Printed with permission by Peter Biskup
Men have collected stones since the beginning of time and have assumed that certain ones were containers of the life force with all its mystery. The Narmadeshwara Lingam is such a stone. It has been highly venerated and used extensively throughout history for both worship and ritual.
It is an Indian belief that millions of years ago, a meteorite collided with the earth at the place that is now the source of the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh, a mountainous province some 300 miles northeast of Mumbai (Bombay), India.
The Narmadeshwara LingamThe tremendous heat of the collision caused a fusion of the ambient rock and meteoric material. Over the ages, a river began to flow through this area and the combination of these factors produced the unique condition in which pieces of the fused matter, revolving in the river bed over thousands of years, take on a distinct ovid form. The oval form is markedly different from the flatter, thinner rocks normally appearing in the riverbed.
Once a year, after a long dry season, and just before the beginning of the monsoons, the river is at it’s lowest. The villagers, working with oxen and rope, go out onto the river bed and pull the stones from the water. The stones are then hand polished. A large one can take many months to complete.
These pillars, or egg shaped stones, are called Lingams (literally, “sign” or “characteristic” in Sanskrit). To certain sects of the Hindu religion the stones are said to represent directly the transcendental being, the living God, divine existence, consciousness, and bliss (satchitanand). According to the Skanda Purana, an ancient Hindu scripture, the Lingam represents the all-pervading space, in which the whole universe is in the process of creation and dissolution. Other sects consider the Lingam, with its obvious phallic form, to be the generative force of life itself.
Lingam’s can be carved or styled from a variety of material, such as stone, wood, gold, silver, crystal, etc. But there is one type of Lingam that is revered and sought after above all others. This is the naturally formed stone Narmadeshwara (Lord of Narmada). The density of the Narmadeshwara is close to emerald. The red markings you see on the stones are meteorite material and are considered spiritually auspicious. (The red markings represent the energizing female energy, which arouses the masculine urge to create.) The markings may vary to be what appears to be a pair of parted lips, flowers, animals, spiritual deities, or brush marks that surround the entire perimeter of the Lingam. The possibilities are endless. They can be from 3/4 of an inch high to an amazing 10 feet tall. They can be from 1/2 inch to 6 feet in circumference.
The actual physical properties of the stone (in both shape and material) are said to give the Narmadeshwara Lingam a supreme ability to hold vibrational force and power. We have noticed that everyone who comes in contact with these stones finds them attractive and extremely communicative.
Traditionally, these stones are set in an upright position in a base called a yoni. The Yoni is a symbol of the female principal, the source of the womb, and of all creation and movement. Thus, joined together, the Lingam-Yoni signifies the psychic totality of the male/female and the universe.
The strong and graceful lines of the Lingam are expressive and have ageless and universal beauty. Their natural and religious history gives them the mystery of an object that will be appreciated forever.