ORIGIN OF LINGA
Many years ago, at the end of a destruction, there was watereverywhere in the universe and the universe was shrouded in darkness.Vishnu slept on the water in his form of Narayana.Brahma discovered Vishnu sleeping thus and woke him up. Failing torecognize Vishnu, he asked, "Who are you and what are you doing here?"Vishnu woke up and noticed Brahma standing there. He smiled and said,"How are you, Brahma? Is everything well with my son?’"How dare you call me your son?’ demanded Brahma. "I am Brahma, thelord of everything. I am the creator of the universe. How dare anyonecall me his son?""You seem to have forgotten everything," said Vishnu. "I am Vishnu andyou were born from me. That is the reason why I addressed you as myson."Brahma did not accept this and started to fight with Vishnu. While thetwo were thus grappling, a shining linga suddenly appeared. It wasalmost as if the linga had emerged to settle Brahma and Vishnu’sdispute. The linga rose way up into the sky and it seemed to have nobeginning or end."What on earth is this pillar of fire doing here?" Vishnu asked Brahma."Let us investigate it. Why don’t you go up and see where it ends? As forme, I shall proceed downwards. Let us meet after a while and comparenotes."Brahma agreed to do this. He adopted the form of a swan and flew up.Vishnu adopted the form of a boar and went down. No matter howfurther down Vishnu went, he could find no end to the linga. Nor couldBrahma discover its upper extremity.They returned and were amazed to find that neither had been able tofind the end of the linga. They realized that they must be in thepresence of a power that was greater than their own. They thereforebegan to pray to the linga and the sound of the mantra (incantation) omechoed all around the linga. Shiva appeared from within the linga in theform of a sage named Vedanama. He told them that it was the lingawhich was the origin of the universe. It was from the linga that theprimordial egg (anda), the origin of the universe, had been created.Shiva also taught Brahma and Vishnu the sacred gayatri mantra. He toldBrahma and Vishnu, "We are all three part of the same supremebrahman. Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the preserver and I am thedestroyer. Don’t fight amongst yourselves."Ever since that day, Shiva has been worshipped in the form of a linga..