The Linga Purana is one of the eighteen Mahapruans of the Sanskrit Scriptures of ancient India. It is a text on Shaivism. The title Linga is the iconography for Shiva. The author of the Linga Purana is not known. The estimated year of composition of the Linga Purana is 5th to 10th century CE. The Puranas, like most of the other ones, have been revised over time and expanded into various inconsistent versions. The Linga Purana is structured into two parts, with a total of 163 chapters.
The text of Linga Purana presents us with different ideas about cosmology, mythology, seasons, festivals, pilgrimage and consecration of Linga and Nandi. There is also a brief description of yoga with claims to its various benefits. Among all the Purana, This is the fifth one preaching about the greatness of Lord Shiva and propagation of Linga Puja.
Five Main Parts Of The Linga Purana
- Descriptions of the Origin. This part of the Linga Purana discusses the Origin of Linga and its worship. It includes the Yagya by Daksha and the Immolation of Madan. This includes the story of Lord Shiva, Tale of Varaha and Narasimha. It also includes the description of Sury and Soma Vansh.
- Greatness and tale of Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and how he became the creator, the Incarnation of Lord Shiva during different yugas, The Sages and Shilad’s Impossible demands.
- Manifestation of Lord Nandishwar, details of Kaliyuga, The Seven islands on the earth, The mountain of Meru, Lord Brahma and the assignment of the deities and radiance of Surya.
- The supreme devotee Dhruva, The origin of deities in the world and the lineage of Aaditya. Yadu dynasty and appointment of Andhak as the lord of the Ganas. Here there is also a brief discussion of Killing Jalandhar and the origin of Lord Ganesh.
- The last part of the Linga Purana discusses the story of Upamanyu, the details of dwakshara and Shadakshara mantra. It also includes the majestic lore of Maheshwar, the manifestation of the sun and Shiva’s power. There is a mention of the Importance of Guru, installation of Shiva Linga, and different types of Yoga.
As per the Linga Purana, a fiery Shiva-Linga appeared after the great Pralaya. And from this Shiva Linga occurred the Vedas and the Scriptures. It is also believed that Brahma and Vishnu and all the other deities also emerged from the same. The current prevalence of worship to Lord Shiva and Shiva Linga emerged from the Vedas.
Purva Bhaga Of The Linga Purana
The first part of the Linga Purana consists of 14 sub-sections where different tales of the old are mentioned. One of them is the tale of Sutji narrating the Linga Purana and its importance. This includes the greatness of Shiva linga and its worship.
Here in this verse, there is a description of Shiva and the Shiva Linga. Let us discuss the same in detail.
It starts with the narration that shiva is both invisible and the root cause of delusion. He is the supreme and thus, he is known as Alinga, the one who is unknowable. Linga is the unmanifested form of Shiva. This showcases the visible world through a medium where Shiva manifests himself. Nature is devoid of the qualities like smell, touch and taste but all these characteristics become apparent when shiva comes in presence. It is believed that all these qualities of taste, smell and touch become apparent because shiva is imperishable and his characteristics are all-natural.
It is said that the whole world has emerged from the Alinga Shiva. The whole world is actually a compilation of 11 components. The eleven components being 10 sense organs and the mind. The three of the most prominent deities, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh are the manifestations of Shiva. According to Linga Purana, it is also believed that Shiva’s the creator in the form of Brahman, Protector in the Form of Vishnu and the destroyer in the form of Mahesh.
Rituals Practiced While Worshipping Lord Shiva
There are different rituals practised while worshipping lord shiva. Let us discuss the procedure mentioned in the Linga Purana.
When Goddess Parvati inquired of Lord Shiva about the proper methods of worshipping Shiva-Linga, he started to elucidate on the question. While Shiva ignores it, Nandi, Who was sitting there gets enlightened by the question and shows interest in this sacred topic. In course of time, this knowledge of worship was passed onto Sanat Kumar who tentatively revealed it to Sage Vyas. The following three methods are mentioned to followed by any devotee to attain the purity and then attained worship such that they can obtain best results of worshipping Lord.
Varun Snan: Taking a bath in the open
Lord Shiva mentions the importance of taking bath in a river or a pond. He hinted that a man’s mind is like a lotus and can never blossom unless there is the presence of radiant sunlight on him.
Bhashma Snan: Smearing ashes on the body
After washing hands and feet, a devotee must smear his body with things like pure mud, cow dung ashes, etc. These articles make sth body pure. While carrying out this process the chanting of the Uddhatashivarahen must be done.
Mantra Snan: Chanting the Mantras
After being purified with the following process, the devotee must pray to Lord Varuna. He can take a dip in the river or pond water and thus chant the Adhamarshan Mantra. Other mantras that are included in the worship are Rudren Pavamanen. In addition to all this, the devotee must drink water while holding Kusha grass in his right hand, simultaneously.
A devotee must only perform the following procedure and rituals after becoming pure. One must concentrate his mind on the lord Tayambak in all his glory. He should also purify all the articles to be used in the worship of the Shiva Linga. The offering of flowers, rice grains, barley etc should be made while chanting “Om Namah Shivay”. It is also believed that worship of lord shiva is always incomplete without worshipping his family. The family of Lord Shiva includes Nandi, Kartikeya, Vinayak and Goddess Parvati.
It is believed and mentioned in the Purva Bhaga, where Lord Brahma compiles the divine tales of the Linga Purana it covers the range of subjects expelling the beginning of creation, the origin of the universe, the greatness of linga and its worship. It is as if that nature is pervaded by the delusion provided by Lord Shiva. The three basic colours red, white and black are the symbols of Raja, Sat and Tama respectively. Only a few can understand the illusionary world of ancient time. Linga Purana is a wide concept and thus, discusses the importance of Shaivism to a greater extent.