Catholic Shivlings: The Real Presence entombed in a pagan phallic symbol

SEPTEMBER 15, 2019


Catholic Shivlings: The Real Presence entombed in a pagan phallic symbol


In Karnataka, a church that is also a temple

By Rishikesh Bahadur
Desai, July 28, 2018 – EXTRACT

Hindus attend mass at the Snanika Arulappanavara Virakta Mutt in Belagavi that has a Siva lingam, Jesus and Mary idols



About 28 km from Belagavi in north Karnataka, in a picturesque village called Deshanur, stands the impressive stone building of Snanika Arulappanavara Virakta Mutt, or the Church of Saint John the Baptist. The structure, built in the Banarasi Nagara style, is seen as an example of syncretism: it has a Siva lingam, flanked by the idols of Jesus and Mary. The Jesuit priest who runs the Church, Menino Gonsalves alias Sri Menino Swamy, wears saffron robes and a rudraksha mala with a cross. He performs pooja with aarathi during mass, and claims to be an Ayurvedic healer. He has visited Rishikesh and Haridwar and also the Vatican.

The assimilation began with the founding father of the Mutt, Armando Alvares, who called himself Sri Animananda Swamy.

August 5, 2018 – Translated from Telugu

In a certain village in Karnataka there’s a temple where a shiv linga and image of the Sacred Heart and the mother Mary are placed and venerated all at the same time. It seems that Armando Alvares, a Goan moved to this village and has become the priest in that “temple church”. He is seen wearing a cross as well as a rudraksha mala. Armando has changed his name to Animananda Swamy. There is another priest in the Church by the name Menino Swamy (original name: Menino Gonsalves). People marry in the ritual they request for. There is no push for any religious conversion here.

A September 13, 2019, Times of India story has pictures of the saffron-robed Bishop of Belgaum Derek Fernandes and his clerics saying a syncretised “Mass” before the Siva lingam.

Since Armando, a
according to another news story, erected the temple-church four decades ago, Bishop Fernandes’ predecessors have, most certainly, given their approval of the depravity if not also offered “Mass” there.
Menino Gonsalves is also a Jesuit.






A Tabernacle in the Shape of a Hindu Symbol Traditional Catholic site

February 25, 2007


Shilananda SJ and his lingam-shaped “tabernacle”


Spanish Jesuit Fr. Peter Julia (actually, it’s Julio), above, became a priest in 1960. In 1966 he was assigned to missionary work in Nasik, India. There, Peter, who changed his name to Shilananda and adopted Hindu customs, said he found “the ideal place for blending Christian faith with Indian culture” (“Mixing Religions: Cross on Shiv Ling,” The Week magazine, Oct. 20, 1996).
In Nasik he also built a church in a shape inspired by the most common symbol of the Hindu deity Shiva, the Shiva Linga, below. The Tabernacle where he keeps the Holy Sacrament has this same form, above.

Now then, the Shiva Linga or Shivling is an unequivocal symbol of Shiva. Its origin has many interpretations [Wikipedia], including the one of the Tantras which considers it to be the symbol of Shiva’s male organ – check here.

If you need more confirmation of this interpretation you may check this link, but be aware that there are obscene figures.

It is quite impressive that, to our knowledge, neither the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship nor the Society of Jesus has forbidden such blasphemous experiments.




The Week, October 20, 1996. Shilananda SJ and his lingam-shaped “church”



Yes, Your Interpretation of the Blasphemy Is Correct Traditional Catholic site

February 28, 2007


Tradition In Action correspondence desk received from India a confirmation of our comments about the Tabernacle and a church built in Nasik, India, by Fr. Peter Julia
(Julio), SJ.
Our reader sent us a self-explanatory picture and caption from the Indian English written newspaper The Herald, published on February 16, 2007.
We reproduce it on the first row, below.
To make the symbol clearer, we post pictures of the Shiva Linga in other Hindu temples, second row below.


The Herald, February 16, 2007




An extract from page 65 of my October 2005 report CATHOLIC ASHRAMS



in Sinnar, Maharashtra [Founded 1988]

of The Week October 20, 1996, carried a full page colour picture of Swami Shilananda in his temple at Nasik in Maharashtra with the caption “Mixing Religions- Cross on Shivling, Christian Priests Worship the Hindu Way. Shilananda too is a Spanish Jesuit, ordained in 1960. Formerly Peter Julia, [both Peter and Shila mean ‘rock’] he had come to India in 1948, aged 23. He donned saffron in 1962. In 1968 he started the ashram in Nashik city, and later moved it to its present location near Nashik.

On the ‘OM’ and Shivling:

The photograph shows Shilananda in sannyasi attire worshiping before a lingamshaped tabernacle that is adorned with a cross and an OM. The Sanjivan or ‘True Life’ temple with a small cross on top is styled as a Shiv shrine. Even the tabernacle with the Holy Eucharist … is in the form of a Shivling. ‘The power of life comes from God’, says Shilananda, ‘Shiva is the most ancient God of India, and the Shivling is a symbol of life-giving power’, reports The Week. What about conversions? ‘I have not baptised a single person’, he says. The fusion of religions is as simple as the Word, says Shilananda. ‘OM expresses divinity through sound. It contains all sounds. In St. John’s gospel it is written I am alpha and Omega. So you can say Christ is OM. No problem.


Abhishiktananda [Fr. Henri Le Saux] of Shantivanam, Saccidananda ashram, writing under the pseudonym Vanya in Guru and Disciple, tells of his experience in the chapter ‘Alone in the Temple‘ of being alone all night enveloped in the mystery of the Presence of the supreme symbol of the Shivalinga. He continues, Shiva is everywhere present in his Linga, wholly present in each point of the Linga… Nothing can divide Shiva from the Linga in which he manifests himself …Shiva is wholly present in the Shivalinga, in the Linga that stands in the temple… which is entirely Shiva and in which Shiva is all… No one has understood the secret of the Shivalinga so long as he has not entered into Shiva himself, who is the heart, the beyond, and also the whole of the Shivalinga… Shiva is completely present in himself and completely present in his Linga, his sign, his manifestation… Le Saux continues in this vein for SIX whole pages [41-46].







The Symbolism of Hindu Gods and Rituals

By A. Parthasarathy, page 108

“The Infinite Reality is beyond the reach of the finite equipments of man. The Siva Linga is an indirect means of communicating the Reality. Linga in Sanskrit means ‘symbol’. Siva Linga is a symbol of Siva.”


Hindu Rites, Rituals, Customs and Traditions

By Prem P. Bhalla, Pustak Mahal, January 2006, page 36

“What is the significance of making offerings to Shiva and the Shivaling?

Shiva is another name for Mahesh, the third god of the Hindu triad. The Shivaling symbolises the phallus, which is worshipped as a symbol of Shiva. All people aspire to have a married life like that of Shiva and Parvati, therefore the great emphasis on making offerings to them.

“Mercury is known as ‘parad’ or ‘para’ in Hindi. It is also known as ‘Shivdhatu’, literally ‘Shiva’s metal’. In reality it refers to Shiva’s semen. Mercury has been equated with this, and is especially revered. Shivalings made from a variety of stones are held in great reverence. However, religious writers have equated a Shivaling made of mercury with Shiva. It is said to possess divine qualities. Whenever a deity is made ceremoniously with a combination of mercury, it is said to be very effective. It is believed that whoever offers prayers to the mercury Shivaling will be blessed and considered as having offered prayers to all Shivalings in the universe.

“These blessings are equivalent to those from hundreds of ‘Ashwamedh yagyas’. Even the blessings gained from giving millions of cows in charity cannot equal this. Giving gold in charity also does not qualify one for as many blessings. In homes where prayers are offered regularly to the mercury Shivaling, all kinds of comforts are available. Success reigns there as Shiva resides in these homes. In such places, ‘vaastu’ shortcomings will be overlooked. Offering prayers every Monday to the mercury Shivaling can also ward off tantrik spells.

“In Shiv Mahapuran, Shiv has said: Whatever blessings are showered upon you on making offerings to millions of different Shivalings, these can be multiplied manifold when you personally offer prayers to the mercury Shivaling. By a mere touch of the mercury Shivaling one can achieve salvation.”


The World’s Religions

By R. Hammer, A Lion Handbook, 1982, pages 187, 173

“The third person of the Hindu trimurti is Shiva… The phallus or the lingam is his symbol…

“The roots of Hinduism go back thousands of years… The earliest evidence we have are from excavations in the Punjab and Indus valley… from the third millennium B.C… There are figures of a male god… in the position of a yogi… the original form of the great god Shiva… The fertility symbols, the linga and the yoni [representing the male and female sexual organs], both still present in popular Hinduism, have been found.”


The Wordsworth Dictionary of Beliefs and Religions

Edited by Rosemary Goring, 1992, page 301

Linga: The principal symbolic representation of the Hindu deity Shiva, a phallic emblem. The female equivalent is the yoni, the shaped image of the female genitalia.”


Yoga in Christianity

By Albrecht Frenz, The Christian Literature Society, 1986, page 1

Writing about the origins of yoga, this Lutheran pastor-exponent of yoga says, “An ascetic in the yoga position is pictured on a seal dating from around 2000 B.C. His member is erect, his head is decorated with horns… fertility cult and ascetism go together like poles. This yogi very probably represents Shiva.”


In Tune with the Cosmic Dance; Lingashtakam; The Night of Shiva

Cover Story, Rishimukh, March 2005

The phallus symbol representing Shiva is called the lingam. It is in this form that he is worshipped in temples. Gurudev’s explanation of the lingam goes beyond the physical appearances: Linga is gender. There are three genders- neutral, male and female. The Divine is beyond the three genders. So he is called Eklinga- unisex, one gender. Beyond the body, beyond the mind… that self is only one, it is Eklinga.

Lingashtakam: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is adored by Brahma, Vishnu and other Gods…

This four-verse prayer is repeated, with variations, eight times in Sanskrit and in English over two pages of the periodical.


The Deccan Chronicle of 18th April, 2006

“The Shaivites believe that Shiva has manifested himself on earth whenever his devotees have invited him, and that his divine shadow resides in that spot eternally in the form of a Linga or Jyotirlinga, the Linga of light. The Jyotirlingas are like other lingas. However, Shaivites believe that a person who has attained spirituality can see them as columns of fire piercing through the earth. Although Shiva is nirguna (without any form), he appeared as Jyotirlinga at twelve spots, and there are temples of great divine importance at these places.



The twelve temples are Somnath in Gujarat, Dwarka in Gujarat, Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain, Sree Sailam in Kurnool, Kedarnath in the Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Kashi Vishvanath in Varanasi, Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, Grishneshwar in Ellora, Vaidyanath in Deogarh, Tryambakeshwar in Nashik, and Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh.

These twelve temples are considered to be very powerful, and recitation of their names daily in the morning and evening is said to cleanse the devotee of all sins.”


The Deccan Chronicle of 6th May, 2006

“Closely linked to Shiva, the river Narmada is… as holy as the Ganga and the Yamuna. The river, according to Puranic sources, was sent to earth by order of Shiva and is said to be so holy that just by looking at it can expiate sins of a human being… The Narmada is also a source of Banalingas or Narmadeshwar Lingas, smooth Lingam-shaped stones that are considered very auspicious for use in worship. These Lingams are also known as Svayambhu Lingas (self-created Lingams). These are gathered only once in a year near the source of the Narmada and are considered to be an example of the union of the female and male energies in the form of a Shiva Linga. The confluence of the rivers Kaveri and Narmada at Omkareshwar… is the site of one of the Jyotirlingas.”


Death of a Guru

By Giacinto Butindaro, August 19, 2010

Lingam – A term used for the phallic emblem of the god Shiva. There is evidence of lingam worship in the Indus valley predating the Aryan invasion. At first ridiculed by the Aryan conquerors, the worship of this erotic symbol was later adopted by them. Although it is associated with fertility cults, Tantrism, and religious rituals involving sexual perversions, the Shiva lingam is a prominent object of worship in almost every Hindu temple, not only those devoted specifically to Shiva.





The following is an extract under “Mahashivratra” from a book Religious Festivals and Rituals (Booklet 7, page 30) published for the “benefit” of the faithful by the Sub-Committee for Inter-Religious Dialogue for Jezu Krist Joionti 2000 of the Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman:

Two stories about the festival are related. In the first account, we are told how Brahma and Vishnu “saw the Linga in the middle of the flame and heard a voice uttering ‘OM’. Vishnu and Brahma realized that they were in the presence of Shiva, and that he was the real Supreme Lord. That was the moment of their enlightenment.”

In the second account, a hunter plucks the leaves of “a ‘bel’ tree (sacred to Shiva),” a few of which “fell on a Shiva Linga (‘pindi’).” Thus, “on the Siva Linga he had offered the ‘bel’ leaves.”


Priests, especially those in the heretical Catholic ashram movement, are endeared to the Lingam of Siva (we have already seen the Sinnar ashram of Jesuit Fr. Swami Shilananda on pages 2 to 4:

Extract from my Oct. 2005 report CATHOLIC ASHRAMS (

Fr. Monchanin said of Abhishiktananda, Fr. Le Saux has returned from a stay of two months at Arunachala, the sacred place of Hinduism, a triangular mountain which according to myth is the tejolinga (fire lingam of Siva) where Ramana Maharshi lives, and from where he has brought back an essay which moved me… I believe that no one has yet gone as far in the spiritual understanding of Hinduism, an understanding which requires a rethinking of the Holy Trinity and of Creation. [Letter to Edouard Duperray, 30/12/1953]


Other extracts (page numbers in brackets) from CATHOLIC ASHRAMS taken from the Shantivanam Ashram’s Golden Jubilee (2000) souvenir Saccidanandaya Namah (published only in 2002):

Fr. Thomas Matus OSB relates that he, Fr. Bede Griffiths OSB and Fr.
visited a small Hindu temple dedicated to Sri Murugan the Boy-God, very popular in these parts. Some of the images inside were atrociously similar to the worst Catholic kitsch.” [161] The day before my initiation into sannyasa, I made a pilgrimage to… Ayermalai, a Shiva temple. [See page 4]. He explains the approach to the temple as having seven porches representing the seven cakras
[see pages 17-18, 42, 45, 47, 49, 56, 58, 68] or centers of consciousness in the yogi’s ‘subtle body. We stopped to rest under the one that corresponds to the manipura, the navel cakra… When we came to the bas-relief of the teaching Shiva, I was strangely repelled by the smile. I mentally asked the image, ‘Who are you?’ There was no answer…

When I entered the first hall of the temple, I was overwhelmed by a sense of enormous psychic power and of an alien presence in the place. I tried to concentrate… but fear kept rushing up at me, and with it the sense of having wandered into a different world, where I was definitely out of place and out of my depth… We came at last to the holy of holies. In this windowless chamber was the lingam… A young priest uttered a prayer before the lingam, honoring it with a camphor flame in a dish; then he offered us ashes from the dish to place on our foreheads in three horizontal stripes, signifying the three saktis
or energies of Shiva… At the
lingam chamber the odor of incense and of oily smoke nauseated me. I did not put the ash on my forehead.



I quickly went outside and leaned against a wall… The religion of the temple on Ayermalai is alien not only because it is ‘non-Christian’ but also because it is a religion of hereditary priesthood.

A sannyasi is not a priest; a brahmin who takes sannyasa renounces his priesthood… The meaning of my priesthood bears only a tenuous analogy to that of the brahmins of Ayermalai. So I had no business in that temple, and in a way I have no business in any temple.” [170-172]

One of the Europeans with them explained Matus’ negative reactions to him: “Whatever your intellectual knowledge of Hinduism, you have obviously not come to terms with it emotionally.” [172] Later, one Brother Mani of the Little Brothers of Jesus understood my feeling of being repulsed by the temple of Ayermalai. [180].

(Page nos. in blue colour within square brackets [] refer to the contents of the CATHOLIC ASHRAMS report.)


Everything spiritual [Christian] in Fr. Matus was ‘repelled’ or ‘repulsed’ by his close encounter in the ‘alien’ temple. He sensed ‘fear’ and nauseation, ‘a sense of enormous psychic power and of an alien presence in the place’.

He experienced it even more pronouncedly as an anointed Catholic priest who engaged himself in making the seven stations of the Way of the Chakras. Christians in the Ministry of Deliverance would give us a more authoritative explanation for Matus’ inner spirit’s involuntary rejection of what he had exposed himself to, than the psychological one offered by his European friend. But Matus believes that it was because of the “Americanized… Hinduism that I absorbed from Yogananda’s writings, [which] colored not only my ‘intellectual knowledge’ of India’s wisdom but also my personal religious sentiments. It continues to color my understanding of the Catholic faith. [172]


Despite this repelling encounter with ‘alien’ deities in a Siva temple, Fr. Thomas Matus journeys next to Mount Arunachala, to the Ramana Ashram of Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvannamalai, also dedicated to the worship of Siva, which is governed by the spirit of Maharshi, as no guru has replaced him since his death 34 years earlier.

Matus writes, In the main ashram temple, regular worship is conducted daily, mostly the chanting of Vedas and the clockwise circumambulation of Sri Ramana’s tomb. [His] life as an ascetic began in his seventeenth year with a near-death experience… Having seen through the illusions of the skin-encapsulated ego, he left home and proceeded to the distant sanctuary of a temple in the shadow of Mount Arunachala. Upon reaching the shrine, he entered the holy of holies, embraced the lingam and cried ‘My Father, my Father’… Seeing the mountain, I kept seeing Ramana Maharshi’s face, or rather, I kept feeling that somehow I was merging with him, as if I were seeing his face from within.” [178]


More extracts from the file on CATHOLIC ASHRAMS:

The Arunachaleshwara temple in the North Arcot district of Tamil Nadu, 185 km from Chennai is one of Hinduism holiest sites as it has one of the Panchalingas of the deity Shiva. “It was at the foot of Arunachala that Somerset Maugham was inspired to write the book The Razor’s Edge, a novel attempting to recount a psychic experience through which he had passed while at the Ramanashram,” says AVS Rao, Temples of Tamil Nadu, 2001, page 243.



An Inter-Religious Dialogue Workshop held at Kalady was attended by 27 Maryknoll lay missioners, brothers, sisters, and priests, coming in from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and the US, 16-25 November 2000.

Extracts from their report: The days at the center begin with a two-session meditation at 6:30 AM. We gather in the meditation center, sitting on the floor, and Fr. Sebastian gives some guiding principles for contemplative style meditation. The group sits in silence for 30 minutes, and then there is a ten-minute break followed by another 30-minute session. In the first input session, The content today centered on a foundation for understanding Hinduism.

Fr. Sebastian spoke of a spirituality, an awareness of the One, that emerges through symbols into the various religions.

We begin with an experience of the Unity of God but end up with a plurality of religious expressions as the spirituality we experience unfolds according to two streams, the Prophetic/Interpersonal stream (in which God is experienced as outside of and distinct from me) and the Mystical/Trans-Personal stream (in which God is experienced as in me and I in God).The next day, The morning meditation was at sunrise on the river bank with readings from the Vedic scriptures about the dawn.
The following day, a Sunday, At the parish church, the liturgy was described as rather unexciting but afterwards the visitors were invited to a nearby Hindu temple
We were not allowed into the holy of holies but could only walk in a clock-wise direction around the inner building of the temple where the Shiva deity resides… At 10:30 Hindu Swami??? came to speak to us, mainly answering questions we put to him. Both presentations were interesting and quite informative. After lunch we continued discussion with the swami, and then at 4:00 PM we left Sameeksha to visit the swami’s meditation hall and shrine to one of the modern Hindu saints, Sri Sarkana. From there we went to the birthplace shrine and temple of one of the most famous Hindu mystics who is actually from Kalady, the small town where Sameeksha is located. Then we went to a seven-story circular shrine for Sri Sarkana. At 6:00 PM, we drove to another Hindu temple where it had been arranged that we could actually participate in a Hindu ritual, guided by one of the devotees of Shiva who led us around the temple around the linga and the sacred tree and taught us the Sanskrit chants that the pilgrims use there. The day was not over yet, though. Next we arrived at 7:30 PM at the house of Govind Bharathan, an enthusiastic
devotee of Sai Baba whom some Hindus consider an incarnation of Krishna. For the past 30 years, Govind has hosted a “pageant” or ceremony in honor of Sai Baba. It was basically a charismatic-style gathering, especially joyful because they were celebrating Sai Baba’s birthday on 23 November.



The “blended” advaitic experiences of Bede Griffiths and Swami Abhishiktananda

By B. Rakshakanathan


Fr. Rakshakanathan CSC


B. Rakshakanathan CSC
is a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. He is formator of Holy Cross Fathers for more than 25 years at different levels of formation. Having written his doctoral thesis on Sri Ramana Maharishi, Father Nathan is a professor in the Philosophate of the Salesian Fathers at Karunapuram, Andhra Pradesh, India. Being interested in Indian Philosophy, he devotes himself to giving classes on Indian Spirituality and on different techniques of Indian meditation. He is very much involved in the ashram movement in India and in interreligious dialogue. At present he is editing Ashram Aikya Journal.


