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The most common derivation of the word lingam is taken from the Sanskrit word “Linga” which means mark or symbol. In the case of a shiva lingam, it would be literally taken as a symbol of Shiva, with Shiva being representative of Divine Energy.
7 – 7.5
Shades of gray and brown and sometimes a deep reddish-brown.
Narmada River in India.
All traditional lingams come from only one place in the entire world, the Narmada River in India, at Onkar, Mandhata, which is one of the country’s seven sacred holy sites. In this sacred place, lingams wash up on the banks of the river or are carefully brought up from the riverbed. India has a long, dry period, and it is at this time, when the river is at its lowest, that the nearby residents go out to the banks of the Narmada and gently pull the stones from their resting places. The lingams are then polished by hand, using methods in accordance with Vedic tradition. Many believe that the lingams are already sacred when they are pulled from the river, but also that the energy given to each lingam during polishing makes it extra special.
Since 2008, true traditional lingams as we’ve come to know them have become a rarity. The Sardar Sarovar Dam was built on the Narmada River, flooding much of the region the lingams come from, effectively placing the true lingams out of reach under many feet of water. As a result of this, most lingams harvested in the last six years or so have actually come from a mountain nearby.
At Origin Stones, we secured an old shipment of true, traditional lingams which had been shipped from India and warehoused in Tucson since before 2006. We have brought these incredible stones to our facility, and are able to offer our customers and collectors access to 124 lingams from before the Sardar Sarovar Dam flooded the lingam riverbeds.
Lingams are made of cryptocrystalline quartz plus whatever impurities or minerals they pick up during their time in the river. Cryptocrystalline quartz is a type of quartz where the crystals are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Other varieties of cryptocrystalline quartz include chalcedony, carnelian, jasper, and agate.
Historically, the original meaning behind the shiva lingam is quite different from what is commonly believed in the modern west. In the West, many have come to the belief that the lingam is a phallic symbol, or representative of Shiva’s phallus. This has no bearing in the ancient Hindu practice of lingam worship. In the earliest days, the lingam was a symbol, a representative of Divine Energy. This Divine Energy is the unformed universal creative energy, or the primordial energy from which all things spring. I have never seen the spiritual nature of the lingam explained as completely as S. Sabaratna Mudaliyar does in his 1913 lecture. In brief, the lingam is representative of the two stages of creation, Nadha (the first stage, which means sound, or name), and Bhindhu (the second stage, which means form). The first stage, Nadha, is symbolized by a line, and the Bhindu stage is symbolized by a disk. So with the markings on the lingam, we see the representative embodiment of the evolution from the first stage of creation to the second.
Other reports say that the lingam is sacred to Shiva and tie together the markings on the lingam with the marking on Shiva’s forehead. It is also written in the Linga Purana that the first lingam, the very first, the highest of all lingams has no color or texture or smell, etc. It is said to be an embodiment of Nature itself. From this, some traditionalists will use a clear quartz lingam for their symbol of Supreme Divinity.
On a completely different and fun note, if you’ve ever seen the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” the sacred Sankara stone that Indy saves is said to be a lingam.
For every person born, there is a lingam specially meant for that individual. Think of it as if your soul, at the time of birth, was imprinted on a specific lingam. If you do not yet have a lingam, your lingam is out there, just waiting for you to find it. There are many types of lingams to experience when choosing the one that is meant for you… some lingams are traditional in that they consist of gray and brown cryptocrystalline quartz and come from the Narmada River, and others are lingam-shaped gemstones which bring a whole new level of energy to the lingam. For purposes of spiritual growth, both are excellent. We carry both traditional lingams and gemmy lingams. Many people collect lingams and fill their home and work environment with their very special, revitalizing energy.
Lingams are said to hold an indescribable power. For some, the lingam is a connection between themselves and God, a vessel to facilitate communication with the Divine. It is said to help the mind focus and to greatly improve concentration, both excellent qualities when meditating with a lingam. It is a stone of potentiality.
Sources state that lingams resonate with the energies of all five elements: fire, earth, water, air and ether. This greatly boosts its healing capacity, and it can clear blockages and activate the entire chakra system. Similarly, in India, some lingams are associated with individual elements, for example lingams that are associated with light, or fire, or the sun. Lingams are said to boost vitality, and indeed, just being near one is enough to feel the incredible energy coming from these mysterious stones. Because of their embodiment of the Divine potential, this stone is helpful in assisting one with creating new paths or patterns in their life.
Meditating or sitting with a shiva lingam is said to expand one’s mind and bring about a state of peace. It is said to be a storehouse of Shakti energy, and is believed to stimulate kundalini energy. It clears blockages in the etheric body and the chakras, and its energy spreads love, wisdom and steadies the heart.
Anecdotally, people report many different physical responses to meditating (or just being near) with a lingam. Most people can feel the energy of the lingam without even going into a meditative state. This is a very powerful stone, and would serve one best if treated as the sacred stone that it is.