By Swami Harshananda
Bhogāñga literally means ‘the añga or jīva who enjoys everything through liṅga or Śiva or God'.
One of the several aspects of Śaivism is Vīraśaivism which has a very large following in Karnataka. It calls the Divine as ‘sthala.’ Though this word means space, it is used in a more technical sense, to indicate the omnipresent nature of the Divine.
This sthala bifurcates itself into ‘liṅga,’ the personal God and ‘aṅga,’ the individual soul, also called jīva. Both the liṅga and the aṅga undergo a threefold manifestation :
When the jīva renounces attachment to worldly objects, he is called ‘tyāgāṅga.’ The īṣṭaliṅga given to him by his guru at the time of dīkṣā or initiation is the object of his worship. When he gives up all casual pleasures and takes delight only in what is conducive to spiritual growth, he is called bhogāṅga and the prāṇaliṅga. Śiva established in his heart, becomes the object of his worship. On further progress in the inner life, his old casual body is destroyed and a new state of consciousness is formed. In this state the jīva is called yogāṅga since this leads him to yoga or union with Śiva established in the sahasrāracakra, the thousand petalled lotus situated in the crown of the head.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore