As Rishis asked Lomaharshana Maharshi as to the Procedure of Lingaarchana or Worship the Shiva Linga, the Maharshi stated that once Devi Parvati also enquired of the same and Shiva Himself revealed the Procedure: To start with a devotee of Shiva should purify himself by a ‘ Shuddha Snaana’ or a formal bathing and three kinds of Snaana were mentioned viz. Varuna Snaana, Bhasma Snaana and Mantra Snaana. Casual or normal Snaana was insignificant and would have no impact whatso ever; the devotee has to first concentrate and keep Shiva in the ‘dhyaana’/sincere and targetted focus and then resort to prayer to Suryan Deva, utilise materials like Mrittika, cowdung, tila, pushpa, bhasma and kusha and apply ‘Mrittika’ (Earth) or along with water and recite the Mantra : Udgataasi vartaahena and clean up the body parts; while applying gobar or cow dung, the Mantra to be recited would be Gandhaa -dwaaraam dhuraadharshaam nitya pushtaam kareeshineem and so on. Then clean up the body by downing it in the water body a few times and then change the unclean Vastra to a dry and clean Vastra, recite prayers to Surya-Chandra-Agni and Varuna. With pre-collected water in a shankha or conchshell or atleast in a bowl of Kushaa, then perform three ‘ Aachamanas ’ or sips of spoonful of water while reciting the Mantra:
Apavitrah pavitrovaa sarvaavasthaangatopiva,
Yassmaret Pundareekaahsham sa bahyaantaraassuchih/
This would be followed by the Aghamarshana Mantras viz.
Rutamcha Satyam abheedaat tapasodhyajaayata
tato raatrasya jaayataa tat Samudro Arnavaha/
(Even before meditation, the self-illuminated Para Brahma created Truth that dispelled darkness and further on the Oceans); Thereafter perform ‘Punaraachamana’with the water from the shankha or the bowl made of kusha grass as the case that may be.
This would be followed by initiating ‘Manasika’ or ‘Pratyaksha’ Abhisheka of Linga with the Invocation of Trayambika Mantra and its explanation
Om Trayambakam yajaamahe sugandhim pushtivardhanam,
Urvaarukameva bandhanaat Mrutyormuksheeya Maamrutat/
(OM, Tryambakaam or Three Eyes or Three Ambaas of Lakshmi-Gouri-Sarasvati ; Yajaamahe or we sing your glory; Sugandhim or of fragrance of knowledge- strength-presence or of knowing-seeing-and feeling of His deeds; Pushtivardhanam or may the Creator promote our well-being; Urvaarookam or deadly diseases or Adhibhoutika-Adhiyatmika-Adhi daivika; eva: types; bandhanaan or overpowered; Mrutyor -meeksheeya or do deliver us from death; Maamrutaat: kindly bestow to us the rejuvenating Amritam or Nectar). The Mantra of Rudrena Pavanaanena twaritaakhyena Mantravit etc. is recited while initiating the Abhisheka and performing Dhyana or meditation of Pancha Mukha Shiva; thus the Snaana- Aachamana-Dhyaana is performed, before taking up Sandhyopasana, Gayatri Japa, and Pancha Yagnaas. The Pancha Yagnas comprise Deva Yagna, Manushya Yagna, Bhuta Yagna, Pitru Yagna and Brahma Yagna; Devas are pleased by Agni Homas; Manushyas are pleased by Bhojana-Dakshinaas to worthy Brahmanas; Bhutaas are pleased by Sacrifice of ‘Bali Vaishvadeva- Anna’, Pitru Devas are pleased by Shraadhhas and Tarpanaas, and Brahma Yajna is performed by way of ‘Swaadhyaaya’ or Recitation of Vedas and Scriptures. Thus Homas are an integral part of Rudraabhisheka.
Maharshi Lomavarshana now described the actual Procedure of Rudraabhisheka as follows: The Brahmana desirous of the Abhisheka should then perform Pranaayama after aligning his physical Limbs with Pranava Swarupa of Pancha Mukha Maha Deva. He should clean up the area and decorate the surroundings of Shiva Linga with Gandha and Chandana, sprinkle water on the Prokshya-Arghya-Paadya and Achamaneeya Patraas or the vessels with which to perform the Lingaabhisheka; apply chandana around the Paadya Patra as Pranava Mantra is recited; fill up with the ‘Churna’or the powder mix of Karpura (Camphor), Jaati Kankola, Tamala etc.; sprinkle the mix of‘Kushaagra’or the top of Kusha grass, rice grains, and pour the mixture of water and Bhasma or Sacred Ash -the left over of previous Agni Homas- in the Prokshani Patra utilised for scattering water; keep reciting Rudra Gayatri viz.
