Why should pilgrims worship Lingam?

The ‘lingam’ is a common form of worshipping Shiva in Hinduism. The symbol of Linga was an attempt by our ancestors to give some form to the Supreme power or Brahman. It can be interpreted as a symbolic representation of a formless, universal bearer or a complete one. A linga installed over a yoni represents the union of the Shiva and the Shakti, which marks beginning of the creation. According to Linga Puran, the oval shaped stone called ‘linga’ resembles the Universe which is kept over the base representing the Supreme Power.

In Sanskrit, the word linga means sign or symbol. The Shvetasvatara Upnishad used the term ‘linga’ for the first time, in association with Lord Shiva. It states that the Supreme Being has no linga. Simply put, the Brahman is impossible to define, as it is ‘alinga’.

In Sanatana Dharma, everyone holds the freedom to define Brahman as per he/she is comfortable. Our ancestors, thus, found the most innocent and powerful expression of Brahman: the regenerative method which creates life. A male reproductive organ appeared to them as the ideal symbol to represent strength and regenerative power.

If we think without prejudices, we will find that Linga is in fact a very innocent and yet crude representation of Brahman. It is pure and free of the reflections of our own mind and society. Many people prefer to worship the beautiful human form of Shiva because of their own choice. However, the Linga depicts the sacred side of sex. This symbol makes us close to nature, which is why we are considered as one of the oldest and continuing civilization of the world.

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