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Ling, Baan

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Ling, Baan
Written by  Nitin Burade

Vaidik Legends About Origin of Narmadaa Baan Ling:
There are many legends about the origin of the Baan Ling and their association with the Narmadaa, in the Pauranik Texts like Aparaajitaa Pariprachchha, Yaagyaavalkya Sanhitaa, Matsya Puraan (Chapter 5), Hari Vansh (Vishnu Parv - Chapter 173) and Bhaagvat Puraan (10th Skandh - Chapter 62), with slightly varying accounts. Two of the most popular ones are narrated below.

Legend 1 :
The Asur Raaj (Demon King) Baanaasur was the eldest son of the one hundred sons of Raajaa Bali - Bali was the son of King Virochan, the grandson of Prahlaad (the famous devotee of Vishnu) and the great grandson of King Hiranyakashyap. King Baanaasur himself was a great devotee of Lord Shiv and to seek the Divine Blessings of Lord Shiv, he performed severe penances for a long time, in the Holy Himaalaya, invoking Lord Shiv’s favor. Finally Lord Shiv appeared in answer to his austerities and agreed to grant him a boon. Baanaasur wished for himself 1,000 arms carrying a multitude of weapons to destroy his enemies and desired that Goddess Paarvatee consider him as her own son - he was bestowed with what he asked for. Drunk with power and arrogance, the Demon King started torturing all the three worlds.

Honoring the requests of the Devtaa and Lord Indra, Lord Krishn (an incarnation of Vishnu) severed all the 1,000 arms and the weapons they were holding, with his Sudarshan Chakra, the Divine Discus. However, Lord Shiv honored the Demon King (who was, in spite of being an Asur, was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiv) by giving him his own representation in the form of Swaayambhoo (natural, self-manifest) Shiv Ling, hence the name Baan Ling.

Legend 2 :
Once Lord Shiv wanted to destroy the Flying City of "Tripur", which had been obtained as a boon by the Demon Chieftain Baanasur. So, Lord Shiv released a powerful and fiery arrow from his divine bow called Pinaak. The dart split and broke the "Three Pur" into tiny bits, which fell on Earth in 3 spots: (1) on the hills of Shree-Kshetra, which is an unknown identity to this day; (2) on the peaks of Amara Kantak in the Vindhya ranges and (3) on the banks of the Sacred Narmadaa River. The bits that fell soon multiplied into crores, each bit becoming a Shiv Ling. As they formed part of the possession of the Baanasur, they were called as Baan Ling. Amar Kantak, the peak in Madhya Pradesh State of India, is in close proximity to the source of the River Narmadaa, which according to the holy texts, originates in the Vindhya Mountains 914 meters above the sea level, flows westward for 1,292 kilometers through Mandla and Jabalpur Districts and joins the Arabian Sea in Cambay (Khambhaat Kee Khaadee) near Bharonch in Gujaraat State.

It should be noted here that the word "Baan" also means an arrow, a reed-shaft, cow’s udder and pike, quite independent of the legend concerning the Asur King Baan. The import of these legends is that the Narmadaa Baan-Ling are self-manifest forms (Swaayambhoo) of Lord Shiv and Goddess Shakti and that they are therefore holier than any other anionic forms of Lord Shiv.

What Are the Different Types of Narmadaa Baan Ling?
There are many different types of Narmadaa Baan Ling and depending upon the sacred markings and holy patterns over the body of the Ling, they are classified and their significance defined. However, note that there is no necessity to make a micrographic study of the various types of Baan Ling, to choose one for you - it is sufficient to take certain normal precautions listed at the end of this article.

The "Siddhaant Shekhar" states that the Baan Ling picked up from the Holy River Narmadaa have been worshipped already by the Gods, especially by the Guardian Deities (Lok Paal) and the sacred stones are still said to contain the impress of such worship. There are Baan Ling carrying the different marks characteristic of these Gods:

(1) Conch Shell mark on its top (Shankhabh Mastak) indicates it has been worshipped by Lord Vishnu, the Protector of the Cosmos.
(2) Lotus Mark (Padm) denotes it was worshipped by Lord Brahmaa, the Creator of the Cosmos.
(3) Parasol mark (Chhatra) reveals it was worshipped by Lord Indra, the ruler of the Devtaa world.
(4) Heads mark (Shiro Yugma) shows it was worshipped by Lord Agni, the Fire God
(5) Three Steps (Pad) denote it was worshipped by Lord Yam Khand.
(6) Mace mark (Gadaa) indicates it was worshipped by Lord Eeshaan.
(7) Water Vase mark (Kalash) shows it was worshipped by Lord Varun, the Water God.
(8) Banner mark (Dhwaj) denotes it was worshipped by Lord Vaayu, the God of Air.

