[M/s Williams and Norgate, London published in 1921, the Hibbert Lectures of J. Estiln Carpenter, in the form of a book entitled “Theism In Medieval India,” and the article here printed is from Lecture VI dealing with ‘Philosophy and Religion in Saivism’.
The author’s knowledge of Sanskrit and Pali, his capacity for analysis and assimilation coupled with his sympathy for the Indian Religions had enabled him to indite this work of considerable significance.
The author had studied in depth the Tamil scholars like M.S. Aiyangar (Tamil Studies), G.U.Pope (The Thiruvachakam) J.M. Nallaswami Pillai (Siddhanta Dipika Volumes), P. Sundaram Pillai (Some Milestones in the History of Tamil Literature) S. Purnalingam Pillai (Primer of Tamil Literature), Schomerus (Der Caiva Siddhanta), V.V. Ramana Sastrin (Siddhanta Dipika Volumes) and G.Sabharantnam of Ceylon.
We have in our foot-notes pointed out the major errors of the author. Ed.]
Meanwhile the most remarkable product of Caiva religion presents itself among the Tamils of South India. By what means and at what date the Brahman culture was carried among the Dravidian peoples it is no longer possible to determine.11 Legend has its own version, and the Tamil chroniclers boldly assigned an enormous antiquity to the famous Academies which were supposed to have developed the art of literary composition after the Brahman Agastya had provided the language with an alphabet and grammar.1 There are, unfortunately, no clear historical data, in spite of very active poetical production, until about the sixth century of our era. The early forms of the cults of Civa and Vishnu beside the Buddhists and the Jains are shrouded in obscurity.2 But it is recognised by the best Tamil scholarship that “as late as the third or fourth century A.D. there was no Civaism or Vishnuism as understood now.”3 Yet in the sixth century Caivism is firmly established in Dravidian …….pg 55
1. A learned lawyer and judge, editor also of important Tamil texts, recently assigned a period of ten thousand years (10, 150-150 B.D) to the three traditional Academies. Mr. M.S.Aiyangar, M.A., in his interesting volume of Tamil Studies (Madras, 1914), conceived the first and second “to have existed occasionally sometime between 500 B.C./ and A.D. 200,” p 244. The really distinctive work seems to have been done at Madura, the capital of Pandyan kings, by the so-called Third Academy.
2. In an important article on the Dravidians of S.India, ERE, v p. 22, Mr. R.W. Frazer suggests that as Civa in Tamil means “red,” an original Dravidandd deity of that name may have been amalgamated with the Rudra Civa of the Vedic hymns, Rudra having often the same meaning, Cp. Ante, Lect. V., p. 2263, and Linguistic Survery, Iv. p.279. Cp. Pope, Tiruvacagam, p. Ixiv,2 on a probable S.Indian demonic element in the Caiva cult.
3. Tamil Studies, p 251, -------------------------------------------- pg 55
……………. Pg 56 countries with its characteristic piety.1 An inscription from Mysore (500-550) celebrates him as the Eternal Sthanu (the “Steadfast”) “whose one body is formed by the coalescene of all the gods, and whose grace (prasada) constantly guards the three worlds from the fear of evil.”2 Plates from the Nasik district (Bombay) in the year 595 commemorate the military success, the learning, the charities, the aids to the afflicted, the blind, and the poor, of King Cankaragana, a worshipper of Civa under the name of Pucupati, “the Lord of Souls.”3 A little later the Gurjaras of Broach (Bombay), who were originally sun-worshippers, all became Caivas4. When Yuan Chwang in 640 made his way down the eastern coast to the Pallava kingdom, and stayed at its capital Kanchipura,5 he found ten thousand Buddhists in …………………… pg 56
1. See the poems of Appar (or St. Vagica), 573 below; Venkayya in Epigr. Ind. Iii p.277. Mr. J.M. Nallaswami Pillai claims Narkirar, chief of the Academy Poets as the earliest exponent of the Caiva-Siddhanta, but he does not venture to fix his date Siddh. Dip., xii 10 (April1912), p.407.
2. Epigr. Ind., viii. p 33
3. This title already appears in the Gupta inscrptions about A.D. 350 at Allahabad, Corpus Inscrr. Ind., iii p.I. Dr. Fleet translates it simply “Lord of Animals,: following the mythological description of the Ganges flowing through his braided hair. On its religious meaning in Kashmir Caivism, cp p.347.
4. Epigr. Ind., xii. p 201.
5. Commonly identified with Conjeveram, but see Watters, On Yuan Chwang, ii P. 226 f. ----------------------------------------- pg 56
………………………. Pg 57 the country, with a hundred monasteries and eighty Deva templs, of which the majority were Jain. The Caivas, therefore, were not yet powerful. But the Tamil Poets of Caivism were already at work. The struggle with the dominant Jains was severe, and the religion which was established in conflict generated a new energy of emotion. Bends of Brahman theologians came down from Upper India.1 The air was full of debates and disputations. In the seventh century Tir. Nanasambandhar converted the Panday king from Jainism, and later tradition affirmed that with the fierce wrath of an Elijah he celebrated his victory in controversy by the massacre of eight thousand Jains.A Like his earlier contemporary Appar, he was a copious hymn-writer, 384 compositions being ascribed to him. So powerful was the impress of his work and character, that “there is scarcely a Civa temple in the Tamil country where his image is not daily worshipped.”2 From this time an impassioned stream of sacred verse flows on for centuries. The power of Caivism-and of Vaishnavism by its side continually grows. Hundreds of temples rise through ………………………………………. Pg 57
1. Tamil Studies. P 217.
2. P.Sundaram Pillai, Some Milestones in the Hist of Tamil Lit. (1895), p 9. Annual feasts are held in his name, with dramatic representations of events in his life. As an illustration of the chronological difficulties attending literary investigation, it may be mentioned that while one English scholar (Taylor) placed him about 13…. B.C., another (Bishop Caldwell) assigned him to A.D. 1292! Cp.S. Purnalingam Pillai, Primer of Tamil Literature (1904), p.8
A An obvious misinterpretation. Ed.
………………….. pg 58 South India to the two great Gods.1 Each can boast its line of saints, its poets, its teachers. The first collection of Caiva hymns, the Devaram, is made about 1025, and others follow.2 By the year 11003 sixty-three Caiva saints are commemorated in the Periya Purana2 Here is no systematic theology, but a record of vivid personal experience. Its fundamental motive is most briefly expressed by one of the later poets, TiruMular, in a single verse:
“The ignorant say that Love and God are different; None know that Love and God are the same. When they know that Love and God are the same, They rest in God’s Love.” And the further lesson ran: “They have no love for God, who have no love for all mankind.”4 The Caiva hymns are one long series of variations on these themes. Mingled sometimes ………….pg 58
1. On the Civa temples at Pattadaka (Bijapur district of Bombay) and Ellora (Hyderabad), see Havell, Ancient and Mediaeval Architecture in India (1915), pp.177 ff., 193ff
2. Tamil Studies, p.220; Frazer, ERE, v p 23. The Vaishnavites about the same time gathered a “Book of Four Thousand Psalms.” See Lect. VII., p,383.
3. South Indian Inscrr., II ii.p.152.
4. Siddhiar, xii. 2, quoted in Siddhanta Dipika xiii. 5 (Nov.1912), p239.
5 The year is 1139 A.D. Ed
……………………… pg 59 with strange mythological allusions and unexpected metaphors, they tell of raptures and ecstasies, of fears and falls. There are periods of gloom when the heavens are shrouded and the face of God is hid. There are splendours of light when the world is transfigured in the radiance of love. At the outset of the great chorus the first voices are calm and gentle; and even Appar who tells how he had been bound by heretics to a granite pillar and flung into the sea, and was saved by repeating the sacred name,1 can muse tranquilly on the “fellowship of the Spirit” in contrast with conventional practice or even ethical endeavour
“The grace of God is as pacifying as the soft music of the lute, Or the tender moon in the evening sky.
All learning and wisdom are for doing reverence to God.
God should be worshipped out of pure love as the Great Benefactor,
Who gave us the instruments of knowledge, speech, and action, For escape from destructive desires.
Such desires are hard to conquer without the grace of God.
God rescues from the onsets of sensuous desires those whose hearts melt for him;
1. Siddhanta Dipika. Xiii 2 (Aug.1912), p.61. The five sacred letters of “Nama Civaya,” or “Praise to Civa,” were believed to possess a certain sacred or mystical power.
He reveals himself to those who love him above all things. When the [Churn of the ] heart is moved hard by [the staff of] love. Rolled on the cord of pure intelligence, They who would be free from sin and corruption, Should think of God deeply and continuously with joy. Then he will be at one with them and grant them his grace. Freedom from sin and corruption is to those only who see him in all things, And not to those who see him only in particular places, Nor to those who merely chant the Vedas or hear the Castras expounded. It is to those only who crave for at-one ment With the omnipresent and all-powerful Lord, And not to those who bathe at dawn, Nor to those who have at all times striven to be just, Nor those who make daily offerings to Devas It is to those only who know the Lord to be boundless in love and light, And not to those who roam in search of holy Shrines, Nor to those who practise severe austerities, or abstain from meat. No gain of spiritual freedom is there to those who display the robes And other insignia of Yogins and Sannyasis, or Who mortify the flesh. That gain is only for those who glorify him as The Being Who vibrates throughout the universe and in every soul.”1
Very different are the confessions of Manikka Vacagar2 in the ninth century, whose fifty-one hymns depict the progress of a soul out of the bondage of ignorance and passion into the liberty of light and love3. Their devotional idiom may often sound strange to Western ears; their mythological allusions will some outlook. But their sincerity is indisputable. The poet’s theme is the wonder of divine Grace shown forth in his own life, and he tells without reserve the marvel subsequent waywardness, his despondencies, his falls, his shame and his final recovery and triumph. Dr. Pope compares the influence of these verses in shaping the religious life of the Tamils of South India to that of the Psalms in the Christian Church. They are daily sung throughout the country with tears of rapture4
1. Siddhanta Dipika, xi.I. (July 1910), p 15, tr. P. Ramanathan. I have taken the liberty to print the successive sentences so as to show a certain rhythm of thought where verse is unattainable.
