bāṇaliṅga

(‘liṅga of Bāṇa’)

Bāṇaliṅgas are natural liṅgas of Śiva (svayambhū or self-manifest) made of crystallized quartz, and generally found in some sacred rivers like the Narmadā. A legend goes that Śiva got them manifested at the special request of Bāṇāsura, a great devotee of his; hence the name ‘bāṇaliṅga’.

Though several stones shaped like a liṅga are found in the river Narmadā, not all of them are bāṇaliṅgas. Special charac-teristics are prescribed for them by noting which one can discover a true bāṇaliṅga.

The bāṇaliṅgas occur in many shapes and sizes as also colours. They are hence given different names. The ‘āgneya-liṅga’ will be rose in colour and warm to touch. The ‘yāmya-liṅga’ is shaped like a cudgel whereas the ‘varuṇa-liṅga’ is round in shape. The ‘raudra-liṅga’ resembles a bone-piece. The ‘vaiṣṇava-liṅga’ has varie-gated colours. They are sometimes given different names of Śiva—like Svayambhū, Mṛtyuñjaya or Nīlakaṇṭha—depending upon their external characteristics.