The advancement of modern thought tends to unify the results of physical science and the principles of philosophy and religion. In spite of all attempts made by men of great intellectual capacity to harmonise the two systems of thought, there have been growing great conflicts between the two that it seems for all the world impossible to reconcile them both together. And of course it is but quite natural that things in their nature irreconcilable should withstand the efforts of great men in this respect also. While the one line thought is occupied in pursuing its inquiries concerning the atomic arrangements and interacting forces that bind them together in bringing the material world into existence, the other runs in the opposite direction of reducing the entire system of matter to a mere illusory principle of Avidya and evolving it at times from the pure intelligence of the supreme soul itself. At the point in which the question touches the existence of muter, the divergence of the two systems takes its rise. That a philosophy which teaches that matter has no existence of its own but that created by mind out of nothing, cannot strenuous hold on the scientific mind whose investigations are based upon keen observations and well-tried experiments, is manifest from the movement that is set on foot by such great institutions as Rationalistic Press Association and others. The indestructibility of matter is becoming every day verified be new discoveries and innumerable experiments.*
* I. All modern research tends to show that the various combinations of matter are formed of some Prima Materia. But its ultimate nature remains unknown.
II. Out of nothing comes nothing. Modern science knows nothing of a beginning, and, moreover, holds it to be unthinkable. In this it stands in direct opposition to the theological dogma that God created the universe out of nothing, a dogma still accepted by the majority of Protestants and binding on Roman Catholics. For the doctrine of the church of Rome thereon, as expressed in the canons of the Vatican council, is as follows:- "If any one confesses not that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and mental, have been, in their whole substance, produced by God out of nothing; or shall say that God created, not by his free will from all necessity, but by a necessity equal to the necessity whereby He loves Himself, or shall deny that the world was made for the glory of God: let him be anathema."
II. The Primary substance is indestructible. The modern doctrine of the conservation of Energy teaches that both matter and motion can neither be created nor destroyed":- Pioneers of Evolution, by E.Clodd.
The very circle of human happiness is becoming widened every day, as the operations of the human mind make great strides in the field of scientific thought. Every religion and every system of philosophy earnestly seek to make their principles fit in with the unremitting laws of science. It cannot be deemed as an unguarded expression when we say that in the course of a few centuries the philosophy - whatever the merits of its exponents such as Berkeley, Kant, and Sankara may have been - which ignores the teachings of science, will die a natural die a natural death giving in its stead, a fresh life to a new system of thought that has sprung up imbibing its vital element from the rich fountain of science. Be it far from us to speak disparagingly of the labours of such intellectual savants as Kant and Sankara whose depth of thought and critical methods have done much in their way to stimulate and sharpen the intellects of their followers. But we must need be on our guard against being carried away by this appreciation to such an extent as to become blind to their faults and mistakes. The truth is always one; even when viewed in the different lights of philosophy, science and religion, its intrinsic lustre remains as one. It presents only different aspects of its own, and the truths of those three branches of human thought cannot contradict among themselves. If the truth on one system seem to contradict the veritable statements of science, then it is quite reasonable to think of its imperfections to work out a coherent fabric of enduring nature.
Amidst the intellectual warfare raging between science and philosophy, will it be possible for us to find out a system of thought that could compromise the results of the two? Yes, it is possible and there is the oldest philosophy of Sankhya that the world has ever produced. In it we find it clearly stated that Purusha and Prakriti are co-existing entities of distinct nature, that Purusha is of pure intelligence whereas Prakriti a dead matter and that from invisible Prakriti proceeds the creation of this visible universe. Thus we see the fundamental principles of Sankhya are concerned with the study of matter and mind as they are, and the modern scientific researches confirm their truthfulness by thorough practical experiments in so far as the existence of matter is concerned. Although when viewed from a philosophic standpoints, the system of Sankhya impresses itself on the scientific mind most vividly, yet when seen from the religious point of view it fails to produce the same results equally on all human mind. From the lowest Indian savage to the highly cultured man of the twentieth century, the religious sentiment is seen to be predominant. And the constitution of the human mind is naturally susceptible of being impressed more with religious thoughts than with others. Hence it is that the cravings of the human soul are not satisfied with the problems and conclusions of science and philosophy. Now the Sankhya philosophy, great in other respects, do not seem to attempt to throw even a side-glance-view on the problems concerning the existence and nature of God, and to the agnostic philosophy of Herbert Spencer and others it more or less bears a close resemblance.
With all our respect and deference for the great thinkers of the agnostic school we beg to express our humble opinion that their mode of thinking has not as yet touched the secret of the human soul. We require the guidance of a supreme light. Whatsoever may have been the intenseness of delight that we take in the study of philosophy and science, there are moments in which our thought soar up to penetrate into the mystic regions that lie beyond the reach of our reason;*[*Prof. James 'The will to believe'] then we become gradually dissatisfied with all the luxurious comforts and sensual pleasures with which we are surrounded, and the highest intellectual acquirements of learning in which our attention was absorbed; we come to think very seriously of everything; and we ask within us: 'Who am I? What means this wonderful arrangement of things? In what relation do I stand with them? Who meant all this? May I hope to reach that being of inestimable bliss whose purest and grandest light shoots forth in my soul at fitful intervals?" While thus engaged we are transmuted into a perfect religious being sober and calm, all our animal passions subdued and the divine love streaming through and through. To resort to this stage of introspection is inevitable in the human nature. And any system of thought that leaves this main aspect of our life out of account, must be deemed incomplete and insufficient. As we have seen the philosophy of Sankhya wanting in this respect, that is investigations will not harmonise with the highest principles of religion is as clear as daylight.
Then to keep ourselves abreast of the scientific movement on the one hand and with the religious on the other, we require a system of thought serving as a main link to connect the two together. And this main link is, we dare say, the Siddhanta philosophy of the South India which is a genuine product of the Dravidian mind as has been truly remarked by Dr. G.U. Pope. Whether this was as old as Sankhya or a recent outgrowth of the latter we are not concerned here to discuss. Suffice it for our present purpose to say that the beginnings of its primary principles seen in the oldest Tamil work Tolkappiam are evolved in the ancient Sanskrit Upanishads, Kena, Chhandoghya &c., and wrought out into a coherent whole in the Vedanta sutras and its commentary of Bhadharayana.
And to resume the thread of our argument, Siddhanta like Sankhya proves the eternal existence of Maya as well as that of Atman and even goes a step forward and prosecutes its inquires regarding the supreme soul which stands in the closest adwaita relation with mind and matter. The depth of thought and the subtlety of argument that characterise this system of philosophy, we are not able to exhibit in such a brief sketch as this. A cursory view of Sivajnana Bodham a work of very rare merit and which systematises the entire principles of the Siddhanta philosophy in a stringe logical method, would be sufficient to convince any one of the veracity of our statement. While the exposition of this system is in strict accordance with the teachings of Physical science, it also conforms itself to the necessary principles of the more advanced religions. The two great channels of human thought flow into it and mingle to fill it to the brim, so that those who are thirsting after truth may go there and drink it with avidity.
The religious teaching of the Siddhanta consists in lifting up the soul to an elevated conception of love which comprehends in it the love for all the animated beings and the love of God. As intelligence is seen to be invariably accompanied by love, this according to Siddhanta, is, as it were, a quality inhering in soul from all eternity. Now this love is identical with God, although in him it shines infinitely with a dazzling splendour. In the limited intelligence of the human soul its lustre is clouded by the dominant animal passions and only appears within a narrow compass when it is serene and contemplative. In childhood we loved our mother and father, brothers and sisters, and near relations as fervently as we could; when attained to boyhood, we loved our teachers, friends, and classmates disinterestedly for their own sake; and at these stages we had no selfish motive, for all the carnal passions had lain asleep. But on reaching the stage of manhood we were put into all kinds of tests, at one moment the passionate desires rising uppermost in our thoughts, and at other moment the faculty of reason springing up and holding in check the ruinous flame. Where the animal nature gains ground, there we see the moral disorder and the victory of this nature brings about the ruin of human life. The struggle between the rational and the animal nature is truly very strong, and yet in thousand and one cases the latter gains victory over the former. And so long as there is this predominance of the animal nature in the universe, the deterioration of souls will be rapid and inevitable.* [*Kant's Metaphysic of Ethics] To strike at the root of this moral evil is the only end and aim of the teaching of Siddhanta from a religious point of view. In the first two stages of our life love is thrown out upon others, whereas in the third and the subsequent stages it is drawn back and thrown upon our own selves. By this reflex action of self this lofty sentiment loses its purity marred by the mingling of passions. If you subdue the passions and make the reasoning faculty the ruling power, the innate love, through this, finds its way, spreads out into a boundless ocean and assumes a universal form * [*Ibid]. When you secure this unlimited love, you become one with God as he is the very essence of love. 'Subduing your animal nature, love thy neighbour as thy God and you become the veriest son of the Heavenly father whose form is of the purest love' is the kernel teaching of the Siddhanta as a religion. The purest extraction of the teachings of the Sacred Kural is the one doctrine of love. The lives of the sixty three saints narrated in the Peria Purana hinge upon love as the means of salvation. Love has two aspects, the lower and the higher; in its lower aspects the soul views the whole animal kingdom with supreme kindness; in its higher it sees the divine light enveloping the entire creation and melts and merges into the supernal bliss of the Heavenly father. Such great religions of antiquity as Buddhism and Jainism touch only the lower aspect of love without taking into consideration its higher form even in the slightest degree. But Siddhanta inculcates the two aspects and the lives of Manickavachagar and others will elucidate this fact.
In one word, we conclude that, as a religion, philosophy and science, the Saiva Siddhanta presents three views which on a critical examination prove to be consistent one with the other. Though a theoretical exposition of this system of thought is met with opposition from different quarters from men of different cults, practically we see its principles embraced by all in everyday life. Those who recognise the practical utility of this system will be impressed with the value of its theoretic side, if the facts of our daily life were of any avail in constructing a fine system of human thought.