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Achalalinga In Hinduism – Immovable Shivling

In Hinduism, Shiva, the third deity in the Hindu Trinity responsible for the transformation of the universe at the end of a cycle of creation, is revered in both anthropomorphic and Shivling forms. The latter, however, is the more common, with the former being an exception. Immovable Shivling worshipped in a temple is known as Achalalinga (or Acalalinga).

Shivlings can be chala (movable) or achala (immovable). The achalalingas, also known as sthavara-lingas, are stone lingas permanently installed in temples. They come in various classifications, organized into four, six, or even nine groups.

An achalalinga comprises three parts: Brahmabhaga (square in shape), Viishnubhaga (octagonal), and Rudrabhaga (round). The first two parts are embedded within the pedestal, while only the third part is visible. This visible part, known as the ‘pujabhaga,’ is the focal point of worship or puja.

Etymologically, the term ‘linga’ signifies that in which everything dissolves (liyate asmin iti lingaḥ). Additionally, ‘linga’ also denotes an emblem. Therefore, the Shivling serves as an emblem of God Shiva, representing the dissolution of everything during the destruction of the created universe. As God transcends name and form, and our understanding of abstract principles like Him relies on concrete symbols, a rounded surface serves as a fitting approximation.