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Southern Schools of Śaivism

Chapter XXXIV - Literature of Southern Śaivism

The Literature and History of Southern Śaivism.

The earliest Sanskrit philosophical literature in which we find a reference to Śaivism is a bhāṣya of Śaṅkara (eighth century) on Brahma-sūtra II. 2. 37. In the commentary on this śūtra, Śaṅkara refers to the doctrines of the Siddhāntas as having been written by Lord Maheśvara. The peculiarity of the teachings of the Siddhāntas was that they regarded God as being only the instrumental cause of the world. Here and elsewhere Śaṅkara has called the upholders of this view Īśvara-kāraṇins. If Śiva or God was regarded as both the instrumental and the material cause of the world, according to the different Siddhānta schools of thought, then there would be no point in introducing the sūtra under reference, for according to Śaṅkara also, God is both the instrumental and the material cause of the world. Śaṅkara seems to refer here to the Pāśupata system which deals with the five categories, such as the cause (kāraṇa), effect (kārya), communion (yoga), rules of conduct (vidhi) and dissolution of sorrow (duḥkhānta)[1]. According to him it also holds that Pāśupati (God) is the instrumental cause of the world. In this view the Naiyāyikas and the Vaiśeṣikas also attribute the same kind of causality to God, and offer the same kind of arguments, i.e. the inference of the cause from the effect.

Vācaspati Miśra (a.d. 840), in commenting on the bhāṣya of Śaṅkara, says that the Maheśvaras consist of the Śaivas, Pāśupatas, the Kāruṇika-siddhāntins and the Kāpālikas. Mādhava of the fourteenth century mentions the Śaivas as being Nakulīśa-pāśupatas who have been elsewhere mentioned as Lākulīśa-pāśupatas or Lakulīśa-pāśupatas, and they have been discussed in another section of the present work. Mādhava also mentions the Śaiva-darśana in which he formulates the philosophical doctrines found in the Śaivāgamas and their cognate literature. In addition to this he devotes a section to pratyabhijñā-darśana, commonly called Kāśmīr Śaivism. This system will also be dealt with in the present volume. Vācaspati mentions the Kāruṇika-siddhāntins and the Kāpālikas. Rāmānuja in his bhāṣya on Brahma-sūtra II. 2. 37 mentions the name of Kāpālikas and Kālamukhas as being Śaiva sects of an anti-Vedic character. But in spite of my best efforts, I have been unable to discover any texts, published or unpublished, which deal with the special features of their systems of thought. We find some references to the Kāpālikas in literature like the Mālatī-mādhava of Bhavabhūti (a.d. 700-800) and also in some of the Purāṇas. Ānandagiri, a contemporary of Śaṅkara and a biographer, speaks of various sects of Śaivas with various marks and signs on their bodies and with different kinds of robes to distinguish themselves from one another. He also speaks of two schools of Kāpālikas, one Brahmanic and the other non-Brahmanic. In the Atharva-veda we hear of the Vrātyas who were devotees of Rudra. The Vrātyas evidently did not observe the caste-rules and customs. But the Vrātyas of the Atharva-veda were otherwise held in high esteem. But the Kāpālikas, whether they were Brahmanic or non-Brahmanic, indulged in horrid practices of drinking and indulging in sex-appetite and living in an unclean manner. It is doubtful whether there is any kind of proper philosophy, excepting the fact that they were worshippers of Bhairava the destroyer, who also created the world and maintained it. They did not believe in karma. They thought that there are minor divinities who perform various functions in world creation and maintenance according to the will of Bhairava. The Śūdra Kāpālikas did not believe also in the caste-system and all these Kāpālikas ate meat and drank wine in skulls as part of their rituals. Sir R. G. Bhandarkar thinks on the authority of Śiva-mahāpurāṇa that the Kālamukhas were the same as the Mahāvratadharas. But the present author has not been able to trace any such passage in the Śiva-mahāpurāṇa, and Bhandarkar does not give any exact reference to the Śiva-mahāpurāṇa containing this identification. The Mahāvrata, meaning the great vow, consists in eating food placed in a human skull and smearing the body with the ashes of human carcasses and others, which are attributed to the Kālamukhas by Rāmānuja. Bhandarkar also refers to the commentary of Jagaddhara on the Mālatī-mādhava, where the Kāpālika-vrata is called Mahāvrata. Bhandarkar further points out that the ascetics dwelling in the temple of Kāpāleśvara near Nasik are called the Mahāvratins[2]. Be that as it may, we have no proof that the Kāpālikas and Kālamukhas had any distinct philosophical views which could be treated separately. Members of their sects bruised themselves in performing particular kinds of rituals, and could be distinguished from other Śaivas by their indulgence in wines, women, and meat and even human meat. Somehow these rituals passed into Tāntric forms of worship, and some parts of these kinds of worship are found among the adherents of the Tāntric form of worship even to this day. Tāntric initiation is thus different from the Vedic initiation.

Frazer in his article on Śaivism in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics says that, in some well-known temples in South India, the ancient blood-rites and drunken orgies are permitted to be revived yearly as a compromise with the aboriginal worshippers, whose primitive shrines were annexed by Brahmin priests acting under the protection of local chieftains. These chieftains, in return for their patronage and countenance, obtained a rank as Kṣatriyas with spurious pedigrees. Frazer further gives some instances in the same article in which non-Brahmins and outcastes performed the worship of Śiva and also offered human sacrifices, and one of the places he mentions is Śrīśaila, the Kāpālika centre referred to by Bhavabhūti. These outcaste worshippers were ousted from the temple by some of the Buddhists, and thereafter the Buddhists were thrown out by the Brahmins. By the time of Śaṅkara, the Kāpālikas developed a strong centre in Ujjain. We, of course, do not know whether the South Indian cult of blood-rites as performed by Brahmins and non-Brahmins could be identified with the Kāpālikas and Kālamukhas; but it is quite possible that they were the same people, for Śrīśaila, mentioned by Bhavabūti, which is described as an important Kāpālika centre, is also known to us as a centre of bloody rites from the Sthala-māhātmya records of that place as mentioned by Frazer. The Kāpālikas and Kālamukhas were anti-Vedic according to the statement of Rāmānuja in Brahma-sūtra II. 2. 37. Śaṅkara also, according to Ānandagiri, did not hold any discussion with the Kāpālikas, as their views were professedly anti-Vedic. He simply had them chastised and whipped. The Kāpālikas, however, continued in their primitive form and some of them were living even in Bengal, as is known to the present writer. The habit of smearing the body with ashes is probably very old in Śaivism, since we find the practice described in the Pāśupata-sūtra and in the bhāṣya of Kauṇḍinya.

The Kāruṇika-siddhāntins mentioned by Vācaspati have not been referred to by Mādhava (fourteenth century) in his Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha, and we do not find a reference to these in any of the Śaivāgamas. But from the statement of Śaiva philosophy in the Vāyavīya-saṃhitā of the Śiva-mahāpurāṇa, as discussed in another section (pp. 106-29), it is not difficult for us to reconstruct the reasons which might have led to the formation of a special school of Śaivism. We find that the doctrine of grace or karuṇā is not always found in the same sense in all the Āgamas, or in the Vāyavīya-saṃhitā, which was in all probability based on the Āgamas. Ordinarily the idea of grace or karuṇā would simply imply the extension of kindness or favour to one in distress. But in the Śaivāgamas there is a distinct line of thought where karuṇā or grace is interpreted as a divine creative movement for supplying all souls with fields of experience in which they may enjoy pleasures and suffer from painful experiences. The karuṇā of God reveals the world to us in just the same manner as we ought to experience it. Grace, therefore, is not a work of favour in a general sense, but it is a movement in favour of our getting the right desires in accordance with our karma. Creative action of the world takes place in consonance with our good and bad deeds, in accordance with which the various types of experience unfold themselves to us. In this sense, grace may be compared with the view of Yoga philosophy, which admits of a permanent will of God operating in the orderliness of the evolutionary creation (pariṇāmakrama-niyama) for the protection of the world, and supplying it as the basis of human experience in accordance with their individual karmas. It is again different from the doctrine of karuṇā of the Rāmānuja Vaiṣṇavas, who introduce the concept of Mahālakṣmī, one who intercedes on behalf of the sinners and persuades Nārāyaṇa to extend His grace for the good of the devotees.

The word ‘śiva’ is supposed to have been derived irregularly from the root ‘vaś kāntan. This would mean that Śiva always fulfils the desires of His devotees. This aspect of Śiva as a merciful Lord who is always prepared to grant any boons for which prayers are offered to Him is very well depicted in the Mahābhārata and many other Purāṇas. This aspect of Śiva is to be distinguished from the aspect of Śiva as rudra or śarva or the god of destruction.

We have seen that we know practically nothing of any importance about the Kāpālikas and the Kālamukhas. The other doctrines of Śaivism of the South are those of the Pāśupatas, the Śaiva doctrines derived from the Āgamas and the Vaiṣṇavas. The other schools of Śaivism that developed in Kāśmlr in the ninth and tenth centuries will be separately discussed. The Pāśupata-sūtra with the Pañcārtha bhāṣya of Kauṇḍinya was first published from Trivandrum in 1940, edited by Anantakriṣṇa Śāstrī. This bhāṣya of Kauṇḍinya is probably the same as the Rāśīkara-bhāṣya referred to by Mādhava in his treatment of Nakulīśa-pāśupata-darśana in Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha. Some of the lines found in Kauṇ-dinya’s bhāṣya have been identified by the present writer with the lines attributed to Rāśīkara by Mādhava in his treatment of the Nakulīśa-pāśupata system. Nakulīśa was the founder of the Pāśupata system. Aufrect in the Catalogus Catalogorum mentions the Pāśupata-sūtra[3]. The Vāyavīya-saṃhitā II. 24. 169, also mentions the Pāśupata-śāstra as the Pañcārtha-vidyā[4]. Bhandarkar notes that in an inscription in the temple of Harṣanātha which exists in the Śikar principality of the Jaipur State, a person of the name of Viśvarūpa is mentioned as the teacher of the Pañcārtha-lākulāmnāya. The inscription is dated v.e. 1013 = a.d. 957. From this Bhandarkar infers that the Pāśupata system was attributed to a human author named Lakulin and that the work composed by him was called Pañcārtha. This inference is not justifiable. We can only infer that in the middle of the tenth century Lakuliśa’s doctrines were being taught by a teacher called Viśvarūpa, who was well reputed in Jaipur, and that Lakulīśa’s teachings had attained such an authoritative position as to be called āmnāya, a term used to mean the Vedas.

In the Pāśupata-sūtra published in the Trivandrum series, the first sūtra as quoted by Kauṇḍinya is athātaḥ paśupateh paśupataṃ yogavidhiṃ vyākhyāsyāmaḥ. Here the yoga-vidhi is attributed to Paśupati or Śiva. In the Sūtasaṃhitā iv. 43. 17, we hear of a place called Nakula and the Śiva there is called Nakulīśa. The editor of the Pāśupata-sūtra mentions the names of eighteen teachers beginning with Nakulīśa[5].

