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Note: This is a research question. By specifc proper features and characteristics I mean Niravakasha Linga.

My question is when did atleast a couple of the Niravakasha Lingas listed below, of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva start appearing in Vedic literature?

The main purpose of this question is to understand when the currently known forms of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu came into practice in Vedic Hinduism, as there is some scholarly consensus that Vedic Rudra and Vedic Vishnu were quite different to the currently known forms of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu and that slowly over a period of time these two deities gained prominence in orthodox Vedic community. So by knowing when the currently known forms were first described we can understand when along the development of Vedic literature, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu rose in prominence.


Vedic literature is probably of the following choronological order

Vedas

  1. Rig Veda
  2. Yajur Veda
  3. Sama Veda
  4. Atharvana Veda

Mukhya Upanishads

  1. Chandogya Upanishad
  2. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
  3. Taittiriya Upanishad
  4. Aitareya Upanishad
  5. Kaushitaki Upanishad
  6. Kena Upanishad
  7. Isha Upanishad
  8. Svetasvatara Upanishad
  9. Mundaka Upanishad
  10. Katha Upanishad
  11. Prashna Upanishad
  12. Mandukya Upanishad
  13. Maitri Upanishad

Lord Vishnu Niravakasha Lingas:

  1. Residing in Vaikunta
  2. Sleeping on Shesha
  3. Sleeping in Milk ocean
  4. Garuda vahana, Garuda Flag
  5. Holding Shanka Charka Gadha Padma
  6. Association with Shargna Bow and Nandaka Sword
  7. Four Arms and Bluish body
  8. Husband of "Lakshmi" (Please do not refer to the word Shri as it is more generic word for wealth)
  9. Srivatsa mark and Kaustubha Jewel
  10. Association with Kamala
  11. Association with Tulsi
  12. Reference to any Dashavatara forms and Puranic stories of Lord Vishnu along with atleast one other Niravakasha linga.

Note: Please don't consider the following lingas for citations. These characteristics can be there along with the above mentioned characteristics, but these characteristics alone may not be sufficient.

  1. Description of Lord of Shri in Purusha Sukta as it is very generic: it could just mean lord of all wealth, describing the opulence of the God
  2. Usage of the word Vishnu
  3. Usage of the word Upendra
  4. The description of measuring the Universe in three strides

Lord Shiva Niravakasha Lingas:

  1. Residing in Kailasa
  2. Vrushaba vahana, Vrushaba Flag
  3. Holding Trishula and Damaru
  4. Association with Pinaka bow
  5. Wearing Cresent Moon on head
  6. Wearing Ganga on head
  7. Husband of "Uma" or "Parvathi"
  8. Father of Lord Ganesh and Lord Subramanya.
  9. Using Snakes as ornaments.
  10. Blue throat
  11. Association with Bhootas and Ganas
  12. Lord of Animals - Pashupathi
  13. Association with Bilva and Rudraksh beads
  14. Reference to any Puranic stories of Lord Shiva along with atleast one other Niravakasha linga

Note: Please don't consider the following lingas for citations. These characteristics can be there along with the above mentioned characteristics, but these characteristics alone may not be sufficient.

  1. Usage of the word Rudra
  2. Three eyes
  3. Using animal skin (of tiger, elephant or deer) as cloth

Edit: Since this question is causing confusion, let me clarify it.

My question is not, when did all this characteristics first appear, my question is when did atleast two proper characteristics appear for the first time. So the answer, even though requires lots of research, is quite a short answer. It will be a couple of shlokas with Niravakasha lingas from Vedic scriptures.

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  • This is a highly loaded question. You have to understand that many people across time have spend years scanning the evolution of Vedic Divinities till date. Curtain you question to its shortest. Commented Apr 26 at 19:56
  • @SanatanaDhara loaded?? Means??
    – Hari Kumar
    Commented Apr 27 at 4:13
  • @SanatanaDhara I'm not asking about the evolution, I'm asking when did particular forms first come up in Vedic literature.
    – Hari Kumar
    Commented Apr 27 at 4:14
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    In my opinion, this is like 26 questions (one question for each characteristic) compressed into one. It requires lot of effort to answer this in detail.
    – estimator
    Commented Apr 27 at 7:53
  • @estimator No, I think I should explain better. My question is not when did all this characteristics first appear, my question is when did any one or two characteristics appear for the first time. So its more like 2 questions questions jammed into one.
    – Hari Kumar
    Commented Apr 27 at 11:03

