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Thread: Going to build a shrine to Shiva

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    Going to build a shrine to Shiva

    I've never done something quite like this before and I'm still becoming acquainted with the concept of bhakti. Are there any considerations I should take into account? Also, I'm currently a college student living with my parents and there's no extra space for a shrine to really sit out of the way. Would there be any issues if I were to construct a portable shrine that I could move around the house if necessary?

    I'm aware that altars/shrines can be a psychological tool and help one focus on acts of meditation or ritualistic practices and are generally kept in a single spot.

    Also, the construction I have in mind would involve a statue of Shiva fixed to a larger wooden platform with an incense burner on it. I'm also considering painting some decorations (probably the symbol for OM) on the wood as I'm an artist. I was also maybe thinking of a couple candles as well. Comments, suggestions, etc?

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    Re: Going to build a shrine to Shiva

    Vannakkam Einherjar:

    Which version of Siva did you have in mind? (Siva is South Indian version of Shiva) The Sivalingam, Nataraja, of Dakshinamurthi? There is also Ardhinarisvara.

    Whether or not you shift it around sort of depends on how you view it. If is largely symbolic, then it wouldn't matter much. But if you view it more mystically, you would believe that a vibration gets built up inside the murthi itself, as an odor might cling to an object. In this case it would also be better to have a stone one or a metal one.

    For now, as you are just becoming accustomed to the concept of bhakti, whatever you feel is okay probably is. Shrines reflect the personalities or traditions of the individuals who build them. Hinduism usually uses oil lamps instead of candles as well. You can perhaps get some ideas from the "Pictures of your shrine room' thread on here.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Going to build a shrine to Shiva

    Take a virtual tour of AruNAchala and other temples here:
    http://view360.in/virtualtour/thiruvannamalai/
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: Going to build a shrine to Shiva

    Saidevo:

    Wow. Doing the 360 inside Brihadeeswara sure brought back a few memories.
    For anyone here who would like to see the inside of one of those ancient TN temples, this is just an awesome site. Brihadeswarar is so simplistically Saiva. Lingam and Nandi, and that's about all, there than the hugeness.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Going to build a shrine to Shiva

    Quote Originally Posted by Einherjar View Post
    I've never done something quite like this before and I'm still becoming acquainted with the concept of bhakti. Are there any considerations I should take into account? Also, I'm currently a college student living with my parents and there's no extra space for a shrine to really sit out of the way. Would there be any issues if I were to construct a portable shrine that I could move around the house if necessary?

    I'm aware that altars/shrines can be a psychological tool and help one focus on acts of meditation or ritualistic practices and are generally kept in a single spot.

    Also, the construction I have in mind would involve a statue of Shiva fixed to a larger wooden platform with an incense burner on it. I'm also considering painting some decorations (probably the symbol for OM) on the wood as I'm an artist. I was also maybe thinking of a couple candles as well. Comments, suggestions, etc?

    I would not recommend to use a murti (statute) but a bana linga, a natural stone from Narmada River that represents shiva in a natural self arisen form (svayambhu).

    To be as benefical as a bana linga the murti needs a ceremony of pranapratishta, to establish the life force of the devata inside it, which is elaborate.
    The bana linga needs no such ceremony it contains the life force of shiva naturally, because it is not man made but self manifested.

    You can worship any form of shiva using the bana linga. It is the most popular form of idol and liked by shiva much more than a murti.

    Using a portable shrine is no problem many sadhus that wander from place to place have portable shrines.

    Concerning the offering substances i would recommend using the set of 5 Upacharas (offering services) symbolising the 5 Panchamahabhutas gross elements (earth, water, fire, air ,and space/ether) and on the more subtle level the 5 sense impressions and organs of actions which we offer to the 5 aspects of shiva to experience his divine sensual self experience,and resting after that the pure state of introverted self awareness, the divine sensual self experience of shiva is residing within in our own self in the form of the 5 devatas of the senses (the five heads of sadashiva). The traditional set of Offerings would be for earth and smell the fragrant sandal paste, for water and taste a cup or conch with water, for air and touch the incense, for fire and sight the oil or ghee lamp, and for space and hearing the flowers.

    While one does the offerings the mental puja consist of the act of sacrificing the sense impressions, to the higher self inside the body, which is none other but shiva, the shiva in your body, that is becoming satisfied by the offering of all kinds of beautiful and pleasant sense impressions that are triggered by the objects found around us and symbolised by the sacrifical substances. Freeing the sense impression from the grasp of the individual ego and his attachment makes us capable to experience divine great bliss while cognising. Offering sense impressions in puja is a training that allows us later to experience the constant meditative state of this great bliss of shiva and not the usual limited bliss of of our ego (which is what we sacrifice) that is colored by desire and anger towards the diverse sense impressions.
    All the 5 upacharas can be symbolised together by uncooked whole grain (akshata) mixed with turmeric (both rice and the yellow turmeric, symbolise the last of the gross elements, the earth tattva (element) which symbol is the color yellow) and flowers symbolising the most subttle tattva space/ether, because together flowers and aksahta are the first and last elements , the other element inbetween the two are considered to be implied when using only these two.

    A great introduction to these kaula concepts is available on youtube, watch this discourse of swami lakshman joo :

    This is what i wanted .... i crave to tell you swami lakshman jo

    Your organs are gods

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srV1b...D2CFC5&index=5
    Last edited by MahaHrada; 26 February 2010 at 06:45 AM.

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    Re: Going to build a shrine to Shiva

    Vannakkam Einherjar:

    The narmada lingams that MahaHrada pointed you to may be easier to find than you think. Some new age western crystal/rock collectors have recently added them to their collections along with the more tradition quartz and the like. So if you have such a store nearby where you live, you could take a look.

    I have mixed feelings on this new 'trend'. On one hand it seems almost like temple theft that was done by the pillagers of history. Seeing something used in a way that is not its original purpose is disheartening. These people know nothing (At least in the store here in my city, this is true) about what a lingam is. They call them 'Indian magic healing rocks' or some other such thing. They don't even know enough to set them upright.

    But the good thing is the vibration of Siva is being spread around unbeknownst to the world, and you might actually be able to find one. Perhaps this was always the divine intention. Who knows?

    If you search on 'narmada lingam' with images, a lot of sites will pop up.

    Best of luck with your shrine, anyway.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Going to build a shrine to Shiva

    Pranam MahaHrada ji,

    Can you please suggest how to select The stone from Narmada river, with regards to shape and consistency.

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    Re: Going to build a shrine to Shiva

    Thanks much everyone. As usual you're all being excellent help to me in more greatly understanding these aspects of practice that I am less than familiar with.

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    Re: Going to build a shrine to Shiva

    Here is another Website on temples in Tamilnadu, from the popular Tamil newspaper Dinamalar

    http://temple.dinamalar.com/

    This Website has some videos too, but all the content is in Tamil.

    Here are other temple Websites you might be aware of:

    Templenet - The Comprehensive Indian Temple website
    http://www.templenet.com/index.html

    The Southern Temples Page, Tamil nadu temples, Thevara thalangaL
    http://www.templepages.com/


    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    Take a virtual tour of AruNAchala and other temples here:
    http://view360.in/virtualtour/thiruvannamalai/
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: Going to build a shrine to Shiva

    Quote Originally Posted by proudhindu View Post
    Pranam MahaHrada ji,

    Can you please suggest how to select The stone from Narmada river, with regards to shape and consistency.
    One should look for the intact structure not rough, no dents or cracks, not too thin, and not too small, at best four angulas in height, when fixed on a pedestal; half of that height would be inferior. A bana-linga the height of which is less even than this (i.e less than two angulas) some say must never be worshipped, then one can choose which one is fitting, by looking at the markings Here are some rules:

    According to Siddhanta-sekhara, the bana-lingas available in the Narmada River are said to have been worshipped already by the gods, especially by the guardian – deities (loka-pala), and the stones are also said to contain the impress of such worship. There are bana-lingas carrying different marks characteristic of these gods: conch shell mark on top (samkhabha-mastaka) to denote that it was worshipped by Vishnu, lotus-mark (padma) to indicate that it was worshipped by Brahma, mark of a parasol (chhatra, Indra) mark of two heads (siro-yugma, Agni), three steps (Pada,Yama) mark of mace (gada, Isana), mark of a water-vase (kalasa, Varuna), mark of banner (dhvaja, Vayu) and so on. And having been worshipped by the gods, the bana-lingas answer to the ‘daiva’ variety of linga, in addition to being ‘svayam-bhu’. Hence their indubitable superiority.
    There is another classification of bana-linga suggestion by Hemadri (Lakshana-kanda).
    1. The Svayambhu-linga is honey-coloured (tawny), and carries the black mark of a coil; it is adorned by all Yogic adepts.
    2. The Mrtunjaya-linga is multi-coloured, and has masks of matted hair and spear; it is worshipped by gods and titans alike.
    3. The Nilakantha-linga is elongated in shape, and is pure white in colour, with a black dot in it.
    4. The Trilochana-linga is white in complexion, and has three eye-like marks in it; there are also white lines resembling hairs in the body; the worship of this linga will eliminate all sins.
    5. The Kalagni-rudra-linga is dark-complexioned, stout in shape, and brilliant in aspect; it carries the marks of matted hair dressed into a top-knot; it is adorned by all spirits.
    6. The Tripuri-linga is honey coloured (tawny), with a white line resembling the sacred chord worn by the twice-born; there is a mark resembling crescent-moon on top, and at the bottom lotus-like mark, white in colour, can be seen; there are also lines reminding one of weapons.
    7. The Isana-linga is white in colour, but there will be tawny coloured mark on top resembling matted hair; there will also be the mark of a garland of severed heads, and the mark of a trident.
    8. The Ardha-narisvara-linga is distinguished by half of it being white; and the other half red; there will also be marks of trident and hand-drum.
    9. The Maha-kala-linga is bright and corpulent in shape, elongated, and slightly red-hued; it is bright and attractive, and its worship will secure all the values of life.
    Besides the above varities, other texts (like Kalottara and Bhavishya) mention three other types of Bana-linga. The ‘Daiva’ type is very uneven on its surface, with scratches and holes, depressions and mounds; it is longish in shape and it contains the marks of spear, crescent moon and stone- masons hammer. The ‘Gola’ type resembles a small pumpkin or a crow’s egg in shape. The ‘Arsha’ type is like a rose- apple in shape, and carries the mark of a sacred chord. It is fatter at the base than the rest of the body. Some lingas of this type are stout in the middle and not so at the bottom or on the top; and these are the best among the lingas of this type.

    According to Yajnavalkya-samhita, the bana-lingas obtained in the river Narmada are the very forms of Siva assumed by the God at the request of Banasura; they are therefore the holiest of objects. Worshipping one bana-linga gets the benefits that can be procured by worshipping a crore of other lingas. The bana-lingas in the Narmada River may be the shape of a ripe jambu-fruit, or of a swan’s egg. They may be honey-coloured, white, blue or emerald-hued.
    Suta-samhita, which also extols the bana-lingas, mentions that the best bana-lingas are like the lotus seeds or like the hen’s egg in shape. We also read in other texts that the best of bana-lingas must be four angulas in height, when fixed on a pedestal; half of that height would be inferior. A bana-linga the height of which is less even than this must never be worshipped.Hemadri (Lakshana-kanda) says that the bana-linga with sharp edges, and crooked tops, must not be worshipped also as exceedingly corpulent or thin ones. They may be beneficial to those whose only goal in life is emancipation from phenomenal involvement, but they will spell ruin for the normal householders, interested in worldly prosperity and spiritual welfare.
    The householder would profit by worshipping a bana-linga, which is like a bee in colour, shape and size. It may be worshipped, fixed to a pedestal or not. It will secure worldly prosperity as well as ultimate liberation from all phenomenal ills. But those ascetics whose only concern is emancipation may worship bana-lingas, which are tawny in colour or dark, and of any size. The householder must never worship the bana-linga, which are extremely small or unusually fat.
    (Ramachandra Rao Salagram Kosha Volume 2)

    Last edited by MahaHrada; 27 February 2010 at 07:48 AM.

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