If so, please provide the verses. It would also be helpful if you provide a link.


Lingam-Yoni symbol was probably adopted by the Saivites later than the Vedas. The philosophy is same as that of Vedanta.

Why is Shiva worshipped as a Lingam?

The answer is that the Saivites use the linga form to signify nameless and formless aspects of the deity.

Sages said:- 8. Everywhere the deities are worshipped only in their image. How is that Siva is worshipped both in the image and the linga?

Suta said:- 9. O sages, this question is holy and wondrous. Here the speaker is Siva Himself and not any ordinary person. 10. I shall tell you what Siva Himself had said and what I heard from my own preceptor. Siva alone is Niskala (nameless and formless) since He is identical with supreme Brahman. 11. He is also Sakala as He has an embodied form. He is both Sakala and Niskala. It is his Niskala aspect that the Linga is appropriate. 12-13. In the Sakala aspect the worship of His embodied form is appropriate. Since He has the Sakala and Niskala aspects He is worshipped both in the linga and in the embodied form by the people and is called the highest Brahman.

Shiva Purana, Vidyesvarasamhita, Chapter 5

Where does the linga form come from?

The day on which I manifested myself in the form of a column of fire is the Ardra star in the month of Marga-sirsa (November-December), O children.

He who sees me on the day of Ardra star in the month of Margasirsa in the company of Uma and worships my Linga emblem or embodied image is dearer to me than even Guha (Kartikeya)

On that auspicious day (Sivaratri) the vision alone accords ample results. If he worships too, the result cannot be adequately described.

Since I manifested myself in the form of Linga emblem in the field of battle, this place will be known as Lingasthana.

O sons, this column without root or top will henceforth be diminutive in size for the sake of the vision and worship of the world.

The Linga emblem confers enjoyment. It is the only means of worldly enjoyment and salvation. Viewed, touched or meditated upon, it wards off all future births of the living beings.

Since the Linga emblem rose high resembling a mountain of fire, this shall be famous as Ruddy (Aruna) mountain. Many holy centres will spring up here. A residence or death in this holy place ensures liberation.

Siva Purana, Vidyesvarasamhita, chapter 9.15-22

What is the philosophical meaning of the Linga?

Shiva Linga according to Shiva Purana represents an infinite tower of light and is used to represent nishkala (formless) Shiva. Linga means mark. Shiva Linga simply means a symbol of Shiva. The Yoni associated with the Shiva Linga is simply the source. Just as Vedantins have Brahman - Shakti, Sankhya has Purusha - Prakriti, Shaivism has Linga - Yoni.

The Linga is equivalent to Brahman of Vedanta. The word linga is traced to two Sanskrit roots, li meaning to dissolve and gam which means to go, to be manifested or created. The Sivanubhava Sutra 3.3 defines Linga as follows:

That in which all mobiles and immobiles enter, i.e., get dissolved, and that from which the universe is created is Linga.

Sivanubhava Sutra 3.3

There are also mukha linga or Lingas with faces. Then there are vigraha Lingas where the full form of Siva is inscribed on the Linga. The faceless Lingas are called Sthanu Linga or Linga columns which form is traced to legendary material about Shiva given in certain Puranas like Linga Purana (ch 17), the Kurma Purana (I.26.68-99) etc where Shiva appeared as a column of fire.

  • What is Sivanubhava Sutra ?
    – Rickross
    Jun 3 '18 at 17:19
  • Sivanubhava Sutra is quoted in the book 'Saivism' by G. V. Tagare. He doesn't say anything more. Jun 4 '18 at 3:08
  • I am unable to find Sivanubhava Sutra Jun 8 '18 at 17:13

There is no mention in the Rig Veda or any of the other Shruti Vedic texts of the Shiva Lingam. There are, however, many references to the Shiva Lingam throughout the later Smriti


Linga and Yoni seem to be endogenous to the Indus Valley (p11, Introducing Hinduism, Rodrigues, 2006) whereas the predominate theory regarding Vedic peoples is that they came from the Caucasian area near Sintashta (the source of domesticated horses, chariots, Vedic burial rites, Indo-Iranian languages, and much of the Y-chromosome DNA of skeletal remains from the Vedic period). Thus, Sanatana Dharma is most likely a synthesis of local and Aryan religious practices. This is why linga aren't in the Vedas; initially they were only utilized by the local IVC—which left no known writings.

  • 1
    The aryan invasion theory is nonsense- the idea of fire pole is There in skambha sukta of atharva Veda which is reused in linga purana.
    – Anisha
    Jun 1 '18 at 6:23
  • 2
    I write from PoV of truth, not to make Indians feel better. Every culture is of mixed heritage. It is not healthy to deny your history. This point has been argued elsewhere on the site. The migration theory has more than ample evidence, which I added parenthetically in my answer. The truth doesn't have to be comfortable Jun 1 '18 at 6:27
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    @Anisha It's ironic that the native Hindu (you) says that if Vedic people came from outside & merged their metaphysics with those of IVC it would somehow invalidate them and that the convert (me) sees that all things are unified in Ardhanarishvara, who is purusha merged with prakriti. Why does it upset you to hear that the synthesis of two different metaphysics can merge into a greater metaphysics? Why do you think ideas coming from outside a specific location (Bharat) would make them less valid, true, or holy? Jun 2 '20 at 0:36
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    How do you not see that your inability to accept truth plainly laid in front of you is an instantiation of māyā? Hinduism has the longest continuous tradition of utilizing logic and other philosophical mechanisms to understand the mechanics of the universe—yet you say throw away the logic of archaeology which came from white people. I understand that white people have been wrong in the past and have bitterly hurt India. Science is always improving over time getting closer and closer to physical truths. Jun 2 '20 at 0:40
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    And, I cannot make up for what the British did, but by seeing white people as any different to you or any other people means that you are still allowing the British to tint your perspective on reality. We know that all humans are the same in our humanity. I just don't see how it helps you to see what is unified as one thing as distinct parts somehow in opposition to one another. I really want to understand—because I can accept the truth of archaeology AND the truth of Sanatana Dharma. Jun 2 '20 at 0:43

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