THE METHODS OF WORSHIPPING SHIVA
On the request of the sages, Suta retold the preaching which had been narrated by Brahma to Narada. Describing the method of Shiva worship he says-
“A devotee should get up early in the morning and contemplate on Shiva, who gives benediction. After that, he should finish his daily routing work and perform rituals like ‘Sandhya’ and Vandana etc. After that, he should worship Shivalinga according to vedic rites like Panchopachar, Sodashopachar etc. He should also perform ‘Abhiseka’ with various offerings. At last, the should beg pardon for his sins.”
Once, Brahma went to ‘Kshirsagar’ (the abode of Vishnu) accompanied by the deities and asked lord Vishnu how a man could be liberated from his sorrows. Lord Vishnu told them that this objective could be met by worshipping Shivalinga.
All the deities, then prayed to lord Shiva, who after becoming pleased instructed ‘Vishwakarma’ to construct a Shivalinga for them. Vishwakarma then made a Shivalinga for Kubera, a Shivalinga of yellow diamond for Dharmaraj, a Shivalinga of dark coloured diamond for Varuna, a Shivalinga of Indraned diamond for Vishnu and a goldden Shivalinga for Brahma. Similarly Vishwadeva was given a Shivalinga made up of silver, the Ashwini Kumars were given Shivalinga made up of bronze, Lakshmi was given a Shivalinga made up of Crystal (Sphatik), Sun-god was given a Shivalinga made of copper and the moon was given a Shivalinga made of pearl.
Brahma has described the following methods for the worship of Shivalinga-
“After performing the rituals like ‘Achaman’ and Pranayama a devotee should apply a tripunda on his forehead and wear a rudraksha on his body. After the study of Shanti-path and the
performance of Devata-Namaskar, he should make a resolution if he has any wish to be fulfilled. Then the worship of Shivalinga should be done, with the help of Mahima-Stavan and offering flowers to the Shivalinga. The purity of the mantras should be maintained while chanting them.
It has been mentioned in the ShivaPurana that making offerings in the form of lotus, Shatapatra, Shankhapushpi, the leaves of wood apple tree, helps a man in attaining wealth and prosperity. For becoming free from disease, fifty lotus flowers should be offered to the Shivalinga. Mrityunjay-Japa should be chanted for five lac times, for all types of accomplishment. One lakh dhatura-fruits should be offered for long life, worldly-pleasure, as well as for attaining salvation.