Shiva Lingam

Shiva Lingam

In his popular aspect, Shiva is a member of Triad along with Brahma, the creator and Vishnu, the protector. As a member of triad Shiva takes the role of destructor, so that Brahma can regenerate. In this visible aspect Lord appears with three eyes, matted hair, with the garland of snakes and skulls. He wears tiger and dear skin and holds drums, horns and trishul (Three headed spear) in his hand.

But in his original form, Shiva is the param braham – the supreme creator and he himself is the triad. The supreme Shiva is Rudra (or hollow) and is formless. This supreme Shiva is represented by the Shiva Lingam and is pronounced by the universal word ॐ (Aum). The Shiva Lingam is full of mysteries and tales and myths, some of which are even baseless. Nevertheless, this is one of the most popular form in which the Lord is worshipped.

Shiva Lingam – Meaning and the myths

The Sanskrit word Lingam’ means symbol. Thus the literal meaning of Shiva Lingam is the symbol of Shiva. The Supreme Shiva doesn’t have a form and every form is his form. The Shiva Lingam represents him, the Supreme Shiva¸ who is formless. The way when we see a smoke, we infer the presence of fire, the moment we see Shiva Lingam we immediately visualize the existence of the Supreme Shiva.

It has been a common myth that Shiva Lingam represents male genital organs. This is not only misleading but also base less. Such misinterpretations are done in later Vedic period and popularized much later, when Indian literatures actually came into hands of foreign scholars. It was difficult to interpret the language and a word may have different meaning depending on the context. Some of the easy interpretation may be misleading. And such misinterpretation may actually be welcome, if you want to find the defects in somebody else’s faith. This misunderstanding is can be one of the most glaring examples of such a situation. Misinterpretations of actual Sanskrit literature led to this false belief. Shiva Lingam is a differentiating mark; it is certainly not a sex mark.

The Lingam Purana states:

प्रधानं प्रकृतिर यदाहुर्लिगंउत्तम ।
गंध-वर्ण-रसहिंनं शब्द-स्पर्शादिवर्जितं ॥  


 the foremost Lingam which is devoid of colour, taste, hearing, touch etc is spoken of as Prakriti or nature.

The nature itself is a Lingam (or symbol) of Shiva. When we see nature, we infer the presence of its creator – Shiva. Shiva Lingam is the mark of Shiva the creator, Shiva the sustainer and Shiva the destructor. It also dispels another myth in which Shiva is considered only as a destructor.

Another authentic reference comes from Skanda Purana where lingam is clearly indicated as the supreme Shiva from where the whole universe is created and where it finally submerge.

आकाशं लिंगमित्याहु: पृथ्वी तस्य पीठिका।
आलय: सर्व देवानां लयनार्लिंगमुच्यते ॥
(स्कन्द पुराण)


The endless sky (that great void which contains the entire universe) is the Linga, the Earth is its base. At the end of time the entire universe and all the Gods finally emerge in the Linga itself.

Now this should clarify the settle the doubts once and forever.

Forms of Shiva Lingam

Shiva Lingam is worshiped in two common forms – Chala (Moveable) Lingam and Achala (Non-Moveable or Fixed) Lingam.

Chala Lingam (Moveable Lingam)

The Chala Lingams may be kept in the shrine of one’s own home for worship or prepared temporarily with materials like sand, clay, dough or rice for worship and dispensed with after the worship. Another form of the Chala Lingams can also be worn on the body as a pendent in the necklace etc. Chala Lingams are often made of quartz, mercury or metals.

Achala Lingam (Fixed Lingam)

Achala Lingams (or fixed Lingams) are installed in temples and are un-moveable once they are installed. There are rigid rules for achala Lingams which must be followed. Achala Lingams must be offered prayers at fixed times and without failed and greater sanctity is maintained. Usually Lingams are made of black stones.

The Appearance and significance of Shiva Lingam

A Shiva Lingam is generally made up of black or white stones, marbles or metals or Quartz. A Shiva Lingam has three distinct parts which are considered as portions of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The Lower part represents Brahma, the middle Vishnu and the upper and the most prominent represents Shiva. Thus Shiva Lingam represents all the three powers in one- as the Param Braham or Supreme Shiva.


Another interpretation considers Shiva Lingam to be divided in two parts – Shiva and Shakti. Thus Shiva Lingam are symbols to represent the aspects of the Supreme Shiva. From one view Shiva is Shiva and Shakti; from another view point Shiva is Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva himself).


Shiva Lingams made up of quartz have special significance. Such Lingams have no colour of its own but it takes the colour of any object that comes in its contact. The ling as such represents the attribute-less and formless supreme Shiva.

There is mysterious and indescribable power in Shiva Lingam to induce the concentration of mind. It is like the crystal glazing, mind easily attains one- pointedness by looking at the Shiva Lingam. This is the reason why ancient scholars and sages advocated the worship of Shiva Lingam and its installations in temples.

Listen to the message of Shiva Lingam and it will say:

I am one without a second”.

Important Shiva Lingam across India

Shiva Lingam worship is one of the most popular forms of worship offered by Hindus. Every town, cities, villages, blocks will have at least on temple with Shiva Lingam. However, of all the Shiva Lingams, few carry special importance with them and have been referred in Vedas and Puranas. The important of them are:

  1. Jyotir Lingams: There are 12 Jyotir located in various parts of India. They are well documented in Puranas. They are:
Somenath (Somnath, Gujarat) Mallika-Arjun (Shrishailam, AP) Kashi-Vishwanath (Varanashi, UP)
Aumkareshwar (Aumkareshwar, MP) Mahakaleshwar (Ujjain, MP) Trayambakeshwar (Near Nashik, Maharashtra)
Kedarnath (Himalaya) Vaidyanath (Deogarh, Jharkhand) Rameshwar (Tamil Nadu)
Ghrineshwar Nageshwar Bhimshankar
  1. Panchbhut Lingams: The whole world consists of 5 basic elements – air, water, fire, earth and sky. The Panchbhut Lingam of Shiva represents these five elements. These Lingams are:
1. Kalahastisvar 2. Jambukesvar 3.Arujachalesvar
4. Ekambaresvar 5. Natraja



See Also: Jyotir Lingam, Lingastakam

102 thoughts on “Shiva Lingam

  1. what is mean shive ling as same mean Penis and Vagina then why should bow to him not to creator??? what is 12 lingam ??why any one have any solid reference to bow that
    i have some ref for not bow
    1. “Ekam evadvitiyam”
    “He is One only without a second.”
    [Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1]1
    2. “Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah.”
    “Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.”
    [Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9]2
    3. “Na tasya pratima asti”
    “There is no likeness of Him.”
    [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19]3
    4. The following verses from the Upanishad allude to the inability of man to imagine God in a particular form:
    “Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam.”
    “His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.”
    [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]4
    1[The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 447 and 448]
    [Sacred Books of the East, volume 1 ‘The Upanishads part I’ page 93]
    2[The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 745]
    [Sacred Books of the East, volume 15, ‘The Upanishads part II’ page 263.]
    3[The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 736 & 737]
    [Sacred Books of the East, volume 15, ‘The Upanishads part II’ page no 253]
    4[The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 737]
    [Sacred Books of the East, volume 15, ‘The Upanishads part II’ page no 253]
    Vedas are considered the most sacred of all the Hindu scriptures. There are four principal Vedas: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda.
    1. Yajurveda
    The following verses from the Yajurveda echo a similar concept of God:
    1. “na tasya pratima asti”
    “There is no image of Him.”
    [Yajurveda 32:3]5
    2. “shudhama poapvidham”
    “He is bodyless and pure.”
    [Yajurveda 40:8]6
    3. “Andhatama pravishanti ye asambhuti mupaste”
    “They enter darkness, those who worship the natural elements” (Air, Water, Fire, etc.). “They sink
    deeper in darkness, those who worship sambhuti.”
    [Yajurveda 40:9]7
    4. Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc.
    The Yajurveda contains the following prayer:
    “Lead us to the good path and remove the sin that makes us stray and wander.”
    [Yajurveda 40:16]8
    5[Yajurveda by Devi Chand M.A. page 377]
    6[Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Giffith page 538]
    7[Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Giffith page 538]
    8[Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Griffith page 541]
    2. Atharvaveda
    The Atharvaveda praises God in Book 20, hymn 58 and verse 3:
    1. “Dev maha osi”
    “God is verily great”
    [Atharvaveda 20:58:3]9
    3. Rigveda
    1. The oldest of all the vedas is Rigveda. It is also the one considered most sacred by the Hindus.
    The Rigveda states in Book 1, hymn 164 and verse 46: “Sages (learned Priests) call one God by many
    [Rigveda 1:164:46]
    2. The Rigveda gives several different attributes to Almighty God. Many of these are mentioned in
    Rigveda Book 2 hymn 1.
    Among the various attributes of God, one of the beautiful attributes mentioned in the Rigveda Book II hymn 1 verse 3, is Brahma. Brahma means ‘The Creator’. Translated into Arabic it means Khaaliq. Muslims can have no objection if Almighty God is referred to as Khaaliq or ‘Creator’ or Brahma. However if it is said that Brahma is Almighty God who has four heads with each head having a crown, Muslims take strong exception to it.
    Describing Almighty God in anthropomorphic terms also goes against the following verse of Yajurveda:
    “Na tasya Pratima asti”
    “There is no image of Him.”
    [Yajurveda 32:3]
    Another beautiful attribute of God mentioned in the Rigveda Book II hymn 1 verse 3 is Vishnu. Vishnu means ‘The Sustainer’. Translated into Arabic it means Rabb. Again, Muslims can have no objection if Almighty God is referred to as Rabb or ‘Sustainer’ or Vishnu. But the popular image of
    9[Atharveda Samhita vol 2 William Dwight Whitney page 910]
    Vishnu among Hindus, is that of a God who has four arms, with one of the right arms holding the Chakra, i.e. a discus and one of the left arms holding a ‘conch shell’, or riding a bird or reclining on a snake couch. Muslims can never accept any image of God. As mentioned earlier this also goes against Svetasvatara Upanishad Chapter 4 verse 19.
    “Na tasya pratima asti”
    “There is no likeness of Him”
    The following verse from the Rigveda Book 8, hymn 1, verse 1 refer to the Unity and Glory of the Supreme Being:
    3. “Ma cid anyad vi sansata sakhayo ma rishanyata”
    “O friends, do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One. Praise Him alone.”
    [Rigveda 8:1:1]10
    4. “Devasya samituk parishtutih”
    “Verily, great is the glory of the Divine Creator.”
    [Rigveda 5:1:81]11
    Brahma Sutra of Hinduism:
    The Brahma Sutra of Hinduism is:
    “Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan”
    “There is only one God, not the second; not at all, not at all, not in the least bit.”
    Thus only a dispassionate study of the Hindu scriptures can help one understand the concept of God in Hinduism.
    0[Rigveda Samhita vol. 9, pages 2810 and 2811 by Swami Satya Prakash Sarasvati and Satyakam Vidyalankar]
    11[Rigveda Samhita vol. 6, pages 1802 and 1803 by Swami Satya Prakash Saraswati and Satyakam Vidyalankar]
    as from the sun.” The Prophecy confirms:


