Who is Shiva

Shiva is the most widely worshiped god within Hindu temples He is called the “Destroyer” and his name means “Auspicious One” He is the lord of yoga and is depicted as an ascetic (someone who practices self-discipline by abstaining from worldly pleasure in the pursuit of spiritual goals) Shiva often performs yoga in extreme places, such as […]

What’s In A Name

This form of Shiva is called a linga (pronounced leen-gah) or lingum The linga is an abstract form of Shiva It is phallic or pillar shaped bhava (pronounced bah-vah) refers to production, origin, and worldly existence murti (pronounced mer-tee) refers to an image or statue of a deity This artwork is referred to as Lingodhbhavamurti and means the emergence […]

The Story Being Told

The Lingobhava form is explained in a number of Puranas (sacred Hindu texts) According to Hindu legend, the gods Vishnu and Brahma were quarreling over who is the supreme deity or principle architect of the universe Suddenly, a pillar (or linga) of fire appeared and interrupted their disagreement Overwhelmed by its size, they agreed to […]

Quick Guide to this Sculpture

This is a sculpture of the Hindu god Shiva emerging from a pillar of flames It was made during the Chola dynasty around 1150 CE It is from Tamil Nadu in Southern India The sculpture would have been displayed on the exterior of a Hindu temple in a niche (a shallow nook in a wall made […]


Why is this display empty? The image to the left is of the sculpture that was once displayed here. It is called Lingodhbhavamurti (Shiva Manifesting within the Linga of Flames) and has been repatriated back to India, its country of origin. Why was the sculpture returned? The museum was contacted by the Department of Homeland […]