Saiva Siddhantam is the system of Saivism which is the pre-historic lifestyle followed by peoples Southern India. This system is not only logical but also scientific. The basic concepts of Saiva Siddhanta philosophy are already found in the Four Vedas and the Sivagamas have elaborated them further. It was not founded by any particular human and has no particular date of origin.
The term Siddhantam was first used by great Saint Tirumular in his great work,Tirumantiram verse 1421.
“Having learned all that learned must be.
Having practised all yoga that have to be,
They, then, pursue the path of Jnana in graduation sure,
And so pass into the world of Formless Sound beyond;
And there, rid of all impurities,
Envision the Supreme, the Self-created;
They, forsooth, are the Saiva Siddhantis true.
It is stated here that the goal of Saiva Siddhantam is to get rid of all impurities.
There are numerous religions and various philosophies in India and the world. Among them, the Saiva religion and Siddhanta philosophy occupy a prominent place. Saiva Siddhantam philosophy is considered to be one of the most perfect, clearest and cleverest systems of human thought.
i) Its teaching and doctrines are solely based upon rationalism and are presented in a very convincing manner.
ii) Nothing in it is taken for granted, nor anything is asserted arrogantly, nor any attempt is made to muffle any earnest and inquiring student.
iii) Solved by the application of strict logical methods derived from the keen observations of daily occurrences in life. – We cannot find anything irrational in this enlightening philosophy.
Both Saiva Siddhantam and science maintain a good relationship and mutually support each other. The truths in Saiva Siddhantam are confirmed by modern scientific researchers and discoveries. This philosophy does not advise us to practice anything against nature or interefere with freedom and liberty of people.
There is no place for superstitions and blind faith. Both Saiva Siddhanta and science maintain a good relationship and mutually support each other.
It is the quint essential message of spiritual experience, graciously propounded and propagated by the great saints of Saiva religion, Samayacharyas and Santhanacharyas. This system was formulated not by any ordinary human mortals, not by mere intellectual scholars and speculators and prone to many blemishes.
This is not antagonistic to any other religion or philosophy; it respects the view points of other religionists and embraces them all with a feeling of fellowship and affection of brotherliness.
In the name of God and religion, it does not divide or dissect people. The founders and propagators of the Saiva religion and philosophy are broad minded and noble hearted. They taught us that God is LOVE and LOVE is God – ANBE SIVAM. - Thennadudaiya Sivane potri; Ennattavarkkum iraiva potri
The proclaimation of Saint Sundarar,
Appalukkum adisarnthar; adiyarkum adiyen....
The profound comment of Sekkilar on that sacred line of Sundarar, would indisputably uphold the the universality of Saiva religion and philosophy.
Saivism is a living and popular faith followed by more than 250 million people around the world today but its traditional bases are in India, particularly in South India. But historical fact shows that Sivalinga worship goes back to the period of Indus civilization 5000 B.C and even beyond.
Saiva Siddhanta adopts and adapts to, natural tendencies and practical methods. It does not advise us to practice anything against nature. Some religions insisted and compelled people to become monks, even from the childhood. They decried music, dance and other fine arts as well, saying that would tend to induce and stimulate carnal or physical pleasure, animal and sexual passions.
Going to forest, living in caves, keeping nude, hating and avoiding one’s near and dear relatives etc, were taught to be great noble austerities by some religions and philosophies. But Saiva religion does not advocate such crude modes of self modifications. We cannot find any such teachings in Saiva religion and philosophy. It is very liberal, simple and does not go against nature.
Meaning of SIDDHANTAM
The term is made of a compound word. It is Siddha and Antam. “Siddha means the establishment of truth. “Antam” means the end. So, Siddhantam means end to the ends, an absolute intellectual finality. The term Saiva Siddhantam is found in Kaamigaagamam 119-120. The term is also found in Thirumantiram -1421. Siddhantam is the systematic way of life in Saivism which is called Saiva Siddhantam. The Saiva Siddhanta is the philosophy of Saiva religion which relates to the established conclusion of the ultimate truth in religious matters.
Philosophy, rituals and puranas (mythological stories) form the important aspects of a religion. Similarly in Saivism, rituals strengthens our involment in the religion and help us to evolve spiritually. Puranas help us to understand through stories the Saiva religion and its significance. The Philosophy explains the truth and concept of Saiva religion. Saivam is associated with Sivam. The end of conclusion of a doctrine is Siddhantam. Here it is the conclusion in Sivagamas is called Saiva Siddhantam.
2. Basic truths explained in Saiva Siddhantam
Saiva Siddhantam explains the triple realities. GOD, SOUL and its BONDAGE. It also elaborates spiritual matters involving the soul. What is God?, His nature?, What is the purpose of this life? What is the reason of creation? Who am I? What is our relationship to God?. These are some of the questions answered in this philosophy. Not only it gives logical explanations but also gives us the strength to think and ‘rebuild’ our current faith and understanding about GOD. Its is therefore, necessary and useful to understand this great philosophy.
Saiva Siddhantam does not consider God as the only eternal entity which is refered to as Pathi. Like God, souls or Pasu is also eternal that has neither beginning nor end. Souls are many and have their own limitations. Its capabilities are limited due to the bondage or Pasam. Ths is also eternal like God and souls. The soul is known as Pasu due to its nature of being under Pasam.
Existence of FIVE elements:
The triple realities or Mupporul Unmai ( Pathi, Pasu and Pasam) are God, Soul and its Bondage which consist of Anavam, Karmam and Mayai.
GOD is Supreme Being and all knowing
SOULS are capable of knowing anything is they are taught only.
ANAVAM creates ignorance and egoism to the souls
KARMAM is giving experience to the souls.
