Flame of Knowledge

Flame of Knowledge This story of Śiva emanating from the shaft of flame as Lingodbhava is according to scholars, an extension of the story found in the Kēna upaniṣhad in which all the gods like Indra, Varuna, Vāyu, and Agni were quarrelling among themselves when a small piece of grass was found in front of them. When Agni, Vāyu and Varuna, one after the other boasted that they could destroy that grass in a trice, none could even shake it from its place. When Indra went near, a divine being revealed itself as a blazing flame that none could fathom. From it emerged, Umā-Haimavati, who revealed to Indira that she was Ātma-vidyā - knowledge of self. This famous Kēna upaniṣhad, showed Umā Haimavati was the embodiment of knowledge appearing as a shaft of flame. These two legends illustrate that both Śiva and Umā appeared as liṅga, representing knowledge. The appearance of Umā as a liṅga at Kurukṣhetra is to be understood against this back ground. The Vāmana purāna mentions another interesting liṅga. At Kurukṣhetra, Viśvakarmā established a liṅga to the east of the Vaṭa vrksha (banyan tree) there stood Goddess Sarasvati in the form of a Liṅga facing west. http://archaeologyindia.com/lingaworship.asp