IshtaLinga ( Linga )

* The Istalinga worn on the body by the Lingayaths. The Istalinga is Linga the gross or physical, the third of the first three modifications of Ghanalinga. (The three forms of Linga are Bhavalinga, Pranalinga and Istalinga ) The Istalinga gives the worshipper that entire he desires to be worshipped and is, there fore, worshipped every day in devotion.

The Linga is given to the body at the time of birth, as is the custom. The Linga is always on the body of a person till his death. The person should never lose his Linga , Ishtalinga is always carried on some part of the body, usually the neck, while work or other situations on the left arm, and is placed in the left hand of the deceased when the body is committed to the grave. Men and women, old and young, rich and poor, all alike wear this symbol of their faith and its loss is regarded as spiritual death, though in practice the loser can, after a few ceremonies, are invested with a new one.

The daily worship of the Linga , before the Deeksha ceremony of a person is performed, may be informal but necessary for the person, so that he may be imbibed with deep reverence for the God and impressed with the significance of spiritual discipline. Though informal, it has its own significance. It makes the wearer and worshipper conscious of his duty to God on account of his uncertain position in worldly life. It makes him aware of the necessity of religious life and spiritual discipline in the way of Mukti. The real worship of Linga as the religious exercise begins after the Deeksha ceremony performed by the Guru , who initiates a person into the secrets of religion and explains how to do puja how to worship the Linga .

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