[We publish below the first instalment of an article on the above subject from a valued friend of ours. He is a good student of Saiva Siddhanta, both in its Vedantic and Agamic aspects, and is especially very strong in the Mantra and Tantra portions. The subject is a good deal obscured by ignorance, prejudice, and blind bigotry, though Professor Wilson long ago declared that he saw nothing objectionable in this sacred symbol. The word literally means nothing more than 'Symbol;' and a really good exposition of the subject from the stand point of our ancient Mantra and Tantra Sastra will be valuable. It is not any farfetched or imaginary explanation that are attempted here but our friend quotes a text from the Shastra for every one of his explanations. The article will be specially valuable as it will contain numerous citations from the Agama Shastras which have not yet seen the light of day. Editor]
The object of the present article is to remove the most erroneous idea entertained regarding the Holiest of Hindu - nay universal - Symbol, viz : the Siva-Linga. To Swami Vivekananda, we owe a deep debt of gratitude for retrieving the honour of this Ancient Symbol of the land of Bharata. He did his best to repudiate the oft-repeated, but erroneous, explanation of the Siva-Linga as a Phallic emblem. When Gustav Oppert, lately of the Presidency College, Madras, read a paper in London on the Siva-Linga explaining it as a Phallic emblem, the Swani who was then present in the audience refuted it and established what it truly meant. The London Daily Chronicle reported the same in the following manner. "The Swami said that the worship of the Siva-Lingam originated from the famous lingam in the Atharva Veda Samhita sung in praise of the Yupastambha, the sacrifical post. In that hymn a description is found of the beginning less and endless Stambha or skhamba, and it is shown that the said Skhamba is put in place of the eternal Brahman. As, afterwards, the sacrificial fire, its smoke, ashes and flames, the soma plant and the ox that used to carry on its back, the wood for the Vedic sacrifice gave place to Siva's body, his yellow matted-hair, his blue throat, and the bull, the Yupa-stamba gave place to the Siva Lingam and was raised to the High Devahood of Sri Sankara. In the Atharva Veda Samhita the sacrificial cows are also praised with the attributes of the Brahman. In the Linga Purana, the same hymn is expanded in the shape of stories meant to establish the glory of the great Stambha and superiority of Mahadeva." Later on he says "the explanation of the Siva Lingam as a Phallic emblem began in India in her most thoughtless and degraded times." Yes in her thoughtless days, and shameless days too, when the internal quarrels between the different sects were highly rampant and were waged with an implacable hatred and when the minds of her men were so notoriously plastic as to receive any kind of impressions. The story of the Linga becoming sundered by a curse does not at all account for the origin of the Linga, but the supposed, and fanciful too, resemblance to the genitive organs and the appellation of Linga as applied to both, accounts for the story. It was a general practice in antiquity to invent fictitious tales for the purpose of explaining names of which the origin was lost in obscurity. It must be admitted that the worship of the Linga was almost universal in this land during the time of Mahabharata, and it must also be admitted that long ages must have elapsed between the time that it was first introduced and the time when it was universally worshipped. There were innumerable temples in those times. The 5 sons of Pandu, the Kauravas, the warriors like Aswathama, all Brahmins, Sri Krishna, Rishis like Vyasa and almost all were worshippers of Linga or Vigraha. While on the one hand it gained in its popularity, or, the other hand, it lost much. The thick mist of ages began at first to dim the true significance of the symbol, till in the long distance of time the significance was so entirely lost, that people at a comparatively later stage began to tax their ingenuity to unravel the mysteries and began to refer to their imagination for this purpose. Many of the indecent practices as are mentioned in the Soma, Laguda, Kapalika and Bhairava, Pancharatra, Vama Sakta and other tantras began to appear then. Theories hitherto unheard of were promulgated and were believed. The Vaishnavite began to hate the Saivite and the latter vice-versa, and interpolate texts of their own imagination. With reference to the Mahabharata, the Saivaite, the Shakta and the Vaishnavite are all unanimous in saying that it contains interpolations and scoring out of texts. It is left to scholars therefore to trace out what are true and what are not true. Though it may at first appear to prevent some difficulties, yet a little diving deep into the subject will pave the way for correctly understanding the things, for, fortunately, the true explanations of all those symbols are not completely ignored, much less effaced. In the Mahabharata there are references about the Sankhya, Yoga, Pancharatra, Vedas and Pasupathas. In the Drona parva, Mahadeva is said to be the author of the Vedas, Pancharatra, Pasupatha and other sciences. Sankhya, Yoga, Pancharatra, Vedas and Pasupatha are the different religions. Yudhistira asks Krishna "Tell me how Vaikanasas speak about you and how Pancharatras?" and Krishna explains the same to him. Reference in Uttara-Ramayana about Pancharatra and Pasupatha are very clear, and so there are references of these Agamas in Koorma, Linga, Varaha and Vamana and other puranas. In all these Puranas there are some which claim greater antiquity than others. The Linga Purana and the Vayu-samhita are among the oldest being void of all embellishments of style, and of figures, as are found in later ones. They are quite archaic in style and are strictly the Upabrahamanas of the Upanishads and they contain views of the symbols. I do not say that the other puranas contain different views and I can point out that these latter puranas too reproduce clearer views of the same, but I say that in point of antiquity, they are the oldest. In these Puranas, references about the Agamas are very numerous. As to what the Agamas teach, it is enough to quote the opinion of the late learned Swami Vivekananda. "The Tantras represent the Vedic rituals in a modified form, and before any one jumps into the most absurd conclusions about them, I will advise him to read the Tantras in connection with the "Brahmanas" especially of the "Adhvarya" portion. And most of the "Mantras" used in the Tantras will be found taken verbatim from these Brahmanas."
From the very ancient times, the practices as established in the Agamas have continued unaltered. Temples are being built in the same fashion. The same observances are observed and the same Mantras are repeated. Literate or illiterate, the Gurus of the Siva temple observe the poojah and other ceremonies in that self same manner as their fore-fathers did on the banks of the Ganges thousands of years ago. It stands to reason therefore that these observances should have been long practised more or less in that self same manner as we find them depicted in the treatises, before they were actually reduced to writing. The treatises themselves should have only copied those observances as they were in vogue in those times. Thus, from those remote times down to the present time, the observances continue to be the same and will continue to be so, till a last relic of temple worship is left in this country. Do not the Brahmins of the present day form the Cape Comorin to the Himalayas, be they removed from each other by any number of customs or dogmas, be they immersed in the verbal whirlpools of Dvaita, Advaita and Visishtadvaita, continue to offer the same prayers of (Imam me Varuna) etc., mantras, which their ancestors used to offer to Varuna etc., on the banks of the Indus. Thus, in order to have a correct and succinct idea of the symbols, we must refer to these sciences which alone have tried to explain the mysteries connected with them. Those sciences are the Agamas and the Silpa-sastras. Let the Upanishads, the Puranas and the Ithihasas contain in chapter after chapter eulogiums of these symbols, let Bodhayana in his Nityapooja Vidhi, Pratisthavidhi and Pradoshapooja Vidhi, Asvalayana in his Soolagava, Apasthamaba in his Isana-bali, Katyayana and Sadya Jashada in their grihyas offer praises of Siva-linga or Siva Vigraha, still we must only turn to the Agamas. Hence Haradatta, the author of the Ujjvala a commentary on the Apasthamaba Sutras, observes in his Srutisookthimala thus, "Just as the kalpas stand to the Vedic sacrifices, so Thy Agamas stand for Thy dhyana, etc."
What then is Linga. It means "a Symbol." The Vyakaranis (grammarians) and the Mimamsakas have profusely used this word in this sense. The lexicographers have other words to denote the male organ, and the Namalinganusasana of Amarasimha, especially in the Nanartha Varga employs the word in the sense of any human organ. Why then of the so many other symbols prevailing in this country, this symbol alone should be termed pre-eminently as the "Symbol." Because this alone has been regarded pre-eminently as emblem of the "Great unknown."
We may at the outset say that the Linga stands for the sacred fire of the old "Yagna Salas," while the temple itself stands for the sacrificial grounds - be the said temple built as the Hridaya prastharas such as the temple of Chidambaram, or Sariraprasthara as in other places. The old Yupastamba of the Yagnasala is the Dwajas tamba of the Siva Alaya. The Altar is the Balipitam and the ashes are the Bhasma, while the Pasu (victim) of the old sacrifice is the bull or nandi. While one bull near the dwajastamba is the Pasu, another bull on the other side of the Balipitam stands for the freed one and hence called Nandi or God.*
[* அனாதிசிவரூபமாகிய ஆன்மா தனாதிமலத்தாற் தடைப்பட்டு நின்றது தனாதிமலமும் தடையற்றபோதே, அனாதிசிவரூபமாகிய வாறே.]
We are enjoined in the Sastras that we should on no account cross between the 2nd Nandi and Sivalingam. The penalty for transgressing this injunction is great. The first Nandi near the dwajastamba corresponds to the soul bound by the 3 pasas, Anava, Karma, and Maya, and the 2nd Nandi on the other side of the Balipitam (the altar where the victim is sacrificed) represents the soul freed from the pasas. The 2nd nandi has offered itself as an oblation into the sacred fire of Brahman. No one can separate the offering from the fire into which it has been offered. The priest who officiates in this sacrifice of the Atma is alike called the Dikshita. The Ritwicks here are the Sadhaka-Acharyas. The mantra 'Vonshat' plays an important part in this Yaga as in the old sacrifices. In the old yagas such as Garudachayana etc., certain mounds were erected while there was also other minor kundas and mandalas and Vedis. This is Howthri. In all acts done in the Sivalaya from Karshna to Prathishta and from Prathishta to Ootsava and from Ootsava to Prayaschitta, some of the same processes are repated a number of times. The construction of kundas, mantapas, and the performance of ceremonies thereto, homas, rearing of palikas are all repeated several times. During the Balastapana, Pavitrotsava, Yagas, Linga-stapana, Nrutta Saba, Vimana stapana, Soola stapana Prasada and Gopura-stapana during car-stapana etc., are repeated. The Acharya, who has had Acharya-abhisheka done to him, is the fit man to establish both the sthira linga and Chara linga. The Sthira linga (immoveable emblem) is the linga in the temple and chara linga is the Acharya. Both of them become objects of worship and both of them become god's emblem by the same kind of processes. Hence the Agama says:
"Sthavaram Jangamam chaiva Lingam Dvividham Ishyathe-Sthavaram Sthapitham Lingam Jangamam Dikshitam Viduhu Jangamasyavamavena Sthavaram nishphalam Bhavet."
"Stavara (immoveable) and Jangama are two kinds of lingas. The stavara linga is the one established in the temple and the dikshita is the Jangama linga. The stavara linga worship will be of no avail if you have no regard for the Jangama linga." The Agamas mention 7 kinds of lingas. They are the Gopuras, Sikhara, portals Prakaras (Walls), Balipitam, the Archaka, and the linga in the inner sanctuary.
"Gopuram Sikharam Dvaram Prakaram Balipeetakam, Archakam Moolalingamcha Sapta Lingamthu Darsayeth."
The Balipeetam is called the Bhadra-lingam. It is on the Balipitam that the deovtee is converted into Sivam. Hence it is called the Bhadra linga. The Sikhara is identically the Moola linga as we shall hereafter show. The portals and the prakaras are Siva linga as they remind us of the Eternal Lord. In all these and in the thousand and one references, the word "Linga" is used in the sense of 'Symbol". Thus Sivalingam is that Symbol which reminds us of the "Unknown Deity" residing over all the universe. We said that the temple is the old yagasala. What is the most important thing in the yagas? Certainly the sacred Fire. If the pasu is Nandi and the Balipitam is the place where the victim is sacrificed, where is the sacred fire in this yaga sala in which the Aham-homa is performed? Certainly that is the linga. Thus the linga shooting upwards is the pillar of fire climbing upwards. Those who are acquainted with the eternal as the Pasupathi - "Imam Pasum Pasupathe the Adya Badnami," "I now tie this pasu for thee, oh Pasupathi," says the Veda. 'Avorajanam Adhvarasya Rudram," (Rudra who is the king of sacrifices). "Ghathapathim Medhapathim Rudram" (Rudra the lord of the slain and the marrow). "Ayam Somaha Kapardine kritham" (This soma is performed for the one with braided hair) "Rowdri Vai Gowha" (This cow belongs to Rudra) are the Srutis. The 21 yagnas, 7 paka yagas, 7 haviryagnas and 7 somayagnas are all propitiated to Rudra. The Karmakanda says: 'Eka eva Rudro nadvitiyaya tasthe," "Esham Isaha Pasupathihi Pasoonam chathushpadam," Ethavantho vai Pasavaha Dwipadachathushpadascha," "Thasmath Rudraha Pasoonam Adhi pathihi," Rudra alone stands without a second"- and the Gnanakanda (Upanishads) reproduces the same in a higher sense - "Ekohi Rudro nadwithiyaya thastheehu - ya Iman Lokan Adhi Srithaha - ya Ise asya Dvipadaha chathushpadaha kasmai Devaya Havisha Videma" "Rudra is the Pasupathi and the pasus are these two legged and four legged beings." "Pasoogumsthagumschakre Vayavyan - Aranyan - Gramyascha ye - Tham Yagnam Barhishi Prowksham - Purusham Jatham Agrathaha - Thema Deva Ayajantha - Yagnena yagnam Ayantha Devaha." 'The birds, the beasts and men became pasus. The devas sacrificed the first born purusha." The Upanishads too borrow the same language. 'Vrathamethath Pasupatham Pasupasa Vimokshaya", 'Gnatva Devam Muchyathe sarva Pasaihi", "Gnatva Devam sarva Pasapahanihi", "Visvaroopaikapasam", "Dhyananirmathanabhyasath Pasam Dahathi Pandithaha."
