The popular belief is that the Shiva Lingam represents the phallus or the virile organ, the emblem of the generative power or principle in nature. This is not only a serious mistake, but also a grave blunder. In the post -Vedic period, the Linga became symbolical of the generative power of the Lord Shiva. Linga is the differentiating mark. It is certainly not the sex-mark. You will find in the Linga Purana: Pradhanam prakritir yadahur- lingamuttamam; Gandhavarnarasairhinam sabda-sparsadi-varjitam — The foremost Linga which is primary and is devoid of smell, colour, taste, hearing, touch, etc., is spoken of as Prakriti (Nature). Linga means ‘mark’, in Sanskrit. It is a symbol which points to an inference. When you see a big flood in a river, you infer that there had been heavy rains the previous day. When you see smoke, you infer that there is fire. This vast world of countless forms is a Linga of the Omnipotent Lord. The Shiva Linga is a symbol of Lord Shiva. When you look at the Linga, your mind is at once elevated and you begin to think of the Lord. Lord Shiva is really formless. He has no form of his own and yet all forms are His forms. All forms are pervaded by Lord Shiva. Every form is the form or Linga of Lord Shiva. There is a mysterious power or indescribable Sakti in the Linga, to induce concentration of the mind. Just as the mind is focussed easily in crystal - gazing, so also the mind attains one-pointedness, when it looks at the Linga. That is the reason why the ancient Rishis and the seers of India have prescribed Linga for being installed in the temples of Lord Shiva. Shiva Linga speaks to you in the unmistakable language of silence: “I am one without a second, I am formless”. Pure, pious souls only can understand this language. A curious passionate, impure foreigner of little understanding or intelligence says sarcastically: “Oh, the Hindus worship the phallus or sex organ. They are ignorant people. They have no philosophy”. When a foreigner tries to learn Tamil or Hindustani language, he first tries to pick up some vulgar words. This is his curiosity nature. Even so, the curious foreigner tries to find out some defects in the worship of symbol. Linga is only the outward symbol of the formless being, Lord Shiva, who is the indivisible, all-pervading, eternal, auspicious, ever-pure, immortal essence of this vast universe, who is the undying Soul seated in the chambers of your heart, who is your Indweller, innermost Self or Atman, and who is identical with the Supreme Brahman. A Shiva Linga consists of three parts, the lowest of which is the Brahma- Pitha, the middle one, the Vishnu-Pitha and the uppermost one, the Shiva- Pitha. Some are Svayambhu-lingas, some are Narmadesvaras. There are twelve Jyotirlingas and five Pancha Bhuta Lingas in India. The twelve Jyotir-lingas are: Kedarnath, Kasi Visvanath, Somanath, Baijnath, Ramesvar, Ghrusnesvar, Bhimasankar, Mahakala, Mallikarjuna, Amalesvar, Nagesvar and Tryambakesvar. The five Pancha Bhuta Lingas are: Kalahastisvar, Jambukesvar, Arunachalesvar, Ekambaresvar of Kanjivaram and Nataraja of Chidambaram. The temple of Lord Mahalinga at Tiruvidaimarudur known also as Madhyarjuna is regarded as the great Shiva temple of South India. Spatikalinga is also a symbol of Lord Shiva. This is prescribed for Aradhana or worship of Lord Shiva. It is made up of quartz. It has no colour of its own, but takes on the colour of the substances which come in contact with it. It represents the Nirguna Brahman or the attributeless Supreme Self or formless and attributeless Shiva. For a sincere devotee, the Linga is not a block of stone. It is all radiant Tejas or Chaitanya. The Linga talks to him, makes him shed profuse tears, produces horripilation and melting of heart, raises him above body- consciousness and helps to commune with the Lord and attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Lord Rama worshipped the Shiva Linga at Ramesvar. Ravana, the learned scholar, worshipped the golden Linga. What a lot of mystic Sakti there should be in the Linga! May you all attain the formless Shiva through the worship of the Linga, the symbol of Lord Shiva which helps concentration of mind and which serves as a prop for the mind to lean upon in the beginning for the neophytes! Shiva Linga is Chinmaya. The light of consciousness manifesting out of SadaShiva is, in reality, the Shivalinga. From Him all the moving and unmoving creations take their origin. He is the Linga or cause of everything. In Him, the whole world merges itself finally. The Shiva Purana says: “Pitham Ambamayam Sar vam Shiva lingascha Chinmayam.” The support or Pitham of all is Prakriti or Parvati, and Linga is Chinmaya Purusha, the effulgent light which is self - luminous. Union of Prakriti or Parvati, and Purusha or Shivalinga is the cause of the world. In Sanatkumara-samhita of the Shiva Purana, Lord Shiva says: “O Parvati, daughter of mountain, there is none dearer to Me than the man who worships Me in the Linga, knowing that Linga is the root-cause of everything and knowing the world to be Linga-maya or Chaitanya-ma ya.” The Linga is like an egg. It represents the Brahmanda (cosmic egg). Whatever that is contained in the Brahmanda is in the Linga. The whole world is the form of Lord Shiva. The world is a Linga. Linga also is the form of Lord Shiva. Linga signifies that the creation is effected by the union of Prakriti and Purusha. It means Laya, Jnana, Vyapya, Prakasa, Arathaprakasa, Samarthya and the symbol which denotes the above meaning. Linga means the place of dissolution for the world and all beings. It signifies also Satya, Jnana and Ananta — Truth, knowledge and Infinity. It indicates that Lord Shiva is endowed with all-pervading and self-luminous nature. Linga is a symbol which makes us understand the various kinds of Artha which are indicated above. There are six Lingas, viz., Anda Linga, Pinda Linga, SadaShiva Linga, Atma Linga, Jnana Linga and Shiva Linga. These Lingas are taken to mean the characteristics by which the Anda (the Universe), Pinda (the body), SadaShiva, etc., are to be recognised and understood. The union of Linga with Yoni is a representation of the Eternal Union between the static and the dynamic aspects of the Absolute Reality. This represents the Eternal Spiritual Communion of the paternal and the maternal principles from which all the phenomenal diversities have originated. This is an eternal communion of the Changeless Being and the Dynamic Power or Sakti from which all changes flow. Further, the lower sexual propensities in the aspirants are eradicated by this sublime conception. The spiritualisation and divinisation of Linga and Yoni, helps the aspirants to free themselves from sexual thoughts. All base thoughts gradually vanish by entertaining this lofty idea. All sexual relations in this world are spiritualised as the manifestations of the ultimate Creative Principle, of the eternal Self-enjoyment and Self-multiplication of Lord Shiva in and through His Power or Sakti. The union of Linga with Yoni symbolises the creation of this universe by Lord Shiva in conjunction with His Sakti or Power. The so-called educated men of the modern age have no spiritual insight and philosophical penetration. Hence, they criticise the union of Linga with Yoni as immoral and obscene, owing to their extreme ignorance and lack of enquiry, deep thinking and Satsanga or association with sages. This is highly deplorable and lamentable indeed! May Lord grant wisdom to these poor ignorant souls!