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On Hinduism$
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Wendy Doniger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199360079

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.001.0001

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God's Body, or, the Lingam made Flesh: Conflicts Over the Representation of Shiva 1

God's Body, or, the Lingam made Flesh: Conflicts Over the Representation of Shiva 1

(p.192) God's Body, or, the Lingam made Flesh: Conflicts Over the Representation of Shiva1
On Hinduism

Wendy Doniger

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the concept of lingam in Hinduism and its association with the Hindu god Shiva. It begins with a discussion of the history of the usages of the word lingam in ancient texts and the evidence of material images of the Shiva-lingam in Indian art, along with the historical role of foreign empires in the formation of contemporary attitudes toward the lingam. In particular, it traces the origins of the lingam to the Indus Valley Civilization in what is now northwest India and Pakistan. It also considers the appearance of the word lingam in the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Mahabharata. Furthermore, it looks into the lingam in Gudimallam in southeastern Andhra Pradesh which is believed to be the earliest physical depiction of Shiva. The chapter also describes the role of the lingam in Hinduism under Muslim and Raj rule and concludes with an analysis of the problem of lingam symbolism.

Keywords:   lingam, Hinduism, Shiva, Indian art, Indus Valley Civilization, India, Vedas, Upanishads, Mahabharata, Gudimallam

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