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By Swami Harshananda

Acalaliṅga literally means ‘the immovable liṅga’.

Śiva is responsible for the dissolution of the universe. He is worshiped both in the anthropomorphic aspect and most commonly as the liṅga.

Etymologically the word ‘liṅga’ stands for that in which everything gets dissolved (llyate asmin iti liñgah). Liṅga also means an emblem. Hence the Śivaliṅga is an emblem of God Śiva into whom everything gets dissolved at the time of destruction of the universe.

Since God is beyond name and form and we cannot conceive of an abstract principle like Him without the aid of concrete symbols, a rounded surface is perhaps the nearest approach to him.

Śivaliṅgas may be cala (movable) or acala (immovable). The acala-liñgas, also called sthāvara-liṅgas, are the stone liṅgas permanently fixed in the temples. There are several varieties of them classified under four or six or even nine groups. An acalaliṅga has three parts:

The first two parts are embedded inside the pedestal, the third part alone being visible. This is the one to which pujā or worship is offered. Hence it is called the ‘pujābhāga.’


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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