    ———- Editor Note ————-
    Please avoid all upper case letters. It appears to be shouting


  4. Shankar Ki Jyoti Se Nor Milta Hai
    Bhakto Ke Dilon Ko Sukoon Milta Hai
    Happy Mahashivratri 2013

  5. sir will u please explain why there is always droplets of water falling on the linga

  6. can we shift shivalay from one place to another?
    if yes then let me know the reference..thanks

  7. I am confused in which direction the worship water shall flow out from Lingam – North or East ?

  8. I am confused in which direction the worship water shall flow out from Lingam – North or East ?

  9. “Om Namah Shivaya”
    My Mother worships a black shivling at home. I haven’t seen her this happy and peaceful before. Truly believe that Lord Shiva accepts any form of worship or offering as long as it is done sincerely and with love.

  10. Shall a shiva lingam can be kept at Home and worshipped by chanting Rudranamaka chamakam

  11. shall a Shiva lingam may be kept at Home and worshipped by chanting Rudranamaka Chamakam

  12. It Can. There is no reason why It shouldn’t be. Only Prerequisite is true devotion and respect.

  13. Can a white shivalinga be kept at home???please reply its urgent.i like it a lot..

  14. Sir, all Hinduism is thoughts and ideas of Rishis (Vedas) or Scholars who translate Vedas.

    Do you have an genuine Statement form God or Brahma or Shiva or any one.

    “I m Brahma I m the created”
    I m Shiva I m the destroyer”

    If Sanskrit was the language of Hindu Gods what were they doing when Sanskrit became dead language ?

  15. Hi All,
    Namasthee. After going through this link i am ver happy. I have some boubts. I and my family loves to worship Lord Shiva. I love to worship shiva idol. Can some one please help which type of idol is good to have it in home, like what material and what size. What type of sevas that we can do for him like abeshakas, asthothras, nivadyas and dhayanas. What are the rules that we need to follow in our house.
    Please guide me.

  16. confused over the positioning of lingam on the alter..which direction should it face?north or east?direction of the naaga on the lingam?and whether the nandi should face the naaga?

