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INTRODUCTION AND HISTORY OF SAIVA SIDDHANTA


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The only rational interpolation, according to the Siddhantin, is to take it, that these qualities of Siva are reflected or manifested in the released soul. With a sense of this superior feeling, the undaunted Saint Appar asserts his independence thus:-

"தேவாதி தேவன் சிவனென் சிந்தை சேர்ந்திருந்தான்

தென்திசைக் கோன் தானேவந்து

கோவாடிக் குற்றேவல் செய் கென்றாலும்

குணமாகக் கொள்வோம் எண் குணத்துளோமே"

"The Lord of the Devas has come and settled in my heart

Even if the Lord of the South, Yama, comes in person,

Tries to overrule me and commands my services,

His orders with me will carry no weight

For I am seized with the Sacred Qualities Eight."

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I now pass on to a consideration of the Glory and Worship of the Adiyars or the Devotees of Siva. The Jivan Mukta, who has realised the Adwaita relation and obtained Anubhuti or At-one-ment, must strictly abstain from doing Karmic acts. He will reach the ultimate goal only after he has lived the full term of his life here, i.e., till the last traces of his Prarapta Karma are wiped out. Till then the human monad or the soul must remain encased in the human body. Till that end is achieved, he must ceaselessly be in close communion with God. He must not neglect to worship Him time in and time out. To him Saiva Siddhanta strikes a note of caution and stipulates two modes of maintaining close contact with God whom the Jivan Mukta can never afford to forget. Firstly, he must join the society of hallowed souls, whose hearts are teeming with love for Siva, and, secondly, contemplate the forms of those devotees and the forms in the temples as the forms of Siva. These two principles form the very kernel of the philosophy of Saiva Siddhanta. In fact, these two form the two clossal legs with which the Siddhantin has taken mighty and majestic strides towards Siddhantham or the True End or the Final End or the Accomplished End or the Ultimate Truth or the Truth of Truths, - whatever you may choose to call it.

The proof of the pudding lies in the eating. Any amount of abstract philosophy will not serve any good to anybody unless it is backed by the enunciation and inculcation of practical moral virtues. Siddhanta is not a mere empty theoretical philosophy. It constitutes a practical living religion. It does not indulge in vain vaunts of launching in quest for what is higher than experience, for it may well prove endless and in the end may turn out to be a mirage. But the salient principles and doctrines of Siddhanta have been culled out from the teachings of so many Saiva Nayanmars. Those Tamil saints were real seers of Truth, the Apostles of God, the undoubted Saviours of humanity and the Servants and Devotees of Siva. In fact they were the 'chosen vessels' of Almighty Siva. And these chosen vessels have poured forth in soul-stirring and stone-melting strains their own individual spiritual experiences. Those strains have flown through the channel of lucid, luscious, and luminous Tamil Lyrics. Those songs were sung as hymns in praise of Lord Siva. They are the floral wreaths, strung with sweet and select words of divine Tamil, to adorn the feet of Siva. Those hymns breathe the air of Divine Love and Love alone. They are replete with the scent of Sivam.

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Many of those chosen vessels have chiselled their very lives as a model for others. Their words and actions form the beacon light for their beguiled brethren. They are the lode-star for the way-lost and the weary. Those Nayanmars were neither pedants nor demogogoues. They were not false prophets who thrived by show and sycophancy. They did not teach deceitful asceticism. They did not deter their opponents with awful and abstruse mysticism. They did not perform miracles to gather a rabble around them. They did not turn their backs on the world and court solitude. They lived in the midst of society and toiled for the public weal. They scorned delight and lived laborious days. They indulged not in puny carping and petty cavilling. They did not intrigue with the ignorance of the people or play upon their fancies. They talked not of party-politics and they did not fly after fleeting joy. They resisted the temptation of crowd psychology and refused to sacrifice their souls for the sake of personal or social gains. They had neither affections nor aversions. They were not dismayed by oppostion and violence and they spiked all sectarian dogmatisms. They worked for the State of Siva and Universal Religion. Their mission was Happiness; their message was Love; and their weapon was Service. What they taught to the people, they proved by their living. Their mental faculties were ever virile and watchful. Never for a moment they lost sight of Siva. Every minute of their lives was spent in His Living Presence. God Siva was ever attending on them, for He is famous as a servant of His devotees who are His slaves.

These Siddhantic sages of the holy order were born in love and grew in love; they sang and spoke of love and saw only love; and found Siva in love for LOVE IS SIVA. Tirumular says:-

"அன்பும் சிவமும் இரண்டென்பர் அறிவிலார்

அன்பே சிவமாவ தாரு மறிந்திலார்

அன்பே சிவமாவ தாரு மறிந்தபின்

அன்பே சிவமா யமர்ந்திருப் பாரே."

"The ignorant think that God and Love are different:

None knows that God and Love are the same:

Did all men know that God and Love are the same,

They would repose in God as Love."

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Out of their vastness of compassion for the benighted souls and out of their self-less and generous wish to share the Supernal Bliss which they have brought within the easy grasp of the ordinary mortals, they have made moving appeals that melt our hearts and penetrate our mind. Tirumular himself says:-

"நான் பெற்ற இன்பம் பெறுகஇவ் வையகம்

வான்பற்றி நின்ற மறைப்பொருள் சொல்லிடின

ஊன்பற்றி நின்ற வுணர்வுறு மந்திரந்

தான் பற்றி பற்றத் தலைப்படுந் தானே."

"Let the world also gain the Happiness I have:

If the Vedic word that is in the Heavens

Is felt in heart and pondered off,

With zeal, it 'll come of its own accord."

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Their propagation of Truth is an irresistible clarion call that is clinching our nerves. Their fervour of devotion is catching and their call evokes a spontaneous response in our hearts. Now hear the trumpet-call of Saint Manickavacakar:-

"புரள்வார் தொழுவார் புகழ்வாராய்

இன்றே வந்தாள் ஆகாதீர்

மருள்வீர் பின்னை மதிப்பாரார்

மதியுட் கலங்கி மயங்குவீர்

தெருள்வீ ராகில் இது செய்ம்மின்

சிவலோகக் கோன் திருப்புயங்கன்

அருளார் பெறுவார் அகலிடத்தே

அந்தோ அந்தேர் அந்தோவே."

"Will ye not come this day, and be His own

and prostrate, fall, and worship and adore?

Those lost in wilderment, who would esteem?

Ye who bewilder'd and confounded stand,

If ye would perfect clearness gain, this do

Ye who would gain in this wide realm the grace

Of Sacred Puyangan, of Siva-world

The King! Ah, haste ye, haste ye, haste ye on!"

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If we do not pay heed to the urgent benign call of his, but linger and lounge in wordly entanglements, wistfully succumbing to the blandishments of Maya, that benevolent saint is not going to wait and waste time for us. The dogs bark but the caravan passes on. Even so, the saint marches past, saying:-

"நிற்பார் நிற்க நில்லா வுலகில்

நில் லோம் இனிநாம் செல்வோமே."

"Let those that bide abide,- abide not we

In world that not abides: straight pass we on."

Saint Tayumanavar's voice rings forth thus:-

"காக முறிவு கலந் துண்ணக் கண்டீர் அகண்டாகார சிவ

போக மெனும் பேரின்ப வெள்ளம் பொங்கித் ததும்பிப் பூரணமாய்

ஏக வுருவாய்க் கிடக்குதையோ இன்புற்றிட நாமினி யெடுத்த

தேகம் விழுமுன் புசிப்பதற்குச் சேரவாரும் செகத்தீரே."

"Even as the crow shares its prey with its kin and mates,

The supreme Bliss of Sivabogam surges and swells and ne'er bates,

I call thee ere the mortal coil fails and goes amiss,

Together, ye of the world! hie hither and enjoy bliss."

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Every form, whether animate or inanimate, in the universe is a manifestation of Siva. Siva pervades the whole universe by His Arul Sakti. So it is also sometimes said that all forms are forms of Sakti. Though Siva is immanent in all, He transcends them all. So the seen forms may change or be destroyed but the transcendant Siva, who shines through those forms, remains unchanged and indestructible. This Supreme Being, Siva, should not be mistaken for Rudra, the god of destruction. Shiva is above all kinds of gods and performs all the five functions of creation, protection, destruction, obscuration and benediction. Innumerable Brahmas and Vishnus have come and gone, but Siva goes on for ever. He is the only Indestructible Being, says Saint Appar:-

"நூறு கோடி பிரமர்கள் நொந்தினார்

ஆறு கோடி நாராயண ரங்ஙனே

ஏறு கங்கை மணலெண்ணில் இந்திரர்

ஈறி லாதவன் ஈசன் ஒருவனே."

"Hundred crores of Brahmas fell;

Of Narayanas persish'd, six crores we tell;

Indras countless as the Ganga's sands;

Alone Lord Isa, without end stands."

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The soul cannot attain release without the Grace of Siva. One can roll up the skies like a piece of skin rather than attain salvation without a knowledge of Siva. That is how the Vedas have proclaimed:

"பரசிவ னுணர்ச்சி யின்றிப் பல்லுயிர்த் தொகையுமீண்டே

விரவிய துயர்க்கீறெய்தி வீடு பேறடைது மென்கை

உருவமில் விசும்பிற்றோலை யுரித்துடுப்பதற் கொப்பென்றே

பெருமறை யியம்பிற்றென்னிற் பின்னுமோர் சான்றுமுண்டோ."

(Kandapuranam)

"மானுடன் விசும்பைத் தோல் போற் சுருட்டுதல் வல்லோனாயின்

ஈனமில் சிவனைக் காணா திடும்பைதீர் வீடுமெய்தும்

மானமார் சுருதி கூறும் வழக்கிவை யாதலாலே

ஆனம ரிறையைக் காணு முபாயமே யறிதல் வேண்டும்."

(Kanchipuranam)

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Siva is to be meditated on to the exclusion of all else by those who desire release. The soul should humble itself before His all-pervading presence, melt into tears with a mellowed heart and dissolve into love for Him. That is the way to win His Grace, says Appar.

"சிவனெனும் நாமம் தனக்கே யுடைய செம்மேனி யெம்மாள்

அவனெனை யாட்கொண்டளித்திடு மாகிலவன் தனையான்

பவனெனும் நாமம் பிடித்துத் திரிந்து பன்னா ளழைத்தால்

இவனெனைப் பன்னா ளழைப் பொழி யானென் றெதிர்ப்படுமே."

Meditation alone is not sufficient. Siva should be worshipped. In what form is he to be worshipped? He shines through all forms, animate and inanimate. He has no form of His own. So he should be worshipped in all forms. When Siddhanta says that Siva should be worshipped in the forms of His Adiyars or devotees, it signifies only the fact that He shines in all animate beings. And the worship of idols in temples is required because of the fact that Siva manifests through inanimate forms also. Then it may be asked, why, then, the idols in temples alone should be worshipped and not any other forms? Well, any other forms also would serve the purpose, for, that is how the Jivan Muktas, who are able to comprehend the full import of the Revealed Truth, would do. But, for the generality of mankind, for the new initiates and novices, such a broad and catholic comprehension comes only by practice. They require in their initial stages such associations of ideas as would make them easily follow the truth and worship Siva. Siva, as the Absolute, has no forms. That is why the Saivites worship God in the form of Siva Linga, a symbol of the Formless State of God.

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Siva Linga is the glorious symbol of the Transcendence of Siva. Any attempt to connect that Glorious Form with phallic worship is but mischievous and misleading. The modern tendency to impute any such significance to Linga form of worship is to be strongly deprecated. It is indeed deplorable to find even some Saivites reading such a meaning into the Linga worship, and it is sheer moonshine. A Saivite should shudder to think of this and must be struck with horror even to entertain such an idea. It is heinous and sinful even to harbour such thoughts. Such sacrilegious thoughts are hatched out of stark ignorance or base mentality.

