By Ayathuray Rajasingam –
A glance at the rounded, elliptical, an-iconic image of Shiva Lingam placed on a circular base (known as Peedam), which is found in the Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbhagraha) in all Shiva temples, has given rise to various interpretations, without realizing the scientific truths discovered by the ancient Hindu sages. The practice of worshipping Shiva Lingam as the holy symbol of Lord Shiva, has been from time immemorial.
The worship of Shiva Lingam was not confined to India and Sri Lanka only. Lingam was referred to ‘Prayapas’ by the Romans who introduced the worship of Shiva Lingam to European countries. The statutes of Shiva Lingams were found in the archeological findings in Babylon, a city of ancient Mesopotamia. Further, the archeological findings in in Harappa-Mohanjo-daro, which yielded numerous Shiva Lingam statutes, have disclosed the existence of a highly evolved culture long before the Ariyan’s immigration.
In Hinduism, there are various ways of realizing God, which indicates Hinduism is liberal and have no rigid principles. Individual Hindus realize God according to his/her temperament. According to Hinduism, God becomes manifest in various aspects and forms and is known by various names.
Shiva Lingam consists of three parts. The bottom part which is four-sided remains underground, the middle part which is eight-sided remains on a pedestal. The top part, which is actually worshipped, is round. The height of the round part is one-third of its circumference. The three parts symbolize Brahma at the bottom, Vishnu in the middle and Shiva on the top. The pedestal is provided with a passage for draining away the water that is poured on the top. The Lingam symbolizes both the creative and destructive power of Lord Shiva and great sanctity is attached to it by the devotees. This does not mean others should give a false meaning to the image of Shiva Lingam.
It is unfortunate for some critics to have an imaginary invention on the image of Shiva Lingam as a male organ and viewed with obscenity, but had conveniently forgotten how a phallus could have appeared from the base. Moreover, since Lord Shiva is described as having no form, it is ridiculous to maintain that Lingam represents a phallus. This is the reason why Swami Vivekananda described Shiva Lingam as the symbol of the Eternal Brahman, when a German Orientalist, Gusta Oppert traced it to phallicism. Swami Vivekananda cited Atharva Veda that the worship of Shiva Lingam was sung in praise of sacrificial post – a description of the beginningless and endless of the Eternal Brahman and refuted it as an imaginary invention.
Hinduism does not oppose Science. It does not even oppose other religions. Science is a continuing effort to discover and increase human knowledge of the physical or material world through experiment and observation. But Hinduism has the force of providing answers to certain issues that Science could not.
The Lingam is shaped like an egg and represents the ‘Brahmanda’ or the cosmic egg. There are two types of Shiva Lingam. One is a black meteorite egg-shaped stone. It is said that such a stone is installed at Kabba in Mecca. The other one is man-made and is solidified mercury. Solidifying mercury is an ancient Vedic science.
Shiva Lingam represents the totality of the Cosmos and the Cosmos, in turn, being represented as a Cosmic Egg. Again an egg is an ellipsoid depicting with no beginning, nor end.
A glance at the image of Shiva Lingam shows there is a pillar with three marks and a Disc beneath it and sometimes with a coiling cobra snake around the Pillar and shows its fangs above the pillar. The truth behind the scientific research by the Danish scientist, Neils Bohr, demonstrates that Molecules (the smallest part of everything) made up of Atoms which consists of Proton, Neutron and Electron, all of which play a vital part in the composition of Shiva Lingam. In those days instead of using these English words such as Proton, Neutron, Electron, Molecules and Energy, the ancient sages employed the usage of the words like Lingam, Vishnu, Brahma, Sakthi (which in turn is divided into Renuka and Rudrani), Sarppa, etc. as Sanskrit was the dominant language in those periods.
According to Hinduism, the Pillar is described as the column of fire which represents the three Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara while the Disc or Peedam represents Sakthi. The Disc is shown with three ridges, encarved at its periphery.
Sage Vyasa, the author of Maha Bharatha, mentions that Lord Shiva is smaller than the sub-atomic particle like Proton, Neutron and Electron. At the same time, he also mentions Lord Shiva is greater than anything greatest. He is the cause of vitality in all living things. Everything, whether living or non-living, originates from Shiva. He has engulfed the whole world. He is Timeless. He has no birth, no death. He is invisible, unmanifest. He is the Soul of the Soul. He has no emotion, sentiment or passion at all. There is a mysterious or indescribable power in the Shiva Lingam to induce concentration of the mind and helps focus one’s attention. The contents of sage Vyasa is corroborated with the instance of that Arjuna fashioned a Lingam out of clay when worshipping Lord Shiva. Similarly, in Ramayana that before crossing to Sri Lanka, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita fashioned a Shiva Lingam at Rameswaram for worshipping Lord Shiva and also that Ravana could not lift the Lingam after it was placed on the ground by the small boy. These instances show that God may be conceptualized and worshipped in any convenient form. It is the divine power that it represents, is all that matters and here we see that both Arjuna in Maha Bharatha and Rama and Sita worshipping Lord Shiva as Nirguna Brahman or the formless Supreme Being.
The outcome of the scientific research is that the world came into existence with the formation of Molecules. According to Science, two atoms make one Molecule. The valency of molecules indicates the combination of the atoms.
It is essential to have a clear idea of the structure of an atom according to the findings of the Danish scientist, Neils Bohr., the nature of which is given below.
An atom is made up of Proton, Neutron and Electron.
Neutrons do not have a charge and so would continue on in a straight line.
The nucleus of an atom is composed of positively charged Protons and neutrally charged Neutrons. Almost all the mass of an atom is in its nucleus. The nucleus is the very dense region consisting of Protons and Neutrons at the centre of an atom.
