Difference between revisions of "Śaivism"

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<small>By Swami Harshananda</small>
 
<small>By Swami Harshananda</small>
  
Śaivism is the religion and philosophy of those who believe that god Śiva is the Supreme Being. Whether Rudra, the terrible deity of the Vedas and Śiva, the Auspicious One of the ‘non-Vedic’,<ref>Non Vedic is also called as ‘non-Āryan’.</ref> ‘Draviḍian’ sects battled for the centuries and then blended to emerge as one deity of compromise as Śiva or Mahādeva, the Auspicious Great God. As the Indus Valley civilization, which had once been believed to be pre-Aryan, non-Vedic or Draviḍian, came to be accepted as a continuation of the Vedic civilization itself, in fact its later phase, scholars had to concede that Śiva as depicted on some of the seals with a trident and a bull, was very much a Vedic deity just as the Mother Goddess was.
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Śaivism is the religion and philosophy of those who believe that god [[Śiva]] is the Supreme Being. Whether Rudra, the terrible deity of the [[Vedas]] and [[Śiva]], the Auspicious One of the ‘non-Vedic’,<ref>Non Vedic is also called as ‘non-Āryan’.</ref> ‘[[Draviḍian]]’ sects battled for the centuries and then blended to emerge as one deity of compromise as Śiva or [[Mahādeva]], the Auspicious Great God. As the Indus Valley civilization, which had once been believed to be pre-Aryan, non-Vedic or [[Draviḍian]], came to be accepted as a continuation of the Vedic civilization itself, in fact its later phase, scholars had to concede that Śiva as depicted on some of the seals with a trident and a bull, was very much a Vedic deity just as the Mother Goddess was.
  
 
===Lord Śiva as per Ṛgveda===
 
===Lord Śiva as per Ṛgveda===
Being the god of destruction and dissolution of the world, as delineated in later literature, Śiva had to be Rudra, the Terrible. Hence supplications to him to be propitious to one’s children,<ref>Ṛgveda 7.46.2</ref> descendants, cattle and property<ref>Ṛgveda 1.114.8</ref> are quite in order. However, he also has a benign form known as Śambhu, the beneficent one. It is the heavenly physician who cures one’s diseases and protects one’s cattle.
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Being the god of destruction and dissolution of the world, as delineated in later literature, Śiva had to be Rudra, the Terrible. Hence supplications to him to be propitious to one’s children,<ref>[[Ṛgveda]] 7.46.2</ref> descendants, cattle and property<ref>[[Ṛgveda]] 1.114.8</ref> are quite in order. However, he also has a benign form known as Śambhu, the beneficent one. It is the heavenly physician who cures one’s diseases and protects one’s cattle.
  
 
===Lord Śiva as per Other Scriptures===
 
===Lord Śiva as per Other Scriptures===
By the time of the Atharvaveda and the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad,<ref>Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 1.10; 3.2</ref><ref>Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 4.12,21,22</ref><ref>Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.14; 4.10</ref> the concept had further evolved to indicate him as the supreme or the highest God.  
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By the time of the [[Atharvaveda]] and the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad,<ref>Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 1.10; 3.2</ref><ref>Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 4.12,21,22</ref><ref>Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.14; 4.10</ref> the concept had further evolved to indicate him as the supreme or the highest God.  
  
 
===Origin of Śaivism===  
 
===Origin of Śaivism===  
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===Growth of Śaivism===
 
===Growth of Śaivism===
Along with the development of the concept of Rudra-Śiva, there had also been an evolution of the concept and symbology of the liṅga as the chief emblem of Śiva. The liṅga resembles a pillar with a semi-spherical top. Being a rounded surface in all the directions, it is perhaps, the closest approximation to a god considered as beyond all names, forms and attributes. Whereas some scholars find in it the remnants of phallic worship of aboriginal tribes, others feel it is a metamorphosed form of the Vedic yupastambha<ref>Yupastambha means sacrificial post.</ref> as the yāgaśālā<ref>Yāgaśālā means sacrificial shed.</ref> gradually evolved into the temple. Even if a phallic origin is admitted, a third section of savants argue, there is nothing wrong in it since it represents the generative principle of God, the creator.
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Along with the development of the concept of Rudra-Śiva, there had also been an evolution of the concept and symbology of the [[liṅga]] as the chief emblem of Śiva. The [[liṅga]] resembles a pillar with a semi-spherical top. Being a rounded surface in all the directions, it is perhaps, the closest approximation to a god considered as beyond all names, forms and attributes. Whereas some scholars find in it the remnants of phallic [[worship]] of aboriginal tribes, others feel it is a metamorphosed form of the Vedic yupastambha<ref>Yupastambha means sacrificial post.</ref> as the yāgaśālā<ref>Yāgaśālā means sacrificial shed.</ref> gradually evolved into the temple. Even if a phallic origin is admitted, a third section of savants argue, there is nothing wrong in it since it represents the generative principle of God, the creator.
  
 
==Kālāmukhas==
 
==Kālāmukhas==
Based on the fierce descriptions of Rudra in the Vedas, some bizarre sects emerged in course of time. The Kālāmukhas and the Kāpālikas are two such sects worshiping Rudra-Śiva as Bhairava and Caṇḍī.
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Based on the fierce descriptions of Rudra in the [[Vedas]], some bizarre sects emerged in course of time. The Kālāmukhas and the Kāpālikas are two such sects worshiping Rudra-Śiva as [[Bhairava]] and Caṇḍī.
  
The Kālāmukhas were so called, probably because they were defacing their faces with black marks and symbols.<ref>Kāla means black and mukha means face.</ref> Scholars of Śaivism consider this sect as a branch of the Pāśupata sect of Lakulīśa, also spelt as ‘Nakulīśa’. These Kālāmukhas<ref>Kālāmukhas are also sometimes called as  ‘ekkoṭi-munis’.</ref> had some connections with the descendants of a Devavrata Muni of Kashmir. They were quite powerful during the period A. D. 700-1200 in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Kedāreśvara temple of Balligāve<ref>Balligāve is in the Shimoga district of Karnataka.</ref> and the temple town of Śrīśaila<ref>Śrīśaila is near Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh.</ref> were their strongholds. Edicts of the Cālukyan kings<ref>He lived in 11th cent. A. D.</ref> speak of royal patronage to this sect. One of their gurus, Sarveśvara Śaktideva, was the master of 77 temples. They were also well-known for austerity and scholarship. However, some horrendous practices of theirs, like drinking wine in human skulls, smearing the body with the ashes of crematories, cannibalism and loose morals, made them out-castes in the society. The teachers of this sect were divided into two groups:
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The Kālāmukhas were so called, probably because they were defacing their faces with black marks and [[symbols]].<ref>[[Kāla]] means black and mukha means face.</ref> Scholars of Śaivism consider this sect as a branch of the Pāśupata sect of Lakulīśa, also spelt as ‘Nakulīśa’. These Kālāmukhas<ref>Kālāmukhas are also sometimes called as  ‘ekkoṭi-munis’.</ref> had some connections with the descendants of a [[Devavrata]] [[Muni]] of Kashmir. They were quite powerful during the period A. D. 700-1200 in [[Andhra]] Pradesh and Karnataka. Kedāreśvara temple of Balligāve<ref>Balligāve is in the Shimoga district of Karnataka.</ref> and the temple town of Śrīś[[aila]]<ref>Śrīśaila is near Kurnool, [[Andhra]] Pradesh.</ref> were their strongholds. Edicts of the Cālukyan kings<ref>He lived in 11th cent. A. D.</ref> speak of royal patronage to this sect. One of their gurus, Sarveśvara Śaktideva, was the master of 77 [[temples]]. They were also well-known for austerity and scholarship. However, some horrendous practices of theirs, like drinking wine in human skulls, smearing the body with the ashes of crematories, cannibalism and loose morals, made them out-castes in the society. The teachers of this sect were divided into two groups:
 
# Rāśi  
 
# Rāśi  
# Śakti
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# [[Śakti]]
  
Rājarājaguru,<ref>He lived in circa A. D. 1370.</ref> a well-known Kālāmukha teacher, was a contemporary of the sage Vidyāraṇya.<ref>14th century A. D.</ref>
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Rājarājaguru,<ref>He lived in circa A. D. 1370.</ref> a well-known Kālāmukha teacher, was a contemporary of the sage [[Vidyāraṇya]].<ref>14th century A. D.</ref>
  
 
==Kāpālikas==
 
==Kāpālikas==
Members of a powerful Śaiva sect, the Kāpālikas, were christened as such because they were using a kapāla or human skull, as their begging bowl. They were also wearing a garland of human skulls. They were quite active and powerful during the period 7th century onwards for about 500 years in Śrīśaila<ref>It is in Andhra Pradesh.</ref> and some parts of Tamil Nadu like:
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Members of a powerful Śaiva sect, the Kāpālikas, were christened as such because they were using a [[kapāla]] or human skull, as their begging bowl. They were also wearing a garland of human skulls. They were quite active and powerful during the period 7th century onwards for about 500 years in Śrīśaila<ref>It is in Andhra Pradesh.</ref> and some parts of Tamil Nadu like:
 
* Kāñcīpuram
 
* Kāñcīpuram
 
* Tiruvoṭriyur
 
* Tiruvoṭriyur
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* Koḍumbālur
 
* Koḍumbālur
  
Worship of Bhairava and Caṇḍī, drinking wine, eating human flesh and ash, arming themselves with a mace and promiscuous sex were common among the members of the sect. According to a work called Sabaratantra, 24 teachers starting with Ādinātha and ending with Malayārjuna have been mentioned who were fiercely anti-Vaiṣnava.
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[[Worship]] of [[Bhairava]] and Caṇḍī, drinking wine, eating human flesh and ash, arming themselves with a mace and promiscuous sex were common among the members of the sect. According to a work called Sabaratantra, 24 teachers starting with [[Ādinātha]] and ending with Malayārjuna have been mentioned who were fiercely anti-Vaiṣnava.
  
 
==Kashmir Śaivism==
 
==Kashmir Śaivism==
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===Basic Literature===
 
===Basic Literature===
 
Although the basic literature of Kashmir Śaivism is some of the āgamas like the Svacchanda, the Netra and the Vijñānabhairava, a new class of cardinal works was produced by the later writers. Among them, the following are the principal ones:
 
Although the basic literature of Kashmir Śaivism is some of the āgamas like the Svacchanda, the Netra and the Vijñānabhairava, a new class of cardinal works was produced by the later writers. Among them, the following are the principal ones:
# Śivasutras - revealed to Vasu-gupta<ref>He lived in 9th century A. D.</ref>
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# [[Śivasutras]] - revealed to Vasu-gupta<ref>He lived in 9th century A. D.</ref>
 
# Spandasutra of Vasugupta
 
# Spandasutra of Vasugupta
 
# Spandasutravrtti of Kallaṭa<ref>He was the chief disciple of Vasugupta.</ref>
 
# Spandasutravrtti of Kallaṭa<ref>He was the chief disciple of Vasugupta.</ref>
# Sivadrsti of Somānanda<ref>He lived in 9th century A. D.</ref>
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# Sivadrsti of Somā[[nanda]]<ref>He lived in 9th century A. D.</ref>
 
# Īśvarapratyabhijñā of Utpala<ref>He lived in A. D. 900.</ref>
 
# Īśvarapratyabhijñā of Utpala<ref>He lived in A. D. 900.</ref>
  
Abhinavagupta<ref>He lived in A. D. 950-1000.</ref> was the most brilliant of the later writers whose Vrtti on the īśvarapratyabhijñā of Utpala, and his own independent works Tantrāloka and Paramārthasāra have made him immortal in the chronicles of Kashmir Śaivism. Ksemarāja,<ref>He lived in A. D. 975-1025.</ref> Bhāskara and Varadarāja were the other noted writers who have enriched this literature.
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[[Abhinavagupta]]<ref>He lived in A. D. 950-1000.</ref> was the most brilliant of the later writers whose Vrtti on the īśvarapratyabhijñā of Utpala, and his own independent works Tantrā[[loka]] and Paramārthasāra have made him immortal in the chronicles of Kashmir Śaivism. Ksemarāja,<ref>He lived in A. D. 975-1025.</ref> [[Bhāskara]] and [[Varadarāja]] were the other noted writers who have enriched this literature.
  
 
===Philosophical Tenets in Brief===
 
===Philosophical Tenets in Brief===
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# Śivatattva
 
# Śivatattva
 
# Śaktitattva
 
# Śaktitattva
# Sadāśiva-tattva
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# [[Sadāśiva]]-[[tattva]]
 
# Īśvaratattva  
 
# Īśvaratattva  
# Śuddhavidyā-tattva.
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# Śuddhavidyā-[[tattva]].
  
 
===Classification of Śuddhāśuddhatattvas===
 
===Classification of Śuddhāśuddhatattvas===
 
There are six Śuddhāśuddhatattvas. They are:
 
There are six Śuddhāśuddhatattvas. They are:
 
# Māyā
 
# Māyā
# Kāla
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# [[Kāla]]
 
# Niyati
 
# Niyati
# Rāga
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# [[Rāga]]
# Vidyā  
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# [[Vidyā]]
 
# Kalā
 
# Kalā
  
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# Puruṣatattva
 
# Puruṣatattva
 
# Prakṛtitattva
 
# Prakṛtitattva
# Buddhi
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# [[Buddhi]]
# Ahaṅkāra
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# [[Ahaṅkāra]]
 
# Mānas
 
# Mānas
 
# Five jñānendriyas
 
# Five jñānendriyas
# Five karmendriyas
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# Five [[karmendriyas]]
# Five tanmātras
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# Five [[tanmātras]]
 
# Five bhutas
 
# Five bhutas
  
These tenets appear to be similar to the ones described in the Advaita Vedānta and the Sāṅkhya systems. But there are some basic differences. These tattvas or principles may now be taken up one by one.
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These tenets appear to be similar to the ones described in the [[Advaita]] Vedānta and the Sāṅkhya systems. But there are some basic differences. These tattvas or principles may now be taken up one by one.
  
 
==Śaktyaṇḍa==
 
==Śaktyaṇḍa==
 
===Śivatattva===
 
===Śivatattva===
The fundamental tattva of this system is Śivatattva, generally described as Parasarhvit or the highest and purest consciousness, the same as the Nirguṇa Brahman of the Advaita Vedānta. However, there are five aspects in this system. This Parasamvit is the original primeval tattva from which all the other tattvas have emerged. It is eternal and ineffable.
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The fundamental tattva of this system is Śivatattva, generally described as Parasarhvit or the highest and purest [[consciousness]], the same as the Nirguṇa [[Brahman]] of the [[Advaita]] Vedānta. However, there are five aspects in this system. This Parasamvit is the original primeval tattva from which all the other tattvas have emerged. It is eternal and ineffable.
  
 
===Śaktitattva===
 
===Śaktitattva===
The Śaktitattva is primarily the prathama-spandana or the first vibration-product of Parasamvit. Ānanda or bliss is its chief characteristic. It is the primary source of all movement in further creation and the rise of ‘aham’ or ‘I-consciousness’.  
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The Śaktitattva is primarily the prathama-spandana or the first vibration-product of Parasamvit. [[Ānanda]] or bliss is its chief characteristic. It is the primary source of all movement in further creation and the rise of ‘aham’ or ‘I-[[consciousness]]’.  
  
 
===Sadāśivatattva===
 
===Sadāśivatattva===
The Sadāśivatattva is a further evolution of the Parasamvit, wherein there is an awareness of ‘aham’ (‘I’) and ‘idam’ (‘this’), the former being more prominent. Since ‘idam’<ref>Idam means creation.</ref> is still in an extremely subtle state, Sadāśiva may also feel ‘aham idam’ identifying himself with the creation about to be projected.
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The Sadāśivatattva is a further evolution of the Parasamvit, wherein there is an awareness of ‘aham’ (‘I’) and ‘idam’ (‘this’), the former being more prominent. Since ‘idam’<ref>Idam means creation.</ref> is still in an extremely subtle state, [[Sadāśiva]] may also feel ‘aham idam’ identifying himself with the creation about to be projected.
  
 
===Īśvaratattva===
 
===Īśvaratattva===
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==Māyāṇḍa==
 
==Māyāṇḍa==
 
The next six principles are called ‘Māyāṇḍa’. Māyā, the first, is the unique power of Śiva, which can make the impossible possible. It is not an illusory power responsible only for ignorance as in Advaita metaphysics. It is the real power by which Śiva envelops himself. It produces the following:
 
The next six principles are called ‘Māyāṇḍa’. Māyā, the first, is the unique power of Śiva, which can make the impossible possible. It is not an illusory power responsible only for ignorance as in Advaita metaphysics. It is the real power by which Śiva envelops himself. It produces the following:
* Bheda - differences
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* [[Bheda]] - differences
 
# Nāma - names
 
# Nāma - names
 
# Rupa - forms
 
# Rupa - forms
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This māyā gives rise to the ‘pañcakañcukas’ or five coverings that apparently limit the powers of Śiva and make him appear as the jīvātman.<ref>Jīvātman means individual soul.</ref> This jīvātman is subject to the following:
 
This māyā gives rise to the ‘pañcakañcukas’ or five coverings that apparently limit the powers of Śiva and make him appear as the jīvātman.<ref>Jīvātman means individual soul.</ref> This jīvātman is subject to the following:
 
# Kāla - time
 
# Kāla - time
# Niyati - cause and effect relationship, law of karma
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# Niyati - cause and effect relationship, law of [[karma]]
# Rāga - desire and attachment
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# [[Rāga]] - desire and attachment
# Vidyā - limited knowledge, or avidyā, ignorance
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# [[Vidyā]] - limited knowledge, or [[avidyā]], ignorance
 
# Kalā - limited powers of action
 
# Kalā - limited powers of action
  
 
==Prakṛtyaṇḍa==
 
==Prakṛtyaṇḍa==
The next group of principles beginning with prakṛti is called ‘Prakṛtyaṇḍa’. Prakrti is the matrix of the three guṇas<ref>The three guṇas are sattva, rajas and tamas.</ref> in a state of balance. When this balance is upset, the products that gradually emerge are:
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The next group of principles beginning with prakṛti is called ‘Prakṛtyaṇḍa’. Prakrti is the matrix of the three guṇas<ref>The three guṇas are [[sattva]], rajas and tamas.</ref> in a state of balance. When this balance is upset, the products that gradually emerge are:
# Buddhi - discriminative faculty
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# [[Buddhi]] - discriminative faculty
# Ahaṅkāra - ego-sense
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# [[Ahaṅkāra]] - ego-sense
 
# Sense of individuation and separation
 
# Sense of individuation and separation
# Manas - mind, general power of thinking, feeling and willing
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# [[Manas]] - mind, general power of thinking, feeling and willing
 
# The five jñānendriyas - organs of perception, viz., eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin or the sense of touch
 
# The five jñānendriyas - organs of perception, viz., eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin or the sense of touch
# The five karmendriyas - organs of action viz., speech, hands, feet and the two organs of evacuation
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# The five [[karmendriyas]] - organs of action viz., speech, hands, feet and the two organs of evacuation
# Five tanmātras - the five subtle elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether or space
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# Five [[tanmātras]] - the five subtle elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether or space
  
 
==Pṛthivyaṇḍa==
 
==Pṛthivyaṇḍa==
 
The tanmātras, by their combination, produce the five mahābhutas or gross elements. Further creation proceeds from them. This group is called ‘Pṛthivyaṇḍa’. The significant points to be noted in this system are:
 
The tanmātras, by their combination, produce the five mahābhutas or gross elements. Further creation proceeds from them. This group is called ‘Pṛthivyaṇḍa’. The significant points to be noted in this system are:
# Sṛṣṭi or creation is the evolution of the Śakti or power of Siva.
+
# Sṛṣṭi or creation is the evolution of the [[Śakti]] or power of Siva.
 
# The individual soul in bondage in creation is also, really speaking, Śiva himself.
 
# The individual soul in bondage in creation is also, really speaking, Śiva himself.
 
# The total number of fundamental cosmic principles is 36 and not 25 as in the Sāṅkhya system.
 
# The total number of fundamental cosmic principles is 36 and not 25 as in the Sāṅkhya system.
  
 
==Bhedābheda==
 
==Bhedābheda==
Since the created world is an evolute of Śiva, it is not different from him. But it also appears to have its own separate identity. Hence, this system accepts the theory of bhedābheda<ref>Bhedābheda means both difference and non-difference.</ref> between God Śiva and his creation. Similarly, the jīvātman who is called ‘paśu’<ref>Paśu means bound soul.</ref> is also Śiva himself. By practicing pratya-bhijñā<ref>Pratya-bhijñā means remembrance of his real nature as Śiva himself.</ref> the jīva can get rid of all āvaraṇas<ref>Āvaraṇas means coverings.</ref> and become one with Śiva which is his mukti or liberation.
+
Since the created world is an evolute of Śiva, it is not different from him. But it also appears to have its own separate identity. Hence, this system accepts the theory of bhedābheda<ref>Bhedābheda means both difference and non-difference.</ref> between God Śiva and his creation. Similarly, the jīvātman who is called ‘[[paśu]]’<ref>[[Paśu]] means bound soul.</ref> is also Śiva himself. By practicing pratya-bhijñā<ref>Pratya-bhijñā means remembrance of his real nature as Śiva himself.</ref> the jīva can get rid of all āvaraṇas<ref>Āvaraṇas means coverings.</ref> and become one with Śiva which is his mukti or liberation.
  
 
==Śaktipāta==
 
==Śaktipāta==
However, this can be secured only by service to the guru,<ref>Guru means spiritual teacher.</ref> listening to the teachings of the śāstras,<ref>Śāstras means holy books.</ref> reflection on them and the practice of yoga. But, the final deliverance can come only by śivānugraha,<ref>Śivānugraha means grace of Lord Śiva.</ref> technically called ‘śaktipāta’.<ref>Śaktipāta means descent of Lord’s power.</ref>
+
However, this can be secured only by service to the guru,<ref>Guru means spiritual teacher.</ref> listening to the teachings of the śāstras,<ref>Śāstras means holy books.</ref> reflection on them and the practice of [[yoga]]. But, the final deliverance can come only by śivānugraha,<ref>Śivānugraha means grace of Lord Śiva.</ref> technically called ‘śaktipāta’.<ref>Śaktipāta means descent of Lord’s power.</ref>
  
Ultimately, as per this system, Śiva covers himself and becomes the jīva, the bound soul. Śiva recognizes his real nature and ‘regains’ it as it were. Thus self-forgetfulness<ref>Self forgetfulness is also termed as svātma-vismaraṇa.</ref> and self-remembrance<ref>Self remembrance means svātma-pratyabhijñā.</ref> are two scenes in the world-play of Śiva.
+
Ultimately, as per this system, Śiva covers himself and becomes the jīva, the bound soul. Śiva recognizes his real nature and ‘regains’ it as it were. Thus self-forgetfulness<ref>Self forgetfulness is also termed as svātma-vismaraṇa.</ref> and self-remembrance<ref>Self remembrance means svātma-[[pratyabhijñā]].</ref> are two scenes in the world-play of Śiva.
  
 
==Pāśupata Sect==
 
==Pāśupata Sect==
The sect of Paśupati or the Pāśupata sect seems to be an ancient one. It has been confirmed by the following parameters:
+
The sect of [[Paśupati]] or the Pāśupata sect seems to be an ancient one. It has been confirmed by the following parameters:
 
* The use of words ‘pati,’ ‘pāśa,’ and ‘prasāda’ in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad,<ref>Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 1.11</ref><ref>Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.9; 3.20</ref>
 
* The use of words ‘pati,’ ‘pāśa,’ and ‘prasāda’ in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad,<ref>Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 1.11</ref><ref>Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.9; 3.20</ref>
 
* Worship of Śiva as liṅga
 
* Worship of Śiva as liṅga
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===Literature of Pāśupata sect===
 
===Literature of Pāśupata sect===
The Pāśupata sect is based mainly on the Śaivāgamas, certain purāṇas and a few minor Upaniṣads of the post-Vedic period.  
+
The Pāśupata sect is based mainly on the [[Śaivāgamas]], certain [[purāṇas]] and a few minor Upaniṣads of the post-Vedic period.  
  
 
===Āgamas of Pāśupata sect===
 
===Āgamas of Pāśupata sect===
The period of the āgamas ranges from the first century to the fourteenth. They are prevalent mostly in South India, that too in Tamil Nadu. Whether they were originally composed in Tamil and later rendered into Sanskrit, or were directly written in Sanskrit itself, opinion seems to be divided. Some of the āgamas are:
+
The period of the āgamas ranges from the first century to the fourteenth. They are prevalent mostly in South India, that too in Tamil Nadu. Whether they were originally composed in Tamil and later rendered into [[Sanskrit]], or were directly written in [[Sanskrit]] itself, opinion seems to be divided. Some of the āgamas are:
 
# Kāmika
 
# Kāmika
 
# Ajita
 
# Ajita
 
# Anśumān
 
# Anśumān
 
# Suprabheda
 
# Suprabheda
# Svāyam-bhuva
+
# Svāyam-[[bhuva]]
 
# Raurava
 
# Raurava
 
# Mṛgendra
 
# Mṛgendra
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===Purāṇas of Pāśupata sect===
 
===Purāṇas of Pāśupata sect===
The purāṇas are:
+
The [[purāṇas]] are:
 
# Vāyu
 
# Vāyu
# Kurma  
+
# [[Kurma]]
 
# Śiva
 
# Śiva
  
As for their authoritative nature, they have been considered equal to the Vedas, the Vedāṅgas, the Mahābhārata and the dharmaśāstras.
+
As for their authoritative nature, they have been considered equal to the Vedas, the [[Vedāṅgas]], the Mahā[[bhārata]] and the dharmaśāstras.
  
 
===Chief Tenets===
 
===Chief Tenets===
 
The topics dealt with in the Pāśupata literature are technically called Pañcārthas, the five basic subjects. They are:
 
The topics dealt with in the Pāśupata literature are technically called Pañcārthas, the five basic subjects. They are:
# Kāraṇa
+
# [[Kāraṇa]]
# Kārya
+
# [[Kārya]]
# Yoga
+
# [[Yoga]]
# Vidhi  
+
# [[Vidhi]]
 
# Duhkhānta
 
# Duhkhānta
  
 
===Kāraṇa===
 
===Kāraṇa===
Kāraṇa, the primeval cause, is Śiva, called ‘Pati’<ref>Pati is referred as Lord.</ref> here. Some of his other names are:
+
[[Kāraṇa]], the primeval cause, is Śiva, called ‘Pati’<ref>Pati is referred as Lord.</ref> here. Some of his other names are:
 
# Rudra
 
# Rudra
# Śaṅkara
+
# [[Śaṅkara]]
 
# Kāla
 
# Kāla
# Bala-vikaraṇa
+
# [[Bala]]-vikaraṇa
# Aghora
+
# [[Aghora]]
 
# Sarva
 
# Sarva
 
# Śarva
 
# Śarva
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# Īśāna
 
# Īśāna
 
# Īśvara  
 
# Īśvara  
# Brahmā
+
# [[Brahmā]]
  
He is anādi,<ref>Anādi means without beginning or origin.</ref> avyaya<ref>Avyaya means indestructible.</ref> and the cause of creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world. He is transcendent as well as immanent. He is compassion unlimited. Praṇava or Om is his best symbol.
+
He is [[anādi]],<ref>[[Anādi]] means without beginning or origin.</ref> [[avyaya]]<ref>[[Avyaya]] means indestructible.</ref> and the cause of creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world. He is transcendent as well as immanent. He is compassion unlimited. [[Praṇava]] or Om is his best symbol.
  
Unlike the Vedāntic systems, Śiva or īśvara is only the nimittakāraṇa<ref>Nimittakāraṇa is the efficient cause.</ref> of creation and not the upādāna-kāraṇa.<ref>Upādāna-kāraṇa means material cause.</ref> Though the jīvas and the world have a separate existence, they are completely under his control. It is due to him that the world and the jīvas undergo changes. However, being a prasādi,<ref>Prasādi means one who bestows grace.</ref> he is ever compassionate to the jīvas. That is why they can get liberation by meditating on him. It may not be out of place to mention here that the Pāśupata system is very much akin to the Dvaita Vedānta system of Madhva.<ref>He lived in A. D. 1197-1276.</ref> The only difference is that Śiva has taken the place of Viṣṇu, in this case.
+
Unlike the Vedāntic systems, Śiva or īśvara is only the [[nimittakāraṇa]]<ref>[[Nimittakāraṇa]] is the efficient cause.</ref> of creation and not the upā[[dāna]]-kāraṇa.<ref>Upādāna-kāraṇa means material cause.</ref> Though the jīvas and the world have a separate existence, they are completely under his control. It is due to him that the world and the jīvas undergo changes. However, being a prasādi,<ref>Prasādi means one who bestows grace.</ref> he is ever compassionate to the jīvas. That is why they can get liberation by meditating on him. It may not be out of place to mention here that the Pāśupata system is very much akin to the [[Dvaita]] Vedānta system of Madhva.<ref>He lived in A. D. 1197-1276.</ref> The only difference is that Śiva has taken the place of [[Viṣṇu]], in this case.
  
 
===Kārya===
 
===Kārya===
Kārya is the second of the five basics mentioned above. Kārya is defined here not as an effect, but as that which is asvatantra or dependent, kāraṇa being that which is svatantra or independent. In this sense, īśvara or Śiva alone is the kāraṇa, the jagat<ref>Jagat means world.</ref> and the jīvas being kāryas since they are dependent upon him. Though īśvara is the kāraṇa, the jīvas, being prodded by him, can also be the kāraṇas in the further process of creation. Even the prakṛti or pradhāna is responsible for further evolution of the world. Hence these two have been called ‘kārya-kāraṇa’.
+
[[Kārya]] is the second of the five basics mentioned above. Kārya is defined here not as an effect, but as that which is asvatantra or dependent, kāraṇa being that which is svatantra or independent. In this sense, īśvara or Śiva alone is the kāraṇa, the jagat<ref>Jagat means world.</ref> and the jīvas being kāryas since they are dependent upon him. Though īśvara is the kāraṇa, the jīvas, being prodded by him, can also be the kāraṇas in the further process of creation. Even the prakṛti or [[pradhāna]] is responsible for further evolution of the world. Hence these two have been called ‘kārya-kāraṇa’.
  
 
Evolution of the world from the prakṛti is the same as it is in the Sāñkhya philosophy. One thing has to be noted here. Īśvara as the original kāraṇa never gets affected by the evolution of the world whereas prakṛti which is a ‘kārya-kāraṇa’ does. Two examples can make this concept clear. Lotus blooms when the sunlight falls on it. Iron filings move in the vicinity of a magnet. In these cases, neither the sun nor the magnet is affected though the lotus and the iron filings are. So also, īśvara remains unaffected by the evolution of the world through the prakṛti and the jīvas.
 
Evolution of the world from the prakṛti is the same as it is in the Sāñkhya philosophy. One thing has to be noted here. Īśvara as the original kāraṇa never gets affected by the evolution of the world whereas prakṛti which is a ‘kārya-kāraṇa’ does. Two examples can make this concept clear. Lotus blooms when the sunlight falls on it. Iron filings move in the vicinity of a magnet. In these cases, neither the sun nor the magnet is affected though the lotus and the iron filings are. So also, īśvara remains unaffected by the evolution of the world through the prakṛti and the jīvas.
  