There is irrefutable evidence to show that the Linga worship came into being for the first time, in the Tamil country and it dates back to several thousands of years. The original name for Siva Linga in Tamil was Kanthali. Kanthali has been described as the Supreme Divine Essence that transcends all form, shape, attachment and affections and is sustained by Itself. All will agree that this is the idea enshrined in the worship of the Linga. For some people, in all times, it has been found very hard to imagine a god without shape and so they drew the image of a diety in human form on stone pillars or columns. These figures might be of either sex.

Kanthali has been defined as follows:-

"சார்பினாற் றோன்றாது தானருவா யெப்பொருட்குஞ்

சார்பெனநின் றெஞ்ஞான்று மின்பந்தகைத்தரோ

வாய்மொழியான் மெய்யான் மனத்தா னறிவிறந்த

தூய்மையதா மைதீர் சுடர்."

"Standing by Itself, propless and formless,

For all things 'Tis the mainstay, Eternal Bliss!

Transcending word, deed, thought and wisdom's flight;

'Tis the Pure Stainless Light."

Diverse views have been put forward in explanation of this Kanthali. Many of them are fanciful and far-fetched. To my view it appears that a simpler and more direct analysis of the compound word Kanthali would provide an easy solution. Kanthali consists of two word, Kanthu and Ali. We know what a Kanthu is. It means the stump of a tree. The Tamils from time immemorial had been worshipping trees. When a sacred tree had fallen or dried up by withering, its devotees preserved the stump or the trunk of that tree and continued their worship. This wooden stump was called Kanthu and its worship Kanthudai-nilai. But this wooden stump also is not proof against the ravages of time and would soon wear out and vanish. When it thus disappeared in course of time, a stone post or pillar was installed in its place and worshipped in memory of the former Kanthu. This stone was called Kanthali-Ali in Tamil means destroy and Kanthali means the successor or substitute that appears after the destruction of Kanthu, a suitable name indeed. This substituted stone post later took the form of Sivalinga and Kanthali was the name given to it in ancient Tamil land. The fallaciousness of viewing Sivalinga as the worship of the phallus would become hideous and monstrous when its true origin is fully known.

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No doubt there are innumerable forms that are worshipped in Hindu temples from Kumari to Kailas. All of them are symbolic and pregnant with Siddhantic ideas and concepts. The Tamil country is famous for her turreted shrines and towering temples, richly laden with architectural curiosities and sculptural splendour. This symbolic worship is provided only to train and discipline the soul in the path of devotion and love towards Siva. It is only the means to attain an end and not the end itself. The knowledge of the Sat is the end in view. This worship is an act of preparation only. The soul should sacrifice its all, including itself, on the altar of love and devotion to the Sat. Temple worship will help the soul to withdraw more and more from itself and centre its thoughts on the Supreme Self of selves. The soul should surrender to the Primal One its body, possessions and life itself. By this continued practice of Altruism and Love of Siva, who is All Love, the soul will attain true Bhakti and Pathi-gnanam.

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No doubt there are innumerable forms that are worshipped in Hindu temples from Kumari to Kailas. All of them are symbolic and pregnant with Siddhantic ideas and concepts. The Tamil country is famous for her turreted shrines and towering temples, richly laden with architectural curiosities and sculptural splendour. This symbolic worship is provided only to train and discipline the soul in the path of devotion and love towards Siva. It is only the means to attain an end and not the end itself. The knowledge of the Sat is the end in view. This worship is an act of preparation only. The soul should sacrifice its all, including itself, on the altar of love and devotion to the Sat. Temple worship will help the soul to withdraw more and more from itself and centre its thoughts on the Supreme Self of selves. The soul should surrender to the Primal One its body, possessions and life itself. By this continued practice of Altruism and Love of Siva, who is All Love, the soul will attain true Bhakti and Pathi-gnanam.

"சார்பினாற் றோன்றாது தானருவா யெப்பொருட்குஞ்

சார்பெனநின் றெஞ்ஞான்று மின்பந்தகைத்தரோ

வாய்மொழியான் மெய்யான் மனத்தா னறிவிறந்த

தூய்மையதா மைதீர் சுடர்."

ஓ,நாங்கள் சொல்லும் தமிழ் நாவலருக்கு விளங்காதோ?

தமிழிலாவது பொழிப்புரை விளங்க எழுதலாமே? தமிழில் எழுத வேண்டும் என கள விதி இருக்கும் போது இப்படியே எழுதி கொண்டு போனால்....

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is cardinal to the Siddhantins to regard the soul as a slave to environment. The soul is notorious for its assuming the qualities of the things it comes in contact with. (சார்ந்ததன் வண்ணமாம் செயல்). That is why it becomes difficult for the soul to cast off the livery of Maya it is wearing. It is an innate disease of the soul; but Siddhanta prescribes a recipe that would convert that defect or disease into a virtue or blessing. This prescription will coax it to yield beneficent effects instead of baneful ones. There are certain diseases which are cured by change of place and surroundings. In the same way, here, the patient, which is the soul, is asked to be placed in an atmosphere that breathes of Love which is Siva. The soul which is clinging to Maya must drop it down and embrace Siva. It must always move in surroundings which will arouse its feelings of devotion to Siva. The soul must think of Siva, see Siva and adore Siva. The holy sight of Saivite Adiyars or the servants of Siva, their marks, words and deeds would make the matured soul think of Siva alone. The Jivan Mukta does not worry himself about the sincerity or otherwise of the Adiyar who stands before him.

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This is very well illustrated in the story of Cheraman Perumal Nayanar, a royal saint, who was a genuine Jivan Mukta. He accepted the onerous responsibility of ruling a state, because he believed that by doing so, he was only obeying the dictates of Siva. He was a true Gnani and he had the power of knowing every syllable of the word spoken by the outside world. So he was called Kalarirrarivar. While he was returning on the back of his state elephant, just after his coronation, he met on the way his own washerman who was carrying a load of fuller's earth on his head. His body was found splashed with the bleaching powder, due to a splattering rain he had passed through. That really gave him an appearance of a pious devotee of Siva. Cheraman forgot that he was his washerman and saw only the form of Siva in him. At once he jumped down from his elevated howdah and prostrated before the washerman. The latter trembled from head to foot and reminded the king that he was his servant dhobi. The king replied with all humility: "Thou remindest me of the Form of Siva. That is enough. I am your humblest servant. I adore you with thanks." This incident may sound strange and funny to us, ordinary folk, because we have not yet advanced to that eminent level in the progress of the soul, in which Cheraman was placed. So we cannot understand the ways and manners of Jivan Muktas. They completely identify themselves with God and try to succeed to see Him everywhere. Their ego and feelings of I and Mine are completely crushed. They live in an atmosphere of serene Love and Sivam. This is the way the Jivan Muktas behave and view at the world. Living human bodies are to be looked at as walking temples (நடமாடுங்கோயில்). Saint Tirumular says :-

"படமாடக் கோயிற் பகவற்கொன் றீயி

னடமாடக் கோயி னம்பர்க்கங் காகா

நடமாடக் கோயி னம்பர்க்கொன் றீயிற்

படமாடக் கோயிற் பகவற்க தாமே."

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"What is offered to the Lord of the spire-festooned temple

Reaches not the Lord who dwells within the walking temple,

But that which is given to the Lord of the latter

Is equally shared by the Lord of the former."

Here Tirumular calls the Gnanis as Walking Temples. The Gnanis form the Sacred legion of the Holy Order of Siva. They are the real living emblems of Siva who surpasses all thought, conception and perception. These Saivite devotees are the true heroes who have rolled back the octopus of darkness and emerged into the illumination of Sivagnanam; and their truimphant procession is heading towards the Final Goal of Siva, Who is the Ocean of Bliss

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Their march of progress is vividly portrayed by Saint Manickavacakar thus:-

"ஞானவான் ஏந்தும் ஐயர் நாதப் பறையறைமின்

மானமா ஏறும் ஐயர் மதிவெண் குடைகவிமின்

ஆனநீற்றுக் கவசம் அடையப் புகுமின்கள்

வானவூர் கொள்வோம் நாம் மாயப்படை வாராமே

தொண்டர்காள் தூசி செல்வீர் பத்தர்காள் சூழப்போகீர்

ஒண்டிறல் யோகிகளே பேரணி உந்தீர்கள்

திண்டிறல் சித்தர்களே கடைக்கூழை சென்மின்கள்

அண்டர் நாடாள்வோம் நாம் அல்லற்படை வாராமே."

"Strike the sounding drum of the Guru,

Wielder of wisdom's sword;

Spread the white canopy over the Guru,

Who mounts the charger of heaven;

Enter and take to you

armour of ashes, fragrant, divine;

Possess we the heavenly fortress,

Where hosts of illusion come not!

Servants of His, -- march on in the van;

Ye Devout ones,--move on the flanks;

Ye Sages of power illustrious,-

Come fill up the swelling ranks;

Ye Mystics of strength unfailing,-

advance and close up the rear;

We shall rule the heavenly land,

No hosts of evil for ever to fear!"

Here lies the real merit and distinction of the philosophy of Siddhanta. It inculcates love for one another. You must love thy neighbour not only as thyself but as the epitome of Siva Himself, the Supreme Being. It teaches us how to read and discover God in others, for, according to the Siddhantin, every living being is beaming with the semblance of Siva. One should not distinguish between the false and the sincere in worshipping the Saiva devotees who wear the external emblems of a Saivite, like the holy-ashes and rudraksha or sacred beads. The exterior emblems will do to remind the soul of Siva. The matured souls will see only the good in others. You shall not dive into their inner purity and sincerity. You must have no distinctions of high or low among Adiyars.

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"எவரேனுந் தாமாக விலாடத் திட்ட

திருநீறுஞ் சாதனமுங் கண்டாலுள்கி

உவராதே யவரவரைக் கண்ட போது

உகந்தடிமைத் திறம் நினைந்தங் குவந்து நோக்கி

இவர் தேவர் அவர் தேவர் என்று சொல்லி

இரண்டாட் டாதொழிந் தீசன் திறமேபேணிக்

கவராதே தொழுமடியார் நெஞ்சினுள்ளே

கன்றாப்பூர் நடுதறியைக் காணலாமே."

"In the heart of him who loves and adores true

The devotees wearing ashes and marks so pious,

Sees Siva in them and makes no distinctions invidious,

Thou canst find Kanrapur Siva and here's the clue!"

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Feeding the devotees of Siva is known as Maheswara Pujai. A true Siddhantin regards this Maheswara Pujai as the consummation and glory of human birth. These twin principles, viz., Maheswara Pujai and worship of Siva in all His forms, are praised as the true end of life in this world, which would ultimately take the soul to the brinks of the Foundation of Bliss, Siva. This most important Siddhantic truth has been categorically emphasised by Sekkilar in his wonderful exposition of the 'Tiru Mylapore Tevara Patigam' of Thirugnana Sambandar, in his monumental Biography of the Bhaktas, viz, Peria Puranam:

"மண்ணினிற் பிறந்தார் பெறும்பயன் மதிசூடும்

அண்ணலா ரடியார்தமை அமுதுசெய் வித்தல்

கண்ணினா லவர்நல்விழாப் பொலிவுகண்டார்தல்

உண்மையா மெனினுலகர்முன் வருகென வுரைப்பார்."

