aṅga and liṅga

(‘that which goes towards Brahman’ and ‘that into which everything is dissolved’)

In Vīraśaivism (one of the important schools of Śaivism) Brahman is called ‘Sthala’. ‘Stha’ stands for ‘sthāna’ (place) and ‘la’ for ‘laya’ (dissolution). So ‘Sthala’ is that place or source from which the universe evolves and into which it dissolves ultimately. This ‘Sthala’ divides itself out of līlā or play into liṅga and aṅga, also called liṅgasthala and aṅgasthala. Aṅga is the individual soul or jīva (so called because he goes back [ga] to Brahman [aṁ] ) and liṅga (= that into which everything gets dissolved, līyate) is God, Śiva. Aṅga becomes one with liṅga in course of time as a result of bhakti, upāsanā or worship. See ṢAṬSTHALA-SIDDHĀNTA for details.