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Dear Readers,

This issue of Heart to Heart carries a story on Lingodbhava, the emergence of Lingam from Swami on the sacred day of Shivarathri. The article, which explains all aspects of the festival of Shivarathri, is by late Dr. Eruch B Fanibunda, a reputed dentist, and a great devotee of Bhagavan. It is from his book “Vision of the Divine”.

Lingodbhava : The Symbolic Birth of God in Time and Space

For the twentieth century Man, the word God is an inexplicable mystery. It is perhaps a vague, hazy idea in his mind associated with the scriptures, conditioned by what has been drummed into his head as a child and modified in light of experiences gained during his later years. Truly, he does not know anything about the Divinity which is enshrined within his body. A mere study of the scriptures will not reveal God to man or grant an experience of Him even in a small measure. The scriptures are like the signposts on a road, pointing to the ultimate destination. They merely point out the ways and the means to reach the Goal. Simply by pouring over a map one does not reach the destination. Similarly, God cannot be known by reading or expounding the sacred scriptures, but by living them. A child who has been taught scriptures by adults who do not practise the disciplined path indicated by the scriptures, will soon discover the hypocrisy of the elders, and will have scant respect for them and even less for the scriptures. That child is today's Man, who has been enveloped by the superficial glitter of science and technology, possession of transitory wealth and acquisition of fickle fame. Steeped in arrogance and pride, he drives humanity from one crisis to another and in the process creates untold misery for millions of people. He still occasionally hears about God but he has never seen Him, and he does not care much about a God who will not co-operate with him by eliminating the misery and suffering inflicted on others, by his own selfish behaviour. Mankind is caught in this mighty grip of ignorance, propagating itself in an endless vicious circle, from one generation to the next.

Who can vanquish this terrible ignorance and rescue humanity? It is doubtful if man alone by himself, can ever hope to emerge victorious with ever-lasting peace and equanimity, enshrined in his heart. Only God can break this vicious circle by revealing Himself to humanity and dispelling the darkness of ignorance enveloping mankind. To achieve this herculean task, God has perforce to enter the framework of His creation to reveal Himself as an Avatar, through the agency of a human body. God by Himself is incomprehensible to man. The gulf is too wide between man and God. So in the body of an Avatar, God behaves as an Ideal man and works the miracle of breaking this vicious circle, by giving illumination from within the heart of man. Of all the living creatures only man has the faculty of discrimination and the ability to exercise a freedom of choice. In consonance with this freedom, the Avatar brings about an inner transformation through Divine Love, without any form of external pressure or compulsion. This is the secret of Divine intervention in the affairs of men. Further, by a manifestation of Divine Wisdom and Omnipotence, He gives unassailable proof that He is not just another saintly personage, but God Himself. The most erudite scholar can neither explain these proofs nor understand them;but he can most certainly experience them. From his experience he can also learn the lessons of humility and reverence, and wonder at the Glory of God in human form, walking on this earth today as Shri Sathya Sai Baba. The subject of this story is one such proof given by Baba to humanity, of all climes and all religions.

Lingodbhavakara SaiAs mentioned elsewhere, the different religions of the world contain only some aspects of the ONE God and no one particular religion can claim to know God in His totality. A little thought will convince the reader of the subtle truth that all religions are contained within God, and therefore, no one religion can contain the Infinite God. All scriptures and all religions are earth bound and time bound, and therefore they can only present to the people those aspects of the Infinite which were revealed to that particular religion, within certain limitations. As soon as these limitations are recognised, then all obstacles are removed for a broader understanding of the Supreme Infinite. The purpose of all religions is to remove the barriers between man and man, and certainly not to erect them. He who creates such barriers through myopic vision, commits a grave blunder against the very religion he professes, and creates strife between man and man. Many of us also commit this error of limiting God to our own narrow viewpoint, or confining Him to a particular religion. Baba as a manifestation of the Supreme Infinite may therefore perform acts which are not necessarily contained in all the religions, and if such acts or manifestations are not in one's own religion, then an effort should be made to understand the real inner significance of such acts or manifestations. Through such understanding all differences disappear and all religions become one. The Lingodbhava is to be viewed and understood in light of such perspectives.

Ling means a symbol, and Udbhava means birth or creation. So the word Lingodbhava actually means symbol of creation. As the Lingam manifests in Baba through His Divine Kala or Sakthi of Srishti, one can say that the Lingam is a Divine Symbol of Creation; and it is only when the inner significance of the Lingam has been understood, that one can grasp the full significance of the act of Lingodbhava, which is a Symbolic Birth of God in Time and Space.The vibhuthi abhishekam

Yasoda had seen the Viswaswarup of the Lord, the Cosmic Person, in the mouth of Krishna, and the Lord had given the same Divine Vision to a shaukar's wife in His previous body as Babu, the future Sai Baba of Shirdi. Today, in His present body as Shri Sathya Sai Baba, He, grants a similar Vision of the Divine to millions of devotees, through the act of Lingodbhava. An embryo develops within the womb of it's mother and takes birth into this world as a baby. Symbolically, the Cosmic Person develops within His mother SAI (Divine Mother) and takes birth as the Lingam into this world through the mouth of SAI.

The second verse of AHUNA-VAIRYA or the Word of Ahura Mazda declares that Creation is projected from the Mind of the Lord, and that Mazda or the Sakthi aspect, is itself the Creation. The Lingam, a symbol of this Creation is manifest at the time of Lingodbhava. The Ahunvar and the Lingodbhava together, lay bare the total secret of Creation. To experience this phenomenon, is to know that the Universe rests in the palm of SAI.

All the scriptures of the major religions of the world declare that God is Omnipresent, that is to say that He is present everywhere at all times. Thus God cannot be limited to One particular form and it is in this context that Baba says, "All forms are Mine and all Names are Mine". From this one may conclude that the Essence which is manifest in all these forms, is Itself without a form. This Essence of the formless God is symbolised by the Lingam.

Birth pangs of the creatorThe Lingam has the form of a mathematically perfect figure: the ellipsoid. It has neither a front nor a back, and is without an end or a beginning. It has no protuberances or irregularities jutting out from its smooth surface, which might give it some character. Its form is based purely on a geometrical figure, the ellipsoid, and hence it cannot be identified with any other known physical form in the universe except another mathematically perfect ellipsoid, which is another Lingam. It is so much devoid of character, that the author is almost tempted to call it a "formless form". Therefore, Baba has said that it is the fittest symbol for representing the formless Divine Essence, that is God. Thus, when the Lingam emanates from Baba's mouth it is symbolic of the birth in time and space of THAT which is formless and eternal, within a simple geometrically perfect entity, the Lingam. This is the real meaning of Lingodbhava.

Baba has revealed yet another deeper spiritual significance in context of the Lingodbhava. In the Yagna called Purusha Medha, there is an occasion when Lingodbhava takes place. It has been said that before Divinity takes a form for this Lingodbhava, It utters a loud cry. This cry is addressed to the Devas (Divine Beings) and is known as Deva-Huti. The word Deva means Divine and Huti means a Call or a Challenge. The Manifestation asks a question of the Devas, "Do you know who I am? Who am I? Ko Hum?" A new born babe also cries Ko Hum, Ko Hum, Ko Hum. Baba says, "It is only when you understand the significance of this Divine Cry—the Deva-Huti—when It takes birth in time and space, that one can understand the Divine Innocence and simplicity of a new born child."The secret of creation unvieled

Thus it seems that the Deva-Huti is the key to the mystery of the Lingam. Man emerges from the formless Divinity and inquires, "Ko Hum ?" He practises Sadhana,realises "So Hum" (I am That), and merges back into the formless Divinity. Therefore, it is said that all things emerge from the Lingam and finally merge into the Lingam. The Angam or the physical body contains the subtle Lingasarira which houses the Lingam or the Atma. From the Lingam arises movement and flow of life, that is Jungam (Universe). The Angam is the Sangam (meeting place) for the Spirit and Matter, and of association, attachment and activity. As a result of this Sangam, analysis and inquiry, one realises the Lingam. Thus the circle is completed. This is the lesson that is taught by Lingodbhava.

 The Lingam which emanates from Baba's mouth is made of metal (like gold, in the recent years) or of some semi-precious stone, like agate, for instance. On rare occasions it is made of a pure transparent crystal like substance. Baba has said that the four Vedic Mahavakyas have their aspects portrayed in the Lingam as well. The four Vedic Mahavakyas are said to represent the essence of the four Vedas and they are to be understood as follows:

1. Pragnyanam Brahma.
2. Tat Thwam Asi.
3. Ayam Atma Brahma.
4. Aham Brahma Asmi.

The creator and his creationThe word Pragnyan means eternal, limitless wisdom. So the first Mahavakya declares that Divine Wisdom is itself Brahman. Here, the Atma is equated with Divine Wisdom, because this Wisdom is born out of the Atma. It is not something acquired from outside of one's own Self. This aspect is symbolised by the Sadasivam Lingam. Sada means eternal and Sivam is equated with auspi-ciousness, purity and bliss. Thus the Eternal Brahman which is pure auspiciousness and bliss is revealed through Divine Wisdom.

The second Mahavakya, Tat Thwam Asi means That Thou Art. It asserts that distinction is delusion; the Jivatma and the Paramatma are One. The Gnyanam Lingam symbolically represents this awareness of Both Being One.

The third Mahavakya, Ayam Atma Brahma means This Atma is Brahman, and is symbolised by the Anda-Pinda Lingam. Anda is the shell and Pinda is the core. Man is also basically an Anda-Pinda, with an outer shell of materialism and an inner core of the Divine Atma. It points out that the Inner Self is itself the Brahman.

The fourth Mahavakya, Aham Brahma Asmi means I am Brahman. The Atma Lingam or the Jyoti Lingam is the symbol of the Supreme Light of Atma, and it proves to all that Siva is in everyone. When this Vision illumines the inner consciousness of an aspirant, he becomes one with Brahman. Aham Brahma Asmi.Showing the Golden linga

Baba says, "The formless Divinity, the Lingam, is in the very core of the heart of man as the sole purveyor of bliss, power and illumination. Cultivate an inward vision, so that the Lingam may grant you all these three benefits. The mind will then be illumined by the cool comforting rays of Love, like the cool comforting rays of the moon. Chandrama Manaso Jaathah (the moon is born from the mind). Unless you cleanse the mind with Love, the full moon of spiritual Wisdom will not shine in the mind. The recital of the Name, Japa and Dhyan, or the observance of fasts and vigils, will merely scintillate like stars studded in the sky, in the inner sky of your mind. But the darkness (ignorance) will not vanish until the lamp of love is lit."

Sivaratri is observed on the fourteenth night of the dark half of every month. It is a well established fact of Yogic discipline, that it is easier to control the mind during the dark half of the month, when the moon is on the wane. The fourteenth night is particularly suitable for a little more intensive Sadhana to completely sublimate the last and the remaining fifteenth fraction of the mind, corresponding to the last fraction of the moon. It is possible to achieve complete victory over the mind during this night. When the mind is fully under control, one becomes an heir to the experiences of bliss, power and illumination.

"How is it possible for the moon to influence the Mind ?" Such a question has been often put to the author, by various people. The author does not know the exact mechanism, but he would like to draw the reader's attention to the fact, that the forces emanating from the moon are responsible for shifting gigantic masses of water on the surface of this earth during the tides. Then why should it be difficult to understand the influence of the moon on a human body which is nearly 80% water? The 'lunatics' are so called, because their behaviour sometimes can be predicted to some extent, by the waxing and waning of the moon. The ancient seers and rishis were fully aware of the influence exercised by the planets on the human body and they used these influences for their spiritual benefit. Thus the practise of intensive Sadhana on the fourteenth night of the waning moon is not just an old wife's tale or superstition, but it has its roots in the personal experience of the ancient sages of this land.

In the month of Maagh (Feb.-Mar.), the fourteenth night is known as Maha-Sivaratri. Maha means great, Siva means auspicious and Ratri means night; the Great-Auspicious-Night. Auspicious for what? Not only is the night auspicious' for obtaining complete control over one's mind, but Siva, the formless Divinity, is born in the Lingam on that night. Siva in the form of the Lingam, is adored and revered for the acquisition of Divine Wisdom.

In temples dedicated to Siva, it is said that none should pass between Nandi the bull and the Lingam. Baba has explained that the bull or the Pasu (animal), represents the Jiva and the Lingam is the symbol of Siva. As they both have to merge into one, no one should pass between the bull and the Lingam. Also, the installed Lingam has to be seen through the two horns of the bull; which means that one has to see Siva in the various Jivas. Pasu or Jiva, and Pasupati or Siva are one; Nandi or Jiva and Eeswara or Siva, become Nandeeswara. Baba says, "When in bondage it is referred to as Nandi and when free it is Eeswara. When the Pasu is offered fully to the Pasupati and its separate identity is cast away, then it is a true Yagna (sacrifice). This significance has been forgotten by the worshippers today." In this context of worshipping Siva, Baba has also explained the inner significance of offering the trifoliate Bilva leaves. They are symbolic of the three Gunas and the three forms of Worship. The three Gunas, which are to be surrendered to Him are Thamas, Rajas and Sathwa, through Devotion, Detachment and Discrimination; the three forms of worship liked by Siva.

There are certain days in the life of an individual, which stand apart from the rest. These are worth treasuring in one's memory, because of their association with some sacred or holy event which was responsible for initiating the individual into the higher spiritual mysteries of the SELF. There have been four such days in the author's life. The first one was many years ago, when as a child the author was invested with the sacred Kusti by his parents and was taught to recite the Ahunvar, the Word of Ahura Mazda. Since then the author has stood by the Word and in return on countless occasions, the Word has stood by him. It is possible that some mysterious forces evoked by the Word, were instrumental in leading the author to Baba's presence. That was the second day, the day when the author met Baba in Shri Munshi's residence at Juhu, and received His "visiting card", the Vibhuthi embodying His Divine secret. This Vibhuthi initiated the process of clearing the author's mind of doubts and ignorance accumulated through academic learning and achievements, over a period of forty odd years. The process still continues. Maha-Sivaratri in February 1974 was the third day, when the author witnessed the birth of the Atma Lingam and saw the Divine Jyoti (Flame) changing colours within the Lingam. Truly, it was a most auspicious occasion. It was a day of triumph over the twins of birth and death; not only for the author but for all those who witnessed this sacred Flame, this ATAR USHTANA, the Divine Fire of the formless or Ahura Mazda, burning mysteriously within this Atma Lingam. In the Gatha Ahunavaiti or the Gatha of the Sacred Word (Yasna 34:4), Zara-thushtra declares:

"Thine Inner Fire Ahura, to see We yearn,—He blazes mightily through Truth;
"He has Thy Strength, our hope and Goal is He, He lights the faithful clearly through life."

That night, the above four lines of the Gathas came to life for the author. The prayer contained in the first line of the stanza, was fulfilled by a Vision of the Divine Jyoti, and the remaining three lines aptly described Baba as He appeared that night with the Divine Jyoti Lingam in His hands. The day Baba performed the marriage ceremony of the author and his wife, was the fourth day. If the reader turns back the pages of his life, he will also undoubtedly discover such days in his own life associated with a Vision of the Divine, which when recalled are a perennial source of joy and infuse a calm, limpid peace, into one's being.

On that memorable Maha-Sivaratri night, Baba began with His usual public discourse. The author was wondering whether there would be a Lingodbhava that evening, because there had been no official ceremony in the two previous years and no announcements to this effect, had been made earlier for this occasion. The author had not seen a Lingodbhava ever before and did not know what was going to happen. However, at the end of His explanations on the significance of the Vibhuthi abhishek performed earlier in the day, He terminated the discourse, rather abruptly. Earlier, a couple of coughs had indicated the rising of the Lingam within Him, and so He terminated the speech and started with the bhajans. The gathering joined Him in an exquisite rendering of His popular bhajan:

" Prem-a-mudhite mana-se kaho
"Raam—Raam—Raaaam. ......."

Later, during the singing He coughed a few times, drank some water and sat down at the table on the stage. The bhajan singers carried on with extra gusto, and the author noticed that the bhajan leaders were now exclusively singing bhajans dedicated to extolling Siva. Baba spread a large handkerchief in front of Him and held another one in His hands. The frequency of retching had increased and the bhajan singers sensing the impending delivery, had stepped up the tempo of their singing. The whole atmosphere was charged with Divine vibrations. After repeated attempts at delivery on the part of Baba, the Lingam was finally ejaculated from His mouth into His waiting hands. Immediately, He held it up, so that all could see this manifestation of Divine Glory. Then He walked along the stage and amongst the thousands, who were sitting at some distance at the back of the auditorium.

The author witnessed this memorable event and photographed this rare, unique crystal Lingam, which contained within itself an orange, cup-shaped flame in the form of a Trishul (a trident). The colour of this Trishul changed every ten minutes, from orange to yellow to blue, and sometimes changed to almost colourless. Ecstasy was writ on the faces of all those who had witnessed this Divine Birth. The author felt very happy, for he had actually seen a small aspect of the Inner Fire of Ahura Mazda.

Baba placed the Lingam on a mound of flowers within a circular tray and retired for the night. The bhajan singers continued singing throughout the night, until the early hours of the morning.

Just after dawn, Baba came back to the auditorium and gave a short discourse on the inner significance of the Lingam. During this discourse, He made a historic declaration accompanied by an incomparable shower of Divine Grace, which has no parallel in the whole recorded history of human existence. Baba declared, "You have had the good fortune of looking at the Divine Vision. You have also seen the Divine significance of the Lingam and that will grant you complete salvation. So far as you are concerned you have attained complete salvation and there are no more rebirths for you. Why is it that of all the crores of people in the world only you have seen this manifestation of Divinity? It is a piece of great good fortune for you. Some of you have seen this manifestation as a specific form, some as a light and some only as a streak or a flash of light; but it does not matter in what form you have seen the generation and manifestation of this Lingam. What you have really seen is the secret of creation."

"There are two kinds of Mantras, the Siva mantra and the Madhava mantra. The Siva mantra has the important letter MA in it, and the Madhava mantra has the important letter RA in it. Together they make RAMA. Rama is the manifestation of Eeswara or the Atma. Rama and Eeswara are inter-changeable and both are represented in this symbol of creation, the Lingam. Having witnessed this secret of Creation, do not spend your time in an unsacred manner; do not do work that will be called unsacred; do not promote ideas that will be called unsacred and do not look at things which will be called unsacred vision. Remember, what you have witnessed today is an unprecedented secret of Creation, and use it to promote the best thoughts, words, and deeds in your life. Whatever good which one can acquire after Tapas for many years, or by involving oneself in Meditation for many centuries, or by performing several Yagnas and Yagas, that good which is acquired by such practices cannot even be compared to the good acquired by witnessing this Lingodbhava. This is something which is unprecedented. It is only you, who have been privileged to see this vision of the Lord, in the form of a Lingam having the dimensions of Dashan-gula (ten inches)."

"Whatever is contained in Time, that is past, present and future, and whatever is contained in the three Gunas and the three Worlds, is all contained in this Lingam. The Lingam also contains the symbol of Trishula and every ten minutes the colour of this Trishula goes on changing. The Trishula signifies the responsibility accepted by Divinity, for the past, the present and the future of all Creation. When the circumference of this Lingam is added and put together, it will be Dashangula. Only such a Lingam as this one, can be said to contain the important number ten and contain all the manifestations of Divinity."

"If our heart contains Truth and our conduct is conditioned by Love, then Peace which is within, is available to us. While all these things are within us, why is it that we are not acquiring them? Peace lies within the depths of one's heart, just as water lies in the earth. To get at the water one has to remove the overlying earth. Similarly, one has to remove the sensuous desires to get at the Peace in one's heart. We must make an attempt to follow the ideas and thinking of the Lord. Such sadhana will enable you to reach the destination. Smarana and Chinta (reciting the Name and Contemplation), is the easiest way for reaching this destination in this Kali Yuga. You have been singing bhajans for some hours and you call it Akhand Bhajan, but that is not correct. Akhand Bhajan is that which has to be carried out continuously throughout your life. (Akhand means uninterrupted.) Perform the Akhand Bhajan of Hamsa-Gayatri, and there will be no ups and downs in your life."

"By understanding the inner significance of the Lingam which was manifested, your life has been liberated. You have reached the ordained salvation. Develop this thought, keep it in your mind all the time throughout your life, and then you will have made good use of this rare opportunity, granted to you yesterday."


Volume - 2 Issue - 4 Radiosai Journal - PSN 2004