Professor Max Muller in his last great work on the "Six Systems of Hindu Philosophy" has remarked as follows:-
'The longer I have studied the various systems the more have I become impressed with the the view taken by Vignana Bikshu and others that there is behind the variety of the Six Systems, a common fund of what may be called National or Popular Philosophy, a large Manasa lake of philosophical thought and language, far away in the distant north and in the distant past from which each thinker was allowed to draw for his own purposes."
And it would have certainly surprised him if one had told him that one need not go neither to the distant north nor to the distant past to discover what this National or Popular Philosophy was, from which each thinker drew his own inspiration, and a study of the two popular Hindu Religions of Modern India, we mean Saivaism and Vaishnavism, will convince anyone that they inherit today all the thought and traditions of by-gone ages, as the Modern Hindus themselves represent lineally their old ancestors who were settled in the Bharata Kanda since the days of the Rig Veda; and their religion of today is a much a living faith, suited to all sorts and conditions of men, whether peasant or pandit, sinner or saved.
Saivaism comprising in its fold, Saktaism and Gnanapatyam and worshippers of God Subrahmanya &c counts among its followers the majority of Hindus and it accordingly claims to represent the old traditional and parent religion of the days of the Vedas and Upanishads. Agamas or Tantras and Itihasas and Puranas and bases its authority on these ancient Revealed books and histories. It claims God Siva to be the author of the Vedas and Agamas. Says Sri Nilakanta Sivacharya in his Sutra Bashya.
"We see no difference between the Veda and the Sivagama. Even the Vedas may properly be called Sivagama, Siva being the author thereof. Accordingly Sivagama is twofold, one being intended for the three higher castes, the other being intended for all. The Vedas are intended for people of the three castes and the other for all. Siva alone is the author of the Veda is declared in the following passages of Sruti and Smriti.
"He is the Lord of all Vidyas," "(The Veda) is the breath of the Mighty Being."
'Of these eighteen Vidyas of various paths, the original author is the wise Sulapani Himself. So says the Sruti."
It will be therefore important to trace Modern Saivaism from the traditions and thought and language of the past.
The Supreme polity of the Veda is Sacrifice. Various Gods, Indra, Vayu, Varuna, Agni, Hiranyagarbha, Soma, Sun, Moon, Vishnu and Rudra, are worshipped. Each is addressed as a most powerful deity and his aid is invoked for all kinds of earthly blessing and freedom from evil. They are all supposed to represent various powers of nature and to idealize man's aspiration after the Supreme. Then we meet the text. 'Eakm sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti"; and who is this one? Was any one God recognised above all others as the Chief, as the God of Sacrifices, as the Pathi. And we have the following texts from the Rig Veda.
"Tasmath Rudra Pasunamadhipateh" (Rig Veda)
"Ghathapathim Medaphathim Jalasha bheshajam Tat Somyoh Sumnamimahe."
We seek from Rudra, the Lord of Songs, the Lord of Sacrifices, who possesses healing remedies, his auspicious favour (Rig Veda I.43.4)
As the Pathi of all sacrifices, He is the fulfiller of sacrifices,"Yajna Sadham" (I. 114-4) and 'Rudram yagnanam sadhad ishtim apasam' (III. 2-5). As the God of gods, He is said to "derive His renown from Himself" 'Rudraya Svayasase'. His glory is said to be inherent, independent or self-dependant God, 'Svadhavane' (Rig. VII. 46-1) He is also called Svapivata, which is variously explained as meaning 'readily understanding' 'accessible', 'gracious', 'he by whom life is conquered,' 'he whose command cannot be transgressed,' 'thou by whom prayers (words) are readily received.' He is called the 'father of the worlds,' 'Bhuvanasya Pitaram,' VI.49.10, and the Rik story of His becoming the Father of the fatherless Maruts can be recalled in many a Puranic story, and local legend, and common folklore.
He is 'anter ichchanti' - beyond all thought (VIII. 61-3). His form as described in the Rig Veda is almost the same as the Image of later days. He is called the Kapardin, with 'spirally braided hair.' He is of 'Hiranya' 'golden formed' and 'brilliant like the sun,' and 'shining like gold', 'Yahsukra iva Suryo hiranyam iva ro' chati" (I.43-5) And in Rig Veda, X. 136-1 to 7, He is the 'long haired being who sustains the fire, water and the two worlds; who is to the view the entire sky; and who is called this 'Light' He is Wind clad (naked) and drinks Visha (water or poison) and a Muni is identified with Rudra in this aspect.
Rudra is derived by Sayana from the roots, Rutdravayita, meaning 'he who drives sorrow.' And consistent with this derivation, Rudra is called in the Rig Veda itself, as the 'bountiful' and the 'Healer' possessed of various remedies (the later Vaidyanath) 'benign' and 'gracious.' And the term Siva clearly appears in the following text of the Rig Veda 9X.92-9) "Stoman va adya Rudrya s'ikvase kshyad-viraya namasa didishtana yebhih Sivah svavan evayavabhir divah sishakti svayasah nikamabhi."
(With reverence present your Hymn today to the mighty Rudra, the ruler of heroes, (and to the Maruts) those rapid and ardent-deities with whom the gracious (Sivah) and opulent (Rudra) who derives his renown from himself, protects us from the sky,")
If the Gods, Indra, etc., personified individually the different powers of nature, in the supreme Personality of Rudra will be found combined all these different powers. He is a thunderer and storm God, the father of the Maruts. He is Agni. He is Vayu. He is Varuna. He is Soma. He is the Sun and Moon. We have the high authority of Sayana that Soma means Sa-uma. He deduces the story of Tiripuradahana and Vishabana from two texts in the Rig Veda. We have in the Rig Veda also the Germ of the later Hindu Cosmology, in the famous Nasadasaya suktam; and this is also the central text of Siva Sakti worship.
"In the beginning there was neither sat nor asat;
Then there was neither sky nor atmosphere above.
What then enshrouded all this teeming universe?
In the receptacle of what was it contained?
Was it enveloped in the gulf profound of water?
Then was there neither death nor immortality;
Then there was neither day, nor night, nor light,
Nor darkness, only the Existent One breathed without breath self-contained.
Nought else but he there was, nought else above, beyond.
Then first came darkness hid in darkness, gloom in gloom;
Next all was water, all a chaos indiscrete.
In which the one lay void, shrouded in nothingness.
Then turning inwards, he by self-developed force
Of inner fervour and intense abstraction, grew.
First in his mind was formed Desire, the primal germ.
Productive, which the Wise, profoundly searching, say
Is the first subtle bond, connecting Sat with Asat."
In the Rig Veda also we find the famous text which is repeated in the Atharva Veda and subsequently in the Svetasvatara Upanishad and also in the Katha and Mundaka Upanishads, and which forms the chief stronghold of Indian Theism against Idealism. "Two birds inseparable friends cling to the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruits, the other 'Anya' looks on without eating.'
In the Yajur Veda the position of Rudra becomes more established as Pasupathi and Lord of sacrifices and as The one without a second.
