Religions which were born yesterday ridicule Hinduism and tout as USP that they do not worship Idols and worship God without Form.
Funny that these religions ended up with worshiping their messiahs, one His and His mother’s image and the other so devoted that they would not allow others to even mention his name without salutation !
But would a Stone!
And that turns out to be Shiva!
In terms of Time scale and antiquity, as compared to Hinduism,they were born yesterday.
Hinduism knows that Reality is Formless.
More aware that Human mind can not contemplate in a vacuum.
So they devised Idol worship .
Please read my posts under Hinduism.
There is a Shiva Temple in Tamil Nadu, which has no Idol of Shiva or Linga.
Instead in the sanctum one finds only a pedestal, to which is offered the Pooja.
It is Avudayar Kovil ,Thiruperundurai.
Lord Shiva graces in three postures in the sanctum sanctorum as formless, form-formless as the Kuruntha tree and in form as Manickavasagar.
As the Kurundha tree is praised as Lord, 108 conch Abishek (Sangabishekam) is offered on Mondays of Karthikai month – November-December.
Only a square shape Avudayar-the mount on which the Linga is placed – is in the sanctum sanctorum.
A bowl – Kuvalai in Tamil – is placed on the Avudayar personified as the body and the inner empty space as Athma-soul.
As Lord dwells in all beings being their Athma, He is praised as Lord Athmanathar.
A kind of oil prepared with 108 herbal is used for abishek during all the six time puja – Aarukala puja in Tamil.
Generally, the Arati offered to deities in temples are shown to devotees who touch it and place their hands in eyes.
But the Arati plate in Avudayarkoil Lord is not brought out of the sanctum sanctorum as Lord by Himself is a Jyoti. Worshipping Lord or the Arati makes no difference.
There are three deepas (lamps) lit in the sanctum sanctum behind the presiding deity in white, red and green as the three eyes of Lord Shiva representing Sun (white), Agni (red) and Moon (green).
As Lord is formless, these three lamps are lit.
A Shiva form in the temple is known as Kudhirai Swami – Horse God.
For Saint Manickavasagar, Lord Shiva brought horses and delivered them to King Arimardhana Pandian.
He also rode on a horse along with other horses.
Hence he is praised as Kuthirai Swami– Horse Swami wearing horseman dress with a whip in hand.
He is in the Panchakshara Mandap.
There are foxes too under the horses praised as Ashwa Nathar.
Every entrance in the temple has Deepas (lamps) in specific numbers.
The Thiruvasi (a metal frame in upside U shape around Lord Shiva has 27 lamps representing 27 stars, the two nearby the Jeevatma-Paramatma philosophy, 5 representing the five arts, 36 representing many philosophies, 51 letters. 11 mantras and 224 world divisions.
Those facing planetary problems offer ghee for lighting the deepas around the Thiruvasi.
There is no shrine for Navagrahas in the temple but they are in pillars.
While Rahu and Ketu (serpent planets) are in the first pillar, Shukara –Venus, Sani Bhagwan-Saturn, Jupiter-Guru and Sevvai-Mars are in the second pillar.
Sun with His consorts Pradyusha and Usha and Mercury (Budha) are in the third.
Moon is at the fourth pillar.
In the next two pillars nearby are Lord Kalatheeswar and Mother Gangadevi.
There are four Vinayakas in the four corners in the second prakara one of them with Mother Annapoorani facing north.
Steaming Boiled Rice, No salt< Greens without salt.
1000 Stone Pillar Mantap raises musical notes on tapping .
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Sri Athmanatha Swami Temple, Avudayarkoil, Pudukkottai district.
+91 4371 233301( cross check the Phone number.
Temple web site.
How To reach.