2. Sanskr. Manikya Vachaka, “he whose utterances are rubies.”
3. See The Tiruvacagam, or “Sacred Utterances,” tr. G.U. Pope (Oxford, 1900),
4. Pp. xxxii – xxxiv.
The sotry of the poet’s fe is enveloped in legend. Born in a Brahman family on the river Vaigai near is Madura, he attracted the notice of the kind, and was early called to the royal service. A student of the Vedas, he sought wisdom from many masters, but was satisfied with none.1 The world had woven its bonds around him. Court favour, wealth, dignity, the charms of women- all were at his command, he was “caught in the circling sea of joyous life.”2 The ancient Scriptures failed to hold him; “busied in earth, I acted many a lie” ;he gave no thought to birth and death, sunk in the flood of lust and the illusion of “I” and “mine”. Suddenly, as he was on a mission for the king,3 he was arrested in mid-career by a power that he could not resist, “He laid his hand on me.” The experience could only be described by saying that “the One most precious Infinite to earth came down”; but what he saw could not be told.
“My inmost self in strong desire dissolved, I yearned; Love’s river overflowed its bank; My senses all in him were centred; ‘Lord,’ I cried, With stammering speech and quivering frame I clasped adoring hands my heart expanding like a flower.”4 1. iv. II. 42-51m o,33, 2. xIi. 1, p.309, 3. This may be the historical nucleus of the romantic legend, p.xx ff. 4. iv. II.80-84 p. 35.
All sorts of emotions struggled within him, loathing for past sin, amazement at the divine condescension, a bounding sense of assurance and freedom:
“I know thee, I, lowest of men that live, I know, and see myself a very cur, Yet, Lord, I’II say I am thy loving one! Though such I was, thou took’st me for thine own. The wonder this! Say, is there aught like this? He made me servant of his loving saints; Dispelled my fear; ambrosia pouring forth, he came, And while may soul dissolved in love made me his own. Hence forth I’m no one’s vassal; none I fear, We’ve reached the goal.”1 But his triumph was premature. He will hide nothing, he will confess all: “Faithless I strayed, I left Thy saints, a reprobate was I. How did I watch the one beloved, The quiverings of the lip, the folds of circling robe, the timid bashful look, To read love’s symptoms there.”2
It is a familiar story, but rarely told with such truthfulness. Out of his falls he is once more lifted into “mystic union.” With a tender familiarity he explains it, “There was in thee desire for me, in me for thee.” He was, then, worth something even to God. It suggests a still profounder thought:
1. v.23, 29,30.(condensed), p.53 ff. Cp.xxx.1, p.264. 2. v.57. “The tongue itself that cries to thee-all other powers Of my whole being that cry out – all are Thyself. Thou art my way of strength! The trembling thrill that runs Through me is Thee! Thyself the whole of ill and weal”1 So through the storms of emotion he makes his way to peace. To a security so profound that he can truthfully exclaim – “Though hell’s abyss I enter, I unmurmuring go, if grace divine appoint my lot.”2
From the tranquillity of the sage’s path, as he withdraws from the world and wanders from shrine to shrine (tradition tells of his encounters with Buddhists from Ceylon), he looks back over his life in the world;
“Glory I ask not, nor desire I wealth; not earth or heaven I crave; I seek no birth nor death; those that desire not Civa nevermore I touch: I’ve reached the foot of sacred Perunturrai’s king. And crowne’d myself; I go not forth; I know no Going hence again.”3
1. xxxiii. 5,p.275.
2. v. 2, p.45.
3. xxxiv. 7, p. 280. Cp. Xxii. 2,3,7, p 2018; and for general retrospect, Ii. p. 351. Perun-turrai is “great harbour,” now called Audaiyar Koyil (p.xx). It was on his way thither that the saint’s conversion took place, and he is still worshipped there.
In a quieter mood Tiru Mular summed up a less varied experience:-
“I learnt the object of my union with the body, I learnt of my union with the God of gods. He entered my heart without leaving me, I learnt the knowledge that knows no sin. Seek ye the true support, hold to th Supreme, Your desires will be satisfied when his Grace is gained; With humility of heart the learned will secure The bliss enjoyed by the bright immortals.”1
Among the strange legends of the saints in the Periya Purana is the story of Karaikal Ammaiyar, a merchant’s wife, whose beauty so distressed her that she prayed for the form of a demoness who could stand by God for ever in prayer, Amid a shower of divine flowers and applauding music from the skies she shed her flesh, and after wandering though the world in her bones approached the dwelling of Civa upon Mounth Kailasa. There, as she humbly drew nigh to the God upon her head, it was vouchsafed to her to behold him. She loved to sing afterwards of the “God of gods with throat of shinig blue,”2 to tell of his braided hair and necklace……………………….……… pg 65
1. From the Siddhanta Dipika, xi.7 (Jan. 1911), p. 289. His Tirumantra is translated by J.M. Nallaswami Pillai in vol. vii.
2. This dark-blue colour was the result of his, self-sacrificing act in swallowing the poison which issued from the churning of the ocean of milk to produce the drink of the ocean of milk to produce the drink of immortality, cp Mbh., i. 18, 43ff., ante,p. 147.
…………………………………pg 66 skulls. These were the accepted conventions of mythology. AS she entered the Presence, the Lord called out to her “Mother,” and she fell prostrate at his feet murmuring “Father.” That one good word was uttered by the Lord, says the poet St. Sekkilar, “so that the whole world may be saved”; for the mother’s love that would free from all harm and redeem from all sin is indeed divine. And Karaikal sang:
“If one desires the path that leads to God And wishes to deserve his grace, and asks Where he dwells sure-Even in the heart of those Like my poor self, it easy is to find.”1
Here are significant forms of religious experience. What could philosophy make them?
The Caiva Siddhanta, the “Accomplished End,” the fixed or established truth, is but one among several branches of Tamil Caivism, and itself includes as many as sixteen different schools.2 It ………………. Pg 66
1. Siddhanta Dipika, xiii. 1 (Oct. 1912), p. 152ff.
2. Cp. Schomerus, Der Caiva Siddhanta (1912), Leipzig, p.3 Besides this comprehensive exposition, the subject may be studied in the light of modern Tamil scholarship in the pages of the Siddhanta Dipika (extinct some years ago), and in the essays of Mr. J.M. Nallaswami, Studies in Caiva Siddhanta (1911), Madras. Among the principal documents available for English readers are the following: Nilakanta’s Commentary on the Sutras of Badarayana in the early vols. Of Siddh. Dip.; the Civa-Jana-Botha of Meykanda (1223), tr. Hoisington, in the Journal of the American Oriental Soc., iv. (1845); and Nallaswami (1895); the Tiru Arul Payan (“Fruit of Divine Grace”), by Umapti, tr. Pope in his Tiruvacagam, and the Civa-Prakaca (“Light of Civa”), tr. Hoisington, JAOS, iv, (1854) and assigned by him to the seventeenth century, but now attributed to Umapti, 1313. For a summary of five leading forms of presen-day Caivism, p. an Address by Mr K.P. Puttanna Chettiyar (Senior Counsellor to H.H. the Maharaja of Mysore), Siddh. Dip., xi. 6(Dec 1910), p 256. On the significance of Caivic religion in Nepal, Kashmir, and Mysore, “to this day the head centres of Agamic lore,”cp. V.V. Ramana, ibid, P. 246. For the special significance of Vira-Caivism, ibid, p.269, and xi. 7 (Jan. 1911), p. 315. “The entire religion is a vindicatin of the principle of the brotherhood of man, and its necessary concomitant, universal love”. Cp. Bhandarkar, Vaishnavism, etc, p.131. …………………..pg 67 rests upon a twofold Scriptural authority, the Vedas and the Agamas, “both of them true, both being the Word of the Lord,”1 but not of equal value. The Vedas are the more general, a common basis provided by Ciuva for all religions; the Agamas are the more special suitable for advanced believers and mature experience. Revelation is thus recognised as progressive. The Agamas are twenty-eight in number, ten of which are reckoned as “Root-Agamas,” and as such are “God-taught”; the rest, though divine in origin, are only “man realised.”2 Composed in Sanskrit, they were already…………….. pg 67
1. Tiru Mular, in Siddh. Dip., xii.5 (Nov. 1911), p.205.
2. V.V.RAmana, Siddh. Dip., xi. 5 (Nov. 1901), p.210. In x.12 (June 1910), p. 476, the same writer places them before the first Buddhist Council, 480 B.C.; cp. X. 4(Oct. 1909), p.119.
………………….. pg 68 regarded as products of grey antiquity by the author of the Suta Samhita (in the Skanda Purana of the fifth of sixth century A.D.).1 They supplied the material for Tiru Mular’s treatise Tirumantira,2 and their main teachings were afterwards expounded on the basis of twelve Sanskrit verses in the Civa-Jnana-Botha (“Enlightenment in Civa-Knowledge”) by Meykana Deva (“the Divine Seer of the Truth”) in 1223.3 This beief work was the foundation of Caiva Scholasticism, and acquired a canonical character as a revelation from above, Paranjoti-Muni having been sent down from heaven to instruct Meykanda on the bank of the Lower Pennar in the South Arcot district.4 The work was designed to supply answers ………………pg 68
1. Schomerus,op. cit., p.10.
2. The Tamil equivalent of Cri-Mantra, “the Sacred Word” (Frazer). Tamil writers place Tiru Mular in the first century A.D.; Western scholars bring him down much later.
3. A few years before the birth of Tomas Aquinas, 1225 or 1227.
4. Schomerus, op cit., p.24. For the view of Dr. Barnett, that this development was due to the infiltration of Kashmir Caivism by a southward movement through the Kanarese country into the Tamil lands about the twelfth century, see his note in Le Museon (1909), p. 271, and Siddh. Dip., sxi. 3 (Sept. 1910), p.103. On Kanarese ViraCaivism in the twelfth century, cp. E.P. Rice, A History of Kanarese Literature (1915), chap. Iv. It must not be forgotten that Tamil Caivism had a long religious and literary development before the appearance of the schools of Kashmir, and much common terminology may be traced for centuries before Meykanda wrote. Cankara argued against Caivism, with which he must have been acquainted in South India; and his visit to Kashmir (if tradition may be trusted) apparently coincides with the first beginnings of the northern scholastic philosophy. Cp. Ante, p. 309.
…………………………….pg 69 to such questions as inquiring disciples might be expected to ask, such as – “Is the world eternal, or had it a beginning? Is it self-existent or produced? If produced, was the cause Time, or Karma, or Intelligent? If intelligent, what was Nature?” – and so on through a series of cosmological and ontological puzzles, many of them of venerable descent.1 The earlier Caivism had its own solutions of such problems, supplied by Nilakantha in the first extant commentary on the Vedanta Sutras. Cankara had not yet given its definite form to the Advaita doctrine, but is advocates were already in the field with their passages from Revelation. Nilakantha parries objections by citing others which proved the superiority of Brahman (Civa) alike to the universe and to the soul. He would admit neither an absolute identity nor an absolute distinction, and he called in the conception of Cakti to assist him in explaining their relation.2 To this Cankara does not refer, though he criticises the doctrine of the Caivas ……………………………pg 69
1. Cp. The opening of the Cvetacvat p., ante, p.228.
2. Cp. The long passage quoted by Nallaswami Pillai in Studies In Caiva Siddhanta, p. 200ff. This doctrine was known technically as bhedabhed, “distinction-nondistinction.” ………………………….pg 70 who regarded the Lord as only the operative and not also the material cause of the world.1 The later scholastics marshalled a row of arguments against the monistic Vedanta, which they regarded as their most dangerous foe. St. Arulnandi wound up along series with the plea that “If you say that all knowledge is illusion, what you call Brahman is Illusion; and if Brahman is Illusion, the assumption of intelligence falls to the grown.”2
Like other philosophies of religion, the Caiva-Siddhanta sought to determine the relations of three orders of beings, God, the world, and the soul. In agreement with the Vedanta of Cankara, it viewed the Samsara as without beginning, but instead of attributing to it only a relative reality, it declared that matter and souls were, like God; eternal. But the world as we know it passes through a series of phases. It is for ever undergoing a process of evolution, of maintenance, and dissolution. Its form continually changes but is substance remains the same. Its material cause is Maya, the primeval stuff whence the underse is organised, like the clay converted into the shapely jar. And it requires and efficient cause; it cannot have produced itself spontaneously. How should the undifferentiated mass in silence the darkness set about to change? The ……………………………………..… pg 70
1. i.2, 37: SBE, xxxiv. P. 435.
1. See Schomerus’ translations from the Civa-Jnana-Siddhiyar, p.37. A leading modern Caiva is said to have declared that he would rather see India Christian than Monist. ………………………………pg 71 elements have no intelligence and cannot be the agents of the great development. Time, Karma, Atoms, all are without mind. Time is in reality changeless in its nature, except (says Meykanda shrewdly) to the observer who views it as past, present, or future:1 but it is no energy, it can produce no effects. It supplies a condition for God’s action, it is impotent to take its place. The efficient cause must be eternal, like Maya itself; it must be intelligent, for the universe is an ordered whole. True, God’s immutability preserves the divine nature in sublime independence of vicissitude. “All things are to him one eternal consentaneous whole.” He operates through his Cakti as the instrumental cause, as the potter uses his wheel and moulding-stick.
The cosmologic argument is reinforced from the moral side by the necessity of providing for the action of Karma. This also is eternal, but is sphere was in matter, and was lodged in the soul’s bodily environment. It could not itself originate the distinction between good and evil, it could only register their issues. None but an omniscient Mind could have ordained the principles of morality, and none but omnipotent Power could have so arranged the world that the proper “fruit should be attached to every act, and souls should everywhere and always get the rightful deserts of their virtue or their guilt. Once more the aid of the Cakti (which has various modes of activity) is invoked. The “sport” theory of the production of the world is vigorously repudiated.2 There is a purpose in its endless, ……………………………….pg 71
1. Civa-Jnana-Bodha, i.4, in JAOS, iv. p 55.
2. Schomerus, p. 151, quoting Arulnandi’s Siddhiyar. Cp. Ante, p. 331.
………………………………………………..pg 72 successions. Metaphysically the Absolute has no emotions; it is unaffected, that is to say, by pleasure and pain; it derives no profit from its operations.1 But with such an abstraction religion is not content. Through its “Grace-from” it is for ever engaged in the rescue of souls from the bondage of matter and the three “Stains” (malas) which defile their purity. This is the meaning of the unceasing rhythm origin, existence, and destruction; and this is the explanation of experience of the soul which bring the transcendent God into relation with man as an object of intellectual recognition and adoring love. Over against the Monist “Universal Subject”, the Caiva philosophers placed a real pair, Divine and human. “If there is no other object but God,” asks a modern interpreter, “how could we maintain that God is Good, that he is Love, and that he is Beneficent? To whom does he do good, whom does he love? Can we say that his goodness benefits the illusory forms for which he is himself responsible?2”
Whatever Metaphysic may require in the theory of God as Being, Religion is frankly dualist. Accepting the formula Sat-Clt-Ananda, the Siddhanta enumerates eight divine attributes as the expression of these three characters-self-existence, essential purity, intuitive wisdom, infinite intelligence, essential freedom from all bonds, infinite grace or love, omnipotence, infinite ………………………………….. pg 72
1. Civa-Jnana-Botha, i.4, in JAOS, iv. p. 55.
2. G.Sabharatnam in Siddh. Dip., xii.9 (March 1912), p. 396.
…………………………………………. Pg 73 Enjoyment or bliss.1 Such a Being is “neither male, female, nor neuter,” says the sage Civavakkiyar, “neither Brahman, nor Vishnu, nor Rudra, but is spirit”; and the Swami Tayumanvar (eighteenth century) could exclaim-
“All space is thine, O thou far and near, immanent Thou art, And thou well’st up as a honied fountain of bliss In my heart.”2
This dual presence in the world and in the soul was expressed by the doctrine of “distinction without distinction” (bhedabheda). The old Upanishad formula, “One without a second,” must be in some way received and explained. “God is not different (abheda) from the world,” argued Meykanda, “but as the world is not spiritual, and God is a spiritual form, he is different” (bheda). Similarly, “the soul is not God, for if it were not distinct it would have no power of motion or action.”3 All kinds of analogies were pressed into the service of illusion. Just as sound filled all the notes of a tune, or flavour pervaded a fruit, so did God by his Cakti pervade the world so intimately that they do not appear to be two, yet this divine energy is essentially different from unconscious matter. The Sanskrit letters ……………………………………… pg 73
1. R.R. Gunaratnam in Siddh. Dip, xii. 7(Jan 1912), p.321. Cp. Nallaswami Pillai, Studies, p. 233, where “omnipotence” is accidentally omitted.
2. Siddh. Dip.,xii. 4 (Oct. 1911), pp. 155, 161.
3. Civa-Jnana-Botha, ii., JAOS, iv.p.57 f.
…………………………………….pg 74 were all regarded as containing the short vowel a. Ka could not be resolved into k + a. So, pleads Meykanda, is it with the soul. Without its vowel the letter wold be mute; without God’s Grace the soul would be helpless. As body and mind together form a unity, so God is the soul whose body is the universe of nature and of man. He is not identical with either, he is not their substance, but he dwells in them and they in him Advaita is not oneness but inseparability. To realise this union in diversity is the high calling of the soul. So Arulnandi Civacharya wrote:-
“Say ‘I am not the world, and separate from it,’ Say also, ‘I am not the unknowable Supreme One’ Then unite with him indissolubly by loving him in all humility. And practise so’ it a lice ham (‘I am he’), Then he will appear to you as your Self, your mala Will all cease, and you will become pure. So, it is the old Veda teach us to practise this Mantra, Aham Brahmasmi (‘I am Brahma’).”1
How was this consummation to be reached?
The doctrine of the soul was elaborated on the one hand against the materialists who only recognised the body and its organs, and on the other against the Vedantist identification of it with Brahman. The materialist was asked how the action of the five organs of sense, each independent and ignorant of the others, could be combined in acts of cognition without a knowing subject. Accepting much of the traditional physiological psychology.
1. Siddh. Dip, viii. 12(March 1908), p .45
Meykanda presented the soul in the midst of the senses, the manas and other faculties that rose above them, as a king attended by his prime minister and councillors.1 But that was not its primeval condition. In the unbeginning eternity it was plunged in a strange stupor due to the defilement known as Anava.2 It is a condition of ignorance and darkness, with many dangerous powers, for it leads souls unwittingly into action.3 It is not, indeed, a constituent of their being, but it is for the time inseparably connected with them, like salt in the sea or the husk enveloping the rice. But it does not exclude the action of God’s grace, which si present even in this antecedent and unexplained mystery of “original sin.” The story of creation and the endless succession of universes is the story of God’s purpose to give the infinite number of uncreated souls the opportunity of extrication from this unhappy blindness. The process involves them in the influence of two additional “defilements,” maya, or the material world and its attractions, and karma, the power which registers the moral issue of every activity and determines…………………………. Pg 75
1. Meykanda, iv, JAOS, iv. p. 71.
2. From anu (atom) applied to the soul as conditioned by space Schomerus. P.104. Dr. Pope, Tiruvacagam, p. Ixxxvi, defines it as “the state or character of the atom,” and points to the use of anu by the Jains
3. Umapati, in ‘The Fruit of Divine Grace,” iii. 26, personifies it as “My Lady Darkness” with an infinity of lovers. Pope, Tiruvacagam, p. Ixxxv.
……………………………………pg 76 the character of successive births.1 This is indeed independent of Civa. Its operation is in a sense conditioned by him for it works through the entry of the soul into creation, and these time-periods are started at Civa’s good pleasure. But is eternal law was not willed by him. It is an august coadjutor beside his sovereignty, whose authority even Civa himself cannot set aside, and he provides the means of the recompense for good and the requital for evil which Karma demand.
But as the soul starts on its long pilgrimage, the Grace of Civa, operating in many modes, is its unfailing companion. Even in the human frame God’s agency is needed to give power to the soul in union with the perceptive organs, as the sun’s light is needed to enable the observer to perceive objects in a mirror.2 The divine beneficence is like ta field which partiality, unmoved by desire or hatred, he carries out the results of Karma, “having no will or power to do otherwise,”3 Like flowers which shut or open while the sun shies unclouded, God remains unchanged, while the Cakti assumes different forms to meet the varying needs of the soul’s discipline. For the soul is no puppet in the grip of fate. The effect of past Karma does not destroy moral responsibility for the future, nor does the action of Grace over-ride the soul’s own choice……………………. Pg 77
1. These three “defilements’ constitute the “bonds” of the souls, according to the formula Pati, paca, pacue. Cp. Ante, p. 347.
2. Meykanda, iii. 1; JAOS, iv. p.67.
3. IbId, ii., p 60. ……………………………….. pg 76
……………. Beside the sphere of external act there is the internal sphere of feeling. The act is done, and its issue for good or ill cannot be altered. But the feeling may remain, and good dispositions may carry the soul forward, morally and religiously, to a point at which – though at first belonging to Karma- they ultimately transcend it1 So the soul is prepared to make the right choice when Grace is offered to it. As the light arises in darkness will you put it before you or behind you? There are those who say, “No need for Grace to effect these results, the soul can do its own world”2 Twice does Umapati in his cento of verses fling himself in scorn against such self-confidence.
“May I not say, ‘I need not Grace to see by, I will see myself’? Easy the way of vision, but twixt eye and object light must be……………………………. Pg 77
1. Technically the soul’s progress is laid out in three stages of successive deliverance from the three Defilements. The process of moral advance is always conceived as an increasing enlightenment of intelligence, which brings Civa ever more and more clearly into view. ON the classes of occupants in the several conditions as on after another of the Impurities is discarded, cp. Adicesha Naidu, in Siddh. Dip, xii. 4 (Oct. 1911), p. 149, The lowest order involved in all three malas ranges from the tiniest insect up to Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra in “the most exalted Trinity.”
2. Umapati, viii. 71; iv. 33.
Pg 78……. Without the light of Grace’ twixt soul and known, soul sees not.”1
It is for the Guru or Teacher to let in the light. He is in reality a manifestation of Civa himself, even when he comes in human form to souls in the lowest rank.2 “The thinking man,” says a modern Caiva writer, “who has learned to worship the ideal he lives [sic] in spirit and in truth, finds it clothed in the form he thinks, and meeting and greeting him in person, to give him the helping hand that he so much needs and longs after. The Guru appears now and here, it may be in vision, or it may be in name and form and flesh as the thinker has been longing after to see, and seconds his efforts, describing to him the glory of the ideal that he has been vaguely thinking after. Hitherto he has been hazily building only the Hope and Faith. He has yet to learn that Love which endures to the end, and transcends time and space and the limit of causation. For this purpose the Guru describes to him in the clear light of reason the glory of the Promised Lank, and prepares him therefor by testing his powers, his constancy, and his moral stamina, by a series of disciplinary exercises.”3 This is a form of yoga practice, rising above the common duties of ritual and charity, demanding severe concentration, and sometimes generating ecstatic raptures of song and dance. It is therefore, only in this life for the few. It requires ……………………….. pg 78
1. Umapati, vi.56.
2. Meykanda, viii, 3; JOAS,A IV. P.87.
3. C.V.Svaminatha, IN Siddh. Dip., xi.2 (Aug. 1910), p. 70.
…………………….. pg 79 the suppression of all personal regards. “Set not thyself in the foreground,” sings Umapati. “What thou beholdest, let it be That.” But however long be the way, the Caiva believes that the goal will be reached at last. “Civa desires that all should know him,” says Meykanda emphatically.1 It is an infinite process, and we are more conscious of the process than of the goal, as we see the strange varieties of human character and conduct. “It is God’s prerogative,” says the great medieval theologian, “to encourage and save those who resort to him, therefore he will surely save such as come to him; and while he will not save those who do not resort to him, yet he bears no ill-will towards them. Those servants who resort to him he will clothe in his own image, but others who do not come to him he will cause to eat of their own doings.”2 That diet will at least be found unsatisfying, and the divine Grace which has accompanied the soul through all its wanderings will lead it home.
