The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha

by E. B. Cowell | 1882 | 102,190 words | ISBN-13: 9788174791962

The Sarva-darsana-samgraha (English translation) of Madhava Acharya is a compendium of different philosophical schools of Hindu thought and Pancadasi, an important text in the Advaita Vedanta tradition. Full title: Sarvadarśanasaṅgraha or Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha: Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy (author Mādhava Ācārya)...

Chapter VII - The Śaiva System

[The seventh system in Mādhava's Sarva-darśana-saṅgraha is the Śaiva-darśana. This sect is very prevalent in the South of India, especially in the Tamil country; it is said to have arisen there about the eleventh century a.d. Several valuable contributions have been lately made to our knowledge of its tenets in the publications of the Rev. H. R. Hoisington and the Rev. T. Foulkes. The former especially, by his excellent articles in the American Oriental Society's Journal, has performed a great service to the students of Hindu philosophy. He has there translated the Tattuva-Kaṭṭalei, or law of the Tattvas, the Śiva-Gnānapotham, or instruction in the knowledge of God, and the Śiva-Pirakāsam, or light of Śiva, and the three works shed immense light on the outline as given by Mādhava. One great use of the latter is to enable us to recognise the original Sanskrit names in their Tamil disguise, no easy matter occasionally, as aṛul for anugraha and tīḍcei for dīkṣā may testify.

The Śaivas have considerable resemblance to the Theistic Sānkhya; they hold that God, souls, and matter are from eternity distinct entities, and the object of philosophy is to disunite the soul from matter and gradually to unite it to God. Śiva is the chief deity of the system, and the relation between the three is quaintly expressed by the allegory of a beast, its fetters, and its owner. Paśupati is a well-known name of Śiva, as the master or creator of all things.

There seem to be three different sets of so-called Saiva sūtras. One is in five books, called by Colebrooke the Paśupati-śāstra, which is probably the work quoted by Mādhava in his account of the Nakulīśa Pāśupatas; another is in three books, with a commentary by Kṣemarāja, with its first sūtra, caītanyam ātmā. The third was commented on by Abhinava-gupta, and opens with the śloka given in the Sarva-Darśana-Saṅgraha, p. 91, lines 1-4. The MS. which I consulted in Calcutta read the first words—

Kathañcid āsādya Maheśvarasya dāsyam.

None of these works, however, appear to be the authority of the present sect. They seem chiefly to have relied on the twenty-eight Āgamas and some of the Purāṇas. A list of the Āgamas is given in Mr. Foulkes' "Catechism of the Śaiva Religion;" and of these the Kiraṇa and Karaṇa are quoted in the following treatise.]


Certain, however, of the Māheśvara sect receiving the system of truth authoritatively laid down in the Śaiva Āgama,[1] reject the foregoing opinion that "the Supreme Being is a cause as independent of our actions, &c.," on the ground of its being liable to the imputation of partiality and cruelty. They, on the contrary, hold the opinion that "the Supreme Being is a cause in dependence on our actions, &c.;" and they maintain that there are three categories distinguished as the Lord, the soul, and the world (or literally "the master," "the cattle," and "the fetter"). As has been said by those well versed in the Tantra doctrines—

Nor may we say with the Vedāntin that it is only one, since the apportionment of different fruits proves that there are many individual souls; nor with the Sānkhyas that it is devoid of action, since, when all the various "fetters" are removed, Śruti informs us of a state of identity with Śiva, which consists in intelligence in the form of an eternal and infinite vision and action.[21] This has been declared in the Śrīmat Mṛgendra—

"It is revealed that identity with Śiva results when all fetters are removed."

And again—

"Intelligence consists in vision and action, and since in his soul

"This exists always and on every side, therefore, after liberation, Śruti calls it that which faces every way."

It is also said in the Tattva-prakāśa

"The liberated souls are themselves Śivas, but these are liberated by his favour;

"He is to be known as the one eternally liberated, whose body is the five Mantras."

Now the souls are threefold, as denominated vijñānākalāḥ, pralayākalāḥ, and sakalāḥ.[22] (a.) The first are those who are under the influence of mala only, since their actions are cancelled by receiving their proper fruits, or by abstraction, contemplation, and knowledge, and since they have no "fetters" in the form of enjoyments, such as kalā, &c. (which fetters would, however, be the cause of cancelling actions by bringing about their proper fruit). (b.) The second are those who are under the influence of mala and karman, since in their case kalā, &c., are destroyed by mundane destructions, hence their name pralayākala. (c.) The third are those who are bound in the three fetters of mala, māyā, and karman, hence their name sakala. The first class are again subdivided into samāpta-kaluṣāḥ and asamāpta-kaluṣāḥ, according as their inherent corruption is perfectly exhausted or not. The former,—having received the mature penalties of their corruptions,—are now, as foremost of men and worthy of the privilege, raised by Śiva's favour to the rank of the Lords of Knowledge (the Vidyeśvaras), Ananta, and the rest. This ogdoad of the Lords of Knowledge is described in the Bahudaivatya—

"Ananta, and Sūkṣma, and Śivottama,

"Ekanetra, and again Ekarudra and Trimūrttika,

"Śrīkaṇṭha and Śikhaṇḍin,—these are declared to be the Vidyeśvaras."

The latter Śiva, in his mercy, raises to the rank of the seventy million Mantras.[23] All this is explained in the Tattva-prakāśa.[24] Similarly Soma-Śambhu has said—

"One class is named vijñānākala, the second pralayākala,

"The third sakala,—these are the three whom the Śāstra regards as objects of mercy.

"The first is united to mala alone, the second to mala and karma,

"The third are united to all the tattvas beginning with kalā and ending with 'earth.'"[25]

The Pralayākalāḥ are also twofold, as being pakvapāśadvaya or not, i.e., those in whom the two remaining fetters are matured, and those in whom they are not. The former attain liberation, but the latter, by the power of karman, are endowed with the puryaṣṭaka[26] body, and pass through various births. As has been said in the Tattva-prakāśa—

"Those among the Pralayākalas whose karman and mala are immature,

"Go, united with the puryaṣṭaka body, into many births by the power of karman."

The puryaṣṭaka is also thus described in the same work—

"The puryaṣṭaka is composed of the internal organ, thought (dhī), karman, and the instruments."

This is thus explained by Aghora Śiva Ācārya, "the puryaṣṭaka is a subtile body apportioned to each individual soul, which continues from the creation until the close of the kalpa, or until liberation: it is composed of the thirty[27] tattvas beginning with 'earth' and ending with kalā." As has been said in the Tattva-sangraha

"This set of tattvas, commencing with 'earth' and ending with kalā, is assigned to each soul,

"And wanders by the law of karman through all the bodies produced by the world."

The following is the full meaning of this passage:—The word "internal organ," which properly includes "mind," "intelligence," "egoism," and "reason,"[28] includes also the seven tattvas which enter into the production of enjoyment [or experience], viz., those called kalā, time, fate, knowledge, concupiscence, nature, and quality;[29] the words "thought" (dhī) and karman signify the five cognisable gross elements, and their originators, the subtile rudiments. By the word "instruments" are comprehended the ten organs of sense and action.

"But is it not declared in the Śrīmat Kālottara that 'The set of five, sound, touch, form, taste and smell, intelligence, mind and egoism, these constitute the puryaṣṭaka?'"

How, then, can any different account be maintained? We grant this, and hence the venerable Rāma Kaṇṭha has explained that sūtra in its literal meaning [i. e., as puryaṣṭaka, is derived from aṣṭa, "eight"], so why should we be prolix in the discussion? Still, if you ask how we can reconcile our account with the strict nominal definition of puryaṣṭaka, we reply that there is really no contradiction, as we maintain that it is composed of a set of eight in the following manner:—(1.) The five elements; (2.) the five rudiments; (3.) the five organs of knowledge; (4.) those of action; (5.) the fourfold internal organ; (6.) their instrument;[30] (7.) nature [prakṛti]; and (8.) the class composed of the five, beginning with kalā, which form a kind of case.[31]

Now in the case of some of those souls who are joined to the puryaṣṭaka body, Maheśvara Ananta having compassionated them as possessed of peculiar merit, constitutes them here as lords of the world; as has been said—

"Maheśvara pities some and grants them to be lords of the world."

The class called sakala is also divided into two, as pakvakaluṣa and apakvakaluṣa. As for the former, the Supreme Being, in conformity with their maturity (paripāka), puts forth a power agreeable thereto, and transfers them to the position of the hundred and eighteen Lords of the Mantras, signified by the words Maṇḍalī, &c., as has been said—

"The rest are denominated sakala, from their connection with Kalā, &c., seized by time whose mouths are days;

"The Supreme of his own will makes one hundred and eighteen of these the Lords of the Mantras.

"Eight of these are called Maṇḍalins; eight again are Krodha, &c.;

"Vīreśa, Śrīkaṇṭha, and the hundred Rudras,—these together are the hundred and eighteen."

In their case again, the Supreme, having assumed the form of a teacher, stops the continued accession of maturity and contracts his manifested power, and ultimately grants to them liberation by the process of initiation; as has been said—

"These creatures whose mala is matured, by putting forth a healing power,

"He, assuming the form of a teacher, unites by initiation to the highest principle."

It is also said in the Srīmad Mṛgendra—

"He removes from that infinitesimal soul all the bonds which previously exerted a contrary influence over it."[32]

All this has been explained at great length by Nārāyaṇa-Kaṇṭha, and there it is to be studied; but we are obliged to pass on through fear of prolixity.

