MR. RY., K. P. PUTTANNA CHETTIYAR AVARGAL,
TO H. H. THE MAHARAJA
OF THE SAIVA-SIDDHANTA CONFERENCE,
RESPECTED AND DEAR SIR,
I have been directed to stand as the mouthpiece of this Conference, in welcoming you to our midst, to preside over its present Session. You are, as all of us know, one of the greatest functionaries of an influential Native State, a State which has, in times past, been the theatre of momentous, spiritual and political upheavals, a State which, we are proud to recognize, is one of the few, extant, leading Hindu Principalities, wherein the mellowing influence of our ancient faiths, has always inspired the statecraft. I am speaking with an emotion too deep for expression, when referring to this mellowing influence of the sweet under-current of Saivic Religion in Nepal, Kashmir and Mysore, an influence to which a signal testimony is borne in that they remain, to this day, the head-centers of Agamic lore and Saivic prestige. Other spots there are, no doubt, in our Bharata-varsha, of which the same may be said with equal emphasis, but, I have singled out par excellence the three countries, since they are surrounded, to this day, by an unmistakable Agamic halo, and irradiated, even now, by the fadeless splendor of such Saivic mystics, as the far famed Nija-guna-siva-yogin and Basava, Somanandanatha and Abhinavagupta, and Bhoja-deva and Vikrama-saha. With such stars of the first magnitude to bespangle and beautify their Agamic firmament, those countries have always remained the centers of attraction to students of the Divyagamas. The Suddha-saivic phase of the Agamanta or Sivadvaita-siddhanta, which became latterly such an engine of power and influence in the hands of Sru-mula-natha, Satya-jnana-darsi-sivacharya, Appaya-dikshitendra and others, on the Coromandel Coast, had attained, centuries and centuries previously, its meridian of glory, in Nepal and Kashmir. The Vira-saivic phase focused its activities on Western India and the cis-Vindhyan region, while the Pratyabhijna, Spanda and Paramarthavada phases deluged Kashmir and Upper India. The perennial Divyagamas have remained at the back of all these branches of the Siva-Siddhanta, so as to be a ceaseless source of strength and inspiration to their God-voicing exponents and propagandists.
In welcoming you, Sir, therefore, to our midst, we are welcoming not only an able statesman of generous impulses and wide sympathies, an enlightened and zealous votary of our ancient Saivic faith, but also a gentleman in whom the holy, spiritual fire, kindled by the God-man Basava, an incarnation of Nandikesvara, who is our Jnana-desika and the Lord Chamberlain of our Lord, burns with a steady lustre, a gentleman on whom the blessings of the Panchacharyas are bound to be reined in fragrant flower-showers, ere long. Our joy knows no bounds, when we, for a moment, reflect, how indissolubly strong the ties of an ancient religion are, in binding us all together for the common cause of serving our dear "Father in Heaven", and how readily, in the midst of your arduous and exacting duties, you acceded to our wishes that you should lead this Assembly of the Servants of God, during its present Session, even though you were applied to, after considerable misgivings, on our part, about the certain materialization misgivings, on our part, about the certain materialization or accomplishment of our heart's longings. But the fiat of the Lord is always supreme, and capable of over-riding any apparent obstacles. And under the aegis of His Benevolence and Blessing, you have come down here, to bear the proffered duties, and discharge them with all your might, and we shall all, in Conference Assembled, unanimously and sincerely pray to Him, the Revealer of the Nigamagamas, to shower His choicest Blessings upon you, so that your life may, ever and anon, prove to be a fit means for His Glorification, here and beyond.
And may I, also with your kind permission, beg, on behalf of this Conference, to ever remain your devoted servant in the Lord,
V. V. RAMANA SASTRIN,
Saiva Siddhanta Conference.
12thd Dhanus, 5012 Kali-yuga.
MR. RY., K. P. PUTTANNA CHETTIYAR AVARGAL,
TO H. H. THE MAHARAJA
YOUR HIGHNESS AND GENTLEMEN,
IN the first place, let me return my most grateful thanks for the great honor you have done me in electing me to preside over this august Assembly, composed of the best and most highly cultured adherents of the faith to which I am proud to belong. I am an utter stranger to you all, and yet, you have done me this unique honor, which I take to be due to the fact that I happen to be a Virasaiva, and to belong to a part of India in which this faith greatly predominates amongst the people. I am sure the Virasaiva Community will consider this as a compliment paid to itself. My claim, however, to preside over the deliberations of this Conference, lie more in your indulgence, than in any pretensions on my part to high learning in my religion, or, for the matter of that, in Saiva Siddhanta generally. I appreciate the honor more as a recognition of the common religious bond that unites the Kanarese Virasaivas with their Tamil and Telugu brethren in the South, and with all the Saivaite communities in general.
I must begin by saying that, while I am a devout worshipper of Lord Mahadeva the Supreme, I am no sectarian in the narrow sense of that term. I entertain the greatest reverence towards the other gods of the Hindu Pantheon. Indeed, why should we despise our own Gods, the Gods of our ancient Maharshis, when we are enlightened enough to accord a sympathetic reception to such alien faiths, as those of Christians, Muhammadans and Zoroastrians? The great faiths of the world are all cast in the Divine mound, and if the forms are different, the difference is rendered necessary by the inherent diversities of mankind. It is quite as impossible to have one religion for the whole world, as to have only one mode of thinking on any particular subject. All religions are founded on Truth, and they differ from one another, on account of the stand point from which they view the central principle of Truth. To give you a concrete instance – We have got a hill called the Sivaganga or Kakudgiri near Bangalore. It is stated in the Sthala-purana, viz, that of a bull, a Linga, a serpent and Vinayaka according as it is viewed from the east, west, north and south respectively. None of these descriptions is untrue; yet, they differ essentially from one another. Whilst we are staunch in our own faith, and believe it to be the best for the attainment of material and spiritual happiness in this world, and Moksha in the next, let us be tolerant and even sympathetic towards the other great religions of the world, and the more so, towards the other faiths of Indian origin, which have come from the same common stock, to wit, Vaishnavaism, Saktaism, Jainism, Buddhism and so on.
There is no doubt that Saivism has been somewhat obscured, and its progress retarded, by the rise of other cults in India. These have been pushed forward with the ardent zeal always characteristic of new faiths, and in the course of their militant propogandism, every opportunity has been taken, either wittingly or unwittingly, to misrepresent, and cast aspersions on, this most ancient faith, the worship of the Great God Siva. Though we can afford to look with no sense of ill-will on such attempts, yet we shall be wanting in our duty, if we do not bestir ourselves to expound our own religion and its invaluable doctrines, and thus, to prevent people from deserting the faith in which they are born. One of the commonest and, therefore, the foulest imputation cast on Saivism by its Indian opponents, as also by its ill-informed Western critics, is that the Linga-worship is of 'phallic' origin. Nothing is farther from the truth. No grosser or more unfounded calumny could have been invented by the opponents of Saivism. I have it on the best authority that no warrant can be found for such a base calumny in the Vedas, Agamas or the sayings of the great Saivaite saints of a remote past.* [* See inter alia Lainga-purana, purvardha, Chap. Xviii, vv. 49-56; Narayana Aiyangar; Essays in Indo-Aryan Mythology, Part I, pp. 103-107; H. H. Wilson; The Puranas, p. 72; H. H. Wilson; Hindu Religions p. 139; etc., etc.,] It could only have proceeded from the fancy of hostile sectarians. The obscenities of later Tantrism and Pauranic mythology have been pressed into requisition, in order to yield this blasphemous conception of the Supreme God, Siva, and to, thereby, facilitate the propagation of anti-Saivic faiths. But it the truth about the emblem, Sivalinga, and its profound mysteries, comes to be known, it will be seen that that Divine symbol represents the highest spiritual verities open to the ken of man.
I am sure you will bear with me for a while, if I say a few words about the origin and spread of our Saiva religion and philosophy.
Like many other Indian religions, the Saiva religion is also Vedic in its origin. The creed of this important religion is the worship of Rudra the Great One, who is also known by Siva and various other names.
