According to vedas and dharma shastras, Brahma is the creator, Lord Vishnu the preserver, Siva is the quintessential destroyer.His duty is to destroy all the worlds at the end of creation and dissolve them into nothingness. Modern theories of space do suggest
the possible ending of the physical universe after some billions of years through the expansion of a gigantic black hole devouring the matter from endless galaxies. Perhaps Siva would be the black hole performing this
task. However this does not mean that Siva would remain idle till the arrival of that
time. Before the worlds really come to an end, Siva has many things to do to keep the
worlds going. His first and foremost task is to destroy many things in order to
ensure the Rta or the order of the universe. Siva's destruction is not negative. It is a positive, nourishing and constructive destruction that builds and transforms life and energy
for the welfare of the world and the beings that inhabit it.
He destroys in order to renew and regenerate. His destruction is the destruction of an artist, or a surgeon or a cook.
Through destruction he facilitates the smooth transitions
of things and events from one stage to another.
our imperfections in order to ensure our spiritual
progress. He destroys our illusions, desires and ignorance. He destroys
our evil and negative nature. He destroys our old memories, so that we can
move on with the movement of time. He destroys our relationships, attachment, impurities,
physical and mental wrong doings, the effects of bad
karma, our passions and emotions and many things that stand between us and
God as impediments to our progress and inner transformation. And in the
end when we have made sufficient progress, when we are ready and prepared,
and when we are willing without any inner conflict, he destroys
There is no
reference to Siva in the Vedas, except as a quality. There are some hymns
addressed to Rudra, a fierce storm god, the father of Maruts, who heals with his thousand medicines. (For more information about Rudra please
refer the Vedic pantheon). It is said that the practice of worshipping
Siva was a non Aryan practice which was slowly incorporated into Vedic
religion as an ongoing process of reconciliation with the non Aryan
Sivaling literally means the body of Siva. Next to the symbol of AUM, it is
perhaps the most potent, powerful
and popular symbol in entire Hinduism. In almost all the Siva temples, worship is
generally made to Sivalingas only. Very rarely we come across his images in the sanctum
sanctorum of any Siva temple. A Sivaling is usually a round or cylindrical and protruding
object. The cylindrical part is held firmly by a circular base.
physical plane, the object resembles the male sexual organ, suggestive of
the creative power of Siva. The circular base resembles that of the female, suggestive of his consort
Parvathi. Physically a Sivaling is a phallic symbol,
representing the male and female sexual organs in a state of conjugal
bliss. Mentally it symbolizes the union of mind and body. Spiritually it
represents the union between Purusha and Prakriti, the highest principles
of the manifest universe.
The Sivaling is also symbolic of the Supreme Self. It is verily Maheswara Himself, the Highest
Self and the Lord of the universe. In this aspect it has three parts. The
lower part represents Brahma. The middle part, which is octagonal in
shape, represents Vishnu. The upper part, which is cylindrical in shape,
represents Rudra and is also called Pujabhaga since it receives the actual
offerings of milk and other substances.
The Sivalingas are normally found installed in the temples . But many
devotees of Siva keep them in their houses and offer regular worship.
People are however cautioned not to keep Sivalingas in their houses
without offering worship, since they are believed to be powerful sources
of divine energy. Sivalingas are either naturally found or made artificially.
Different materials are used in their making, such as clay, gold, crystal, glass,
diamonds, precious stones and wood. The round and smooth stones found in
the river beds of the Narmada or the Godavari are considered to be the most ideal
for worship. Sometimes Sivlingas are made temporarily with clay or sandal
paste and disposed of after worship. Some devotees wear Sivalings on their
bodies or around their necks. When Sivalings are found fortuitously
in the river beds and desolate places, it is considered to be a great
omen. They are housed in temples or houses and offered regular
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