Suta Uvaca : “A person who is unable to follow the trifold method of sravana-kirthana-manana may establish the Linga or the Body (Vera: Form, Image) of Sankara and worship (puja) it everyday, in order to cross the Samsara Sagaram.”
Sagaram means Ocean. Samsaram can mean world, worldly existence, in general, the flow of life. Philosophers and Devotees find the Samsara Sagaram painful, distracting, repetetive and all together something to cross over or escape from at the earliest, to the Para Loka (Other World). This is quite unlike the poets and adventurers, who cannot have enough of the beauty, joy and fun of this world (Iha Lokam). The same person may also oscillate from fun, to pain to quiet and back to fun ad infinitum.
“He must offer as much as he can (no cheating), of Dravya (material wealth), Mandapa (platform), Gopura (Shelter), Tirtha (Holy Water), Kshetra (Place), Vastra (Clothes), Gandha (Sandal), Malya (garland), Dhupa (incense), Deepa (lamp), Varieties of Annam (cooked rice), Umbrella, Flag, Chamara Vyajanam (Fan of Yak Fibres Whisk)“
“As to a king, he must perform Pradakshina (going round a person or object keeping it to your right), namaskara (salutations with folded hands) and japa (repetition of His name or Praise)“
“From Avahana (the time when Siva is invited into the Lingam or Vera), to Sarga Anta (when Siva is let go), this is how He should be worshipped with devotion. Just as people who have followed the trifold way have been benefitted so also the people who have followed this Archana Method have also been redeemed.“
Without repeating myself overly, please notice that Siva is invited into the Siva Linga or Siva Vera (Vera may also be translated as root) worshipped and let go. Notice also that this method of puja is next best to the trifold method. See Also : Meaning of Vigraha is ‘Embodiment’, not idol!, and Mantras : Space-Time Short-Circuits?
Munayah Uvaca (The Munis Said): “All the Devata Ganas (hordes of Devatas) are worshipped as Vera, why is Siva worshipped as a Linga (Symbol) also?“
Suta Uvaca : “This is a wonderful question that deserves an answer. I have heard from my Guru that this is said by Siva himself. Siva is the only one who is of the form of the Brahman and is called Nishkala (Immaculate, Attributeless, Without Kala )“
“Siva is called Sakala (Everything) in his handsome Vera Saakaara (form) and Nishkala (Nothing) in his Nirakara (formless) Nishkala form”
“Because of his being Sakala and Akala (Nishkala), he alone is called Sabda-Brahma.“
This clearly presents the view of Vyasa (the most ancient authority that we have today), that Siva Linga, represents the Nishkala Nirakara form of Siva (in contrast to some other views popularised by colonials that I will not dignify by repeating here.)
I also have my personal idea (Speculation/ Guess Work) on this: Siva is Maha Sanatana – the Most Ancient. Sivarchana is the oldest form of worship. This is from the Old Stone Age (at least). I think that a polished stone was the most that people could fashion before they learnt how to sculpt all the beautiful images. The worship of Siva dates from that time. It is possibly common to Africans and Indians. Africans also worshipped a Muruga at some point of time. Though we consider Muruga as Shanmukha (6-faced)-Karthikeya, Muruga could also be Mooru-gan or Mooru-Kannu (three-eyed Siva). According to National Geographic, there was an interaction via boat about 50,000 years ago between Africa and India. I have also seen that Siva-Veras are generally beardless. (This is a more Afro-Indian feature?)
“The same question was asked by the wise Sanatkumara, the son of Brahma, of Nandikesvara, in order to illuminate the meaning of Pranava (Omkara) and to achieve the essence of Vedanta in the Mandira (temple/Mandhara mountain.)“
Sanatkumara Uvaca: “All the Devas other than Siva, are “Vasyanam Sarvesham” (controllable by all). Please tell me more about the worship of SivaLingam.”
A note about the concept of ‘Vasyam’ : The Isa Upanishad says that everything in the world is Isa Vasyam – under the control of Isa (Siva). Yet in our stories we often see that when a devotee is insistent, his chosen deity is bound to grant his request. (See Gautama‘s story for how Ganesa and Varuna feel bound to grant the wishes of those who worship them.) Very often the deity worshipped or Indra subject the devotee to a test, in the form of distractions. A Niscala (undisturbed) devotee does end up with a darshan of the deity. Sometimes the devotee is tricked into asking for something less dangerous. (Kumbhakarna asks for Nidra (sleep) instead of Nirdaya (cruelty)). And sometimes he is negotiated with. (Hiranyakasipu does not get immortality but gets to prescribe apparently impossible pre-conditions to his death.) But the implication is that a devotee who is single-minded and not distractable gets to ask for whatever he wants. (People who misuse this end up rather badly). So here Sanatkumara is saying that except for Jagadisa, Siva, Sankara, other deities are bound to help their devotees.
Nandikeswara Uvaca : (Since it was Nandi who was quoted in the first place, most of the ideas are the same, so I am skipping them here.)
Sanatkumara Uvaca: “Please tell me how this started”.
Nandikeswara Uvaca : “In an ancient Kalpa, a long time ago, Brahma and Vishnu were fighting over who was a greater soul. Paramesvara (The supreme lord) appeared between them as a huge pillar. Thereafter with a desire to do good to the world he chose the pillar as his symbol. The Veras of the other Devas bestow Bhoga (Enjoyments) on the worshipper, but the SivaLingam bestows Bhoga as well as Moksha“
This ends the 5th Adhyaya of the Vidyesvara Samhita of the Siva Mahapuranam. The pillar story is often interpreted as a “garva bhangam” story where one learns not to be too proud of one self. I believe there is an astronomical significance to this story about the relative sizes/distances of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Vishnu has been identified previously with the Centre of the Milky Way Galaxy pointed out by the Moola Nakshatram, and Brahma has been previously identified with the Aurigae Nakshatram. The temptation to identify Vishnu with the black hole at the center of the galaxy is very strong.
Siva has something to do with the size and scale of the Universe. Once we understand Siva, I believe, we would have figured everything out.
Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula
Siva Purana Mahatmya from Skanda Puranam
Siva Mahapuranam Vidyeswara Samhitam 3rd Adhyayam: To attain Sivapadam, listen to the Siva Puranam, repeat it, think about it and understand it with devotion.