Shiva Linga is the holy sign of Lord Shiva that is considered sacred by the devotees of Lord Shiva. The word, ‘Lingum’ in Sanskrit means, ‘symbol’. Shiva Lingum, thus means symbol of Lord Shiva and is therefore considered most holy by Shaivaites.
Siva Linga has been worshipped in Hinduism since ages. Worship of Shiva Linga is regarded holy and better Shiva Mahapurana. This is because the structure makes worship easy while maintaining the truth that God does not have any exact form.
Organization of Shiva Linga
Many common icon of Shiva and virtually found in all Shiva temples, Shiva Linga is a round, elliptical, an-iconic image that is mostly locate on a circular base or peetham. According to some scholars the Peetham symbolize Parashakti, the manifesting power of God.
Shiva Lingas are typically made of stone that might also be carved or actually offered - svayambhu, such as shaped by a swift-flowing river. Shiva Lingas may also be made of metal, precious gems, crystal, wood, earth or transitory materials such as ice.
Several scholars say that transitory Shiva Linga may be made of 12 special materials such as sand, rice, cooked food, river clay, cow dung, butter, rudraksha seeds, ashes, sandalwood, darbha grass, a flower garland or molasses.
Interpretation of Shiva Linga as an Abstract Symbol of God
Some scholars of the Hindu scriptures say that Linga is just an abstract symbol of the God. They point towards several legends in Hinduism wherever a sundry rock or still a pile of sand has been used by as a Lingam or the symbol of Shiva. Citing a particular instance they say, Arjuna once fashioned a linga of clay when worshipping Shiva. Scholars of Puranas, thus quarrel that too much must not be made of the typical shape of the Lingam.
Scholars say that the understanding of Shiva Linga as an abstract form of God is also consonant with philosophies that hold that God may be conceptualized and worshipped in any convenient form. The structure itself is irrelevant, as the divine power that it represents is all that matters. Scholars thus say that Sivalinga symbolize the formless Nirguna Brahman or the formless Supreme Being.