  17. Pls advise me ,can i keep shivling at home temple.If yes ,which type and how to be worshipped daily.In which angle should i keep the Linga

    Manoj Kr Sharma

  18. The question and anxiety about keeping Shivling at home and its negative affects is baseless. Of course you can worship Shivling at home. Only good can come out. It’s your faith that should decide and not someone’s diktat.

    Trust your instincts and go ahead. Only thing important is your own faith.

  19. Vivek Ji,

    humein kisee ne kahaa hai ki hum shivling kii ya phir shankar jii kii moortee ki sthaapnaa karwaayen’… hamaare purkhon’ mein hamaare dada ji ne shiv ling sthaapit kiyaa thaa jo ki khandit ho gayaa hai (This info has been confirmed).. I am confused.. should we go for it? Agar shivling kii poojaa theek se naheen’ ho paayee toh phir aage aane waalee peeRhiyon’ mein dikkat aayegee? hum saarv-janik mandir mein sthaapnaa karnae kii soch rahe hain on 17th.. Agar ho sakae toh jawab den’.. 1)Kis rang kaa kaisaa shivling sthaapit karna theek hogaa? 2) shiv-ling sthaapit karnaa chahiye ki sirf Maha-rudra kaa paath karwaa len’ aur puraanaa shivling jo khandit ho gayaa hai.. uskaa visarjan kar den’?
    kuchh samajh mein naheen’ aa rahaa hai.. aap se madad kii ummeed hai!
    Gaurav Mishra

  20. Many Thanks. I agree with your explanation..

    Just as OM is the ‘sound symbol’ of God, the Linga is ‘form symbol’ or visible symbol of God – the most meaningful, the simplest and the least endowed with appendages of attributes. The Linga means, that in which this Jagat (world of change) attains Laya or mergence or dissolution (Leeyate). All forms merge in the Formless at last. Shiva is the Principle of Destruction of all names and
    forms, of all entities and individuals. So, the Linga is the simplest sign of emergence and mergence.”

    **Layanghanchanti bhutani sangharay nikhilanyatah
    shristi kale punah shristi shrtamalingam mudhaitatam**

    “Layanghanchanti bhutani” in the above quoted shloka suggests that the Shiva Lingam is the entity in which all animate objects get absorbed at the time of dissolution of the universe. And the second line of the shloka “shristi kale punah shristi” indicates that at the time of creation it recreates. Such meaning can only be attributed to the absolute Brahman, the Supreme Lord. The
    process of Shiva Lingam has been explained in Shivopanishad. The linga (or lingam) is made up of three parts. One part remains underground, the middle part remains on the pedestal and third one on top is the one which is actually worshiped. The part which remains covered by the ground is 4 sided. That which remains on the pedestal is 8 sided and the one is worshiped is round. The height of the round part should be 1/3 of it’s circumference. These three parts symbolize the trinity of Hinduism. In other words, Brahma – the creator, at the bottom of the lingam; Vishnu- the preserver, in the middle; and Shiva – the destroyer and re-creator on top of the lingam (see the picture above left). This also symbolize the 3 stages of Omkaar Brahman – A, U and M

  21. प्रिय गौरव जी,

    विलम्ब से जवाब देने के लिए क्षमा चाहता हूँ | आप जितने लोगों से विचार विमर्श करेंगे आपको उतने ही अलग अलग सुझाव प्राप्त होंगे | मेरा यह दढ़ मानना है की पूजन एवं उसकी विधि आपके और आपके आराध्य मध्य का एक अनोखा बंधन होना चाहिए तथ्या उसमे किसी मध्यस्तता की आवश्यकता नहीं है| आप शिवलिंग स्थापना को ले कर शंकित प्रतीत हो रहे हैं|

    मेरी माने तो किसी अन्य के विचार के सम्मान मात्र के लिए स्थापना न करें| शिवलिंग स्थापना तभी करें जब आप शंका एवं भय मुक्त हों | क्या आपके त्रुटी के लिए शिव आपके आने वाले पीढ़ियों को दण्डित करेंगे? क्या आप भय से स्थापना कर रहे हैं? यदि शिवलिंग पुनः खंडीत हो जाए तो ? यह शंशय क्यों? और अगर खंडित न हो तो? तो क्या शिव आपके शंशय एवं भय से अवगत न होंगे?

