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Symbolism in Banalinga

Banalinga is one among the numerous types of Shivling worshipped by Hindu devotees. There is deep symbolism attached to the Banalinga, which is a sacred object forming a part of daily worship in many temples, sacred places and homes. This is one of the Shivling that can be worshiped at home.

The Shape of this Shivling is Oval or Egg. What is formless is represented in terms of symbolic form such as an egg.

Banalinga ranging from the size of an inch to cubit is known as Ishwara.  The color of the Shivling may be of honey, black beetle, blue, deep red, green or touchstone.

It is mainly found in Amareshwara on the Mahendra Mountain in Nepal, Narmada River, Kanya Tirtha in Srisaila, Lingasaila and Kaligarta.

To a Shiva devotee, Banalinga is like the Shaligrama of Vishnu Devotees and yantra (mystic diagram).

Banalinga has five faces. Kamdev carried five banas (arrows) to disturb Shiva whose meditation after the death of Sati was causing imbalance in the universe. The five arrows were meant to bring back Shiva to the materialistic world.

The five arrows are symbolic of the spheres of action of the five senses or the five elements.

Banalinga is named after Demon Banasura as he was an ardent devotee of Shiva and Shiva blessed him with them.

In Panchayatana form of worship, Shiva is worshiped using this Shivling found in the Narmada River. There is a popular saying along the Narmada River - Narmada Ke Kanker Utte Sankar. It literally means, the stones of the Narmada take the form of Lord Shiva.

The Big Temple, the world famous Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, has one of the biggest Banalingas in world.

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Banalinga – Story of Bangalinga from Narmada River