But as for the second class, or those called apakvakaluṣa, the Supreme Being, as impelled by the desert of their respective actions, appoints them, as bound and endued with infinitesimal bodies, to enjoy the rewards of their previous actions.[33] As has been said—

(4.) "Māyā," because herein as an energy of the Divine Being all the world is potentially contained (māti) at a mundane destruction, and again at a creation it all comes (yāti) into manifestation, hence the derivation of the name. This has been said in the Śrīmat Saurabheya

"The effects, as a form of the Divine energy, are absorbed therein at a mundane destruction,

"And again at a renovation it is manifested anew in the form of effects as kalā, &c."[38]

Although much more might be added on this topic, yet we stop here through fear of extending this treatise too far. Thus have the three categories been declared,—the Lord, the soul, and matter.

A different mode of treating the subject is found in the Jñānaratnāvalī, &c., in such lines as—

"The Lord, knowledge, ignorance, the soul, matter, and the cause

"Of the cessation thereof,—these are collectively the six categories."

But our readers must seek for full information from the work itself. Thus our account of the system is complete.

E. B. C.

Footnotes and references:


Colebrooke speaks of the Paśupati-sāstra (Maheśvara-siddhānta or Sivāgama), as the text-book of the Pāśupata sect. The Āgamas are said to be twenty-eight (see their names in the Rev. T. Foulkes' "Catechism of the Śaiva Religion").


"There must be three eternal entities, Deity, soul, matter;" "as the water is co-eternal with the sea and the salt with the water, so soul is co-eternal with the Deity, and pāśa is eternally co-existent with soul" (J. A. O. S. iv. pp. 67, 85). In p. 58 we find the advaita of the Vedānta attacked. In p. 62 it is said that the soul is eternally entangled in matter, and God carries on his five operations (see infra) to disentangle it, bringing out all that is required for previous desert.


These four feet are the four stages of religious life (see J. A. O. S. iv. pp. 135, 180), called in Tamil sarithei, kirikei, yokam, and gnānam. The first is the stage of practical piety and performance of the prescribed duties and rites; the second is that of the "confirmatory sacrament" and the five purifications involved in true pūjā; the third is that of the eight observances of the yogin; the fourth is that of knowledge which prepares the soul for intimate union with God.


Cf. Colebrooke, Essays (2d ed.), vol. i. p. 315.


Nyāyena may here mean "argument."


Scil. if there were only one cause there would be only one invariable effect. The very existence of various effects proves that there must be other concurrent causes (as human actions) necessary. The argument seems to me to require here this unnatural stress to be laid on eva, but this is certainly not the original meaning of the passage; it occurs Mahābhārata, iii. 1144 (cf. Gauḍapāda, S. Kār. 61).


In p. 82, line 3, infra, I read Karaṇāsambhavācca.


This may be the same with the Meykāṇḍa of the Tamil work in J. A. O. S. His poem was called the Mṛgendra(?).


Should we read tāvad anaśarīraḥ in p. 83, line 2?


I retain this word, see infra.


"Māyā (or Prakṛti) is the material, Śakti the instrumental, and Deity the efficient cause" (J. A. O. S. iv. p. 55).


These are the five first names of the eleven mantras which are included in the five kalās (J. A. O. S. iv. pp. 238-243). The Śivalinga (the visible object of worship for the enlightened) is composed of mantras, and is to be regarded as the body of Śiva (see J. A. O. S. iv. p. 101). These five mantras are given in the inverse order in Taitt. Āraṇyaka, x. 43-47 (cf. Nyāyā-mālāvist. p. 3).


These are the operations of the five manifestations of Śiva (see J. A. O. S. iv. 8, 18) which in their descending order are Sāthākkiyam (i.e., Sadākṣaya?) or Sadā-Śiva, who is Śiva and Śakti combined, and the source of grace to all souls; Iccuran or Mayesuran, the obscure; Sutta-vittei (Śuddhavidyā) which is properly the Hindu triad, Rudra, Viṣṇu, and Brahma. They are respectively symbolised by the nāda, vindu, m, u, and a of Om.


In Wilson's Mackenzie Cat. i. p. 138, we find a Tāntrik work, the Narapati-jaya-caryā, ascribed to Bhoja the king of Dhār.


Ananta is a name of Śiva in the Atharva-śiras Upaniṣad (see Indische Stud. i. 385).


This is the fourth of the twenty-eight Āgamas (see Foulkes' Catechism).


Aṇu? "The soul, when clothed with these primary things (desire, knowledge, action, &c.), is an exceedingly small body" (Foulkes). Anaṇu is used as an epithet of Brahman in Bṛhad Ar. Up. iii. 8. 8.


See Ind. Studien, i. 301.


The mind or internal sense perceives soul (see Bhāshā Pariccheda, śloka 49).


Delete the iti in p. 84, line 5, infra.


Cf. the Nakulīśa Pāśupatas, p. 76, 4 (supra, p. 103).


For these three classes see J. A. O. S. iv. pp. 87, 137. They are there described as being respectively under the influence of āṇavam malam only, or this with kanmam malam, or these with mayei malam. The āṇavam is described as original sin, or that source of evil which was always attached to the soul; kanmam is that fate which inheres in the soul's organism and metes out its deserts; mayei is matter in its obscuring or entangling power, the source of the senses. Mādhava uses "kalā," &c., for māyā. The reason is to be found in J. A. O. S. p. 70, where it is said that the five vidyātattvas (kalā, vidyā, rāga, niyati, and kalā) and the twenty-four ātmatattvas (sc. the gross and subtile elements, and organs of sense and action, with the intellectual faculties manas, buddhi, ahaṃkāra, and citta), are all developed from māyā. This exactly agrees with the quotation from Soma Śambhu, infra. We may compare with it what Mādhava says, p. 77, in his account of the Nakulīśa Pāśupatas, where he describes kalā as unintelligent, and composed of the five elements, the five tanmātras, and the ten organs, with buddhi, ahaṃkāra and manas.


See J. A. O. S. iv. p. 137. I read anugrahakaraṇāt in p. 86, line 3.


I omit the quotation, as it only repeats the preceding. It, however, names the three classes as vijñāna-kevala, pralaya-kevala, and sakala.


I.e., thus including five of the vidyātattvas and all the twenty-four ātmatattvas.


This term seems to be derived from purī, "body" (cf. puriśaya for puruṣa, Bṛhad Ār. Up. ii. 5, 18), and aṣṭaka (cf. also the Sānkhya Pravacana Bhāshya, p. 135).


Or rather thirty-one?


Manas, buddhi, ahaṃkāra, citta.


These are the seven viḍyā-tattvas, kalā, kāla, niyati (fate), vidyā, rāga, prakṛti, and guṇa. Hoisington, however, puts puruṣan "the principle of life," instead of guṇa, which seems better, as the three guṇas are included in prakṛti. He translates kalā by "continency," and describes it as "the power by which the senses are subdued and the carnal self brought into subjection."


This "instrument" (karaṇa) seems to mean what Hoisington calls puruṣan or "the principle of life which establishes or supports the whole system in its operation;" he makes it one of the seven vidyātattvas. According to Mādhava, it should be what he calls guṇa.


The thirty-one tattvas are as follow:—Twenty-four ātmatattvas, five elements, five tanmātras, ten organs of sense and action, four organs of the antaḥkaraṇa, and seven vidyātattvas as enumerated above. (See J. A. O. S. iv. pp. 16-17.)


I take aṇu in this verse as the soul, but it may mean the second kind of mala mentioned by Hoisington. The first kind of mala is the māyā-mala, the second āṇava-mala, the third kanma-mala (karman).


"The soul, when clothed with these primary things (desire, knowledge, action, the kalādipancaka, &c.), is an exceedingly small body" (Foulkes). One of the three malas is called āṇava, and is described as the source of sin and suffering to souls.


The first three are the three kinds of mala in the J. A. O. S., viz., āṇavam, kanmam, and māyei, the last is the "obscuring" power of Māyesuran (cf. vol. iv. pp. 13, 14). The Śaivas hold that Pāśa, like the Sānkhya Prakṛti, is in itself eternal, although its connection with any particular soul is temporary (see J. A. O. S. iv. p. 228).


These are the five, vindu, mala, karman, māyā, and rodhaśakti. Vindu is described in Foulkes' translation of the Śiva-prakāśa-patalai: "A sound proceeds out of the mystical syllable om;... and in that sound a rudimentary atom of matter is developed. From this atom are developed the four sounds, the fifty-one Sanskrit letters, the Vedas, Mantras, &c., the bodily, intellectual, and external enjoyments of the soul that have not attained to spiritual knowledge at the end of each period of the world's existence, and have been swept away by the waters of the world-destroying deluge; after these the three stages of heavenly happiness are developed, to be enjoyed by the souls that have a favourable balance of meritorious deeds, or have devoted themselves to the service of God or the abstract contemplation of the Deity, viz., (1.) the enjoyment of the abode of Śiva; (2.) that of near approach to him; (3.) that of union with him." Vindu is similarly described, J. A. O. S. iv. pp. 152, 153 (cf. also Weber, Rāmatāpanyīa Up. pp. 312-315).


See the same illustrations in J. A. O. S. iv. p. 150.


Some forced derivation seems here intended as of pāśa from paścāt.


In p. 90, line 2, read sā kāryeṇa.

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