The Lingam and The Yoni

- April 21, 2021


By Malini Saigal 

Many gods are worshipped through their symbols as well as through their image or murtis. Symbols are always connected to a particular idea about the god. A shalagram (fossilized shell) is a symbol of Vishnu, as he is supposed to restart the universe from the cosmic ocean. Krishna is often worshipped as a kadamba tree, as in the story of Krishna’s boyhood, he would always play his flute under the kadamba tree. Similarly, the Bodhi tree is also a sign of the Buddha, as that is where he gained enlightenment.

Illustration: Durgesh Velhal

The symbol of Shiva and Parvati are the lingam and the yoni, which are the male and female regenerative organs. They symbolise the life force of the universe. When they are together, there is cosmic balance and harmony in nature.

The idea that the universe, or rather existence itself, is a result of the union of male and female energies is as much a scientific fad as it is a philosophical truth. It has found expression in many religions across the world, like the Chinese and the Egyptian civilizations.

Illustration: Sanjay Valecha, Arijit Dutta Chowdhury and Durgesh Velhal

It is interesting to decode mythology. Shiva by himself is seen as pure consciousness or mental energy. He is the dormant, detached male power. He cannot sustain life and creation on his own and needs the dynamism of the Goddess to create life. In a very simple sense, it is the meeting of the fertile earth and its waters, with the light and energy of the sky. The core of the Shiva Purana is the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, which is essential to save the world from turning into a wasteland, or from being destroyed by demons.

Read more stories of Shiva in our Mahadeva series. Now available on the ACK Comics App and Kindle. 

Comic of The Month

Anant Pai

Anant Pai strode the Indian comics industry like a colossus. Using the comics format he told stories from mythology, history and literature to generations of children. Uncle Pai, as he was known, wanted Indian children to be familiar with their heritage. A chemical engineer by profession, Anant Pai gave up his job to follow his dream, a dream that led to the creation of Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle. Read the story of the man who left behind a legacy of learning and laughter.

20 Minute Read