By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Istalinga, IstaliJga, Istaliyga
Istaliñga literally means ‘liṅga dear to one’.
Vīraśaivism, one of the several aspects of Śaivism, has prescribed a special mode of dīkṣā or initiation. The guru gives triple dīkṣā to the disciple. These three types are:
Even women can receive such dīkṣā and can perform its worship. For one who has received the liṅga there is no need to observe aśauca or ceremonial impurity. This liñga is called ‘iṣtaliṅga’. Mantradikṣā means imparting the famous mantra, namaś śivāya, and vedadīkṣā means infusing knowledge by the direct contact.
- Liṅga is the emblem of Śiva, usually of stone, but encased in a silver casket.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore