, Lord Shiv came in the form of a naked person (Avadhoot) with ashes smeared all over his body, standing there and holding his penis. The wives of the sages were extremely frightened at this sight while other women got excited, surprised and approached Lord Shiv. Some of them embraced him, others held his hands and thus the women were engrossed in struggling with one another. Meanwhile the great sages came there and seeing Lord Shiv engaged in perverse activities, they were pained and infuriated. Deluded by Shiv Maayaa and plunged in grief, the sages asked the naked person who he was, but Shiv did not reply. Then the sages cursed Shiv that his penis should fall on the ground since he was acting perversely in violation of the Vaidik path.

Due to the curse of the sages, the penis of that Avadhoot fell down and burnt everything and wherever it went, it began to burn everything there. The penis went all over the earth, Paataal and Heaven and never remained steady anywhere and kept on going places.

Unable to comprehend Shiv Maayaa, the sages and gods approached Lord Brahmaa to find a solution to stop the penis from burning everything everywhere. Then Lord Brahmaa said that if a guest comes to the Aashram of sages, he must be treated with respect even if he is Avadhoot. Since this Avadhoot instead of getting respect got cursed, the penis would not become stationary which bodes bad for all the three worlds. To make the penis stationary and steady, Lord Brahmaa advised the gods and sages to propitiate goddess Paarvatee Jee and pray her to assume the form of vagina so that it could hold the penis.

Lord Brahmaa also stated that a pot shall be placed over it and water from holy centers shall be poured into the pot along with the sprouts of Doorvaa and barley invoked with Vaidik Mantras. So the penis was held in the vagina thus shall be drenched in water with Shat Rudriya Mantras. Paarvatee in the form of vaginal passage and an auspicious arrow shall form as the pedestal wherein the phallus shall be installed with Vaidik Mantras. The Shiv Ling then shall be propitiated with the offerings of sandal paste, fragrant flowers, incense and other things as well as by food offerings and other forms of worship. with prostrations, holy hymns, Bhajans and songs he shall be propitiated further with Swasti Mantra etc.

Thus pleased, Lord Shiv tells the gods and sages that if the penis is supported in the vaginal passage, it will immediately become quiet and no woman other than Paarvatee can hold his penis. Then goddess Paarvatee assumes the vagina form and holds the phallus and is worshipped by Brahmaa, Vishnu, other gods and sages and the three worlds stayed in peace and happiness."

Narrating the above story, it is preached that when devotees worship an image or form of the god, even if he is Avadhoot or naked, devotees shall focus on their meditation with holy vision which is why our elders advise that whenever we see the image of a Deity, we shall look at their feet and prostrate at the feet to seek their blessings.

Another Version
Once, long ago, there was a great sacrificial ceremony. The great sage Naarad Muni was also invited to it. He asked who would receive the effects of the sacrifice. No one could answer, so the sages present there asked him "who should receive it". Naarad Jee said that Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiv were all eligible for it, but they would have to find out which one had the most patience and purity to be the appropriate god to receive the effects of the sacrifice. So he chose the great sage Bhrighu to find the answer.

Bhrighu Jee had many mystic powers and was able to travel at many places quickly. So first he went to see Brahmaa Jee, but Brahmaa was preoccupied and did not notice Bhrighu’s presence. Feeling insulted, Bhrighu cursed Brahmaa, “You are so proud of your power of creation, you did not notice my arrival. For this you shall have no temples on earth.” That is why there are no temples of Brahmaa Jee on Earth [there are only three temples - one of them is at Pushkar Jee].

Next, Bhrighu Jee went to see Shiv in Kailaash, but Shiv also did not notice Bhrighu’s arrival. Bhrighu, again feeling offended, so he cursed Shiv too that he would be worshiped only as a Lingam on earth. This is the reason why Shiv is primarily represented and worshiped as a Lingam on this planet.

Then Bhrighu Jee went to see Vishnu Jee, who also did not recognize Brighu’s presence. Brighu Jee was now so angry that he went forward and kicked Vishnu’s chest with his foot. Vishnu immediately apologized if He had hurt Bhrighu’s foot and began praising Bhrighu. Bhrighu Jee got pleased and could understand that Vishnu was actually the most qualified god to receive the offerings from the sacrifice. However, Lakshmee Jee, Vishnu’s consort, who is the goddess of fortune and prosperity, was very displeased by Bhrighu’s action and, that is why She does not bestow much mercy on Braahman who, as a result, are often without much money.

About the shape of the lingam, a Baan Ling is egg-shaped and is meant to show that Eeshwar has neither beginning nor end. The Lingodbhava Moorti is said to be the prime manifestation of the form of the formless, which Shiv is said to have manifested exactly at midnight on Shiv Raatri. This is why everyone stays up until midnight and then worships that form during the Shiv Raatri festival. A representation of the Lingodbhava Moorti can often be found in a niche on the outside wall of the sanctum in any important Shiv temple.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 04/23/13