Electrons are negatively charged and so would be deflected on a curving path towards the positive plate.
But the whole atom is electrically neutral on account of the presence of equal number of negative electrons and positive protons.
The electrons revolve rapidly round the nucleus in circular paths called energy level. The energy levels are counted from centre outwards.
Each energy level is associated with a fixed amount of energy.
There is no change in energy of Electrons as long as they help revolving in the same energy level and the atoms remain stable.
The Bohr model shows that the electrons in atoms are in orbits of differing energy around the nucleus. It is like planets orbiting the Sun.
An examination of the image of Shiva Lingam in the context of Bohr model, would demonstrate the puzzling truth that Brahma has created the world. The behaviour of Proton, Electron, Neutron and Energy are well demonstrated by Shiva Lingam.
Vishnu signifies Proton with positive electrical charge.
Mahesha signifies Neutron with no electrical charge.
Brahma signifies Electron with negative electrical charge.
Sakthi is Energy. Sakthi is a type of energy field represented by a Disc.
Shiva Lingam represents the atomic structure. According to the Rishis, Shiva and Vishnu are present in the Lingam. In Sanskrit, the three lines signify multiple. In the atomic structure, there are Protons and Neutrons which are surrounded by fast spinning Electrons.
Sakthi is represented by a Disc in oval shape with three ridges carved at its periphery. She is Energy and plays a vital role in the Universe.
If one look at the portrait of Vishnu, a lotus is depicted as arising from the navel of Vishnu and Brahma is shown as seated on the lotus. Lotus signifies Energy which has the force of attraction. The stem of the lotus can bend because of its flexibility signalling that Brahma moves around Vishnu. This is a message that Electron is attracted to Proton because of the opposite electric charge.
Moreover, Neutron is depicted as Shiva which has no charge at all. The nucleus of the atom also contains neutrons. Neutrons are about the same size as Protons, but have no electric charge. Neutrons are bound very tightly in the atom’s nucleus with the Protons. When the atom’s nucleus contains as many Neutrons as Protons, the atom is stable.
Similarly, the ancient sages provided the idea that when Shiva is not disturbed and separated, he remains calm. Shiva remains calm because Sakthi takes the form of Renuka. The energy which forms the molecules is denoted by its valency, which in Sanskrit is Renuka. Renuka is one produces Renu or molecule. Two atoms make one molecule. Hence ancient Hindu sages brought the idea of Sakthi as Shiva’s wife and as part of Shiva and dances around Shiva throughout. However, when Neutron is disturbed and separated natural disaster occur, which signify that Shakthi turns out to be a terror known as Rudrani (Kali) performing destructive dance, signalling natural disaster.
The actual producer of molecules is Electron which signifies Brahma. Modern physics shows that Electrons are shared between the atoms to form a molecule. Therefore the Hindu concept that Brahma created the earth is in conformity with Science.
Yoga as a form of Lingam
Hinduism is deep rooted in the practice of Yoga and meditation. According to Hinduism, Yoga refers to the integration or union of a person’s own consciousness with the Supreme Reality or in other words Cosmic Consciousness.
Yoga was one of the greatest gifts provided by the worship of Lord Shiva to the world and received by people from all walks of life amidst diversity. The concept of Yoga began to surface with the excavations of stone seals from the archeological findings of the Indus Valley civilization and the Mohenjadero-Harappa civilization. The Vedas were the revelations of the ancient sages, received through yogic meditation during the period of the Indus Valley civilization.
The initial form in the existence is a geomatrix surface, known as ellipsoid. According to Yogic tradition, Lingam is a perfect ellipsoid. The first form of creation is an ellipsoid. Apparently the final form before dissolution is also a Lingam. Modern cosmologists are of the view that the core of every galaxy is in the form of ellipsoid. Yoga always maintains that the first and final form is a Lingam. If a person meditates, his/her energies will naturally take the form of Lingam. As the first and final form before dissolution is also a Lingam, Lingam is considered as a gateway to the beyond. In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is considered as the Supreme Truth.
There is another scientific truth that water poured down on the Lingam is not considered as holy water or Theertham as it is called. Shiva Lingam is considered to be an atom model. There is radiation from Lingam as it is made out of a type of granite stone. Granite is a source of radiation and reported to have higher radio activity thereby raising some concerns about their safety. Granite is said to have formed as lava or molten rock cooled and solidified over thousands or even millions of years, contain naturally occurring radioactive elements like radium, uranium and thorium. Perhaps this is the reason that ancient Hindu sages advised their disciples not to touch water that is poured down on the Lingam. The sages were aware that there will be radiation fall-out if some accidents occur and that is the reason that Shiva Temples were built close to the vicinity of sea, ponds, rivers, tanks or wells. Perhaps this may be the reason why these five Ishwaram temples were built around the coast of Sri Lanka, though Thondeeshwaram was submerged in sea on account of the movement of the tectonic plates. Even lake Manasrovar is situated at the base of Mt.Kailash.
It is unfortunate that the Truth of the great work done by the ancient Hindu sages are misinterpreted by citing some verses in the Vedas, but we are fortunate to witness that the practices and literatures were left as legacy. It is a consolation that recent scientific discoveries have shown that the findings of the ancient Hindu sages were meaningful.
OM NAMASIVAYA .
- The complete Works of Swami Vivekananda
- Swami Vivekananda at the Paris Conference of the History of Religions
- Hindu Dharma – by Bansi Pandit
- Atomic Structure – The Bohr Model
- Atom Models – NDT Center
- Shiva Lingam – A symbol of science by Dr.P.Vartak.
- Ramayana & Maha Bharatha
- What is the meaning of Shiv Lingam – by Shri Hariharan Veer Shivadas, Director of Operations Gandhi Foundation USA