Friday, May 30, 2014

Spatikam (Quartz) Lingams in Tamil Nadu Shiva Temples

Clear Quartz Rough Crystals
Spatika (Quartz) Lingam

Sphatika-linga @ Ramanathaswamy Temple installed by Vibhishan. Abhishek & deeparadhana performed to this lingam daily at 5 am.

The word, ‘Lingam’ in Sanskrit means, ‘symbol’ or 'mark.' and  the Shiva Lingam means symbol of Lord Shiva. According to Hinduism Shiva Linga or Lingam represents the phallus, the emblem of the generative power in nature.  In some shrines the Shiva lingas are "self-manifested" (svayambu) or "that which is created by its own accord."  Most of the Shiva Lingas are usually sculpted from granite  stone. Shiva Lingas may also be made of metal, precious gems, crystal, wood, earth or transitory materials such as ice.

Spatika Lingam

Spatika linga is also considered as a symbol of Lord Siva. Spatika linga puja is performed in many Shiva temples.  Spatikam (quartz) has no colour of its own, yet it takes on the colour of the substances which come in contact with it. It represents the Nirguna Brahman or the attribute less Supreme Self or formless and attribute less Shiva.

In Hindu Shiva temples, Saiva Agamas allow to worship Lord Shiva in the form of Spatika Lingam. Spatika Lingam is representing the icon of Lord Nataraja. The Spatika Lingams are protected in the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Shiva. Hindu priests offer Milk, Water, or Vhibuti consecrations to the Spatika Lingam. They also chant Shiva Panchakshari Mantra is offered 108 times. It is believed that Spatika Lingam removes all curses and negative karma and will enhance ones confidence and power.

Spatikam (Quartz)

Spatikam (Quartz) also spelled as Spadikam is the  mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar.  Spatikam is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula Silicon dioxide (SiO2). In short it comprise one part silicon and two parts oxygen. Quartz belongs to the trigonal crystal system. The crystal habit ideal crystal shape is a six-sided prism (geometry) prism terminating with six-sided pyramids at each end.

Spatikam is the semi-precious gemstone. There are many different varieties of spatikam. High quality quartz crystals are single-crystal silica with optical or electronic properties that make them suitable for hardstone carvings. The Hindu temples in South India use this semi-precious mineral for making Shiva Lingams. Spatikam beads are made from translucent rose quartz are cut and polished as beads. Each bead is about ten millimeters in diameter. It is good conductor of heat. Hence people wear  spatikam jewelry (mala) to keep their body cool. Some other people claim that these beads have healing properties.

Chidambaram

Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in the town of Chidambaram, East-Central Tamil Nadu, South India. Chidambaram temple is considered as one of the most ancient and most celebrated of Shiva temples  in India. Saivites attach great religious as well as historic and cultural significance with this temple. In this temple Lord Shiva is an embodiment of the infinite SKY. Chidambaram temple  is associated with Lord Nataraja, or Shiva in his Ananda Tandava pose (the Cosmic Dance of bliss) in the cosmic golden hall (Ponnambalam) and the hall of consciousness (Chit Sabha).  Lord Shiva is also worshipped in this temple as "formless form" and this fact is being understood as Chidambara Rahasyam. This temple is known for its Akasa Lingam, an embodiment of Shiva as the formless Space. The word "Koyil" or temple in the Tamil Saivite tradition refers to none other than the Chidambaram Nataraja temple.

The Hindu monk Adi Sankara is said to have presented a Spatika Lingam which is still under worship in this temple.  This Spatika Lingam, instituted at Chitsabha, is being represented as Lord Chandramauleeswara (A form of Lord Shiva). Also in the Chitsabha are images of Ratnasabhapati (Nataraja of Ruby), Swarnakarshana Bhairavar, Mukhalingam etc.

Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai  in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort, Shiva named here as Sundareswarar(beautiful deity). The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai.

The centuries old Spatika Lingam held in this temple has developed cracks and hence a new six inch tall Spatika Lingam with the right specification has been brought from Himalayas.  It is learned that this Lingam is worth over Rs.7.5 lakh. The new Spatika Lingam is being the companion (Udaiyavar) to Lord Sundareswarar. The brass container used to preserve the  Lingam was replaced with golden container. The new silver consecration base (abhisheka peedam) weighing about 12 kg. was also made for the formal ‘Prathishtam. The new Spatika Lingam was first consecrated on March 16, 2012.

Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram

Ramanathaswamy Jyotirlinga Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the Rameswaram island in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.  The Temple is also one of the 12 Jyothirlinga temples, where Shiva is worshipped in the form of a ''Jyotirlingam'' meaning  "pillar of light". The temple is located in Rameshwaram, an island town in South India, considered a holy pilgrimage site for both Shaivites and Vaishnavites.