"Pasoonam sarma asi sarma yajamanasya sarma me yacha, Eka Eva Rudro Na Dwithyaya Thasthe Akhus the Rudra Pasnuh Tham Jushasva. Esha the Rudra Bhagaha Saha Swasra Ambikaya tham Jushasva Bheshajam Gave Asvaya Purushaya Bheshajam." This text is repeated in the Svetasvatara Upanishad and is the original of the famous text in the Chandogaya Upanishad 'Ekamevadvitiyam Brahma'. Nadvitiyam is more ancient form than Advitiyam or Advaitam. And we know this is the central text of the Advaita philosophy. In this veda, His supreme Majesty is fully developed, and He is expressly called Siva by name 'Siva nama' si (Yaj. S 3-53) and the famous mantra, the Panchakshara, is said to be placed in the very heart of the three Vedas (the name occurs in Tait. S IV. 5, 1-1 "namah sambhave cha mayobave cha namah Sankaraya cha mayaskaraya cha NAMAH SIVAYA cha Sivataraya cha") And the famous Satarudriyam which is praised in the Upanishads and in the Mahabharat forms also the central portion of this central Veda. And this is a description of God as the all, the all in all, and transcending all, 'Visvadevo, 'Viswaswarupo, Visvadiko'; and anybody can see that the famous passage in the Gita in chapters 10 and 11 merely parodies this other passage and these two chapters are respectively called Vibhuti Vistara Yoga and Visvarupa Sandarshana Yoga which is exactly the character of the Satarudriya. The yogi who has reached the highest state "Sees all in God and God in all." In the Satarudriya and in the whole Veda, Rudra is called Siva, Sankara, Sambhu, Isana, Isa, Bhagavan, Bhava, Sarva, Ugra, Soma, Pasupati, Nilagriva, Girisa, Mahadeva and Maheswara.
The word 'Pura' in the Upanishad technically mean 'the body'. Tiripura means the triple bond (of the soul and Tiripura samhara means the destruction of our human bondage by the grace of God.
"The fools say the ancient of days with the braided hair and the Ganga destroyed the three cities. The three Pura are the result of the three mala - who knows what happened after (pasatchaya)" - Tirumantra.
The story of Tiripurasamhara is much more fully set forth in the Yajur Veda (6th Kanda 2nd Prasna 3rd Anvaka and 12th Mantra)
Mahapuram Jayantiti ta ishum Samas Kurva tognium anikan Soman Salyam Vishum Tejanam te bruvan ka imam asishatita Rudra iti aleruvan rudro vai Krura; Somya twiti, sobravit Varam Vrina abham eva Pasunam Adhipaterasaniti tasmat rudra: Pasunam adhipatistan rudrova Sirjat Satisra: Puro bhiteva ebhyo: lokebhya Suran pranudata.
"There were the three cities of iron, silver, and gold (belonging) to Asuras. The gods not being able to win them (by fight) wished to win them by siege. (The great) say that He (the Brahmin &c.), who knows (what ought to be known) and he (the non-Brahmin &c.), who does not know - they are able to win by siege the great city which cannot be overtaken by fight: (then) the gods made an arrow composed of Agni as (the bottom hilt) Soma as (the middle) iron and Vishnu as (the top) and declared (consulted who will discharge it, and determined Rudra, (was) able: He (the Rudra) said the boon was made over, I am the Lord of Pasus (both the two-footed and four footed); so Rudra the Lord if Pasus discharged it, broke up these 3 cities, and blown up them all from these worlds."
The importance of this lies in the fact that in the chief festival in each temple, called the Brahmotsava, the important event is the car-feast in which the charioteer is the four-headed Brahma, recalling and representing this old story referred to in the Rig Veda and Yajur Veda.
The Yajur Veda is the Central Veda and is a most important one and as such more than ninety percent of the Brahmins of today are Yajur Vedies. The occurrence of the words Pathi, Pasu and Pasam should be noted as their significance will be referred to later on.
As we noted above the polity of the vedas was a performance of sacrifices. This was continued in the Upanishad period and the Brahmanas elaborated the Rituals. But at the same time the worship of the many Gods was being given up in favour of the one God and the efficacy of sacrifices in general was being doubted and a more spiritual form of worship was being substituted in its place and the first departure is noted in the story given in the Kena Upanishad.
Brahman obtained the victory for the Devas. The Devas became elated by the victory of Brahman and they thought, this victory is ours only. Brahman perceived this and appeared to them. But they did not know it, and said: "What yaksha is this? They said to Agni (fire: 'O Gatavedas, find out what sprite this is.' 'Yes,' he said. He ran toward it, and Brahman said to him: 'Who are you?' He replied: 'I am Agni, I am Gatavedas.' Brahman said: 'What power is in you?' Agni replied: I could burn all whatever there is on earth.' Brahman put a straw before him, saying: 'Burn this.' He went towards it with all his might, but he could not burn it. Then he returned thence and said: 'I could not find out what sprite this is.' Then they said to Vayu air: 'O Vayu, find out what sprite this is.' 'Yes,' he said. He ran toward it, and Brahman said to him: 'who are you?' He replied: 'am Vayu, I am Matarisvan' Brahman said: 'What power is in you?' Vayu replied: I could take up all whatever there is on earth.' Brahman put a straw before him, saying: 'Take it up.' He went towards it with all his might, but he could not take it up. Then he returned thence and said: 'I could not find out what sprite this is.' Then they said to Indra: 'O Baghavan, find out what sprite this is.' He went towards it, but it disappeared from before him. Then is the same Akas ether he came towards a woman, highly adorned: it was Uma, the daughter of Himavat.' He said to her: 'Who is that sprite?' She replied: It is through the victory of Brahman that you have thus become great.' After that he knew that it was Brahman.
This is a further step than the position in the Rig Veda where the Ekam Sat or Rudra Pasupathi, is identified in a manner with all the Gods. Here, he is not Indra or Varuna, Vayu or Agni. He cannot be comprehended of the Gods though he is before them and it was left to Uma Himavatim to point out to the supreme Brahman, as her consort. This story is frequently repeated in the Puranas and the person of Rudra-Siva is introduced as Uma's Lord.
This is called the Brahami Upanishad and it introduces the grand thought "he by whom Brahman is not thought, by him it is thought; he by whom it is thought, knows it not."
This departure from the old polity of the vedas to the worship of the One supreme Brahma, Uma's Lord, will be Dakshak's sacrifice and the Tarukavana rishies. Daksha, son of Brahma (Sabda Brahma or Vedas) simply means sacrifice and Dakshayani meant the spirit of sacrifice, and so long as this spirit of sacrifice was devoted to the one supreme Brahman. Siva, it was beneficial. But once this sacrifice was divorced from the worship of the one supreme Brahman, represented in the person of Siva, the consort of Dakshayani, as Daksha tried to do, then this sacrifice was of no avail. When the spirit of sacrifice was divorced from the word, then Dakshayani died and was reborn as Uma Himavatim, the bearer of Brahma Gnana, and was reunited to Siva. This reunion or a rebirth of the old gnana is what is celebrated in every Temple in the important feast of Tirukalyana and is figured in the oldest sculptures in the Elephanta and Ellora cave Temples. In the Tarakavana story the Vedic sacrifice was also divorced from the worship of the one supreme Brahman. The Vedas represented the Sabda Brahman and Rishies thought that no God was required, and the worship of the Sabda Brahman was alone sufficient for securing salvation. The bleating of the Sabda Brahman represented by the deer மான்மறை was found in no way to reach God.
The Svetasvatara Upanishad the greatest authority of the Saiva School, repeats the text of the Yajur Veda "Eka Eva Rudro Nadwitiyaya Tastah" and the philosophy of Advaita Siddhanta is fully expounded in this Upanishad. This advaita is neither the Sankhya nor the Yoga, neither Dwaita nor Advaita as ordinarily understood. Hence Oriental Scholars like Monier Williams, Professor Macdonnel and Garbe regard this Upanishad as the oldest representative of the ancient eclectic* [* Of the eclectic movement combining sankhya, yoga and Vedanta doctrines, the oldest representative is the Svetasvatara Upanishad, more famous is the Bhagavat Gita. (Macdonnell's History of Sanskrit Lit. p.405).] school of Hindu philosophy. With this book they couple the Bhagavat Gita.