So far back as the sixth century A. D., that is to say, in the Amarakosa, we find the names Rudra and Siva being used synonymously. In the Agamas and the Puranas, many of which are certainly anterior to the Amarakosa, no distinction between Rudra and Siva is to be seen. That the symbolical worship of Siva and Sakti described in the Agamic and Tantric works, goes so far back as the close of the Vedic period* [* See pp. 253 and 270, Vol xxxv., Antiquary, 1906], is a question to which oriental scholars do not seem to have paid sufficient attention. From a close study of the Agamic and Tantric works, one can arrive at the conclusion that the very symbols which are found used, in connection with Siva and Sakti worship, in a remote age in India, have given rise to the Devanagiri alphabet, which, according to oriental scholars, dates from the sixth century, B.C. But Lakshmidhara and other Tantric writers, are of opinion that Janaka, the son of Nimi, and the twentieth ancestor of Siradhvaja Janaka, the father-in-law of Rama, who is believed, on astronomical grounds, to have flourished in the seventeenth century B.C., is the inventor of the Devanagari alphabet. † [† See pp. 104-106, Lakshmidhara's Commentary on Saundaryalahari, Mysore Oriental Library Series] It follows, therefore, that the worship of Siva, with which the hieroglyphical symbols of the Devanagiri are closely connected, existed in India so far back as 2000 B.C. Moreover, there is, as wrongly presumed by some orientalists, absolutely no reason to believe that, at that remote period, Siva and Rudra were regarded as different, and that only later theologians looked upon them as identical. It is hence clear that Siva is none other than the Vedic God Rudra. While Rudra is described in the Rigveda as the father of the Maruts, the Atharva Veda speaks of Siva as the father of the Maruts and as the master of Life and Death. It is thus obvious that Rudra and Siva were regarded as identical during the Vedic period.
Before proceeding to consider the nature of the worship of Rudra or Siva, it is desirable that we should clearly understand how He is described in the Vedas.
In the Yajurveda, He is called Bhava, Sarva, Isana, Isvara and Mahadeva, and is frequently described as the Destroyer of the Triple City of the Asuras. Unlike other Gods, He is Tryambaka, the Possessor of Three Eyes. In the Satarudriya, Siva appears with all the characteristics of a popular God, as well as of the Omnipotent and Omnipresent Lord of the Vedantists. As a God of War, He is invoked there, along with His Ganas or retinue, for the purpose of protecting the house, the fields and the roads. He is the head of the armies, the God of the brave, of foot-soldiers, of those who fight in chariots, and of all those who live by the bow, the sword and the spear. It is His voice that encourages men in battle, and that is resounded in the war-drum. As the God of peace, of knowledge and arts, He is described as the patron of craftsmen, of cart-wrights, carpenters, smiths, hunters and watermen; He is the Greatest Physician and healer of the diverse diseases of man. To those who worship Him according to the Agamas and Tantras, He appears to reside in Chakras, or magic amulets (Pratisara) which are bound round the neck or arm, for protection against evil spirits and diseases. To the uneducated, He is a Kapardin, wearing a long and matted hair, and armed with a bow, arrows and swords. As the God of such classes of people as ascetics and Sannyasins, with matted hair or shaven crown, He is deemed omnipresent. He is present in the houses, fields, rivers, fountains, in the wind, in the passing cloud, in the green grass, in the trees, in the falling leaf, in sand, in the hearts of men, in forests, solitary places and on mountains. This is a brief description of the various forms in which Rudra or Siva is found conceived in the famous Satarudriya Litany, which is recited even today by all worshippers of Siva, throughout India, whenever His Blessings are invoked in daily prayer, etc. The philosophical conception of Siva is found amplified in the Svetasvatara and other Upanishats.
There are four ways in which Siva seems to have been worshiped even during the Vedic period. He is worshipped in the form of Agni with whom He is frequently identified. Accordingly, the Diksha or vow taken by the sacrificer preparatory to the sacrifice, the construction of the altar, the collection of sacrificial materials, the performance of the carious rites and the homas, the recitation of the sacrificial hymns and of the Satarudriya Litany, and the final Avabhrita or ablution, constitute, in a way, the Vedic form of the worship of Agni Rudra.
The second form of Siva worship seems to be what we find described in the Agamas and the Tantras. In order to perform this worship, the devotee is asked to take a Diksha or vow under a teacher, to provide himself with a place of worship and with all necessary materials, to purify himself with the recitation of Bhutasuddhi and other Mantric formulas, to worship Siva in the Chakra specially prepared for the purpose, and to make the necessary offerings, followed by the recitation of Stotras and of the Satarudriya. At the sight, it would seem as though this Agamic worship were different from the Vedic worship of Agni-Rudra. But, on closer examination, it will be found that, in their fundamental form, the two worships follow the same procedure; and that the same Vedic texts are recited therein, together, it may be, with later compositions, in the form of slokas and syllabic Mantras.
For the benefit of those who cannot go through all the complicated rites of worshipping Siva, either in the form of Agni or in the form of a mystic Chakra, the simple method of worshipping Him in the form of a cylindrical Linga, typifying the immense sphere of the manifested cosmos, or under the guise of a human symbol, with, matter hair, with a bow and arrows, and a sword, seems to have been elaborated. To set up, for the first time, such a Linga or globular emblem, a series of rites are laid down, for observance, in the Agamas. Many of these rites are similar to, if not identical with, those which are performed in setting up the fire-altar. The purification of the temple answers to that of the place, where the sacred fire is to be installed. The bringing of the Agrodaka corresponds to what is called Pranitaharana. The setting up of the idol closely follows the procedure of setting up the fire. The making of offerings is the same to both. The daily worship of the Divine emblem, after it is set up, is similar to the daily worship of Agni-Rudra, save for a few trivial modifications, necessitated by the change in conception of the form of the emblem.
These are the three main forms of worship, which one may consider as constituting the outer Saiva religion or externals of the Saiva faith, and which are observed in many a Hindu temple or Hindu home, throughout the length and breadth of the Indian continent. And, thus, from the earliest Vedic times, down to our own day, Saiva religion seems to be the one dominant creed, claiming the allegiance of the bulk of the Indian people.
As regards the antiquity of the Saiva worship, Prof. Muir says in his "Sanskrit Texts":-
"While the destructive power of fire in connection with the raging of the driving storm lies clearly enough at the foundation of the epic form of Siva1,"
[1See page 298, vol. ix., Sanskrit Texts.]
"the entire hymns and separate verses in which Vishnu is celebrated are much fewer2;"
[2See page 98, vol. iv., Sanskrit texts.]
"if we look to the large number of texts in which, as I have just stated, some of the other gods are celebrated, and to the comparatively small number of those in which Vishnu is exclusively or prominently magnified, we shall come to the conclusion that the latter deity occupied a somewhat subordinate place in the estimation and affections of the ancient Rishis3."
[3See page 98, vol. ix., Sanskrit texts.]
As in the Vedas, so in the Epics too, Vishnu is not seen to occupy a very important place. "Lassen remarks that in the epic poems, the worship of Vishnu is but seldom mentioned, - a fact which he regards as proving that at the period when they were composed no special worship of that deity had been extensively spread, at least among the Brahmans and princes.4"
[4See page 283, vol. iv., Sanskrit texts.] Again, Prof. Muir says:-
"The mere fact that a poem in which Krishna plays throughout so prominent a part, and which in its existing form is so largely devoted to his glorification, should at the same time contain so many passages which formally extol the greatness, and still more, which incidentally refer to a frequent adoration of the rival deity, by the different personages, whether contemporary or of earlier date, who are introduced – this fact is, I think, a proof that the worship of the latter (Mahadeva) was widely diffused, if indeed it was not the predominant worship in India, at the period to which the action of the poem is referred5."
[5See page 283, vol. iv., Sanskrit Texts.] Also, Prof. Barth in his "Religions of India" says (p. 167).
"We have already seen that the Veda does not lead us to anticipate the supremacy of Vishnu. Neither does it appear to us to be very ancient in the Mahabharata, which in general is connected with Vishnu, only in so far as it is with Krishna. Hence the most widely spread cults is in the main that of Siva." Again, at page 163 he says:-
"In the Mahabharata, which, however, in its existing redaction, is concerned in the interests of Vishnuism, the cults which we find most widely spread is that of Siva."
It will thus be seen that the worship of Siva has been accepted by distinguished oriental scholars, as wide-spread, even at such a remote period of the Mahabharata-war as the twelfth century B. C. Hence, it becomes quite legitimate to think that the attempts of Srikanthasivacharya, Appayadikshitendra and hosts of other mystics, to explain the Upanishats, the Puranas, and the Vedanta-Sutras (and more especially the last named), as treatises upholding the Supreme Divinity of Siva or Samba-Siva, is more natural and reasonable, than the labored endeavors of other commentators to read into the self-same treatises, the glories of later Gods.
Having traced, so far, the continuity of Saiva religion and the even level of supremacy which that religion has maintained from the Vedic times to the present day, we may now proceed to briefly consider the form of Saiva philosophy that is expounded in the Upanishats and the Brahma-Sutras and the Puranas.
From among the various schools of Saiva philosophy, five systems of thought stand out as very conspicuous. They are represented by: (1) the Saiva Idealists, (2) the Saiva Panthcists, (3) the Saiva Trinitarians, (4) the Saiva Unitarians (= teachers of unity-in-trinity) and (5) Qualified Saiva Monists.
The Saiva Idealists, such as Sankaracharya and others, hold that Atman, known as Brahman or Siva, is the only real being, and that the rest, which appears as the universe and individual souls, is an illusion brought on by Maya or ignorance. Owing to this Avidya or ignorance, the Jivatman or individual soul looks upon the unreal as real, and is, therefore, involved in the endless Samsara of births and deaths. When he realizes the real nature of Siva as Sachchidananda, Existence, Knowledge and Bliss, and identifies himself with that Infinite Knowledge and Bliss, he raises himself beyond the finite and unreal, and, getting rid of his Avidya, becomes one with Siva, and merged in His Infinite Bliss. And this condition is what is termed as Advaita with Siva as its central principle. There are others who substitute Brahman, Narayana, Sakti or the Sun, for Siva. But it is a difference that subsists only in words in as much as Siva, Brahma, and other terms, connote nothing but an Eternal Being formed of Knowledge and Bliss. And since no other predication is made of the nature of that Highest Being, it matters little how we choose to call Him.
The Saiva Pantheists seem, on the other hand, to consider all the Vedic Gods as equal and identical in all respects, and to regard their names as but synonymous. Siva, Vishnu, Indra, Varuna and numerous other Gods, who, in the opinion of the Saiva Idealists, are merely the unreal reflections of the One Eternal Real Being, in the mirror of Maya, are, according to the Saiva Pantheists, identical, agreeably to the Vedic text: "Ekam Sad vipra bahudha vadanti" – "There is only One Eternal Being; wise men call Him by various names". These pantheists regard the world of animate and inanimate nature, as having emanated from Him, the variously-called Eternal Being, as being maintained by Him, and as also being destroyed by, or dissolved in, Him. Those who worship Him in any of His manifold forms, get rid of the Samsara, and enter His world, to enjoy Eternal Bliss.
The Saiva Trinitarians seem to consider that there are Three important Gods, Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Preserver; and Rudra, the Destroyer; the other Gods being subordinate to thee Three. Anyone of the Three Gods may be worshipped, and through His grace, the Samsara got rid of.
The Saiva Unitarians regard the above Three Gods as one and the same God, with three functions to perform. With this conception of the Godhead, the devotee has to approach and worship the Deity, and obtain Eternal Bliss.
Lastly, there come the Qualified Saiva Monists, who form, at present, the larger portion of the Saivaite population of India. According to them, Samba-Siva (or Siva with His Consort Amba, our Mother), is the Supreme and Eternal Being, possessed of all good and auspicious qualities par excellence, and of the transcendental nature of intelligence pure, and happiness pure. He is a Personal God, and has His 'Body' (if I may be pardoned for the use of the word) made up of the two categories, 'chit' and 'achit'. 'Chit' includes all conscious beings, whether Gods, man or animals. 'Achit' comprises the variegated inanimate world. Among conscious beings, each is distinct from the other, and is ordained to appear on the stage of the world, and to experience joy or misery there, according to his past merit and demerit. Owing to the effects of their former actions, the individual souls get involved in the Samsara, from which, however, they are finally freed, solely by the study of the Jnanakanda of the Vedas and of the Jnanapada of the Agamas. For, the performance of rites alone, as laid down in the Karmakanda of the Vedas, does not, for a certainty, enable anybody to attain Moksha. It is Jnanayoga, and only Jnanayoga, that, when practices on the lines taught in the Upanishats and the Agamas, can lead the Yogin to eventual, spiritual emancipation.
This, in brief, is the trend of the philosophy which is found expounded by Srikanthasivacharya in his Commentary on the Brahmasutras, and by Appaya Dikshita in his Commentary on the Sikarini-mala, and by other mystics elsewhere. Both the teachers have distinctly stated that this philosophy is not of their own invention, but that is has come down to us from a hoary past, through a long line of teachers, such as Manu, Yajnavalkya, Bodhayana, Asvalayana, Upamanyu, Agastya and others.
This historical survey, with quotations from the works of distinguished oriental scholars, will convince even the most skeptical of our Indian brethren, that the worship of Siva has been handed down to us from the most ancient times, and that it can be truly called the Sanatana-Dharma of India. It cannot be disputed that it was at one time the universal religion of India, as evidenced by the innumerable temples dedicated to Siva all over the land, and by the extreme sanctity attaching to the Himalaya Mountains, as the Home of Siva, and to centers to the Saivic cult, to be met with in such great epics, as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In the later phases of this faith, the rituals are relegated to the back-ground, while Bhakti, Jnana and Yoga are elevated to the highest place. This characteristic is fully manifested in that form of Faith, called the Virasaivism, to which I have the honor to belong. A mediaeval expounder of this religion of the Panchacharyas, viz., the great Basavasvamin, who lived in the 12th century A. D., was not only a Religious Leader, but also a great Social Reformer, in that he reduced its precepts to practice, and did his utmost to uplift the depressed and fallen classes, on a religious basis. He preached the doctrines of human brotherhood and universal love, and exemplified their thorough application in practical life, by the free admission of converts to his faith from the lowest strata of society, and by the ready extension of a treatment to them, that tolerated no religious or social difference between man and man. This great upheaval which took place at the time of Basava, is still sustaining the Virasaiva movement, and I must exhort its adherents, not only to uphold the great principle of unity, for which Basva stood up so enthusiastically, but also to be wary lest they should be invaded by that backward tendency to split up into clans, sub-castes and sub-sects, which seems to be such a besetting, social sin of Hinduism. Let all the Saivaites unite in a true spirit of brotherhood, and you can well imagine what a religious and social solidarity such a spirit will help to foster. I would, as a first step towards reaching that ideal, ask you, Gentlemen, to call up before your mind's eye, the picture of this big continent of India, with its myriads of people, being perched at the foot of the great Himalayas, the highest mountain in the world, a mountain dedicated to Mahadeva, our Supreme Lord, while on its loftiest pinnacle, the peak of Kailas, sits enthroned our mighty Lord, the Great Paramasiva, the Supreme Yogin rapt in anxious meditation (Tapas), blessing the entire Bharata-varsha from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin, and lovingly wishing us all, His children, to realize His supreme love, in our heart of hearts, aye, to become one with Him, by loving Him, ever and anon, with oneness of thought, word and deed. A vision, such as this, is the most inspiriting incentive that a true Hindu can possibly lay hold of, and we should not be slow in seeking out its inner meaning, and applying it to our own lives, for our spiritual regeneration and freedom.