MAYAI helps the souls to get away from ignorance. It is the source of the cosmos which includes world and all living entities.
Anavam, Karmam and Mayai are inanimated. These elements are not capable of knowing anything even if it is taught. God and souls are animated. God as all knowing and souls, capable of knowing when taught.
From the beginingless period, souls were depending on Anavam and concealed the knowledge of the soul. God took pity ( KARUNAI) on souls and created bodies (Thanu, Karanam, Buvanam, Bhogam) from Maya to enlighten the souls.
All five elements or categories are inter-connected. In a logical way of approach, a perfect philosophy which deals with ultimate reality, must accept the existence of the above five categories.
Perception of truth
PRAMANAM or perception of truth is how Saiva Siddhantam maintains many more logical evidences to ensure the existence of the five eternal elements.
i. Direct experience by the five senses called pulan arivu
Knowledge of things directly by five senses; this knowledge is free from error and doubt.
ii. Inference by mind called anthakarna arivu
With our previous knowledge of things, we can infer the cause while the effect is present in the cause itself. Fire and smoke theory.
iii. Verbal testimony of Sacred books of Saivism called Nool Arivu
Verbal testimony of Sacred books, the words of Saints sent by Lord Siva. These are taught by Lord to enlighten souls.
Behind all evidences, the intelligence of the individual soul is highly considered to be the means of valid knowledge. The real evidence of truth is in the enquiry of each individual to find out the truth for himself. It is proved beyond doubts that Saiva Siddhanta has bestowed the right to the respective individual soul to decide the existence of categories on the validity of their own knowledge.
3. Source of Saiva Siddhantam
Saiva Siddhanta scriptures are the fourteen Saiva philosophical texts called Meykanda Saatiram and twelve Tirumurais which is in Tamil language .
Saiva Siddhanta is based mainly on Sivagamas. The Vedas contain varying views on God, soul and cosmos which many views are inconsistent and not clear. Agamic views are relatively consistent, clear and without contradictions.
Saivism believes in the existence of God or Pathi. Pathi means Lord of the souls. Saivism proves His existence in many ways. Saiva scriptures and the words and deeds of Saiva Saints provide proof of His existence. Saivism also gives logical explanations to support this fact.
All things goes through the process of beginning, existence and decay which is certainly been created or made by someone. From this physical body to the entire cosmos, it has a beginning and obviously will come to an end. Hence this also should have a maker, who commonly we believe to be God.Concept of God existed based on the need for soul. What are the elements that we cant live without was established as God and since we cant live without food ( annam ), so food was considered Supreme or Paramporul. Then soul’s intelligence made a conclusion that food will not exist without soil, which depends on rain. Rain depends on air, sun (fire) and finally all on space; the fifth and highest element after air, earth, fire and water. Pancha bootha to Athidevas; to Indra; to Brahma and to Vishnu in the end. But truth in Siddhanta is; He who performs a Mahasankaram can be the supreme.
Saivites believe Lord Siva as the supreme God, who is worshipped as SIVAM ( Aruvam or formless state), SADASIVAM ( Aruruvam or formless form state) and MAHESWARA ( Uruvam or form state ).
The formless form refered here is the Sivalingam which is seen in all Siva temples. The form or Uruvam is refered to the 25 Muhurtams or forms of Lord Siva used for worship. It is stated in Sivagamas, other than these 25 Muhurtams or forms, worship to other forms are prohibited. Although there are more than 25 forms of Lord Siva which is mentioned in the Agamas but these forms are the elaborated forms of the 25 main forms. It is mentioned that there are 64 forms in total.
Our body and God’s body are totally different. Our body is a product of Maya which is called Karumeni. As per our karma, when we are dead, we leave this body behind but God’s ‘body’ is a product of Sakthi which grants grace, called Thirumeni.
To help souls to evolve from their bonded state to liberation and bliss, God performs the five fold activities or Aintholil.
i. Creation ii. Protection ii. Destruction iv. Concealment v. Grace
The Ainthelutthu Mantra is the highest level of Mantra associated with Lord Siva.
Lord Siva is worshipped by Saivites by two ways. Aga poosai and Poosai. Souls ultimate goal is Sivapadam. In order to attain this, souls need to move in the path of grace. The three impurities particularly Anavam and Karmam is being an obstruction to souls to receive God’s grace.
Worship and devotion to God is compulsory in order to loosen the grip of Anavam in the soul. Aga poosai is a worship method done by an individual soul in its privacy. Pura poosai is worshipping God in a holy place such as a Siva temple which is built as per the Sivagamas. The Aga poosai is usually a Siva pooja . This is done after a process of ritual called Deekai or initiation. This Deekai or initiation gives a person an ‘authority’ to conduct a Sivapooja as per mentioned in the Sivagamas. Generally a person who is initiated, practices Saivism, conducts a Siva pooja, being a vegetarian and worships Lord Siva as the Supreme God is called a Saivite.
Four Stages of Spritual path are Sariyai, Kiriyai, Yoga and Gnanam which leads to different path of liberation for souls. This is commonly said as being devoted to God as a slave, a child, a friend and a disciple to a guru.
The word Saivam does not refer to vegetarian food or being a vegetarian. It is referring to the Saiva Samayam overall especially the person who is practising Saivism. A Saivite has certain restriction in their daily life routine or lifestyle and among them the most important is being a vegetarian.
A Saivite wears a Rudraksha and Thiruneeru or Vibuthi, recites the Panjakshara mantra, does Sivapooja and worships Lord Siva as the supreme God everyday. Visiting Siva temples everyday or once a week is also a part of daily routine for a saivite. The life of the 63 Siva saints in the Periya puranam gives an excellent example of a saivite