"Veer Mitrodaya", the celebrated gloss on "Mitaakshar" (which itself is a commentary by Vigyaaneshwar on Yaagyavalkya's "Dharm Shaastra"), quotes "Kolottara” on the subject of distinguishing the characteristic marks on the various Baan Ling. This text enumerates 9 varieties of Baan Ling, 8 of them corresponding to the 8 Guardian Deities (Lok Paal) and the 9th one is called Vaishnav Baan Ling :

(1) The Baan Ling worshipped by Lord Devendra will fulfill all the desires and bestow sovereignty.
(2) The Aagneya Baan Ling will be rosy colored and warm to touch and carries the mark of the weapon Shakti.
(3) The Yam Baan Ling will have the form of a cudgel or of a tongue.
(4) The Nairriti Baan Ling will look like a sword, carries stain on its body and will bestow the benefits of Gyaan (Wisdom) and Yog; however, it is not for the householder’s to worship.
(5) The Varun Baan Ling will be round in shape and may be distinguished by the marks of a noose (Paash) and will bring prosperity.
(6) The Vaayu Baan Ling will be of black color or smoky complexioned or ash grey and will have the appearance of a flag post or may carry on its head the mark of a banner.
(7) The Kuber Baan Ling will be in the form of a quiver or noose or mace and there might be a hair like line in its centre.
(8) The Raudra Baan Ling will be lustrous like a block of ice and bears the marks of a bone or spear.
(9) The Vaishnav Baan Ling will have the marks of Conch Shell or Discus or Lotus or Mace or Jewels on the Chest (Shree Vats and Kaustubh Mani) or the foot prints of Lord Vishnu and will have variegated colors.

Hemaadri enumerates nine types of Baan Ling :
(1) Swaayambhoo - honey colored with two dark rings
(2) Mrityunjaya - variegated colors with marks resembling spear and coils of matted hair
(3) Neelkanth - elongated and white colored with a black spot
(4) Trilochan - white colored with eye-like marks
(5) Kaalaagni Radar - lustrous and dark, stout with matted-hair like marks
(6) Tripuraaree - honey colored with white marks resembling the sacrificial chord across and with lotus at the base
(7) Eeshaan - clear crystal with the top tawny brown and marks of a trident
(8) Ardh-Naareeshwar - white colored on one side and red colored on the other side
(9) Mahaakaal - slightly red in hue, shining, stout and longish in shape.

What Are the Colors of Baan Ling?
Each Baan Ling is unique with its own markings. The color of the stone varies a lot, from grey to beige, to brown and a reddish brown. They may be honey colored, white, blue, black or emerald-hued.

Are Baan Ling Worthy of Worship?
Many categories of Shiv Ling, the Baan Ling come under the Swaayambhoo category, meaning they are self-manifest and have formed naturally, which makes them the holiest among the holies and the most suitable for worship. They do not need to be made worship-worthy by the preliminary rites of Purification (cleansing) and Consecration (Praan Prathishthaa), as the Narmadaa Baan Ling naturally contain the Vibhooti of Godhead present in them. They do not require the traditional rituals of transmutation - they are natural, self-evident and enduring. They cannot be defiled on any account and do not lose their merit under any circumstances. The "Marka Bhed Tantra" (Paataal 7) makes a summary statement to this effect.

However, if the ideal concept of programming can be accomplished by a competent professional, then the Narmadaa Baan Ling will bestow better and faster results. Among the several varieties of Ling, Baan Ling are said to be the most sacred and its worship the most effective. It is therefore claimed that the Baan Ling when worshipped is a thousand times more effective than any other Ling. While "Suprabhed" (33) roundly declares that all Baan Ling are worship-worthy, the "Soot Sanhitaa and "Meru Tantra" (Chapter 9) states that the ideal size of Baan Ling for worship must be minimum four Angul or 4 inches or above. Those of smaller size may be used for carrying in person or worn around the neck as Power Pendants - as mobile Ling, for blessings and protection.

