Thursday, October 30, 2008
"Penis," Hindu symbol of any god, usually Shiva. The lingam-yoni is still the supreme symbol of the vital principle, representing male and female genitalia in conjunction.(1) Its verbal equivalent is the Jewel in the Lotus. Sometimes the lingam appeared as a phallic pillar in the cella or Holy of Holies, the core of the temple which stands for the Goddess and is called "womb" (garbha-grha).(2) Shiva bore the name of Sthanu, "Pillar," and was shown emerging from a lingam-pillar with his "jewel" or phallic eye displayed in the center of his forehead, a graphic illustration of the transforamttion of the whole lingam into a man-shape.(3) It was a Hindu custom to have brides deflowered in the temple by Shiva's carved lingam to make their firstborn children God-begotten (see Firstborn). Temple harlots were made "brides of God" by the same ceremony of the lingam, as was also the custom in the ancient Middle East, Greece, and Rome.(4) Besides these man-sized examples there were large pillars, which often became objects of pilgrimage. Many miracles were said to have taken place in the vicinity of Shiva's lingam.(5) Notes: (1) Rawson, A.T., 51. (2) Zimmer, 127. (3) O'Flaherty, 195. (4) Rawson, E.A., 29, 88. (5) Mahanirvanatantra, 335.