I would, in this connection, wish also to draw your particular attention to one of the salient features of Virasaiva religious discipline. Its votaries are strictly forbidden from eating animal food, and from drinking spirituous liquors, thereby ensuring that purity of mind, which, again, is the first step towards all solid, spiritual progress. The sociological aspect of this tenet of Virasaivism, cannot be overestimated; no matter to what grade of society its adherence may belong, this condition is the sine qua non for remaining within its pale. One of the stages in the upward path of the Virasaiva, may be called the 'Jivakarunya Sthala'*,[* I may not be technically correct in the use of the phrase, as I ought to have said "Tamasanirasana Sthala". In this stage, karunya-sampatti (=bhuta-daya) is an essential qualification for the mumukshu. See Siddhanta-Sikhamani, parichchheda xiii.] which points to the attainment of that grade of spiritual culture, the key-note of which, in outer life, ought to be compassion towards all living beings, and abstention from killing then. I am aware that a good many of the Sivaites in Southern India, practice this virtue, and are strict vegetarians, by reason of their religion; but I should like to impress upon all Saivites, irrespective of the caste or society to which they may chance to belong, to adopt this great tenet of abstaining from meat eating, the value of which, even from a worldly and hygienic point of view, cannot be denied.
The organizers and promoters of this Saiva Siddhanta movement, deserve our warmest commendation. The initial task of the pioneers, must have been an uphill one, and if any one name deserves to be singled out for special mention, it is that of our esteemed friend, Mr. Nallasvami Pillai Avargal, who, in spite of numerous difficulties, has unselfishly devoted his high abilities, as well as his time and money, in proclaiming to the world, the glorious truths and principles of the Sivadvaita-Siddhanta philosophy. Our best thanks are due to him for this noble work, and I hope and trust that gentlemen of light and leading, that are at the same time blessed with wealth and leisure, may rally round him, and help forward the sacred cause we have all so much at heart.
The Samaja should be congratulated on securing the active help and cooperation of so eminent a scholar and deep student of the Divyagamas, as Mr. V. V. Ramana Sastriyar, whose influence has already been making itself felt, in the improved tone and vigorous conduct of the "Siddhanta Dipika", the journal devoted to the exposition of our Agamic philosophy. The field of unexplored Agamic literature is very vast indeed, awaiting the researches of liberal-minded and painstaking, Sanskrit scholars of his stamp. The collection of ancient manuscripts, now buried in the archives and lumber-rooms of old maths and monasteries, and fast going to decay and destruction, is another most praiseworthy object, which the Samaja seems to have set before itself. In these endeavors, I trust, the members of the Samaja will receive the hearty support and cooperation of a large body of Saivaites of the different communities. Let us, by all means, rescue from oblivion, our ancient Agamic treasures, before they become lost forever.
Before closing, yet us make an invocation to our Supreme God, the Lord Ramanatha, under Whose auspices, and almost within sight of Whose celebrated Temple at Ramesvaram, we have met here today, that He may be pleased to cause, under His Blessing, the spread of a new impulse to the study of the Saiva religion and philosophy:
[* The Report was read by Mr. V. V. Ramana Sastrin, the Honorary Secretary, at Ramalinga Vilas, Ramnad, on Monday the 26th December 1910. Ed. L. T.]
The Standing Committee of the Saiva Siddhanta Conference beg to submit their report as follows:
Among the past generation of workers who brought Saiva Religion and Saiva Siddhanta to the public notice and attention in South India, may be mentioned the late Sri Ramalinga Svamigal and Sri Arumuga Navalar. The work that these great men accomplished cannot be easily estimated in words. Arumuga Navalar was gifted with a both in Ceylon and Southern India. He was a teacher, lecturer, publisher of books and Manuals for the young and founded a Press and Schools in Chidambaram and Jaffna. In his work, he was principally assisted by the grand uncle of the Present Maharaja of Ramnad and the father of the talented President of the Tamil Sangam, we mean the late P. Ponnusvami Thevar avargal, a great scholar and patron of the Pandits of his time. Assembled as we are in this Hall of the great Setupati Maharajas, we should not fail to honor this great man, and we have to congratulate ourselves that his noble example had been followed by his successors both in the first and second generations. The late Maharaja Bhaskara Setupati as all the world knows spent his lacs on the patronage of Pandits and Scholars and assisted in founding the Tamil Sangam and College. Sriman Panditturaisvami Tevar Avargal is also a profound Scholar like his noble father and by his unstinted liberality and earnestness founded the Tamil Sangam, and has assisted this Conference and other Saiva Siddhanta Sabhas by presiding at their Anniversaries, at Chidambaram, Cuddalore, Madras, Trichinopoly, Salem, and Palamcotta and other places. When one of the members of this Committee met the Present Maharaja at Madras on the eve of the Trichinopoly Conference the spontaneity with which he desired him to invite the next Conference to Madura was something remarkable and could not but be instructive of the great liberality and piety and learning found in the Race of the Setupati family.
Filled with fullness of the spirit, and a love that over flowed in deeds and words, the great Ramalingasvamigal carried the religious work not only among the Saivas but among non-Saivas also, and he brought to great prominence the two chief characteristics of Saiva Religion, its doctrine of love or Bhakti and the Ahimsa Doctrine or Jivakarunya.
We next mention two great workers who influenced the present generation to the largest extent. Matakhandana Venkatagiri Sastrigal created great enthusiasm chiefly by his lectures in Trivandrum, Malabar and in the Tamil Districts. But the person who exerted the greatest influence was the late Srila Sri Somasundara Nayagar Avargal. He was a militant propagandist and protected the faith from the attacks of its detractors, with unequalled force and reasoning. It was he, who brought to prominence the superiority of the Saiva Siddhanta Philosophy and its sponsors, the Samaya Acharyas and Santana Acharyas. His life was occupied with incessant work; and he lectured everywhere, and the writings he has left behind him might well form a library by themselves. Most of the present day workers, associated with this Conference, count themselves among his pupils and followers. He came at a time when there was great Religious upheaval in Southern India, what with the work of the Free-thinkers and the Theosophical Society and Vedanta writers, both native and foreign. Amongst these varying and warring influences, the ancient National Religions had to be explained to the rising generation, steeped in the study of the western languages and religions. Under his guidance, the task of enlightening the English-educated public was commenced by Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, as far back as 1895, when his translation into English of the sacred Sivajnanabotham, was published. His translation of that beloved classic, Tiruvarutpayan of St. Umapati Sivacharya, followed. And, under his inspiration and support, was commenced the English Journal Siddhanta Dipika in 1897, in the month of June, in memory of the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of our late Queen-Empress, Victoria the Good. In its pages have appeared nearly all the work accomplished by Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, in the field of Tamil philosophy and literature. His translation of Sivajnanasiddhiyar, Unmai-Vilakkam, Tirumular's Tirumantiram, Saiva-Samaya-neri and leading articles on Saiva-Advaita-Siddhanta Philosophy have been published; and under his liberal support and that of Sriman Panditturaisvami Tevar, the translation of Sri Kantha Bhashya was also published, and all these works await republication in book form. He was also the means of a large number of workers joining in the field of Saiva Philosophy and Tamil literature. Almost all the educated Indians in South India and Ceylon owe their knowledge of Siddhanta to these publications.
These works and the works of the late Rev. G. U. Pope form the only bibliography in English on the subject and vast number of European missionaries and writers have drawn on these materials for their study and exposition of Siddhanta.
From the very first Conference Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai has been associated with the work of this Conference and he was its president at the 3rd Session at Negapatam.
Pandit R. S. Vedachalam Pillai, commenced his work under the late Srila Sri Somasundara Nayagar Avargal, and Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, and assisted in the publication of some of the Nayagar's works and the first volume of the Siddhanta Dipika in Tamil. Since then he has brought out various publications relating to Tamil literature and philosophy, and has been editing and publishing the Tamil monthly Jnanasagaram, and an English Magazine called the Mystic Myna. It was he, we gratefully acknowledge, who was primarily responsible for the genesis of the Saiva-Siddhanta Conference.
We believe the first meeting was held on the 7th July 1905, and the late Mr. C. Singaravelu Mudaliyar, Supervisor P. W. D. was the most active helper. And the First Conference was held at Chidambaram on 26th 27th and 28th December 1901, under the Presidency f Sriman P. Ramanathan, K.C., C.M.G., and Mr. C. Ponnusvami Mudaliyar, Joint-Secretary, rendered the greatest help to make the meeting a success. The second Conference was held on the 25th, 26th and 27th December 1907 at Chidambaram also, under the presidency of Sriman P. Panditturaisvami Tevar Avargal. There were no rules and there was no committee, and a desire to have some sort of constitution being manifested, a special sitting of the Conference was held with Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai in the chair, a set of rules was framed and a small Committee was appointed consisting of Messers. Nagappa Chettiar, A. Rengasvami Pillai, M. Nagalingam Pillai, T. A. Ramalinga Chettiar, B. A., B. L., and S. Palvanna Mudaliyar, with Mr. S. Vadivelu Pillai as Secretary and Treasurer, and Pandit R. S. Vedachalam Pillai as General Secretary. We have no proper account of as to how this committee worked, but it was evident that the General Secretary and the Principal Secretary did not agree with each other, and the committee was hardly, if ever, convened. Mr. Sivajnana Mudaliyar, B. A., Sub-Registrar and Mr. C. Ponnusvami Mudaliyar rendered great assistance in regard to the Second Conference. The Third Conference was held at Negapatam on the 25th, 26th and 27th December 1908 under the Presidency of Sriman J. M. Nallasvami Pillai B. A., B. L., District Munsiff, and Mr. G. Sadasivam Pillai, Editor of Nilalochani, and N. S. Vaidyalinga Mudaliyar, were responsible for the successful management of this Conference.
As was set forth in the last report, the Conference was due to the initiative of Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, and to the liberality of S. R. M. C. Ramasvami Chettiyar Avargal of Jambukesvaram who gave a donation of Rs. 200, which went to pay the travelling expenses of the lecturers and printing charges. The local committee, with Mr. Annamali Pillai, Retired Tahsildar as Chairman, made a large collection, and met the expenses of the conference. The thanks of the public are due to Mr. M. A. Chandrasekharam Pillai, Mirasdar and Svaminatha Pillai Head Clerk, Audit Office, Trichinopoly for the success of this conference and its arrangements. It is intimated to us that the General Secretary has sent in his accounts to the local committee, and the local committee intends to publish its accounts soon. The conference was presided our by the Hon'ble A. Kanakasabhai, B. A., Advocate, and Tamil Member of the Ceylon Legislative Council.
The subjects dealt with by the different speakers are given below:-
The Psychology of the Shadadhvans ---------------------- V. V. Ramana Sastrin. Worship of Sivalinga ----------------------- Pandit R. S. Vedachalam Pillai. Gurubhakti ---------------------- G. Sadasivam Pillai. The Four Paths ---------------------- Brahmasri A. Rangasvami Aiyar. Balancing of Karma ---------------------- J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, B.A.,B.L., The Sacred Ashes ---------------------- Srimati Andalammai. The Philosophy of the Gita ---------------------- A. V. Gopalachariya., M.A., B.L. Bhakti ---------------------- T. Bhaktavatsalam Pillai, B.A. Saiva-Siddhanta ---------------------- Pandit R. S. Vedachalam Pillai. Atma-jnanam ---------------------- P. M. Muttaiya Pillai. Mukti-nilai ---------------------- S. Palvanna Mudaliyar. Jivakarunya ---------------------- Svami Rudra Kotesvara. Atmalakshana ---------------------- C. Damodaram Pillai. The Work before Us. ---------------------- R. S. Subrahmanyam Pillai. Saiva-Siddhanta ---------------------- Pandit R. S. Vedachalam Pillai.
A large number of missionary gentlemen were present at the meeting, at the invitation of Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, and a good account of it was published by the Rev. H. W. Schomerus of Erode in the Gospel Witness, and extracted in the Siddhanta Dipika.
At a special sitting of the conference, the question of a constitution was again discussed, and the General Secretary intimated that he would sever his connection with the Conference if a committee was appointed. He was however induced to accept the General Secretary ship, and a standing committee was appointed to carry on the business, till the next Conference.
Donations were called for, and subscribed, and the General Secretary has intimated that he collected about Rs. 30, and he has, however, furnished no accounts, though he was called up on to do so. At the close of the conference, the conference was invited to meet at Madura, this year, by Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, on behalf of the Maharaja of Ramnad and the invitation was accepted.
Nothing was done during the year by the General Secretary and it seemed that nothing would be done. Mr. P. M. Muttaiyya Pillai wrote to Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai that, from what he heard from the General Secretary, the latter was not going to move in the matter of holding a conference this year. The Secretary was at once communicated with, and he at first suggested difficulties about communicating with the members of the committee, and then he stated that he had severed his connection with the conference even from last year, and that he had retired into solitude, notwithstanding the fact that he collected the subscriptions, and spent them during this year. While feeling grateful to the Pandit for all that he had done to found and develop this conference, the committee extremely regret his attitude, and his severance with this conference. Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai sent a circular letter to all the members of the committee and nearly all of them replied to the communication, and it was resolved to appoint Mr. V. V. Ramana Sastrin and Mr. . M. T. Subrahmanya Mudaliyar as Secretaries and that papers should be called for before a certain date, from gentlemen who wished, to lecture at the conference, and that Mr. K. P. Puttanna Chettiyar, and the Hon'able P. Arunachala Mudaliyar be invited to preside. With regard to the proposal to submit the lectures in writing, there were only one or two dissentients, but as the result has proved, the experiment has been uncommonly successful; more than thirty papers have been received, and more would have been forthcoming if they were given more time, and the duration of the sittings of conference could be further extended. It may not be known that, at the last convention of religions at Calcutta, eminent men belonging to all religions and creeds, cheerfully compiled with a similar requisition, and, what was more, the papers were subjected to a severe revision by the committee; and a similar experiment made at the last anniversary of the Palmcottah Samayabhivriddhi Sabha, was also successful. The committee could now congratulate itself at least that the thought and speech of a large number of persons would not be altogether lost and, if funds permit, the committee could hope to publish them in book-form.
The committee met in Madras on the 4th December, for passing the report, and the papers received, and settling a program, but we regret only a few members attended. A large amount of work had fallen on Mr. V. V. Ramana Sastrin, Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, and the thanks of the committee are due to them from their labor of love. Correspondence was also opened with the Raja of Ramnad, and all the success of this conference is due to his great liberality, and the conference would have been a greater success if we has pleasure of the Raja's presence in our midst today. The committee, however, takes this opportunity to convey to the Maharaja its deep debt of gratitude to him, and to those who have worked with him, to make this conference a great success. It is a happy augury that the heir of the Setupatis should commemorate the first year after his attaining majority, with a great religious assembly like the present, and we pray to our Lord Siva to grant him long life and prosperity. The Committee wishes to express its gratitude to the President, for so cheerfully and readily complying with the request of the committee, conveyed through Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai. His presence, however, is of greater importance and significance, in more than one respect. Virasaivism forms an important Sakha of the general Saiva Religion, and follows the same Saiva Agamas as the rest of the following. There are some Virasaiva maths in the Tamil country, and the great Sivaprakasa Svamigal of Turaimangalam of the last century, the famous author of நால்வர் நான்மணிமாலை, Forty Hymns in praise of our Samayacharyas, is honored throughout the length and breadth of the Tamilakkam. And, at the present day, no better honored teacher could be found than Sri Siva Shanmukha Sivacharyasvamigal, the learned head of the Virasaiva math at Tiruppapuliyur. However, as most of the maths and their followers are found chiefly in Telugu, Canarese and Maharatta countries, any great rapprochement between the two sections, have not been possible, and the higher truths of Virasaivism and the erudite works of its professors, are lost to the Tamil Saivas. For the last two years, however, a move have been made by the leaders of the two Sakhas to come together, and to join hands, in the great work of resuscitating and strengthening our ancient and beloved Religion, and it has been made possible also to accomplish this by the assistance of the English language. We have been working each our own way, but union is strength, and its importance cannot be overlooked in view of the great work before us. The presence, today, of our President, and of several delegates from the distant provinces, is a sign and seal of this union, and we pray to Paramesvara that He, in His Supreme Wisdom, will guide our work to the great glory of His name; and it may be not too distant to hop that we may unite, in a common bond of union, the Ganapatyas, Saktas and Saivas, in the other presidencies also.
