My Guruji Sri Sri Ravi Shankar claims that Krishna worshipped the Shiva Lingam, and so did Rama. Does anyone know if this is recorded in the shastras? I have not seen it. Sri Sri Ravishankar Said:

"You will not find anything related to practice of installing idols for worship in the Bhagavad Gita or the Ramayana. Only the Shiva Linga (Shankar Linga) was installed. That is why only the Shiva Linga was there in the ancient period, which was worshiped by Lord Krishna, Lord Rama and everyone else. "

source: http://www.artofliving.org/worshiping-gods

  • 1
    Deity worship is as old as the creation itself. Whether it is a specific deity, Linga or any other form. Linga worship is deity worship or saguna worship only. Ithihasas clearly say Raama worshipped Narayana, Krishna worshipped Narayana. Nirguna worship is impossible, if one hangs onto the wrong interpretation of Nirguna as attributless. deity worship is Anaadi. Unfortunately, modern day self styled so called Hindu gurus are playing into hands of Abrahamic religions. Highly unfortunate that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar made such irresponsible statement, if at all he ever made it
    – user808
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 9:38
  • 3
    Coming to Raama worshipping Mahadeva in Valmiki Ramayana, it need not be Shiva nor his Linga form. Mahadeva refers Raama worshipped the Great Lord of Ocean. Coming to other Ramayana's, even if it is mis construed as worshipping Shiva or Linga, it is pure deity worship only and saguna in form. So, deity worship is as old as Para Brahman himself.
    – user808
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 9:39

3 Answers 3


In Verse 19 of Yuddha Kanda - Book Of War, Chapter [Sarga] 123, Valmiki Ramayana, Lord Rama himself says that he worshiped Mahadeva.

एतत् कुक्षौ समुद्रस्य स्कन्धावारनिवेशनम् || ६-१२३-१९
अत्र पूर्वं महादेवः प्रसादमकरोत्प्रभुः |

"See this island, located in the middle of the ocean, where my troops were stationed. At this place, the lord Shiva (the supreme deity) formerly bestowed his grace on me."

Actually the above verse of Valmiki Ramayana is describing this event which is described in Yuddha Kanda of Adhyatma Ramayana of Brahmanda Purana:

सेतुमारभमाणस्तु तत्र रामेश्वरं शिवम् ।
संस्थाप्य पूजयित्वाह रामो लोकहिताय च ॥ १॥
प्रणमेत्सेतुबन्धं यो दृष्ट्वा रामेश्वरं शिवम् ।
ब्रह्महत्यादिपापेभ्यो मुच्यते मदनुग्रहात् ॥ २॥
सेतुबन्धे नरः स्नात्वा दृष्ट्वा रामेश्वरं हरम् ।
सङ्कल्पनियतो भूत्वा गत्वा वाराणसीं नरः ॥ ३॥
आनीय गङ्गासलिलं रामेशमभिषिच्य च ।
समुद्रे क्षिप्ततद्भारो ब्रह्म प्राप्नोत्यसंशयम् ॥ ४॥

During the construction of bridge, Rama installed Mahadev and worshipped him calling by the name Rameshwar Mahadev. He described his glory, “If someone visits the bridge (setubandh), and prostrates to Rameshwar mahadev he is liberated of the severest of sin of killing Brahmins.” Rama stated, “One should bathe here in sea, and having darshan of Rameshwar Mahadev, he should go to kashi, to fetch ganga water. Offering the Ganga water of Kashi over Rameshwar Mahadev, he should throw the pot in sea. Thus, he is bound to get salvation.”

Also In chapter 31 Greatness of Ramesvara in Kotirudra Samhita of Shiva Purana (Pg No - 1381), Rama worshiped Shiva's earthen image to sought blessings of Lord Shiva. Shiva later at supplication of Rama, took Linga form for devotees.

