Lakulisha-Pashupata (Philosophy and Practice)

by Geetika Kaw Kher | 2012 | 86,751 words

This study discusses the dynamics between the philosophy and practice in the Lakulisha-Pashupata order. According to the cave temples of Elephanta and Jogesvari (Jogeshwari), Lakulisa was the 28th incarnation of Shiva, and Pashupata Shaivism his doctrine, of which the Pasupatasutra represents the prominent text detailing various ritual practices (v...

Historicity (of the term linga)

The term linga rarely occurs prior to the Upanisads and in the latter texts the term and its opposite alinga by no stretch of imagination are used for a male sexual organ. Srinivasan[1] clearly points out that the word that defines the latter is sisna or vetasa in Vedic literature and they are no where linked with any form of worship. RgVeda describes the Sisna devas as the inhabitants of cities and they were supposed to be the “Pre Aryan” people and builders of planned cities like Harrapa and Mohenjodaro. Such discourse largely propounded mainly by Western Indologists essentially saw the practice as a non Vedic one.On the contrary the important commentators of VedasYaska and “Sayana[2] ” provide us with more inclusive meanings which points at the selective suggestion of the above hypothesis. Yaska explains “Sisna-devas as a nonbhrhmacharin group (4. 19 on Rgveda,7. 21. 5). Sayana too furnishes a meaning similar to this to mean a group of immoral people and nowhere has it been suggested that they are non Vedic. These interpretions one needs to known are just based on few verses and only because they have been repeated again and again they sound as only possible explanations.

An excellent work by Srinivasan on Rudra-Siva and his vedic antecents throws a considerable light on the subject and demands the Rudra’s“outsider to vedic culture” label to be considerably revised.

She writes: [3] .

For Rudra’s most fundamental characteristics-his ambivalent capacity for benign and fearful action, his asura-hood, his close associaition with the most ancient stratum of the Vedic gods, his relation to the Vedic ritual, especially the remnantbrings him into the very centre of Vedic norms and ideals.”

A tribe (jana) called Siva is mentioned in Rgveda (7. 18. 7). Some scholars believed the Siboi of Greek writers were actually the Siva jana mentioned above. It may not be unlikely that Siva, probably a tribal god was gradually identified with Rudra in the process of later amalgamation which is not unheard of in religious studies.Banerjee[4] opines that the Siva linga engraved on three oldest coins (of Taxila and Ujjain mentioned in earlier chapter) 2nd-3rd BCE is the mark of a local or tribal god.

Coming to the word “linga”, we need to historically contextualize it before pondering about its ritual and philosophical meanings . Przyluski [5] who on basis on a linguistic study suggests that the terms like Linga, Langula etc. were originally Austric words and the “Aryans” borrowed them from pre-Aryan population of India has also lost its currency as the term has been used extensively and meaningfully in early Vedic literature and does not come across some haphazard word borrowed from another civilization.

The Katha Upanisad (6. 8) speaks of Purusa who is higher than the unmanifest(avyakta), “as all pervading and without any mark” (alinga).In a somewhat similar manner Svetasvatara Upanisad (6. 9) declares that Mahesvara(Siva in 5. 14) has no linga in the world and he is the first cause.Book 6. 11 explains this further, saying “He is the One God hidden in all things..alone and devoid of attributes (nirguna).

The same text gives an elaborate connotation of linga[6] :

Just as the material form (murti) of fire when latent in its source (yoni) is not seen even though its linga is not destroyed, for it is perceptible again by kindling in its source (yoni).Similarly both indeed are found in the body by Om.”

The above passage in distinguishing between “murti” and “linga” elaborates on the importance and subtlety of the latter concept.Whereas murti is a concrete apprehensible form,the gross body “linga” is the sign, non material and therefore unchangeable,more like a subtle body.

This concept of having both source and its material form together in one body seems to have provided the seeds for the concept of Ardhanarisvara. On the other hand it also lays foundation for various practices followed by Natha Siddhas who visualize both genders within one body.Both the examples are discussed in detail in appropriate sections.

References to linga or alinga in several later heterogeneous works have also not used it as an erotic symbol. Caraka[7] states that alinga describes a state attainable by the doctrine of ultimate renunciation while in Buddhacarita of Asvaghosa[8] linga denotes marks of an ascetic or mendicant.

Maha-Narayana Upanisad dated by Gonda[9] to C. 3rd BCE, contains a series of prayers which corelate lingas with Rudra-Siva. To be precise prayer number 271-316 are dedicated mainly to Rudra-Siva and contain the formulaic repetition of the term linga

.In each instance homage is first paid to a particular attribute of the supreme and then to the linga of that power or attribute:

Urdhvaya namah, Urdhva-lingaya namah, Hiranyaya namah,Hiranyalingaya namah,Suvarnaya namah,Suvarnalingaya namah, Divyaya namah, Divyalingaya namah,

Bhavaya namah, Bhavalingaya namah,Sarvaya namah, Sarvalingaya namah,

Sivaya namah, Sivalingaya namah, Jvalaya namah, Jvalalingaya namah

Atmaya namah, Atmalingaya namah, Paramaya namah, Paramalingaya namah

This set of linga verses follow an important set of prayers which invoke a pentad of names,the five Brahma Mantras which the later tradition records as the five faces of a pancamukha linga viz.

Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusa and Isana

On the basis of Sayanacarya’s commentary we learn that the five mantras were addressed to five faces of Siva. Earlier the VDP Purana (5th- 6th CE) and Aparajita Prchcha mentions the five aspects of Siva in the list of eleven Rudras. The major point of interest here is that Lakulisa-Pasupata’s have elevated these Brahm Mantras to the level of Bijamantras, popularly known as Pancartha and Pasupata-sutra is divided into 5 sections according to these names. It is clear that this esoteric and abstract form of worship was considered as the highest form fit for an ascetic aspirant. Chitrasutra of VDP states that when king Vajra asked Markandaya about the meaning of having an image when God is actually formless, the latter answered that these images were meant for laity and for real or true ascetics meditation on formless God is the highest form of worship.

Interestingly it is in Epic Mythology, to be precise in castration myth narrated in Sauptika Parvan of Mahabharata[10] (10. 17) that the word linga is associated with Siva’s organ for the first time. When Brahma asked Mahadeva to create,the latter did not feel inclined to obey. Failing to convince Mahadeva, Brahma created Prajapati and asked him to create,whence he created creatures of various species.When Siva arose form his meditation and saw the beings were already created he tore his “linga” in anger and placed it on the ground and again went to perform austerities.

It is interesting to see how a myth functions to create links between an object and a symbol which probably earlier had nothing to do with the object. By an imaginative approach the character of “golden phallus” from Samhita literature is attributed to Siva and thus he automatically gets transformed into the omnipresent and omnipotent creator.

This is further substantiated by a rather long but thought provoking passage by Srinivasan[11] in which she asks the fundamental question and answers it by quoting various texts:,

If linga expresses the theological belief in the immanence of the transcendental in nature, in a subtle form, why does that form take the shape of a realistic phallus?

And she answers:

An instructive Vedic passage indicates that already in the Samhitas,the phallus is the sign symbolizing the Creator’s capacity for unlimited productionThe passage occurs in the Atharva Veda,hymn 10. 7, a hymn to Skambha. (lit.prop,support,pillar) Skambha is the cosmic generativeforce whence the entire material world originates. However Skambha is not postulated as the active demiurge who gives rise to phenomenality. Rather Skambha is the cause which gives rise to the agent who in turn takes over the creative process.As such,Skambha generates Prajapati. It is thus of more than passing interest that a vetasa-hiranyaya (a golden phallus) standing in the water represents the hidden (guhya)Prajapati. Indeed what is being said is that the first evolute of cosmic creative energy is a hidden, or unperceivable progenitor symbolized by a golden phallus in water.”

Hence it provides the distinct use of phallic symbolism in Vedic literature thus at once providing a paradigm shift in the study of Saivism.Moreover sexual symbolism was not a taboo in Vedic literature as we were given to believe and Dange[12] has profusely quoted from various Vedic texts like Satapatha Brahmana, Aitareya Brahmana etc. to substantiate his point.

Here I would cite a few examples occurring in the ritual context:

In the new moon and full moon sacrifice the after offerings are three sisna, in the Caturmasya, the kraidina oblation is the male organ, in Pravargya, the cauldron is the penis and the two handles are the testicles, in the preparation of the Ahavaniya in the Agnicayana, the pestle is the sisna, the mortar the yoni…Upon close analysis,the union between male and female, mithuna, is allegorically described throughout the Vedas.”

Hence it is seen that erotic symbolism was not unknown to Vedic literature.An interesting passage narrated in Mahabharata[13] throws light on the worship of Siva in both anthropomorphic form and linga form. Here Vyasadeva explains to Asvatthama that he faced defeat by Krsna-Arjuna because they worshipped Siva in the potent form of linga while he paid his homage to Siva’s image. (Tabhyam Linge”archito Devas-tvaya’rchayam yuge yuge..)This clearly points at some kind of superiority attached to linga worship.

The next two verses further elaborate that one who is spiritually advanced and can realize Siva in all forms and see linga as the source of all creation is only entitled to worship the linga.

Sarva-bhuta-bhavam jnatva Lingam-archati yah prabhoh

This passage hints at the highly esoteric and subtle meanings associated with linga worship which probably was not meant for lay folks who needed an image to concentrate.

(Lainge sukshma-sarire archayam pratimayam) (Mbh 7. 200. 92).

Suggesting that linga is the subtle body or form while the image (pratima)is the “archa”.

Worship of linga requires the complete concentration of the devotee,with his soul and mind fixed on the linga and all senses have to be completely in control.Now such rigorous meditation can be expected out of a yogi only.Moreover the text suggests that the devotee already should have a high spiritual level.

This term “linga” has been used in the Pasupata Sutra (1. 6).An elaborate translation and analysis of this cryptic sounding sutra with a wealth of associated meaning which was passed from one generation of adepts to another is found in Kaundinya’s commentary on the otherwise cryptic sutras.As mentioned earlier these sutras were formulae in which the basic tenets of the system were codified. On their own they make no sense to the reader because they were essentially a part of a discourse. Hence Pancharthabhasya of Kaundinya (Rasikara) comes across as a very important source as it contextualizes the aphorisms in their holistic discourse.

Lingadhari” (1. 6)

Kaundinya[14] in his commentary explains the sutra as:

Here as persons of other castes and stages of life have marks, distinctive of their own. There the householder has as his mark three clothes, bamboo staff,water-jarfilled with water, shaving of moustaches, sacred thread etc. So the marks of a brahmacarin are staff,water-jar,girdle by munja grass, sacred thread, skin of black deer etc. Likewise the Vanaprastha has also the marks of a water-jar,bark garment, bristle, matted locks of hair etc. And the bhiksu has the marks of three staves, shaven head, water jar, ochre coloured cloth, water strainer and Kusa grass etc. Thus here also the mark of a Pasupata-Yoga means the distinctive mark of the stage as for example, ashes-bath, lying down in ashes, re-bath,garland, single cloth, etc. and this mark becomes a part of his body creating the idea of Pasupatas among the people. The lingam is due to the act of merging and that of marking. Bearing that he becomes the holder of the mark.Like the wielder of staff.

It is certain that linga here is used as in other vedic texts to mean a sign. So Kaundinya goes on to enumerate the external signs exhibited by various sections who followed the order. A Pasupata aspirant is to worship Linga in the abstract sense of the term is confirmed by the highest mode of sadhana,noted in the commentary text. A true aspirant had to severe all ties with sense and sense objects (chhitva dosanam hetujalasyamulam) and concentrate on Siva with undiverted attention so as to attain the blissful state. In the end he notes down the external marks exhibited by an ascetic who has taken Pasupata vow.

The marks like ashes bath, lying down in ashes,rebath, garland etc refer to the earlier aphorisms from the same text viz.

  1. Bhasmana trisavanam snayita (Pasupata-sutra 1. 2)
  2. Bhasmani Sayita (Pasupata-sutra. 1. 3)
  3. Anusnanam (Pasupata-sutra. 1. 4)
  4. Nirmalyam (Pasupata-sutra 1. 5)

But the passage that really caught my attention was the last line where Kaundinya uses the phrases “merging in the linga”. Here one is reminded of a passage from Karvan Mahatmya which talks about the merging of Lakulisa in the body of Brahmesvara linga.

The entire text has been narrated in a form of a dialogue primarily between “Isvara “and “Devi”, about Siva’ s 28th incarnation ie Lakulisaavatar.

Srimahadeva uvac
Vrddasya vacanam srutva lakuliso varanane!
Brahmesvaram samasadhya tasminevalayam gatah
Stithsabhagvan tatrkayarupimahesvarah Yenkayavtarosautenedam kayarohanam[15]

Sri Mahadeva says:—After listening to Vrddhesvara’s words Lakulisa meditated on Brahmesvara and finally merged with him.There Lakulisa bhagvan along with his physical body merged with Mahesvara as his avatara, that is why the place became famous as Kayavrohana (identified with present day Karvan).

Interestingly we find two Siva lingas,(one in Bhramesvara temple and other in the Raja Rajesvara temple situated in the Karvan village) superimposed with a figure of Lakulisa which visually depicts what has been narrated in the passage above.

Regarding the development of this icon Shah[16] writes:

From at least the seventh century Lakulisa was shown in western India seated in front of a Siva linga.Ithyphallic, with long matted locks, jewelry, some times with the yogapatta, this type shows Lakulisa holding a citron in his right hand, the danda in his left.”

During my visit to Karvan I noticed there are two such images which are under worship, one in the main temple “Brahmesvara” and other in a smaller temple in the village and that is known as “Rajarajesvara” by local people.

Rajarajesvara linga in Karvan village
[Illustration 45 Rajarajesvara linga in Karvan village, Baroda dist. Gujarat (looks like a late copy of the original)]

This linga at Kayavarohan is included in the list of 68 Svayambhuva lingas in the commentary on his Jirnoddhara-dasakam by Nigamajnanadeva of Vyaghrapura, son of Vamadevasivacharya[17] . Kamikagama[18] describes svayambhu lingas as ones which rise up and come into existence by themselves and have existed from time immemorial.The importance of this type of linga is gleaned from the fact that it was believed if by any chance this linga is removed completely from its place it would cause downfall of the kingdom and complete destruction of the ruler.This might be pointing at covert power that the ascetics managing the shrines housing such lingas had and might even throw light on the huge popularity of Saivite Rajagurus in medieval times.

The earliest documented Sivasthala (Sivathale in Kharoshthi inscriptions) was unearthed within the late historic Parasuramesvara temple complex at Gudimallam (Chittoor Dist. of A.P.). The form of the God was carved in three-fourth relief over a standing Linga, of almost life-size. The aspect of merging in or emerging out of the linga is quite prominent here.It has been identified as a figure of Rudra on the frontal facet without the Yajnopavita and the third eye. The God has a horned animal in the right hand and and a water pot (kamandalu) in the left hand with a danda-parasu. The date previously determined on stylistic grounds to be 2nd BCE was pushed back to 3rd BCE after examining the finds of the dig. Digging within the temple’s garbhagrha revealed that the linga, of hard igneous stone and dark brown color, belongs to the earliest phase of the temple. The linga, shaft and nut is about 5 feet in height and the realistically carved nut is differenciated from the cylindrical shaft by a deep slanting groove near the top.

The archaeological data unearthed here makes it a hypaetheral Sila Vedika Linga Sthana in open, Such simple open-air Silapata shrines are well known from the coin depictions from north-west India and can be seen prominently in this early Kusana panel now housed in government museum of Mathura.

Worship of Linga, Early Kusana
[Illustration 46. Worship of Linga, Early Kusana, 1st-2nd CE, Mathura Museum]
Guddimallam Linga
[Illustration 47. Guddimallam Linga,Parasuramesvara Temple, Andhra Pradesh, 3rd BCE]

Srinivasan[19] observes that the crouched figure probably of a yaksha on whom Rudra is standing has fish shaped feet and his ears have shape of a conch. These symbols she connects with water and deduces that the yaksa might have been associated with the aquatic realm hence suggesting the linga is emerging from deep waters. Sarma hypothesizes that the lingapitha within the vedika stood in the open and was worshipped much like a vrksacaitya (caitya with a sacred tree) in antiquity.Sivalinga surrounded by a vedika was worshipped in open usually under a tree can be seen from depictions.A relief panel from Mathura (Mathura museum no 3625) shows a plain realistic looking linga, quite similar to the gudimallam linga, being worshipped under a tree.Numismatic evidences too confirms the presence of free-standing lingas closely associated with trees.On the obverse of Allan’s variety e, of class 1 Ujjaini coppers, the linga is seen between two different trees in railings.

A free standing plain linga quite like the one in the above mentioned relief has been found at Kankali Tila (Mathura) and is now housed in the State Museum, Lucknow. It is again realistically carved in red sand stone featuring the nut with the central fold and is encircled with a wide band.This linga is 38. 2””*10. 2”” above ground and has a rectangular socle intended for insertion into the ground.

Free standing Siva Linga
[Illustration 48. Free standing Siva Linga,Pre Kusana, Kankali tila, Mathura 1st BCE]

Hence in this first phase of Saiva iconography we see huge lingas depicted like a realistic looking phallus with no reference to yoni pitha. This exclusion of feminine element so deep rooted in later Saivism I feel downplays the role of linga as a fertility symbol. On the contrary it might be signifying the abstainance and channelizing of sexual energy into spiritual energy which only an ascetic order could be propagating. Brhat-Samhita (59. 19) mentions that the Brahmins, besmeared with ashes,evidently the Pasupatas (according to Utpala)would set up Sivalinga.

The dangers which a woman can lead to is elaborated in a shocking manner in the Pancharthabhasya[20] and woman is openly declared to be the gateway to hell.

The inclination of the mind towards women is the rope for tying. The meritorious go severing it but the bad men do not forsake it. One goes out of a village for woman, commercial dealings are also due to woman, woman is the source of all evils and wise should never embrace her. She, whom people regard as woman, is poison, fire, sword, and more clearly a terror and maya (illusion) incarnate. The fools and not the learned revel in the body, full of impurities and worms, foul smelling by nature, unclean and the storehouse of urine and excretion an ephemeral. One gets maddened at the sight of a woman and not by drinking wine; so one must shun a woman whose sight creates madness from a distance. The world is bitten by the snake in the shape of the sex-organ of woman, which has its mouth cast downward, which moves in between the thighs and which cannot be controlled by all scriptures. The entire world is blinded by a woman kike the foot step of the female deer, having hairs, ugly appearance, foul smell and bad skin. Woman is like burning flame and man is like a pitcher of clarified butter. Those who are attached to women are lost and those who stand controlled, go to heaven. As the fire,fed with fuel manifests great light, so the light of one’s self is manifested by the control over senses. Patience lies in celibacy, penance lies in celibacy and those brahmanas who practice celibacy go to heaven.Those brahmanas who practice celibacy drink milk, honey and soma juice with ambrosia and become immortal after death. Thus celibacy is established in the Tantra.

The idea that both male and female principles are present in the body of Siva is represented emphatically by enchanting ardhanarisvar aspect of Siva. The early depictions of this icon are mainly found attached to the linga and the figure is shown with one breast on the left side and is also ithyphallic. The discovery of male and female in one body has been advocated by various tantric texts and was followed profusely by Natha Siddhas of medieval times. In this context the 33 cm high linga of late Kusana period with the image of ardhnarisvar carved out of red mottled sand stone,found from Mathura and presently in Pritzker collection Chicago provides an important example.The left hand rests on a feminine looking waist and right hand seems to be in abhayamudra.The elegance and grace which is the watchword for later Ardhnarisvara images can be seen here too.The slight bent in the body lends extensive charm to the well executed image. But it is the ithyphallic nature of the sculpture that points at the tantric references about arousing ones feminine side.

The importance of women is stressed upon in some verses from KM which at first look might be contradicting the tenets of the system but on closer observation it is realized that the texts like Mahatmyas were generally written for laity and thus would not suggest same set of rules which apply to an ascetic aspirant.

Bharya nama nrnam bhadre! Sarvakamarthsadhini
Yashsriyah kamyukta putrada kulavardini
Bharyahino vishalaksi! Kuto bhadrani pashyati?[21]

O blissful one, a wife fulfills all her husbands desires and is responsible for him getting fame, prosperity and sons. She is the one responsible for maintaining the family lineage

O large eyed lady! How can a man without a wife think of being happy?

Gopinath Rao[22] has compared Gudimallam Linga to the manusha Linga of Bhita dated to 1st BCE, presently in Lucknow Museum. It has been described in detail for the first time by Banerji (Rao 63).Right below the heads is carved a phallus is shallow relief which may or may not have been the part of actual schema.To the left of this is an inscription which reads as follows[23] :

Khajahutiputanam (im)go Patithapito Vasethi-Putena Nagasirina piyayta(m)d(e) vata

(The linga of the sons of Khajahuti was dedicated by Nagasiri the son of Vasethi. May the deity be pleased)

Manusi Linga from Bhita
[Illustration 49. Manusi Linga from Bhita, 1st BCE, Lucknow Museum]

Banerjea[24] identifies in this form the earliest form of Sadasiva with the urdvaretas (Ithyphallic). the great yogi Siva.This inscribed linga of buff sandstone displays an interesting and novel iconographical pattern.The central shaft of the linga is carved into the shape of a two armed male which Srinivasan[25] identifies as Isana, (urddhavamukha,)and who is shown with long matted hair not very unlike later images of Daksinamurti Siva. He holds a kamandalu in the left hand and right hand seems to have been raised in abhayamudra.Below the bust of this central figure, four different faces in four cardinal directions can be seen carved on the linga shaft. It seems to have been a linga of a Panchmukhalinga variety but it’s curious iconography raises interesting questions.The importance given to the figure of Isana, the topmost face of Siva as compared to rest of the four faces is unmistakable.

Pasupata-sutra 1. 9 says: “Mahadevasya Daksinamurteh” and to explain Kaundinya[26] writes:

Here daksina is in the sense of a quarter or direction. The Sun divides the quarters.The quarters again divide the image. The image here means that form which the Sadhaka, seated near on the right side of the Lord with his face turned north realizes and which is characterized as Vrsa-dvaja (the bull symboled) as Sulapani (with trident in his hand) as Mahakala and as Urdhava-lingaetc. Or the people go the temple of Mahadeva and so there the Sadhaka should worship. The Daksinamurti being taken, the images on the east,north and west are to be discarded.

The last line clearly suggests the importance of Daksinamurti, i.e Siva in form of a teacher in the Lakulisa-Pasupata order. Vidya, knowledge being of prime importance for aspirants of this system the teaching aspect is to be focused on.

Pasupata-sutra 5. 42 says: “Isanah Sarva-vidyanam” literally menaing that Isana is the lord of all vidyas. Kaundinya explains the sutra as:

Here he is called Isana because of his lordship. Here the cause is stated when Isana is explained by his power of lordship.Isana means the Lord, the creator.Now-whose Lord is this? The answer is–He is the Lord of all. The word “sarva” means all without excluding any of the brances of learning. He is the master of all branches of learning,meant for the accomplishment of virtue, wealth, desire and emacipation.

Regarding the complex nature of Isana, Rupamandana[27] says:

Sadhyovamanatataghoram tatpurusamcaturmukham/
Pancmanctathsanam yoginamapyagocaram//

This verse suggests that the Isana face is even beyond the understanding of yogis.

Interestingly here both forms Daksinamurti and Isana are linked with disseminating knowledge to their worshippers and in former sutra it is clear that the sadhaks have to concentrate on this form of Siva to attain knowledge. In the process they have to “discard” the other forms. Here discard has to be understood in the sense of not being concentrated upon. It could probably mean at this stages aspirants were not supposed to worship Siva in his various lilamurtis i.e Kalyanasundara murti, Gangadhar murti, Siva playing chausar and so on. The focus had to be completely on learning as it required one-pointed devotion.

Such strict directions about what to worship in what form and also the earlier passage on women reminds one of Plato’s writings in Republic where he declares artists to have corrupting influence on the people and thus bans them from his Utopia. Artists he feels represent an immoral world which can lure people away from reason and divert their attention from essential work.

Another very important evidence which connects the worship of Sivalinga strongly with this order is the Mathura Pillar Inscription of Chandra Gupta II dated to 380 CE which provides extremely information fro the date of Lakulisa which has been already discussed in detail. It records that Uditacarya, a Pasupata teacher of Kusika lineage established two images called Kapilesvara and Upamitesvara in the Gurvayatana. D.R Bhandarkar[28] who edited this important inscription opines that Upamita and Kapila who seem to have been great adepts in Pasupata passed away like yogins and were believed to have merged with Siva, so they are recorded in this inscription as Bhagavat in whose commemoration Uditacarya established two Lingas in the “Teacher’s shrine”. He further states the term “guru-pratima-yutau” in line number 10 in place of the illegible space in the inscription

Lines 9 and 10
10—guruvayatane guru………………pratisthapitau

Explaining the import of the inscription he writes,”apparently the representation shows as if Upamita and Kapila were standing each with a Linga on the head”.Sircar too seconds this interpretation (I.H.Qly vol18,p27 ff). Moreover this inscription also contains an injunction to the Acaryas and worshippers of Mahesvara to take charge of the Lingas and worship without fear.Now from all the visual repertoire linked with Siva Linga we don”t come across images of preceptors bearing a linga on their head but we do find a vast array of Mukhalingas from various parts of the country. Could the inscription be reffering to two Eka-Mukhalingas established in the special shrine for the demised gurus? In that case the evidences might not only point at wide acceptance and importance of the Linga symbol in this order but also suggest this order had a major role to play in formulating the new semoitics related to Lingas. Could it be this order which popularized the philosophical aspect of Sivalinga among people? Could it be the Acaryas of this order who sheathed this symbolic form in Vedic philosophical garb?

K.C. Panigrahi[29] notes that (p 639) similar tradition is still being followed in Bharati Matha in Bhubaneswar, as a result of which a guruvayatana has sprung up within its compound. There are now as many as 15 miniature temples of sandstone and laterite each of which contains a linga. Besides a number of lingas are found in open spaces and niches made in the temple and the Mahant of the matha with whom Panigrahi interacted believes that there are many more lingas lying buried in the kitchen garden.