The object of this Conference is, as may be readily perceived, to serve as a great demonstration, for the purpose of attracting the attention of the general public to the importance of this ancient system of thought and faith, and to rouse the enthusiasm of its own followers. There are various sabhas in this Presidency, and in Secunderabad, Bangalore &c., where work has been carried on for a long number of years. The Conference could in no sense take their place; work has to be done from day to day, and from week to week, and this can only be carried on by the local Sabhas. The scope of this Conference would be to create a sort of federation among the different Sabhas, so that delegates from the different parts may meet together, take stock of the work done, and compare notes, and emulate each other, and devise schemes of work for the coming year. There is a great future for the Conference, if only it is properly constituted, and the different Associations would cooperate it, and lend their support. It is with this view the Committee has addressed a circular letter to all the Sabhas, requesting them to send delegates to this Conference, and the committee has also arranged two morning sittings for the purpose of settling a constitution for the Conference.
The Standing Committee of the Conference could very well, direct its efforts to the following points, if well supported by funds:
1. Publication work. 2. Arranging courses of lectures for the year in different places. 3. Elevation of the depressed classes. 4. Suggesting improvements in temple administration.
Ours is no militant propogandism; our well known toleration, often, degenerates into indifference. The law given to us by our Achrayas is, that no religion is false and every religion is acceptable to our Lord, the God Siva, and He is the God, who has revealed Himself in all ages, and to all nations, and in all the countries, and through all creeds, and He is all Love, and that Love alone can secure us peace in this world and the next. We merely desire the love and goodwill of other religionists, and that they should understand us properly. We believe we have certain truths which ought to and will appeal to men of every creed and every religion. And we believe we have already secured their sympathy, and our special thanks are due to the Christian missionary gentlemen who have spoken and written about the Saiva Siddhanta, in recent years, with sympathy and appreciation, and to our Vaishnava friends who have come forward to enlighten us, with their learned addresses, during this Conference.
We hope that in future reports of this kind, the work of the different association carried on during the year, would also be summarized and embodied. We may however notice that, during the past year, several associations celebrated their anniversaries with great éclat. The celebration in May last by the Palamcotta Saiva Samayabhivriddhi Sabha was the greatest; it was celebrated for 3 days; in July, the Madras Vedagamokka Sabha founded by Srilasri Somasundara Nayagar, celebrated its 50th anniversary, and both were presided over by Sriman P. Panditturaisvami Tevar Avargal. In August, the Vanivilasa Sabha of Tiruppapuliyur had a three days' celebration under the Presidency of Brahma-sri T. Sadasiva Aiyar Avargal, M.L., District Judge of Ganjam. The new buildings of the Saiva Prakasa Vidyasalai at Chidambaram were opened by Sriman Panditturaisvami Tevar Avl., in September, and this was also made the occasion for the delivery of a number of lectures on Saiva Religion and Philosophy. The Madras Sivanadiyar Tirukuttam celebrated its anniversary, opened a library, and, what is more important, opened some primary schools under its management, for the purpose of imparting religious and moral instruction. Meykanda Santana Sabha opened a Devara Pathasala and celebrated its anniversary in November, under the Presidency of Brahmasri Maha Mahopadhyaya U. V. Svaminatha Aiyar Avargal, Professor of Tamil, Madras Presidency College. We may also mention that the Madras Sivanadiyar Tirukuttam is proposing to open Sunday classes for the religious instruction of Panchama boys. We hope and pray to our Lord that such work would increase and develop in the coming years, and bring with it a richer harvest of moral and spiritual and social elevation, and Peace and Love.
- THE STANDING COMMITTEE.
(Specially Communicated by a Member of the Conference.)
The fifth Session of the Saiva Siddhanta Conference was opened duly on the 26th December 1910 at Ramnad. The President-elect and the delegates attended a service at Sri Raja Rajesvari Amman Temple, and a most impressive service was also held at the shrine of St. Tayumanavar on the same morning. Mr. Tangavelu Servaikar read out Arulayyar Agaval in praise of the Saint, and there was not an eye in the whole congregation which was not brimming with tears during the full force of such a soul-lifting experience.
the Durbar Hall of the ancient Setupati Rajas was filled to overflowing by 1 P. M. Sriman Dinakarasvami Tevar Avargal welcomed the President-elect and the delegates in a felicitous and short speech on behalf of the Maharaja, and proposed the President-elect Sriman K. P. Puttanna Chettiyar Avargal, Senior Councillor to His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore, to the Chair. This was duly seconded by Sriman J. M. Nallasvami Pillai Avargal and amidst the acclamations of the people assembled, the President took the chair. Two Sastris who had accompanied the President from Bangalore then chanted the famous Satarudriya Hymn, which was most sublime in effect. A young boy, in silvery tones, sang several Hymns from the Devaram, as did also Mr. Tangavelu Pillai of the Sivanadiyar Tirukuttam of Madras. A brilliantly-worded Welcome Address was then read by the Secretary, Brahmasri V. V. Ramana Sastrin Avargal and presented to the President, and the former gentleman read also the Report of the Standing Committee. The President then read his Inaugural Address, which being conceived in a broad and lofty spirit, was appreciated by the audience, which also included gentlemen of different persuasions of the Hindu Faith. He did full justice to the superior claims of Saiva Religion and philosophy, but he displayed above all his liberal attitude towards other religions. His speech was followed by the lecture of Mr. R. Shanmukha Mudaliyar on.
and he discussed therein the various manifestations of Siva and the meaning and raison d'etre of such manifestations. We may state the gist of his paper as follows. As the Upanishads set forth, the Supreme Brahman willed 'May I Become Many'. Why should He do so? Not for His own sake, but for the sake of the innumerable souls or jivas wallowing in anava (primal corruption) without any will or thought, in the kevala (benighted) condition. When Brahman willed, a corresponding will made its appearance in the jiva also, and all the subsequent manifestations of God have a relation to the different cycles in which the jiva revolves from tis first enmeshment in a material body to its final resting in God. Man can will and act and think, but can do so, if only God also wills and thinks. The Fire can burn and the wind can blow, bus as is shown in the Kena Upanishat, they cannot move a straw, if the Supreme Consort of Uma does not will it. The various manifestation of God show how in each and every one of our human activities, God in His Supreme Mercy stands by us, supports us and help us ever and anon till we reach our Goal. The above paper was followed by that of Brahmasri T. B. Vasudeva Sastriar Avargal, Retired District Munsiff, on
He is a well-read Sanskrit scholar and a great devotee of the Devi, and he displayed his devotion and learning in the paper that he read. He took for his text a stanza of Kalidasa and explained its esoteric meaning. He said that the pure worship of our Mother Uma has nothing to do with some of the baser (vamachara) forms of worshipping sakti (the feminine principle in nature).
was the theme of the extempore address of Mr. H. Ramayya, Secretary of Vokkaligara Sangha of Bangalore, and he took the audience by storm. In speaking about the 'Saints, Sages and Saviours of India' he brought out the one unifying characteristic of all of them, namely, their selflessness and self-sacrifice. He punctuated his address with happy quotations and quaint moral-pointing anecdotes which elicited warm and repeated applause. This was followed by Mr. Basavalingappa's paper on
He said Virasaivam was clearly included in the term Saiva Siddhanta and classified all the Agamas into four classes, namely, Vama, Dakshina, Misra and Siddhanta, relating respectively to the Saktas, Bhairavas, Saptamatrikas and Saivas. The last comprised all the twenty-eight Agamas from the Kamika to the Vatula. He controverted the fallacies prevailing about the genuine antiquity of Virasaivam. The Saivas were divisible into the Samanya Saivas, Misra Saivas, Suddha Saivas and Virasaivas whose codes of faith he defined. Lingadharana was clearly inculcated in the Divyagamas and as such, it was an ancient institution. The sixty-three Saiva Saints called Puratanas were worshipped by Virasaivasa also and he mentioned several of them such as Iyarpagai Nayanar, Siruthondar, Gananathar, Murugar, Ilayangudimara Nayanar, Chandesvara Nayanar and others as strict Virasaivas, and he claimed that St. Manicka Vachaka was also a Virasaiva. He said that Acharyas incarnated from time to time for reviving the sacred religion, and the time now seemed to be fit form the incarnation of an Acharya. The day's proceedings came to a close with the reading of a learned paper on
by Svami Arivanandan of Mayavaram.
