Having incorporated various mythological episodes, discourses, and incidents related with Lord Shiv in 'Ling Puran’, the Shaiv principles have been enumerated in a natural, simple, and logical manner. Therefore this Puran has been said as "Shaiv Pradhan Puran ".
Though the literal meaning of 'ling' is said to be the reproductive organ, yet 'ling' does not mean reproductive organ but Onkar in this Puran. Inception of the universe is said to originate from 'Parbrahm', which neither has a shape nor form. That has no characteristic and is formless. The 'ling' is the symbol of expression for the same Parbrahm that is devoid of any characteristic.
The description of the three forms of Lord Shiv - visible, invisible, and the dual form- is found in many texts. This idea has been expressed in the three forms of Lord Shiv in the Ling Puran:
It has been clarified in the above-written shloka that aling, ling, and lingaling respectively are the symbols of the three forms of Lord Shiv.
Lord Shiv is ever present in the invisible ling in the form ofparbrahm even when the universe was not in the existence. After that it is he who appears in the form of visible ling and creates the universe. Thus Lord Shiv is present in the universe in both the forms - the invisible (no characteristic) and visible (with characteristic). His visible and invisible (dual) form is called lingaling. That is to say that the invisible form of Lord Shiv is presented by aling, visible form by ling, and the visible and invisible (dual) form by lingaling.
The Number of Verses and Sections
There are eleven thousand (11,000) verses and 163 chapters in this Puran. This Puran is divided into two parts - first half and second half. There are 108 chapters in the first half while the second half contains 55 chapters.
The Gist of Ling Puran
Consisting 163 chapters, the Ling Puran begins with the detailed description of universe. It is said in it that the universe has emerged from the panchbhoot namely atmosphere (sky), air, fire, water, and earth.
According to Ling Puran, when the thought of the creation of universe came into the heart of Brahmaji, first of all, he produced ego or aham (avidya). The five sensory characteristics (tanmatra) namely sound, touch, beauty, taste, and smell were born out of ego (ahankar). The five base elements (panchtatva) were produced out of these sensations. Sensation means characteristic of each element. Which means that sensations are subtle and the elements are said to be the bulk.
Explaining this principle in detail and in a simple manner, it is said that the sensory sound emerges from ego, the element of sky from the sound, the sensory touch from sky element, the air element from touch, sensory beauty from air element, fire from the sensory beauty, sensory taste from fire element, water element from taste, smell from water element, and the earth element from smell. The universe emerges in this very sequence of the emergence of elements and sensory characteristics.
The discourses about yog and kalp have been enclosed after the description of universe. Thereafter there is description of the appearance of ling and its method of prayer and worship, the educative dialogues of Sanatkumar and Shail, the story of Maharshi Dadhichi, the establishment of yugdharma, and vault of universe (Bhuvankosh).
Thereafter, like other Purans, in this Puran too, having narrated the Sun dynasty and Moon dynasty, the five distinctions of Puran and the story of the execution of the demon named Tripur by Lord Shiv has been described. Lord Shiv had become famous by the name of Tripurari due to executing the demon named Tripurari. In the context of this story, the procedure of the installation of 'ling' and Lord Shiv being known as Pashupatinath and the uncovering of the pashu-paash of gods have also been described.
After that there are descriptions of various holy vrats, good conducts, and remorses etc. that bring blessings of Lord Shiv. Elaboratinging on the good conduct, it has been said in the gist that controlled, religious, kind, tapaswi, truthful, and nourishing the good thought for all beings are the men who are dear to Lord Shiv.
Explaining dharma, it has been said in this Puran that the moveable and immoveable world have been created by God only. Therefore, rejecting the narrowness of high-low, caste and creed, man should nurture the thought of affection and compassion for all the living beings. In fact that is the dharma of man.
After that there are the stories of the birth of Andhakasur and his defeat by Lord Shiv, salvation of the earth by Shri Vishnu through the Varah incarnation and the execution of the demon named Jalandhar.
After that, the description of the useful thousand-name stotra of Lord Shiv, the destruction of the yajna of Daksh Prajapati, the birth of Parvati, the burning of Kaamdev, the wedding of Shiv-Parvati, the birth of Ganesh, the tandav dance of Shiv, and character of Upmanyu and other mythological episodes are described. The procedure for the worship of Lord Shiv, the method of panch-yajna, the method of dubbing one's body with ashes, the method of taking a bath, the cycle of astrology, description of India along with islands like Jumbu and Plaksh etc., the story of Kshup-Dadhichi, the story of Dhruv, and the glory of Kaashi - these are the important characteristics of Ling Puran.
Having narrated the useful form of Lord Vishnu in the first part of Ling Puran, the glory of Eikadashi vrat has been established through the story of King Ambareesh. Then there is the dialogue of Sanatkumar and Nandishwar in which the glory of yajna and donation, and the worship of sun have been discussed.
After that, the 28 avatars of Lord Shiv, the reverence of aghor form of Lord Shiv, the glory of Trayambak, the glory of Gayatri, and the educative analysis of the great study of Brajeshwari have been made. Finally, describing the importance of reading, listening, and thinking of the Ling Puran, it has been concluded.