Om Tatpurushaya Vidhmahe Maha Devavaaya dhimahi tanno Rudra prachodayaat/
also the Panchaakshari Mantra viz. Om Namassivaaya/ and perform Anga Nyasa and Karanyasa ie alignment of the Mantras and the Body Parts as also the Mantras and hand fingers aong with the water from the Prokshana or water-sprinkling vessel. While Nandi Deva is seated in the vicinity of the Shiva Linga, the Karta of the Abhishekam would concentrate on Parama Shiva with his Physical Splendour akin to Agni Deva; the Tri Netra, the ‘Aabharana Bhushita’ or the Well- Ornamented One and the Sowmya Rupa.
The Karta would propitiate Shiva, besides Ganesha, Skanda and Devi Parvati with fragrant flowers and set these Devatas in different directions around the Shiva Linga. The devotee would arrange a Padma Pushpa before the Linga and visualise each of the ‘dalaas’ of the Lotus as representative of various Siddhis; the Purva dala or of Purva Disha or the Eastern Side would represent Anima Siddhi, the Dakshina dala as Laghima Siddhi, the Paschima dala as Mahima Siddhi, the Uttara dala embodying the Prapti Siddhi, the Nirruti dala as Praakaamya Siddhi, the Vayavya dala as Ishatwa Siddhi and Agneya dala as Vashitwa Siddhi.[Refer to last Paragraph of the Chapter on Ashtaanga Yoga afore-mentioned].The Padma Pushpa’s stem is stated to be the Soma Deva; the middle portion of the stem is stated to embody the Surya Deva while the lowest portion would represent Pavaka Deva. Then Shiva be seated at the Center firmly; He would be seated as Sadyojata Shiva with the Mantra of Vaamaa Deva; Rudra Gayatri is seated with Aghora Mantra; and Ishana is seated by reciting
Ishaanassarva Vidyaanaam Ishwarassarva Bhutaanaam
Brahmaadipatih Brahmanoddhi Patih Brahma Shivomey astu Sadaa Shivom/
Then the devotee should worship Shiva Linga with Paadya-Arghya-Achamanaas; perform Snaana with Gandha-Chandana; implement formal Snaana with Pancha-Gavya or of Cow’s Five Bye Products; carry out Abhishka with Ghee, Honey, Sugar, Pavitra Jala along Pranava Naada. There after, clean up the residues of the Abhisheka material on the Linga with a clean cloth and decorate the Linga with flower garlands comprising fresh flowers like Jaati, Champaka, Kapura, Kannera, Chameli, and Kadamba.The Abhisheka Karta would further execute nyaasa or alignments with his body parts and the accompanying Sadyojaataadi Mantra Recitations; he should execute Abhishka with the water from Golden or Silver or Copper vessels with a variety of ‘Patraas’ or Leaves of Kamala, Palasha etc.and of Pushpaas. Group recitations of Namaka-Chamaka Rudras and Mahayaasaas would literally electrify the atmosphere of Devotion.
Intonations of various other Mantras and Hymns like Pavamaana, Vaamakena, Nila Rupa, Shri Sukta, Purusha Sukta, Ratri Sukta, Hotaara, Atharva, Shanti Sukta, Aruna, Vaaruna, Veda Vrata, Bruhadrachandra, Virupaaksha, Skanda, Shata Rudra Shiva, Pancha Brahma Sukta would indeed transport the Vaktaan(Reciters) and the Shrotaas (Listeners) to the heights of Kailasa and demolish the sins of all concerned! After the Abhishekas, the Karta should perform ‘Punaraachamana’, repeat the worship with Gandha-Pushpa-Dhupa-Deepa-Naiverdyas as also decorate the Shiva Linga with Mukuta-Chhatra-Bhushana-Tamboola-Stotra-Japa-Pradakshina and ‘Atmaarpana Yukta Saashtaanga’ or Complete Surrender.