Have you ever wondered why, when you go to the temple or any holy place, you are asked to take rounds around the object of worship?
It is said that when we move around the idol, tree, or cow or any other object of worship, we gain the full results of soy prayers. How does this happen or why does it happen?
You see, any holy object be it an idol, a tree, a cow, a mountain or saint, they all attract great cosmic energy. The energy surrounds them, it radiates through them. As we move around them in 360 degrees we observe some of that energy. This is why pradakshina is very important ritual.
It is like our solar system. It is like planets move around the sun and they get energy from it, like wise when we move around cosmically charged object we get energy from it.
Pradakshina is always done clockwise. This is because we always have lord on our right hand side when we are performing pradakshina. The source of the energy is at our right. It implies the righteousness of the ritual.
In sanatan dharma it is said that we should do pradakshina around the male gods in even number (0,2,4,6)whilst that of female goddess should be in odd numbers (1,3,5,7). The reason behind this is very scientific in nature. Try counting even numbers for two minutes. Now count odd numbers for two minutes. You will notice while counting even numbers you feel calm and serene. Whereas when you count even numbers you start feeling energetic. Male gods are mostly associated with peace and serenity. While female goddesses are mostly associated with cosmic energy like Durga, kali etc
In case of Shivalinga the method of doing pradakshina is very different. It is known as ‘Somasutri’ meaning the shape of crescent. The channel that passes through the base of the linga, from which the water of ritualistic bathing, towards the north of shivalaya is called somasutra. We begin the pradakshina clockwise till the outward projection of the channel and then without crossing it, return back to the channel on the other side, thus completing the circle.
The outward channel also the yoni is where the energy flows. The dipicts the ‘Shakti’. If one crosses over this channel the energy flow is disturbed. When crossing over, the legs are spread and the formation of semen and five internal vital air energies are adversely effected. However this ill effects will not take place if the nadis or the body is contracted.
Rationalists believe that if we cross the channel the dirt from our feet can contaminate the water flowing through the channel. This water is taken by the devotees as Prasad, this it may result in illnesses.
However these are applicable to man made lingas and not the Swayambhu (self originated) Shivalinga.