Significance of Lingashtakam

Significance of God Shiva and Lingam

Lord Shiva represents the aspect of the Supreme Being that continuously dissolves to recreate the cyclic process of creation, preservation, dissolution and recreation of the universe. Lord Shiva is the foremost of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu.

Owing to His cosmic activity of dissolution and recreation, the world's destruction has been erroneously associated with Lord Shiva. This difficulty arises when people fail to grasp the true significance of His cosmic role. The creation sustains itself by a delicate balance between the opposing forces of good and evil. When this balance is disturbed and sustenance of life becomes impossible, Lord Shiva dissolves the universe for creation of the next cycle so that the unliberated souls will have another opportunity to liberate themselves from bondage with the physical world. Thus, Lord Shiva protects the souls from pain and suffering that would be caused by a dysfunctional universe. In analogous cyclic processes, winter is essential for spring to appear and the night is necessary for the morning to follow. To further illustrate, a goldsmith does not destroy gold when he melts old irreparable golden jewellery to create beautiful new ornaments.

Lord Shiva is the Lord of mercy and compassion. He protects devotees from evil forces such as lust, greed, and anger. He grants boons, bestows grace and awakens wisdom in His devotees. The symbolism discussed below includes major symbols that are common to all pictures and images of Shiva venerated by Hindus. Since the tasks of Lord Shiva are numerous, He cannot be symbolized in one form. For this reason the images of Shiva vary significantly in their symbolism.

Lingashtakam is a hymn in praise of Sri Siva, also called Maheswara, Rudra, Pasupati etc. The Linga is a symbol for Siva, just like Sankha and Chakra are symbolic of Sri Vishnu. Linga is also a symbol of manliness, a male, and it is appropriate since He is the Adi Purusha. While Para Brahma is considered to be Nirguna, i.e. without any discernible attributes, once He/She/It decides to manifest in Saguna form (for reasons beyond our intelligence), we have Purusha (male) and Prakriti (Nature, considered to be feminine). And we have the Trinity (the creating, preserving and destroying aspects) of Devas and Devis. Brahma, Vishnu and Siva in the male aspects and Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati their female aspects, their consorts.

If we look at it from a Physicist's point of view, pure energy (not of a single color, but the total electromagnetic spectrum, i.e. pure white light) comes close to Nirguna Para Brahma, where as Matter is the Saguna form. When the white light splits into various colors, we have Gunas.We have positively charged particles (can be thought of as male), negatively charged particles (think of as female) and neutral particles which represent the Purusha-Prakriti pair (the Ardhanareeswara Tatvam).