It is love to these Adiyars or devotees that finally snaps the cord that binds the soul to the cycle of births and in the snapping of that cord lies eternal Bliss. Bliss means, in Siddhanta, becoming one with God in a non-dual sense, i.e., in Adwaita state. This is the real At-one-ment. What happens to the soul in Bliss? Siddhanta says, the soul is there, but inseparably united to God. The egoism of the soul is completely blasted and its whole being becomes pulsated through and through with Divine Intelligence. When infernal egoism drops out, Eternal Siva steps in to fill its space. The soul becomes Sivamayam but not Siva Himself. There is no end to its experience of the Bliss of Siva, according to Siddhanta. The soul becomes as if it were a star caught in a flood of sun-light or like salt dissolved in water. It is better we push not these similes to their logical extremes; for, then we will miss our point. In fact, that ecstatic final state is to be felt and experienced by each one for himself and not to be spoken of. It cannot be explained in words. Then the question arises, what becomes of the third category, Anavamala, which is said to be eternal and attached to the soul? It is also there, but totally effectiveless, like a fried seed. It is shorn of its sting and completely scorched. It simply ceases to function. Thus even in the state of Final Release, Siddhanta manages to maintain its consistency regarding its original postulation of the three eternal categories.

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"முத்திதனின் மூன்று முதலு மொழியக்கேள்

சுத்துவநு போகத்தைத் துய்த்தலணு-மெத்தவே

இன்பங் கொடுத்தலஇறை இத்தைவிளை வித்தல்மலம்

அன்புடனே கண்டுகொள் அப்பா."

"Hear how the three fare in Bliss:

Unalloy'd Happiness derives the soul;

The Lord is there to administer this,

And Mala's the producer, the cause to this Goal."

The heat of the sun enables one to enjoy the cool shade of a spreading tree. Really the heat is the cause for that enjoyment. So, also, the soul has been parched by Mala for so long a time; and when the soul enters the cool shade of the Feet of Hara and enjoys Bliss, it is the Mala that should be thanked for it is the real cause for that rapturous experience of the soul.

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The reality of the individual, the relative freedom of the human will, the essentially ordered nature of the world, which is such that even the Supreme One has to respect and not to overthrow, all these are features of permanent value in any doctrine of God and no one will fail to see that these are the dominant ideas of Saiva Siddhanta. It is interesting to note also that Siddhanta translates philosophy into action. It has made a bold and succesful attempt to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, which means the Kingdom of perfected human relationship. It is not a bigoted religion that asks us to persecute people in the name of its creed. It does not adopt what we may call a narrow sectarian orthodoxy. The utility of the Siddhanta philosophy lies in its gospel of Truth and Love. It aims at promoting good-will amongst the people, transcending religious, political, communal and sectarian considerations. This is the greatness of the real spirit or tatva underlying the Siddhantic philosophy. No wonder it has been hailed as Saiva Siddhanta Samarasa Sanmargam.

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A study of Saiva Siddhanta will result in the regeneration of man. Is it worthwhile purchasing the world at the expense of the deterioration of the soul? In his own mystic mood, Browning has rightly said, "Tis an awkward thing to play with souls." One, should not venture purgatory for petty, paltry and passing gains of earthly pleasures. The world, though a huge thing, is not a great price for a small vice. No vice is small but trails back with terrible reper-cussions. One false step will fling the soul into endless damnation. It is essential to realise what our 'Sva' or 'Self' means and Siddhanta not only discovers the soul for man but also helps him to dig the offending factor out of his personality. It awakens our soul and kindles the flame of religious fervour and devotion to Shiva, Who is revealed as the Grand Dispenseer of Knowledge. But one need not quarrel with the word 'Shiva.' It simply denotes the Supreme God. You may call Him by any name you please. Worship Him in any manner you choose. All gods are but His forms and all names are His. For, there is no god but God and He is the Father and the Mother of the world. In whatever manner we worship, the Supreme One alone hears our prayers and receives our love.

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Arulnandi Sivachariar has clearly expressed this:-

"யாதொரு தெய்வங் கொண்டீர் அத்தெய்வமாகி ஆங்கே

மாதொரு பாகனார்தாம் வருவர் மற்றத் தெய்வங்கள்

வேதனைப்படும் இறக்கும் பிறக்கும் மேல் வினையுஞ் செய்யும்

ஆதலான் இவையிலாதான் அறிந்தருள் செய்வனன்றே."