Indeed in all the Atyasramopanishads such as the Svetesvatara this Pasupathi is praised. Thus if there is truth in the fact that the Alayas are only sacrifical grounds in a higher sense, then the sacred fire must be the sivalinga. If the sivalinga does not stand for the 'Sacred fire" what else could it represent, especially when there is a Balipitam, a Pasu and a Yupastamba before it. The old Iranian have perpetuated the Eternal One in the form of "fire"; and the Aryans too might have had the very same emblem of fire in their public places of worship. Why had they represented the fire in the form of a stone pillar? The answer is plain enough. They had not only to represent the sacrificial fire, but also the sacrificial mound, the sacrificial post and the victim to be sacrificed. All this they represented in the same kind of material. Their idea was not only to represent the "Unknown Principle" in the resplendent form of fire, but also to perpetuate the working of Pasupathi in His manifold ways, without altering His form as a pillar of fire. In one and the same place, they had perpetuated the nature of the Pathi, the Pasu and the Pasas, of the 36 tatwas resolving into the 3 kinds of Maya viz., the Moolaprakriti, the Asuddha maya and the Kutila (Suddha maya) controlled by the Ichcha, Gnana, and Kriya Saktis of the Lord, of the 5 kinds of pranava, indeed of the workings of the Divine Lord and of the end and aim of all creation. Hence it is, they have established the temples from the Himalayas to the Cape Comorin in the same granite rocks. This lingam of fire is made to rest on a pitam. In some cases the pitam can be removed. This Pitam too is in some places circular (Vrithakara) and at other places square (Chaturasra). But the most common one is the circular pitam. Imagine a lotus supported on its long stalk while its petals are open. There are whorls of petals rising one over the other. In the midst of this flower you see a small ovary of yellow colour with small yellow coloured stamens round it and with pollen sticking to them in the centre. Here you see a lingam. It is only in reference to this the Agama says "Pattika kanja kantabja pattika dyapratharika." This abja (lotus) contains a pattika, a neck etc.
The following stanza from the works of Sri Ulagudya nayanar will clearly show the nature of the Sivalinga.
"மலமெனுந்தடத்திற் கருமசேதகத்தின் மாயையாங்கிழங்கிலங்குறித்து மன்னுமூவெட்டாந் தத்துவநாள மலரிதழலித்தை யேழ்வித்தை நலமிருமீசன் சதாசிவமிரண்டும் நண்ணுகேசரங்களாகுஞ் சத்திநற்பொருட்டாகு நாதமேவிந்து நயந்தகண்ணாமென விரவி யிலகுமென்னுடலபதும பீடிகை நீயிருந்தருளாசனமென."
The tank is Anava. The soil is karma. The root is Maya. The 24 tatwas from prithivi to Prakriti, the stalk. The 8 petals are the 7 vidya tatvas and suddhavidya. The kesaras (stamens) are the Isvara tatvas and Sadakya tatva. The pistil of the flower is the Sakti tatva. The Nadha and bindu form the ovary." Here, apart from the Atma Vidya tatvas and suddhavidya, the linga proper is made up of Isvara and Sadakya, Bindu and Nadu tatwas. The Agama acharyas prescribe internal as well as external poojas and Homas. The heart is the place of pooja and the Nabhi (abdomen) is the place for homa. Corresponding to the heart there is a place of worship outside, and corresponding to the Nabhi there is the Sivagnihotra kundam. A true saivite is enjoined to do both the pooja and homa, both internally and externally. He alone who has done the pooja in the heart is qualified to do the pooja outside. Indeed without Siva poojah in the heart, there cannot be poojah outsied. Similarly, without the homa in the Nabhi, there cannot be agnihotra in the fire pot outside. The heart is a lotus, the nabhi kunda is another lotus. Similarly the linga outside is described to be seated in a lotus, and the fire-pot outside is lotus. After the completion of the pooja and the homa internally and externally, there is the place for Samadhi (deep contemplation). The seat for that in the inner side is the Brain; and outside, he is required to select a lonely place for doing this Samadhi. The brain too is a lotus. The lotus of the heart is considered to possess 8 petals and the lotus of the brain thousand petals. Of course, in all these various flowers there are lingas. The lingas are all jyothies or colloquially pillars of fire. Sreemat Aghora Sivacharya in his Nityanushtana rules observes thus regarding the contemplation of the Lord in the Brain.
"Vowshadantha Moolena Sikhantharasthadadho mukha padmasravadamrutha dharabhibi Sakala Nadimukham pravishtabhihi Sabahyabhyantaram sarva saruramaplavya, Hridaye Nala Patra karnika roopam Padmam Akaradi Matratraya yukthena Pranavena Suddha Vidyatmakam Asanam, Thatkarnikayam puryashtakam chathushkalena Pranavena Avatharnam Bhuvayiha thasmin Dwadasanthastham Bindu Roopam Sivamayam Atmanam Panchakaleva Poorakena Srishya samaneeya - Jyothirupam samasthapya Vowshadantha sakthi mantrocharavena kshubda sakthi Parisrutha Bahulamrutha Pravahena Abhishimchayeth."
'Wetting his body all over with the discharges of the honey (nectar) exuding from the lotus whose petals are blown downwards, and thinking that the heart is a lotus possessing a stalk, petals, karnika (bud) and making it the seat of Suddha Vidya and seating on it, the Atma of the nature of Siva, of the form of Bindu, on taking him down from his seat in the Brain (Dwadasanta) and establishing the Lord of the form of Jyothis, this Atma must make abhishekams to the Lord with the waters of Sakti made to flow all round."
"Thadami Poorva va danganyasam Vidhya Hrinnabhi Bindu Sthanani Pooja Homa samadhinam sthanani sankalpya Vakshya mana kramena Bhavopanitha Pushpadyaihi Anthar Hridpadme sivam sarvopacharaihi Manasa sampoojya", "Nabhi kunde swatassiddhagnow Gnananalm Nyaseth, Thathaha sooryayutha, samaprabam Hrid pundarika Mandhyaththu sushumnena Yathanalam Dvadasanthe Pade Yojyam Thejaha Punja Pinjaram, Thena Vinyastha Margena Guananalam sivam sampoojya Poorakakrishtena Bindu prasrutha, Amrutha roopena Ajyena Homam Krithva, Authaha Poojitham Devaya samrpiya, Poojam samarpya Bindow sarvathomukham sphurath Tharakakaram Isvaram Dhyatva, Bahibipoojayamithi Prarthya Labdha, anugnaya - sthana suddhim samachareth."
"Then making the anganyasa as before (conversion of one's body into that one in which it will be fit for god take his seat), thinking in his mind, the heart, the navel, and the Brain as places respectively for making poojah, homa and Samadhi, and worshipping Sivam in the lotus of the heart with all respect due to Him with the flowers of Ahimsa etc., in the manner hereunder to be described blow up into flame (kunda) the fire of Gnana in the fire pot of Navel. Then we should pour Siva, the fire of wisdom, the thick cluster of Tejas, of the sheen of a thousand suns, the ghee nectar flowing from the Bindu. The Jvala or flame is said to rise from the navel and reach the Dwadasanta through the heart as through the Nadi of Sushumna. The long blazing flame is here the linga. In the heart lotus god is Jyothirupa and in the navel, god is Gnananala, Tejahpunja pinara. The water to be poured over the linga in the heart lotus is Sakthi Kshubda sakti prasruthabahulamrutha pravaham and the ghee to be poured over the flame of fire rising from the navel is Bindu prasantha Amrutha roopena ajya Bindu. The water and the ghee are the same - Sakti. He should then offer all the fruits of pooja to the Lord and contemplating Isvara in the Bindu stana (Brain) as a shining star (spurath tharakakara with faces on all sides sarvatho (mukha) take (anugna) his commands and request him that he may be allowed to do pooja outside and with the permission so obtained, he must select a place outside for doing the pooja and must wash the place etc. After making the Sthana suddhies and Mantra Suddhies, the devotee must do poojah outside." Thus the Paddhathikara continues
"Mownam Asthaya Mantran Hrasva Deergha Plutha kramena Omkaradi Namonthan Ucharya Mantra suddhim kuryath."... Thadanu poorvarchitam poojam Gayathriya sampoojya, Asthrena Linga Pindike Praksholya, samanya Arghya Jalena abhishichya chala linga Ashta pushpekaya Asana moorthy Moolairva Abhishichya, yavadi choornena Virookshya.. Moolena Panchavaram Brahmabhi rangaischa swahanthaihi Vyoma vyapyadiva Va-- sahasra dharayacha sugandha sithala Jalena Namake chamaka Purusha sooktha Manthrena yatheshtamabhi shichya, Gandhodakena sthapitha sivakalasenapi samsnapya, Paschat Hridayena Arghyajalena Abhishichya, suddha Vasthrena sommrujya Peete samaropayeth."
Then after making pooja with the Gayatri mantra, washing the linga pindika (peeta) with the Asthra mantra, pouring ordinary water on the linga, adoring the same with the 8 kinds of flowers, then pouring the consecrated waters over the linga with the Pancha-brahma and shadnga mantras or Vyopa voyapin mantram all along reciting the Namaka, chamaka and Purusha sooktha mantras and rubbing it with a pure cloth, place it on a seat. "Evam Kritha Atma sthana Dravya Mantra Linga suddhim Vidhya Sivam poojayeth." Thus finishing the 5 Suddhies (purificatory ceremonies) to Atma (the worshipper), sthana (place of worship), Dravya (materials for worship), Mantras (prayers) and linga (Symbol of god intended for worship), one should adore Siva. After making poojas then to the Avarana Devatas, Ganapathy and Lakshmi in the north-west and in the north-east corners, worshipping the seven gurus (Sadasivam Ananthamcha Srikantam Punarambikam Guham Vishnumcha Dhatharam guroon Sapthan Smaran Yjeth) Sadasiva, Anantha Srikantha, Ambika, Guha, Vishnu and Brahma, taking their approval with the prayer. Allow me to do poojah to the lord" (Devam Sampoojayamithi labdanugnaya sivam yajeth) one should do pooja to the Lord.
Behind this pita there is the Kriya Sakthi of the Lord who is pervading all the tatvas from the earth to Kutila. In that space there is the seat of Anantesa, supported by 4 lions resting in the 4 corners, north-east, south-east, south-west and north-west, the lions themselves representing the Dharma, Gnana, Vairagya and Aisvarya, of different colours and supported also by 4 legs in the North, East, South, and West corners representing the Adharma, Agnana, Avairagya and Anaisvarya. Above that is the linga of two divisions the Adhachadana and Oordhva Chadana, the middle portion being called the Mekhala portion. Here the earth is the root and the other tatvas up to kala, form the Nala (stalk) (Prithvi kandam Kalatatvantaika nalam - Kshubda Maya Mahapadmam Anekadala Sankulam). The Oordhvachandana are the blown petals. Here is the description of the lotus.
"Mannika sadrusam Kandam Nalam Neela Sama prabham. Ankuramthu pravalabham, Dalamrajatha Suprabham - Kesaram Hema varnabham Agre mukthavaliyutham" Kandaya namaha. Ankuraya namaha, Nalaya namaha, Mukulaya namaha Dalaya namaha, upadalaya Nalaya namaha, Vidyesvarashtaka roopani Dalani samchinthya Abhyarchya, Than moola peetopari Kesarebhyo namaha, Peetonnatha Bhagamadhye, "Tapta chamikara chayam Panchasat bheeja garbhitham - Kesaranam chathushashtya Karnikam poojayeth thathaha." Karnikayai namaha, Bijebhyo namaha - Ithyevam Samnditha roopam Padmam Vibhavya Padmaya namaha ithi poojayeth. Thathaha Poorvadisantha Kesareshu Vidheyasvaradhishtathrun Siva Sakthimeva Vamadin Dayatva, Dalagravrithe Soorya mandalaya namaha, Sorrya mandaladhi pathaye Brahmane Namaha - Kesaragra Vrithe Soma mandalaya namaha Soma Mandaladhi pathaye Vishnave namaha, Karnikagra vrithe agni mandalaya namaha, Agni mandaladhi pathaye rudraya namaha, Karnika madhye Kutilatmikam Kshirodanibham Sakthi mandalam sanchintya, Sakthi mandalaya namaha, thadadhishtayakam Isvaramcha Dhyatva, Sakthi Mandaladhi pathaye Isvaraya namaha, Ithi Sampoojaya - Thadupari Kshityadi Kutilantha Vyapakamasanam Vibhavya Sivasanaya namaha, Siva-moorthaye namaha, Ithi Moorthim Thejoroopam Dandakaram Avibhakthavayavam, Siva tatvamaka Parabindu Vyapthikam Vibhavya Linga Veshtane Nivesayeth."
In the midst think of a sprout of an emerald colour and small stalk of the colour of sapphire the bud-like-coral and the petals (small ones) of the colour of silver, the Kesara (pollen) of the colour of gold, worship the root, sprout, stalk, the bud, the petals and the small petals and think of the Astavidyesvaras as the 8 petals. Above these petals (i.e) above the peeta (Pindika) rises the linga. There is the Karnika of the colour of molten gold, big with the 51 seeds (51 Aksharas) and with kesaras (pollen) 64 in number; worship that karnika and the seeds. Thus conceive of a lotus formed of the various parts hitherto described.
Then think of the Kesaras as the 8 Sakthis Vama, Jyesta, Rowdri, Kali, Kalavikarani, Balavikarani Balapramathini and Sarvabhathadamani - who are so many aspects of one Siva's sakthi - and who control and rule the 8 Vidyesvaras and think of Manonmani to rest in the Karnika and worship them all severally by their names. In the circumference of the petals, think of the sun's Mandala to exist with its presiding deity as Brahma, and in the circumference of the Kesara think of the Moon's Mandala presided by Vishnu as its deity, and in the circumference of the Karnika think of Agnimandala with Rudra as its presiding deity and in the middle of the Karnika think of the sakthimandala of the colour of milk with its presiding deity Mahesvara, and considering such a form as one formed of all tatvas from Prithvi to Kutila and as the seat of the Lord, and with the mantras Siva Asanaya namaha-Siva moorthaye namaha, think of a Thejoroopam in the form of a pillar having no hands, feet, head etc, (Thejoroopam Dandakaramavibhakthavayavam) and thinking it to permeate through the Siva-tatva (Nadatatvam) place the Lord's symbol in the place called the Linga Veshtana.
In this pillar of fire we must suppose that there is a Form with Isana mantra as the head, the tatpurusha mantra as the face, the Aghora mantra as the heart, the Vamadeva mantra as the abdomen and the Sadyojatha mantra as the leg. Then we must consider this body as one formed of the 38 Kalas, Sasini etc. Sakthena Anena Sakalo Vigneye nishkala Sivaha - Kshithydai Kutila prantha Mantra Simhasana Sthithaha. Drik Kriyecha Visalaksham Gnana chandra Kalanvitham - Samjinthya Moortherupari Sakthimathra Vijrumbanam." Sarvakartharam Nishkalam Vibhum Gnananandamayam Svaparaprakasam Samchinthya "Swami Sarvajaganmatha Yavat poojavasanakam. Thavath Tvam Prithi Bhavena Lingesmin Sannidhirbhava" ithi Vijnapya avahana, Sthapana, Sannidana, Sannirodhana padaya, Achamana, Arghya pushpa Dananthairashtabhissamskaraisamskrithya Poojayeth.
Arghyam Datva Isanadina brahmana Dhenu, Padma, Trisoola Makra Srigakya mudram Namaskara mudramcha, Darasayithva Sarvesham Sivena Sadharmya Aikyam Bhavayeth."
Then we must think of the Lord as possessing a body formed of 38 Kalas - such as Sasini etc. Thus we should think of Him as possessing a body formed of Sakthis. By this Sakthi the Lord, who is Nishkala should be contemplated to have become Sakala. His seat is the 36 tatvas from earth to Kutila. His Icha , Gnana and Kriya Sakthis are his 3 broad eyes. The wisdom is in the form of the crescent Moon. Then think of God in the Brahma randhra (Brain) as possessing Vidya-Deha thinking that this Vidya-deha is of the Linga form and must make nyasa to that effect. Then we must pronounce the Moola mantra (Pranava) with all its Kalas such as medha, etc., and thinking of the same as equal to the fierce sun (Prachandamarthandopamam) and leaving the 5 Karanesvaras Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Isvara, Sadasiva while pronuncing that Pranava, in their respective places of A,U,M, bindu and Nada. Contemplating the Nishkala Lord, the Creator of all, the Omnipresent, Sat-chit-Ananda, the Vivifier of all and the Self-luminous Sivam and with deep reverence praying to Him "Oh Lord, ruler of all worlds. Be thou pleased to be present in this Linga till I finish my pooja," thus making the 8 samskaras Avahana, stapana, Sannidhana, Sannirodana, Padya and Achhamana giving, Arghya and flower - we must do poojah. Then we must present to Him the several Mudras (Geometrical figures with spiritual meanings) such as Dhenu (cow), Padma (lotus) Trisoola (Trident) Makara (Turtlefish) and offering the namaskara mudras i.e., the joining of the palm of hands. We must thank all to have attained His nature and become one with Him. (Sarvesham Sivena sadharmya Aikyam Bhavayeth). Then waing incense and showing the luminous form of the light, and presenting all offerings (nivedyas), the devotee should 108 times make japa of the Moola mantra (Pranava) and finishing thempraise Him in loud and enchanting strains.
Guhyadi Guhya gopta twam -Grihanasmath kritham japam Siddhir Bhavathu me Deva Twatprasadath Thvayi Sthitham "Sivodata Sivo Bhoktha Sivas sarvam idam jagat Sivoyajathi Sarvathra yassivaha Soham Evathi."
"Thou art the preserver of all secrets. Therefore receive my japas and let me attain my aim. Whatever I did, good or bad, take that as my offering. Siva is the giver, Siva is the enjoyer, all is Siva, Eveeywhere Siva does the pooja. That Siva is I myself." By reciting these slokas, one should resign his mental prayer, ceremonial acts, and himself in the Varada hadn of the Lord... We have here described the mode of Sivapoojah in a shortest way possible. Then begins agni karya, and Aghoras siva says:
"Thatogni Hridpadme Sivam abhyarchya" Naivedya Samaye Thiladibhihihi yatha Sakthi Moolena Brahmagaihi Hutva Naivedyaya charum Hutva parangmukha Arghyam datva Sivam Nerapeksham Visrujya Vahnim namaskrithya."
Then in the Agnikunda (of the form of a lotus) one should do homa with Panch Brahma and shadanga mantras and prostrate before him. He who does so daily will never be tainted with sin just as there will be no darkness when the sun has risen." Evam yo Prathyaham Bhakthya Sampoojayathi Sankaramna thasya Jayathe Papam Yathadithyodayaththamaha."
Regarding this Antarpooja, Bahya pooja and Agnihotra, the great Trilichana Sivacharya in his siddhanta saravali observes thus:-
Regarding the Antar pooja (Inner pooja) he says thus "Hridpadme Manasa Vibhavitha Maha mayoparisthasane Dhyeyo Dipa Sikhakrutheessu kusumam Bhava Kshamarghyam jalam leporavasayini Parasivaha Prananalo manase pathrehamkrithiresha Eva paramo Doopayamanatmakaha.
In the heart-lotus there is a seat (for the Lord) above the Mahamaya. In that seat the Lord parasiva should be contemplated in the form of the flame of a lamp. To him, Bhava (good intention) is a good flower:- Patience is Arghya and Abhisheka waters. Knowledge of Siva is Dhyana and lepa (smeating materials such as sandal-wood). The waving of incense is the Ahankaran (consiousness) etc. The meaning is that the 36 tatvas from the earth to the Mahamaya, constitute the lotus and the seat above it is sakthi and the lord is in the form of the flame of a lamp. Regarding the outer poojah the saintly Acharya says:-
Sesanahatha Dharikoparidharadya grantnayaha Pankajam Vidyordhya stha sivantha padma Khachitham pitam Sivasyasanam Sarvadhvadi bhaga Samyutha sivagnanakhya Lingatmakam sarvadhvadhika bhaganala sahitham peetam kriyasakthikam.
The meaning is that the whole linga consists of a peetam and linga. The Peetam is that part of the lotus (up to Suddhavidya) as far as the petals and linga is the other part of the lotus. Thus the lotus is the linga. In the Poojastava, a work from which saint Umapathy Sivacharya and others have copiously quoted, the following Stanzas occur and they will also explain as to what the linga means. "Hridpadmakhya Sivalaye Manasije thath Karnikakhye Kriya Peeta gnanamayam Visuddha manasa Samasthapya nadatmana Lingam thathcha Suddha Mayena Payasa Sansnapya Samyak Punaha Vyragyenacha chahandanena Vasubhihi Pushpairahmisadibhihi."
Pranayama Bhavena Dhoopavidhinachitdeepa Danenayaha Pratyaharamayena Somahavisha Sowshumna Japenacha - Tatchintha bahudharanabhi vamalaihi Dhyanothbhavair Chooshanaihi Thath Samyanunivedanena yajane dhanyassaevamalaha." The heart lotus is the Sivalaya. In it Karnika, the peetam is Kriya and gnana is linga (Nada). The Abhisheka-water is the nectar. Vairagya is the sandal. Ahimsa and others are the flowers. The restraining of breath is the waving of incense. The consciousness is showing the light (Deepa). Pratyahara is Havis. Sushumna-Yoga is Japa. The ornaments (Jewels) are those blessed sensation arising from a constant contemplation of Him - giving up on one's self is the Offering (Neivedya). He who does this Pooja has indeed obtained what ought to be obtained.
"Dharikadhara Sakthi bijam Anantha Pankaja Kudmalam - Punya bodhat Viraga Bhoothi padam Viloma chathustayam. Gathraka chadana Chadam Kamalam sa Kesara Karnikam Sakthi mandalaSangha yuktham Aham namami Sivasanam."
"Prithvi kandam kalah tathvahutaika nalam granthi granthim suddha vidya sarojam Vamadi sakthigatha kesara karanikadyam."
Tath kandam sathakoti yojanamidam Nahlam paradhantakam grandhihi koti parardha Paschima sahasram chathurlakshakam - Moorthisthasyacha kotirisvara mayee Thasyarbuda syarbudam Ambojam Mantramayam Sadasiva Vapuhu Dhyananumeya Sivaha."
The above quotations convey the very same idea. In fact it is clearly asserted in the last verse Sadasiva's body is a huge 'Lotus" whose root (கிழங்கு) extends over 100 crores of yojanas etc. He who is to be contemplated within is to be worshipped outside in Sivalinga - "Jneyassivas - Sarvaghatassarire Dhyeyassa poojyassivalinga madhye." A summary of the Sivalinga pooja is given in chapter 20 of the Vayusamhita, uttara bhaga.
"Asyordhva Chadanam Padmanm Asanam Vimalam Sitham, Astapathrani Thasyahuranimadi gunashtakam, kesara incha Vamadya Rudra Vamadi sakthibhibi Beejanyapicha Thaeva Saktha youthar manonmani karnikapara Vairagyam Nablam gnanam Sivatmakam Kandascha Sivadharmatma karnikanthe Thrimandali etc."
The above verses convey the same idea as is expressed in our quotation from the padohathi of Srimat Aghora Sivacharya.
We said that certain Mandalas and Vedis are erected during importatnt celebrations of religious festivals, such as Brahmotsava, Linga pratishta or Dikshas. Sages like Aghora Siva, Thriloghana Siva, and Anantha Siva in their treatises on Dikshas and treatises like the Vayusamhita in its second part give lucid explanations as to how mandalas should be contructed. The Mandalas are pictorial representations made on the floor with the powders of precious stones or flour of rice etc. Here is the description of a mandala.
"Pithenojvala karnikamcha rajasah swethena Rakthena vai, Peethanapicha kesarani suklena Pathranicha, Syamenatha dalahntharam sitha Vathi rakthena, koneshvadho suklasruk kapilah sithabha kalithah, keelasu pushpavahihi."
A lotus should be drawn on the floor forming the Karnika with bright yellow powder, the Kesaras with white, blood-red and yellow powders, the petals with white powders as spreading in 4 directions, drawing the middle portion of the petals with green powders. A mandala called Latalingaka is hereunder described.
"Bakthe Vimsathidha Bahisasipadabth Veethee Sithah Dikshujair Dwaraneesa Mukha dhutheenynbhayatho Lingani Pandu drugaihi, Koneshavabdipadair Latah Harithabhah Veehtee Chatushshashtibhihi, Padmam Santhi Kaladibhanicha Lath lingodbhaave mandale."
"A street of black colour should be drawn up on four sides in the form of a square. In the middle of each of the 4 sides of this square, a doorway measuring 4X2 padas (feet) should be drawn up. In the inner side, on each side of such doorway a linga should be drawn up. Thus 8 lingas will be formed at the rate of 2 lingas for each doorway. In each of the corners (angles) of this square a creeper measuring 4 padas should be drawn up. Within this square, above the lingas another street one pada in breadth in green colour should be made to run of 4 sides. In the midst of this square a full blown lotus measuring 64 padas should be drawn up. This lotus must contain a karnika measuring 4 padas, pollen round this karnika, measuring one pada should be made to stick up to. Then 8 petals each petal measuring 2 padas, spreading towards the eight directions should be drawn up." Here the square represents a wide tank, the green line representing the waters. The black line represents the tank's bank with stairs thereon. A lotus with creepers here and there is said to rise above the surface of the water.
Another mode of representing the lata-linga mandala is here under given:-
"Ashta Vimsathi bhajithe Vasupadair madhye amnujam Bhagathaha, Pattam syath sithah Veetheekah sasipadath kone hatha sapthabhhi, Dwaram Dikshu Munidwayairubhayathe Lingameha Shatsapthabhir Veethee Prahk Bahyapadena Mandalamidam cha Anyam Lathalingakam."
First draw a lotus of 8 padas. Around it draw a pattah (a circular line) measuring one pada. Draw with white powders a square street measuring one pada in which round the circle. The corners of this square should contain creepers each measuring 7 padas. In the 4 quarters door-ways each measuring 7X2 padas should be drawn. Then on each side of such a doorway up a linga."
The Matanga Agama prescribes the Navanabha Mandala during diksha.
"Kshetraissapta padeekrithe sasipadath Veethee samanthath padair Dikshvashtasucha Pankajahni Paritho Veetheendubhagenacha, Dwabranyashta Janthara Sthithi padair authasthitbair jathrakam Padmam Syahth navanabha mandalamidam sreeman mathangoditham."
Select a square each side of which should measure 7 padas. Within this, at a distance of one pada from the centre these should be a street a side of which should measure 4 padas. In the eight quarters of this street 8 padmas (lotuses) should be drawn up. Enclose this square street by means of another square. On each side of this latter square construct two doorways, each doorway being formed midway between the two lotuses of the inner square. The other portions of this outer square should be peetahs (raised plots). The following is a description of mandala called Gowrilata mandalam.
"Soothraissaptha dasahthmakairabhayathe gowree batham Ahwayam Madhye Veda padair Vidikshu ghapadur Bhootha Ambujani nyaseth, Lingam Patta saroja kanta kamalam peetam kramath Dik padair Vashtabhoori Vishaischa kona kalithair bhoothaibi padaihi syullathahm."
Enclose a square spot measuring 17X17 padas by means of cotton strings. In the angles form 4 lotuses, each lotus containing linga patta, saroja, kanta, kamala, and peeta, the linga measuring 4 padas, patta measuring 6 padas, saroja 4 padas, kanta 2 padas, kamala 4 padas and peeta 6 padas. On each side of the said corner construct a creeper measuring 5 padas attached to the said Lotus. Another mandala by name Bhadra mandala, is described below.
"Kshetre Rudra padeekruthee grahapadair madhye sitham panbajam, kuryath konachathushtayeshtapadakai swarna prabhan swasthekahu Dikshvahdithya padeshvadholaya layair Lingani peetani thath, Sesham Bhinna Vilomya mathulam Bhadram Supushpam param."
Enclose a square space of 11X11 padas; construct a linga of 9 padas within it. In the 4 angles construct Swathikas of the colour of gold. On the 4 sides lingas with peetahs should be constructed. The linga should contain of course, linga, patttah, saroja, kanta and kamala and peetah.
Here is the description of another mandala called Umakantakam.
"Dwahtrimsathpada Bhajitheshu Nalinam Madhye chattushshashtibhibi, thathbabye Thripadaischa peetakamatha Thraikena Veethee Harith, dikshu dwabra Rishi dwayairubhayatho Vachah Varairvarsha yuth Lingam bahyapadena Vidheerithaschitram hi Umakanthakam."
Enclose a sqaure space of 32X32 padas. Form within it a lotus of 64 padas. Round it a ghatra with peeta of 3 padas should be constructed. Near it a green Veethi of 3 padas should be formed. On each side of this Veethi doorwasys of 7X2 padas should be made. On each side of the doorway lingas containing linga, patta, saroja, kanta, kamala and peetah respectively measuring, 4, 6, 6, 2, 4 and 6 padas should be constructed." "vacha varairvarsha yuth" means "containing va, cha, va, ra, va and sha."
In all these we see that the creepers contain a lotus; this lotus containing petals, stalk, stamens, ovary, etc., known in Sanskrit as kanda, nahla, dala, upadala, karnika, kesara, and linga. The whole linga represents a Grand Lotus and we cannot conceive of a linga without the corresponding petals etc. Those who have the propensity to pull asunder the petals and the stalls etc from the flower can only be pitied and these maniacs are more fit for lunatic asylum than for civilized society, even though such maniacs passed and still pass for great Acharyas and the words or rather the ravings of such fools can have no value.
Let us now see what the Upanishads have to say about this Linga. If we turn to the Hamsopanishad we see the following:-
"Yesho sow Paramahamso Bhanukoti pratheekahao yenedam Vyaptham. Thasya Ashtadha Vrithir Bhavathi. Poorvadale punye mathihi, Agneye Nidralasyadayo Bhavanthi, yamye krowoye mathihi, Nairuthe pape maneesha, Varunyam Krudayaham, vayavye gamanadow Buddhihi, Sowinye Rathipreethihi Aisane dravayahdanam padme vairagyam, kesare jagradavastha, karni kayam Swapnam, Linge sushupthihi, padama thyage Thuriyamyade hamso Nade vilino Bhavathi thath Thureeyahtheetham."
This Paramahamsa is shining like crores of suns. His prpensity is eight fold. The Paramahamsa's heart is compared to a lotus. The various component parts of the Lotus are desccribed. The petals of this paramahamsa's heart spread towards the eight directions, east, south-east, south, south-west, west, north-west, north and north-east. The east petal is desire to practice virtue. The south-east is desire for sleep and laziness. The south petal is hankering after cruel actions. The south-west is desire to commit sin. The west petal is desire to play. The north-west petal is desire for walking etc. The north petal is desire for amorous acts and the north-east is desire to amass wealth. The padma (lotus apart from the petals) is Vairagya. The kesaras are the waking state - the Karnika (ovary) the dreaming state, the Linga the dead- sleep state and the leaving of the lotus, padma tyaga is Thuriya and when the Hamsa merges in Nada, that state is Thureeyahtheetham. Here the heart of this Paramahamsa is likened to a great lotus. Indeed all upanishads, all agamas, all puranas and other works great and small have likened the heart to the Lotus. Why is this so? We cannot attempt to answer this. Suffice it to say that such is the case - Here we are tempted to quote passages which go to describe the heart as a lotus. In all these we request our readers to bear in mind the quotation from the Hamsopanishad.
The Taithiriya Mahopanishad in the Anuvaka wherein it describes the glory of the yathies has the following description of the yathies' heart - (the upasana sthana).
"Daharam Vipahpam Paravesmabhootham, yath Pundareekam Puramadhya Saggustham, Thathrahpi Dahram Gaganam Visokaha thamin yadanthaha thath Upahsithavyam."
First the yathies, those who have renounced the world, are praised. They are the Upasakas. Then the Upasana Sthanu is described. That is their heart which is a Pundareeka, i.e., a lotus. The Upasya is said to dwell in it and the Supreme Lord is named Mahesvara in the very next Mantra which begins with "yo veda dow" and ends with "yaha paraha saha Mahesvaraha."
The same upanishad in the Narayana anuvaka praises Narayana with all the encomiums due and describes a heart within him of the form of a Lotus, and dwells upon the Lord in that heart with the Mantra "Rutam Satyam .... Krishnapingaka." Here is summary of it. The upasaka (worshipper) Narayana is described by the Mantras "Sahasra Seersham Devam" and a heart within Narayana, (the upasanasthana) is described by the Mantras "Padmakosa PratheeKahsam Hridayam chapi Adhomukham." This heart lotus has its cone turned downwards. Within it there is a cavity. (Thasyanthe Sushiragum sookshmam). There is within it a fire (Thasya madhye Mahan Agnihi). Within it is the flame. (Thasya madhye Vahni Sikha). Within the flame is Paramatma, (the upasya). This Paramatma is devoted by the Mantra.
"Rutam satyam Param Brahma Purusham KrishnaPingalam Oordhva retam Viroopaksham Visvaroopaya Vai Namaha."
The Kaivalya upanishad says:-
"Athyasramasthaha Sakalendriyani Nirudhya Bhakthya Swagurum Pranamya, Hrid Pundareekam Virajam Visuddham Vichintya Madhye Visadam Visakarm, Achinthyam Avyaktham Anantharoopam sivam prasahntham Amrutham Brahmayonim Thadadi Madhyantha Viheenam Ekam Vibhum chidanandam Aroopam Adbhutham, Umasahayam Paramesvaram prabhum."
Here too the heart is described as a Lotus and the Aroopa Lord within it is the umasabaya of 3 eyes, "corresponding to the Viroopaksham and Krishnapingalam of Narayanuvaka (Krishnapingala means umasahaya. "Ardhapullakshanam Vande Purusham Krishnapingalam" - (Half-male-half-female form is Krishnapingala.)
The chandogya describes as well the heart as a lotus:- "Atha Yadidamasmin Brahmapure Daharan Pundareekam Vesma Daharosmin Antharakasaha. Thasmin yadanthasthathanveshtavyam"... Within this Brahmpura there is a lotus seat. That which is within it is to be sought after.
The Maitrayan upanishad:
"Atha ya Esho Anthare Hridpushkara evahsrithonnamathi sa Eshnognir Divi Srithassouraha kahlahkyo Drushya."
In these upanishads mention is made of Hridaya Pundarika the heart lotus, and the Hamsopanishad alone gives the various component parts of this lotus such as the petals, linga, Karnika etc. The upabrahmanas explain the Narayana Anuvaka as regards the various component parts of this lotus:- Says the Sootha Samhitha.
"Athavaham Harissakshahth sarvajnaha Purushothamaha, sahasra seershah purushaha sahasrahkshassahasrapath, Visvo narayano Devo Hyaksharaha Paramaha Prabhuhu Ithi Dhyathva Punasthasya Hridayamboja Madhyame prahnahyahmair Vikhasithe Paramesvara Mandire, Ashtaishvarya Dalopethe Vidya Kesara Samynthe, Jnana Nahle Mahahkande Pranavena Prabodhithe, Visvae Mahavahnim Jvalantham hisham visvathomukham, Vaisvahnaram Jagathyonim Sikhahthanvinam Isvaram, Thahpayantham Svakam Deham apahdathala masthakam, Nivahthadeepavath thasmin Deepitham Havyavahanam, Neelathoyadamadhyastham Vidyullekheva Bhasvaram, Neevara sookaVadroopam Peethahbhasam Vichinthayeth Thasya Vahneesikhsyasthu Madhye Parama kahranam, Paramatmanamanandanu Paramakasam Isvaram, Rutham Sathyam Param Brahma Param Samsara Bheshajam, Oordhva retham Viroopaksham Visvaroopam Mahesvaram, Neelagrivam Svamathmanam Pasyantham Papanasanam, Brahma Vishnu Mahesanairdhyeyam Dhyeya Vivarjitham, Sohamithyahdarenaiva Dhyahyeth Yogi Mahesvaram."
First one should convert himself into Vishnu the 25th principle, the pristine and natural condition of the Kshetragna. In the middle of the heart lotus of that Vishnu, - a lotus which has for its petals the 8 aishvaryas, the Jnana for its stalk and the Mahath for its root, and which was blown by the restraining of breaths - in that temple of the Lord kindled by Pranava, there is the flame of fire. Within the fire lies Mahesvara, the Truth, the Sathya, Parambrahman, the blue throated, the causeless cause of everything. He whom Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra contemplate." We need not point out here that the great Vidyaranya commented upon the Soothasamhita, and he himself says that Sankara wrote his Bhashya on the Brama Sootras after having gone through it eighteen times.
In the Isvara gita of the Koorma Purana, it is described,
"Chinthayithva thu poorvoktham Hridaye padmam uthamam, atmanam atha kartharam Thathra anala samaprabham, Madhye Vanni sikhakahram purusham panchavimasakam Chinthyeth paramatmanam Than madhye gaganam param, Omkara bodhitham tathvam sasvatham sivamachyutham avyaktham prakrithowlinam param Jyothiranuthamam, Thamasaha paramam thathvam atmadaram Nirajanam, Dhyayitha Thanmayo Nithyam Ekaroopam Mahesvaram."
Think of a beautiful lotus flower in the heart and within it the Atma the 25th principle, and within this a Chit Akas and within it the Lord, the Paranjyothi the great lustre. Ever think on that one Mahesvaram by being of this form.
We see a linga in the lotus flower, and in the heart, which is described as a lotus (of course not an actual lotus it could be); there is a linga, as the hamsopanishad assures us. What then is the linga in the heart lotus? In the above quotations we see that this heart lotus contains a Vannisikha, a flame of fire. This flame of fire then is the linga. That linga or flame of fire is the form of the Lord Sikhahtanvinam Isvaram). If the petals of this lotus be blown by means of Pranayama, there is seen the linga of flame kindled by Pranava. So say Trilochana Siva "Hridpadma Vibhehvitha Mahamayoparisthasane Dhyeyo Deepa Sikhakruthi." In the heart-lotus the Lord is of the form of the flame of a lamp. Srimad Aghora Siva says:-
"Hridaye Nahla patra karnikaroopam padmam akarahdi sahtrahtraya yukthena pranavena asanam vinyasya - Jyothiroopam Samsthapya."
Within the heart there is a lotus composed of stalk, petals, ovary and stamens and by means of Pranava of three matras A, U, M, a form of flame should be established. Of course even in our Linga pratishta in the temple, we see that a "Thejoroopam Dandakaram Avibhakthavayavam," a form of Thejas, flame, like a pillar, had been established. Thus the Thejas is the linga of this heart-lotus.
The Upanishad says that this heart-lotus has its cone turned downwards. "Padmakosa Pratheekahsam Hridayamchapi Adhomukham." How are its petals blown? This heart-lotus is by an effort made to turn upwards and there the petals spread towards the eight directions. Says the great Aghora Sivam. "Idapingalabhyam samyuktham Adho mukha padma mukhula yuktham Sushiraroopam sushumnam sanchinthya." The Sushumna Nadi near the cavity of the heart with the Ida and Pingala nadis on its sides are in the form of a lotus having its cone turned downwards. Instead of allowing the breath to escape outwards through the nostrils, by a sustained effort the breath must be directed to reach the dwadasantha. Then the cone is turned upwards.
"Pooraka kumbhakamcha krithva Humkara chitham Nivesya Vayum Oordhvam Virechayeth. Hum phat ithi Santhathocharanena padma mukulam Oordhvamukhat Bhinna grandhim Vidhaya."
By constant repetition of the syllables Hum and Phat and by means of Pooraka (filling in of breath) and Kumbhaka (holding it for a while), the rechaka (leaving) must be made upwards, then the upturned cone of the lotus is blown and the petals begin to spread and thence begins the linga prathistha of Jyothiroopam. For a full explanation vide the Bhootha suddhi of Sreemat Aghora Sivacharya. The Soothasamhita laconically dwells upon this in the words "Pranayamair Vikhasithe" blown by means of pranayama. The Vayu Samhita says:
"Samprekshya Nasikagram Swam Disaschanava lokayan, Samboutha pranasamcharo pahashana iva nischalahas, swadehayathana syanthaha vichinthya sivam ambaya, Hrid padma peetikah madhye Dhyana yagnena poojayeth, Angushta mathram Amalam Deepyamanam Samanthathaha Suddhadeepa sikhakahram swa sakhthyah poorna manditham, Indurekha samahkahram Thahrahroopamathapiva, Neevara sooka Sadrusam bisa soothrabha mevava."
Looking at the tip of the nose and not noticing the quarters, restraining the breaths and sitting motionsless like a rock, the Yogi should contemplate on Siva with this Amba in the temple of his heart. In the midst of the heart-lotus he should adore the Lord by means of Dhyana yajna. Him who is Thumb-sized void of malas, shining everywhere, who is of the form of the flame of a lamp (Deepasikhakahram). Thus it is clear that the linga is the pillar of fire supposed to rise from the heart lotus similar to the lingas which we see situated in the actual lotus flowers. The word "Angustamahtra roopam" in the above quotation from the Vayu samhita reminds us of the "Sabdadeva Pramithaha" Soothra in the Brahma Soothras. (1st Adhyaya).
Bhagavan Badarayana after dilating upon the Daharopasana in the Daharadhikarana introduces the Sutras "Sabdadeva Pramithatha" and Hridyapekshaya thu manushyadhikarathvath." The blessed Bhashyakara Srikantha Yogi thus eexplains these Sutras.
"Katavalyam asya vishaya srooyathe 'angushta mahthraha purusho madhya atmani Thishtathi Isano bhootha bhavyasya. Thatho navijugupsathe...............Paramesvara eva angushta mahthra Ithi yuktham ......... katham paramesvare parichinnathvam abhyasyamahnam upapadyatha ithiyatha ah ha soothram Hridyapekshayathu Manushyadhikahrathvath aparichinnasyahpi paramesvarasya angushtamathrathvam upahsaka Hridayapekshaya. Manushyadhikarath vahth upahsanah sastra vidhihi manushyanahm Hridyam yahvath pramahnam Tadavichinnam roopam paramesvaraha paramakarunikaha parigruhnathi Tadupahsanah siddhaye thathaha Paramesvaraha Jyothirmayo Linga roopathayo pahsakahnam Hridaya madhye thishtathi ithi nischayahn."
We will briefly summarise this. The subject matter of this Sutra is a text of the Katavalli upanishad wherein the Lord is denoted by the word Isana and is said to be "Thumb-sized". The prima facie view that Jiva is here meant by the term "Angushta mahtra" is refuted and it is concluded that Paramesvara is denoted by the term "Angushta mahtra." The Lord Isana is unlimited. How can He be termed Angushta mahthra (Thumb-sized)? He is not limited. The heart of man is of the size of a thumb. Paramesvara, the merciful Lord is pervading it; for the purpose of accepting the worship of the worshiper, He is present in that Thumb-sized heart. Therefore it is concluded that Paramesvara as Jyothirmaya is in the form of a Linga within the heart of the worshippers (upahsuka)" Mark well that the Lord is Jyothirmaya and is in the shape of a Linga. Thus it is clearly seen that the Jyothi, the form of the flame of a lamp, is the Linga in the heart lotus. We will substantiate this by a quotation from the Vayusamhita.
'Tathra padmahsanam Ramyan krithva Lakshana samyutham vibhave sathi Hemahdyairathna dyairva swa sakthithaha Madhye kesarajahlasya sthahpya lingam Kaniyasam, Angushta prathimam Ramyan Sarva gandha mayam subham'
Engrave a lovely shape of a lotus in gold or with precious stones according to one's circumstances and amidst the kesaras establish a small Lingam of the size of a thumb. Why should it be conceived as thumb sized? The word Dahara itself means small. Says the Katavalli 'Thasyacha Oordhvam Pranamunnayathi Apahnam prathyagasyathi Madhye Vahmanamahsinam Visvedevah Upasathe." The Prana goes upwards, the Apahna goes downwards and within the narrow space rests the small being worshipped by all Devas. The Mahopanishad too has the following.
"Angushta mahthraha purusho angushtam cha Samahsrithaha Isa sarvasya Jagathaha prabhuhu preenahthi visvabhuk."
Isa is thumb sized and He resides in the thumb-sized heart and being Jyothi devours all. This mantra is but a continuation of the mantras. "Prahnahnahm grandhirasi Rudro ma Visanthaga - Thennannena Apyahyasva" Oh Rudra, thou art the knot of all pranas showing here that the form of the Lord is very small. This mantra too is a continuation of the mantras.
"Pranenivishto amritham Juhomi sivo ma visa apradahaya pranaya swaha, apahene nivishto amrutham Juhomi sivo ma visa apradahaya apahmaya swaha, vyane nivisho amrutham Juhomi sivo ma visa apradahaya vyahnaya swaha, udahne nivishto amrutham Juhomi sivo ma visa apradahaya udanaya swaha, samahne nivishto amrutham Juhomi sivo ma visa apradahaya samanaya swaha, Brahmani Ma Atma amruthathvaya."
Thus the Lord, the thumb-sized, is denoted by the names SIva, Rudra, Brahma, Isa and Isana. By the Thumb-size we mean this Linga form which is of the form of the flame of a lamp (Deepa sikha krithi). Of course Sankara, Ramanuja and others take the above Katavalli Sruthi as the subject matter of the Sutra "Sabdadeva pramithaha." They similarly describe in the Daharadhikaranam the heart as a lotus by quoting the chandogya text. If Ramanuja accepts the heart as a lotus, should he not think that lotus must contain a linga as well as we find lingas in actual lotuses and should not the thumb-size refer to the Jyothirmaya linga of that heart lotus? We do not wish to question further.
To resume our subject, Srimad Appayya Dikshita observes in the Pancharatna Sthava thus:
"Hridayabja kosa antharavakasa labdha angushta parimana swa Lingakaratvam asthi ithi Thasya Lingaroopathva Siddhihi, spashtamcha Thasya Linga roopathvamamnatham Hamsopanishad."
His own Lingakara (the shape of linga obtained in the temples) is ibtained in the Hridayabja (heart-lotus) which being bound in a small space (Arbhaka okaha as the Suthra asserts) has the size of a thumb. Here the Deekshita yogi quotes the Hamsopanishad to prove the expicit existence of a linga in the lotus:- and continues thus.
"Vayu samhithayamapi Mahalinga pradurbhavadhyaye samamnayathe "Thathra kara srutho Bhage Jwala lingasya Dakshine Ukaraschothare Bhage Makarasthasya. Madhyathaha Ardhamatratmako madaha srooyathe Linga Moordhani .................... Thasmath Hamsopanishad Ekarthahpanna Katavalli mantrahlochanaya Visvatma Nahdasiraska linga roopathvamapi Brahmaikanthikan Thallingamithi thathopi Lingasya Parabrahmatva siddhiraprathyooha."
"In the Vayusamhita in the chapter in which it dwells upon the rising of Mahalinga, it is thus said. To the right side if this flaming Linga (jvala-linga) rests A and to the left side rests U and M rests in the midst and in the top of the Linga, it is heard that Nada rests:- Therefore from a consideration of the Katavalli Sruthi whose import is the same as that described in the Hamsopanishad, the Linga roopathvam, having the Nada for its top which nada is the source of the World, stands for the Parabrahmam which it represents. This theory is unassailable" and elsewhere the Revered Deekshita points out.
"Sivahbhidana sruthyavadharana soochita sathbhavena Linga roopathva lingenacha Angushta matram Purusham Nischinvan Sootrakaaraha sivam Parambrahmethi Vyakthi chakara"
The soothrakara (Vyasa) explicitly shows that Siva is parambrahma both by means of the appellation "Isana" and the Lingaroopa (Shape of Linga) which depicts the Thmubsize in the heart-lotus." Here we will point out that the Soothrakara in considering the subject matter of the Soothra 'Sabdahdeva - pramithaha" takes Sabda to mean "Isana Sabda" and does not take other words such as Purasha. By "Sabda" he means only the "Isana Sabda." The subject matter as we pointed out is 'Angushta mahtraha Purusho madhya Atmani thistathi:- Isano Bhootha Bhavyasya." Here the term Isana is both yoga and Roodhi." If the word be taken as yoga alone as meaning a "Ruler of past and present," then there will be nothing peculiar in the word "Isana as the word by which the Supreme Lord is denoted will be frustrated. Hence the word "Isana" is not a simple yoga word but is "roodhi" as well:- After all, the heart-lotus must explicitly contain a Linga and if not where is the warrant to think that the heart-lotus alone is devoid of a linga? This Linga, as was already described, is the jyothi, or jwala ot Thejas or the Deepa Sikhakruthi. As followers of Vedas we should admit that this "jyothi" is to be sought after as existing in Atma:- The Chandogya says "Yadidamasmin Anthaha Purushe jyothihi" and in the jyothiradhikarana, Sankara, the champion of the Nirvisesha theory, observes that by jyothi in Man jataragni cannot be meant. Observes he "sarvagathasyapi Brahmanaha upasanartham Pradesa Viseshadinam upadhi sambdandhath Praikalpane Virodhabhavenacha jyothischa Sruthihi Brahma paraiva ithi Siddhanthaha." Though the Brahman is everywhere, still for the purpose of being worshipped, He takes after the form wherein He is present. And here there is no contradiction. Therefore the jyothi sruthi means only Brahma. Again sruthi says.
"Vime karnah Pathathopi chakashur vadim Jyothir Jridaye ahitahm yath" Satyam gnanam anantham Brahmo yo Veda nihithau, Guhahyam" Hridayakasa mayam kosam anandam paramalayam Hiranmayapare kose Virajam Brahma Nishkalam"
These srtuhis declare that the jyothi is to be found in the Hridaya pundarika, and this jyothi must be the linga of the heart-lotus.
When we speak of God as Light, we mean that He is chaitanya and we have shown that this light is the linga of the heart lotus; and the Linga Sooktha texts in the Vedas clearly explain this. Here are the texts.
"Nidhana pathaye namaha - Nidhanapathanthikaya namaha, Oordhvaya namaha - Oordhava Lingaya namaha, Hiranyaya namaha - Hiranya Lingaya namaha, Suvarnaya namaha - Suvarna Lingaya namaha, Divyaya namaha - Divya Lingaya namaha, Sarvaya namaha - Sarva Lingaya namaha, Sivaya namaha - Siva Lingaya namaha, Jwalaya namaha - Jwala Lingaya namaha, Atmaya namaha - Atma Lingaya namaha, Paramaya namaha - Parama Lingaya namaha, Ethath Somasya Sooryasya Sarvalingagaum sthahpayathe Pahinimantram Pavithram."
Here the Linga is called Oordhva-linga, because as a pillar of fire it climbs upwards. It is Hiranya, because it has the appearance of molten gold. It is Suvarna because of its shining appearance. It id Divya Linga because it stands as the Emblem of Divinity. It is Siva linga because it represents Siva. It is called jwala Linga because of its sparkling nature. It is called Atma linga because it rests as the linga of the heart lotus of man. It is called Parama linga because it symbolises "Infinity and Eternity." A phallus cannot be termed Jvala, Hiranya, Parama, Suvarna, Divya and Atma. Maharshi Bodhayana in his Mahanyasa etc., uses these Mantras as the Anga of Sri Rudram." There are also khila riks to describe the nature of Linga. The khila Riks are as authoritative as the riks themselves if we give credit to Manu who says
"Swadyayam Srahvayeth Pithre Dharma Sastram Chaivahi, Akhayahna neethi hasahmscha Puranani Khilanicho."
One should recite the Vedas, the dharmas, the Akhyanas, the Ithihasas, the Puranas and khilas during Sraddhas. The riks are:
"Satyam Param Paramam Nithyam Tath Sthanuroopam, Thadeva Lingakaram"
"Brahma Vishnoorajasabaddha Vyrah Madhye Thayor Drisyatha Jahtha Vedah."
True, Great, Eternal. This unchanging form. This alone is the shape Linga. Brahma and Vishnu were quarrelling and there arose in their midst a great fire.
The Upabrahmanas thus describe the Linga. The vidyesvara Samhita.
"Adow Brahmatva Budhyartham Nishkalam Lingam uthitham yadidum Nishkalam Sthambham Mama Brahmatva Bodhakam Linga Lakshana yukthathvath namalingam Bhavoth idam."
In the beginning for a conception of the Absolute Brahmam the Nishkala Linga arose. Let this Nishkala (void of parts being a huge pillar) pillar, which proclaims "My Brahmatva stand as my mark or sign or symbol because it possesses the characteristics necessary for symbolising eternal Brahm."
"Mahanalasthamba Vibhishanah kruthirbabhoova Than madhya thale sa nishkalaha kimethath Abduthahkaram ithyoochuscha Parasparam Atheendriyam idam Sthambham Agniroopam kimuthitham. Asyordhvamapichadhuscha Avayorlakshya mevahi," "Yath panasthambha roopena swahvirasam Aham pura." Anadhyan thamidum sthambam Anumathram Bhavishyathi Darsanartham hijugatham Poojanartham hi puthrekew" "Purasthath sthambha roopena Paschath Roopena charbhakow."
He the Nishkala, became a dreadful huge pillar of fire in the midst of Brahma and Vishnu. "What is this wonderful form? Why arose this huge pillar of fire which is inconceivable to all our senses? Let us try to find out its top and bottom." So spoke the two among themselves. The Lord says "Did I not appear formerly in the form of a pillar?" (Note here that the author says that the Lord Himself became a pillar or took the form of a pillar, not that his generative organ was found there. "Aham stambha roopena Avirasam." I appeared in the form of a stambha). This Beginningless and Endless Sthamba Pillar will dwindle into an atom so that the world may gaze at it and worship it. "First as a pillar and then as a figure (roopa) did I appear." Another Samhita Says:
"Maha Jvala mayam ghoram sthambha bhootham Jagathraye yasyantham No madyamcha No Moolamiha drisyahte Nopamanam pramanam Va Thejaso Vasthularyasa, Brahma Vishnoo Prakupithou Lingam paramapasyatham, Jvalalingam Samudranthe Jvalantham swena thejasa." Idam Jvahlah mayam lingam kasyas yath ithichinthya thou." ....."Linga moorthim Maha Jvalahmalah Samvrutha. mavyayam, Lingasya madhye Ruchiram chandrasekhara Vigraham, Madhye Lingam Mahagborum Mahabdherambhasi Sthitham."
In the three worlds this terrible form of a huge flame settled as a pillar whose top, middle and bottom are unknown. It has no similitude. It is immeasurable. "Let us see the Grand Lingam of flame which is of itself shining amidst the Ocean." Thus said Brahma and Vishnu. This endless Linga form studded with streams of flaming beams. Within that Linga is the figure adorned with the crescent moon. In the midst of the vast Ocean this High terrible Linga"- These are upabrahmanas of the text in the Ambasyapare portion of the Mahopanishad.
"Ambasyapare Nahkasya Prishte Mahathomaheeyan Sukrena Jyothigumahi samanupravishtaha, Nainam oordhavam Nathiryauncha Na madhye parijagrabhath Na thasyesekaschana Thasya nama Mahath yasas" Na sandrase Thistathi roopamasya na Chakshusha Pasyathikascha nainam Hrida maneesha Manasah bhiklupthaha yacnam Viduramruthasthe Bhavanthi."
His top, middle and bottom are not known. His form is not cognizable to our eyes. No man has seen it with his eyes. He is grasped by the Mind. His name is the "Great Glory."
The Agama says "Jyothisthambha krithismrutham" Tadroopam sookshma roopena Jyothiroopamithi smrutham" and the Vayu Samhita says "Jvalalingasya Deekshine ukaraschothare bhage makarasthasya madhyathaha." The Jyothi is represented in the form of a pillar. That form being subtle is called jyothi roopa. "This flaming Linga is formed of Pranava. A rests to its right side, U in the left and M in the middle.
This jyothi is the Eternal Brahmam "jyothirjvalathi Brahma hamasmi" "Aham Visvam Bhuvanamapyabhavahm Suvarna jyptheehi" "jyothi sparkles. I am therefore Brahm." I have become the entire world. I am the shining jyothi."