The highest conception of the one God, 'Eko Devo,' is given here which, as Max Muller says, corresponds to the conception of God in the Christian theology. "He is the one God hidden in all beings all pervading the Antar Atma of all things, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver, the only one Nirguna." 'He is the eternal and infinite unborn being partless, actionless, tranquil, without taint, without fault, the highest Bridge to immortality.
"He is the causeless first cause, the all-knower, the all-pervader; the creator, sustainer, and liberator of the world, the end and aim of all religion, and of all philosophy. He is the Ishwara of Ishwhras, Maheswara, the God supreme of Gods, the king of kings, the supreme of the supreme, the Isa of Universe." 'The sun does not shine there, nor the moon and the stars, nor these lightning's, and much less this fire, everything shines after him; by his light all this is lightened." God is nirguna; and as I have shown elsewhere, Nirguna does not mean impersonal, and Saguna is not to be translated peresonal. Nirguna simply means beyond the three Gunas, Satva, Rajas, and Tamas, and Saguna means united to these three. Personality means, as Emerson and other Christian writers interpreted, 'pure spiritual being;, 'Sat' and God can be perosnal and Nirguna, absolute. It follows also that God cannot be born as he is not united to matter, Nirguma. The meaning of the Rig Veda Suktam we quoted above is brought out in the following verse. "When there was no darkness nor day nor night nor Sat nor Asat then Siva alone existed (Siva Eva Kevalah). That is the absolute, that is the adorable condition of the Lord. From that too had come forth the wisdom of old (Gnana Sakti)." After repeating the text about the two birds, this is how it proceeds "On the same tree man (Anisa) sits grieving, immersed bewildered, by his own impotence. But when he sees the other, Isa, contented and knows his glory then his grief passes away." That this is the highest teaching of the Rig Veda is pointed out in the next verse. "He who does not know that indestructible Being (Akashara) of the Rig Veda that highest Ether (Parama Vyomam) wherein all the Gods reside, of what use is Rig Veda to him? Those only who know It rest contented." The otherness of God (Anyata) referred to in the Rig Veda Mantra is brought up fully also in the following verses. 'Aye, that one unborn (Ajasoul) sleeps in the arms of one unborn (nature Pradhana) enjoying (her of nature, red, white and black), who brings forth multitudinous progeny like herself. But when her charms have been enjoyed, he (soul) quits her (prakriti) side the unborn other, (Anyata) (Lord)."
"In the unperishable, and infinite highest Brahman, wherein the two Vidya, (Vignana-Atma) and Avidya are hidden, the one, Avidya, perishes; the other, Vidya, is immortal; but He who controls both Vidya and Avidya, is another (Anyatha)." And in the subsequent verses, this another is clearly pointed out to be the "only one God, without a second, the ruler of all, the generator of all and the supporter (ripener) of all." This forms the subject of Discussion in the hands of Badarayana in I, II, 21. And the famous passage in Brihadaranyaka is referred to. "He who dwells in Atma (Vignana) and Different from Atma, whom the Atma does not know, whose body Atma is, and who pulls (rules) Atma within, He is thy Atma, the puller within, the immortal" (III, 7, 22).
(3) The Supreme Mantra of the Vedas or the Sabda Brahma is the Pranava or Omkara. It is ordinarily known that Om is a compound of the three letters A, U, and M and that they represent the deities Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra. What is not known is that there is a fourth part of this Omkara called its Ardha Matra sound, this is called the Chaturtham or Turyam and represents the supreme Brahman or Siva. This is brought out in several of the Upanishads and in the following verses it is coupled with Sivam and Sambhu Shivam Santam Advitam Chaturtam Manyante (Rmatapini).
"Dhyayeteesanam pradhyayadavyam, Sarvamidam, Brahma Vishnu Rudrendrasthe, Sarve Sampresuyante, Sarvanichendrasthe, Sarve Samprasuyante, Sarvanichendryanicha; Sahabhutaih Nakaranam Karanam Dhata Dhyata Karanantu Dheyeyah Sarvaiswarya sampannah Sarves warah Samburakasa Madhye. Siva eko Dhyayet: Sivankara, Sarvam Anyat Parityaja (Atharva Sikha).
The more popular Hymn in the Mahimnsastotra addressed to Siva brings out this idea "The mystical and accountable one which being composed of the three states of Life (Jagra, Swapna and Sushupti), the three worlds (earth, heaven and hell), the three Gods (Brahma Vishnu and Rudra), and which by its ardhamatra is indicative of the Fourth office, as Parameshwara.
(4) The Supreme Upasana of the Upanishad is the Dahara Upasana in the Hirid Pundarika, in the akas Vyoma, Paramalaya. The yogi has to think of the Supreme Brahman in the cave of the heart, in the midst of the Chitakasa. The Taitriya Upanishad speaks of this Brahman as of the form of Krishna Pingala. This Krishna Pingala is identified as Umasahaya or Parvati Paramesvara in several of the Upanishads.
This again is described as a Jyotir. (The supreme light). (The Jyotir Linga).
(5) When the polity of the sacrifice is given up in favour of the worship of this Jyotir Linga and of the Symbolism of the sacrificial ground was invested with a more spiritual meaning, then we would seem to have arrived at the period of the Agamas and our modern temple worship would seem to have been started. The Agamas brought into use the very same mantras as pointed out by Swami Vivekananda, * [* The Tantras as we have said represent Vedic rituals in a modified form, and before any one jumps to the most absurd conclusions about them, I will advise him to read the tantras in connection with the Brahmanas, especially the adhwarya portion. And most of the Mantras used in the Tantras will be found taken verbatim from these Brahmanas. As to their influence, apart from the Srputa and Smarta rituals, all other forms of rituals observed from the Himalayas to the Comorin have been taken from the Tantras and they direct the worship of the Saktas, Saivas and Vaishnavas alive.] in his famous address before the Chicago parliament of Religions used in the old sacrificial worship, into the new system of worship and the offer of the self as a sacrificial oblation was made in the place of animal sacrifice. The Pasu was the animal in man and when it was offered as sacrifice in Gnana Agni, it became the Nandi or Siva.
The puranas are the earliest interpreters of the Veda and the Upanishads. Whole passages from the Upanishads are quoted and explained. The principles are illustrated by stories and parables, add the Vedic stories themselves are more elaborated. All these explain the difference between the old and new system of worship and thought, bring out fully the difference and distinction between the supreme Brahman Siva and man and illustrate the paths to salvation. These stories are the Dhaksha sacrifice, the churning of the milky ocean and Tripura Samhara Durga Puja etc. The Linga purana specially deals with the birth of the Jyotir Linga. The largest number of puranas are saivite and the oldest of them is the Vayu or Siva purana, as pointed out by Wilson. The Uttara portions of some of the puranas are clearly later interpolations showing the rise of new sects and faiths and Skanda Purana accordingly deals with the same subject.
The only worship universal in the days of Mahabharata is that of Siva and Siva Linga and we refer to the stories of Krishna's and Arjuna's Tapas and the discussion between Asvadhama and Vyasa. Most of the temples mentioned in the Ariya Parva are temples dedicated to Siva. Oriental Scholars point out that the superior castes in the days of Mahabharata were following the worship of Siva and we quote the following passage from Anusasana Parva, which explains at the same time Rudra's different aspects, the beneficent and apparently terrible forms, as the Creator, Protector, and Destroyer.