"Whomsoever be your god, the Gracious One (for Grace is inseparable from Him and this Grace we call Sakti or Mother) will appear through that god and shower His Grace. All other gods suffer, are born, die, and perform deeds that induce good and bad results. The Primal One alone is free from these trammels. He is All-knowing and Gracious."

So what is required of us is character and moral virtues. Whether we believe in Siva or not, whether we believe in its metaphysics or not, we cannot help believing in the two fundamental moral principles or concepts embedded in the teachings of Saiva Siddhanta, to wit, the fundamental qualities of Truthfulness and Love of Human Fellowship. Let not the world be converted into a stage where men are deemed to be actors. Let there be sincerity in our heart and uniformity in our thought, word and deed. Saint Appar grieves at the hypocritical world and reproaches thus:

"நடலை வாழ்வு கொண்டென்செய்தீர் நாணிலீர்

சுடலை சேர்வது சொற்பிர மாணமே."

"O shameless! what art thou doing with thy hypocritical life? Your heading to the burning-ghat is asserted on oath and is a certainity."

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So let men realise that this earthly life is not perpetual but will quail in no time and meet with a sudden end. Before that happens let them have faith in God and take refuge in God. Let them not associate with vices, evils and sins. Let them tread the path of righteousness, putting a curb on their five senses, and offer their devout prayer and fervid love for any god they choose and the Imperishable Primal One will appear in Grace. This is the idea given in the following stanza of Sivagnana Siddhiyar:-

"மனமது நினைய வாக்கு வழுத்தமந் திரங்கள் சொல்ல

இனமலர் கையிற் கொண்டங் கிச்சித்த தெய்வம் போற்றிச்

சினமுதல கற்றிவாழும் செயலறமானா லியார்க்கும்

முனமொரு தெய்வமெங்கும் செயற்குமுன் னிலையாமன்றே."

"When one worships the God he loves, with mind fixed, and mantras and words of praise, and hands showering forth flowers, after getting rid of anger, desire and other faults, and entering on the practice of all the virtues, then the most Ancient of the ancient gods will design to accept his worship."

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The purpose of human birth is to develop and practise the virtue of Love. Tiruvalluvar says,-

"அன்போ டியைந்த வழக்கென்ப வாருயிர்க்(கு)

என்போ டியைந்த தொடர்பு."

"It is to set the soul on the path of Love that this skeleton body is attached to it."

To love God is to love other living beings, for all living beings are but the undoubted manifestations of God. He who will not love other souls cannot love God. He whose nature is not overflown with the milk of human kindness, has no right to worship God. He whose heart is a desert, void of any love to others, cannot be a true lover of God. He is sure to be hurled into bottomless perdition, and thus he will work out his own ruin. So he ends in not loving his own self. The soul should shed all hatred, vengeance and retaliation. It should practise patience, sufferance, and toleration. The soul should love others, love beyond measure, love irrespective of caste, creed and community, love friend and foe alike.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Arulnandi Sivachariar crowns his precious work, Sivagnana Siddhiar, with these golden lines:-

"ஈசனுக்கன் பில்லார் அடியவர்க்கன் பில்லார்

எவ்வுயிர்க்கும் அன்பில்லார் தமக்கும் அன்பில்லார்

பேசுவதென் அறிவிலாப் பிணங்களை நாம் இணங்கிற்

பிறப்பினினும் இறப்பினினும் பிணங்கிடுவர் விடுநீ

ஆசையொடும் அரனடியார் அடியாரை அடைந்திட்(டு)

அவர்கருமம் உன்கரும மாகச் செய்து

கூசிமொழிந் தருள்ஞானக் குறியில் நின்று

கும்பிட்டுத் தட்டமிட்டுக் கூத்தாடித் திரியே."

"They love not God, who love not His devotees; they love not others, neither do they themselves. What is the good of talking about such senseless corpses? Leave off their company as their union will lead you again into births and deaths. Seek in love God's true devotees, taking their wishes as commands, speak humbly and stand steadfast according to their gracious directions, and worship and bow to them and delight and dance."

Tiruccirrambalam

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