Among the kāryas, the jivātman is the most important. He has been called ‘paśu’ since he is subject to ‘pāśa’<ref>Pāśa means bondage.</ref> and sees Opaśyati’ himself as the body-mind complex forgetting that he is the spirit, whereas Śiva has been declared as ‘Paśupati’.<ref>Paśupati means Lord of paśus.</ref> The paśu or the jīva is eternal, all-pervading and possesses the powers to see<ref>This power is called dṛkśakti.</ref> and to act.<ref>This power is called kriyāśakti.</ref> The paśus, depending on their spiritual evolution, are classified into two groups:
+
Among the kāryas, the jivātman is the most important. He has been called ‘paśu’ since he is subject to ‘pāśa’<ref>Pāśa means bondage.</ref> and sees Opaśyati’ himself as the body-mind complex forgetting that he is the spirit, whereas Śiva has been declared as ‘[[Paśupati]]’.<ref>Paśupati means Lord of paśus.</ref> The paśu or the jīva is eternal, all-pervading and possesses the powers to see<ref>This power is called dṛkśakti.</ref> and to act.<ref>This power is called kriyāśakti.</ref> The paśus, depending on their spiritual evolution, are classified into two groups:
 
# Sāñjana - those attached to the body, the senses and the mind
 
# Sāñjana - those attached to the body, the senses and the mind
 
# Nirañjana - the free souls
 
# Nirañjana - the free souls
  
 
The pāśas or bonds that bind the paśu are called malas or impurities. They are three:
 
The pāśas or bonds that bind the paśu are called malas or impurities. They are three:
# Āṇavamala - The impurity that makes the paśu or jīva get identified with the limited body though he is really infinite, is āṇavamala.
+
# [[Āṇavamala]] - The impurity that makes the paśu or jīva get identified with the limited body though he is really infinite, is [[Āṇavamala|āṇavamala]].
 
# Māyīyamala - The bondage that has been brought about by māyā<ref>Māyā is the power of īśvara.</ref> is māyīyamala.
 
# Māyīyamala - The bondage that has been brought about by māyā<ref>Māyā is the power of īśvara.</ref> is māyīyamala.
 
# Kārmamala - Limitations that arise due to past karmas are kārmamala.  
 
# Kārmamala - Limitations that arise due to past karmas are kārmamala.  
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===Yoga===
 
===Yoga===
This takes us to the next subject, viz., yoga. Yoga is defined as the saiyoga<ref>Saiyoga means union.</ref> of ātman<ref>Here Ātman is referred to as paśu.</ref> and īśvara.<ref>Here īśvara is referred as Paśupati.</ref> It consists in detachment from the comforts and pleasures of the life here and looking upon īśvara alone as the sole aim of one’s life. This yoga can be achieved either through the grace of īśvara or through total surrender to him as the only refuge for a paśu. Useful sādhanas in yoga are:
+
This takes us to the next subject, viz., yoga. Yoga is defined as the saiyoga<ref>Saiyoga means union.</ref> of [[Ātman|ātman]]<ref>Here [[Ātman]] is referred to as paśu.</ref> and īśvara.<ref>Here īśvara is referred as Paśupati.</ref> It consists in detachment from the comforts and pleasures of the life here and looking upon īśvara alone as the sole aim of one’s life. This yoga can be achieved either through the grace of īśvara or through total surrender to him as the only refuge for a paśu. Useful sādhanas in yoga are:
 
# Ahiṅsā - non-violence
 
# Ahiṅsā - non-violence
# Brahmacarya - celibacy
+
# [[Brahmacarya]] - celibacy
 
# Satya - speaking the truth in a way that helps living beings
 
# Satya - speaking the truth in a way that helps living beings
 
# Asaṅgraha - non-accumulation of things
 
# Asaṅgraha - non-accumulation of things
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===Vidhi===
 
===Vidhi===
‘Vidhi’ is the fourth in the pañcārthas. It means activities like:
+
‘[[Vidhi]]’ is the fourth in the pañcārthas. It means activities like:
 
# Bhasmasnāna - pouring the holy ash on one’s body.
 
# Bhasmasnāna - pouring the holy ash on one’s body.
 
# Upahāra - deliberately acting in a way that people in general will shun the company of the sādhaka.
 
# Upahāra - deliberately acting in a way that people in general will shun the company of the sādhaka.
# Japa - repetition of Śiva’s mantra
+
# [[Japa]] - repetition of Śiva’s [[mantra]]
# Pradakṣiṇā - circumambulation of the Śivaliṅga
+
# Pradakṣiṇā - circumambulation of the [[Śivaliṅga]]
  
 
===Duhkhānta===
 
===Duhkhānta===
Duhkhānta is the last of the pañcārthas. It means cessation of all sorrow and suffering, the same as mukti or liberation. It is achieved by withdrawing the mind from all the objects and directing it towards the Lord Paśupati only. This will result in total surrender to him and living near him.<ref>This phenomenon is termed as samīpa prāpti.</ref> In this mukti, there is no ‘living alone’<ref>Living alone means kaivalya, as in the Sāṅkhya-Yoga systems.</ref> or total merging.<ref>Total merging means aikya as in Advaita Vedānta.</ref> The paśu will then be in the eternal company of Paśupati. The Pāśupata texts describe the attainment of psychic powers like clairvoyance or clair-audience as a part of duhkhānta but they also discourage the yogi from paying attention to them since they can prevent him from attaining liberation in the ultimate sense.
+
Duhkhānta is the last of the pañcārthas. It means cessation of all sorrow and suffering, the same as mukti or liberation. It is achieved by withdrawing the mind from all the objects and directing it towards the Lord Paśupati only. This will result in total surrender to him and living near him.<ref>This phenomenon is termed as samīpa prāpti.</ref> In this mukti, there is no ‘living alone’<ref>Living alone means [[kaivalya]], as in the [[Sāṅkhya-yoga|Sāṅkhya-Yoga]] systems.</ref> or total merging.<ref>Total merging means aikya as in Advaita Vedānta.</ref> The paśu will then be in the eternal company of Paśupati. The Pāśupata texts describe the attainment of psychic powers like clairvoyance or clair-audience as a part of duhkhānta but they also discourage the yogi from paying attention to them since they can prevent him from attaining liberation in the ultimate sense.
  
 
==Śaivasiddhānta==
 
==Śaivasiddhānta==
Though the word ‘Śaiva-siddhānta’ means the doctrine of Śaivism in general, it has come to be particularly identified with the Śaivism prevalent in the Tamil country over the last thousand three hundred years. It is more a religion of devotional mysticism than a systematic and speculative philosophy, based on the compositions of the Nāyanmārs or Nāyanārs who were 63 in number and lived during the period 7th to 12th centuries A. D. The canonical literature of Tamil Śaivism as redacted by Nambi Aṇḍār Nambi<ref>He lived in A. D. 1000.</ref> can be given as follows:
+
Though the word ‘Śaiva-[[siddhānta]]’ means the doctrine of Śaivism in general, it has come to be particularly identified with the Śaivism prevalent in the Tamil country over the last thousand three hundred years. It is more a religion of devotional mysticism than a systematic and speculative philosophy, based on the compositions of the Nāyanmārs or Nāyanārs who were 63 in number and lived during the period 7th to 12th centuries A. D. The canonical literature of Tamil Śaivism as redacted by Nambi Aṇḍār Nambi<ref>He lived in A. D. 1000.</ref> can be given as follows:
  
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
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Meykaṇḍār<ref>He lived in 13th cent. A. D.</ref> in his well-known work Sivajñānabodham, a short treatise of 12 aphorisms. It seems to be a translation in Tamil, of a sanskrit original.
 
Meykaṇḍār<ref>He lived in 13th cent. A. D.</ref> in his well-known work Sivajñānabodham, a short treatise of 12 aphorisms. It seems to be a translation in Tamil, of a sanskrit original.
  
Next significant work considered as a classic in Tamil Śaivism is the work Śivajñāna-śittiyār by Aruṇandi, a disciple of Meykaṇḍār. This work along with its numerous commentaries is most widely read even now. The Śivajñānabodham mentions and defines the three basic concepts which deals with sādhana for the paśu to realize Pati and the phala or spiritual fruit that accrues to him. These three are:
+
Next significant work considered as a classic in Tamil Śaivism is the work Śivajñāna-śittiyār by [[Aruṇandi]], a disciple of Meykaṇḍār. This work along with its numerous commentaries is most widely read even now. The Śivajñānabodham mentions and defines the three basic concepts which deals with sā[[dhana]] for the paśu to realize Pati and the phala or spiritual fruit that accrues to him. These three are:
 
# Pati
 
# Pati
 
# Paśu  
 
# Paśu  
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==Viraśaivism==
 
==Viraśaivism==
Viraśaivism, also known as the Liṅgāyata Religion or Sect, is a variant of Śaivism found mostly in the Karnataka region of South India. Though the more orthodox sections claim that it is an ancient religion originating from the teachers like Revanārādhya, Marulārādhya, Paṇḍitārādhya and others, there are others who are inclined to treat it in a figurative sense. For all practical purposes, Basaveśvara,<ref>He lived in d. A. D. 1168</ref> also known as Basavaṇṇa or Basava, was the prime minister of the king Bijjala.<ref>He ruled here from A. D. 1157 to 1167.</ref> He made the first attempt for a systematic presentation of Tamil Śaivism as a chief organizer and reformer of this sect. A galaxy of saints<ref>This numbered more than 300.</ref> of this sect like Allama Prabhu and Cannabasavaṇṇa, and women-saints like Akkamahādevī have enriched the Liṅgāyata Movement. They revolutionized the religio-social fabric of their times.
+
Viraśaivism, also known as the Liṅgāyata Religion or Sect, is a variant of Śaivism found mostly in the Karnataka region of South India. Though the more orthodox sections claim that it is an ancient religion originating from the teachers like Revanārādhya, Marulārādhya, Paṇḍitārādhya and others, there are others who are inclined to treat it in a figurative sense. For all practical purposes, [[Basaveśvara]],<ref>He lived in d. A. D. 1168</ref> also known as Basavaṇṇa or [[Basava]], was the prime minister of the king Bijjala.<ref>He ruled here from A. D. 1157 to 1167.</ref> He made the first attempt for a systematic presentation of Tamil Śaivism as a chief organizer and reformer of this sect. A galaxy of saints<ref>This numbered more than 300.</ref> of this sect like Allama Prabhu and Cannabasavaṇṇa, and [[women]]-saints like Akkamahā[[devī]] have enriched the Liṅgāyata Movement. They revolutionized the religio-social fabric of their times.
  
 
===Principal Dogmas===
 
===Principal Dogmas===
A special feature of Vīraśaivism is the supreme importance, reverence and worship given to the Śivaliṅga or liṅga as the sole emblem of God Śiva. Hence the appropriateness of the name ‘Liṅgāyata’.<ref>Liṅgāyata means ‘a religion that considers the liṅga as the chief support or basis’.</ref> After receiving it from a qualified guru in dīkṣā or initiation, it should be worn on the body always, thereby purifying every part of the body.
+
A special feature of Vīraśaivism is the supreme importance, reverence and worship given to the [[Śivaliṅga]] or liṅga as the sole emblem of God Śiva. Hence the appropriateness of the name ‘Liṅgāyata’.<ref>Liṅgāyata means ‘a religion that considers the liṅga as the chief support or basis’.</ref> After receiving it from a qualified guru in dīkṣā or initiation, it should be worn on the body always, thereby purifying every part of the body.
  
 
The chief tenets of this faith are:
 
The chief tenets of this faith are:
 
* Śiva is the Supreme God.
 
* Śiva is the Supreme God.
 
* The liṅga is his chief symbol or emblem.
 
* The liṅga is his chief symbol or emblem.
* The pañcākṣarī-mantra, namaśśivāya, is the redeeming spiritual formula.
+
* The pañcākṣarī-[[mantra]], namaśśivāya, is the redeeming spiritual formula.
* Pañcācāras and aṣtā-varaṇas are the main code of conduct.
+
* [[Pañcācāras]] and aṣtā-varaṇas are the main code of conduct.
 
* Śaktiviśiṣṭādvaita is the philosophy behind this system.
 
* Śaktiviśiṣṭādvaita is the philosophy behind this system.
 
* As for the process of evolution of the world, the same 36 tattvas or principles given by Kashmir Śaivism have been adopted here also.
 
* As for the process of evolution of the world, the same 36 tattvas or principles given by Kashmir Śaivism have been adopted here also.
  
 
===Practical Disciplines===
 
===Practical Disciplines===
But for the three malas or impurities,<ref>The mala or impurities are āṇavamala, māyīyamala and kārma mala explained earlier.</ref> the jīva or paśu<ref>Here the paśu means the individual.</ref> would have been as wise as Śiva, the Pati. In order to get rid of these malas, the individual has to take dikṣa<ref>Dikṣa means initiation.</ref> from a duly qualified guru. Dīkṣā is a simple ritual in which the guru worships a liñga and then ties it round the neck of the disciple which will hang like a necklace. The liṅga is usually encased in a small silver casket. By this process, the guru gives the mantra<ref>This mantra is namaśśivāya.</ref> and also transmits his spiritual power.
+
But for the three malas or impurities,<ref>The [[mala]] or impurities are āṇavamala, māyīyamala and kārma [[mala]] explained earlier.</ref> the jīva or paśu<ref>Here the paśu means the individual.</ref> would have been as wise as Śiva, the Pati. In order to get rid of these malas, the individual has to take dikṣa<ref>Dikṣa means initiation.</ref> from a duly qualified guru. Dīkṣā is a simple ritual in which the guru worships a liñga and then ties it round the neck of the disciple which will hang like a necklace. The liṅga is usually encased in a small silver casket. By this process, the guru gives the mantra<ref>This mantra is namaśśivāya.</ref> and also transmits his spiritual power.
  
Since the five ācāras and the eight āvaraṇas purify a vīraśaiva or liṅgāyata by burning up all his impurities, theoretically there is no need for him to observe sutakas<ref>Sutaka means ceremonial impurities.</ref> or cremate his body after death. Hence it is buried.
+
Since the five ācāras and the eight āvaraṇas purify a vīraśaiva or liṅgāyata by burning up all his impurities, theoretically there is no need for him to observe sutakas<ref>[[Sutaka]] means ceremonial impurities.</ref> or cremate his body after death. Hence it is buried.
  
 
===Pañcācāras for Dīkṣā===  
 
===Pañcācāras for Dīkṣā===  
Women also are entitled for dīkṣā in this sect. One who is thus initiated is expected to practice the five disciplines known as pañcācāras and also protect himself with eight ‘coverings,’ the aṣṭāvaraṇas, stipulated by the system. The pañcācāras are:
+
[[Women]] also are entitled for dīkṣā in this sect. One who is thus initiated is expected to practice the five disciplines known as [[pañcācāras]] and also protect himself with eight ‘coverings,’ the aṣṭāvaraṇas, stipulated by the system. The pañcācāras are:
 
# Liṅgācāra - Worshiping daily, the liṅga given to him in dīkṣā.
 
# Liṅgācāra - Worshiping daily, the liṅga given to him in dīkṣā.
# Sadācāra - Earning money by a virtuous profession and utilizing the savings for serving the needy, including the jaṅgamas.<ref>Jaṅgamas means itinerant preachers.</ref>
+
# [[Sadācāra]] - Earning money by a virtuous profession and utilizing the savings for serving the needy, including the jaṅgamas.<ref>Jaṅgamas means itinerant preachers.</ref>
 
# Śivācāra - Treating all liṅgāyats equally as if they are Śiva himself.
 
# Śivācāra - Treating all liṅgāyats equally as if they are Śiva himself.
 
# Bhṛtyācāra - Cultivating humility towards Śiva and his devotees.
 
# Bhṛtyācāra - Cultivating humility towards Śiva and his devotees.
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# Guru - Faith and respect towards the guru.
 
# Guru - Faith and respect towards the guru.
 
# Liñga - Treating the liñga with reverence and devotion.
 
# Liñga - Treating the liñga with reverence and devotion.
# Jaṅgama - Respectful treatment of the ascetics and mendicants.
+
# [[Jaṅgama]] - Respectful treatment of the [[ascetics]] and mendicants.
# Pādodaka - Purifying oneself by drinking or sprinkling oneself with the water, with which guru’s or a jaṅgama’s feet have been washed.
+
# Pādodaka - Purifying oneself by drinking or sprinkling oneself with the water, with which guru’s or a [[jaṅgama]]’s feet have been washed.
 
# Prasāda - Accepting food sanctified in worship.
 
# Prasāda - Accepting food sanctified in worship.
# Bhasma - Wearing holy ash on the forehead and other parts of the body as prescribed.
+
# [[Bhasma]] - Wearing holy ash on the forehead and other parts of the body as prescribed.
# Rudrākṣa - Using a rudrākṣa rosary for japa and also wearing it on the body.
+
# Rudrākṣa - Using a rudrākṣa rosary for [[japa]] and also wearing it on the body.
 
# Mantra - Repetition of the pañcākṣarī-mantra<ref>Pañcākṣarī-mantra is namaśśivāya.</ref> as directed by the dīkṣāguru.
 
# Mantra - Repetition of the pañcākṣarī-mantra<ref>Pañcākṣarī-mantra is namaśśivāya.</ref> as directed by the dīkṣāguru.
  
 
==The Doctrine of Śakti-viśistādvaita==
 
==The Doctrine of Śakti-viśistādvaita==
Like the viśiṣtādvaita of Rāmānuja<ref>He lived in A. D. 1017-1137.</ref> the viraśaivas also accept a viśiṣtādvaita philosophy, which, however, is a little different. In Rāmānuja’s system, Brahman is advaita,<ref>Advaita means one without a second.</ref> but qualified,<ref>Qualified means viśiṣṭa.</ref> since he has prakrti<ref>Prakrti means acit.</ref> and the jīvas<ref>Jivas means cit.</ref> in himself, as inseparable entities. However, in Vīraśaivism, the viśistatva<ref>Viśistatva means being ‘qualified’.</ref> is confined only to his Śakti or power, with the help of which creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world takes place. Brahman or God and his Śakti are non-different, just as heat is from fire or light from the sun. Brahman is always conscious of his power. Thus, viśistatva implies only vimarśa or self-consciousness of the inherent power. Hence this system has been named as śakti-viśiṣṭadvaita.
+
Like the viśiṣtādvaita of Rāmānuja<ref>He lived in A. D. 1017-1137.</ref> the viraśaivas also accept a viśiṣtādvaita philosophy, which, however, is a little different. In Rāmānuja’s system, [[Brahman]] is advaita,<ref>Advaita means one without a second.</ref> but qualified,<ref>Qualified means viśiṣṭa.</ref> since he has prakrti<ref>Prakrti means [[acit]].</ref> and the jīvas<ref>Jivas means [[cit]].</ref> in himself, as inseparable entities. However, in Vīraśaivism, the viśistatva<ref>Viśistatva means being ‘qualified’.</ref> is confined only to his Śakti or power, with the help of which creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world takes place. Brahman or God and his Śakti are non-different, just as heat is from fire or light from the sun. Brahman is always conscious of his power. Thus, viśistatva implies only vimarśa or self-consciousness of the inherent power. Hence this system has been named as śakti-viśiṣṭadvaita.
  
 
==The Doctrine of Śatsthala==
 
==The Doctrine of Śatsthala==
In Vīraśaivism, Śiva or Brahman or God is called ‘Sthala’. He is ‘Sthala’ because he, like the sky or space<ref>Sthala means space.</ref> is limitless or infinite. Also the word ‘sthala’ can etymologically mean that from which the world emerges and evolves in which it is stationed and into which it gets dissolved.<ref>Stha means being stationed and la means getting dissolved.</ref> According to the doctrine ‘Saṭsthala-siddhānta,’ Śiva divides himself into two aspects:
+
In Vīraśaivism, Śiva or Brahman or God is called ‘Sthala’. He is ‘Sthala’ because he, like the sky or space<ref>Sthala means space.</ref> is limitless or infinite. Also the word ‘sthala’ can etymologically mean that from which the world emerges and evolves in which it is stationed and into which it gets dissolved.<ref>Stha means being stationed and la means getting dissolved.</ref> According to the doctrine ‘Saṭsthala-[[siddhānta]],’ Śiva divides himself into two aspects:
 
# Liṅga - It denotes himself.
 
# Liṅga - It denotes himself.
# Aṅga, - It denotes the jīva.  
+
# [[Aṅga]], - It denotes the jīva.  
  
 
Both these again divide themselves into three further aspects:
 
Both these again divide themselves into three further aspects:
 
# Liṅga into iṣṭaliṅga, prāṇaliṅga and bhāvaliṅga
 
# Liṅga into iṣṭaliṅga, prāṇaliṅga and bhāvaliṅga
# Aṅga into tyāgāṅga, bhogāṅga and yogāṅga
+
# [[Aṅga]] into tyāgāṅga, bhogāṅga and [[yogāṅga]]
  
When the jīva renounces his attachment to worldly objects, he is called ‘tyāgāṅga’ and the liṅga given to him by his guru at the time of dīkṣā or initiation is the ‘iṣṭaliṅga’ which is the means of his upāsanā or worship. When due to the upāsanā of the iṣṭaliṅga he is purified, then he enjoys the things of the world as the grace of Śiva, becomes ‘bhogāṅga’ and experiences the ‘prāṇaliṅga’.<ref>Prāṇaliṅga means Śiva’s presence in his heart.</ref> When he progresses further, to very high states of consciousness in the sahasrāracakra, he is called ‘yogāṅga’ and enjoys highest bliss by his identity with Śiva, now called ‘bhāvaliṅga’.
+
When the jīva renounces his attachment to worldly objects, he is called ‘tyāgāṅga’ and the liṅga given to him by his guru at the time of dīkṣā or initiation is the ‘iṣṭaliṅga’ which is the means of his upāsanā or worship. When due to the upāsanā of the iṣṭaliṅga he is purified, then he enjoys the things of the world as the grace of Śiva, becomes ‘bhogāṅga’ and experiences the ‘prāṇaliṅga’.<ref>Prāṇaliṅga means Śiva’s presence in his heart.</ref> When he progresses further, to very high states of consciousness in the sahasrāracakra, he is called ‘[[yogāṅga]]’ and enjoys highest bliss by his identity with Śiva, now called ‘bhāvaliṅga’.
  
 
==Epilogue==
 
==Epilogue==
Vīraśaivism, rooted in the ancient Śaivism, was nourished by a galaxy of saints. Its active propagation of social equality, it's stress on work not only as a social obligation but also as a part of one’s spiritual evolution earned for itself a large number of followers. Even though the social revolution part of it has gradually fizzled out,<ref>It happened mainly due to the rigidity of the caste system that still has a sway over the Hindu society.</ref> the other aspects of its religio-philosophical system have certainly enriched religion.
+
Vīraśaivism, rooted in the ancient Śaivism, was nourished by a galaxy of saints. Its active propagation of social equality, it's stress on work not only as a social obligation but also as a part of one’s spiritual evolution earned for itself a large number of followers. Even though the social revolution part of it has gradually fizzled out,<ref>It happened mainly due to the rigidity of the caste system that still has a sway over the [[Hindu]] society.</ref> the other aspects of its religio-philosophical system have certainly enriched religion.
  
Like the two important sects of Viṣṇu and Śakti, the sect of Śiva or Śaivism also has contributed significantly to the ethos and spiritual grace of the religion. Rooted in the Vedas and nourished by the secondary scriptures like the āgamas and the purāṇas, Śaivism has grown into a widely accepted and popular religious system, well-integrated with other systems, sects and sub sects within the religion.
+
Like the two important sects of [[Viṣṇu]] and Śakti, the sect of Śiva or Śaivism also has contributed significantly to the ethos and spiritual grace of the religion. Rooted in the Vedas and nourished by the secondary scriptures like the āgamas and the purāṇas, Śaivism has grown into a widely accepted and popular religious system, well-integrated with other systems, sects and sub sects within the religion.
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
 
{{reflist}}
 
{{reflist}}
* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
+
* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram [[Krishna]] Math, Bangalore
  
 
[[Category:Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism]]
 
[[Category:Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism]]

Revision as of 14:28, 19 December 2016

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Saivism, Zaivism, shaivism


Śaivism is the religion and philosophy of those who believe that god Śiva is the Supreme Being. Whether Rudra, the terrible deity of the Vedas and Śiva, the Auspicious One of the ‘non-Vedic’,[1]Draviḍian’ sects battled for the centuries and then blended to emerge as one deity of compromise as Śiva or Mahādeva, the Auspicious Great God. As the Indus Valley civilization, which had once been believed to be pre-Aryan, non-Vedic or Draviḍian, came to be accepted as a continuation of the Vedic civilization itself, in fact its later phase, scholars had to concede that Śiva as depicted on some of the seals with a trident and a bull, was very much a Vedic deity just as the Mother Goddess was.

Lord Śiva as per Ṛgveda

Being the god of destruction and dissolution of the world, as delineated in later literature, Śiva had to be Rudra, the Terrible. Hence supplications to him to be propitious to one’s children,[2] descendants, cattle and property[3] are quite in order. However, he also has a benign form known as Śambhu, the beneficent one. It is the heavenly physician who cures one’s diseases and protects one’s cattle.

Lord Śiva as per Other Scriptures

By the time of the Atharvaveda and the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad,[4][5][6] the concept had further evolved to indicate him as the supreme or the highest God.

Origin of Śaivism

Though Śaivism might have started as a simple faith and a mode of worshiping Lord Śiva as the Supreme Being, over the centuries, it branched off into several varieties of sects. Six of these have left their imprint on the religious history though two or three only are surviving and thriving. These may now be considered by arranging them in the English alphabetical order.

Growth of Śaivism

Along with the development of the concept of Rudra-Śiva, there had also been an evolution of the concept and symbology of the liṅga as the chief emblem of Śiva. The liṅga resembles a pillar with a semi-spherical top. Being a rounded surface in all the directions, it is perhaps, the closest approximation to a god considered as beyond all names, forms and attributes. Whereas some scholars find in it the remnants of phallic worship of aboriginal tribes, others feel it is a metamorphosed form of the Vedic yupastambha[7] as the yāgaśālā[8] gradually evolved into the temple. Even if a phallic origin is admitted, a third section of savants argue, there is nothing wrong in it since it represents the generative principle of God, the creator.

Kālāmukhas

Based on the fierce descriptions of Rudra in the Vedas, some bizarre sects emerged in course of time. The Kālāmukhas and the Kāpālikas are two such sects worshiping Rudra-Śiva as Bhairava and Caṇḍī.

The Kālāmukhas were so called, probably because they were defacing their faces with black marks and symbols.[9] Scholars of Śaivism consider this sect as a branch of the Pāśupata sect of Lakulīśa, also spelt as ‘Nakulīśa’. These Kālāmukhas[10] had some connections with the descendants of a Devavrata Muni of Kashmir. They were quite powerful during the period A. D. 700-1200 in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Kedāreśvara temple of Balligāve[11] and the temple town of Śrīśaila[12] were their strongholds. Edicts of the Cālukyan kings[13] speak of royal patronage to this sect. One of their gurus, Sarveśvara Śaktideva, was the master of 77 temples. They were also well-known for austerity and scholarship. However, some horrendous practices of theirs, like drinking wine in human skulls, smearing the body with the ashes of crematories, cannibalism and loose morals, made them out-castes in the society. The teachers of this sect were divided into two groups:

  1. Rāśi
  2. Śakti

Rājarājaguru,[14] a well-known Kālāmukha teacher, was a contemporary of the sage Vidyāraṇya.[15]

Kāpālikas

Members of a powerful Śaiva sect, the Kāpālikas, were christened as such because they were using a kapāla or human skull, as their begging bowl. They were also wearing a garland of human skulls. They were quite active and powerful during the period 7th century onwards for about 500 years in Śrīśaila[16] and some parts of Tamil Nadu like:

  • Kāñcīpuram
  • Tiruvoṭriyur
  • Melpāḍi
  • Koḍumbālur

Worship of Bhairava and Caṇḍī, drinking wine, eating human flesh and ash, arming themselves with a mace and promiscuous sex were common among the members of the sect. According to a work called Sabaratantra, 24 teachers starting with Ādinātha and ending with Malayārjuna have been mentioned who were fiercely anti-Vaiṣnava.

Kashmir Śaivism

Though Śaivism is an old religio-philosophical system prevalent in many parts of India, certain erudite and enlightened teachers from Kashmir developed a special brand of the same. This came to be popularly known as ‘Kashmir Śaivism’ in the annals of philosophical literature of later periods. However, a more technical and acceptable title is ‘Pratya-bhijñādarśana’.

Basic Literature

Although the basic literature of Kashmir Śaivism is some of the āgamas like the Svacchanda, the Netra and the Vijñānabhairava, a new class of cardinal works was produced by the later writers. Among them, the following are the principal ones:

  1. Śivasutras - revealed to Vasu-gupta[17]
  2. Spandasutra of Vasugupta
  3. Spandasutravrtti of Kallaṭa[18]
  4. Sivadrsti of Somānanda[19]
  5. Īśvarapratyabhijñā of Utpala[20]

Abhinavagupta[21] was the most brilliant of the later writers whose Vrtti on the īśvarapratyabhijñā of Utpala, and his own independent works Tantrāloka and Paramārthasāra have made him immortal in the chronicles of Kashmir Śaivism. Ksemarāja,[22] Bhāskara and Varadarāja were the other noted writers who have enriched this literature.

Philosophical Tenets in Brief

This system puts forward 36 tattvas or fundamental principles out of which the whole creation has evolved. They are divided into three main groups:

  1. Suddhatattva
  2. Śuddhāśuddhatattva
  3. Aśuddhatattva

Classification of Suddhatattvas

The Suddhatattvas[23] are five:

  1. Śivatattva
  2. Śaktitattva
  3. Sadāśiva-tattva
  4. Īśvaratattva
  5. Śuddhavidyā-tattva.

Classification of Śuddhāśuddhatattvas

There are six Śuddhāśuddhatattvas. They are:

  1. Māyā
  2. Kāla
  3. Niyati
  4. Rāga
  5. Vidyā
  6. Kalā

Classification of Aśuddhatattvas

The Aśuddhatattvas are twenty-five. They are:

  1. Puruṣatattva
  2. Prakṛtitattva
  3. Buddhi
  4. Ahaṅkāra
  5. Mānas
  6. Five jñānendriyas
  7. Five karmendriyas
  8. Five tanmātras
  9. Five bhutas

These tenets appear to be similar to the ones described in the Advaita Vedānta and the Sāṅkhya systems. But there are some basic differences. These tattvas or principles may now be taken up one by one.

Śaktyaṇḍa

Śivatattva

The fundamental tattva of this system is Śivatattva, generally described as Parasarhvit or the highest and purest consciousness, the same as the Nirguṇa Brahman of the Advaita Vedānta. However, there are five aspects in this system. This Parasamvit is the original primeval tattva from which all the other tattvas have emerged. It is eternal and ineffable.

Śaktitattva

The Śaktitattva is primarily the prathama-spandana or the first vibration-product of Parasamvit. Ānanda or bliss is its chief characteristic. It is the primary source of all movement in further creation and the rise of ‘aham’ or ‘I-consciousness’.

Sadāśivatattva

The Sadāśivatattva is a further evolution of the Parasamvit, wherein there is an awareness of ‘aham’ (‘I’) and ‘idam’ (‘this’), the former being more prominent. Since ‘idam’[24] is still in an extremely subtle state, Sadāśiva may also feel ‘aham idam’ identifying himself with the creation about to be projected.

Īśvaratattva

In īśvaratattva, the fourth, the consciousness ‘idarii’[25] becomes equal in prominence to ‘aham’ (T).

Suddhavidyātattva

In Suddhavidyātattva, the fifth form of Parasamvit, ‘idam’ becomes more prominent. This is the starting point of the actual process of creation or evolution or projection. These five principles have been named.

