Lingam or Linga is the Sanskrit word for sign. As well as being used as a symbol for the worship of the Hindu God Shiva, the term is also used for a representation of the male sexual organ. A stone lingam is a naturally occurring ovular stone, also associated with Hinduism. The term is not used in the Vedas but used frequently in the Mahabharata. The linga (sign) is a symbol of Shiva, just as the cross (logos) is a symbol of Christ. The linga is not a symbol of the penis, but instead represents the fertility of Nature.
Since God is without form, the linga represents Shiva or God. Many educated Hindus consider it wrong to worship images of Shiva himself. Other occurrences of this practice occur in Arabia with the Black Stone of Mecca, the Omphalos of the Greeks, and the Ben Ben stones of Heliopolis, Egypt.
- Schumacher, Stephan and Woerner, Gert. The encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and religion, Buddhism, Taoism, Zen, Hinduism. Boston: Shambala, 1994. ISBN 0-87773-980-3.
- Wikipedia (2004). Lingam (http://www.wikipedia.org/Lingam). Retrieved Oct. 18, 2004.
- The Siva-Linga: A Symbol Which Points To An Inference (http://www.dlshq.org/download/hinduismbk.htm#_VPID_110)