Lord Krishna says "Large armed Yudhishthira, understand from me, the greatness of the glorious multiform, many named Rudra. They called Mahadeva, Agni, Ishanu, Maheswara, one eyed, Triyambaka, the Universal formed and Siva. Brahmans versed in the Veda know two bodies of this God, one awful, one auspicious, and these two bodies have again many forms. The dire and awful body is fire, lightning, the sun, the auspicious and beautiful body is virtue, water and the moon. The half of his essence is fire and the other half is called the moon. The one which is his auspicious body practises chastity, while the other which is his most dreadful body, destroys the world. From his being Lord and Great, He is called Mahesvara. Since he consumes, since he is fiery, fierce, glorious, an eater of flesh, blood and marrow he is called Rudra. As he is the greatest of the Gods, as His domain is wide and as he preserves the vast Universe, He is called Mahadeva. From his smoky colour he is called Dhuryati. Since he constantly prospers all men in all their acts seeking their welfare (Siva), He is therefore called Siva."
"And how about the dead leaves which season after season strew the ground beneath the trees? Is their work done because when their bright summer life is over, they lie softly down to rest under the wintry boughs? Is it only death and nothing beyond? Nay, if it is death, it is death giving place to life. Let us call it rather change, progress, transformation; It must be progress when the last year's leaves make the soil for the next year's flowers and in so doing serve a set purpose and fulfil a given mission." It must be transformation when one thing passes into another and instead of being annihilated, begins life again in a new shape and form.
It is interesting to remember that the same snow which weighs down and breaks those fir branches is the nursing mother of the flowers. Softly it comes down upon the tiny seeds and the tender buds and covers them up lovingly, so that from all the stern vigour of the world without, they are safely sheltered. Thus they are getting forward, as it were, and life is already swelling within them. So that when the sun shines and the snow melts they are ready to burst forth with a rapidity which seems almost miraculous.
'It is not the only force gifted with both preserving and destroying power, according to the aspect in which we view it. The fire refines and purifies but it also destroys and the same water which rushes down in the cataract with such overwhelming power, falls in the gentlest of drops upon the thirsty flower cup and fills the hollow of the leaf with just the quantity of dew which it needs for its refreshment and sustenance. And in those higher things of which nature is but the type and shadow, the same grand truth holds good, and from our Bibles we learn that the consuming fire and the love that passeth knowledge are two different sides of the same god. just and yet merciful that will by no means clear the guitly, yet showing mercy unto thousands."
Badarayana also touches upon this subject in I.iii.40 and we quote below the Purvapaksha and Siddhanta views on this question from the commentary of Srikanta.
"Because of tembling (I.iii.40).
In the Kathavallis, in the section treating of the thumb sized purusha, it is said as follows:
"Whatever there is the whole world when gave forth (from the Brahman) trembles in the breath. (It is) a great terror, the thunderbolts uplifted, those who know it become immortal." (Cit. 6, 2).
(Purvapaksha:- Here the Sruti speaks of the trembling of the whole universe by fear caused by the entity denoted by the word breath." It is not right to say that the Parameswara, who is so sweet natured as to afford refuge to the whole Universe and who is supremely gracious, is the cause of the trembling of the whole Universe. Therefore, as the word "thunderbolt occurs here it is the thunderbolt that is the cause of trembling. Or it is the vital air which is the cause of trembling because the word breath occurs here. Since the vital air causes the motion of the body, this whole world which is the body as it were moves on account of the vital air. Then we can explain the passage, "whatever there is, the whole world, when given forth (from the Brahman) trembles in the breath." Then we can also explain the statement that it is a great terror, the thunderbolt uplifted" in as much as lightning, cloud and rain, the thunderbolt which is the source of great terror is produced by action of the air itself. It is also possible to attain immortality by a knowledge of the air as the following Sruti says.
"Air is everything itself and the air is all things together. He who knows this conquers death." (Bri. Up. 5.3.2).
(Siddhanta). As against the foregoing we say that Paramesawara himself is the cause of the trembling. It is possible that as the Ruler, Parameswara is the cause of trembling of the whole universe and by the fear of his command, all of us abstain from prohibited actions and engage in the prescribed duties and it is by the fear of the command that Vayu and others perform their respective duties as may be learned from such passages as the following.
"By fear of Him, Vayu (the wind) blows (Tait, 14.2.8).
Though gracious in appearance, Parameswara became awful as the Ruler of all. Hence the Sruti.
Hence the King's face has to be awful (Tait. Bra. 3.8.23).
Wherefore as the master, Iswara himself is the cause of the trembling of the whole Universe.
The Bhagavat Gita epitomises the philosophy of the Svetasvatara Upanishad. Oriental scholars link both together as expounding an eclectic school of Hindu Philosophy. In it the words Iswara, Isa, Maheswara, Parameshwara, are used and in the Uttara gita, the word Siva is used not to denote the lower Brahman but the Supreme Brahman.
In the Ramayana, Rudra's position as the Lord of sacrifices is affirmed in spite of some dissentients showing the rise of new faiths. The worship of Siva and Siva Linga was Unviersal as shown by the establishment of the temple at Rameswaram.
All the Sutra Karas recognise Iswara as the Supreme God and Purusha, Sri Neelakanta's Bhashyam* [* English Translation published in vol.I to VII Siddhanta Deepika] on the Brahma Sutras is the earliest commentary now extant; and as such entitled to the greatest weight and it will be found to be the most accurate and reliable interpreter of the Vedanta Sutras and he is the accepted authority by the Southern Saiva school.
It is now proved by Thibaut and admitted by Max Muller that the interpretation by Sankara is not correct Says Doctor Thibaut.
"If now, I am to sum up the results of the preceding enquiry, as to the teaching of the Sutras, I must give it as my opinion that they do not set forth the distinction of a higher and lower knowledge of Brahman; that they do not acknowledge the distinction of Brahman and Iswara in Sankara's sense; that they do not, with Sankara, proclaim the absolute identity of the Individual and the Highest Self."
"The Upanishads no doubt teach emphatically that the material world does not owe its existence to any principle independent from the Lord, like the Pradhana of the Sankhyas; the world is nothing but a manifestation of the Lord's wonderful power and hence is unsubstantial (Asat) if we take the term substance (Sat) in its strict sense. And again everything material (Achit) is immeasurably inferior in nature to the highest spiritual principle from which it has emanated and which it now hides from the individual Soul. But neither unsubstantility nor inferiority of the kind mentioned constitutes unreality in the sense in which the Maya of Sankara is unreal. According to the latter the whole world is nothing but an erroneous appearance as unreal as the snake for which a piece of rope is mistaken by the belated traveller, and disappearing just as the imagined snake does as soon as the light of true knowledge left on the mind by a comprehensive review of the Upanishads which dwells on their general scope, and does not confine itself to the undue urging of what may be implied in some detached passages &c."
Says Professor Max Muller in his Life of Ramakrishna Parama Hamsa: "It is difficult to say which of the two schools was the more ancient and I am bound to acknowledge after was the more ancient and I am bound to acknowledge after Professor Thebaut's luminous exposition that Vishistadvaita interpretation is more in keeping with the Sutras of Badarayana."
Sri Neelakanta Sivacharya in his bashya quotes with approval, this beautiful text from the Upanishads, "Apivayas chandalas Siva iti vacham vadet tena saha samvadet, tena sasha samvaset, tena saha bhungitr" which means:- "A chandala though a person is, if he utters the name Siva, converse with him, live with him, dine with him."
'Wherefore the whole universe is ensouled by Siva. If any embodied being whatsoever be subjected to constraint, it will be quite repugnant to the eight-bodied Lord; as to this there is no doubt. Doing good to all, kindness to all, affording shelter to all, this they hold as the worshipping of Siva."
During the Buddhist and Jaina period, it was Saivaism that was able to rise above the onslaught of these two creeds and vanquish them. The rise of the great acharyas, Gnana Sambhandha, Appar, Sundarar and Manickavachakar was in this period. By the close of the 9th century both Buddhism and Jainism had become inert and dead.
The next few centuries saw the rise of the great teachers Sri Sankara, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva Charya. Following them close, came the great Santana Acharyas, St. Meikandan (The author of Sivagnanabotham), St. Arul Nanthi (The author of Sivagnana Siddhiar), St. Maraignana Sambanthar, and St. Umapathi Siva Charya (The author of Light of Grace and Siva Prakasam) and modern Saivaism may be said to commence from that time.
We will now begin the study of Modern Saivism. Its form of ritualism and philosophy is determined in the South by the Agamas or Tantras, 28 in number, from Kamika to Vathula, called the Dakshina or Right-handed; and the different temples in Southern India follow the rules prescribed in one Agama or another, though there are still some temples like the one at Chidambaram where the pure Vedic Rituals are followed. This Agama Philosophy has also been greatly developed and systematised in Tamil by a line of Teachers beginning with St. Tiru Mular (The author of Tirumantra), St. Meikandan, St. Arul Nandhi Siva Chariar, St. Marai Gnana Sambanthar and St. Umapathi Sivacharya. Both in the rituals and in the philosophy, the same mantras and forms and words derived from the old Vedic Times are used. For instance, the temple represents the old Yagna Sala symbolising the human body. The Siva Linga (see the full subject discussed with all the authorities in Vol. VII and VIII Siddhanta Deepika) (it is due to Swami Vivekananda to point out that this was no Phallic [The Swami said that the worship of the Siva Linga originated from the famous lingam in the Atharva Veda Samhita sung in praise of the Yupastambha, the sacrificial post. In that hymn a description is found of the beginning less and endless Stambha or skhamba and it is shown that the said Skhamba is put in place of the eternal Brahman. As, afterwards, the sacrifical fire, its smoke, ashes and flames, the soma plant and the ox that used to carry on its back, the wood for the Vedic sacrifice gave place to Siva's body, his yellow matted hair, his blue throat, and the bull, the Yupastamba gave place to the Siva Lingam and was raised to the High Devahood of Sri Sankara. In the Atharva Veda Samhita, the sacrificial cows are also praised with the attributes of the Brahman. In the Linga Purnaa, the same hymn is expanded in the shape of stories meant to establish the glory of the great Stambha and superiority of Mahadeva. Later on he says the explanation of the Siva Lingam as a Phallic emblem began in India in her most thoughtless and degraded times.] Symbol and this view was reiterated by Dr. Ananda K. Kumaraswami in his paper read before the Historical Congress of Oriental Religions and in which he shows that it is the least anthropomorphic of symbols,) takes the place of Rudra Pasupati and its form is that of the Pranava ["The whole Linga is the Omkara filled by Nada and Bindu. The base is Akara. The Kanta is Makara, and the round form Ukara". Tirumantra] and there is the Balipita at the entrance to the temple with the Yupastambha and the Pasu or animal offered in sacrifice in the form of the Bull. Every Brahmostava still commences with a sacrifice, (the blood sacrifice is altogether given up in the South Indian Temples) and the Pasu, in effigy in cloth is tied up to the Yupastambha and after the Utsava is taken down. The position of the bull or Pasu will be found to be on the other side (God side) of the Balipeeta and Stambha, and it is not called Pasu but Nandi (Blissful) God. Because, according to the phraseology of Saivism, the Jiva, or soul, once it had become freed is not more called Jiva but Siva or Brahman. What had to be offered in sacrifice was not an animal but the Jiva, the soul, called also the Ejaman of the sacrifice, had to offer his Jivatvam, his animal part of himself, his individulaity or Ahankara or Avidya or Ignorance and the Naiverthyam in all temples is now interpreted as this Pasutvam, or Pasubhodham as it is called. As soon as he enters the temple, he is asked to prostrate in front of the Yupastambha. This is his offer of his self as sacrifice; and self-sacrifice thus becomes the centre of Hindu and Saivite Philosophy, on which the whole process of salvation depends. This is the Arpana or Sivarpana referred to in Verse 57. chap 18 of Gita.
The philosophy also retains the old language for its technical terms. Whereas the newer systems have such technical terms as Chit, Achit, Ishwara, Jagat, Jiva and Para, the Saiva Siddhanta technical terms to denote these Padarthas or categories are Pathi (God), Pasu (soul) and Pasa (bondage). Pasa is the rope with which the Pasu is tied to the sacrifical stake and this is the word mostly used in the Upanishads also to describe Man's bondage or Mala. "Pasam dahatih Panditah" Kaival Upanishad.
The Pathi is accordingly described in the text books as follows:
This Pathi is Param, neither Rupa, nor Arupa, Nirguna, without mark, Nirmala, Eka,Eternal, Chit of Chit, Achala, Infinite, Ananda, the unapproachable, The Goal, the least of the least, and the greatest of the great, Tat, and Siva (Sivaprakasa I.)
We have only to notice that the God postulated by Saiva Siddhanta is not Saguna, but Nirguna, [These three guna stand for the three states Jagra, Swapna and Sushupti, and Nirguna therefore means Turiya or Chaturta. Jagra is Satva, Rajas is Swapna, Tamas is Sushupti. Nirguna is therefore Turiya. Tirumantra] which as we have pointed out above means only above the three gunas Satva, Rajas and Tamas, i.e. above Prakriti i.e., non-material or Chit. We have condemned ever so often the translation of the words Nirguna and Saguna into Impersonal and Personal and thus scare away the Christians from the Highest Conception of the Supreme. Personal is explained to mean 'Pure Being' the absolute, by Emerson and Lotze and other Christian Writers and would correspond to our word Sat. And I have shown therefore that God can be both Nirguna and Personal.
God neither has form nor is formless as air, ideas all derived from matter, but He can assume any form suited to the conception of his Bhakta and these Forms are not material forms, but as the text says, :His Form is produced out of Divine Grace or Love." God is therefore not to be called Saguna, simply because He is spoken of as Uma sahaya, Nilakanta, Sambhu, Umapatheh, Ambika-Pataeh &c. Lord of Kailas, as Siva, Hara, Rudra. [ It has been said, for instance, that the Svetasvatara upanishad is a sectarian Upanishad, because, when speaking of the Highest Brahman, it applies such names to him as Hara (I, 10), Rudra 9II, 17, III, 2, 4, IV, 12, 21), Siva (III, 14, IV, 10) Bhagavat (III, 14), Agni, Aditya, Vayu, &c. (IV 2). But here it is simply taken for granted that the idea of the Highest Self was developed first, and after it had reached its highest purity was lowered again by an identification with mythological and personal deities. The question whether the conception of the Highest Self was formed once and once only, whether it was formed after all the personal and mythological deities had been merged into one Lord (Prajapati), or whether it was discovered behind the veil of any other names in the mythological pantheon of the past, have never been mooted. Why would not an ancient Rishi have said: What we have hitherto called Rudra and what we worship as Agni, or Siva, is in reality the Highest Self, thus leaving much of the ancient mythological phraseology to be used with a new meaning? Why should we at once conclude that late sectarian worshippers of mythological gods replaced again the Highest Self, after their fathers had discovered it, by their own sectarian names. If we adopt the former view, the Upanishads, which still show these Rudras of the ancient temples, would have to be considered as more primitive even than those in which the idea of the Brahman of the Highest Self has reached its utmost purity. (Max Muller).]