2.5   Advaitic Experience represented by Shivalinga

Abhishiktananda refers to the shivalinga, one of the most popular Hindu symbols, to explain the advaitic experience.[23] According to him, every human person is a shivalinga, revealing the true nature of reality. The advaitic experience is deeply formless and yet is revealed in form. Shivalinga does the same. Shiva is formless at the deepest level, but manifested in form by the linga. The shivalinga contains both formlessness and form and thus can be said to stand for advaita. He writes:

At the level of thought, nothing can divide Shiva from the linga in which he manifests himself. For this, advaita, non-duality, is the only appropriate word. Not monism, not dualism, but that sheer mystery in which man, without understanding it at all, rediscovers himself in the depth of the heart of God.

Shiva is wholly present in the Shivalinga, in the linga that stands in the temple, in the linga constituted by the universe, in the linga which every creature is. He is there at his heart, he is its heart, but a ‘heart’ which is not one particular part of his linga, either spatially, dialectically or ontologically…a heart which is totally `beyond’, and at the same time and for that very reason most profoundly ‘within’. Being at once absolutely transcendent and absolutely immanent.[24]

It is thus important to discover the heart of everything. Another way of saying this is that one has to find God in everything. This heart of everything is found in shivalinga. According to Abhishiktananda “The Shivalinga is a symbol of God’s having passed into his creation, and equally, of the creature’s having passed, passed away, into God. . . . . The Shivalinga stands at the frontier between form and formlessness, rupa-arupa…” [25]

Shiva represented by the Shivalinga is always present everywhere and is always a-sparsa, a-khanda and a-dvaita. A-sparsa means that he touches nothing and nothing can touch him; he is entirely apart, totally incommunicable and yet communicates always himself. A-khanda means that he is unbroken, whole, indivisible. The Shivalinga thus manifests the advaitic experience of the mystery of God.



The Paganized Catholic Church in India

By Victor J. F. Kulanday, 1985

Paganising the church includes the worship -of Hindu deities as was done at the “temple” of the Bishops National Centre, Bangalore where Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu were all honoured and adored. The extent to which the paganisers can go to worship other gods is proved in Fr Bede Griffiths‘ book “Christ in India”. (Griffiths* is a British Benedictine monk turned sannyasi (hermit) and his full time job is to paganise the Church.) *of Saccidananda Ashram, Shantivanam

In Christ in India, Griffiths writes describing a temple that in it there may be nothing but a lingam, (phallus – representation of the penis) a “bare stone representing the formless divinity, the absolute godhead which is beyond all ‘name and form’. He adds that the penis is the natural symbol of the sacred source of life. Again, once while sitting on the banks of a river he saw a roughly carved lingam and yoni (male and female organs). It seemed to him “a touching expression of the sense of the sacred”, the awareness of the essential holiness of nature and of faith in her generative powers”.

All focus on the generative organs! In Genesis we read that after Eve and Adam had eaten of the forbidden fruit, the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him: Where art thou? And Adam replied: I heard thy voice in the garden and was afraid because I was naked.



Adam and Eve were ashamed to discover they were naked; they sewed leaves together to hide their lingam and yoni. But Bede extols this nakedness and the generative organs as the “essential holiness of nature,” while it was only when Adam and Eve lost their holiness that they became aware of their nakedness!

Once a person dabbles with paganism, the depths to which he can sink is beyond the dreams of sensuality. Bede viewing the male and female sex organs does not turn away but delights in expressing his fantastic ideas on them. A Catholic priest, a religious, a celibate loses all sense of shame since his pursuit is a totally pagan one. Such men like Bede are leading the Church in India to paganism and eventual ruin.



The Shiva Linga – Images of Cosmic Manhood in Art and Mythology Traditional Catholic site

June 2003













This representation of Shiva is known as the lingam. The word lingam literally means a ‘sign’ or distinguishing mark. Thus says the Linga Purana: “The distinctive sign by which one can recognize the nature of something is called lingam.”

There are variations on the birth of this symbol of Lord Shiva, some of which ascribe an esoteric and abstract origin to it. For example when Shiva is visualized as the intangible primordial Creative Power, the lingam is said to be his sign (symbol) which can be worshipped by his followers, who require a concrete entity to focus their prayers on.



Another instructive legend describes why the lingam is believed to be one of the most potent emblems in Hindu ideals. It all started with Brahma and Vishnu, who were arguing over their relative supremacy. Their vain arguments were interrupted by a super-luminous glow from a strange and blazing pillar, its shape reminiscent of the linga. Both of them sped towards this indescribable flaming light, which grew before their eyes into infinity, piercing the earth and extending through the heavens. Overwhelmed and terrified by the unfathomable vision, the two gods decided to seek the beginning and end of this burning immensity. Brahma taking the form of a swan flew upwards, and Vishnu dove down acquiring the shape of a boar. Both of the gods however, could not fathom the extent of this fiery column at either end, and returned exhausted and bewildered to the level they had started from. At that moment, the central part of the pillar split open and Shiva revealed himself in his full glory. Overawed, both Brahma and Vishnu bowed before him. Thunderous laughter, or the sound of AUM, issued from the pillar, filling the sky.












Female Lingayat Virashaiva or lay person (linga banajiga) wearing a silver lingam casket (ayigalu) in modified egg form (gundgurdgi). Lingam caskets are also worn by men and women on the left arm or by a Lingayat Jangam priest on the top of the head under a cloth cap.


