A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 5

Southern Schools of Śaivism

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1955 | 79,816 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of matanga-parameshvara-tantra: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the fourth part in the series called the “literature of southern shaivism”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 4 - Mataṅga-parameśvara-tantra

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[1]. 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.

Footnotes and references:


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

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