It is the jyothi that Yogis in their Samadhi states and Videha Mukthi Avasthas realises and become one with it. It is on realising this jyothi that the soul never returns.
"Asmath Sareerahth Samuthaya Puram Jyothirupa sampadyathe Na Sa punaravarthathe, Na Sa Punarahvarthathe"
So says the chandogya. "By ascending from this body and attaining the Grand jyothi. He never returns, He never returns."
The Brahma Soothra Krith in his final sootra "Anavruthis sabdath Anavruthissabdath" refers to this jyothi. By jyothi we must only take the thick cluster of the fiery beams; at least we must so imagine it. As so many other things of the world this jyothi is a word of the physical world. Only this is symbolically used for Brahmam. The common jyothi or Light removes darkness. The Paramjyothi or God removes Agnana, the root of evil. the Brihadaranyaka gives out this prayer. "Asathoma Sathgamaya Thamso ma jyothirgamaya Mruthorma Amrutham Gamaya." From Asat lead us to Sat. From darkness (ignorance) lead us to Light (God) and from death lead us to Immortality." The Siddhanta Saravali in the very first address to God says 'Sivakhyam Akalam jyothihi Prapadye Dhiyah"- I contemplate on that formless jyothi which is denoted by the name Siva. this jyothi form is not the form of a man or a woman. It is of the form of "Fire." It is Deepasikhakruthi or of the shape of the flame of a lamp (Vannisikhakahram). The jyothiroopam does not stand for the lustrous figure of a man or a woman. We also think that Siva-Sakthi is in the heart. But we dare say that this figure is imbedded within that linga form. The linga form is called Sakalanishkala. The Sakala forms are only products of this Nishkala form. Lingasya Madhye Ruchiram chandrasekhara Vigraham. The figure of the Lord as possessing the crescent moon on the head is within the Linga. Therefore the Linga form alone is denoted by the term jyothiroopam and not the figure of a man or awoman. In our ordinary Siva-deekashas, any one who has the Samaya deeksha performed to him or any one who is intiated with the Sripanchakshara mantra can know how the disciple is required when performing karanyasa to hold both the palms of his hands in the form of a lotus bud which is formed by the joining of the palms of the hands with a hollow inside so that the fingers of the one hand join with the fingers of the other hand; how the palms are then separated as if to show the blowing of the petals and how the Sivah-sana is pointed by the thumb in the place near the heart i.e. the chest, how Sivamoorthy is there contemplated. These are all too many plain things. Again those who have had the curiosity to look at the "Lingadharana ceremony of the Veera Saivas, whether they are done according to the Panditha achara or the Basavachara, can see that the Linga is tied round the neck and is made to hang touching the heart. Aradhya Acharyas like the Somanatha Aradhya and Panditha aradhya have written treatises regarding the suspending of the Linga. The mantras and tantras used on the occasion all describe the linga a part of the lotus. The Linga thus suspended has nothing to do with the phallus. Is the heart the place for suspending the phallus? Even the great Yagnavalkya when intiating Gargi into the secret of yoga says
"Athava paramathmanam Paramananda Vigraham, Guroopadesath Vigneyam Purusham Krishna Pingalam Brahma Brahmapura Gargi Daharabjekha madhyame Abbyahsath samprapasyanthi Yoginasthvamcha thatha kuru"
The Brahma pura is the heart. The heart lotus is the place of the Brahmam. Having thus established the jyothiroopam as the Linga of the heart-lotus, it is our purpose now to show what this jyothi is. In our quotation from the Vayu Samhita we said that to the right side of the flaming linga rests in the top of the Linga. Now we all know that the combination of A, U, M, and Nanda constitutes Pranava. In the Hamsopanishad we learnt that when the Hamsa merges himself in Nada that state is called Thuriyatheetham. Yadah Hamso Nade Vileenobhavathi Thath Thuriyatheetham. In the Sootha samhita "Gnana nahle Maha kande Pranavena prabodhithe and in the Isvara gira we learn "(Omkara bodhitham tatvam)" and Aghora Siva himself says "(Akaradi mahthrah thraya Yukthena Pranavena-jyothiroopam samsthapya)" and in our quotation from poojastava we said "Hridpadmakhya Sivahlaye ....... Visuddha manasah, samsthapya Nahdathmana Lingam thatcha etc." What connection then is there between the jyothi the Pranava or the Nada and the linga. All upanishads, the Taithriya, the Chandogya, the Mandookya, the Prasna, the Swetasvatara, the Atharva sikha, the Atharvasiras and the kaivalya upanishad are unanimous in describing the efficacy of the Pranava Dhyana. "The body and soul are like the understicks of the sacrificial Arani while the Pranava is the upperstick and the fire that is ignited consumes all pasas. "Atmanam Aranim krithva-Swadeham Aranim krithva-Pranavam chotharahranim Dhyana nirmathanah bhyasahth Pahsam Dahathi Pandithaha." The Atharva sikha, which forms the essence of all the Vedas as the Sootha Samhita and the Vayu Samhita assert, thus says
"Prahnam manasi saha karanair Nahdahnthe Paramathmani samprathishtapya Dhyayitha Isanam"
and it begins with describing the mathras of Pranava A, U, M and Ardhamatra. This Ardhamathra is the final mahtra. (Yahvasane asya chathurthyardha matrah sa Omkara." The Vayu Samhita thus describes the import of this portion of the Atharvasikha Upanishad.
"Ardha matrahthmako nahdaha srooyathe Linga Moordhani."
This ardhamathra is formed of Bindu and Nada. What is Nada and what is Bindu? The Svayambhu Agama says
"Srishti kahlethu kutilaha kundalyahkahraye sthithaha. Tan madhye Jnanamuth. pannam Thadroopam Nahdamuchayathe."
In the beginning of creation the kutila (Pranava) stands in the form of kundali, a sleeping serpent with its coils folded. In it sprang a sound (Nahda) and Bindu is kundalini itself.
"Sa Bindurith manthavyasaiva kundalinee mathah."
The word kutila itself means "curved". The Agamas assert that the two primary modes of pranava are Bindu and Nada. Of these Bindu has the form of a cypher and the Nanda the form of a stick pr pillar. "Prathanam Bindu Samyuktham Dwitheeyam Dandam Uchyathe." The Vayu Samhita asserts that Bindu is of crescent form and Nada has the shape of the flame of a lamp.
"Ardha Chandrahkrithir Bindu Nahdo deepasikhahkrithihi."
The form of the Bindu is and of the Nahda is -------- or again the Bindu is ○ a cypher or dot . while the shape of Nahda is a long line. Sometimes the serpent is viewed as sleeping. Then its coils will be folded. At that time it is in the form of a circle, or when it is distributed a little, its coils are a little unfloded; then the shape is a semi-circle or ardhachandrahkruthi. The conjunction of Bindu and Nahda is formed like உ or like or like . The two joining together is called Ardha mahtra. While A, U, and M have distinct sounds, the Ardha mahtra has a subtle sound. Hence it is called Anahatha. Hence this ardhamatra is called Mownaksharam or the Silent Letter or as it is called by Saint Thirumoolar ஊமை எழுத்து. Saint Pattanathar characterises it as பேசாத மந்திரம் and வெட்டாத சக்கரம்.
Now we all know tha the symbol உ is called Pillayar-shuli and is written at the beginning of any Tamil or Grantha work. All of us (Tamils) have been in the habit of writing such a symbol at the commencement of any letter, but alas even here the western influence has made itself felt. We are gradually losing our Pranava. People ignorant of the meaning of this symbol have come to view it with disfavour to designate it as a sectarian symbol and in its place to substitute ஸ்ரீ for which we have no warrant. We have authorities requiring us to sound the Pranava or to contemplate on the Pranava at the commencement of any holy act but we have yet to find authority for the use of the novel ஸ்ரீ. This simply shows that these people have lost the Pranava and that they are far-removed from the Pranava. We will be very glad if these people can cite authorities for the use of ஸ்ரீ or for the pranava being void of Ardhamatra or for the ardhmahtra not being like உ. Such is the perverseness of man! If the Pillaya-shuli is augmented with the A, U, and M, then the whole figure is the shape of Ekadanta Ganesa - the head of an Elephant with one tusk. This also determines the correctness of the South Indian Alphabets. For instance consider the vowels and consonants of the Tamil language. We place dots over the consonant, but we do not do so in the case of vowels. Why is this? We know that the vowesl are called உயிரெழுத்து or life letters and that the consonants are called மெய்யெழுத்து or உடலெழுத்து body letters. We also know that without the help of the vowel or உயிர் the consonants or உடல் cannot sound. The relation between the vowels and consonants is like the relation which subsists between Atma and Deha. One is not derivable from the other. The consonants are not products of the vowels even as the Deha (body) is not a product of Atma (soul). Still the consonants depend upon the vowels for their sound. There will be no consonant without the help of the vowels. The vowels partake of the nature of Nada. The consonants partake of the nature of Bindu. Nada is one which has its own sound; this Nada does not depend upon any other for its sound. But what is Bindu? The Bindu, though it has its own Mahtra or Sound, depends upon the Nada for the very existence. The Nada is life and the Bindu is body. It is to show that the Bindu is body or உடல் that we place dots over the consonants. The dots represent the Bindu. The vowels need no such signs. Hence we do not use them in the case of vowels. In the Sivalinga itself the peeta is called Bindu while the pillar is Nada. Hence the Vathula Agama says 'Linga peeta prakahrena karmasadahkhya Lakshanam Nahdam Lingamithi jneyam Binduh Peetam udahrutham Nahda Binduyutham roopam karma sadakaym uchyathe," The karma sadakhya is siva-linga. The peetam is Bindu and the Linga is Nadam. The combination of Nada and Bindu is karmaroopam. The Vidyesvara Samhita says "Bindu Nadatmakam Sarvam jagatha sthavara jangamam. Bindu sakthi Sivo Nahda Sivasakthyahthmakam jagath. Nadahdharam idam Bindu Bindvahdharam idam jagath jagadadharabhoothouhi BinduNadow Vyavasthithou." The Gnana Siddhi says Gnanenathu kriyothpannam Thadroopam Bindu ruchyathe. The entire world is formed of Bindu and Nada. Bindu is Sakthi and Nada is Siva. The whole world is Sivasakthi mayam. The Bindu is dependant upon Nada. The world is dependant upon Bindu. Therefore Nada and Bindu are the Adhara, (Substratum) of the wordl mobile and immobile things.
Thus the Linga being Nada partakes of the nature of உயிர் and the Peeta being Bindu partakes of the nature of மெய். The relation betwen linga and peeta is exactly the same as that between உயிர் எழுத்து and மெய்யெழுத்து? What is the realtion between the உயிர் எழுத்து and மெய்யெழுத்து. Tholkappiar, that sage who flourished 7000 years before Panini describes this in the Sutras மெய்யினியக்கம் அகரமொடு சிவனும் and மெய்யின் வழியதுயிர்தோன்று நிலையே and Nachinarkiniyar, the commentator, likens this to the undifferentiated condition of salt and water, and of finger and finger. Observes he " முன்னின்ற சூத்திரத்தான் மெய்முன்னர் நிற்ப உயிர் பின் வந்தேறுமென்றார் அம்முறையே யோசையும் பிறக்குமென்றார் இதனால் மாத்திரைக்கொள்ளுங்கால் உப்பு நீரும் போல வொன்றேயாய் நிற்றலும், வேறுபடுத்துங்கால் விரலும் விரலுஞ்சேர நின்றாற்போல வேறாய் நிற்றலும் பெற்றாம்."
The vowel has 1 matra and the consonant has half matra. The vowel and the consonant both combined should have 1+½or 1½matras. But the matra actually obtained is only one ---- not 'one and a half'. Hence the commentator says 'மாத்திரைக்கொன்றாங்கால் ஒன்றேயாய் நிற்றலும்.'
The matra for அ is one and matra for க is also one, though க் (the consonant) has half mahtra. But has the vowel become the consonant? Yes in a sense it has become the consonant and yet remains distinct as the அ in க remains distinct from க். This is the relation of God and Soul in mukthi. This is the view of the author of the Vedantha Sutras when he says that God alone has the power of creation and not the soul, who can only enjoy Divine Bliss. "Bhoga matra Samya Lingath" (the 4th pada) உம்பர்பிரான் உற்பத்தியாதிகளுக்குரியன் உயிர்தானும் சிவானுபவம் ஒன்றினுக்கே யுரித்து (Siddhiar).
This is the view of the Upanishads when they proclaim "that a person intent on the dulcet sounds of a vina hears nothing but the sound of Vina" etc. This is also the view of the Gitacharya when he says "such a man never dies in me." Such an advaitic* [* Saint Arulnandisivam defines Advaitam as " ஒன்றாய் நின்றவன்னிலையில் ஒன்றாகாமலிரண்டாகாமல் ஒன்றுமிரண்டு மின்றாகாமல்"(இருபாஇருபஃது)] union is proclaimed by the union of Linga and peeta or of Nada and Bindu or of உயிர் and மெய். We said that Nada has its sound and Bindu produces shape. 'Nada (sound) produces Bindu (shape)' is a scientifically demonstrable truth. So every sound is represented in a shape. The first distinct sound is only அ or Akahra. The next sound is only இ ikahram and the next sound is only உ ukahram. Of course we leave the long vowels out of consideration. The அ + இ is எ and அ + உ is ஒ. The sequence or order is in the formation of sounds. But where is the order in the pronunciation of the characters A, B, C, D, or in Aliph, Be, Se, The? In pronouncing our Hindu letters, we give them certain shapes. These shapes are formed as we pronounce them. Thus the shape of அ or A is what is formed in the pronunciation of the sound அ. So is இ and so is உ. Of course the characters of the present day alphabet are not what Tholkappiar gives in his immortal Grammar. The Sivagamas assert that from the bottom of the evolving Bindu tatva Ambika Sakthi is produced, from her issue three sakthies Vama, Jyeshta and Rowdri. Vamah is of the form of a slumbering serpent. Jyeshta is dandakara or a line. Rowdri has the shape of two horns (or brackets) - (கொம்பு). A combination of these Sakthies produces the letter Akahara or the primary sound. In Akahra Rowdri Sakthi is the head. Vamah the face, Ambika the hands, Jyeshta the long body, Of course the Bindu and Nada are the tatvas, out of which these 3 kalas of Pranava are formed. Thus according to the Agamas, every alphabet, vowel or consonant, is formed out of one or more of the Nava Sakthis, Vama, Jyesta etc., that evolve out of Bindu and Nada, the Bindu being a dot or a star or zero and the Nada being a line. The Pranava which comprises within itself the entire alphabets of 51 letters is the only letter in which the entire 9 sakthis conjointly play their part in producing its shape. Kalidasa thus describes the truth "Vyomethi Bindurithi Nadaithi Indurekha roopethi Vakbhava thanoorithi Mathuruketh Nishyandamahna sukhabodha Sudhaswaroopam Vidyothase Manasi Bhagyavatham Jananam." The Vyoma is the sky or Akas. The Bindu is the Star, the Nada is the form of linear lightning: the Indurekha is the various shapes of the waxing and waning moon, the Vakbhava thanu is the body produced out of the Vaks (speech) Vaikari Madhyama, Pasyanthi, Sookshma and Su-Sookshma which are but products of Kutila or Kundalini which is a compound of A,U,M, Bindu and Nada. Of these 5 Vaks the Susookshama is Gnanaroopa and the Sookshma is the originator of the 3 Vaks Pasyanthi, Madhyama and Vaikari. The pasyanthi is Nirvikalpa (changeless) and Madhyama is Savikalpa (changing) and Vaikari is Srothra Vishaya or the audible sound.
Vaikari is the grossest and it is caused by the udana Vayu and Prana Vayu. The Madhyama Vak is not audible. It rests in the throat but still the Will cognizes it. It is generated by the Prana Vayu and not by the Udana. The Pasyanthi Vak is an undifferentiated condition of the various sounds or rather their substratum. These 5 kalahs (subtle) guide the 5 sthoola kalah Nivruthi, Prathishta Vidya, Santhi and Santhiatheetha. There is thus here an attempt, to connect the heavenly regions with inner organisms of the human body. A link is forged between astronomy and physiology both of them finally merging in the Divine Philosophy of Oneness. The Agama says "Siva Sthithassarvajanthoonam Aksharanam Akahravath". Just as the letter (sound) அ (A) stands among the letters (sounds), so Siva stands with reference to all the souls. In the Devara hymn the immanence of the Lord is described as இழைக்குமெழுத்துக்குயிரேயொத்தியால், just as the vowel induces the consonant; and sage Thiruvalluvar says அகரமுதலவெழுத்தெல்லாமாதி பகவன்முதற்றேயுலகு and says the sage Thayumanavar அவ்வுயிர்போலெவ்வுயிருமாகி.
The above explanations are necessary in view of the fact that the Pranava is the chief or Tharaka Mantra the efficacy of whose dhyana is so gloriously described in all the upanishads and Agamas. We alluded to the Tamil alphabets in as much as the vowels and consonants therein are characterised உயிர் and மெய் and as the phonetic order is complete there, for instance there are short எ and ஒ but in Sanskrit we have only long ஏ and ஓ and we cannot conceive of long ஏ and long ஓ without the short எ and short ஒ, just as we cannot have a long ஆ without the short அ. In other respects the rules mentioned in the Panini's grammar may equally apply. Thus it is clear that all the shapes of the sounds have their origin from the Divine Kutila whose Kalahs are the nine Sakthis that they are derived only from the Nada and Bindu which constitute the Ardha mahtra of the Pranava. This Ardha matra is the entire Siva linga, the peeta representing the Bindu and the Linga the Nada. In the succeeding pages we will describe how the Sivalinga is the shape or Yanthra of the sound Pranava. Only when we understand the realtion between the Linga and Peeta or the உயிர் and உடல் or the vowels and consonants, we can have a conception of the Pranava Linga being characterised as the symbol of the Divinity. Else mere assertion that the Pranava is all and that the Linga is all will be a conundrum.
The same sacred books current in the South and in the North describe the Prabha or திருவாசி of the divine forms and the shapes of Ganesa and Linga as pranava. We see no actual difference in the shapes of Ganesa and Linga as sculptured in the North and South. The long story of Ganesa as the offspring of two pranava kunjaras (elephant) Siva and Sakthi (Nada and Bindu) is found in the Skandapurana. Of course any northern edition of the same may be compared with that in the south. The Agamas give lucid explanations of the shapes of Alphabets from A to Ha. The 51 Aksharas are the forms of Rudras. These Aksharas are the seeds of the Lotus of Kutila. 'Panchasath rudra roopasthu- Panchasath Bija garbhitham," so say the Agama and the Vayu Samhita. We are told in the Santhana Agama that these Agamas were taught in the mutts that were once situated on the banks of the Ganges. These mutts were known by the names of Mandahnakahlisa in the middle and Ahmardakee, Golaki, Ranabhadra and Pushpagiri on the 4 sides. This shows that the alpabet as it prevailed in the South was also extent in the north for a long time and that the men in the North lost them with the influx of time and subject to the influence of various marauding nations such as the Greeks, the Scythians, the Huns, the Mughals and Afghans etc, as at the present day they are fast losing the pronunciation and nay the very language itself.
Anyhow we see that the Nada and Bindu form part and parcel of the Holy Pranava. These two constitute Ardhamatra. The Siva Dharmottara says "Athavahnya Prajahrena Brahma Vishnu Mahesvara kramath Mahthra Samuddhistah Tathparaschahrdhamahtrayah" and the Vayu Samhita says "Evam Thisrubhire vaithath Mahthrabhirakhilam Tridha Abhidaya Sivathmahnam Bhodhayathyardha mahthraya". Thus the Ardhamatra is above the three matras A, U, and M. The Atharva Sikha explicitly speaks of Ardhamatra and its connection with Nada. The 27th chapter of the second part of Vayu Samhitha treats of this Atharva sikha and the rising of the Mahalinga.
The Chapter begins thus. "Evameva vivadobhooth Brahma Vishnoparasparam Thasyordarpahpaharahya prabodhayacha Devayoh Madhye samahbhirabhavath Lingam Aisvaram Adbhutham Jvahlah mahla Sahasrahdyam Apregneyam Anoupamam Kshaya Vriddhi Vinirmuktham Adi Madyanta Varjitham Thasya Jvahla Sahasrene Brahma Vishnoo Vimohithou."
Brahma and Vishnu began to fight. To put down their pride and to enlighten them, a grand lingam arose amidst them, a wonderful lingam symbolising Isvara, shining with thousands of fiery beams, an immeasurable, and unrivalled form void of decay and growth, as well as beginning, middle and end. Brahma and Vishnu were quite stunned with the multitudes of fiery-beams.
"Pranipathya Kimathmedam ithyaohinthayatham Tada Athabhirabhavath thathra Sa nahdam Sabda lakshanam Omithyekaksharam Brahma Brahmanaea prathipahdakam Tadapyavidithamabhavath Chathurdheikam Thadaksharam A-u-m ethi thrimathrabhihi parasthachchardha mahtraya Thathrahkahro Sritho bhage thada lingasya Dakshine Ukahraschothare Tadvan Makahrasthasya Madhyathaha Ardhamahtrahthmako Nahdaha Srooyathe Linga Moordhani Vibhakthepi thatha Thasmin Pranave Paramakshare Vibhagarthamcha Thou Devow nakimchith avajagmathuhu Vedathmana thadavyaktho Pranavo Vikruthim gathaha Thathrakaro Rik abhavath Ukahro yajuravyayaha Makahrassahma sanjahtho Nahdasthvatharvanee Sruthihi."
Then they prostrated before it and began to muse about its nature. But they could not. Then the Mantra, the one Akshara, Omkara, which depicts the Supreme Brahm, with Nada, the primary essence of sound, took shape. That too was not understood by Brahma and Vishnu, their minds being overpowered by Rajas and Tamas. Then that word divided itself into 4 divisions, viz., A, U, M, and the Ardhamatra beyond them. Then the Matra leant towards the right side of the Linga, U leant towards the left side, while M leant towards the middle. The Nada which is called Ardhamatra, went to the top of the Linga. Even when this Great Word Pranava thus divided itself, still they could not understand. Then the Pranava changed itself into Veda. A became Rik, U became Yajus, and M became Sama, the Nada became the Atharvana:
"Rik upathapayamasa Samasathvartham Atmanaha Rajo Gunesha Brahmahnam Moorthishvahdyam Kriyasvapi Srishtim lokeshu Prithvim Tathveshvahthmanam Avyayam Kalahdavani nivruthimcha sadyam Brahmasupanchasu Linga bhageshvado bhagam Beejakhyamkahrana Thraye Chathush shashti Gunaisvaryam Bowdhdham yathanimhdishu Taditham Arthair Dasabhir Vyaptham Visvam Richa jagath."
Then Rik stood up and began to dwell upon its import in brief. Of the gunas Rajas; among moorthis Brahma; of actions creation; of worlds earth; of tatvas Atma tatva; of Kalahdvas Nivruthi; of 5 mantras sadyojatha mantra; of the portions of Linga the bottom; of the 3 causes the seed; of the Anima and other prosperities 64 prosperties which pertain to Buddhi; in this manner by means of these ten kinds, the Rik pervades the universe."
"Athopasthapayahmasa Swartham Dasa Vidham Yajuhu Satvam guneshu Vishnumcha Moorthishvadyam Kriyasvapi Sthithim lokeshvanthariksham Vidyam thathveshucha thrishu Kalahdhvasucha Pratishtamcha Vahmam Brahmasu Panchasu Madhyanthu Linga Bhageshu yonimcha Thrishu Hethushu Prahkruthamcha thathaisvaryam Thasmath Visvam yajurmayam."
Then the Yajus established its own ten kinds. Of Gunas Satva; of Moorthis Vishnu, of action Sthithi or Protection; of worlds the Anthariksha; of tatvas Vidya tatva; of kaladhvas Pratishta; of the 5 mantras Vamadeva mantra; of the Linga portions the middle part of the three causes the yoni (uterus); of the prosperities the prosperities which pertain to Prakruthi; in this way the universe is Yajurmaya."
"Thathopasthapayahmasa Samahrtham Dasadhathmanaha Tamo guneshvatho Rudram Moorthim Adyam kriyasucha Samhruthim Thrishu lokeshu Swargam Tatveshvatha Sivaha Vidya kalahsvaghoramcha Brahma Brahmasu panchasu Lingabhageshu Peetordhvam Beejinam kahranatharaye Powrushamcha thathaisvaryam itham Sahmuah thatham jagath."
Then stood up the Sama-veda and dwelt upon its own ten divisions. Of gunas Thamas; of Moorthis Rudra; of actions Samhara (dissolution); of worlds Swarga; of tatvas Siva tatva; of kalahs Vidya kala; of 5 mantras the Aghora mantra; of the portions of Linga the upper part of the Peeta; of the three causes the Beeji (the man); of the prosperities the prosperities of Purusha tatva; Thus the Sama Veda pervades this universe.
"Atharvaha nairgunyam artham paramam Atmanaha Thatho Mahesvaram Sakshan Moorthishvapi Sadasivam Kriyasu Nishkriyasyapi Sivasya paramahthmanaha Bhoothanugrahanamchaiva muchyanthe yena janthavaha Lokeshvapi yatho Vacho nivruth manasah saha Tadhoordhvam unmana lokahth Soma lokamalowkikam Somas sahomayah yathra Nithyam nivasatheisvaraha Tadhoordhavam unmanalokath yampraptho na nivarthatha Santhimcha Santhyatheethamcha Vyapikam Vaikalasvapi Tathpurusham thathesanam Brahma Brahmasu panchasu Yathravahya samahradhyaha Kevalo Nishkalas sivaha Tathveshvapi Thada Bindor nadath Sakthesthathahapara Thathvath Apiparam Tathvam Athathvam paramarthathaha Karaneshu thrayatheethahth Mahyah Viskshobha kabranahth Ananthath Suddha Vidyayan parasthathcha Mahesvarahth Sarva vidyesvarahdeesath saparasthathcha Sudasivath Sarva Mantra Thanor Devath Sakthitraya samanvithath Pancha vakthrahddasabujahth Sahkshath sakala nishkelath Tasmath Apiparahth Bindor Ardhendoscha Tathaha parahth Tathparath Nirodheesath Nahdahkhyathcha thatha parahth Tathahaparath sushumnesahth Brahma randresvaradapi Tathaparasyahssakthescha parasthath siva thathvathaha Paraman kahranam Sahkshath Swayam Nishkahranam sivam Kahranabnahmcha Dhathram Dhyahtharam Dhyeyam avyayam Paramahkahsa madhyastham Paramathmoparisthitham Sarvaisvaryena sampannam Sarvesvaram Aneesvaram Aisvaryaschapi Mahyeyath Asuddhath manushadikhath Tath parahth suddha vidyadyah unmanahuthath Parathparath Paramam paramaisvaryam unmanadya manadicha Apahramaparahdinam nissahmyahthisayam sthiram Itham Arthairdasa vidhairiyamahtharvanee sruthihi Yasmath Gareeyasee thasmath visvam vyaptham Atharvanah."
Then the Atharva Veda dwelt upon its own import. Nirguna (of gunas); of Moorthis Mahesvara and Sadasiva; of actions of the Paramatma, Siva who is void of any action (nishkriyah) the Anugraha (Blessing) function by which all souls ae liberated, among Lokas (worlds) the Somaloka where the Lord with Uma ever rests, the abode without reaching which the speech along with the Mind has returned, which is (therefore) beyond the Unmana loka, reaching which one will never return; of Kalas the Santhi, Santhi Atheetha and Vyapika, of the 5 mantras the tathpurusha and Isana Mantras; of the portions in the Linga the top of the Linga which is the portion for Nada where the Lord Siva who is simply Nishkalah is to be contemplated; of the tatvas, that Tatva which transcends the Bindu, Nada and kutila and beyond that tatvam which is really no tatva; of the causes, itself transcending the three causes being simply the agitator of Maya, transcending Anantha and the Suddhavidya, transcending the Mahesvara, the Lord of all Vidyesvaras, transcending even Sadasiva, whose body is formed simply of Mantras, in whom rests the three Sakthis Icha, Gnana and Kriya, who has five heads and ten hands who is the Sakala-nishkala transcending Bindu, Ardhachandra, nirodi, Nada and Nadantha, transcending sushumnesa and Brahmarandresa, transcending even the Sakthi tatva and Siva tatva, He is himself the causeles cause, Sivam, the grand cause, the resort of all causes, the unifier of all causes and the one to be contemplated upon, the Lord in the midst of chidakasa, the Lord transcending all Atmas; (of prosperities) possessing all aishvaryas (omniscience and other 7 qualities) being Sarvesvara and having no Isvara for Him, transcending the prosperities of Asuddha Maya the prosperities of men, transcending the lower prosperities and all the higher prosperities of Suddhadhavas, transcending the prosperities of Suddhavidya and anmana, which possess the beginningless Aishvaryas which are limitless, the like of which cannot be found anywhere, the transcendental aishvaryas which "are ever existent". Thus the Atharva demonstrated its ten divisions by which it pervades the universe."
"Rig Vedaha punarahedam jahgrath roopam mayochyathe Yenahamatmathathvasya nithyamasmyabhidhayakaha Yajur Vodovadath thathvath Svapuahvastha mayochyathe Bhogyahthmana parinathah Vidyah Vidyah yatho mayi Sahmachaha sushupthyakhyam evam sarvam mayochyathe Mamahrthena sivenedam Thahmasena bhideeyathe Atharvahaha Thureeyahkhyam Thureeyatheetha mevacha Mayahbhideeyathe thasmath Adhvahtheetha padosmyaham Adhvathmakamtha Thrimalam Siva Vidyahthma Samjuitham Thathraigunyam Thrayeesahdyam samsodhyameha padaishinabam Adhvatheetham Thureeyahkhyam Nirvahnam paramam padam Tadatheethamcha Nairgunyath Adhvanosya Visodhakam Dvayo Pramapako nado Nahdahnthaseha madahthmakaha Thasmahn mamahrthas swahthanthryath Pradhana Paramesvaraha Yadasthi Vasthu Thath sarvam guna Prahdhanya yogathaha Samastham Vyasthamapicha Pranavahrtham prachakshathe Sarvartha Vachakam Thasmath Ekam Brahmaitha daksharam Sivo va Pranavohiesha Pranavo va siva smruthaha Vahchya Vachakayorbhedo nahthvantham Vidyathe kvachith"
Again Rig Veda says: "By me is denoted the waking state. I am therefore the appellation for ever of Atma tatva. Similarly the Yajur Veda says "By me is denoted the Swapna avastha (dreaming state), as teh Vidya tatva which transforms itself into Bhogya (things consumable) rests in me; The Sama says "By me is announced the state of Sushupthi and this is explained by the Siva tatva." The Atharva Veda says. "I announce the state of Turiya and Turiyathita. Therefore I am the condition that transcends all adhvas. The three bold divisions of Atma, Vidya and Siva tatvas, which are the regions of the three malas (Anava, Karma and Maya), comprise all Adhvas in them. They are of Three Gunas, capable of being accomplished by (a knowledge of) the Trayee (Rik, Yajus and Sama) and capable of being tested or purified by the persons desirous of padas (berths). The state of Turiya which transcends the Adhvas is the blissful great condition (of the mukta). Being void of Thrigunas it is further beyond and is the purifier of adhvas. The Nada is the link that connects both i.e. the adhva and the state beyond and Nadantha is my own sphere. Therefore my state which is independent is preeminently supreme. Whatever substance there is in the world, that substance by the conjunction of gunas proclaims the meaning of Pranava either in its entirety or separateness. Therefore the Akshara (character) and one Mantra OM is designatory or explanatory of all things. Therefore the Lord Siva creates the entire world by uttering the word "Om". Siva is Pranava and Pranava is Siva. There is not much difference between a definition and a thing defined.
"Arthametham Avijnhya rajasubhaddha Vyrayo Yuvayo Prathibodhaya Madhye Lingam Upasthitham Evam Omithi Mahm Prahuryadihokthamutharvanah Rucho yajoomshi samani sakhaschanyassahasra saha Vedeshvevam Svayam Vakthraivyakthamithya Vadathsvapi Swapnanubhoothamivathath thabhyahm nadhyava seeyatha Thayosthathra Prabodhaya Thamopanayanayacha Lingepi Mudritham Sarvam yatha Vedairudabhrutham Thaddhrustva Mudritham Linge Prasadath Linginasthada Prasantha manasow Devow prabuddhow sambabhoovathu Thatho lingasya Lingathavam Linginopicha Lingitham Linge Visvasya jagathaha Viseshuth Swahthmanorapi Uthpaththim Vilayamchaiva yahthathmyamcha Shadadhvanahm Thathaha paratharam Dhama Dhahmavanthamcha Poorusham Nirutharatharam Brahma Nishkalam Sivam Isvaram Pasu pasa mayasyasya prapanchasya sada pathim."
Not knowing this meaning both of you are fighting with each other. For enlightenment of you both this Linga arose in your midst. Therefore the wise denote me by the syllable Om, as Atharvana Veda just now explained to you.
Though the Riks, the Yajus, Samas along with their multitudes of branches spoke with their own mouths still they did not last for a long time in their minds. All seemed to them like phantoms in dream. Then for their enlightenment and the dispelling of their internal darkness, all the truth proclaimed by the Vedas were engraved or imprinted in the Linga. Seeing the above truth marked in the Linga, by the Grace of the Lord, whose symbol is Linga, the two were enlightened. Hence the Lingathvam, state of being a linga, for the Linga - which means symbols or Mark (அடையாளம்). As the Linga i.e. as all the truths are marked or symbolised by this symbol, this is called symbol or Linga. As the Lord is the resort of all the truths symbolized by the form of the Linga, He is called Lingi - literally one denoted by Linga. This Linga depicts or inculcates the projection or creation of the entire universe composed of pasa (non-material soul) and pasa (material) as well as their dissolution and of the true condition of the Shaladvahs. Beyond that is the Nishkala of the Lord.
Thus it is clear that the Siva linga is Pranava engraved or sculptured. Siva linga is the yanthra or the shape for Pranava. The Vidyesvara Samhita says:
"Linganamcha kramam Vakshye yathavath Sruntha Dwijaha, Thadeva lingam prathmam Pranaavam Sarva kahmikam, Sookshmam Pranava roopamhi Sookshma roopamthu Nishkalam..........Svahusthallikhithum Lingam Suddhapranava manthrakam yanthru lingam samahlikhya Pratishtavahanamchureth, Bindu nadamayam Lingam Sthavaram jangamchayath."
I will now describe the order of the Linga. Listen to it. That alone is the Prime Linga which is Pranava, the fulfiller of all desires. The Pranava form is subtle and this subtle form is Nishkala. The linga written by one's hand is the pure Pranava Mantra. By imprinting the yantra Linga one should perform pratishta etc. This linga of Bindu and Nada is all the mobile and immobile things.
The same Samhita aserts.
"Pranavam Dhvani lingamthu Nada lingam Svayambhuvaha Bindu lingamthu yanthram syahth" and it defines Pranava thus:-
"Akahrascha ukarascha Makahrascha thathahaparam Bindu nadayutham Taddhi subdakahla kalahddh yutham
Pranava (sound) is the Nada Linga of the self existent Lord. The Bindu Linga is yanthra or shape of the Pranava and Pranava is formed of A, U, M, and beyond these is the one formed of Bindu and Nada."
"Srethumichani yogindra Lingavirbhava lakshanam Pura kalpe Mahakahle Prasanne Loka Visruthe Ayudhyatham Mahahthmahnow Brahma Vishnu parasparam Thayormahnam Nirakartham Than madhye Paramesvaraha. Nishkala sthambha roopena svaroopam Samadarasayath, Thatha sva linga chinnhathvahth Sthambhatho nishkalam Sivaha Svalingam Darasayahmasa Jagatham Hitha Kahmyayah Tadaprabhruthi lokeshu Nishkalam lingam Aisvaram."
Again it says:
"Yadidam Nishkalam stambham Mama brahmatva bodhakam Linga Lakshna yukthathvath Mama Lingam Bhaveth idam Lingam Omkara mantrena Beram Panchaksharenatha Svayamevahi Saddravyair Prathish tahpyam Porairapi."
Oh Yogindra, I now desire to hear of the appearance of linga. He says: When Brahma and Vishnu were fighting in former times, for dispelling their delusion the Lord himself appeared before them in the form of a huge pillar, void of parts. As it was marked with His mark it became Linga. For the purpose of doing good to the world, He exhibited his own mark. Thence forward the Nishkala forms the Divine symbol.
The entire Kailasa Samhita is a treatise on Pranava:
"Akahraschapyukahrotha Makahrascha trayam kramahth. Thisro Mahtras samahkyatha Ardhamahtra thathapram Ardhamahtrah Mahesani Bidnu Nada Swaroopinee."
A, then U and M - these three in their order are called the three Mahtras. Beyond these is the Ardhamahtra - oh Mahesani (Parvati) the Bindu and Nada constitute Ardhamahtra.
"Akahrasthu Mahathbeejam rajassrashta chathurmukha ukahra Prakruthir yonihi Satvam palayitha Hari Makahra purusho Bijee Tamassamharako Hara Bindur Mahesvaro Devasthirobhava udahrutha Nadassadasiva Proktho Sarvanu grahaka Prabhu Nada moordhani Samchinthya Parahth paratharassivaha."
The letters A is Mahat (mind), Bija (Semen Virile), Rajas Brahma, the creator, the four faced. The letter U is Prakruthi, Yoni (matrix) Satvam, Hari, the sustainer. The letter A is Purusha, Beejee (the agent or Man) Thamas and Hara the destroyer. The Bindu is Mahesvara, Deva, the Thirobhava. The Nada is Sadasiva is the Anugraha-doer. In the Summit of Nada Lord Siva is to be contemplated.
The Samhita gives six interpretations or rather modes of viewing or understanding Pranava. "Manthro yanthram Devatacha Prapancho Gururevacha Sishyascha Shat padarthanam Esham Artham Srunu priye." The six modes are Mantra, Yantra, Devata, Prapancha, Guru and Sishya -Listen to their meanings.
"Pancha varna Samashtisyahth Mantra poorvam udahbruthaha Sa eva yanthratham praptho Vakshye than mandala kramam yanthramthu Devatha roopam Devata visvaroopinee Visvaroopo guru proktho Sishyo guru Vapusmruthaha."
The combination of 5 letters is called Mantra. The same obtains a shape or yanthra. I will describe them. The Yanthra or shape is the form of Devata. The Devata is in the world. The Guru is Visvaroopi. The disciple is the body of Guru.
"Hridpundareekam Virajam Visokam Visadam Param Astapathram kesaradyam karnikopari Sobhitham. Adhara sakthi mahrabhya Thrithathvantamayam padam Vichinthya Madhyasthasthasya Daharam Vyoma Bhavayeth Omithyekhaksharam Brahma Vyahharan Mahm Tvayah Saha."
Within the Heart lotus of eight petals shining with Kesaras and Karnika and upon a seat formed of Adharasakti to the end of Atma Vidya and Sivatatvas - the Lord with His Sakthi is to be contemplated by uttering the mantra Om.
Lord Subramanya thus initiates the great Sivadvaithin Vamadeva, who is mentioned in the Aithareya upanishad and in the Brahma soothra "Sastra, Dhrushtyathoopadeso Vamadevadivath.
The Lord says:
"Pranavartha Parignanaroopam thath Vistharadaham Vadami Shad Vidharthaikyaparijnanena Suvratha Prathamo mantra roopasyath. Dwitheeye yanthra Bhahvithaha Deva tharthaha Thru theeyartha Prapanchartho thatha param chathurtha Panchamorthasyath Gururoopa Pradiasakaha sashto sishyatma rooportho shadartha Pari keethi thaha."
"I will in detail describe the meaning of Pranava in six ways of modes of interpretation. The 1st interpretation is Mantra; the 2nd interpretation is yanthra; the 3rd interpretation is Devatah; the 4th interpretation is prapancha; the 5 th is Guru (teacher) and the 6th is Sishya (disciple). These are the six interpretations for the Pranava.
"Thathra mantra Swaroopam the Vadami muni saththama - "Ahdyaswaro panchamascha Pavarganthasthathapara Bindu mahdowcha pancharnah Proktha Vedairnachanyath Ethath samashtiroopohi Vedadissamudahruthaha Nadassarva samashti syath Bindvadyam yachathushtayam Vyashtiroopena samsiddham Pranave Siva Vachake."
Oh great Rishi, I will describe the nature of the Mantra. The primary sound A, the 5th sound U, then the last sound in the pavarga (labials) i.e. M and the bindu and Nada - these are denoted by the Vedas as constituents of Pranava. A combined form of these 5 sounds is called the source of Vedas. The Nada is called Samashtipranava of all the various component parts, while Bindu, M, U and A, are called Vyashtipranava of the Pranava which designates Siva."
"Yanthra roopam srunu prahjna Siva Lingam Thadevahi Sarvadhasthath Likheth Peetam thadoordvam prathamam svaram uvarnamcha thadoordhvasitham Pavargantham thadoordhvagam. Thanmastha kustham Bindumeha thadoordhvam Nadamahlikheth. Evam yanthram samah likhya Pranavenaiva Veshtayeth. Taduth thenaiva Nahdena Bhindyahanadavasahuakam."
Oh wise one! listen to the form of the yanthra. That is only Siva linga. At the bottom of all, the peeta must be written, above it should be written the first sound A, the letter U should be written above it. Then M should go above that; on the top of that the Bindu and above it should be written the Nada. Thus writing the yanthra it must be encompassed also with Pranava and must cleave it asunder by means of the previously described Nada. The figure thus formed will give Siva linga.