Ramanathaswamy temple was built during the 12th century and widely expanded during the Thanjavur Nayak kingdom period in the late 16th century.  Ramanathaswamy temple is known for its longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India.
In the first inner corridor, devotees offer worship to the venerated white Spatika Lingam.  The Sri Chakra (Sethu Peetam) and the Spatika Lingam were instituted by the Hindu monk Adi Sankara. Spatika lingam darshan is offered to the pilgrims during early morning hours i.e, morning between 5 and 6 am. It is a great experience.

Ekambaranathar Temple

Ekambaranathar Temple or Ekambareswarar Temple is a Saivite Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Ekambaranathar Temple is the largest temple and is located in the northern part of the temple town in Kanchipuram. The temple ''gopuram'' (gateway tower) is 59m tall, which is one the tallest ''gopurams'' in India.

It is one of the five major Shiva temples or ''Pancha Bootha Sthalams'' (each representing a natural element) representing the element - '''Earth'''. The other four temples in this category are Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara (water), Chidambaram temple (Sky), Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara (fire) and Kalahasti temple (wind).  It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where all of the four most revered Nayanars (Saivite Saints) have sung the glories of this temple.

Swetharanyeswarar Temple, Thiruvenkadu

Swetharanyeswarar Temple is the Hindu Shiva temple located in the town of Thiruvenkadu near Sirkazhi. The prime deity is Lord Swetharanyeswarar (lord of white forest) or Lord Shiva and His consort is goddess Brahma Vidya ambal. There is a separate Sannidhi for Bhudhan (mercury (planet). The temple is quite larger premises and all four important Saivite saints have sung hymns in praise of this lord. This temple has one rare Spatika Lingam. Special worship services are offered to Natarajar and the associated Spatika Lingam, as in Chidambaram.

Sankara Narayanan temple, Sankarankovil

Sankara Narayanan temple is located in the town Sankarankovil, Tirunelveli District and 56 km away from Thirunelveli City. It was built by Ukira Pandiyan AC 900. It houses the deity by the name Sankara Narayanan, which is half - Lord Shiva and the other half - Lord Vishnu. "Adi Thabasu" is main festival at this temple. In older times, the city was called as Sankaranayinar kovil. Even now it is called as Sankaran Kovil. The deities of this temple are Sri Sankareswarar, Sri Gomathi Amman and Sri Sankara Narayanar.

Lord Shiva has agreed to perform consecration to Lord Vishnu. Therefore consecration is performed to the Sphatika Lingam present inside the sanctum sanctorum. One view is that the Sphatika Lingam was instituted by Adi Sankara and yet another view states that the Sphatika Lingam was established by Sri Narasimha Bharathi Swamy of Shringeri Mutt.

Reference
  1. Concise classified dictionary of Hinduism By Kodayanallur Vanamamalai Soundara Rajan, New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, ISBN 81-7022-857-3.p.51
  2. Editors of Time Out (2010), Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction, London: Time Out Guides Ltd., ISBN 978184670164-1., p. 194
  3. Knott, Kim (2000), Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-285837-2 9 10 8., section 10
  4. National Geographic (2008), Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations, United States: National Geographic Society, ISBN 978-1-4262-0336-7., p. 155
  5. Rameswaram
  6. Swetharanyeswarar Temple Thiruvenkadu 
  7. Temple gets new ‘sphadiga lingam' 
  8. The Tamils 1800 years ago, Madras and Bangalore by V., Kanakasabhai (1904): Higgingbotham & Co.p.13
  9. "Thillai Nataraja Kovil". Tamilnadu.com. 11 February 2013.
  10. காஞ்சிபுரம்
  11. சங்கரன் கோயில், சங்கர நாராயணர் 3 
  12. மதுரை மீனாட்சி அம்மனுக்கு விரைவில் தங்க தொட்டில் 
Published in Wikipedia 'Spatika Lingam' by Iramuthusamy on 16 April 2012‎  

9 comments:

  1. The spatika lingam there is not a spatika at all. Spatika would not be that clear and does not reflect like that. That is a glass. I have large collection of real spatika. Not the linga though.

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  4. Thanks for mentioning Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple, one of the most sacred Hindu Char Dhams and one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. For travellers, there are numerous hotels in Rameshwaram city. Check out Hotel Queen Palace Rameshwaram, a great hotel offering all the modern amenities.

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  7. This article wrongly states that the Linga is a phallic symbol. It is just a symbol or mark of Lord Shiva, like the pillar of light in the Jyotirlingams. Please do not make misleading representations. People just copy things from here and there and pass it on as the truth without knowing the real facts. Promoting and worshipping the lingam as a phallic symbol is a mockery, insult, and blasphemy of our culture and Lord Shiva. Lingam is a symbol of the great creative and destructive power of our universe, and should be seen as representing the power, and not the phallus of Lord Shiva. People please think before you speak or write such stuff.

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