These names are

  1. Nakulīśa,
  2. Kauśika,
  3. Gārgya,
  4. Maitreya,
  5. Kauruṣa,
  6. Īśāna,
  7. Paragārgya,
  8. Kapilāṇḍa,
  9. Manuṣyaka,
  10. Kuśika,
  11. Atri,
  12. Piṅgalākṣa,
  13. Puṣpaka,
  14. Bṛhadārya,
  15. Agasti,
  16. Santāna,
  17. Kauṇḍinya or Rāśīkara,
  18. Vidyāguru.

The present writer is in agreement with the view of the editor of the Pāśupata-sūtra, that Kauṇḍinya the bhāṣyakāra lived somewhere from the fourth to the sixth century a.d. The style of the bhāṣya is quite archaic, and no references to the later system of thought can be found in Kauṇḍinya’s bhāṣya. We have already seen that according to the Śiva-mahāpurāṇa there were twenty-eight yogācāryas and that each of them had four disciples so that there were 112 yogācāryas. Out of these twenty-eight yogācāryas the most prominent were Lokākṣī, Jaigīṣavya, Rṣabha, Bhrgu, Atri and Gautama. The last and the twenty-eighth ācārya was Lakulīśa, born at Kāyā-vatarana-tīrtha. Among the 112 yogācāryas, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana, Kapila, Āsuri, Pañcaśikha, Parāśara, Garga, Bhārgava, Aṅgira, Śuka, Vaśiṣṭha, Bṛhaspati, Kuṇi, Vāmadeva, Śvetaketu, Devala, Śālihotra, Agniveśa, Akṣapāda, Kaṇāda, Kumāra and Ruru are the most prominent[6].

Mr Dalai in his introduction to Gaṇakārikā says that the Lākuliśa-pāśupata-darśana is so called from Lakulīśa, who originated the system. Lakulīśa means “a lord of those bearing a staff”. Lakulīśa is often regarded as an incarnation of God Śiva with a citron in the right hand and a staff in the left. The place of the incarnation is Kāyārohaṇa in Bhrgu-kṣetra which is the same as Kāravaṇa, a town in the Dabhoi Taluka of the Baroda State. In the Kāravaṇa-māhātmya it is said that a son of a Brahmin in the village Ulkāpuri appeared as Lakulīśa and explained the methods and merits of worshipping and tying a silken cloth to the image of the God Lakulīśa. This work is divided into four chapters; the first is from the Vāyu-purāṇa, the remaining three are from the Śiva-mahāpurāṇa. At the commencement of the work, there is obeisance to Maheśvara, who incarnated himself as Lakuta-pāṇīśa. There is a dialogue there between Śiva and Pārvatī, in which the latter asks Śiva of the merits of tying a silken cloth. Śiva then relates the story of his incarnation between the Kali and Dvāpara yugas as a Brahmin named Viśvarāja in the family of the sage Atri. His mother was Sudarśana. Some miraculous myths relating to this child, who was an incarnation of Śiva, are narrated in the Kāravaṇa Māhātmya, but they may well be ignored here.

We have already mentioned the name of Atri as being one of the important teachers of the Pāśupata school. But according to the account of these teachers as given above, Nakulīśa should be regarded as the first founder of the system. We have seen also that by the middle of the tenth century there was a teacher of the Pañcārtha-lākulāmnāya, which must be the same as the doctrine propounded in the Pāśupata-sūtra. It is difficult to say how early the concept of Paśupati might have evolved. From the Mohenjo-daro excavations we have a statuette in which Śiva is carved as sitting on a bull, with snakes and other animals surrounding Him. This is the representation in art of the concept of the lord of paśus or paśupati, which is found in pre-Vedic times. The concept of Śiva may be traced through the Vedas and also through the Upaniṣads and particularly so in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad. The same idea can be traced in the Mahābhārata and many other Purāṇas. The religious cult of Śiva, which defines the concept of Śiva in its various mythological bearings, has to be given up here, as the interest of the present work is definitely restricted to philosophical ideas and the ethical and social attitude of the followers of Śiva[7].

It must, however, be said that the Śaiva philosophy and the worship of Śiva had spread itself far and wide throughout the whole of the peninsula long before the eighth century A.D. We have the most sacred temples of Śiva in the north in Badrikāśrama, in Nepal (Paśupati-nātha), in Kāśmīr, in Prabhāsa, in Kathiawar (the temple of Somanātha), in Benaras (the temple of Viśvanātha), the Nakulīśvara temple in Calcutta, and the temple of Rāmeśvaram in extreme South India. This is only to mention some of the most important places of Śiva-worship. As a matter of fact, the worship of Śiva is found prevalent almost in every part of India, and in most of the cities we find the temples of Śiva either in ruins or as actual places of worship. Śiva is worshipped generally in the form of the phallic symbol and generally men of every caste and women also may touch the symbol and offer worship. The Śaiva forms of initiation and the Tāntric forms of initiation are to be distinguished from the Vedic forms of initiation, which latter is reserved only for the three higher castes. But as the present work is intended to deal with the philosophy of Śaivism and Tāntricism, all relevant allusions to rituals and forms of worship will be dropped as far as possible.

The Jaina writer Rājaśekhara of the middle of the fourteenth century mentions the name of Śaiva philosophy in his Saḍ-darśana-samuccaya and calls it a yoga-mata[8]. He describes the Śaiva ascetics as holding staves in their hands and wearing long loin cloths (prauḍha-kaupīna-paridhāyinaḥ ). They had also blankets for covering their bodies, matted locks of hair, and their bodies were smeared with ashes. They ate dry fruits, bore a vessel of gourd (tumbaka), and generally lived in forests. Some of them had wives, while others lived a lonely life. Rājaśekhara further says that the Śaivas admitted eighteen incarnations of Śiva, the Overlord, who creates and destroys the world. We have already mentioned the names of the teachers that are found in Ṣaḍdarśana-samuccaya. These teachers were particularly adored and among them it was Akṣapāda who enunciated a system of logic in which he discussed the pramāṇas, perception, inference, analogy and testimony and also described the sixteen categories that are found in the Nyāya-sūtra of Gautama or Akṣapāda. Rājaśekhara mentions the names of Jayanta, Udayana, and Bhāsarvajña. Thus according to Rājaśekhara the Naiyāyikas were regarded as Śaivas. It does not seem that Rājaśekhara had made any definite study of the Nyāya system, but based his remarks on the tradition of the time[9]. He also regards the Vaiśeṣikas as Pāśupatas. The Vaiśeṣika saints wore the same kind of dress and the marks as the Naiyāyikas and admitted the same teachers, but they held that the perception and inference were the only two pramāṇas and that the other pramāṇas were included within them. He also mentions the six categories that we find in the Vaiśeṣika-sūtra. Rājaśekhara calls the Naiyayikas Yaugas. The Vaiśeṣika and the Nyāya are more or less of the same nature and both of them regard the dissolution of sorrow as ultimate liberation. Guṇaratna, the commentator of Haribhadra Suri’s Saḍdarśana-samuccaya was a Jaina writer like Rājaśekhara and he was in all probability a later contemporary of him. Many of his descriptions of the Naiyāyikas or Yaugas seem to have been taken from Rājaśekhara’s work, or it may also have been that Rājaśekhara borrowed it from Guṇaratna, the descriptions being the same in many places. Guṇaratna says that there were found kinds of Śaivas such as the Śaivas, Pāśupatas, Mahāvratadharas and the Kālamukhas[10]. In addition to these both Guṇaratna and Rājaśekhara speak of those who take the vow (matins) of service to Śiva and they are called Bharatas and Bhaktas. Men of any caste could be included in the class of Bharatas (servants) and Bhaktas (devotees) of Śiva. The Naiyāyikas were always regarded as devotees of Śiva and they were called Śaivas. The Vaiśeṣika philosophy was called Pāśupata[11]. Haribhadra also says that the Vaiśeṣikas admitted the same divinity as the Naiyāyikas[12].

Excluding the Kāpālikas and the Kālamukhas, about whom we know very little except the traditional imputations against their rituals and non-Vedic conduct, we have the text of the Pāśupata system and the Śaiva philosophy as described in the Śaiva Āgamas. We have also the Pāśupata-śāstra as described in the Vāyavīya saṃhitā, the Śaiva philosophy of Śrīkaṇtha as elaborated by Appaya Dīkṣita, and the Śaiva philosophy as expounded by King Bhoja of Dhāra in his Tattva-prakāśa as explained by Śrīkumāra and Aghora-śivācārya. We have also the Vīra-śaivism which evolved at a later date and was explained in a commentary on Brahma-sūtra by Śrīpati Paṇḍita who is generally placed in the fourteenth century[13]. Śrīpati Paṇḍita was posterior to the Pāśupatas and Rāmānuja, and also to Ekorāma and the five ācāryas of the Vīra-śaiva religion. Śrīpati was also posterior to Mādhavācārya. But it is curious that Madhava seems to know nothing either of Vīraśaivism or of Śrīpati Paṇḍita. He was of course posterior to Basava of the twelfth century, who is generally regarded as being the founder of Vīra-śaivism. As Hayavadana Rao points out, Śrīpati was posterior to Śrīkaṇtha, who wrote a bhāṣya on the Brahma-sūtra[14]. We have treated in a separate section the philosophy of Śrīkaṇtha. Śrīkaṇtha lived somewhere in the eleventh century and may have been a junior contemporary of Rāmānuja. Śrīkaṇtha in his treatment of Brahma-sūtra ill. 3. 27-3°, criticises the views of Rāmānuja and Nimbārka. Hayavadana Rao thinks on inscriptional grounds that Śrīkaṇtha was living in A.D. 1122[15].

Meykaṇḍadeva, the most famous author of the Tamil translation of the Sanskrit work Śiva-jñāna-bodha belonged to Tiru-venneyllur near the South Arcot district. There is an inscription in the sixteenth year of the Chola King Rājarāja III (a.d. 1216-48) which records a gift of land to an image set up by Meykaṇḍa. This fixes the date of Meykaṇḍadeva, the disciple of Parañjoti muni to about the middle of the thirteenth century. Hayvadana Rao after a long discussion comes to the view that Meykaṇḍa actually lived about A.D. 1235, if not a little earlier[16]. From inscriptional sources it has been ascertained that Śrīkaṇtha, the commentator of Brahma-sūtra lived about A.D. 1270. It is quite possible that Meykaṇḍa and Śrīkaṇtha were contemporaries. The philosophical difference between Meykaṇḍa and Śrīkaṇtha is quite remarkable, and the two persons cannot therefore be identified as one[17]. Śrīkaṇtha thinks that the world is a transformation of the cicchakti of the Lord. It does not provide for the creation of the material world, does not speak of the āṇava-mala, and is apparently not in favour of jīvan-mukti. Further Śrīkaṇtha appears to establish his system on the basis of the śruti. Meykaṇḍa, however, tries to establish his system on the basis of inference, and there are many other points of difference as will be easily seen from our treatment of Meykaṇḍadeva. It does not seem that Śrīkaṇtha had any relation with Meykaṇḍadeva.

Śrīpati quotes from Haradatta in very reverential terms. Hayvadana Rao refers to an account of the life of Haradatta as given in the Bhamṣyottara-purāṇa, and to the writings of his commentator Śiva-liṅga-bhūpati, which would assign Haradatta to the Kali age 3979, corresponding roughly to A.D. 879. In the Śiva-rahasya-dīpikā, however, Kali age 3000 is given as a rough approximation of the date of Haradatta. Professor Shesagiri Śāstrī accepts the former date as a more correct one and identifies the Haradatta quoted in Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha as being the same as the author of Harihara-tāratamya and the Caturveda-tātparya-saṃgraha. As we have mentioned elsewhere, Haradatta was the author of the Gaṇakārikā. Mr Dalai in all probability had confused the two in his introduction to the Gaṇakārikā, in which he says that Bhāsarvajña was the author of Gaṇakārikā. In reality Haradatta wrote only the Kārikā, and the Nyāya author Bhāsarvajña wrote a commentary on it called the Ratnaṭīkā[18]. Śrīpati also quotes from Siddhānta śikhāmaṇi, a Vīraśaiva work written by Revaṇārya.

It is curious to note that though Vīra-śaivism was founded at least as early as the time of Basava (a.d. 1157-67), Mādhava in the fourteenth century does not know anything of Vīra-śaivism. It is, however, doubtful if Basava was really the founder of Vīra-śaivism in India. We have got some sayings in Canarese known as the vacanas of Basava, but we find that his name is seldom mentioned as a teacher of any articles of the Vīra-śaiva faith. There is a semi-mythical account of Basava in a work called Basava-purāṇa. It is said there that Śiva asked Nandin to incarnate himself in the world for the propagation of the Vīra-śaiva faith. Basava was this incarnation. He was a native of Bāgevādi from where he went to Kalyāṇa where Vijjala or Vijjana was reigning (a.d. 1157-67). His maternal uncle, Baladeva, was the minister, and he himself was raised to that position after his death. Basava’s sister was given away to the king. He was in charge of the treasury and spent large sums in supporting and entertaining the Liṅgāyat priests or mendicants called Jaṅgamas. When the king came to know of this, he became angry and sent troops to punish him. Basava collected a small army and defeated these troops. The king brought him back to Kalyāṇa and there was apparently some reconciliation between them. But Basava later on caused the king to be assassinated. This depicts Basava more as a scheming politician than as a propounder of new faith.

Returning to our treatment of the literature of the Pāśupatas, we see that between the Vaiṣṇavas and the monists like the Śaṅkarites we have a system of thought representing the monotheistic point of view. This view appears in diverse forms in which God is sometimes regarded as being established as upholding the universe, but beyond it; sometimes it is held that God is beyond the world and has created it by the material of His own energy; at other times it has been held that God and energy are one and the same. Sometimes it has been held that God has created the world by His mercy or grace and that His grace is the inner dynamic force which follows the course of creation and maintenance. It is in this way that a compromise has been made between the theory of grace and the theory of karma. There are others, however, who think that we do not as of necessity have a right to reap the fruits of our actions, but we have to be satisfied with what is given to us by God. The Pāśupatas hold this view, and it is important to notice that the Nyāya which admits the doctrine of karma also thinks that we are only entitled to such enjoyments and experiences as are allotted to us by God. The fact that both the Nyāya and the Pāśupatas think that God can be established by inference, and that the grace of God is ultimately responsible for all our experiences, naturally leads us to link together the Nyāya-vaiśeṣika view with the Pāśupata view. The tradition is preserved in the two Saḍdarśana-samuccayas of Rājaśekhara and Haribhadra with Guṇaratna, which, as well as the benedictory verses in most Nyāya works until the tenth and eleventh centuries, justify the assumption that the Nyāya-vaiśeṣika was a school of Pāśupatas which paid more emphasis to evolving a system of logic and metaphysics. The Pāśupata system generally accepted the caste-division, and only those belonging to higher castes could claim to attain spiritual liberation. Yet as time rolled on we find that men of all castes could become devotees or servants of God and be regarded as Śaivas. We find the same kind of gradual extension and withdrawal of caste system among the Vaiṣṇavas also. Both in Śaivism and Vaiṣṇavism, bhakti or devotion to God came to be regarded as the criterion of the faith.

We have already referred to the statement in the Kāravaṇa-māhātmya about how the Lord incarnated Himself as a descendant of Atri. He is said to have walked to Ujjain and taught a Brahmin there called Kuśika who came from Brahmāvarta. These teachings were in the form of the present sūtras called the Pañcārtha, the main substance of which has already been described. It is generally believed that the original sūtras, divided into five chapters (pañcārtha), were composed somewhere in the first or the second century A.D. The bhāṣya of Kauṇḍinya is probably the same as the Rāśīkara bhāṣya. Kauṇḍinya does not mention the name of any writer contemporary to him. He refers to the Sāṃkhya-yoga but not to Vedānta or the Upaniṣads. It is interesting to note therefore that this system does not pretend to claim the authority of the Upaniṣads or its support. The authority of the sūtras is based on the assumption that they were composed by Paśupati himself. There are many quotations in the work of Kauṇḍinya, but it is not possible to identify their sources. The style of Kauṇḍinya’s bhāṣya reminds one of the writings of Patañjali the grammarian, who probably lived about 150 B.C. Kauṇḍinya is generally believed to have lived between a.d. 400-600, though I do not know why he could not be placed even a century or two earlier. The date of Gaṇakārikā is rather uncertain. But Bhāsarvajña wrote a commentary on it called Ratnaṭīkā. He seems to have lived in the middle of the tenth century A.D. It is interesting to note that the temple of Somanātha is also mentioned in the Kāravaṇa-māhātmya as one of the most important Pāśupata centres.

In the Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha of Mādhava of the fourteenth century, we find a treatment of Nakulīśa-pāśupata system, the Śaiva system and the Pratyabhijñā system of Kāśmīr. The Nakulīśa-pāśupata system is based upon the Pāśupata-sūtra and the bhāṣya of Kauṇḍinya called also the Rāśīkara-bhāṣya. The Śaiva system is based on the various Śaivāgamas and also on the Tattva-prakāśa of Bhoja. Thus Mādhava mentions about ten Śaiva works which, with many others, have been available to the present writer either in whole manuscripts or in fragments[19]. Śaṅkara, in his bhāṣya on the Brahma-sūtra II. 2. 37, speaks of the Māheśvaras along with others who regarded God as the instrumental cause, but not the material cause. He does not seem to distinguish the subdivisions of the Maheśvaras. But Vācaspati speaks of four subdivisions of the Maheśvaras. Mādhava, however, treats the two types of the Śaiva school as Nakulīśa-pāśupata and Śaiva in two different sections. From Śaṅkara’s bhāṣya it appears that he was familiar only with the Pañcārtha of the Pāśupata-sūtra. But Ānandagiri in his Śaṅkara-vijaya refers to six different kinds of Śaiva sects such as Śaiva, Raudra, Ugra, bhaṭṭa, Jaṅgama and Pāśupata. These different sects bore different kinds of marks on their bodies and distinguished themselves from one another by various rituals. But most of their specific religious literature now in all probability has long disappeared. The Pāśupatas have a literature, and the sect is still living. But the external signs of the Pāśupatas as found in Śaṅkara-vijaya are entirely different from those which are found in Guṇaratna’s commentary. Guṇaratna (fourteenth century) regards the Kāṇādas as Pāśupatas. He also regards the Naiyāyikas, called also the Yaugas, as being Śaivites of the same order as the Kāṇādas, and behaving in the same manner, and bearing the same kind of marks as the Kāṇādas. From the description of the Śaiva sects by Ānandagiri very little can be made out of the doctrines of those Śaiva sects. One can only say that some of those Śaivas believed that God was the instrumental cause (nimitta kāraṇa), besides the material cause (upādāna kāraṇa). Śaṅkara refuted this type of Śaivism in his commentary on Brahma-sūtra II. 2. 37. Both Pāśupatas and the followers of the Śaivāgama held the instrumentality of God, while Śaṅkara regarded God as being both the instrumental and material cause. In the Śaṅkara-vijaya we also find reference to some schools of Śaivism, the members of which wore the stone phallic symbols on their bodies. They held a doctrine similar to the ṣat-sthala doctrine of the Vīra-śaivas, though we find the proper formulation of the Vīra-śaiva system at least five hundred years after Ānandagiri. We have seen that Vācaspati Miśra in his Bhāmatī speaks of four types of Śaivas. Mādhava of the fourteenth century describes only two sects of Śaivas as Nakulīśa-pāśupata and the Śaivas of the Āgamas, excluding the separate treatment of the Pratyabhijñā system generally known as the Kāśmīr school of Śaivism.

The Śaivāgamas or Siddhāntas are supposed to have been originally written by Maheśvara, probably in Sanskrit. But it is said in Śiva-dharmottara that these were written in Sanskrit, Prākṛt and the local dialects[20]. This explains the fact that the Āgamas are available both in Sanskrit and some Dravidian languages such as Tamil, Telegu, and Kanarese. It also explains the controversy as to whether the Agamas or Siddhāntas were originally written in Sanskrit or in the Dravidian tongue. The present writer had the good fortune to collect a large number of the Āgamas either as complete wholes or in fragmentary portions. Many of the manuscripts are in a decaying state and some of them have been completely lost. The Sanskrit manuscripts on which our present attempt is founded are available in the big manuscript libraries at Triplicane, Adyar and Mysore. It is curious to note that Benares, the principal seat of Śaivism, has but few manuscripts of importance. The important Siddhāntas and Āgamas are quite numerous and most of them are in manuscripts mainly in South India[21]. The same works may be found also in many cases in the whole Dravidian language; but the inspiration and the thought are almost always taken from Sanskrit. The essence of Dravidian culture is therefore almost wholly taken from Sanskrit, at least so far as philosophy is concerned.

The study of old Tamil is fairly difficult, and those who had made a lifelong study of Tamil, like Pope or Schomerus, had but little time to dig into Sanskrit to any appreciable extent. The present writer, being unacquainted with the Dravidian languages, had to depend almost wholly on the Sanskrit literature, but has taken good care to ascertain that the works in Dravidian, pertinent to the subject, are well represented in the Sanskrit manuscripts.

It is difficult to ascertain the respective dates of the Āgamas. We only feel that most of the Āgamas mentioned above were completed by the ninth century A.D. Some of them were current in the time of Śaṅkarācārya, who lived some time in the eighth or ninth century A.D. Some of the Purāṇas also mention the names of some of the Āgamas referred to above. The bhāṣya of Kauṇḍinya on the Pāśupata-sūtras has many untraceable quotations, but there is no mention of the names of the Āgamas referred to above, though one might have expected reference to the names of some of these Āgamas, as they carry on the same faith in different fashions. On the other hand, the Āgamas do not mention the name of the Pāśupata-sūtras or the bhāṣya of Kauṇḍinya. It seems, therefore, that though later writers sometimes mixed up the Pāśupata and the Āgamic systems, as for example the Vāyavīya-saṃhitā, or in later times Appayadīkṣita, Śaṅkara himself speaks only of the Siddhāntas written by Maheśvara. Vācaspati refers to four schools of Śaivism, and Mādhava refers to two schools of southern Śaivism, Nakulīśa-pāśupata and the Śaivas. In still later times, in the Jaina tradition as kept by Rājaśekhara and Guṇaratna, we find the names of a long list of teachers of the Pāśupata school. We find also the names of twenty-eight yogācāryas, each having four disciples, in the Vāyavīya-saṃhitā.

We have already discussed in a separate section the essence of the Āgamic system as preserved in the Tattva-prakāśa of Bhoja with the commentary of Śrīkumāra and Aghora-śivācārya. Mādhava in his Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha also mentions the names of some of the Āgamas and Āgamic writers referred to above.

Schomerus in his Der Śaiva Siddhānta, in which he describes the particular form of Śaiva monism, speaks of the names of various other schools of Śaivism as he picks them up on a commentary on Śiva-jñāna-bodha[22]. The Śaiva-siddhānta view dealt with by Schomerus is one of the many trends of Śaiva thought that was prevalent in the country. Schomerus thinks that they are more or less the same except the Pāśupata, the Vīraśaiva and the Pratyabhijñā. Schomerus does not seem to utilise the texts of the Āgamas and to show in what way they proceeded with the subject. We have, however, in our treatment of Āgamic Śaivism, tried to utilise the materials of the Āgamas that are still available as complete wholes or in fragments. But a large part of the Āgamas deals with rituals, forms of worship, construction of the places of worship and mantras, and the like. These have no philosophical value and could not, therefore, be taken account of and had simply to be ignored.

The Agamic Śaivism belongs principally to the Tamil country, the Pāśupata to Gujarat and Pratyabhijñā to Kāśmīr and the northern parts of India. The Vīra-śaiva is found mostly among the Kanarese-speaking countries. Schomerus points out that it is sometimes claimed that the Āgamas were written in the Dravidian languages in prehistoric times, and that they owe their origin to revelation by Śiva, to Nandiperuman in the form of Śrīkaṇtha-rudra in the Mahendra Parbata in Tinivelly District. Owing to a great flood much of these twenty-eight Āgamas were lost. The rest is now available in the Sanskrit translations and even the Dravidian texts abound with Sanskrit words. But this claim cannot be substantiated in any way. The reference to the Āgamas is found in the Vāyavīya-saṃhitā of the Śiva-mahāpurāṇa and the Sūta-saṃhitā[23]. The references show that the Kāmika and other Āgamas were written in Sanskrit, as they formed a cognate literature with the Vedas. Portions of the Kāmika in Sanskrit quotations have been available to the present writer; similarly Mṛgendra, which formed a part of the Kāmika, is wholly available in Sanskrit. In the section on the Āgamic Śaivism the present writer has drawn his materials from these Āgamas. It has already been noted that there is a definite text in the Svāyaṃbhuvāgama that these Sanskrit works were translated into Prākṛt and other local dialects. We are, therefore, forced to think that the assertion that these Āgamas were originally written in Dravidian and then translated into Sanskrit, seems only to be a mythical patriotic belief of the Tamil people.

Schomerus mentions the names of twenty-eight Śaivāgamas, though he sometimes spells them wrongly[24]. He further mentions the names of fourteen canonical texts forming the materials of the Śaiva-siddhānta Śāstra. They are written in Tamil and the present writer only has the privilege of having the Sanskrit texts of the most important of them called the Śiva-jñāna-bodha of Meykaṇḍa-deva[25].

Meykaṇḍadeva’s Śiva-jñāna-bodha is a brief summary in twelve verses of an argumentative character taken from Rauravāgama. These twelve verses have also commentaries called Vārtika and a number of other sub-commentaries. Meykaṇḍadeva’s real name was Svetabana, and there are a number of mythical statements about him. A great scholar Arul-nanti Śivācārya became the disciple of Meykaṇḍadeva. Namah-śivāya-deśika was the fifth disciple in succession of Meykaṇḍadeva, and Umāpati, who was the third successor of Meykaṇḍadeva, lived in a.d. i 313 . It is held, therefore, that Meykaṇḍa lived in the first third of the thirteenth century. Umāpati was also the author of the Pauṣkarāgama.

The earliest Tamil author of Śaiva-siddhānata is Tirumular, who probably lived in the first century a.d. Only a part of his writings has been translated in the Siddhānta-dīpikā by N. Pillai. The later four Ācāryas of Śaiva-siddhānta are Māṇikka-vāchakar, Appar, Jñāna-sambandha and Sundara, who flourished probably in the eighth century. Later on we have two important Śaiva-siddhānta writers, Nampiyāṇḍār and Sekkilar. The former has a collection of works which passed by the name of Tamil-veda. He flourished probably towards the end of the eleventh century.

This Tamil-veda is even now recited in Śaivite temples of the south. It consists of eleven books; the first seven are of the nature of hymns. Of three Ācāryas, Appar, Jñāna-sambandha and Sundara, the eighth book is Tiru-vāchaka, the ninth again consists of hymns. In the tenth book we find again some hymns of Tirumular. A part of the eleventh book contains mythological legends which form the groundwork of Periya-purāṇa, the basis of the most important Tamil legends of the Tamil saints. The book was completed by the eleventh century. The Śaiva-siddhānta school sprang forth as a school of Śaivism in the thirteenth century with Meykaṇḍadeva and his pupils Arulnanti and Umāpati.

The account of Śaivism, as can be gathered from the Tamil sources, may be found in Pope’s translation of Tiru-vāchaka, Der Śaiva-siddhānta by Schomerus, and in the writings of N. Pillai. The present writer is unfamiliar with the Tamil language and he has collected his account from original Sanskrit manuscripts of the Āgamas of which the Tamil treatment is only a replica.


The Agama Literature and its Philosophical Perspective.

The philosophical views that are found in the Āgama literature had been briefly summarised in the Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha under Śaivism and have also been treated fairly elaborately in some of the sections of the present work. The Āgama literature is pretty extensive, but its philosophical achievement is rather poor. The Āgamas contain some elements of philosophical thought, but their interest is more on religious details of the cult of Śaivism. We find therefore a good deal of ritualism, discussion of the architectural techniques for the foundation of temples, and mantras and details of worship connected with the setting up of the phallic symbol of Śiva. Yet in most of the Āgamas there is a separate section called the Vidyā-pāda in which the general philosophical view underlying the cult is enunciated. There are slight differences in the enunciation of these views as we pass on from one Āgama to another. Most of these Āgamas still lie unpublished, and yet they form the religious kernel of Śaivism as practised by millions of people in different parts of India. There may thus be a natural inquiry as to what may be the essential tenets of these Āgamas. This, however, cannot be given without continual repetitions of the same kind of dogmatic thought. The present work is, of course, mainly concerned with the study of philosophy, but as the study of Śaiva or Śākta thought cannot be separated from the religious dogmas with which they are inseparably connected, we can only take a few specimens of the Āgamas and discuss the nature of thought that may be discovered there. In doing this we may be charged with indulging in repetitions, but we have to risk it in order to be able to give at least a rapid survey of the contents of some of the most important Āgamas. In what follows, the reader will have the opportunity of judging the literary contents of the philosophical aspects of some of the important Āgamas, thereby getting a comprehensive view of the internal relation of Śaivism to other branches of Indian philosophy.

The Mṛgendrāgama has often been quoted in the Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha. This work is said to be a subsidiary part of Kāmikāgama, supposed to be one of the oldest of the Āgamas, and has been referred to in the Sūta-saṃhitā which is regarded as a work of the sixth century. The Sūta-saṃhitā refers to the Kami-kāgama with the reverence that is due to very old texts.

Mṛgendrāgama[26] opens the discussion of how the old Vedic forms of worship became superseded by the Śaiva cult. It was pointed out that the Vedic deities were not concrete substantial objects, but their reality consisted of the mantras with which they were welcomed and worshipped, and consequently Vedic worship cannot be regarded as a concrete form of worship existing in time and space. But devotion to Śiva may be regarded as a definite and concrete form of worship which could, therefore, supersede the Vedic practices. In the second chapter of the work, Śiva is described as being devoid of all impurities. He is omniscient and the instrumental agent of all things. He already knows how the individual souls are going to behave and associates and dissociates all beings with knots of bondage in accordance with that.

The Śaivāgama discusses the main problem of the production, maintenance, destruction, veiling up of the truth and liberation. These are all done by the instrumental agent, God Śiva. In such a view the creation of the world, its maintenance and destruction are naturally designed by the supreme Lord in the beginning, yet things unfold in the natural course. The changes in the world of our experiences are not arranged by the later actions of beings. But yet the attainment of liberation is so planned that it cannot take place without individual effort.

Consciousness is of the nature of intuitive knowledge and spontaneous action (caitanyaṃ dṛk-kriyā-rūpam). This consciousness always abides in the soul, and some of the categories for the application of this consciousness are discussed along with the various religio-moral conducts called caryā. There is also a brief criticism for refuting Vedānta, Sāṃkhya, Vaiśeṣika, Buddhism and Jainism.

The Śaivāgama holds that, from perceiving our bodies and other embodied things, we naturally infer that there is some instrumental agent who must be premised as the cause of the world. A difference of effects naturally presumes a difference in the cause and its nature. Effects are accomplished through particular instruments. These instruments are all of a spiritual nature. They are also of the nature of energy. In the case of inference the concomitance is generally perceived in some instances. But in the case of attributing creation to Śiva we have no datum of actual experience, as Śiva is bodyless. But it is held that one can conceive the body of Śiva as being constituted of certain mantras. When anyone is to be liberated, the quality of tamas as veiling the consciousness of the individual is removed by God. Those whose tamas is removed naturally ripen forth for the ultimate goal of liberation. They have not to wait any longer for Śiva to manifest their special qualities. We have already seen that Śiva is the manifesting agent or abhivyañjaka of all our activities.

The source of all bondage is māheśvarī śakti which helps all people to develop and grow in their own pattern (sarvānugrāhika). Though there may be many cases in which we suffer pain, yet the māheśvarī śakti is regarded as being of universal service. The explanation is to be found in the view that often it is only through the way of suffering that we can attain our good. Śiva is always directing the śakti for our own good, even though we may seem to suffer in the intervening period (dharmiṇo’nugraho nāma yat-taddharmānuvartanam). All actions of the Lord are for the sake of the individual souls, that is, for making them wise and act forward, so that ultimately they may be purged of their malas.

The different causal chains manifest different kinds of chains in the effects. The Śaiva view accepts sat-kārya-vāda and so admits that all the effects are there. It is only in the manner in which the causal chains manifest that different kinds of chains are effected. Thus the same malas appear in diverse forms to different kinds of persons and indicate different stages of progress. The mala is regarded as the unholy seed that pervades the whole world and manifests through it and is ultimately destroyed. It is through these manifestations that one can infer the existence of God, the instrumental cause (kartā’-numīyate yena jagad-dharmeṇa hetunā). This mala is inanimate, for such a theory suits the nature of effects. It is easier to assume preferably one cause of mala than many. The cloth is manifested by the action of the weaving spindles. The substance of the cloth would have been manifested in other forms according to the action of the various accessories, for all the effects are there, though they can only be manifested through the operation of accessories. It is difficult to imagine the concept of productive power. It is better to assume that the things are already there and are revealed to us by the action of the different kinds of causes[27].

The individual souls are all-pervasive and they possess eternal power by the Power of God. The only trouble is that on account of the veils of mala they are not always conscious of their nature. It is through the action of Śiva that these veils are so far removed that the individual souls may find themselves interested in their experiences. This is done by associating the individual minds with the thirty-six kalās produced from the disturbance of māyā. We have already discussed the nature of these thirty-six tattvas or categories in our treatment of the philosophy of Tattva-prakāśikā of Bhoja. It is through these categories that the veils are torn asunder and the individual becomes interested in his experiences. Kalā means that which moves anybody (prasāraṇaṃ preraṇam sā kurvati tamasaḥ kalā). The individual soul has to await the grace of God for being associated with these kalās for all his experiences, as he is himself unable to do so on his own account. The karma done by a man also remains embedded in Prakṛti and produces effects by the category of niyati.


By Meykaṇḍadeva

This is a brief work of twelve kārikās (sometimes called sūtras), and taken from Rauravāgama, as has already been pointed out. It has a number of commentaries. Its Tamil translation forms the basic work of the Śiva-jñāna-siddhi school of thought, and has been elaborated by many capable writers. The general argument of the Śiva-jñāna-siddhi is as follows:

This world, consisting of males, females and other neutral objects, must have a cause. This cause is not perceivable, but has to be inferred. Since it has come into being in time, it may be presumed that it has a creator. Moreover the world does not move of itself and it may, therefore, be presumed that there must be an agent behind it.

The world is destroyed by God and is re-created by Him to afford proper facilities to the malas for their proper expression. The position, therefore, is that though the material cause (upādāna) is already present, yet there must be a nimitta-kāraṇa or instrumental agent for the creation and the maintenance of the world. At the time of dissolution the world-appearance becomes dissolved in the impurities or malas. After a period, the world again reappears through the instrumentality of Śiva. Śiva thus on the one hand creates the world, and on the other hand destroys it. It is said that as in the summer all roots dry up and in the rains they shoot up again into new plants, so though the world is destroyed the impressions of the old malas remain inlaid in the prakṛti, and when the proper time comes they begin to show themselves in diverse forms of world creation according to the will of God. The creation has to take a definite order in accordance with the good and bad deeds of persons. This creation cannot take place spontaneously by compounding the four elements.

God is the instrumental agent through which the functions of creation, maintenance and destruction take place. The Śaiva view of Meykaṇḍadeva is entirely opposed to the purely monistic theory of Śaṅkara. The jīva cannot be regarded as identical with Brahman. It is true that in the Upaniṣads the individual soul (or jīva) and Brahman are both regarded as self-luminous and inner-controlled, but that does not mean that the self and the Brahman are identical. The instrumental agent is one. The individual souls being bound by bondage or pāśa cannot be regarded as being identical with the ultimate agent or Brahman.

The deeds of a person do not automatically produce effects. The effects are associated with the person in accordance with the will of God. The deeds themselves are inanimate and they cannot therefore produce effects spontaneously. All effectuation is due to God, though it does not imply any change of state in the nature of God. An analogy is taken to illustrate how changes can be produced without any effort or change in the changeless. Thus the sun shines far away in the sky and yet without any interference on its part, the lotus blooms in the lake on the earth. So God rests in His self-shiningness, and the changes in the world are produced apparently in a spontaneous manner. God lives and moves in and through all beings. It is only in this sense that the world is one with God and dependent on Him.

The very denial of the different assertions that the self is this or that proves the existence of the self through our self-consciousness. We thereby assume the existence of an unconditioned self, because such a self cannot be particularised. It is easily seen that such a self is not the same as any of the visible organs or internal organs or the manas.

The self is different from the inner organs, the mind and the senses; but yet they can be taken as forming a joint view of reality, as in the case of the sea. The waves and billows and the foam and the wind form one whole, though in reality they are different from one another. The malas which are supposed to be mainly embedded in the māyā, naturally stick to our bodies which are the products of māyā, and being there they pollute the right perspective as well as the right vision of all things. The commentator, whose name is untraceable, adduces the example of the magnet and iron filings to explain the action of God on the world without undergoing any change. It is the power of Śiva working in and through us by which we can act or reap the fruits of our action according to our deeds.

Śiva is to be known through inference as the cause which is neither visible nor invisible. His existence thus can only be known by inference. The acit or unconscious material passes before Śiva, but does not affect it, so that Śiva is quite unconscious of the world-appearance. It is only the jīvas that can know both the world and Śiva[28]. When a saint becomes free from impurities of three kinds, the āṇava, māyika and kārmaṇa-mala, the world appearance vanishes from before his eyes, and he becomes one with the pure illumination.

Suradantācārya in his Vyākhyāna-kārikā repeats the above ideas, but holds that Śiva through His omniscience knows all about the world and the experiences of all beings, but He is not affected by them[29]. Another fragmentary commentary of an unknown author, who had written a commentary on Mṛgendra called Mṛgendra-vṛtti-dīpikā, which sometimes refers to the Svāyambhuvāgama and the Mātaṅga-parameśvara-āgama, discusses some of the main topics of Śiva-jñāna-bodha in the work called Paśupati-pāśa-vicāra-prakaraṇa.

Paśu is defined as pure consciousness (cinmātra) covered with impurities. The paśu goes through the cycle of birth and rebirth, and it goes also by the name ātman. It is all-pervading in space and time. The pure consciousness is of the nature of jñāna and kriyā. The Āgamas do not believe that the soul is one. It is pure consciousness that appears as distinct from one another by their association of different kinds of mala which are integrated with them from beginningless time[30].

Its body consists of all the categories, beginning with kalā and running up to gross matter. The soul is called anĪśvara because it may have a subtle body, but not the gross one, so that it is unable to enjoy its desire. The soul is regarded as akriya or devoid of action. Even when through knowledge and renunciation it avoids all action, the body may go on by the successive impulses of previous actions (tiṣṭhati saṃskāra-vaśāt cakra-bhramavad-dhṛta-śarīrah). Though there are many souls, they are spoken of in the singular number as paśu in the universal sense.

The mala is regarded as being included within pāśa. It is not therefore a different category. The pure self-consciousness is entirely different from the impurity or mala. How can then the mala affect the purity of the pure consciousness? To this the reply is that as pure gold may be associated with dross without affecting its nature, so the pure consciousness that constitutes the Śiva within us may remain pure, even though it may be covered with mala from beginningless time. The mala thus does not affect the nature of the self as Śiva.

It is by the grace of Śiva, attained through proper initiation in Śaivism by a proper preceptor, that the impurities can be removed, and not by mere knowledge as such. The mala being the nature of substance, it can be removed only by an action on the part of God. Mere knowledge cannot destroy it. The malas being beginningless are not many but one. According to different kinds of karma, the malas have distinct and different kinds of bondage. The different distinctive powers and obscurations made by the mala serve to differentiate the different selves, which basically are all Śiva. Liberation does not mean any transformation, but only the removal of particular malas with reference to which different individual entities as jīvas were passing through the cycle of birth and rebirth. This removal is effected by Śiva when the Śaiva initiation is taken with the help of proper preceptors[31].

The malas consist of dharma and adharma, and may be due to karma or māyā ; they also constitute the bondage or the pāśas. This Āgama refers to Mṛgendrāgama, the doctrines of which it follows in describing the nature of pāśa, mala, etc. The pāśa is really the tirodhānaśakti of Śiva.

The pāśas are threefold:

  1. sahaja, those malas with which we are associated from beginningless time and which stay on until liberation;
  2. āgantuka, meaning all our senses and sense-objects; and
  3. sūṃsargika, that is those which are produced by the intercourse of sahaja and the āgantuka mala.

The creation and the manifestation of our experiences take place in accordance with our karma as revealed by God. Just as a field sown with seeds does not produce the same kind of crop for every peasant, so in spite of same kinds of actions we may have different kinds of results manifested to us by God. The karmas and other things are all inanimate, and thus it is only by the will of God that different kinds of results are manifested to us. The Śaiva view thus upholds the satkārya-vāda theory and regards God as abhivyañjaka or manifestor of all our experiences and karmas.



The Śaiva śāstra is described as ṣat-padārtha and catuṣ-pāda and not as tri-padārtha and catuṣ-pāda ; formerly it was written by Sadā-śiva in ten million verses and Ananta summarised it in one lakh verses, which has been further summarised in 3500 verses.

The six categories are

  1. pati ;
  2. śakti ;
  3. triparvā ;
  4. paśu ;
  5. bodha ; and
  6. mantra.

Śakti or energy is the means by which we can infer pati, the possessor of śakti. In inference we sometimes infer the possessor of the quality by its quality, and sometimes the cause from the effect or the effect from the cause. Sometimes the existence of a thing is taken for granted on the authority of the Vedas. From the body of Śiva, which is of the nature of mantras, the śakti emanates downwards in the form of bindu, which later on develops into the world[32]. Śiva enters into the bindu and unfolds it for various types of creation. The diversity in the world is due to a difference in karma and guṇa of the individual souls, where the individual souls may be regarded as the container and the karma as contained. The individual souls are responsible for their actions and have to enjoy their good or bad fruits. God is the controller of the creation, maintenance and destruction of the world. It is He who is the instrumental cause of the world, and the energies are the material cause and are regarded as the samavāyi-kāraṇa of the world. This world is the production of māyā. As the rays of the sun or the moon induce the blooming of flowers spontaneously without any actual interference, so the Śiva manifests the world by His mere proximity.

Seven sahaja-malas have been enumerated as follows:

  1. moha,
  2. mada,
  3. rāga,
  4. viṣāda,
  5. śoṣa,
  6. vaidtta and
  7. harṣa.

The kalās are produced from māyā, and it is in association with māyā that they carry on their work, just as paddy seeds can produce shoots in association with the husk in which they are enclosed.

The souls as they are driven through the world, become attached to worldly things through kalā. This association is further tightened by vāsanā ; so the souls become attached to all enjoyments, and this is called rāga. With all attachments there is sorrow, and therefore non-attachment to all sense-pleasures leads to the best attainment of happiness.

The nature of kāla and niyati are discussed in the same way as in other books of Śaiva-siddhānta.

Māyā comes out from God as an expression of His subtle energy, and from māyā there evolves the pradhāna, which in its first stage is only pure being or sattā. Later on other categories evolve out of it and they supply the materials for the experience of puruṣa. The puruṣa and the prakṛti thus mutually support each other in the development of categories and experience.

The ahaṅkāra infuses the self in and through the sense-organs and operates as their functions. The same may be said regarding the application of ahaṅkāra in and through the tanmātras. The ahaṅkāra thus represents the entire psychic state in a unity. The ahaṅkāra is present also in dormant state in trees, plants, etc.



In the Pauṣkarāgama jñāna is defined as consisting of the energy inherent in Śiva. Six categories described are “patiḥ kuṇḍalinī māyā paśuḥ pāśaś ca kārakah.” Lay a, bhoga and adkikāra are the three functions of śakti. Māyā as generated by the actions of men, supplies the elements by which the objects of experience and experience are made. Paśu is that which experiences and reacts. The categories beginning from kalā to earth (kṣiti) are real entities. Laya is called bondage and is regarded as the fifth category. The sixth category is equal to bhukti, mukti, vyakti, phala, kriyā and dīkṣā taken together. Bindu and anus are the real entities. When the manifold creation shrinks into the bindu, we have that stage in Śiva which is called dissolution (laya). In the original state actions of the type of sadṛśa pariṇāma go on. Śiva is described as vispaṣṭa cinmātra and vyāpaka. His energies only can operate, while He remains unmoved. When the energies begin to operate in the bindu, the bindu becomes fit for being the data of experience. This state of bindu with Śiva reflected in it is called the sadā-śiva. Even in this stage there is really no change in Śiva. When the energies are in the state of operation, we have the state of creation, and the experience of it is called bhoga .

The point arises that if the bindu is itself active in creation, then its relation with Śiva becomes redundant. On the other hand, if the bindu is moved by Śiva to active operation, Śiva becomes changeable. The reply is that an agent can affect any material in two ways, either by his simple desire or by his organised effort, as in the case of the making of a pot by the potter. Śiva moves the bindu simply by His saṃkalpa, and therefore He does not suffer any change. In the case of the action of the potter also, it is by the wish of Śiva that the potter can act. Therefore, Śiva is the sole agent of all actions performed by animate beings or by inanimate matter.

It maybe said that Śiva is wholly unconditioned, and therefore He can remain the sole agent without undergoing any change. Another tentative answer is that in the presence of Śiva, the bindu begins to work without any causal efficiency (compare the movement of prakṛti in the presence of puruṣa).

The bindu has sometimes been described as śāntyatīta and other times as the material cause of the creation. This difficulty is explained on the assumption that part of the bindu is śāntyatīta and the other part is responsible for being the material cause of the world. The third category including the bindu and Śiva is called Īśvara. Śiva produces commotion in bindu merely by His presence. In this way Śiva is not only the instrumental agent of all happenings in the inanimate, but He also is responsible for all actions of the human body which are seemingly produced by the human will.

Knowledge and activity are in essence identical, and for that reason, when there is action (vyāpāra), we may feel as if we are the agents of those actions. The element of action that seems to express itself is thus something more than the action, and it is called the adhikāra-kriyā. The action and that which is acted upon is the result of guṇa-saṃkalpa. Śiva stands as the citi-śakti which makes all energies dynamic, as the sun makes the lotus bloom from a distance without any actual interference.

In further explaining the philosophical situation Śiva says that a part of the bindu is in the transcendental (śāntyatīta) state, while the other part is responsible for the creative action. This second category, that is, the lower half of the bindu, is supposed to be moved by Śiva. The energies are often classified under different names as performing different functions. Śakti and śaktimān are the same. They are only differently classified according to their diverse functions.

The inanimate world is inoperative without the action or the interference of a conscious being. That conscious being is God Śiva; even the milk in the udder of the cow flows by the active affection of the cow for the calf. The illustration of the magnet drawing the iron filings does not fit in, for there also is the person who brings the magnet near the iron filings.

It cannot, however, be urged that the puruṣas themselves could be regarded as active agents, for according to the scriptural texts they are also moved to activity by the will of God[33].

The world-appearance cannot be proved to be false or illusory. It is made up of the stuff of one common object called māyā, which is later on conceived as functioning in different ways called sattva, rajas and tamas. The māyā stuff is the repository of all karmas. But yet not all persons gain the fruits of all their karmas. They have to depend upon some other being for the proper fruition of their karmas. This is where God comes in as the ultimate bestower of the fruits of karma.

Mala or impurity is always associated with all souls. The Āgama tries to refute the epistemological view of other systems of thought like the Cārvāka and the monism of Śaṅkara. The Āgama holds that since the souls are eternal, their knowledge must also be eternal due to eternal unchanging cause. The difference of knowledge in individuals is due to the obscuration of their knowledge by the various veils of mala. The original cause of knowledge is all-pervading and is the same in all persons[34].

The self is realised as revealing itself and others. If it is supposed that the self is reflected through buddhi, then even buddhi also may be regarded as conscious self. So the idea of explaining the situation as being the reflection of consciousness in buddhi, also fails. Again this reflection of consciousness in buddhi cannot be regarded as conscious entity. It may also be pointed out that the consciousness as spirit cannot be reflected in buddhi which is known as spiritual. The view of mutual reflection of consciousness into buddhi and buddhi into consciousness is also untenable. It has, therefore, to be admitted that the soul as an eternal being can perceive all things and act as it likes. If the qualities inhere permanently or temporarily in an entity, then that inherence in the entity must be of a permanent or of a temporary nature as the case may be. The consciousness of the soul should, therefore, be regarded as co-extensive with its being. The selves are atomic in size and cannot therefore pervade the whole body. We have already said that the self in revealing itself also reveals other things. We must remember in this connection that an entity like the fire cannot be distinguished from the energy that it has.

Again the objects perceived cannot be regarded as mere ignorance (ajñāna), for one cannot deal with mere ajñāna, just as one cannot bring water without a pitcher. The things we perceive are real entities. This ajñāna cannot be taken in the sense of prāgabhava, for then that would imply another origination of knowledge; or it could be explained as wrong knowledge. This wrong knowledge may be regarded as accidental or natural. If it is accidental or natural, then it must be due to some causes and cannot, therefore, be regarded as wrong knowledge. If it is wrong knowledge only arising occasionally, then it cannot contradict right knowledge. Ordinarily one cannot expect the illusoriness of silver to contradict the knowledge of conch-shell[35]. For this reason the self, which is intuitively realised as all-consciousness, cannot be regarded as having only limited knowledge. That appearance of the souls possessing limited knowledge must be due to its association with impurities. The energy of consciousness is eternal, and therefore its nature cannot be disturbed by the association of impurities which may constitute experience, as arising from dharma and adharma. The malas are regarded as sevenfold, and include within them the passions of mada, moha, etc. These malas are regarded as being natural to the souls. The mala of moha appears in various forms, as attachment to wife, son, money, etc.

It is only the spiritual that can contradict the non-spiritual. Two spiritual entities or the non-spiritual entities cannot contradict each other. One soul cannot be contradicted by another soul.

If the association of malas with the souls is regarded as beginningless, then how can they veil the nature of the self, and what must be the nature of this veil? It cannot be said that this veiling means the covering of what was already illuminated; for in that case, this obscuration of illumination of an entity, which is of the nature of light, must mean its destruction. The reply is that the energy of consciousness (cicchakti) cannot be veiled by the malas. The malas can only arrest its function.

Śakti is defined as being of the nature of immediate intuition and action. If that is so, the śakti is associated with knowable objects. How can then the objects be different from the energy? In reply it is said that the intuitive knowledge and action (dṛkkriyā), the śakti, as such remains united as dṛk and kriyā. They are indivisibly connected as one, and it is for us to think of them as divided into dṛk and kriyā[36]. All words denoting particular objects are for others and are under the veil of mala. By the suppression of mala, the energy is turned away from sense objects. In this way the mala operates against the cicchakti, and thereby malas obscure the omniscient character of the souls.

In the fifth chapter, the Āgama deals with the different kinds of pāśas or bonds. These bonds are kalā, avidyā, rāga, kāla and niyati. These five categories are regarded as proceeding from māyā. The consciousness shows itself through these kalās. The consciousness is associated with both intuitive knowledge and the power of work. The kalās reflect the consciousness of the soul only partially. This reflection is effected in accordance with one’s karma.

All experience is due to the functioning of the power of knowledge and of the objects to be known. This is technically called grāhaka and grāhya. It is by the association of consciousness that the kalās appear to be functioning for the apprehension of things. From kalā comes vidyā. Kalā supplies the basis of experience as time and space. Later on other categories of the intellect also evolve and we have the concept of buddhi as deliberate decision. In this way the different categories such as ahaṅkāra or abhimāna are produced. They in themselves would not be conscious except through the consciousness which impregnates them.

The buddhi manifests itself through diverse forms according to their vāsanās. A full enumeration of them is given in the texts, but we omit them as they are not philosophically important. They, however, include the various instinctive tendencies and delusions which are enumerated in Sāṃkhya and other places.

The difficulty is that the buddhi and ahaṅkāra seem to cover the same ground. How is it then possible to distinguish buddhi from ahaṅkāra ? To this the reply is that when something is deliberately known as this or that, we have the stage of buddhi . But in the stage of ahaṅkāra we seem to behave as knowers, and all objects that come to our purview are labelled as parts of our knowledge. There is no means by which the ego-consciousness of any individual can be confused with the ego-consciousness of another. They are thus realised as different from one another[37].

The Āgama describes the three kinds of creation as sāttvika, rājasa and tāmasa as proceeding from three kinds of ahaṅkāra, and describes the origination of jñānendriyas, karmendriyas, tanmātras and manas. When things are perceived by the senses and their value as this or that is attested by an inner function, so that the red can be distinguished from the blue, that inner function is called manas[38].

When we perceive an animal having certain peculiarities, then we can extend the use of the word to denote another animal having the same kind of features. The inner function by which this is done is manas.

The Āgama gives an elaborate description of the cognitive senses and particularly of the organ of the eye. The mere proximity of consciousness cannot generate the activity. This can only be generated by the association of the consciousness with the sense organs.

The Āgama criticises the Buddhist position and supposes that the Buddhist doctrine of artha-kriyā-kāritā can hold good only if the entities are not momentary, but have extensive existence.

Speaking of the guṇas, the Āgama refuses to admit their substantive nature. It is only when certain guṇas are in a collocated state that we call them guṇa reals.

Our senses can only perceive certain objective qualities, but they cannot perceive any substratum behind them. Therefore it is logically incorrect to infer any substratum, which may be called guṇas as reals. After a discussion about what may be the original material cause either as partless atoms or as immaterial prakṛti, the Āgama decides in favour of the latter. But this prakṛti is not the state of equilibrium (sāmyāvasthā) of th e guṇas as the Sāṃkhya holds.

The Āgama discusses the prāpya-kāritva and aprāpya-kāritva of the different senses. It also says that movement does not belong originally to every atom, but it belongs only to the living atoms, the souls. It cannot also be due to the mere presence of other things.

When the manas is associated with cicchakti, then it attains the knowledge of all things by the exercise of the internal organs. At the first moment this knowledge is indeterminate. Later on various determinations become associated with it. The perception of things at different times becomes synthetised and concretised, otherwise the various memory images might arise before the mind and prevent the formation of a synthetic image, as we find in the case of a concrete perception.

It is only the ego-consciousness or the abhimāna that produces in us the sense agency (katṛtva). Without this sense of abhimāna there would be no difference between the self and other material objects. From ego-consciousness there proceeds the deliberate consciousness of decision (niścaya).

Knowledge of things cannot arise merely from buddhi, for the stuff of buddhi is material. Consciousness can only arise occasionally in consequence of its relation with cicchakti. If the mental states are always changing, then they cannot be perceived as constant, though they may appear to be so, like the flame of a lamp which changes from moment to moment, but yet appears to be the same.

Turning to the doctrine of artha-kriyā-kāritā of the Buddhists, the Āgama says that if the doctrine of artha-kriyā-kāritā be accepted, then the existence of things cannot properly be explained. The proper view is that of pariṇāma-vāda. If the things are momentary, then effects cannot be produced, for a thing must remain for at least two moments in order to produce an effect. If the two moments are separate entities, then one cannot be the cause of the other. The causal change can only be with reference to the existing things, but not with regard to the entities which are momentary. In order that there may be a production, the thing must remain for two moments at least. Things that are existent need not always be productive. The production of an effect may depend on accessory causes. A jug cannot be produced by threads, but the threads may produce a piece of cloth. This shows that the effect is always already in the cause.

It cannot also be held that our mental states are identical with the external objects, for in that case it would be difficult to explain the multiplicity of our cognitive states in accordance with their objects. We would not be able to explain how one entity assumes so many diverse forms. The only course left is to admit some external objects with which our senses come into contact. These objects consist of a conglomeration of tanmātras. It is in and through this conglomeration of tanmātras that new qualities arise to which we give the names of different bhūtas. The difference between tanmātras and bhūtas is that the former are more subtle and the latter more gross. This view is somewhat different from the Sāṃkhya view, for here the bhūtas are not regarded as different categories, but only as a conglomeration of tanmātras. The idea that the guṇas are certain objective entities is again and again repudiated. It is held that it is the conglomeration of guṇas that is regarded by us as substantive entity.

The Āgama then criticises the theory of atoms which are partless. It is held that the partless atoms cannot have sides in which other atoms could be associated. The question is raised that tanmātras being formless (amūrta) cannot themselves be the causes of all forms. The world of forms thus leads us to infer some material as its cause. To this Śiva replies that the prakṛti can be regarded as being endowed with form and also as formless[39].

Śiva in further replying to the questions says that things having form must have other entities endowed with forms as their causes. Therefore one may infer that the atoms are the causes of the world. In that case one cannot deny the fact that the atoms have forms. In further discussing the subject Śiva says that the atoms are many and they have parts. So they are of the same type as other effects, such as jug, etc. As such the cause of the world must be regarded as being something which is formless. All effects are anitya, dependent on others (āśrita), and have parts and are many. The Śaivism, therefore, holds that their cause must be different, it must be one, independent and partless. Therefore it discards the view that the atoms are the material cause of the world[40]. The gross elements gradually evolved from the five tanmātras.

The Āgama refutes the view that ākāśa is mere vacuity. Had it been a vacuity, it would have been a negation, and a negation always belongs to the positive entity. The Āgama also refutes the possibility of ākāśa being regarded as any kind of negation. Śabda is regarded as the specific quality of ākāśa.

The Āgama says that it admits only four pramāṇas: pratyakṣa, anumāna, śabda, and arthāpatti. In reality it is pure consciousness devoid of all doubts that constitutes the truth underlying the pramāṇas. Doubt arises out of the oscillation of the mind between two poles. Memory refers to objects experienced before. In order that any knowledge may attain to the state of proper validity, it must be devoid of memory and doubt.

Pure consciousness is the real valid part in knowledge. Buddhi being itself a material thing cannot be regarded as constituting the valid element of knowledge. It is in and through the kalās that the pure consciousness comes into contact with the objective world. This perception may be either nirvikalpa or savikalpa. In the nirvikalpa perception there is no reference in the mind to class concepts or names. By the nirvikalpa perception one can perceive things as they are without any association of names, etc.

Perception is of two kinds:

  1. as associated with the senses, and
  2. as unassociated with the senses as in the case of intuitive knowledge by yoga.

When associated with senses the perceptive function removes the veil between the objects and the self, so that the objects can be directly perceived. In explaining the nature of perception the Āgama follows the Nyāya technique of saṃyukta-samavāya, etc., for explaining the situation. It believes like Nyāya in five types of propositions, namely pratijñā, hetu, dṛṣṭānta, upanaya and nigamana.


Vātulāgama [41]

Vātulāgama from Adyar with commentary seems to be almost identical with the Vātulāgama of the Mysore Oriental Research Institute, only with this difference that the Vātulāgama of Mysore contains more verses in the concluding tenth chapter in which the Vīra-śaiva doctrine is praised above other Śaiva doctrines. But the original beginning is more or less like the general Śaiva doctrine as may be found in Tattva-prakāśikā with Aghora-śivācārya’s commentary. There is also the tendency to derive the existence of Śiva as the ultimate reality on the basis of inference, as may be found in the Siddhānta systems of Śaivism, such as the Mṛgendrā-gama or in the Lākulīśa-Pāśupata system. The supplementary portion of Vātulāgama introduces the doctrine of liṅga-dhāraṇa of the Vīra-śaivas, but does not say anything about its specific philosophy or about its other doctrines associated with ṣaṭ-sthala.


Vatula-tantram [42]

Śiva-tattva is of three kinds:

  1. niṣkala,
  2. sakala and
  3. niṣkala-sakala.

Śiva may be distinguished in ten ways:

  1. tattva-bheda,
  2. varṇa-bheda,
  3. cakra-bheda,
  4. varga-bheda,
  5. mantra-bheda,
  6. praṇava,
  7. brahma-bheda,
  8. aṅga-bheda,
  9. mantra-jāta,
  10. kīla.

Though previously it has been said to be of three kinds, it has three forms again:

  1. subrahmaṇya-śwa,
  2. sadā-śiva and
  3. maheśa.

Śiva is called niṣkala when all His kalās, that is parts or organs or functions, are concentrated in a unity within Him. In further defining the nature of niṣkalatva, the author says that when the pure and impure elements that contribute to experience are collected together and merged in the original cause, and remain there as the budding cause of all powers that are to develop the universe, we have the niṣkala stage. The commentator supports this idea by quotations from many texts. The sakala-niṣkala is that in which the deeds of persons are in a dormant state, and when the time of creation comes it associates itself with the bindu state for the formation of the world. The bindu represents the māyopādāna with which Śiva associates Himself for the creation[43]. These different names of sakala and niṣkala and sakala-niṣkala of Śiva are but different moments in Śiva and do not constitute any actual transformation in Him, for He always remains unchanged in Himself. In Śiva, therefore, there is no change. The changes are to be found in the bindu and the anus[44].

God can only be proved by anumāna as being the instrumental cause of the world. This is taking the old Śaiva view of the Siddhānta, like the Mṛgendrāgama. The agency of God is to be explained by the supposition that by His desire everything is accomplished. He does not take to any instrument or organs for accomplishing any act. Thus when the potter makes his pot, it is through the infusion of God’s power that he can do so. In the case of the potter, the agency is different, because he works with his instruments and organs. Śiva through His energy can know and do all things.

Śiva creates all things by His simple saṃkalpa and this creation is called the śuddhādhva. The author refers to Tattva-prakāśika of Bhoja and the commentary on it by Aghora-śivācārya.

Śakti is the will of God and that is called bindu. From that arises nāda which is a source of all speech[45].

We have given some analysis of some of the important Āgamas just to show the nature of the subjects that are dealt with in these Āgamas. A more comprehensive account of the Āgamas could easily have been given, but that would have involved only tiresome repetition. Most of the Āgamas deal with the same sort of subjects more or less in the same manner with some incidental variations as regards their emphasis on this or that subject. They also sometimes vary as regards their style and mode of approach. Thus the Āgama called Śiva-jñāna-siddhi deals with the various subjects by quotations from a large number of Āgamas. This shows that there was an internal unity among the various Āgamas. From these collective works we can know much of the contents of the different Āgamas. This is important as some of these Āgamas are scarcely available even as a single manuscript.

The date of these Āgamas cannot be definitely fixed. It may be suggested that the earliest of them were written sometime in the second or third century A.D., and these must have been continued till the thirteenth or fourteenth century. In addition to the theological or religious dogmatics, they contain discussions on the nature of the various ducts or nāḍis in connection with the directions regarding the performance of yoga or mental concentration. There are some slight disputations with rival systems of thought as those of the Buddhists, Jains and the Sāṃkhya. But all this is very slight and may be practically ignored. There is no real contribution to any epistemological thought. We have only the same kind of stereotyped metaphysical dogma and the same kind of argument that leads to the admission of a creator from the creation as of the agent from the effects. Thus apparently the material cause, the upādāna kāraṇa, described as prakṛti and sometimes atoms, is different from the instrumental cause, God. But in order to maintain the absolute monistic view that Śiva alone is the ultimate reality, this material cause is often regarded as the śakti or energy which is identical with God. Sometimes the entire creation is described as having an appearance before the individuals according to their karma through God’s power of bondage. The individual souls are all infected by various impurities derived from māyā or karma. These impurities are ultimately destroyed by the grace of God, when the Śaiva initiation is taken.

These Āgamas are also full of directions as regards various religious practices and disciplines, and also of various kinds of rituals, mantras, directions for the building of temples or of setting up of various kinds of phallic symbols, which, however, have to be entirely omitted from the present treatment of Śaivism. But it is easy to see that the so-called Śaiva philosophy of the Āgamas is just a metaphysical kernel for upholding the Śaiva religious life and practices. These consist largely in inspiring the devotees to lead an absolutely moral life, wholly dedicated to Śiva, and full of intoxicating fervour of devotion, as one may find in Tiru-vāchaka of Māṇikka-vāchakar. This devotion is the devotion of service, of a life entirely dedicated to Lord Śiva.

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- Footnotes:


The skeleton of this system has already been dealt with in another section as Pāśupata-śāstras.


Vaiṣṇavism, Śaivism and Minor Religious Systems, by Sir R. G. Bhandarkar (1913), p. 128.


Bhandarkar notes it in his section on the Pāśupatas, op. cit. p. 121 n.


The present writer could not find any such verse in the edition of Śiva-mahāpurāṇa printed by the Venkateśvara Press, as 11. 24 contains only seventy-two stanzas.


These names are taken from Rājaśekhara’s Saddarśana-samuccaya composed during the [middle of the fourteenth century. Almost the same names with slight variations are found in Gunaratna’s commentary on Saddarśana-samuccaya.


See Śiva-mahāpurāṇa, Vāyavīya Saṃḥitā 11. 9, and also Kūrma-purāṇa 1. 53. The Vāyu-purāṇa describes in the twenty-third chapter the names of the four disciples of each of the twenty-eight ācāryas. Viśuddha Muni mentions the name of Lakulīśa in his work called Atma-samarpaṇa. See also Introduction to the Pāśupata-sūtra, p. 3n.

The list of twenty-eight teachers given in the Śiva-mahāpurāṇa does not always tally with the list collected by other scholars, or with that which is found in the Ātma samarpaṇa by Viśuddha Muni. It seems therefore that some of these names are quite mythical, and as their works are not available, their names are not much used. Viśuddha Muni summarises the main items of selfcontrol, yama, from the Pāśupata-śāstra, which are more or less of the same nature as the yamas or measures of self-control as found in the Yogaśāstra introduced by Patañjali. It is not out of place here to mention that the concept of God in Yogaśāstra is of the same pattern as that of the Paśupati in the Pāśupata-sūtra and bhāṣya.


Those who are interested in the study of the evolution of the different aspects of God Śiva, may consult Bhandarkar’s Vaiṣṇavism and Śaivism, and also the article on Śaivism by Frazer in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics.


atha yoga-mataṃ brumaḥ, śaivam-ity-aparā-bhidham.
      Rājaśekhara’s Saḍdarśana-samuccaya, p. 8 (2nd edition, Benares).


śrutānusārataḥ proktam naiyāyika-mataṃ mayā.
p. io.


śaivaḥ pāśupataścaiva mahāvrata-dharas tathā,
turyāḥ kālamukhā muhhyā bhedā ete tapasvinām.
Gunaratna’s commentary on Haribhadra’s Saḍdarśana-samuccaya, p. 51 (Suali’s edition, Calcutta, 1905).

According to Gunaratna, therefore, the Mahāvratadharas and the Kālamukhas are entirely different. The Kāpālikas are not mentioned by Gunaratna. These four classes of Śaivas were originally Brahmins and they had the sacred thread. Their difference was largely due to their different kinds of rituals and behaviour (ācāra):

sva-svācārādi-bhedena caturdhā syus tapasvinaḥ.

Rāmānuja mentions the names of Kāpālikas and Kālamukhas as being outside the pale of the Vedas (veda-bāhya). In Śaṅkara-vijaya of Ānandagiri also the Kāpālikas are represented as being outside the pale of the Vedas. But the Kālamukhas are not mentioned there.


See Gunaratna’s commentary, p. 51.


devatā-viṣayo bḥedo nāsti naiyāyikaiḥ samam,
vaiśeṣikāṇām tattve tu vidyate’sau nidarśyate.
Haribhadra’s Saddarśana-samuccaya, p. 266.


C. Hayavadana Rao’s śrīkara-bhāṣya, Vol. 1, p. 31.


Ibid. p. 36.


Ibid. p. 41.


Ibid. p. 48.


Ibid. p. 49. The systems of Śrīkantha and of Meykaijḍa have been dealt with in separate sections of the present work.


The colophon of the Gaṇakārikā runs as follows:

ācārya-bhāsarvajña-viracitāyāṃ gaṇakārikāyāṃ
ratnaṭīkā parisamāptā.

This led to the confusion that the Gaṇakārikā was the composition of Bhāsar-vajña, who only wrote the commentary. This Haradatta must be distinguished from the Haradatta of the Padamañjarī on the Kāśikā-vṛtti, and also from the commentator of the Āpastamba-sūtra.


The works mentioned by Mādhava in his Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha are as follows:

  • Mṛgendrāgama,
  • Pauṣkarāgama,
  • Tattva-prakāśa of Bhoja,
  • Soma-sambhu’s bhāṣya,
  • Aghora-śivācārya’s commentary on Tattva-prakāśa,
  • Kālotta-rāgama,
  • Rāmakaṇḍa’s commentary on Kālottarā,
  • Kiraṇāgama,
  • Saurabheyāgama and
  • Jñāna-ratnāvati.

saṃskṛtaiḥ prākṛtair vākyair yaśca śisyānurūptaḥ
deśa-bhāṣā-dyupāyaiś ca bodhayet sa guruḥ smṛtaḥ.
quoted in Śiva-jñāna-siddhi. (MS. no. 3726, Oriental Research Institute, Mysore.)


Some of the Āgamas are as follows: Kāmika, Yogaja, Cintya, Kāraṇa, Ajita, Dīpta, Sūkṣma, Aṃsumāna, Suprabheda, Vijaya, Niḥśvāsa, Svāyaṃbhuva, Vīra, Raurava, Makuta, Vimala, Candra-jñāna, Bimba, Lalita, Santāna, Sarvokta, Parameśvara, Kiraṇa, Vātida, śiva-jñāna-bodha, Anala, Prodgīta.

In the Śiva-jñāna-siddhi we find extensive quotations from other Āgamas and Tantras as illustrating the philosophical and religious position of Siddhāntas. The works from which the quotations have been taken are as follows: Hima-saṃhitā, Cintya-viśva, Śiva-dharmottara (purāṇa), Pauṣkara, Siddha-tantra, Sarva-matopanyāsa, Parā, Ratna-traya, Nivāsa, Mṛgendra, Jñāna-kārikā, Nāda-kārikā, Kālottara, Viśva-sārottara, Vāyavya, Mātaṅga, Śuddha, Sarva-jñānottara, Siddhānta-rahasya, Jñāna-ratnāvalī, Meru-tantra, Svacchanda and Devī-kālottara.

Most of the above Āgamas are written in Sanskrit characters in about half a dozen Dravidian languages, such as Tamil, Telegu, Kanarese, Grantha and Nandi-nāgri. Several Tantras based on these Āgamas are also found as Sanskrit compositions in Dravidian scripts. So far as the knowledge of the present writer goes, there is hardly anything of philosophical value or systematic thought which is available in Dravidian, and not available in Sanskrit.


He puts them in two groups: (i) Pāśupata, Māvrata-vāda (possibly Mahāvrata), Kāpālika, Vāma, Bhairava, Aikya-vāda; (ii) Ūrdha-śaiva, Anādi-śaiva, Ādi-śaiva, Mahā-śaiva, Bheda-śaiva, Abheda-śaiva, Antara-śaiva, Guna-śaiva, Nirguna-śaiva, Adhvan-śaiva, Yoga-śaiva, Jñāna-śaiva, Anu-śaiva, Kriyā-śaiva, Nālu-pāda-śaiva, Śuddha-śaiva.


In Sūta-saṃhitā, part I, ch. 2, we find that the Vedas, Dharmaśāstras, Purāṇas, Mahābhārata, Vedāṅgas, Upavedas, the Āgamas such as Kāmika, etc. the Kāpāla and the Lākula, the Pāśupata, the Soma and the Bhairavāgamas and such other Agamas are mentioned in the same breath as forming a cognate literature. Sūta-saṃhitā is generally regarded as a work of the sixth century a . d .


Kāmika, Yogaja, Cintya, Kāraṇa, Ajita, Dīpta, Sūkṣma, Sāhasraka, Aṇsumān, Suprabheda, Vijaya, Niḥśvāsa, Svāyaṃbhuva, Anila, Vīra, Raurava, Makuta, Vimala, Candrahāsa, Mukha-jug-bimba or Bimba, Udgīta or Prodglta, Lalita, Siddha, Santāna, Nārasiṃha, Pārameśvara, Kiraṇa and Vātula. Most of these have been already mentioned by the present writer and some of them are in his possession. Schomerus says that these names are found in Śrīkantha’s bhāṣva, but the present writer is definite that they are not to be found there.


The Tamil works referred to by Schomerus as forming the group of the Śaiva-siddhānta Śāstra are as follows: Śiva-jñāna-bodha, Śiva-jñāna-siddhi, Tirupavirupatḥu, Tiruvuntiyar, Tirukkalirrupadiyar, Unmaivilakka, Śiva-prakāśa, Tiruvaruḍpayan, Vinā-venba, Poṛṛipakrodai, Kodikkavi, Nencuvidutūtu, Uṇmaineṛivilakka and Saṅkalpa-nirākarana. The Śiva-jñāna-bodha of twelve verses is supposed to be a purport of the Rauravāgama and it has eight commentaries.


Since writing this section on the basis of the original manuscript the present writer has come across a printed text of the Vidyā and Yogapāda of Mṛgendrāgama published in 1928 by K. M. Subrahmanya Śāstrī, with a commentary by Bhafta-Nārāyaṇa Kanfha called Mṛgendra-vṛtti, and a subcommentary by Aghora-śivācārya called Mṛgendra-vṛtti-dīpikā.


sānvaya-vyatirekābḥyāṃ ruḍḥito vāvaslyate,
tadvyakti-jananaṃ nāma tat-kāraka-samāśrayāt.
tena tantu-gatākāraṃ patākārā'barodhakam,
vemādinā ’panīyātḥa patavyaktih prakāśyate.

      Ninth patala.


nācit-cit sannidḥau kintu na vittas te ubhe mithaḥ,
prapañca-śivayor vettā yaḥ sa ātmā tayoḥ pṛthak.


  ...śivo jānāti viśvakam,
sva-bhogyatvena tu paraṃ naiva jānāti kiñcana.


anena mala-yukto vijñāna-kevala uktaḥ. saṃmūḍha ityanena pralayena kalāder upasaṃhṛtatvāt samyak mūḍḥaḥ.
(Aḍyar Library manuscript).


 evañ ca pāśā-panayanad ātmanah sarva-jñatva-sarva-kartṛtvātmaka-śivatvābhivyaktir eva mukti-daśāyām, na tu pariṇāma-svarūpa-vināśaḥ.


It is traditionally believed that the mantras or hymns constitute the body of a deity.


vivādādhyāsitaṃ viśvaṃ viśva-vit-kartṛ-pūrvakam,
kāryatvād āvayoḥ siddhaṃ kāryaṃ kumbhādikaṃ yathā.
First patala.


tac ceha vibhu-dharmatvān na ca kvācitkam iṣyate,
nityatvam iva tenātmā sthitaḥ sarvārtha-dṛk-kriyaḥ.
jñātṛtvam api yadyasya kvācitkaṃ vibhutā kutaḥ,
dharmiṇo yāvatī vyāptis tāvad-dharmasya ca sthitiḥ,
yathā paṭa-sthitaṃ śauklyaṃ paṭaṃ vyāpyākhilaṃ sthitam,
sthitaṃ vyāpyaivam ātmānaṃ jñātṛtvam api sarvadā,
na ca nirviṣayaṃ jñānam parāpekṣaṃ svarūpataḥ.
Fourth patala.


kiñ caitad anyathā-jñānaṃ na samyag jñāna-bādhakam.
Fourth patala.


avibhāgasya bḥāgoktau tad-vibhāga upādhitah.
Fourth paṭala.


yady abhinnam ahaṅkṛt syāu devadatto ’pyahaṃ matiḥ,
attyasyām upajāyeta nātmaikatvaṃ tataḥ sthitam.

      Sixth patala.


cakṣuṣā locite hy arthe tamarthaṃ buddhi-gocaram,
vidadhātīḥa yad viprās tanmanaḥ paripatḥyate.

      Sixth patala.


māyā tu paramā mūrta nityānityasya kāraṇam,
ekāneka-vibḥāgādhvā vastu-rūpā śivātmikā.

      Sixth paṭala.


tato na paramāṇūnāṃ ḥetutvam yuktibhir mataṃ.
      Sixth paṭala.



Oriental Research Institute, Mysore.


Adyar Library manuscript.


maheśaḥ sakalaḥ bindu-māyopādāna-janita-tanu-karaṇādibhiṛ ātmānaṃ yadā śuddhāśuddha-bhogaṃ prayacchati tadā śiva-saṅgakaḥ sa eva bhagavān sakala ity ucyate.


laya-bhogādhikārāṇāṃ na bhedo vāstavaḥ śive, kintu vindor aṇūnāṃ ca vāstavā eva te matāḥ.


śaktir iccheti vijñeyā śabdo jñānam ihocyate, vāgbhavaṃ syāt kriyā-śaktiḥ kalā vai ṣoḍaśa smṛtaḥ. yā parameśvarasya icchā sā śaktir iti jñeyā, śaktestu jāyate śabdaḥ. Yat parameśvarasya jñānam tadeva śabdaḥ. śabdāt jāyate vāgbhavaḥ. yā parameśvarasya kriyā sā tu vāgbhavaḥ. ṣoḍaśa svarāḥ kalā ity ucyante.

Quoted from Pauṣkarāgama :

acetanaṃ jagad viprāś cetana-prerakaṃ vinā,
pravrttau vā nivṛttau vā na svatantram rathādivat.

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