The morning meeting on the 27th December commenced at 8 A. M., and the business transacted then was the most important in the whole Session. Mr. I. Adimulam Mudaliyar Avargal, the devoted Secretary of the Madras Sivanadiyar Tirukkutta Sabha read a most valuable paper on
He divided his subject under various heads, organisation sabhas, funds, ways of spreading the religion, the depressed classes, vernaculars, temples and maths, religious schools, and treated the subject under each head in a most exhaustive manner. Mr. T. Muttusvami Konar Avargal, the energetic Secretary of the Tiruchengode Saiva Siddhanta Samajam followed, with his paper on the same subject. Then followed a stirring speech from Mr. Vallal Sivajnana Desikar Avargal, the talented Secretary of the Samayabhivriddhi Sabha of Palamcotta and as the President remarked, he spoke much faster than any one could read. The point which he pressed on the notice of the audience was, that it was not necessary for us to secure new funds for carrying out our objects, and if we could secure the proper administration of the funds we already possessed, it would be enough. The thousands of saivite temples and maths in our land, were endowed by the ancient Rajas and nobles for the up-keep and spread of our religion, and the funds they administered were our own, and it is our duty to see that they are put to their proper uses, and not allowed to be diverted to such ignoble purposes as they now sub serve. In that connection, Mr. T. B. Vasudeva Sastri Avargal spoke in very strong terms about the maladministration prevailing in maths bur added that the temple administration was much better now than before. Then rose Mr. Pandituraisvami Tevar Avargal, President of the Tamil Sangham and President of the Second Session of the Saiva Siddhanta Conference, amidst repeated cheers, and delivered a very powerful speech, remarking that the subject appealed to him keenly. He spoke in the most scathing terms about the abuse of temple and math endowments and said it was our duty to see that these endowments and were properly administered, and quoting a verse from the Sivadharmottara in which the severest penalties are inflicted not only on those who prosecuted siva-kainkaryam without a conscience but equally on those who looked thereon without removing the abuse. He was definitively of opinion that the organisation of the Samaja should be strengthened and a journal should also be published under its auspices, as its organ, and so on. Messers Nataraja Tevar of Ramnad, Muttirulappa Pillai of Srivaikuntham, P. M. Muttaiya Pillai, Vice-President of the Tuticorin Saiva Siddhanta Sabha also took part in the debate. Then the Hon'ble Mr. M. Sambanda Mudaliyar spoke on the Maladministration of Temple Endowments, and said that he and his friends in the Legislative Council were thinking of introducing a bill to remedy the evils of the old Act, now in force, and advised the Samaja to strengthen their hands by submitting memorials to Government on the subject.
Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, in moving a resolution on the subject, observed that while he practised as a Vakil in Madura, he was engaged in a litigation connected with several of the Madura Devasthanams, and was thus fully cognizant of the various defects of the existing Act, and of the abuses prevailing in the various institutions, and he had as a matter of fact promoted several public meetings in the Pudumantapam in Madura where these questions were discussed and resolutions adopted. The Maladministration of Devasthanams used to figure as an invariable item in all the memorials submitted during gubernatorial tours about two decades ago, but, when the various pieces of legislation attempted by the Madras Government were knocked on the head by the Imperial Government, the people lost all heart. If we had not yet secured better legislation at all, it was not the fault of the local Government. The Government of India were yet under a delusion that the people would resent any fresh legislation on the subject. It is this delusion that the Samaja should try to sweep away by mass-memorialising the India Government. He was always of opinion that the existing evils were due to a legislative enactment, and if these were to be removed, it could only be done by fresh legislation. The resolution was to the effect that the conference was strongly of opinion that the Religious Endowments Act required revision and re-legislation and that a memorial should be submitted to Government by the Standing Committee of the Samaja. This was seconded by Mr. T. B. Vasudeva Sastrigal. The President in putting the resolution to the vote explained how the Government of Mysore had grappled with the difficulty, and enumerated the various reforms introduced by that Government in the Administration of Temple and Math Endowments. The resolution was carried unanimously.
A Committee was then appointed to submit on the morrow draft rules for the better and more effective organization and working of the Samaja, on the motion of Mr. S. Palvanna Mudaliyar, Secretary of Sarasvati Vilasa Sabha, Tinnevelly, and Mr. T. A. Ramalinga Chettiyar Avargal, B. A., B. L., High Court Vakil, Tirupur, who specially commented on and commended the Samaja's worthy object of lifting up the depressed classes.
In the afternoon sitting, Srimati Andalammai delivered her discourse taking for her text, a hymn from the Devaram:
"வாழ்க அந்தணர் வானவர் ஆனினம் வீழ்க தண்புனல் வேந்தனும் ஒங்குக ஆழ்க தீயதெலாம் அரன் நாமமே சூழ்க வையகமும் துயர் தீர்கவே"
which being interpreted will stand
"Hail to the Sages, to the Gods and kins all hail! Let drop the gentle rain, the sovran's days increase! May Hara's name resound and all corrupt deeds fail! And let all the ills that afflict the word decrease!"
Her choice of words, her analysis of the subject, and her delivery captivated every one's heart, and the whole exposition, which lasted more than an hour, showed her erudition and great devotion. The President paid a fitting compliment to her and said she belonged to a respectable family, the family of the late Dharmaratnakaram Arcot Narayanasvami Mudaliyar, and she had made a heroic self-sacrifice in coming before a male audience to deliver her discourse; and that she was an ornament to her community and a beacon-light to her sisters. It may be observed that both her father and father-i-law were erudite Tamil pandits, and her husband Mr. Ekambara Mudaliyar of Secunderabad is a devoted student of the Saiva Siddhanta and her discourse was the result of their joint-study. Her example should certainly be followed by her sisters, and it is incumbent on all fathers and husbands to bestow their utmost thought on the education of their daughters and wives.
Mr. A. V. Gopalachariyar, M. A., B. L., High Court Vakil of Trichinopoly followed with his learned lecture on
and applying the canons of Vaishnava authors, he propounded its esoteric meanings, taking it first as a single word, then as two words, and further as three words, and thereby displayed at once his great Sanskrit learning, true piety and broadness of mind. He said Vaishnavas were at heart Saivas, and Saivas were Vaishnavas. The President applauded his speech very warmly and conveyed the thanks of the whole assembly for his interesting and able discourse.
He was followed by Mr. Rangasvami Nayagar Avargal, an intimate friend, relation, and follower of the late Srilasri Somasundara Nayagar Avargal, who read a paper embodying an imaginary dialogue between
and it had the true ring of the late Mr. Nayagar's impressive utterances. The paper showed that in a sense all religionists were also Agamics.
After lunch, Mr. H. K. Virabasavayya, B.A., B.L., Advocate, Chief Court, Bangalore, delivered a short speech on
and he pointed out that the image of Saint Tiruvalluvar at Mylapore bore the Sivalinga on its forehead. Mr. V.V.Ramana Sastrin intervening said that the term Virasaivam might be used to distinguish it from the Suddhasaivam but not from the Siddhanta, as the latter term included both Virasaivam and Suddhasaivam which are Jnana-margas. Virasaivam and Suddhasaivam differed only in the ceremonial portions of the charya, kriya and yoga margas, and were fully at one so far as the Jnana-marga was concerned. He quoted from Nijagunasivayogin, a great Virasaiva Saint to show that all Virasaivas were ipso facto Sivadvaita-siddhantins.
Mr. A. Reangasami Aiyar of Kulittalai followed with his able paper in English on
and he explained his subject with a wealth of quotations from the Divagamas and the Upanishats and he compared and contrasted the idea of the Divine Teacher (Guru) from the Saiva and the Christian standpoints.
MR. Ekambara Mudaliyar of Bangalore explained, in his lecture on
the essential tenets of the Saiva Siddhanta touching the Tripadartha (the Three Verities).
This was followed by an address by Mr. H. Ramayya on
which was even better applauded and cheered than on the previous day. He said the great battle in life was concerned with fighting against one's pride, passion and lust, and putting them down; and that with faith in God and love for Him, one could move mountains. This was symbolized in the fight between Rama and Ravana. Our own noble spirit was imprisoned as Sita was, by the Rakshasa, of our own ahankar, our pride and passion; work, unselfish work, and not speech, was required and learning formed the ever-present besetting sin. But if we dedicate all our acts to God and become humble of spirit and loving of heart, God, as the spectator, supporter and the Mahesvara, would take on Himself our burdens, and we could then erect our Setu of spiritual strength and hope, and cross the ocean of tribulation and sorrow, and regain and realize our own noble spirit, and be united to God. The real Setu was according to the Upanishats none else than God Himself.* [* God is spoken of as the Setu, in the following passage of the Chhandogya Upanishat: "That Atman is a Setu, so that these worlds may not be confounded. Day and night do not pass that 'Setu', nor old age, death, and grief, neither good nor evil deeds. All evil-doers turn back from it, for the World of Brahman is free from evil" (VIII, iv, 11) Cf. also Brihadaranyaka Upanishat V, iv, 22.] And what greater honor can there be to one than to be called Setupati as our Raja of Ramnad and his ancestors were called? The speaker here greatly eulogized the late Raja Bhaskara Setupati whose glory it was to send Svami Vivekananda to Chicago. The soul of that Setupati was even now amongst them, giving them hope and encouragement. It was a rousing speech and very much applauded.
Early on the morning of the 28th, the Committee met to consider the rules which were drafted by MR. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, and with slight changes they were passed; they were then placed before the General Body, and accepted. In the afternoon, the Standing Committee and the office-bearers were elected, and the Raja of Ramnad was chosen as the Patron of the Samaja, amidst acclamation. Then Papers on different subjects were read by Virudai Sivajnana Yogi Svamigal, Mr. S. Anavaratavinayakam Pillai, M.A., of the Christian College* [* The Paper of Mr. S. Anavaratavinayakam Pillai was on the psychology of that militant Agamic classic, the Olivilodukkam, and it is his intention to revise and amplify it for publication in the journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of London. - Ed. L.T.] Mr. V.V. Ramana Sastrin, F.Z.S. ETC., † [† The Paper of Mr. V.V.Ramana Sastrin was entitled "Sri-Mula Natha's Srimantramalika – A Study." It was written in Tamil and will be embodied in an extended form as an Introduction in the edition of Srimantramalika with foot-notes that is to be shortly issued by the Ripon Press, Madras. An English Translation of the same paper will be contributed to the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of London. – Ed. L.T.] General Secretary, Mr. Ganapati Sastrin, Mr. Ramachandra Bhupati, P. M. Muttaiya Pillai of Tuticorin, S. C. Nagi Chettiar of Madras, Mr. Palvanna Mudaliar and Mr. Puvai Kalyanasundara Mudaliyar of Madras. Mr. H. Ramayya delivered his last address and it was also warmly applauded. Mr. Nallasvami Pillai briefly explained the purport of the other papers sent by Srimat A. Govindacharya of mysore. Mr. R. S. Subramanayam of Mannar §, [§ His paper appears on p. 371 of this number of the Journal. – Ed. L. T] Mr. Sivapadasundaram Pillai of Jaffna, Mr. P. Narayana Aiyar of Madura, Mr. T. Somasundara Desikar of Tiruvarur, Mr. Vaidyalinga Mudaliyar of Negapatam, Mr. Kalyan Shetty, B. A., of Sholapur, Mr. Gopalakrishnan, Assitant Editor of Svadesamitran of Madras, and Srimat Ananda Shanmukha Saranalaya Svamin of Tillaivijagam of Tanjore District.* [* This is one of the very best papers sent up to the Conference. It dealt with the central teachings of Agamic mysticism – Ed. L. T]
The President in winding up the proceedings said that all the three days had been busy days, and a good deal of work had been done, and that all the papers read and speeches made had shown a high level of excellence. One great feature of the gathering was that Saivas from all parts of the country were brought together and made to realize their unity, and he hoped that future conferences would be attended by Saivaites from all parts of India. He gracefully acknowledged the hospitality of the Raja of Ramnad which was enjoyed to the fullest; The Raja had arranged for the boarding and lodging of the delegates of the Conference with all liberality, and their comforts were hence attended to with zest and keenness. He thanked Mr. Dinakarasvami Tevar, the President of the Reception Committee, and Mr. Nataraja Tevar, the Secretary thereof for their noble work and Mr. Pandituraisvami Tevar for giving them his best countenance. Their stay was very pleasant and the excellent sea-breeze of Ramnad had braced their nerves. He thanked the volunteers for their sincere work and Mr. Nallasvami Pillai and Mr. V. V. Ramana Sastrin for the success that had attended the present Session of the Conference. He moved a resolution that a telegram be sent to the Raja of Ramnad thanking him for his great kindness and hospitality, which was carried unanimously by acclamation. Mr. Panditturaisvami Tevar thanked the President in a suitable speech. Mr. Nataraja Tevar thanked the lecturers and delegates and all of them were garlanded. The Secretary of the Conference, Mr. V. V. Ramana Sastrin thanked all assembled for the success they have contributed to bring about, save for which the Conference would not have proved such an instructive function as it turned out to be. The meeting dispersed with cheers to the Raja, the British Raj and King Emperor of George.
Several papers and pamphlets were distributed gratis. Among those were Mr. Adimula Mudaliyar's address on 'Duties of Saivites', Srimat Ananda Shanmukha Saranalaya Svamin's paper on 'Siddhanta Saram', and a Tamil tract on 'Saiva Religion and Advaita Siddhanta Philosophy', Mr. Nallasvami Pillai's English paper on 'Saivism and its relation to other systems', as well as his Tamil pamphlet on 'Personality of God', which was printed at the expense of the Tiruchengode Saiva Siddhanta Samaja.
The President and his party and all the delegates arrived on the afternoon of the 25th December 1910 and were received on the platform of the Ramnad Railway Station by Mr. Dinakaravami Tevar and Mr. Nataraja Tevar and the local Sub Magistrate Mr. Chokkalingam Pillai and other principal citizens and officials. The President Mr. K. P. Puttanna Chettiyar accompanied by Mr. Nallasvami Pillai* [* The moving spirit of the Conference was really Mr. J. M. Nallasvami Pillai, and without him the Conference would have been an insanity. This we say in justice to the demands of truth. – Ed. L. T] and Mr. Nataraja Tevar, were taken in a torch-light procession from the Railway Station to the Palace towards the evening, and the procession was beautified by all the Raja's paraphernalia and by fireworks. The President and his party were accommodated in the Parvatavardhani Vilas. Most of the delegates were accommodated in the Sankara Vilas and Mangala Vilas, and several other smaller bungalows and houses were utilized for accommodating other delegates who had come up with their families. The hospitality that was extended to them left nothing to be desired. Though the Raja was away at Allahabad on account of the Industrial Exhibition that was held there, Mr. Nataraja Tevar who was in charge of the Reception arrangements managed everything with tact and cleverness. As Mr. Nallasvami Pillai observed, it was fortunate he had been given an opportunity to win his spurs, and Mr. Nataraja Tevar must be distinctly congratulated on having won them. We must also say that unlike the scions of noble families in Tamil districts, he and his brother Mr. Velusvami Tevar, whose unavoidable absence was deeply regretted, are cultured young gentlemen and their love of learning and the learned is quite commendable.
On the morning of 29th December, a group photograph of the President and the delegates was also taken, and the President and the party left for Ramesvaram the same forenoon.