God is neither he, nor she nor it, but He can be thought of in all these forms, as male, female and neuter; and all specific names of Siva are declinable in all the three genders without change of meaning Siva. Sivah and Sivam [This noun form occurs rarely in Sanskri, but in Tamil, it is very commonly used as synonymous with the masculine form Siva.]
The Pathi or Siva of the Saiva Religion is not one of the Trimurties, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra and scores of texts could be quoted from the popular Tamil Hymn books conveying the same idea as in the hymn of Mahimna Stotra quoted above. God is 'Sivam Advaitam Santam Chaturtam.'
As Siva is Nirguna and Turiya the Supreme absolute Brahman, it follows that God cannot be born as a man through the womb of the woman and that Siva had no avataras or births is generally known. This is the greatest distinction of the ancient Hindu Philosophy and of the Saiva School, making it a purely transcendental Religion, freed of all anthropomorphic conceptions. It was the late Mr. T. Subba Rao in his "Notes on Bhagavat Gita" who entered a vigorous protest against the conception of the Supreme Brahman having human avataras, and we regret that in all the mass of current writings, no writer has thought fir to bring this view to prominence. But this absolute nature of Siva, does not prevent Him from His being personal at the same time and appearing as Guru and Saviour, in the form of man, out of His Great Love and feeling for the sin and sorrow of mankind, and helping them to get rid of their bondage.
And this is the reason as shown in Sutra I of Sivagnanabotham, why God creates the Universe, and resolves it for the purpose of making the souls eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (good and bad karma) and attain salvation.
The necessity for human effort is postulated, but without God's appearance as the Divine Guru, in human form, and His Divine Grace, the final salvation is not possible. Man can but try and get rid of the cataract covering his eye, but that he shall enjoy the light of the Sun (Siva Surya) is independent of his efforts and without the hope of reaching this Light (Sivanubhuti) a man can have but poor inducement to get rid of his cataract (Desire, tanha, the seed of birth) which veils, him, by undergoing all the trouble and expense (tapas &c.) if the Doctor were to forbid him to see the Light, after he regained his sight; and darkness cannot vanish unless Light entered. [To those who would deny this Sivanubhuti, Swami Vivekananda replied by saying 'He jests at scars that never felt a wound.']
The doctrine of Grace and Love is the distinguishing feature of Saivism, and God is accordingly defined by St. Titumular in the following terms.
"The ignorant think that Love and Siva is different; none know that Love and Siva is the same; when everyone knows that Love and Siva is the same, They will rest in Siva as Love." Tirumantra.
As God ensouls the Universe of Nature and of Man, Siva is called the Ashtamurti,
Kalidas has this for his Nandi Sloka in Sakuntala.
'Isa preserve you. He who is revealed In these eight forms by Man perceptible. Water of all creations work the first The Fire that bears on high the sacrifice Presented with solemnity to Heaven The Priest the holy offerrer of gifts, The Sun and Moon those two majestic orbs Eternal marshallers of day and night The subtle Akas vehicle of sound Diffused throughout the boundless Universe The Earth by Sages called the place of birth Of all material essences and things And Air which giveth life to all that breathe.'
the eight bodied Lord, and He gets a name as He dwells in earth, water, air, fire, akas, sun and moon and atma.
"Pritiyobhavah, apachcharvah Agnerudrah, Vayur Bhima, Akasasya Mahadevah, Suryasyograh, Chandrasya Somah, Atmanah Pasupatih."
The famous passage in the 7th Brahmana of the 3rd Chapter in the Brihadaranya Upanishad gives more forms than these as the Sarira of the Brahman, but in the Agamas and Puranas, these are reduced to eight, as comprising all other forms.
As God is immanent in the Chetana and Achetana Prapancha as the soul of all, He is identified with the Universe as the All, and yet His transcendency is also brought out by such statements as 'Antas', 'Antata' 'Anyata' 'Neti' Neti, 'They are in me, not I in them.' "Thou art not naught in the Universe, naught is there save Thou."
This Light and Love is therefore called His Sakti, and as our Mother is all this, This Sakti of God becomes The Mother of the Universe (Buvanasya Mataram) as Siva is the Buvanasya Pitaram.
St. Arulnanthi accordingly describes Her as follows.
"She, who is Isa's Kripasakti, (Love and Grace) Ichcha Sakti, Kriya Sakti, Gnana Sakti [The description of Her as Ichcha and Kriya Sakti follow from Her first definition of Her as Chit. Gnana Sakti. Says Atul Nandi. "The form of this Sakti is unlimited Intelligence. If asked whether Supreme Will and Power are also found in this Intelligence, we answer yes. Wherever there is Intelligence, there is Will and Power. As such Power and Will will also be manifested by this Chit Sakti.] and Droupava Sakti, who is Rupa and Arupa and neither, who is the consort of Isa in these forms, who is all this world and all this wealth who begets the whole world and sustains them; the Gracious Feet of this our Mother, who imparts blissful immortality to souls, and removes their bonds of birth and who remains seated with our Father in the hearts of the Freed, let me lift up my head."
This Chit Sakti (Uma, Durga [Literary deliverer from evil, Mahishasura Mardhani, Mahisha, meaning buffalo, is a symbol of Ignorance.] Nirguna, is sharply distinguished from Maya (Saguna) also a Sakti of the Lord; and in as much as God is in a sense identified with His creation, as the Upadana Karana [The words Upadana and Parinama do not occur in the Upanishads, though the 'Parinama' is the text in Badarayana Sutra (I.4.27) and Srikanta Sivacharya in his Bashya distinguishes it from the ordinary conception of Parinama by calling it 'Apurva Parinama.'] of the Universe, in as much as it is His Light that lightens all this world, so Our Mother is also identified with Maya, as Mahamaya.
This Maya is matter, the 'object' of western philosophy and comprises Tanu (bodies), Karana (senses, internal) Buvana (the worlds) and Bhoga (sensations) and is defined as follows.
"Indestructible, formless, One, seed of all the worlds, Achit, all-pervasive, a Sakti of the Perfect One, cause of the soul's body and senses and worlds, one of the three Malas (impurities), cause also of delusion, is Maya."
This Maya or Prakriti, or Pradhana of most Indian Schools comprise the 24 tatvas from earth to Buddhi or 25 with Mulaprakriti, but the Saiva School [ See for a full discussion of the 36 tatvas, Sri Kasivasi Senthinathier's Saiva Siddhanta Tatva Prakasa Catechism, published in Siddhanta Deepika, Vol. III.p.205 etc.] postulates 11 more tatvas above this 25; which are Kalam (Time) Niyati (order), Kala,Vidya, Ragam or Ichcha, Asuddha Maya, Suddha Vidya, Sadakkiam, Ishwaram, Bindu or Sakti and Nada or Siva (Suddha Maya).
This Suddha Maya is the Kudila or Kundalini Sakti of the Yogis, of which Mulaprakriti called also Kundalini is the grossest form. These higher tatvas, and their Powers can alone be perceived and realised by the Highest Siva Raja Yogis; and they are so subtle as to be mistaken for the Light of The Mother Herself, as they reflect Her Light most perfectly.
This Maya is again to be distinguished from Anava Mala (the technical term in the Agamas for Ahankara, or Avidya or Agnana or ignorance) and the definition and distinction is stated in the following verses by St. Arul Nandi.
"Anava Mala, with its many Saktis, is One; pervading through the numberless Jivas, as the dirt in copper; it binds them from gnana and Kriya. It also affords them the capacity for experience and is ever the source of ignorance."