Several linga types are known from Bhita and Mathura regions. An Eka Mukhalinga of the Sunga period is found from Mathura. A figure of Siva against a pillar of the pre-Kushana phase is now in the Philadelphia Museum. R. C. Agrawal reported a similar linga from Gamri (Bharatpur, Rajasthan). These attest to the popularity of the Linga worship in Mathura, Ujjaini and Madhyadesa. Lingas on raised brick platforms (arghapithas) with no pranala arrangement indicate that abhishekha ritual has not yet come to vogue. The Linga pithas under (Sthalavriksha or Yaksha Sadam) and in open were found vividly among the sculptural depictions dated to Kushana and post Kushana periods in Mathura, Taxila, and Ujjain.

Brick temples with Linga- pithas are found in the various Satavahana sites of Deccan (2nd-4th centuries A.D.) Ter in Maharastra, Aihole in Karnataka and more extensively at Nagarjunakonda.

Sarma[30] observes,

“The Kshatrapas were devout worshippers of Siva and Lakulisa. Several Linga shrines at the famous Kayavarohana (Karvan in Gujarat) and Saurashtra mark the growing of Lakulisa-Pasupata”.

Footnotes and references:


Srinivasan Doris Meth, Significance and Scope of Pre-Kusana Saivite Iconogrphy, in Meister M Ed DOS p.33


Rgveda-Samhita Srimat Sayanacharya virchita bhasya-sameksa Ed. by N.S Sontakke, Published by Vaidika Samsodhana Mandala, Pune, 1972


Srinivasan p.36


P. Banerjee, "Some aspects of the early history of Saivism", IAC 14, 1965,p. 215-231


Bagchi P.C tr. Pe Aryan and Pre Dravadian in India by Sylvain Levi, J Przyluski and J. Bloch, Calcutta, 1937 p.66


Svetasvatara Upanisad, Gita Press, p.123


Caraka as quoted by Srinivasan p.41


Buddhacarita of Asvaghosa Ibid 42


Gonda, J. Visnuism and Sivaism: A Comparison. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1976 p,42


Mahabharata, Sauptika Parvan 10.17


Srinivasan p.41


Dange S.A, “Sexual Symbolism from the Vedic ritual, Delhi,1979 p 88


Mahabharata, Vanaparava, Kirata Parvan


Chakraborti Haripada, “Pasupata Sutram with Panchartha Bhasya of Kaundinya,1969, Calcutta p.59


Patel H.S. Ed. Shri Kayavarohan Tirth no Itihas, Ahmedabad, 1964


Shah U.P, “Lakulisa: Saivite Saint, in Meister M DOS p.98


Jirnoddhara-dasakam by Nigamajnanadeva as quoted in Gopinath Rao, T.A, Elements of Hindu Iconography, 4 Vols, Madras, 1916


Kamikagama as quoted in Gopinath Rao, T.A, Elements of Hindu Iconography, 4 Vols, Madras,


Srinivasan, p.37


Chakraborti p.66


Patel p.24


Rao Gopinath p.63


Rao Gopinath p.63


Banerjea J.N, Banerjea J. N. Religion in Art and Archaeology (Vaishnavism and Saivism).Lucknow: The Upper India Publishing House Ltd, 1968, p.459


Srinivasan p.35


Chakraborti p.64


Rupamandana as quoted by Pathak V.S. Pathak, V.S. History of Saiva Cults in Northern India (from inscriptions 700 AD to 1200 AD). Varanasi: Tara Printing Works,1960


Bhandarkar D.R.,ed and trans Mathura Pillar Inscription of Chandragupta II, G.E 61, EI XXI, 1931-


Panigrahi K.C., Panigrahi K.C, Sculptural Representation of Lakulisa and other Pasupata Teachers, Journal of Indian History, Vol-38, April 1960


Sarma.I.K, The Development of early Saiva Art and Architecture,Sandeep Prakashan, 2004

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