The worshipping of The Atmalinga originated from the Mahabaratha.
As it goes, Alankarapriyo Vishnu, Abhishekapriyah Sivah—Lord Vishnu is very fond of Alankara (decoration done with a fine dress, ornaments, etc) and Lord Siva is fond of Abhisheka. Most often, in The Siva temples, a pot made up of copper or brass with a hole in the centre is kept hanging over the image or Linga of Siva, and water is falling on the image throughout day and night. Pouring water, milk, ghee, curd, honey, coconut water,
Panchamrita, etc., over the Atmalinga is called Abhisheka. Rudra is chanted during the Abhisheka. Lord Siva is propitiated by Abhisheka. Lord Siva drank the poison that emanated from the ocean and wore the Ganga and the moon on His head to cool His head. He has the fiery third eye which can be cooled by constant Abhisheka to the Atmalinga. The greatest and the highest Abhisheka, is to pour the waters of pure love on the Atmalinga of the lotus of the heart. The external Abhisheka on
Atmalinga with various objects will help the growth of devotion and adoration for Lord Siva and eventually lead to internal Abhisheka with pure abundant flow of love. Abhisheka is a part of Siva Puja. In the absence of Abhisheka, worship of Siva is incomplete or unfinished. During Abhisheka Rudra, Purushasukta, Chamaka, Maha-mrityunjaya Japa, etc., are chanted in a particular rhythm and order. Monday is very important day for Lord Siva and the thirteenth day of the fortnight (Pradosha) is considered very sacred. On these days, the devotees of Siva worship Him with special Puja, Abhisheka with Ekadasa-Rudra, Archana, offering plenty of Prasad, and illumination. In Ekadasa-Rudra Abhisheka, every Rudra is chanted with distinctive articles for Abhisheka. Ganga water, milk, ghee, honey, rose-water, coconut water, sandal paste, Panchamrita, scented oil, sugarcane juice and lime juice are made use of for the Abhisheka. After every Abhisheka, pure water is poured over the head of Siva. When Rudra is repeated once, the different articles of Abhisheka are made use of after every stanza of the Rudra.
The Abhisheka water or other articles used for Abhisheka are considered very sacred and bestow immense benefits on the devotees who take it as the Lord’s Prasad. It purifies the heart and destroys countless sins. You must take it with intense Bhava, dedication and faith.
When you do Abhisheka to the Atmalinga with Bhava and devotion, your mind is concentrated. Your heart is filled with the image of the Lord and divine thoughts. You forget your body and its relation and surroundings
Egoism gradually vanishes. When there is forgetfulness, you begin to enjoy and taste the eternal bliss of Lord Siva. Recitation of Rudra or Om Namassivaya purifies the mind and fills it with Sattva.If you do Abhisheka with Rudrapatha in the name of a person suffering from any disease he will be soon freed from that disease. Incurable diseases are cured by Abhisheka.
Abhisheka bestows health, wealth, prosperity, progeny, etc. Abhisheka on Monday is most auspicious.
By offering Panchamrita, honey milk, etc., to the Lord, thoughts of your body diminish. Selfishness slowly vanishes. You derive immense joy. You begin to increase your offerings unto the Lord. Therefore, self-sacrifice and self-surrender comes in gradually.
Kannappa Nayanar, a great devotee of Lord Siva, a hunter by profession, did Abhisheka with the water in his mouth for the Linga at Kalahasti inSouth India and propitiated Lord Siva. Lord Siva is pleased by pure devotion and dedication. It is the mental Bhava that counts and not the outward show.
Lord Siva had said to the temple priest: “This water from the mouth of Kannappa, my beloved devotee, is more pure than the water of the Ganga”.
From Mahabarata to Kannapa Nayanar demonstration It can be understood how. important, especially in Kaliyuga the Abishega to Atmalinga in Temples by devotees themselves without the aid of a priest. This culture has been in the beginning of this yuga in practice by devotees in Northern India, where it is common to notice a separate Atmalinga installed in Temples or at various locations individually for Devotees to perform poojas and Abishega on Atmalinga.
Gokarna Shivling Abhishegam: