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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Linga, LiGga, Linga

Liṅga literally means ‘sign’.

Liṅga, an Emblem

This word is commonly used to indicate the famous emblem of Śiva.

Liṅga, an Inference

The acquisition of jñāna or empirical knowledge is an important topic discussed in the philosophical systems. These means of knowledge are called ‘pramāṇas’. Out of the several such pramāṇas normally accepted by these systems, anumāna or inference is an important and universally accepted one. The term ‘liṅga’ is used as a part of this anumāna.

A statement of anumāna generally has three parts:

  1. Sādhya - major term
  2. Pakṣa - minor term)
  3. dhana or liṅga or hetu - middle term

If smoke is seen on a yonder hill, one can infer from this liṅga or sign that there is fire there.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore