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There are two Saiva Siddhanta schools:
pluralistic theism: Aghorasiva and Meykandar,
monistic theism: Tirumular
Views on God and Soul?
A monistic theist explains to a pluralist that the soul emerges from Siva just as a cloud arises from the sea. Below the river of life sweeps all things along, into and out of existence. Ultimately, the soul merges with God, like the river rejoining the ocean.
For pluralists, God pervades but did not create the soul; thus, God and soul remain separate realities forever. Aum.
Pluralistic Siddhantins teach that Siva pervades the soul, yet the soul is uncreated and exists eternally. It is amorphous, but has the qualities of willing, thinking and acting. It does not wholly merge in Him at the end of its evolution. Rather, it reaches His realm and enjoys the bliss of divine communion eternally. Like salt dissolved in water, soul and God are not two; neither are they perfectly one. For monistic Siddhantins the soul emerges from God like a rain cloud drawn from the sea. Like a river, the soul passes through many births. The soul consists of an uncreated divine essence and a beautiful, effulgent, human-like form created by Siva. While this form--called the anandamaya kosha or soul body--is maturing, it is distinct from God. Even during this evolution, its essence, Satchidananda and Parashiva, is not different from Siva. Finally, like a river flowing into the sea, the soul returns to its source. Soul and God are perfectly one. The Vedas say, "Just as the flowing rivers disappear in the ocean, casting off name and shape, even so the knower, freed from name and shape, attains to the Primal Soul, higher than the high." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Two Views on Creation?
Monistic theists believe that Siva creates the cosmos as an emanation of Himself. He is His creation. Pluralistic theists hold that Siva molds eternally existing matter to fashion the cosmos and is thus not His creation. Aum.
Pluralistic Siddhantins hold that God, souls and world--Pati, pashu and pasha--are three eternally coexistent realities. By creation, this school understands that Siva fashions existing matter, maya, into various forms. In other words, God, like a potter, is the efficient cause of the cosmos. But He is not the material cause, the "clay" from which the cosmos is formed. Pluralists hold that any reason for the creation of pasha--anava, karma and maya--whether it be a divine desire, a demonstration of glory or merely a playful sport, makes the Creator less than perfect. Therefore, pasha could never have been created. Monistic Siddhantins totally reject the potter analogy. They teach that God is simultaneously the efficient, instrumental and material cause. Siva is constantly emanating creation from Himself. His act of manifestation may be likened to heat issuing from a fire, a mountain from the earth or waves from the ocean. The heat is the fire, the mountain is the earth, the waves are not different from the ocean. The Vedas proclaim, "In That all this unites; from That all issues forth. He, omnipresent, is the warp and woof of all created things." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Differing Views on EvilFor monistic theists, the world of maya is Siva's perfect creation, containing each thing and its opposite. For pluralistic theists, the world is tarnished with evil; thus maya could not be the creation of a perfect God. Aum.
Pluralistic Siddhantins hold that the world of maya is intrinsically evil and imperfect, for it is clearly full of sorrow, injustice, disease and death. The soul, too, is beginninglessly tainted with anava, or limitation. Pluralists contend that if God had created maya--the material of the world--or the soul, surely He would have made them flawless, and there would be no evil, for imperfection cannot arise out of Perfection. Therefore, they conclude that anava, karma and maya have always existed and the soul has been immersed in darkness and bondage without beginning. Monistic Siddhantins hold that when viewed from higher consciousness, this world is seen as it truly is--perfect. There is no intrinsic evil. God Siva has created the principle of opposites, which are the means for the soul's maturation--beauty and deformity, light and darkness, love and hate, joy and sorrow. All is God Siva Himself, in Him and of Him. A perfect cosmos has issued forth from a perfect Creator. The Tirumantiram says, "All manifestations of nature are His grace. All animate and inanimate are His pure grace. As darkness, as light, the Lord's grace pervades." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Views on Mahapralaya?Monistic theists hold that at mahapralaya, cosmic dissolution, all creation is withdrawn into Siva, and He alone exists. Pluralistic theists hold that world and souls persist in seed form and will later reemerge. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Pluralistic Siddhantins contend that after mahapralaya--the withdrawal of time, form and space into Siva--souls and world are so close to Siva that, for all practical purposes, He alone exists. Actually, they say, both world and souls continue to exist, not as things, but as "potentialities." As if in a deep sleep, souls, now in a bodiless state, rest. Individual karmas lie dormant to germinate later when creation again issues forth and nonliberated souls are re-embodied to continue their spiritual journey. Monistic Siddhantins believe that souls persist through the lesser pralayas of the cosmic cycle, but hold that only Siva exists following mahapralaya. There is no "other," no separate souls, no separate world. The universe and all souls are absorbed in Siva. Pasha--anava, karma and maya--is annihilated. In the intensity of pre-dissolution, when time itself is accelerated, all souls attain complete maturation, losing separateness through fulfilled merger with Siva. Yea, jiva becomes Siva. The Vedas boldly decree, "By His divine power He holds dominion over all the worlds. At the periods of creation and dissolution of the universe, He alone exists." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Verses from Scripture on Saiva Siddhanta
Meditate on the Lord as the object of meditation, for by the Lord the whole world is set to activity. Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Indra have been brought forth by Him; similarly, all faculties along with creatures. His divine majesty has become the Cause, the Universe, the Blissful, as the ether standing unshaken in the mid-air.
Atharva Veda, Atharvashikha Upanishad 2. upb, 782
All the sacred books, all holy sacrifice and ritual and prayers, all the words of the Vedas, and the whole past and present and future, come from the Spirit. With maya, His power of wonder, He made all things, and by maya the human soul is bound. Know, therefore, that nature is maya, but that God is the ruler of maya, and that all beings in our universe are parts of His infinite splendor.
Krishna Yajur Veda, Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.9-10. UPM, 92
The seer sees not death, nor sickness, nor any distress. The seer sees only the All, obtains the All entirely. For the sake of experiencing the true and the false, the great Self has a dual nature. Yea, the great Self has a dual nature. Yea, the great Self has a dual nature!
Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitri Upanishad 7.11.6 & 8. UPH, 458
Inconceivable is this supreme atman, immeasurable, unborn, inscrutable, unthinkable, He whose Self is infinite space. He alone remains awake when the universe is dissolved, and out of this space He awakens the world consisting of thought.
Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitri Upanishad 6.17. VE, 667
He Himself fashions all worlds in minute detail. He fashions life, conferring birth. He fashions things big and small -- the cauldron, the pitcher and the pot. He fashions these and more -- He, the Architect Almighty.
Tirumantiram 417. TM
The Primal One, the indivisible great, Himself into several divided. As form, formless and form-formless, and as guru and as Shakti's Lord. In forms numerous He immanent in jivas became.
Tirumantiram 2481. TM
That intelligence which incites the functions into the paths of virtue or vice am I. All this universe, moveable and immoveable, is from Me. All things are preserved by Me. All are absorbed into Me at the time of pralaya. Because there exists nothing but Spirit, and I am that Spirit, there exists nothing else.
Siva Samhita 1.34. SS, 6
You and He are not two separate; you and He are but one united; thus do you stand, freed of all sectarian shackles; adore the feet of Parapara and with Siva become One -- that the way Siddhanta fulfills.
Tirumantiram 1437. TM
Always my action is your action. I am not other than you, because the essence of myself which I call "I" does not exist apart from you. Herein lies the natural harmony between Vedanta and Siddhanta.
Tayumanavar 2.5. NT, 8
As wide Earth, as fire and water, as sacrificer and wind that blows, as eternal moon and sun, as ether, as the eight-formed God, as cosmic good and evil, woman and man, all other forms and His own form, and all these as Himself, as yesterday and today and tomorrow, the God of the long, red hair stands, O Wonder!
Tirumurai 6.308.1. PS, 113
It cannot be seen by the eye, and yet it is the eye within the eye. It cannot be heard by the ear, and yet it is the ear within the ear. It cannot be smelt by the nose, and yet it is that which makes the nose to smell. It cannot be uttered by the mouth, and yet it is that which makes the mouth to speak. It cannot be grasped by the hand, and yet it is that which makes the hand to grasp. It cannot be reached by the feet, and yet it is that which makes the feet to walk. It cannot be thought by the mind, and yet it is the mind within the mind. It is the Primal One without past or future. Its form is free from age and sickness. It manifests as father and mother. It blossoms as the Self-Existent. It cannot be described as one or two. No artist can portray It. It is that which lies 'twixt good and evil. It ever abides in the hearts of the wise. It permits no distinction between Vedanta and Siddhanta. It is That which dances at the zenith beyond the realm of sound.