    शिवलिंग स्थापना करना आवश्यक नहीं है | श्रद्धा मात्र पर्याप्त है | मेरे विचार में आप अभी महा रूद्र पाठ करवा लें जिससे आपको कदाचित अपने शंशय एवं भय से मुक्ति मिल जाएगी और तभी शिवलिंग स्थापना सार्थक होगी |

    शिव आपका कल्याण ही करेंगे


  22. Hi Vivek Ji,

    I do have Shiv linga of mercury at home but somehow it got Khandit from one edge. What should i do.
    Worshipping God is beneficial in all aspects but heard of a myth that we need to keep the jal dhara always over the linga and that must also be accompanied by full family of shiva.Can you please guide us here.

    Shiv Shankar Sharma

  23. I Have 3 shiv lingas in house
    one is crystal one
    second one is black shiv lingam
    third one is white shiv lingam

    my problem is ,am not sure about my lingas are original, narmada shiv lingas or not..

    i feel like buying one original narmada lingam and worshiping only that …

    if i do that …wat should i do for old lingams????

    is keeping 3 or 5 lingams in house is good or its meaningless???

    how to test narmada lingams???

  24. I have a shivlinga at my home…. But on net and by various sources i came to know that to keep shivlinga at my home is not good…. And if u r keeping then it should be with jaldhara otherwise it attracts bad energies…. Can u plzz give me the correct guidance about placing a shivlinga at my home…??? M really confused as such my families are concerned…. Please give me a way…
    I have faith n trust in Shiva and Shakti… And i praise both of them… Om namah shivay…

  25. Hi,

    I some how brought Shiva lingam into my house .But unfortunately I can`t do regular prayers .Now my question where should the Shiva lingam must be.Please,do guide me regarding this issue, because people say without doing proper poojas we should not keep Shiva lingam at home.

  26. On an impulse, I bought a quartz shivling. I have been reading that lot of care should be taken. There should be jaldhara too. Unfortunately, I am unable to take care of it as it deserves. What do I do now? Can I leave it in a stream? Hill? Temple? Please advice.

  27. Hare om
    I am planning to set up a meditation hall and yoga center. My ista deity is maha shiv and i want to set up shivlinga in the center of the hall. Pls guide me with the information on the structure and size of linga and other related information. pls do give information on where can i get authentic shiv lingas and other spiritual materials. Hare om

  28. Mein iss website ke admins ko thanks kehna chahunga, kyunki issi website se meine Shiv tandav stotra padha aur Shiv mahimna stotra padha aur dono ko hindi mein samjha aur dono ko kantastha kar ska…..Ek request hai agar aap Vaidyanath Namaskaram bhi upload kar sake….Baaki sites par english mein likha hua mil rha hai….So agar aap hindi mein de sakte hain toh please upload kr dein… Dhanyawaad….:)

  29. I have very Little knowledge of Hinduism and I feel Inspired and somehow internal devoted to Lord Shiva.

    Please Suggest me Reading list/ names of Scriptures which I should get to read. I know stories of Lord Shiva, but I really want to know about the REAL SHIVA.

  30. Found your article very good.
    I do not seem to find solace in any other idol… without a pooja of the Shivling, I find the prayers incomplete.

    Someone told me that if you keep a Shivling at home, vansh does not grow… that I will never have a son…

    Is this correct!

  31. We should certainly offer prayers to Shivalinga … its not a show piece. That said we should do the puja best to our own ability without fearing the consequences of what if I fail…

  32. Dear Jasly

    You are completely mistaken in your belief that Hinduism comes from books like Veda. Vedas themselves are not books but Veda simply means knowledge. How do you expect a genuine statement… a press conference? Will you agree? You need to realize. Every religious teaching (of all religion) is documented in books for future reference. They are summary, reference – they are not the religion. Same is true with every religion.

    About sanskrit … its NOT dead… not yet. It will never die. Yes!!! its knowledge may become rare over a period of time … may even apparently vanish… but then its language of Gods… so what if it vanishes from earthly plain? So what if it is no more spoken by Mortals?

    Bear and drug shops are rampant. Murder and crimes are rampant. Is that Godly way to you?

  33. Sir,
    Please tell can shivling kept in home please clerify
    ashish makkar

  34. In a temple where a shivling should be installed either at the centre or elsewhere.

  35. Plz reply me.Ghar me ya Ghar Ke bahar tulsi me kale rang ka shivling rakhna thik hota hai ya nhi mai jabalpur hai thi vaha panchmadi ek jagah hai vaha bike rage the mai le aai an kya use rakhe sakte hai ya nhi plz reply me.

  36. Hii.. I’ve Narmada shivling at home.. While doing abhishekam, lingam accidentally fell on floor.. Am feeling very guilty.. Is it wrong.. ?? Is it ba sign?? What should I do?? Pls advice me

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