Do Baan Ling Require Strict Worship and Elaborate Rituals?
The Narmadaa Baan Ling are similar to the Shaalgraam Stones (of the Gandakee River, Nepaal) in this regard: both are Swaayambhoo. Being self-manifest, both are divine energy tools and do not suffer from the many disadvantages and limitations of man-made forms and statues. They do not need to be ceremoniously installed or duly consecrated. They do not even require going through the normal ritual of invocation of divine presence (Aavaahan), for the divine presence is already there and will continue to be there, quite independently of the rituals. This is clearly and boldly stated by the "Marka Bhed Tantra" (Paataal 7). In fact, the “Yog Saar” (Chapter 5) claims that by merely thinking about one's Baan Ling early in the morning, a person can gain success in all the tasks of the day.

Like the sacred Shaalgraam, there are no distinct prescriptions or procedures for the worship of Baan Ling in Pauraanik texts. There is only one Taantrik text “Yog Saar" of Kaulaa influence that gives a separate Dhyaan and Mantra for the worship of Baan Ling, which is completely different from the standard worship ritual offered to Lord Shiv. This procedure in heavily Taantrik in orientation and involves a lot of visualizing capabilities and might not be suitable to the householder.

Rigorous worship of any sacred object like the Narmadaa Baan Ling is always meritorious, but it is neither indispensable nor obligatory. The mere presence of a Narmadeshwar Shiv Ling is said to grace its environment with harmony, mental peace, prosperity and protection. Regular worship of the Ling with the sacred Mantra, Vaidik Sookt and Stotra cause many intense and invisible effects. It is said that the sacred and powerful sounds from such Mantra cause a powerful internal reverberation which is absorbed by the Baan Ling. With consistent worship, this energy is slowly released and emitted to the surrounding environments, and is specially known to have the capacity to negate the accumulated Kaarmik burdens of its worshipper - in other words, the Baan Ling dissolves the negative Kaarmik baggage (Praarabdh Karm) carried by the individual.

What Are the Benefits of Having Baan Ling?
Numerous Scriptures acknowledge the superior merits of the Baan Ling and extol the unsurpassed virtues of them, in bestowing many great benefits. The "Yaagyavalkya Sanhitaa" states that the benefits that can be obtained by worshipping a crore of other Shiv Ling are got by worshipping just only one Baan Ling. It is said that merely thinking about their Baan Ling early in the morning itself is likely to bestow success in all their enterprises of the day. It is also said that the Baan Ling secure worldly welfare as well as emancipation from worldly involvement. It is the considered view of many that the Narmadaa Baan Ling wash off sins and curses.

The Narmadeshwar Shiv Ling works with the breath and the fluids of the body creating a harmony in the body’s flow. The Narmadaa Baan Ling helps one to unite the lower self (conscious) with the higher self (unconscious) so that we may know our own divinity as we seek to know God. It brings believers into the mystical union with God. It heals and helps opening the Chakra to resolve issues. It helps with activating the Kundalinee energy and the seven Chakra. It awakens the energy centers and brings feelings of peace and wellbeing. It enhances personal or group meditations for clearer flow of energies. It balances and brings harmony to its surrounding environment, after cleansing the prevailing negative energies.

On one hand the Narmadaa Baan Ling is the epitome of masculine power and attraction and ooze love and affection, on the other hand an adept can use it to suppress sexual energies and direct them to gain mental and spiritual development.

The Narmadaa Baan Ling are highly communicative gemstones, each with its own individual personality, purpose and reason for being. It is believed that there is a Baan Ling destined for each one of us and that the Baan Ling will find it’s way to us when the time is right and when we are ready to receive it into our lives.

The Sacred Narmadaa Shiv Ling stones can be used to remove negativity and harness and transmit harmonious vibrations throughout a home and office. A mini Narmadaa Baan Ling can be carried by a person or worn around the neck as a pendant to protect the person and also gain divine blessings.

(1) No two Sacred Narmadaa Stones are alike and there are always variations in the Yoni patterns across the body.
(2) Certain Texts like "Kedaar Khand" of Shiv Puraan defines some "Dusht Baan Ling" too, means, the Baan Ling that are not auspicious: those with very rough surface, those which are fully flattened and those which are split at the top. Hemaadri in "Lakshan Khand" insists that those Baan Ling that are exceedingly corpulent or very thin, those with sharp edges and crooked tops are meant only for those who wish emancipation only and are not suitable for householders.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 12/06/12