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Creation In Lingayat Teaching

The Vachanakaras of Lingayat present the process of creation as follows. Para-shiva, in the pre-Creation state, is called Shunya or Bayalu (Void), or Mahashunya (Great Void). He is not aware of anything in that stage because there is nothing other than him to be aware of. Nor is he aware of himself. But when he becomes aware of himself, he decides to create. That is when his shakti becomes agitated. This stage of Para-shiva is called Nishkala-linga, undivided Linga. His decision is called chit-shakti in Sanskrit and nenahu in Kannada.

Nishkala-linga divides himself into two aspects, anga and Linga. Anga is the group of individual souls, which are not separate from one another — their bodies, senses, and minds are not yet created. Simultaneously, the shakti of Nishkala-Linga is also divided into two: the shakti of Linga is called kalashakti and the shakti of anga is called bhakti-shakti. These are also called pravrtti-shakti or adhomaya and nivritti-shakti or urdhva-maya respectively. The shakti of Linga or Shiva-Shakti is divided into adi-shakti, parashakti, iccha-shakti, jnana-shakti, and kriya-shakti, out of which the antahkaranas, internal organs — manas, mind, buddhi, intellect, citta, mind-stuff, ahamkara, ego, and jivatman — the five sense organs, the motor organs like hands and legs, the five vital airs — prana, apana, udana, samana, and vyana — and the dhatus such as bone, blood, flesh, and hair are made. They are also the causes of material objects — ocean, mountains, stones, trees, stars, and the like.

Linga assumes five forms called adhidevatas, superintending deities — Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha, and Ishana — which control the five shaktis. In fact, kala-shakti and bhakti-shakti are not different. The same shakti is kala-shakti if involved in selfish purposes and bhakti-shakti if applied to spiritual purposes. Since bhakti-shakti raises the soul to a higher state, it is called urdhva-maya, upward force, and since kala-shakti makes human bondage stronger, it is called adho-maya, downward force.

Making use of these building blocks emanating from Linga, Brahma — a form of Linga — creates the world of living and non-living beings. The bound souls receive bodies and minds in accordance with the merits and demerits gained in their lives before the dissolution of the universe. They are granted new bodies and minds so that they may make spiritual use of them in order to gain moksha. In this sense anga means the pujaka, worshipper, and Linga the worshipped. 

Source – excerpts from article titled ‘Lingayat Philosophy and Vedanta’ by Prof. N G Mahadevappa in the 2010 issue of Prabuddha Bharata Magazine.