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Sunday, July 26, 2009


Lingam is used as a symbol of Shiva. This is a form with shape, but no details. From the Formless and Nameless comes a form with no details. This represents what is called the vyaktha- avyaktha stage in the evolution of matter according to the Samkhya philosophy. Lingam represents this intermediate stage in the evolution of forms from the formless.

Those who worship Vishnu as their chosen deity use a similar form with shape but no details. It is a special stone called saligram.

Lingam is called a cosmic pillar or sthanu, without a beginning or an end.

Lingam also symbolizes the Earth aspect of the five primordial principles (the others being water, fire, air and space).

Western scholars consider Lingam as phallic symbol, thanks to Freudian psychology. I cannot deny such an interpretation. Tantric texts give several indications for such an interpretation. But ancient texts written before the Tantric writings and Freudian psychology give plenty of explanations that support the concept of Lingam as the intermediate stage between the formless and the form, representing the earth element.

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