"Do you say 'there is no other entity as Mala (Anava); it is only the effect of Maya'? Understand well, that Maya causes Ichcha, Gnana and Kriya to arise in the Jivas, but Anava causes the same to disappear. Anava is inherent in Jivas, but Maya is separate, from them (as one's ignorance and body can be called inseparable and separate) and besides manifesting itself as the Universe, forms the body, senses and worlds and enjoyments."
According to the Purvapakshin, Maya is the cloud that hides the light of the Sun. But the Siddhantin answers "You cannot speak of the sun being hid by the clouds, unless there is a seer. The cloud has no capacity to hide the sun but it has power to hide the seer's eye. This sun is Siva. The cloud or cataract is one's eye is the Anava Mala; the seer or his eye is, the Jiva or Atma or soul. When the soul is enshrouded by Anava Mala, without action will and intelligence, it is its night the Kevala State. When God, out of his great love, sets him in evolution giving it the body and the worlds out of Maya, for his enjoyment and experience, whereby his Kriya Sakti &c., are aroused, this is called its Sakala condition Anava Mala is night and darkness, and Maya acts as the lamp light, the power of million arcs is the Suddha Maya - in darkness. But when the sun rises, all darkness and night vanishes and there is no need of any lamp, however powerful, and the soul is fully enveloped in that Supreme Splendour, that "Light of Truth, that entering body and soul, has melted all faults and driven away the false darkness." This is the soul's Suddha or Nirvana condition.
"This day in Thy mercy unto me Thou didst drive away the darkness, and stand as the Rising Sun. Of this, thy way of rising - there being naught else but Thou - I thought without thought. I drew nearer and nearer to Thee, wearing away atom by atom, till I was one with Thee. O Siva, dweller in the great Holy Shrine, Though art not aught in the Universe; naught is there save Thou. Who can know Thee." [From St. Manicka Vachaka's Tiruvachaka.]
Expresses the kernel of Saiva Advaita Siddhanta. This leads us naturally to the discussion of the nature of Advaita postulated by the Saiva School, and before we do so, we will glance at the nature of the Jivatma or soul itself, as this is essential to the understanding of the Advaita itself.
The Sankhyans, Yogins, and Vedantins admit that the Purusha Atma, soul, is other than Prakriti and above Buddhi and 23 tatvas. There is confusion in trying to establish its relation to God. The soul is not a reflection, a particle, a spark of the Partless and Changeless Brahman, nor one with Him, God is other than the soul. Even where the Sutrakara postulates Parinama, he does it only in reference to Maya, but he postulates the difference of the Human Soul and the Supreme Soul: No harm would arise if we regard Maya as One with the Brahman as His inseparable Sakti, but all religion and morality is Sure to die, when we regard the soul the same as God. [This is pointed out by a Christiam writer in the following words.
"But why do we shrink from Pantheism? Not from dread of losing the physical universe in God, but from dread of losing our own soul in God. Pantheism only becomes deadly to vigorous religion and morality when it makes the man's soul the man's self, a portion of God. Theism claims that the human soul is a free cause, a separate island of individual will in the midst of the greatest ocean of the Divine Will. Leave us man confronting God, not absorbed in him and the conditions are preserved for the ethical life of the individual and also for the communion of the soul with God as another than itself, the very possibility of which is destroyed if a separate personality is wiped out. On this matter of the otherness of man from God, I hope to say more in a latter chapter." 'God Soul by Rev. Mr. Armstrong'] There will be no way to account for the Presence of evil or ignorance in the world, and even when we try to whittle it away as an illusion, delusion or myth, the presence of this delusion has itself to be accounted for. Delusion is a conscious experience, and the question who is under delusion will arise. If the soul other than God, and other than Maya, is in bandha or bondage, then the necessity for the creation of the world becomes intelligible. We therefore postulate three Padarthas, three planes of existence, or three centres, the plane of matter, the plane of souls and the plane of God. In the language of Euclid, God is the point, that which hath no parts, nor magnitude; that which is everywhere, in and out, above and below; the soul is the centre of the circle, and the circumference is the Maya that bounds. When this centre can rise up to the Point, then its Nirvana is possible.
But what are we to do with the Mahavakya texts 'That Thou art', 'I become that,' 'I am that' &c. It will be noted that these texts are not discussed by the Sutrakara Badarayana in the First Adhyaya relating to Pramana or Proof of the nature of the Padarthas, and where he distinctly postulated the difference, but in the chapter on Sadana relating to the means of salvation. The Teacher tells the pupil to practise the Sadana, telling him that he is God; (Tatvamasi) and the pupil accordingly practises Soham bavana or Sivohambavana, by repeating the mantra 'Aham Brahmasmi'; there is consciousness, and consciousness of duality, of two Padarthas, Aham and Brahma. This is Dwaitam, the Yoga or Upanishad or Vedanta Pada. When by this practice of Sivoham, the consciousness can disappear, then the soul can become One with God, Gnathuru, Gnana and Gneya all disappearing (The Gnana or Siddhanta Pada). And the question arises how can this oneness be reached, how can the two become one. This becomes possible on account of the peculiar nature of the soul, and its relation to God. This peculiar nature of the soul is alone discussed in the Yoga Sutras and in Saiva Siddhanta Text books. And the peculiar relation between God and the Soul is called Advaita.
This nature of the soul consists in its becoming one with whatever it is united to, losing its own individuality, and it's not being able to exist independently, except in union with one or the other. It can only be united to the world or to God. It can reach God only when it leaves the world. It cannot serve God and Mammon at the same time. It is the caterpillar of the Upanishads, which leaves one leaf stalk to gain another. And when it is united to one thing or the other like the mimicking caterpillar again, it is indistinguishable from one leaf or the other. It is the shadow of the one (Maya) or the light of the other (God) that completely hides its (Soul's) individuality. So when in union with matter, with the body, it is so lost in the nerve centres and so on, that the Scientific Agnostic fails to discover the soul, by the closest analysis. In union with God, the Pure Idealist finds no soul there. The soul identifies itself absolutely with the body or God, and its individuality or identity disappears but not its personality or being (Sat).
This law of the Human mind called The Law of Garudadhyana is stated in the terms that we become like what we are associated with, and may be called the Law of association or identity, and Professor Henry Drummond calls it the Laws of Reflection and Assimilation, and likens man to a mirror or crystal. "All men are mirrors. That is the first law on which this formula (of sanctification or corruption is based. One of the aptest description of a human being is that he is a mirror."
And we will find this is exactly the simile used by the Upanishads and Siddhanta writers and the following extracts contain the illustration and the formula of sanctification.
"As a metal disk (mirror) tarnished by dust shines bright again after it has been cleansed, so is the one incarnate person satisfied and freed from grief after he has seen the real nature of himself, And when by the nature of himself he sees as by a lamp, the real nature of the Brahman, then having known the unborn eternal God who transcends all tatvas, he is freed from all pasa." (Svetasup. ii.14.15).
"From meditating (abhidyanath) on Him, from joining (yojanath) Him, from becoming (tatvabhavat) one with him, there is further cessation of all maya in the end." (Svetasip. i.10).
And St. Meikandan has this stanza (viii.3.a.)
"The soul, who reflecting that the knowledge derived from the senses is only material, like the colours reflected on a mirror and that these colour-like sensations are different from itself, and after perceiving next, false knowledge as false, understands the Truth will become one with God, who is different from itself."
The formula stated in plain terms would read
"I see God, I reflect God, I become Godlike, Godly, God, I am God."
The crystal or diamond unlike the Sun's Light which it reflects, though in its inner core is pure, possesses the defect of being covered by dirt, mala, (Anava) and requires to be removed by some other dirt, mala, (Maya) and it is luminous (Chit) in a sense but unlike the Self-Luminous Sun, (Para-Chit); and either in darkness or the full blaze of the Sun, the identity of the mirror cannot be perceived.
We now come to the definition of Advaita. And we may say at once, all the Saiva Siddhanta writers describe their system as 'Advaita' pure and simple, though people who hear it casually described call it Vishistadvaita and fail to note its special features. Advaita is defined by St. Meikandan as meaning Anyanasti or Ananya [M.N. Dvivedi in his 'monism or advaitism' points out also that advaita does not mean Eka or Abinna or Abhinna but Ananya and that this is the view of the Sutrakara.] or inseparable; and his disciple calls the relation 'as neither one nor two.' Advaita [Vide Srikanta's Bashya on Vedanta Sutras II i and 22] literally meaning not two, simply denies the separability or duality of God and soul and matter, but does not postulates Oneness, by denying the existence of one or other Padartha or by postulating their mutual convertibility as in causation &c. Mind (unextended) is not matter, (the extended); yet they are ever inseparable and found as one; how the unextended is present in the extended is the puzzle and the contradiction as stated by Doctor Alexander Bain. And the illustration of mind and body, and vowels and consonants [Dr. Bain complains that there is not even an analogy to illustrate this unique union of mind and body, but Saiva Siddhanta have this analogy of vowels and consonants to illustrate this union from the very beginning of their letters.] is used to denote their Advaita relation of God to the Universe of nature and of man. God is the Soul, whose body (Sarira) is the Universe of nature and man, as so well and forcibly put in the Brihadaranya Upanishad texts referred to above, beginning from Earth to Atma.
'He who dwells in the earth, other than the earth, whom the earth does not know, whose sarira (body) the earth is, who rules the earth within, He is thy Atma, the puller within, the immortal.'
"He who dwells in Atma (Vignana) other than Atma, whom Atma does not know, whose Sarira the Atma is, who rules Atma within, He is thy Atma, the ruler within, immortal." III.vii.22).
Here 'He is thy Atma', simply means 'He is the Soul's Soul.'
And the analogy of vowel and consonant explains this relation fully. In Tamil Grammar, the words used to denote vowels and consonants are the same as the words meaning mind and body. And we found the following text to our surprise in the Aitareya Upanishad (II.iv.1.)
'Its consonants form its body; its vowels the soul (Atma)'
The vowels are those that can be sounded by themselves but the consonant cannot be pronounced without the aid of the vowel. The consonant cannot be brought into being unless the vowel supports it; and in union the two are inseparable; and One is the word used in the oldest Tamil Grammar to denote the union of the two. A vowel short has one mantra, a consonant (pure) half a matra; and yet a vowel-consonant has only one matra, instead of 1½. But the vowel is not the consonant nor the consonant the vowel. God is not one with the soul and the Universe, and yet without God, where is the Universe?
"Thou art not aught in the universe, yet naught is there save Thou."
He is not one, nor different from the Universe, and this relation is called Ananya, Advaita. The Sutrakara brings out the nature of this relation which is neither one nor different in II.i.15 and 22. The Saiva Advaita Siddhanta accordingly postulates that God is neither Abetha with the world, nor Betha, nor Betha betha, as these terms are ordinarily understood, and yet He is one with the world, and different from the world, and Betha betha. (Sivagnanabotham Sutra 2, Sivagnanasiddhiar II.1). And St. Meikandan declares accordingly "You can indeed say God is One, without a Second, as when you say without the vowel 'A' no other letters exist." This is a view of Advaitam or Monism, which is not ordinarily met with, and which must appeal to the hearts and intelligence of the people of every nation, and every religion, and which I commend to your earnest consideration.
I will just glance at the practical aspect of Saiva Religion. It holds out four paths or margas for the spiritual aspirant, called Chariya, Kriya, Yoga and Gnana, or otherwise called Dasa Marga, Sat putra marga, Saha marga and San marga. When you want to approach God, you can approach Him as your Lord and Master, you can approach Him a your Father, or as your Friend, or as your Beloved. The last is no marga at all but where the Oneness is reached fully and finally. There is return to birth, while one is in the first three paths. And these paths are so adjusted in an ascending scale to suit the intellectual, moral and spiritual development of the aspirant. The lowest and the highest have equally a place in this scheme and are given room for their development and progress. No one path is put in opposition to the other. It will be noticed this scheme differs from the so-called Karma marga, Bhakti marga, Yoga marga, and Gnana marga, and the latter is no logical scheme at all but involves cross division. For it may be easily perceived that when one approaches his maker, he must know Him as such (Gnana) and must love him as such (Bhakti) and must adjust his conduct accordingly (Karma). In each condition therefore, Karma, Bhakti and Gnana are all together essential, and from the Dasa to the Sanmargi, this Karma, Bhakti and Gnana is progressive. There is no opposition, there is no parting away with one to follow another. SO the practical Religion offered by Saivism is all in all and for all.
Saiva Siddhanta, as representing the old Hinduism and with its chief scripture, the Svetasvatara Upanishad and Gita, claims to be an eclectic philosophy and an universal Religion; and the various points I have brought out above will show how it brings itself into agreement with every shade of opinion and Religion and Philosophy. It describes Philosophy accordingly by such terms as 'Sara', 'Samarasa', 'Siddhanta' meaning 'essence of all,' 'true end', 'the Truth'. And we invite the kind attention of every religionist assembled here to the definition of an Universal Religion given by St. Arul Nandi several centuries ago.
"Religions, postulates and text books are various and conflict one with another. It is asked which is the true religion, and which the true postulate and which the true book. That is the True Religion and postulate and book, which not possessing the fault of calling this false and this true and not conflicting with them comprises reasonably everything within its fold. Hence all these are comprised in the Vedas and Agamas. And these are embedded in the Sacred Foot of Hara."
And we will close this paper with culling a few opinions of European Students of Saiva Siddhanta.
Rev. Dr. G. U. Pope remarks. "It is the choicest product of the Dravidian (Indian) intellect." "The Saiva Siddhanta is the most elaborate, influential and undoubtedly the most intrinsically valuable of all the religions of India."
Rev. Mr. F. Goodwill follows with the remark 'Those who have studied the system unanimously agree that this eulogy is not a whit too enthusiastic or free worded. That the system is eclectic is at once apparent."
Rev. W. F. Goudie writes in the Christian College Magazine as follows:-
"There is no school of thought and no system of faith or worship that comes to us with anything like the claims of the Saiva Siddhanta."
"This system possesses the merits of a great antiquity. In the Religious world the Saiva system is heir to all that in most ancient in South India, it is the Religion of the Tamil people by the side of which every other form is of comparatively foreign origin."
"In the largeness of its following, as well as in regard to the antiquity of some of its elements, the Saiva Siddhanta is, beyond any other form, the religion of the Tamil people and ought to be studied by all Tamil Missionaries."
"We have however left the greatest distinction of this system till last. As a system of religious thought, as an expression of faith and life, the Saiva Siddhanta is by far the best that South India possesses. Indeed it would not be rash to include the whole of India, and to maintain that judged by its intrinsic merits, the Saiva Siddhanta represents the high water mark of Indian Thought and Indian life, apart of course from the influences of Christian Evangel (Revd Mr. Goudie in the Christian College Magazine xx,9)."
Saivism is based on the Highest morality as a course in ethics usually precedes the study of Religion, and the subject of ethics is not usually discussed in text books on Religion. The greatest authority in Tamil is the sacred Kural by St. Tiruvalluvar translated into many European languages and pronounced by Rev. G. U. Pope as a book unparalled in any language of the world. The Saivism of the South holds to the ahmisa doctrines as its chief pillar.