The Narmadeshvara Shiva Lingam

Men have collected stones since the beginning of time and have assumed that certain ones were containers of life force with all its mystery. The Narmadeshvara Lingam is such a stone. It has been highly venerated and used extensively throughout history for both worship and ritual.

It is said that these Lingams were created millions of years ago when a meteorite collided with the earth at what is now the source of the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh, a mountainous province some 300 miles northeast of Bombay, India.

The tremendous heat of the collision caused a fusion of the ambient rock and the meteoric material. Over the ages a river began to flow through this area and the combination of these factors produced the unique condition in which pieces of the fused matter, revolving in the river bed over thousands of years took on the distinct ovoid form. The oval form is markedly different from the flatter, thinner rocks normally appearing in the river bed.

Once a year, after a long dry season and just before the beginning of the monsoon, when the river is at its lowest, the villagers, working with oxen and rope, go out onto the river bed and pull the stones from the water. The stones are then hand polished, a large one taking several months to complete. About twenty to thirty large pieces are taken from the river each year.

These pillar or egg shaped stones are called LINGAMS (literally "sign" or "characteristic" in Sanskrit language). To certain groups of the Hindu Religion, the stones are considered to symbolize or even represent directly, the Transcendental Being, the Living God, Divine Existence, Divine Consciousness and Divine Bliss (Satchitananda). According to the Skanda Purana, and ancient Hindu scripture, the Lingam represents the all-pervading space in which the whole universe is in the process of creation and dissolution. Other groups consider the Lingam, with its phallic form to be symbolic of the generative force of life itself.

Lingams are carved or styled from a wide variety of materials such as stone, wood, gold, silver, mercury, crystal etc., but there is one type of Lingam which is revered and sought after above all others - this is the naturally formed stone Narmadeshvara (Lord of the Narmada).

The density of the Narmadeshvara Lingam is close to emerald. The red markings you see on the stones are the meteorite material and are considered spiritually auspicious. The red markings also represent the energizing female energy which arouses the masculine urge to create. The markings vary from what appears to be a pair of parted lips to wide strong brush marks extending around the entire perimeter of the Lingam. No two stones are alike.

The actual physical properties of the stone (both in shape and material) are said to give the Narmadeshvara Lingam a supreme ability to hold vibrational force and power. We have noticed that nearly everyone who comes in contact with these stones finds them attractive and extremely communicative.

Traditionally the stones are set in an upright position with most of the markings being on the upper half.

The strong, graceful lines of the Lingams are an expression of an ageless and universal beauty and the lingam's natural and religious history gives them the mystery of an object that will be appreciated forever.
(The Narmadeshvara Lingam appeared on the cover of House and Garden magazine in June 1984 and on the cover of Architectural Digest in May 1985.)