2 Answers 2

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The Three steps of Lord Vishnu's Vamana avatara is a famous purANic story. But Lord Vishnu's three steps are mentioned in a more generic sense in the Rig Veda at many places, for example, 1.154.1-2-

viṣṇornu kaṃ vīryāṇi pra vocaṃ yaḥ pārthivāni vimamerajāṃsi | yo askabhāyaduttaraṃ sadhasthaṃ vicakramāṇastredhorughāyaḥ || pra tad viṣṇu stavate vīryeṇa mṛgho na bhīmaḥ kucaro ghiriṣṭhāḥ | yasyoruṣu triṣu vikramaṇeṣvadhikṣiyanti bhuvanāni viśvā ||

Now shall I proclaim the heroic deeds of Viṣṇu, who measured out the earthly realms, who propped up the higher seat, having stridden out three times, the wide-ranging one. 2. In this way Viṣṇu will be praised for his heroic deed—(he who is) like a fearsome wild beast, living in the mountains and roaming wherever it wants, in whose three wide strides dwell all living beings.

The Three eyes of Lord Shiva is mentioned in Rig Veda 7.59.12 -

tryámbakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhíṃ puṣṭi-vardhánam urvārukam íva bandhánān mṛtyor mukṣīya mā 'mṛtā́t

We sacrifice to Tryambaka (one with three eyes) the fragrant, increaser of prosperity. Like a cucumber from its stem, might I be freed from death, not from deathlessness.

Note: Translations by Stephanie W. Jamison and Joel P. Brereton

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  • Thank you for your answer, but measuring universe with three strides doesn't fit the criteria as there is speculation that it was first the characteristic of the Vedic diety Vishnu which was later adapted to Vamana avatara. And regarding Three eyes, it is good, but it only is one linga, does previous or next shloka has any other linga? It would be better if atleast two lingas are present.
    – Hari Kumar
    Commented Apr 27 at 12:38
  • This is the problem with using only one Niravakasha Linga hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/21500
    – Hari Kumar
    Commented Apr 27 at 12:58
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Niravakasha Lingas Of Lord Shiva in the Vedas.

Shloka 1 - Krishna Yajurveda's Taittiriya Aranyaka

नमो हिरण्यबाहवे हिरण्यवर्णाय हिरण्यरूपाय हिरण्यपतयेऽम्बिकापतय उमापतये
पशुपतये॑ नमो॒ नमः ॥ ०। १०। २२। ४०॥ ॥ २२॥

Niravakasha Lingas Used:

  1. Ambika Pathi - Lord of Ambika
  2. Uma Pathi - Lord of Uma
  3. Pashupathi - Lord of animals

Shloka 2: Shree Rudram (Krishna Yajurveda's Taittiriya Samhita)

नमस्ते अस्तु भगवन् विश्वेश्वराय महादेवाय त्र्यंबकाय
त्रिपुरान्तकाय त्रिकाग्निकालाय कालाग्निरुद्राय var त्रिकालाग्नि
नीलकण्ठाय म्रुत्युंजयाय सर्वेश्वराय
सदाशिवाय श्रीमन्महादेवाय नमः ॥ २०॥

Niravakasha Lingas Used:

  1. Tripruantaka - Destroyer of three cities
  2. Neelakanta - Blue throated one

Shloka 3: Shree Rudram (Krishna Yajurveda's Taittiriya Samhita)

नमो भवाय च रुद्राय च नमः शर्वाय च पशुपतये
नमो नीलग्रीवायशितिकण्ठाय
नमः कपर्दिने च व्युप्तकेशाय च
नमः सहस्राक्षाय च शतधन्वने च
नमो गिरिशाय च शिपिविष्टाय च
नमो मीढुष्टमाय चेषुमते च नमो ह्रस्वाय च वामनाय च
नमो बृहते च वर्षीयसे च
नमो वृद्धाय च संवृद्ध्वने च ॥ ५१॥

Niravakasha Lingas Used:

  1. Pashupati - Lord of animals
  2. Neelagreeva - Blue necked one
  3. Shitikanta - Bluish black throated one
  4. Girishayi - One who sleeps on top of mountain

Thanks to @savdy for this answer, which was used as a reference.

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