Significance of the Panchamukha Linga

When I am dormant
The energy lies within me
Atma lingaaya Nama Om

The flame of this energy
Rises into divine vision
Into Rudra, the divine self
The red glow, the hue
Shines forth with all divinity.

The raw form of Rudra, in his fiery matted hair has been depicted beautifully in the Ekamukha linga of Lord Shiva at Udayagiri in the 4th cen A.D. by the Guptas. The self, raw, alone, composed with wisdom is described here. Within a sacred rocky chamber that echoes his presence I come alive within the Eka Mukha linga.

The Prana rises within me
I grow, I am present
I reside everywhere
I engulf the universe
I cover all the directions
I am panchamukha linga
I am Sadashiva

Panchamukha, the rising Shiva grows in all directions. As I evolve He rises too within me. The self, Atma lingam is at the core - Isana*. Isana is the root of the self, the core that holds all the energy within. The power of Isana is to reveal the energy of the self, this is the power of enlightenment, this is space, this is consciousness, this is Shiva within me.

To its east rises Tatpurusha, that which I am, "Tat Tvam Asi". My being rises, awakens to the world, awakens to consciousness. This is the expression of the supreme soul, of Atman that rises and is the life within us, the very presence of Iswara, He is Surya the rays of life. He is the prana I breathe, He is light, He is air.

To the south rises Aghora, the fire, the flames of life, the raw heat and beauty of Rudra in his fiery presence. He signifies life, he signifies dissolution or re-absorption, he signifies the end. He signifies the equilibrium that lies beyond birth and death, he signifies eternal bliss in the living fire of Shiva Rudra*.

To the west rises Sadyojata, the power to create. This is the power to multiply beyond the self. This is the universal power of creation where the miracle of life is visible to us. I am alive, I am the self, I can create, I am represented by Sadayojata, I am the earth that flourishes with life, I am Brahma* the creator.

To the north rises Vamadeva. Vamadeva is the beauty of the self, the poetry and the aesthetics that makes us. Vamadeva is the epitome of all the grace that we have, the presence of our beautiful nature for the world to behold. Vamadeva is the personification of love, representing the feminine form of Shiva, warmth that makes us want to take care of what we create. Vamadeva represents the Vishnu* aspect of preservation within us. It represents sustenance with life giving waters.

Panchamukha Shiva Linga is a powerful symbolism, a reflection of a great reality that encompasses all supreme deities. This form represents the Universe and all its creation, its life and itself as a whole in all directions.

The beauty of the panchamukha linga explains apparently disconnected concepts -
1) why the other heads of the panchamukha linga at Eklingji temple near Udaipur alone are named differently,
2) the placement of other deities around the Bana linga in the Panchayatana puja
3) the connection with Trimurthy at Elephanta and Adbhutanath Shiva*
4) the meaning of panchamukha which is a supreme thought, much more than just the mere naming of 5 heads.

* Elephanta Trimurthy has the 3 heads named as Vishnu, Brahma and Rudra Shiva
* Adbhutanath Shiva has the 3 heads named as Vamadeva, Isana Shiva and Aghora Rudra

Related topics:

Eklingji town, Shiva temples near Udaipur, Rajasthan

Bana Lingas from the depths of the Narmada River
Adbhutanath Shiva and the miracle of living!
Mahasadashiva - Vishwaroopa darshanam

Photo courtesy: Unknown, flickr.com


Dr.Anil Joshi said...

Kavitha,An apparently complex theme made easy!Panchamukh Anjaneya or Hanuman is also an equally intriguing concept.The five faces of both these deities can be considered as steps in spiritual evolution,the past,present,future,the realization & then the salvation could be the five phases

Kavitha Kalyan said...

Hi Anilji,

Its a strange logic but "Panchamukha" when attributed to any deity gives them the additional supremacy as compare to single face. This applies for Shiva, Ganesha, Anjaneya as you have added, Brahma etc.

The theory of past, present and future brings in a lot of meaning where Past would be Brahma, Present would be Vishnu and future will be Shiva. Realization of the self and the union with atman is what wakes us out of this grueling maya.

Infact Panchamukha linga also connects to Sadashiva - vishwarupa darshan. I suddenly feel the lull in my mind, the lull that happens when one just solves a puzzle and doesnt know - what next!

Btw, this was another of my questions answered, indirectly by you.

Unknown said...

Kavitha, please let me know about 5 mukhaling, where it is situated? send the address by mail.

Unknown said...

Good photos