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Lingadharana Chandrika - Virashaiva Treatise

Lingadharana Chandrika, a Virashaiva treatise, was composed by Nandikeshwara and it elucidates the custom of wearing the linga. ‘Dharana’ here means wearing.

Nandikeshwara is a son of Mahesaradhya and belongs to the family of Manana Pandita (an Advaitin family). Ishwara and Sharabheshwara were his brothers.

The value and importance of the work is gathered from its quotation by Sadashiva in his Lingaracana Chandrika. Though the term linga has many senses, the fundamental meaning of the word is a ‘mark’ or ‘symbol.’ Even in respect of the meaning ‘phallus,’ it has the same sense of distinguishing one sex from the other. This primary meaning of the term is kept in view even in the case of denoting Lord Shiva. It is a visible symbol representing the absolute form of Lord Shiva.

The Virashaiva system founded by Basava is a branch of Saiva Siddhanta, with some distinguishing features. The followers of this system wear the linga enclosed in a small casket on a thread worn as a garland round the neck in such a way that the casket always rests on the chest. This enables them to have close contact between their bodies and the linga. They are referred to now as the Lingayats or Lingaitas or Jangamas (since they moved about wearing the linga on their body). It is perhaps an adapted form of the term Lingavata, meaning “wearing the mark of Shiva.”