Primarily, the glowing, flaming linga was a pillar of fire, connecting heaven and earth. It had no end and no beginning, but it had direction, upwards, as does the earthly fire. In metaphysical terms, it was (is), the vertical axis which both holds apart and joins heaven and earth, dividing and uniting them at the same time, an apt symbol of cosmic integrity. Like the Tree of Life, it is both the foundation and support that ensures equilibrium between heaven and earth.

In Vedic hymns, Rudra (an epithet for Shiva) is identified with Agni, who in these sacred texts is deified as the carrier of the sacrificial offerings to the gods for whom they are intended. Hence, Agni is the mediator between men and gods, and acts as a metaphysical bridge between the two, just like the cosmic linga. A pertinent observation here is that every creative process is accompanied by the generation of heat. Hence, Agni, the God of Fire, is eminently suited as a metaphoric emblem of the tejas (creative heat) of Shiva, both metaphysically and physically.



In this context it is interesting to note that in temples where the linga is worshipped, there is often a conical pot (Skt. Dharapatra), kept hanging over it. At the bottom of this vessel is a small hole, from which water drips continuously. The idea is to cool the ‘fiery’ linga. Shiva is Bhairava (quick-tempered), but he is also Ashutosh (one who calms down quickly). Indeed, a devotee needs to calm his god before asking for favors.

Here a parallel is drawn with the uncoiled energy of kundalini, which rises and climbs the length of its path. Indeed the vertical is the direction of the sacred; it is a symbol of ascent, pointing to heaven and transcendent regions. Rising, according to yogic formula, through the subtle channels flanking the backbone, it renders the intellectual faculties more acute. When, by means of mental concentration, it awakens and unwinds its coils, it rises like a column of fire toward the zenith, toward the top of the skull and pierces it to reach the transcendent worlds. Thus is the linga likened to a pillar of light, guiding us to true knowledge.



The Two Images of Shiva

Images of Shiva are of two kinds: iconic (anthropomorphic) and aniconic. The former represents Shiva as a human being while the latter envisages an abstract origin for him. In this manner is Shiva different from other deities. The images of all other deities bestow only sensuous enjoyment since they are invariably represented in an anthropomorphic form, appealing solely to the sense organs. But Shiva grants both enjoyment and spiritual release. As an icon, he has the body of man, but in his aniconic form he is visualized as the cosmic pillar. As an abstract shape, the pillar symbolizes a purely conceptual reality that cannot be sensed in material terms. Also when the time came for Shiva to reveal himself to both Brahma and Vishnu, he did so in the form of a linga. Hence the linga is an object of the greatest sanctity, more sacred than any anthropomorphic image of Shiva. Not surprisingly thus, the innermost sanctuary of all Shiva temples is reserved for the linga, while the outer precincts of the sacred architecture may show him in his human form. Indeed, though his iconic images abound, no such image ever occupies the center of attention in a Shiva temple, this honor being reserved exclusively for his linga.

According to Stella Kramrisch, the linga of Shiva has three levels of signification, these are:

1). As a sign of Shiva: This is evident in the literary meaning of the word ‘linga,’ and also in the fact that the linga fell from Shiva’s own body. Indeed, God resides in whatever is part of god.

2). The Linga as Phallus: This is depicted in the tale of the curse of sage Bhrigu, and Shiva’s violation of the chaste wives of the ascetics in the forest.

3). The Linga as made up of cosmic substance: Established in the tale of the rivalry of Brahma and Vishnu.

In a different three-fold division, it is believed that the linga contains within itself all the three divinities making up the Indian trinity of Supreme Godhead, namely Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Brahma abides in the lower part that is hidden inside the earth. Vishnu occupies the middle portion of the linga that is covered by the pedestal, and finally there is Shiva, in the top portion that is visible above the pedestal.

The Shiva portion (Rudra-bhaga) is also known as ‘puja-ansha,’ or the part of the linga that is to be worshipped. The Vishnu part is identified with Devi (‘yonis tu jagad-dhatri Vishnu-svarupini). The Rudra-bhaga is said to be masculine, Vishnu part feminine, and the Brahma part neuter. Lastly Brahma, as the creator, represents that primordial unmanifest state which precedes all creation. In this archetypal state there is no perceptible duality, and no distinction of positive and negative forces. Only when there is a tendency to create does the first spark of duality appear in this undifferentiated stratum. This duality has the character of complementary poles of attraction, which is eventually manifested in the whole of creation by male and female characteristics. Hence Brahma, by virtue of preceding the duality inherent in creation, is non-dual, neither male, nor female.

Since the linga is shown to encompass the trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) and also all creatures of the earth, it is safely logical to say that those ancient venerables who conceived of this awesome symbol were right in deducing that the entire living world, nay the entire universe, is a part of the lingam of Shiva.

Worship of the Linga

The sect of Shiva worshippers known as Lingayats are distinguishable by the miniature linga they wear on their bodies throughout their lives. It is kept in a silver receptacle hung around the neck, and is believed to act both as a protective talisman and an amulet to defeat negative influences.

The Lingayats are a unique community who do not believe in the caste system, and are known for their undiscriminating attitude towards all.

The linga is indeed a great equalizer. Any ordinary devotee will testify to this who has seen worshippers, regardless of sex, caste, or creed, washing and pouring generous libations on the linga, while simultaneously caressing it intimately. Also, the linga is always installed at the ground level, while other anthropomorphic deities remain established at a height, beyond the reach of the ordinary worshipper.

The linga is not just the organ of generation, but a sign of the progenitor and the essence of cosmic manhood manifested in the microcosm. By worshipping it we are not merely deifying a physical organ, but recognizing a form that is both eternal and universal.



Essays about Shaivism – History, Philosophy, Beliefs and Practices of Shaivism – Shiva Lingam – Symbolism and Significance Traditional Catholic site


Siva is worshipped both in his anthropomorphic form and his symbolic form, which is Sivalinga, depicted in sometimes as a simple column or more prominently as a column jutting out of a round base. The column stands symbolically for male reproductive organ and the base for the female reproductive organ. The lingam as a whole symbolizes the union between Purusha and Prakriti as the basis of all creation and manifestation. The columns are usually cylindrical and polished, but not necessarily in all cases. Sometimes we come across Siva lingas that are irregularly shaped or shaped like a cone. The Sivalingas are usually made of stone. But worship of lingams made of crystals and glass is not uncommon. The Sivalinga of Amarnath temple is formed out of naturally formed ice stalagmite inside a cave.

The word lingam has several meanings in Sanskrit. One popular meaning is subtle as in case of linga sarira (subtle body). Another important meaning is male reproductive organ. In Sanskrit grammar it is also used to describe the gender.




Symbolically, Sivalingam also represents the union between energy and consciousness of God. In many temples of Siva, he is worshipped in the form of Sivalinga only. The most prominent among them are known as Jyotirlingas or effulgent lingas, which are considered to be 12, spread in various parts of India. The lingas are either man made or self-formed, that is formed on their own due to natural or divine activity. The latter are known as Svayambhu or self-created.

The antiquity of Sivalingam probably dates back to the Indus valley period and may be rooted in ancient fertility cults. Several phallic symbols and round stones were unearthed during the excavations at Indus valley sites, suggesting the possibility of fertility rites and worship of mother goddess and father god. According to some scholars, the sacrificial post (yupa stambha), mentioned in the Atharvaveda, is probably one of the earliest descriptions of God as a cylindrical object of infinite proportions.

The Puranas describe in detail the significance of Sivalingam. They identify it as the source of the Universe and Siva Himself as the Supreme Lord of all. According to Skanda Purana, it personifies both the limitless sky and the all bearing earth, into which all things merge at the end of time. According to Linga Purana, the lingam is the highest of all, which is devoid of qualities and stands above the senses.

The lingam is worshipped differently by different sects of Saivism. According to the Shaiva Siddhanta, a prominent sect of Saivism, the linga should be worshipped as Sada Shiva, having five faces and ten arms, the five faces representing his five aspects. Veera Saivism distinguishes the individual soul (anga) from the Shiva (linga). At the time of creation both are separated from each other and at the end of creation or during liberation of individual souls, they are reunited again. The liberation of the individual soul said to happen through six stages of progressive disentanglement from the bonds of egoism, karma and ignorance. The sect also identifies three forms in which Shiva can be approached, namely personal form (ishtalinga), thought or mental form (bhava linga) and real or universal form (prana linga).

There is a great deal of controversy as to what Sivalingam actually refers to. Some European scholars, like Monier Williams, because of their lack of understanding, described it as a phallic symbol. It is important to remember that Saivism is not a mere sexual cult. Many sects of Saivism emphasize the importance of asceticism, celibacy and austerity as the preconditions for attaining liberation. The Shivalingam may represent the male reproductive organ in a limited sense or spiritual sense, but such association in no way grants liberty to any follower of Siva to indulge in rites and rituals involving sex.

Speaking of the mistaken identity of Sivalinga with phallus, Swami Sivananda commented, “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 Siva. 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).” (The Worship of Siva Linga. Lord Siva and His Worship, by Sivananda, Swami (1996).The Divine Life Trust Society.)

A similar sentiment is echoed by Christopher Isherwood in the following words, “It has been claimed by some foreign scholars that the linga and its surrounding basin are sexual symbols, representing the male and the female organs respectively. Well — anything can be regarded as a symbol of anything; that much is obvious. There are people who have chosen to see sexual symbolism in the spire and the font of a Christian church. But Christians do not recognize this symbolism; and even the most hostile critics of Christianity cannot pretend that it is a sex-cult. The same is true of the cult of Shiva. It does not even seem probable that the linga was sexual in its origin. For we find, in the history both of Hinduism and Buddhism, that poor devotees were accustomed to dedicate to God a model of a temple or tope (a dome-shaped monument) in imitation of wealthy devotees who dedicated full-sized buildings. So the linga may well have begun as a monument in miniature… One of the greatest causes of misunderstanding of Hinduism by foreign scholars is perhaps a subconsciously respected tradition that God must be one sex only, or at least only one sex at a time.” (Isherwood, Christopher. “Early days at Dakshineswar”. Ramakrishna and his disciples. pp. 48.)



Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies

By Abbe J.A. Dubois, 3rd edition, 1906, pages 111, 119, 628-631 EXTRACT

Siva-bhaktas or votaries of Siva are also called Lingdaris. The distinctive sign of the Sivaites is, generally speaking, the Lingam.

It is difficult to conceive [of] anything more obscene than the meaning of the two marks of Hindu worship, namely the Lingam and the Namam,” adds Henry K. Beauchamp, editor.


“According to Vishnavites, it is the highest of all abominations to wear the Lingam.” Again, on pages 538, 539, Dubois speaks of the “disgusting sacrifices to the Lingam”, and calls the Lingam an “obscene object”.

“The Lingam, an object of deep veneration throughout India, is the symbol of Siva, and it is under this obscene form that the god is principally honoured… One finds in several Puranas details of the origin of the superstitious worship of which it is the object. Here, in abridged form, is what the Linga-Purana says”

‘Brahma, Vishnu and Vasishta, accompanied by a numerous following of illustrious penitents, went one day to Kailasa [the paradise of Siva] to pay a visit to the god, and surprised him in the act of intercourse with his wife. He was not in the least disconcerted by the presence of the illustrious visitors, and so far from showing any shame at being discovered in such a position, continued to indulge the gratification of his sensual desires. The fact was that the shameless god was greatly excited by the intoxicating liquors which he had drunk…

“At the sight of him, some of the gods, and especially Vishnu, began to laugh, while the rest displayed great indignation and anger, and loaded the shameless Siva with insults and curses. After pronouncing these curses, the gods and the penitents retired covered with shame. When Siva had recovered his senses a little, he asked his guards who it was that had come to visit him. They told him everything that had taken place… The words of the guards fell on Siva and his wife Durga like a clap of thunder and they both died of grief in the same position in which the gods had surprised them. Siva desired that the act which covered him with shame and which had been the cause of his death should be celebrated among mankind:

My shame, said he, has killed me. But it has also given me new life and a new shape which is that of the Lingam. You evil spirits, my subjects, regard it as my double self! Yes, the Lingam is I myself, and I ordain that men shall offer to it henceforth their sacrifices and worship. Those who honour me under the symbol of the Lingam shall obtain without fail the object of all their desires and a place in Kailasa. I am the Supreme Being and so is my Lingam. To render to it the honours due to a god is an action of the highest merit… Those who make images of it with earth or cow-dung or do puja to it under this form shall be rewarded. Those who make it in stone shall receive seven times more reward and shall never behold the prince of darkness… Let my priests go and teach these truths to men and compel them to embrace the worship of my Lingam. The Lingam is Siva himself… It existed before the world and it is the origin and the beginning of all beings. It grants us the object of all our desires.

“It is incredible, it is impossible to believe, that in inventing this vile superstition, the religious teachers of India intended that the people should render direct worship to objects the very names of which among civilized nations are an insult to decency. Without doubt, the obscene symbol contained an allegorical meaning and was a type in the first instance of the reproductive forces of nature. For the rest, the Lingam offers an incontestable analogy to the priapus of the Romans and the phallus of the Egyptians. The fact is, all the founders of false religions had need to appeal to the baser senses and to flatter the passions of their proselytes in order to attract them to their foolish doctrines and blind them to their impostures.”


On page 686, Fr. Dubois concludes,
“It is the Brahmins who invented the four Vedas, the eighteen Puranas, the Trimurti and the monstrous fables connected with it such as… the abominable Lingam.”





















The Lingam is ever present at Mass and at Catholic functions in the kuthuvilakku or nilavilakku:




The lamps lit at the XVIth National Charismatic Convention 2017 (L) and a regular Hindu lamp (R)





Oil lamps with the lingam (penis); the oil reservoir is shaped to resemble a yoni which is Sanskrit for vagina





Sita’s daughters…

By Swaran Kapoor, 1993

Although Siva is primarily the god of destruction, he is also the god of fertility and is typically represented in Siva temples by a statue of lingam (penis) rising out of the base of the yoni (womb or vagina). Although this image is usually referred to simply as “the lingam”, it always rests on a yoni base.

The yoni is most frequently represented in the shape of an oil lamp with four ridges in the pointed end separated by three grooves. These ridges are described as the four heads of Siva’s serpent or as the labia major and minor. When worshipers pour their offerings of milk or ghee over the lingam, the liquid flows through the yoni into a basin surrounding the figure. The lingam-yoni represents the cosmic union; in its design, the male principle rises out of the female principle.


Shiva: The Wild God of Power and Ecstasy

By Wolf-Dieter Storl, 2004

The flame flickering in the hearth is a lingam and the stone plate that holds it is a yoni.

The brass oil lamp which Keralese Kathakali dancers place on the stage and worship before each performance indicates Shiva’s presence in the form of a fire lingam… The lingam is, of course, plainly and simply, the erect male member.

In Punjab, where I am from originally, the mark of the lord is more in line with the beliefs of shaktas, i.e. it is a representation of the creative force. The word ‘lingam’ also means the male organ. However, yes, some say that the shape of ‘yoni’ at the bottom of the lingam is not really yoni but just a shape to allow the milk and water offerings to channel and drop down. But why have that shape anyway, the offerings will drop down anyway.

Ever notice the similarity between a Shiva Lingam pedestal and a diya (oil lamp)?
This is not a coincidence. The Lingam represents the flame in the middle of the oil lamp. Remember the Jyotir-Lingam (Infinite Column of Light), the form of Shiva shown to Brahma and Vishnu? In the Puranic story, Brahma and Vishnu were not able to find the top and bottom, respectively, of the Column of Light. According to some, the Lingam is a representation of that Infinite Jyotir-Lingam.



The New Indian Express of 27th February, 2006
carries a photograph in which “devotees pour milk over a Sivalingam during Mahashivratri … Lord Shiva’s wedding anniversary, so that their husbands are blessed with long lives.”

When will this custom too be ‘inculturated’ into Catholic celebrations?







12 pages



Categories: Hinduisation of the Catholic Church in India

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EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

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