Suta said,

  • When Rama, the devotee of Shiva, took the water and about to drink, it occurred to him at the will of Shiva.
  • " I have not yet had sight of Siva, the great lord, the bestower of all bliss. How can the water be taken in? "
  • After saying this, he drank water and then performed the worship of Shiva's earthen image.
  • He worshiped Shiva performing all the sixteen ancillary services(Shodashopchar pooja) like invocation etc. with devotion according to rules obtaining.
  • After propitiating Shiva with obeisances, divine eulogies etc. strenously, Rama joyously prayed to Shiva with devotion.

Satisfying with Rama's devotion, Shiva blessed him to be victorious.

Rama said,

  • O Siva, if you are pleased, you shall stay here, O lord, to sanctify the world and to render help to people.

Suta said,

  • Thus implored Shiva took up the phallic image named Ramesvara. It is now famous on surface of the world.

Lord Krishna established Bilvodakeshwara Linga as described in this chapter of Harivamsha Parva of Mahabharata:

विल्वोदकेश्वरो नाम भवितामिहानघ ।
देवेश्वर त्वयास्थापि देवो सिद्धोपयायन ।।

O the one without any sin! O lord of lords! O lord! I will remain here by the name of the lord Bilvodakeshvara as you installed me. According to me, all requests made from here will become fruitful.

Also In Chapter one Acquisition of sons by Sri Krishna in Vaayaveeyasamhita section two of Shiva Purana (Pg No- 1912), Krishna performed Pasupata Vrata under guidance of sage Upamanyu, to attain a son like Shiva. Shiva blessed him with son Samba.

  • When dirt of Krishna had been quelled, Upamanyu dusted him with Bhasma repeating mantras "Agniriti" etc. He was then made to perform Pasupata vrata for 12 months. Then the sage imparted him the great knowledge.
  • The divine Pasupata sages of duly completed rites surrounded him.
  • Then at the behest of preceptor (Upamanyu), Krishna of great prowess performed penance for attainment of son with Shiva and Parvati as the deity aimed aimed at.
  • Due to that penance, at the end of year, Lord Shiva, equipped with great splendor and accompanied by his Ganas and Parvati appeared there.
  • After bowing to Shiva of handsome features, who appeared before him for granting boons, Krishna eulogized him with palms joined in reverence.
  • Krishna of composed mind obtained his son Samba of good qualities bequeathed by Siva who was delighted by penance.
  • Since it was Shiva accompanied by Amba, who blessed him with a son, he named Jambavati's son Samba.

Atharvasiras Upanishsad describes the Pashupata vrata as that which consists of besmearing one's own body with ashes and at the same time muttering mantra — "Agni is ashes, Vayu is ashes, Sky is ashes, all this is ashes, the mind, these eyes are ashes." Source.

Samba was later responsible for end of Yadava Race. This was the main reason Krishna worshiped Destroyer God (Lord Shiva).


This information is obtained from various online sources and scholars who have done sufficient research in this area.

Rigveda (Mandala X, Sukta 130, Mantra 3), we have the statement

'kAsIt pramA pratimA'

which means 'what was the size and what was the deity form (mUrti form) of that God?'.

Sayana's Bhashya for 'pratimA' here goes as 'pratimA means the vigraha form which the God takes in order to accept the sacrificial offerings in a yajna' (haviH prati yogitvena mIyate nirmIyata iti pratimA devatA'.

In addition, there is a description of the yajna called 'iShTishayanaM'. (Taittiriya Samhita 5.2.7) There is an instruction to conduct the yajna with a form similar to that of Garuda using bricks. Here, we also find the following statement:

'If one worships the golden mUrti of Purusha seated on the mUrti of that bird, the conductor of the sacrifices (yajamAna) obtains all glory'.

This is an obvious reference to Lord Vishnu seated on His mount, Garuda."

In addition, it is said in the Ramayana that Rama worshiped Lord Vishnu (Himself) in the mUrti form inside ayodhya (in Ayodhya Kanda).

In this worship, Valmiki states that Lord Rama performed a Vedic yajna in the temple for the purpose of this worship. In addition, when Rama goes to the hermitage of Agastya (in Aranya Kanda), he finds that Agastya, the sage, had consecrated the mUrti forms of many Vedic devatas.

These two incidents also support the fact that mUrti pUja is supported by the Vedas.

Also, in Vyasa Mahabharata has references to deity worship of Siva by Aswatthama.

So, Deity worship is as as old as Vedas themselves.

It is truly unfortunate, that well known individuals and modern day Gurus make irresponsible statements' like there were no Idol or deity worship in ancient Indian scriptures (Here I am assuming what Marcus has quoted is true)

Even, Linga worship is nothing but deity, saguna worship only, however hard and deseperately one tries to argue Nirguna and what not.

Such irresponsible statements will only strengthen the Abrahamic religions and in the process might hurt our Sanatana Hindu dharma, in the long run.

Now coming to Raama worshiping Siva.

As per Valmiki Ramayana 6.123.19 verse of Yuddha Khanda is as follows

etat kukShau samudrasya skandhaavaaraniveshanam || 6-123-19 atra puurvaM mahaadevaH prasaadamakarotprabhuH |

Now many people jump to conclusions that this word Mahadeva word refers to Siva only trying to infer meanings by referring to contexts where Siva is addressed as Mahadeva.

This Mahadeva word can also be an epithet used to address Lord of Ocean in this context, as there are many instances in Vedas, ithihasas, puranas where common names like Mahadeva, Iswara, Maheswara etc are used to address other deities also.

Commentaries on Valmiki Ramayana by Maheswara tirtha (Advatin) called tattva dipa and Bhushana of Govinda Raja clearly say that the "Mahadeva" in the verse 6.123.19 of Valmiki Ramayana refers to Lord of Ocean, Samudraraja.

Maheshvara Tirtha, the advaitic commentator, says

mahAdeva is samudrarAja only.

He also says, even if mahAdeva is Siva, it only refers to his aShTamUrti form as water, who served bhagavAn by bearing the rocks that formed the sEthu.

maheshvara tIrtha further shows why mahAdeva is samudra?

(1) It is more suited to the context,

(2) according to nighaNTu shAstras, "mahat" is a name for water, and hence "mahAdeva" is the deity who controls the water.

With all the above proofs, it is safe to conclude that Mahadeva in verse 6.123.19 of Valmiki Ramayana refers to Lord of Ocean or Samudraraja only.

To further add to these the first Ramayana in vernacular, Indian languages, Kamba Ramayana by famous Poet Kamban in tamil in 9-10 century doesnt say anything about Raama worshipping Linga or Siva.

From all these it is very clear there was no worship of Siva or Linga by Raama in Valmiki Ramayana in Yuddha Khanda.


Note - This answer might irritate some folks, but I'm providing references with truth as the motive.

There are 18 puranas, classified into 6 each of Satvika, Rajasa & Tamasa puranas.

All of them were recited first by Brahma - Satvika puranas (Vishnu, Bhagavatha etc.) when sattva guna (goodness) was predominant in him, Rajasa puranas (Brahma Vaivartha, Markandeya etc.) when rajo guna (passion) was predominant, and Tamasa puranas (Shiva, Skanda etc.) when tamo guna (ignorance) was predominant.

When there is contradiction among Tamasa & Rajasa purana, Rajasa purana takes upper hand. When there is contradiction between Rajasa & Satvika purana, Satvika purana takes upper hand.
If there is contradiction between Satvika puranas & Vedas, Vedas take upper hand


Yes, it is mentioned in Shiva purana that Rama worshipped lingam, and some other Tamasa puranas mention that Shiva is the Supreme Lord.
Satvika puranas mention that Vishnu is the Supreme Lord e.g. in the famous Kaishika incident in Varaha purana where Nambaduvaan takes the 18th vow that he will return to the demon's clutches after praying to Vishnu.

  • This conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 10:05
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    This classification is a Vaishnavite construct. They even have gone to the extent of saying Vyasa deliberately lied in the puranas about who is the supreme deity.
    – user1195
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 15:42

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