The month of shravana is to be regarded as being special to Shiva. The ice lingam increases and decreases in size with the waning and waxing of the moon.
Full moon day on the last day of the month is considered auspicious for darshan of Shiva at Amarnath as this is when the ice lingam reaches its full stature.
Thousands of devotees have been paying their respects to this naturally formed ice lingam situated at an altitude of 12,756 ft to the south of Zojila on the one side and to the northeast of Pahalgam on the other side.
Swami Vivekananda, while paying a visit to the holy cave, was mystified by the ice lingam, for this is the spot where Shiva had dwelt upon subjects of creation, life and immortality.
Swamiji had an exalted spiritual experience of which he later said, “Lord Shiva appeared and graced me.” He called the place religious, inspiring and extremely beautiful.
As the legend goes, Shiva had to traverse the peaks and ridges of the Himalayas to find a place to narrate the mysteries of life and immortality to his consort Parvati. He took a break at Amarnath cave for this. Finally, Shiva transmuted into an ice lingam.
The bottom part of the lingam which is four-sided remains underground; the middle part, eight-sided, is on a pedestal and the top, worshipped, is the rounded part.
The three parts symbolise Brahma at the bottom, Vishnu in the middle and Shiva on top. The lingam is a transitional state between that with form and the formless, symbolising both the creative and destructive powers of Shiva.
Puranas describe it as a source of the universe and Shiva as the Supreme Lord. Skanda Purana symbolises it both as the limitless sky and that which pervades all. Linga Purana, describes it as that which is devoid of qualities and above the senses.
It is symbolic of the generative power of Shiva. It represents the cosmic egg, the Brahmanda, which is creation by union of prakriti and purusha, male and the female powers of nature.
It also signifies satya, jnana and ananta truth, knowledge and infinity. In Sanskrit, lingam means a ‘mark’ a symbol, which points to an inference.
It is believed that the lingam has power to induce concentration of the mind, if one is focused on it. Crystal and rock healers believe the Shiva Lingam to be among the most powerful.
It is said to bring balance and harmony to those who carry it and have great healing energy for all seven chakras. It is an abstract or an iconic representation of Hindu deity worshipped in temples, smaller shrines and self-manifested natural objects.
Shiva pervades through universal consciousness, and there is no place without him. Rama worshipped the Shiva Lingam at Rameshwaram. Ravana the learned scholar worshipped the golden lingam for its mystical powers.
Like Swami Vivekananda, many pilgrims have narrated stories of their trek to Amarnath through rugged, mountainous terrains of the Himalayas. Some have shared experiences of miraculous cures while others speak of it as a spiritually transformative experience.
Any pilgrimage undertaken with faith is bound to bring some benefits. And the journey itself is most often not easy; hence the saying that the journey is as significant or even more impactful as the destination itself.>