Māyāṇḍa

The next six principles are called ‘Māyāṇḍa’. Māyā, the first, is the unique power of Śiva, which can make the impossible possible. It is not an illusory power responsible only for ignorance as in Advaita metaphysics. It is the real power by which Śiva envelops himself. It produces the following:

  1. Nāma - names
  2. Rupa - forms
  3. Etc.

This māyā gives rise to the ‘pañcakañcukas’ or five coverings that apparently limit the powers of Śiva and make him appear as the jīvātman.[26] This jīvātman is subject to the following:

  1. Kāla - time
  2. Niyati - cause and effect relationship, law of karma
  3. Rāga - desire and attachment
  4. Vidyā - limited knowledge, or avidyā, ignorance
  5. Kalā - limited powers of action

Prakṛtyaṇḍa

The next group of principles beginning with prakṛti is called ‘Prakṛtyaṇḍa’. Prakrti is the matrix of the three guṇas[27] in a state of balance. When this balance is upset, the products that gradually emerge are:

  1. Buddhi - discriminative faculty
  2. Ahaṅkāra - ego-sense
  3. Sense of individuation and separation
  4. Manas - mind, general power of thinking, feeling and willing
  5. The five jñānendriyas - organs of perception, viz., eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin or the sense of touch
  6. The five karmendriyas - organs of action viz., speech, hands, feet and the two organs of evacuation
  7. Five tanmātras - the five subtle elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether or space

Pṛthivyaṇḍa

The tanmātras, by their combination, produce the five mahābhutas or gross elements. Further creation proceeds from them. This group is called ‘Pṛthivyaṇḍa’. The significant points to be noted in this system are:

  1. Sṛṣṭi or creation is the evolution of the Śakti or power of Siva.
  2. The individual soul in bondage in creation is also, really speaking, Śiva himself.
  3. The total number of fundamental cosmic principles is 36 and not 25 as in the Sāṅkhya system.

Bhedābheda

Since the created world is an evolute of Śiva, it is not different from him. But it also appears to have its own separate identity. Hence, this system accepts the theory of bhedābheda[28] between God Śiva and his creation. Similarly, the jīvātman who is called ‘paśu[29] is also Śiva himself. By practicing pratya-bhijñā[30] the jīva can get rid of all āvaraṇas[31] and become one with Śiva which is his mukti or liberation.

Śaktipāta

However, this can be secured only by service to the guru,[32] listening to the teachings of the śāstras,[33] reflection on them and the practice of yoga. But, the final deliverance can come only by śivānugraha,[34] technically called ‘śaktipāta’.[35]

Ultimately, as per this system, Śiva covers himself and becomes the jīva, the bound soul. Śiva recognizes his real nature and ‘regains’ it as it were. Thus self-forgetfulness[36] and self-remembrance[37] are two scenes in the world-play of Śiva.

Pāśupata Sect

The sect of Paśupati or the Pāśupata sect seems to be an ancient one. It has been confirmed by the following parameters:

  • The use of words ‘pati,’ ‘pāśa,’ and ‘prasāda’ in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad,[38][39]
  • Worship of Śiva as liṅga
  • Practice of tying the Śivaliñga on the arm as per the stone edict of the king Pravarasena[40]
  • Śivaliṅgas discovered in Cambodia and assigned to the period A. D. 550

Literature of Pāśupata sect

The Pāśupata sect is based mainly on the Śaivāgamas, certain purāṇas and a few minor Upaniṣads of the post-Vedic period.

Āgamas of Pāśupata sect

The period of the āgamas ranges from the first century to the fourteenth. They are prevalent mostly in South India, that too in Tamil Nadu. Whether they were originally composed in Tamil and later rendered into Sanskrit, or were directly written in Sanskrit itself, opinion seems to be divided. Some of the āgamas are:

  1. Kāmika
  2. Ajita
  3. Anśumān
  4. Suprabheda
  5. Svāyam-bhuva
  6. Raurava
  7. Mṛgendra
  8. Pauskara
  9. Vātula

Purāṇas of Pāśupata sect

The purāṇas are:

  1. Vāyu
  2. Kurma
  3. Śiva

As for their authoritative nature, they have been considered equal to the Vedas, the Vedāṅgas, the Mahābhārata and the dharmaśāstras.

Chief Tenets

The topics dealt with in the Pāśupata literature are technically called Pañcārthas, the five basic subjects. They are:

  1. Kāraṇa
  2. Kārya
  3. Yoga
  4. Vidhi
  5. Duhkhānta

Kāraṇa

Kāraṇa, the primeval cause, is Śiva, called ‘Pati’[41] here. Some of his other names are:

  1. Rudra
  2. Śaṅkara
  3. Kāla
  4. Bala-vikaraṇa
  5. Aghora
  6. Sarva
  7. Śarva
  8. Tatpuruṣa
  9. Īśāna
  10. Īśvara
  11. Brahmā

He is anādi,[42] avyaya[43] and the cause of creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world. He is transcendent as well as immanent. He is compassion unlimited. Praṇava or Om is his best symbol.

Unlike the Vedāntic systems, Śiva or īśvara is only the nimittakāraṇa[44] of creation and not the upādāna-kāraṇa.[45] Though the jīvas and the world have a separate existence, they are completely under his control. It is due to him that the world and the jīvas undergo changes. However, being a prasādi,[46] he is ever compassionate to the jīvas. That is why they can get liberation by meditating on him. It may not be out of place to mention here that the Pāśupata system is very much akin to the Dvaita Vedānta system of Madhva.[47] The only difference is that Śiva has taken the place of Viṣṇu, in this case.

Kārya

Kārya is the second of the five basics mentioned above. Kārya is defined here not as an effect, but as that which is asvatantra or dependent, kāraṇa being that which is svatantra or independent. In this sense, īśvara or Śiva alone is the kāraṇa, the jagat[48] and the jīvas being kāryas since they are dependent upon him. Though īśvara is the kāraṇa, the jīvas, being prodded by him, can also be the kāraṇas in the further process of creation. Even the prakṛti or pradhāna is responsible for further evolution of the world. Hence these two have been called ‘kārya-kāraṇa’.

Evolution of the world from the prakṛti is the same as it is in the Sāñkhya philosophy. One thing has to be noted here. Īśvara as the original kāraṇa never gets affected by the evolution of the world whereas prakṛti which is a ‘kārya-kāraṇa’ does. Two examples can make this concept clear. Lotus blooms when the sunlight falls on it. Iron filings move in the vicinity of a magnet. In these cases, neither the sun nor the magnet is affected though the lotus and the iron filings are. So also, īśvara remains unaffected by the evolution of the world through the prakṛti and the jīvas.

Among the kāryas, the jivātman is the most important. He has been called ‘paśu’ since he is subject to ‘pāśa’[49] and sees Opaśyati’ himself as the body-mind complex forgetting that he is the spirit, whereas Śiva has been declared as ‘Paśupati’.[50] The paśu or the jīva is eternal, all-pervading and possesses the powers to see[51] and to act.[52] The paśus, depending on their spiritual evolution, are classified into two groups:

  1. Sāñjana - those attached to the body, the senses and the mind
  2. Nirañjana - the free souls

The pāśas or bonds that bind the paśu are called malas or impurities. They are three:

  1. Āṇavamala - The impurity that makes the paśu or jīva get identified with the limited body though he is really infinite, is āṇavamala.
  2. Māyīyamala - The bondage that has been brought about by māyā[53] is māyīyamala.
  3. Kārmamala - Limitations that arise due to past karmas are kārmamala.

With the help of yoga, the paśu is able to cleanse himself of all these malas and attain the duhkhānta state.[54]

Yoga

This takes us to the next subject, viz., yoga. Yoga is defined as the saiyoga[55] of ātman[56] and īśvara.[57] It consists in detachment from the comforts and pleasures of the life here and looking upon īśvara alone as the sole aim of one’s life. This yoga can be achieved either through the grace of īśvara or through total surrender to him as the only refuge for a paśu. Useful sādhanas in yoga are:

  1. Ahiṅsā - non-violence
  2. Brahmacarya - celibacy
  3. Satya - speaking the truth in a way that helps living beings
  4. Asaṅgraha - non-accumulation of things

Useful Niyamas in yoga are:

  1. Akrodha - conquest of anger
  2. Gurusevā - service to the guru
  3. Śauca - cleanliness
  4. Mitāhāra - moderation in eating
  5. Jāgarukatā - vigilance

Vidhi

Vidhi’ is the fourth in the pañcārthas. It means activities like:

  1. Bhasmasnāna - pouring the holy ash on one’s body.
  2. Upahāra - deliberately acting in a way that people in general will shun the company of the sādhaka.
  3. Japa - repetition of Śiva’s mantra
  4. Pradakṣiṇā - circumambulation of the Śivaliṅga

Duhkhānta

Duhkhānta is the last of the pañcārthas. It means cessation of all sorrow and suffering, the same as mukti or liberation. It is achieved by withdrawing the mind from all the objects and directing it towards the Lord Paśupati only. This will result in total surrender to him and living near him.[58] In this mukti, there is no ‘living alone’[59] or total merging.[60] The paśu will then be in the eternal company of Paśupati. The Pāśupata texts describe the attainment of psychic powers like clairvoyance or clair-audience as a part of duhkhānta but they also discourage the yogi from paying attention to them since they can prevent him from attaining liberation in the ultimate sense.

Śaivasiddhānta

Though the word ‘Śaiva-siddhānta’ means the doctrine of Śaivism in general, it has come to be particularly identified with the Śaivism prevalent in the Tamil country over the last thousand three hundred years. It is more a religion of devotional mysticism than a systematic and speculative philosophy, based on the compositions of the Nāyanmārs or Nāyanārs who were 63 in number and lived during the period 7th to 12th centuries A. D. The canonical literature of Tamil Śaivism as redacted by Nambi Aṇḍār Nambi[61] can be given as follows:

SI. Nos. of the books Authors Period A.D.
1, 2 and 3 Tirujñāna Sambandhar 7th cent.
4, 5 and 6 Tirunāvukkarasar 7th cent.
7[62] Sundarar 9th cent.
8. Mānikkavāeagar[63] 3rd or 9th cent.
9. Nine different saints[64] 900-1100
10. Tirumular[65] 6th cent.
11. Miscellany of poems by saints Pattinattār, Karaikkāl Ammaiyyār and others. -
12. Sekkilar[66] 12th cent.

Meykaṇḍār[67] in his well-known work Sivajñānabodham, a short treatise of 12 aphorisms. It seems to be a translation in Tamil, of a sanskrit original.

Next significant work considered as a classic in Tamil Śaivism is the work Śivajñāna-śittiyār by Aruṇandi, a disciple of Meykaṇḍār. This work along with its numerous commentaries is most widely read even now. The Śivajñānabodham mentions and defines the three basic concepts which deals with sādhana for the paśu to realize Pati and the phala or spiritual fruit that accrues to him. These three are:

  1. Pati
  2. Paśu
  3. Pāśa

The philosophy of Śaivasiddhānta is very similar to that of the Pāśupata sect, the only difference being that the former accepts 36 basic principles like Kashmir Śaivism whereas the latter only 25.

Viraśaivism

Viraśaivism, also known as the Liṅgāyata Religion or Sect, is a variant of Śaivism found mostly in the Karnataka region of South India. Though the more orthodox sections claim that it is an ancient religion originating from the teachers like Revanārādhya, Marulārādhya, Paṇḍitārādhya and others, there are others who are inclined to treat it in a figurative sense. For all practical purposes, Basaveśvara,[68] also known as Basavaṇṇa or Basava, was the prime minister of the king Bijjala.[69] He made the first attempt for a systematic presentation of Tamil Śaivism as a chief organizer and reformer of this sect. A galaxy of saints[70] of this sect like Allama Prabhu and Cannabasavaṇṇa, and women-saints like Akkamahādevī have enriched the Liṅgāyata Movement. They revolutionized the religio-social fabric of their times.

Principal Dogmas

A special feature of Vīraśaivism is the supreme importance, reverence and worship given to the Śivaliṅga or liṅga as the sole emblem of God Śiva. Hence the appropriateness of the name ‘Liṅgāyata’.[71] After receiving it from a qualified guru in dīkṣā or initiation, it should be worn on the body always, thereby purifying every part of the body.

The chief tenets of this faith are:

  • Śiva is the Supreme God.
  • The liṅga is his chief symbol or emblem.
  • The pañcākṣarī-mantra, namaśśivāya, is the redeeming spiritual formula.
  • Pañcācāras and aṣtā-varaṇas are the main code of conduct.
  • Śaktiviśiṣṭādvaita is the philosophy behind this system.
  • As for the process of evolution of the world, the same 36 tattvas or principles given by Kashmir Śaivism have been adopted here also.

Practical Disciplines

But for the three malas or impurities,[72] the jīva or paśu[73] would have been as wise as Śiva, the Pati. In order to get rid of these malas, the individual has to take dikṣa[74] from a duly qualified guru. Dīkṣā is a simple ritual in which the guru worships a liñga and then ties it round the neck of the disciple which will hang like a necklace. The liṅga is usually encased in a small silver casket. By this process, the guru gives the mantra[75] and also transmits his spiritual power.

Since the five ācāras and the eight āvaraṇas purify a vīraśaiva or liṅgāyata by burning up all his impurities, theoretically there is no need for him to observe sutakas[76] or cremate his body after death. Hence it is buried.

Pañcācāras for Dīkṣā

Women also are entitled for dīkṣā in this sect. One who is thus initiated is expected to practice the five disciplines known as pañcācāras and also protect himself with eight ‘coverings,’ the aṣṭāvaraṇas, stipulated by the system. The pañcācāras are:

  1. Liṅgācāra - Worshiping daily, the liṅga given to him in dīkṣā.
  2. Sadācāra - Earning money by a virtuous profession and utilizing the savings for serving the needy, including the jaṅgamas.[77]
  3. Śivācāra - Treating all liṅgāyats equally as if they are Śiva himself.
  4. Bhṛtyācāra - Cultivating humility towards Śiva and his devotees.
  5. Gaṇācāra - Zealously guarding one’s religion, protesting against disrespect to one’s God and religion and also not tolerating cruelty to animals.

Aṣṭāvaraṇas

The aṣṭāvaraṇas are:

  1. Guru - Faith and respect towards the guru.
  2. Liñga - Treating the liñga with reverence and devotion.
  3. Jaṅgama - Respectful treatment of the ascetics and mendicants.
  4. Pādodaka - Purifying oneself by drinking or sprinkling oneself with the water, with which guru’s or a jaṅgama’s feet have been washed.
  5. Prasāda - Accepting food sanctified in worship.
  6. Bhasma - Wearing holy ash on the forehead and other parts of the body as prescribed.
  7. Rudrākṣa - Using a rudrākṣa rosary for japa and also wearing it on the body.
  8. Mantra - Repetition of the pañcākṣarī-mantra[78] as directed by the dīkṣāguru.

The Doctrine of Śakti-viśistādvaita

Like the viśiṣtādvaita of Rāmānuja[79] the viraśaivas also accept a viśiṣtādvaita philosophy, which, however, is a little different. In Rāmānuja’s system, Brahman is advaita,[80] but qualified,[81] since he has prakrti[82] and the jīvas[83] in himself, as inseparable entities. However, in Vīraśaivism, the viśistatva[84] is confined only to his Śakti or power, with the help of which creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world takes place. Brahman or God and his Śakti are non-different, just as heat is from fire or light from the sun. Brahman is always conscious of his power. Thus, viśistatva implies only vimarśa or self-consciousness of the inherent power. Hence this system has been named as śakti-viśiṣṭadvaita.

The Doctrine of Śatsthala

In Vīraśaivism, Śiva or Brahman or God is called ‘Sthala’. He is ‘Sthala’ because he, like the sky or space[85] is limitless or infinite. Also the word ‘sthala’ can etymologically mean that from which the world emerges and evolves in which it is stationed and into which it gets dissolved.[86] According to the doctrine ‘Saṭsthala-siddhānta,’ Śiva divides himself into two aspects:

  1. Liṅga - It denotes himself.
  2. Aṅga, - It denotes the jīva.

Both these again divide themselves into three further aspects:

  1. Liṅga into iṣṭaliṅga, prāṇaliṅga and bhāvaliṅga
  2. Aṅga into tyāgāṅga, bhogāṅga and yogāṅga

When the jīva renounces his attachment to worldly objects, he is called ‘tyāgāṅga’ and the liṅga given to him by his guru at the time of dīkṣā or initiation is the ‘iṣṭaliṅga’ which is the means of his upāsanā or worship. When due to the upāsanā of the iṣṭaliṅga he is purified, then he enjoys the things of the world as the grace of Śiva, becomes ‘bhogāṅga’ and experiences the ‘prāṇaliṅga’.[87] When he progresses further, to very high states of consciousness in the sahasrāracakra, he is called ‘yogāṅga’ and enjoys highest bliss by his identity with Śiva, now called ‘bhāvaliṅga’.

Epilogue

Vīraśaivism, rooted in the ancient Śaivism, was nourished by a galaxy of saints. Its active propagation of social equality, it's stress on work not only as a social obligation but also as a part of one’s spiritual evolution earned for itself a large number of followers. Even though the social revolution part of it has gradually fizzled out,[88] the other aspects of its religio-philosophical system have certainly enriched religion.

Like the two important sects of Viṣṇu and Śakti, the sect of Śiva or Śaivism also has contributed significantly to the ethos and spiritual grace of the religion. Rooted in the Vedas and nourished by the secondary scriptures like the āgamas and the purāṇas, Śaivism has grown into a widely accepted and popular religious system, well-integrated with other systems, sects and sub sects within the religion.

References

  1. Non Vedic is also called as ‘non-Āryan’.
  2. Ṛgveda 7.46.2
  3. Ṛgveda 1.114.8
  4. Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 1.10; 3.2
  5. Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 4.12,21,22
  6. Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.14; 4.10
  7. Yupastambha means sacrificial post.
  8. Yāgaśālā means sacrificial shed.
  9. Kāla means black and mukha means face.
  10. Kālāmukhas are also sometimes called as ‘ekkoṭi-munis’.
  11. Balligāve is in the Shimoga district of Karnataka.
  12. Śrīśaila is near Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh.
  13. He lived in 11th cent. A. D.
  14. He lived in circa A. D. 1370.
  15. 14th century A. D.
  16. It is in Andhra Pradesh.
  17. He lived in 9th century A. D.
  18. He was the chief disciple of Vasugupta.
  19. He lived in 9th century A. D.
  20. He lived in A. D. 900.
  21. He lived in A. D. 950-1000.
  22. He lived in A. D. 975-1025.
  23. Suddhatattvas means pure principles.
  24. Idam means creation.
  25. Idarii means creation.
  26. Jīvātman means individual soul.
  27. The three guṇas are sattva, rajas and tamas.
  28. Bhedābheda means both difference and non-difference.
  29. Paśu means bound soul.
  30. Pratya-bhijñā means remembrance of his real nature as Śiva himself.
  31. Āvaraṇas means coverings.
  32. Guru means spiritual teacher.
  33. Śāstras means holy books.
  34. Śivānugraha means grace of Lord Śiva.
  35. Śaktipāta means descent of Lord’s power.
  36. Self forgetfulness is also termed as svātma-vismaraṇa.
  37. Self remembrance means svātma-pratyabhijñā.
  38. Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 1.11
  39. Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.9; 3.20
  40. He lived in A. D. 428.
  41. Pati is referred as Lord.
  42. Anādi means without beginning or origin.
  43. Avyaya means indestructible.
  44. Nimittakāraṇa is the efficient cause.
  45. Upādāna-kāraṇa means material cause.
  46. Prasādi means one who bestows grace.
  47. He lived in A. D. 1197-1276.
  48. Jagat means world.
  49. Pāśa means bondage.
  50. Paśupati means Lord of paśus.
  51. This power is called dṛkśakti.
  52. This power is called kriyāśakti.
  53. Māyā is the power of īśvara.
  54. Duhkhānta state means destruction or cessation of all the sorrows and sufferings.
  55. Saiyoga means union.
  56. Here Ātman is referred to as paśu.
  57. Here īśvara is referred as Paśupati.
  58. This phenomenon is termed as samīpa prāpti.
  59. Living alone means kaivalya, as in the Sāṅkhya-Yoga systems.
  60. Total merging means aikya as in Advaita Vedānta.
  61. He lived in A. D. 1000.
  62. These seven collections are generally called Tevarams or Devarams.
  63. Works Tiruvācakam and Tirukkovai
  64. Works Tiruviśaippā and Tiruppallāndu
  65. Work Tirumandiram
  66. Work Periyapurānam
  67. He lived in 13th cent. A. D.
  68. He lived in d. A. D. 1168
  69. He ruled here from A. D. 1157 to 1167.
  70. This numbered more than 300.
  71. Liṅgāyata means ‘a religion that considers the liṅga as the chief support or basis’.
  72. The mala or impurities are āṇavamala, māyīyamala and kārma mala explained earlier.
  73. Here the paśu means the individual.
  74. Dikṣa means initiation.
  75. This mantra is namaśśivāya.
  76. Sutaka means ceremonial impurities.
  77. Jaṅgamas means itinerant preachers.
  78. Pañcākṣarī-mantra is namaśśivāya.
  79. He lived in A. D. 1017-1137.
  80. Advaita means one without a second.
  81. Qualified means viśiṣṭa.
  82. Prakrti means acit.
  83. Jivas means cit.
  84. Viśistatva means being ‘qualified’.
  85. Sthala means space.
  86. Stha means being stationed and la means getting dissolved.
  87. Prāṇaliṅga means Śiva’s presence in his heart.
  88. It happened mainly due to the rigidity of the caste system that still has a sway over the Hindu society.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore