Lord Shiva is known as one of the most popular Gods of Hinduism. He is considered to be the one and all. He has the powers to create as well as the power to destroy. Lord Shiva is the beginning as well as the end. There was nothing beyond him and there will never be anything that can defeat him. Lord Shiva has been worshipped for ages in India.
Why Milk on Shivlinga?
Editor’s Note: there are lots of messages circulating on the Internet, FB, Whatsapp etc saying that it is better to feed the poor than to offer milk to deities. Well I am not against charity or good deeds, but most of the people who share these posts do not think twice when spending extravagantly on their own dining with family and friends. They will easily spend thousands of rupees on their drinks and feasting and that time will not think of offering that to the poor but when someone offers a small packet of milk to a deity, there is a lot of hue and cry, especially the ignoramuses who claim to be experts in every field.
So today will make an attempt to understand why milk is offered to Lord Shiva. Hinduism is considered to be one of the well-formed religions in the world. All the rituals that are followed in Hinduism have a scientific basis.
Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Shiv Lingam all across the country. Shiv Ling is considered to be very powerful and as the source of all solutions. Originally the Vedas did not mention about idol worship and temples. As time passed people needed some idols to worship as god else they could not concentrate that is why the concept of temples started.
If we look at Lord Shiva he is associated with the 12 Jyotirlingams that you can see all across the country. We have discussed about these Jyotirlingams in our previous posts. These Jyotirlingams were made my Lord Shiva himself. He appeared in these spots and he created these lingams so that his followers could worship him and they have no problems with understanding who Lord Shiva actually is.
After these Jyotirlingams were created temples were built around them. These lingams are placed in the most pious part of the temple so that the person who enters this chamber is filled with a positive energy so that the devotees can feel it as soon as they enter this chamber.
In temples were built with the idea that a person who comes there can feel a peace of mind and they can find solution to their own problems. When you are filled with positive energy you can give it to others and feel it in all the aspects of your life.
Cow milk is another very good conductor of positive energy. The aim was to ensure that all the factors come together in order to ensure that the effect of the positive energies in and around the temple increases the experience of the devotee. The devotee must receive the positive energy and feel it within himself.
People who are deep into meditation and can feel the presence of god does not need to do these rituals. These are for those who cannot meditate and need something to make them feel close to god. When a devotee after taking bath visits a Shiva temple and offers cow milk to the Shiv Ling he is actually ensuring that the positive energy that surrounds the Shiv ling flows into his body.
During this ritual the devotee must loudly chant the mantra “Om Namah Shivay”. This will make the devotee strong mentally, physically as well as emotionally.
The samudra manthan
If we try to understand how this ritual started we have to go back to the incident of samudra manthan. During the manthan a deadly poison called halahal came out of the sea. The poison was so deadly that it could destroy the whole universe.
To stop it Lord Shiva decided to drink the poison. His wife Parvati ensured that this poison stops at the throat of Lord Shiva and does not enter any other part of his body. Many snakes who were close to Lord Shiva also consumed a little of this poison and they became more poisonous.
After the manthan the devtas decided that they should thank lord Shiva for the help so they did the first abhishek and since then it has become a ritual to pour milk on Shiv Lingam and ask Lord Shiva for his blessings.
After that many kings were also seen doing the same. Lord Rama did the same before his battle with Ravan. The Rajput kings also were a huge devotee of Lord Shiva and before any big war they would offer milk to the Shiv ling.
Eklinji in Rajasthan is an example of how Rajputs worshipped Shiva. Apart from milk there are many other ingredients that are actually used while worshipping Lord Shiva. However, milk is considered to be the most important and essential of all the ingredients. We will list the ingredients now:
- Gingely oil
- Lime juice
- Coconut water
- Sandal paste
- Sugar cane juice.
Of all that we have mentioned above milk was something that was easily available to all. That’s why it was said that Lord Shiva is very simple and he is please will small gestures of his devotees. If you pour just a pot of milk on Shiv Lingam the lord will be immensely pleased.
Keeping it cool
Another concept is that Lord Shiva was a very short tempered God and when his third eye opened he could set everything on fire. By constantly pouring milk on the Shiv linga the devotees ensure that his head is kept cool and he will not destroy things. It is important that lord of destruction Lord Shiva is kept cool.
The day lord Shiva gets angry it can mean the end of the universe. He had started this universe and he alone as the ability to end it so we must appreciate him and keep him pleased by pouring milk. Shiv ling looks very powerful and when a devotee comes close to it they want to offer something to it and milk is most commonly offered.
There is nothing mentioned about how much milk should be offered even a little milk can please the lord and ensure that the positive energies move to the devotee who is offering the milk.
On the other hand many people are of the view that pouring milk on Shiv Ling is actually a waste. This milk must be offered to the poor so that they can fill their stomach. The basis of Hinduism is the Vedas. The four Vedas actually do not mention anything about idol worship. If we go by the Vedas worshipping does not need a form.
We just need to concentrate on the supreme power and that is religion as well as worship. As man is fickle minded it is not possible for them to concentrate on something that does not even have a form. This is exactly why the idol worship started and is practiced even today. Offering milk to Lord Shiva also comes under idol worship.
This debate has been going on for ages and will continue to go on. Perhaps this is an argument between science and religion and it is difficult for anyone to win.
Lord Shiva is beyond everything. Experts of Hinduism say that even if science uses all the powers it can it will never be able to understand what Lord Shiva is all about. It is a ritual to offer milk to the Shiv ling to please the lord. We have tried to discuss all the aspects of the topic. Like most of the rituals even this has seen a lot of changes in the years that have gone by. It was told that milk must be offered but no one said that this milk should be wasted.
Most of the milk that is offered to lord Shiva today is wasted and thrown in the drain. The milk that is offered can be collected and ensured that it is used for some significant purpose. No one ever said that the milk that is offered to the Shiv ling cannot be consumed. We can always ensure that this milk is collected and it is used for making something before the milk spoils.
This will ensure that the milk is used for consumption and this debate on whether offering milk is right or wrong is answered once and for all. Sadguru of Isha foundation has actually done this. The milk that is offered to the Dhanlingam built by a religious sect is used for consumption. It is ensured that the milk is not spoilt and it can be reused. If he could do it even the other temples can make an attempt to do it.