12 August 2006

Shiva Worship

In the Sivapurana sages enquired of Suta:
"Everywhere deities are worshipped only in their image. How is it that Siva is worshipped in the form of the image and the lingam"?

Suta explained that Siva alone is glorified as nameless and formless (Niskala) since He is identical with Supreme Brahman. He is also with embodied form (Sakala). Thus, he is both Sakala and Niskala. It is in his nameless and formless (Niskala) aspect that the Lingam is appropriate. In the embodied form (Sakala) aspect the worship of his embodied form is appropriate.

Since Shiva has the Sakala and Niskala aspects He is worshipped both in the Lingam and in the embodied form and is called the highest Brahman. Other deities, not being Brahman, have no Niskala aspect anywhere.

Nandikesvara said:
Since Shiva has the bodiless aspect in virtue of His being the Supreme Brahman, the Niskala Linga, in conformity with the Vedic implication, is used only in His worship. Since He has an embodied form as well, His embodied form is also worshipped and accepted by all people. According to the Vedas, the embodied form alone is to be used in the worship of other deities who are only individual souls embodied. Devas have only the embodied aspect in their manifestation. In sacred literature both the Lingam and the embodied forms are mentioned for Shiva.

[Extract from the Siva Purana, Vidyesvarasamhita]

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