Such at least is the disciple’s faith. The theologians do not, in deed, describe an age of complete attainment when universes for recompense or retribution are needed no more. They concentrate their view on the blessedness of the individuals saved. “Did the soul perish,” says Meykands, “on becoming united with Civa, there would be no eternal being to be associated ………………………. Pg 79
1. xii. 3; JAOS, iv.p.101.
2. Meykands, x, 3; JAOS, iv. p.97.
…………………….pg 80 with Deity.1 If it does not perish, but remains a dissociated being, then there would be no union with God. But he malas will cease to affect the soul, and then the soul, like the union of salt with water, will become united with Civa as his servant, and exist at his feet as one with him”2 The consummation may be far off, but faith unhesitatingly awaits it. “Will not Civa, who is not subject the Three Strands nor to the Three Defilements, whoever exists in his own imperishable form of happiness – will not be come as the Understanding of the soul, which, wonderful to say, will never leave it, and in a manner far transcending the rules of logic reveal himself? He will thus reveal Himself.3’ And so the deliverance of all souls is.
Many consequences flowed from a religion thus spiritually conceived. AS the source of all enlightenment, sole Deity of Intelligence and Grace, Civa was really the true object of all devout aspiration. “Let me place on my head the feet of Civa,” said Arulnandi,………… …………. Pg 80
1. The Advaita doctrine of the ultimate union of the soul with Brahman through the dispersion of the illusion of individuality was often interpreted as “annihilation.” Cankara repudiated this view, ante, 3421.
2. xi. 5, JAOS, iiv.p.99. Cp. Umapti, viii 75, and Pope, Tiruvasagam, note iii. “The Souls’s Emanicpation,” p xiii.
3. Meykands, ix. 3, JAOS, P. 92.
…………………………..PG 81 “Who stands as the goal of each of the six forms of religion, and fills one and all inseprabaly.”1
“Into the bosom of the one great sea Flow streams that come from hills on every side Their names are various as their springs. And thus in every land do men bow down To one great God, though known by many names.”2
The Caiva teachers were confronted by an elaborate worship of temple and ritual, priesthood and sacrifice. The sacred images into which the Deity had been mysteriously brought by the ceremony of avahana3 must be tended and garlanded, fed and bathed and jewelled. They had been cherished for centuries; gifts and services had been lavished upon them; they were associated with reverence for saints and sages; they had become the media through which the gracious help of Civa had been ……………………….. pg 81
1. Quoted by J.M. Nallaswami, Studies, p. 243. Cp, the inscr. At Khajuraho, in the Chhatarpur State, Central India, A.D. 1001-2, “Adoration to that Carva who causes all [gods] to be comprehended in his one person, he whom those acquainted with the Vedanta call Civa, the desire and the mind, while people of true knowledge call him the one Supreme Brahman, the indestructible, ageless, immortal, others the verily auspicious Buddha, others again the spotless Vamana, the Jina”; Epigr. Ind., I. P 150.
2. “Written before the advent of Europeans”, Gover, Flok-Song of Southern India (Madras, 1871), p. 165.
3. Pope, Tiruvacagam, p.xxxv.
…………………….. pg 82 realised by the piety of generations.1 On the other hand, how could the Thought, the Truth, the Light, the Love, of God, be embodied in wood or stone? So protest after protest flowed forth against idolatry, and against an elaborate external cultus arose a demand for a Puritan simplicity of devotion.
“If thou wouldst worship in the noblest say, Bring flowers in thy hand. Their names are these, Contentment, Justice, Wisdom. Offer them To that great Essence – the thou servest God. No stone can image God, to bow to it Is not to worship. Out wards rites cannot Avail to compass that reward of bliss That true devotion gives to those who know.”2
Such a religion was necessarily open to all. It was independent of birth, rank or sex. From ancient times Civa hand been hospitable to all: “Even if a man is aChandala, if he utters the name of Civa, converse with him, live with him, dine with him.” So Nilakantha quoted from an Upanishad, but he passage cannot now be found.3 Tiru Mular laid it down that “there is only one caste, and there is only one God”4 and a ………………pg 82
1. Cp. The mystical interpretations of the LInga-cultus, by A Rangaswami Iyer, in Siddh. Dip., vii and viii.
2. Tr. Gover, ibid., p 133. Cp. the hymns from Civavakyar, p.177 ff.
3. Siddhanta Dipika, XIII, 5 (Nov. 1912), p. 238
4. Ibid., p. 239, cp xi. 10 (April 191), p. 433.
……………………… pg 83 thousand years ago the poet Partraikiriyar appealed to an earlier sage Kapila to justify his aspiration:
“When shall our race be one great brotherhood Unbroken by the tyranny of caste, Which Kapila in early days withstood And taught that men once were in times now assed?”1 Will India be more ready under the influences of the twentieth century to respond to an appeal which she was unable to answer in the tenth?