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TitleGanga and Sarasvati: The Transformation of Myth
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Page 121


of the Lingam. DespiteVedic condemnation,the lingam as stam-
bha retainsits generativequality, which in the Mahabharatabe-
comesShiva'smark,acknowledgedby all thegods.


Aside from his associationwith the lingam, Shiva fills several
other roles as the templearchetype.One is his strongconnection
with the burial ground, which first gave rise to the temple idea
itself. In the epic, Shiva declares:"I do not seeany spot that is
more sacredthan the crematorium... of all abodes,the crema-
torium pleasesmy heartmost."21 Yama,godof death,receiveshis
stewardshipfrom Shiva.22 At times Shivatempleswere built upon
thegravesthemselves.This custommaywell explainwhy thearchi-
tectural treatises specify their construction outside the village
precincts.23 A ninth-centuryinscriptionof theCholaking Rajaditya
recordstheconstructionof a Shivatemple,built on the spotwhere
the king's fatherwasburied.The practiceexiststodayin thesouth,
but only for themoreaffiuent; the lessfortunatestill setup modest
lingamson thesite.24 Mrs. SinclairStevensonmentionsasmall Shi-
va temple in Kathiawar built on the spot where a local raja had
beenburnedandhis bonesburied.Theshrinecontaineda lingam,
an imageofShiva'swife Parvati,andastatueof GangaY


Shiva,asagodof deathandemblemof fertility, is alsoassociated
with thecosmicmountain.This identity is seenin his epithets,such
as "he who dwells in the mountains."He is known variously as
lord, protector,or friend of the mountain.The relationshipis ex-
pressedin the namesof his wife-Parvati and Vma Haimavati-
both signifying the daughterof the mountain; it is visually por-
trayedby theimageof Gangathataccompanieshim andwho is also
called Haimavati. In a world of endlesspermutationand equiv-
alence,lingam and mountaincoalesce.In the Himalayas,the lin-
gam is called dhruva, fixed or unmoving, a term describing the
primordial unmovable lingam and the great mountains them-
selves.26 In South �I�n�~�i�a�, whole mountainsare regardedas lin-
gams.27 The conjoint themeof lingam and mountaincorresponds

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