What is Saiva Siddhantam

Saiva Siddhantam is the system of Saivism which is the pre-historic religion of India. This system is not only logical but also scientific. The basic concepts of Saiva Siddhanta philosophy are already found in the Vedas and the Sivagamas have elaborated them further. It was not founded by any particular person and has no particular date of origin.
“Saivism has been recognised as the most ancient religion which is living in the world” - Sir John Marshall
The term Siddhantam was first used by great Saint Tirumular in his great work,Tirumantiram verse 1421.
“Having learned all that learned must be.
Having practised all yoga that have to be,
They, then, pursue the path of Jnana in graduation sure,
And so pass into the world of Formless Sound beyond;
And there, rid of all impurities,
Envision the Supreme, the Self-created;
They, forsooth, are the Saiva Siddhantis true.

It is stated here that the goal of Saiva Siddhantam is to get rid of all impurities.

There are numerous religions and various philosophies in India and the world. Among them, the Saiva religion and Siddhanta philosophy occupy a prominent place. Saiva Siddhantam philosophy is considered to be one of the most perfect, clearest and cleverest systems of human thought.
i) Its teaching and doctrines are solely based upon rationalism and are presented in a very convincing manner.
ii) Nothing in it is taken for granted, nor anything is asserted arrogantly, nor any attempt is made to muffle any earnest and inquiring student.
iii) Solved by the application of strict logical methods derived from the keen observations of daily occurrences in life. – We cannot find anything irrational in this enlightening philosophy.
Both Saiva Siddhantam and science maintain a good relationship and mutually support each other. The truths in Saiva Siddhantam are confirmed by modern scientific researchers and discoveries. This philosophy does not advise us to practice anything against nature or interefere with freedom and liberty of people.
There is no place for superstitions and blind faith. Both Saiva Siddhanta and science maintain a good relationship and mutually support each other.
It is the quint essential message of spiritual experience, graciously propounded and propagated by the great saints of Saiva religion, Samayacharyas and Santhanacharyas. This system was formulated not by any ordinary human mortals, not by mere intellectual scholars and speculators and prone to many blemishes.
This is not antagonistic to any other religion or philosophy; it respects the view points of other religionists and embraces them all with a feeling of fellowship and affection of brotherliness.
In the name of God and religion, it does not divide or dissect people. The founders and propagators of the Saiva religion and philosophy are broad minded and noble hearted. They taught us that God is LOVE and LOVE is God – ANBE SIVAM. - Thennadudaiya Sivane potri; Ennattavarkkum iraiva potri
The proclaimation of Saint Sundarar,
Appalukkum adisarnthar; adiyarkum adiyen....
The profound comment of Sekkilar on that sacred line of Sundarar, would indisputably uphold the the universality of Saiva religion and philosophy.
Saivism is a living and popular faith followed by more than 250 million people around the world today but its traditional bases are in India, particularly in South India. But historical fact shows that Sivalinga worship goes back to the period of Indus civilization 2500 B.C and even beyond.
Saiva Siddhanta adopts and adapts to, natural tendencies and practical methods. It does not advise us to practice anything against nature. Some religions insisted and compelled people to become monks, even from the childhood. They decried music, dance and other fine arts as well, saying that would tend to induce and stimulate carnal or physical pleasure, animal and sexual passions.
Going to forest, living in caves, keeping nude, hating and avoiding one’s near and dear relatives etc, were taught to be great noble austerities by some religions and philosophies. But Saiva religion does not advocate such crude modes of self modifications. We cannot find any such teachings in Saiva religion and philosophy. It is very liberal, simple and does not go against nature.
Global Acceptance
Day by day Saivite practice is steadily developing and growing. Vinayagar temple in New York, Murugan temple in London, Meenakshi temple in Houston, Siva temple in South Africa and many more have been constructed in recent times. Saiva Siddhanta philosophy is gaining ground among enlightened scholars around the world.
The Kauai Adheenam of Hawaii, USA is establishing Saiva Siddhanta Church and many saivite instituitions. Many westerners are voluntarily coming forward to embrace Saiva religion. They gladly smear thiruneer ( vibuthi ) on their foreheads and happily wear rudraksha beads and find solace in becoming Saivite devotees.
Saivism has spread in different and diverse parts of the globe. It is capable of satisfying the numerous needs and requirements of various kinds and several types of men.
Dr Ruth Rayna from Londan says, everything that is mentioned in Siddhanta philosophy is science. But the reason it is not acknowledged by scientist as science because scientists could not understand the poetic language used in Siddhanta term by Siddhanta philosophers.
A Christian priest H.R Hoyzington,the founder of church of South India ( CSI) who has already mastered six languages, came to India from America. After learning Sanskrit and tamil,he made the first English translation of Sivagnana Botham after studying Saiva Siddhantam. His conclusion was, the doctrine and philosophical truth in Saiva Siddhantam can never be found in any Greek or Latin philosophy and made it compulsory for every Christian priest around the world to master this great work of Meykandar. He also made a translation of Sivapragasam by Umapathi Sivachariyar.

Another priest Reverend G.U.Pope translated Thiruvarutpayan and Thiruvasagam to English. He completed his translation of Tirukkural on September 1, 1886. The services of this great soul to Tamil and Saivism defy reckoning by weights and measures.
In his last days he was a mature Saiva Siddhanti, with his faith as ever rooted in Chiristianity. He delivered his last sermon on May 26, 1907.
In forwarding us a copy of his last Sermon preached in Balliol College Chapel on May 26,1907, with all best Christmas wishes, Dr.Pope wrote to us as follows in his Autograph which will interest all Indian lovers of this old Tamil veteran Scholar and Savant.26 Walton Bell Road,Oxford, Dec.25, 1907...
My dear friend,In the heart of this my last sermon, lie truths that harmonize with all that is best in Tiruvachagam and
Siva-nyanam(Siva-gnana bodham).I am very old. May the Father bless you and yours.Ever truly your friend G.U.Pope.

Another Checkoslovakian, Dr
Kamil V. Zvelebil. He was invited by the Indian Goverment for the 5th World Tamil Conference in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He was a person who knows the most number of languages in the world. He has mastered 52 languages including Saiva Siddhantam philosophy. In his speech during the conference, he mentioned that Saiva Siddhantam should be ranked among the perfect and cleverest system of human thought.

The term is made of a compound word. It is Siddha and Antam. “Siddha means the establishment of truth. “Antam” means the end. So, Siddhantam means end to the ends, an absolute intellectual finality. The term Saiva Siddhantam is found in Kaamigaagamam 119-120. The term is also found in Thirumantiram -1421 for the first time. Siddhantam is the systematic way of life in Saivism which is called Saiva Siddhantam. The Saiva Siddhanta is the philosophy of Saiva religion which relates to the established conclusion of the ultimate truth in religious matters.
Philosophy, rituals and puranas (mythological stories) form the important aspects of a religion. Similarly in Saivism, rituals strengthens our involment in the religion and help us to evolve spiritually. Puranas help us to understand through stories the Saiva religion and its significance. The Philosophy explains the truth and concept of Saiva religion. Saivam is associated with Sivam. The end of conclusion of a doctrine is Siddhantam. Here it is the conclusion in Sivagamas is called Saiva Siddhantam – End of Vedas is Vedantham and end of Agamas is Agamanthan or well known as Siddhantam.

2. Basic truths explained in Saiva Siddhantam
Saiva Siddhantam explains the triple realities. GOD, SOUL and its BONDAGE. It also elaborates spiritual matters involving the soul. What is God?, His nature?, What is the purpose of this life? What is the reason of creation? Who am I? What is our relationship to God?. These are some of the questions answered in this philosophy. Not only it gives logical explanations but also gives us the strength to think and ‘rebuild’ our current faith and understanding about GOD. Its is therefore, necessary and useful to understand this great philosophy.

Saiva Siddhantam does not consider God as the only eternal entity which is refered to as Pathi. Like God, souls or Pasu is also eternal that has neither beginning nor end. Souls are many and have their own limitations. Its capabilities are limited due to the bondage or Pasam. Ths is also eternal like God and souls. The soul is known as Pasu due to its nature of being under Pasam.
Existence of FIVE elements:
The triple realities or Mupporul Unmai ( Pathi, Pasu and Pasam) are God, Soul and its Bondage which consist of Anavam, Karmam and Mayai.
GOD is Supreme Being and all knowing
SOULS are capable of knowing anything is they are taught only.
ANAVAM creates ignorance and egoism to the souls
KARMAM is giving experience to the souls.
MAYAI helps the souls to get away from ignorance. It is the source of the cosmos which includes world and all living entities.
Anavam, Karmam and Mayai are inanimated. These elements are not capable of knowing anything even if it is taught. God and souls are animated. God as all knowing and souls, capable of knowing when taught.
From the beginingless period, souls were depending on Anavam and concealed the knowledge of the soul. God took pity ( KARUNAI) on souls and created bodies (Thanu, Karanam, Buvanam, Bhogam) from Maya to enlighten the souls.
All five elements or categories are inter-connected. In a logical way of approach, a perfect philosophy which deals with ultimate reality, must accept the existence of the above five categories.
Perception of truth
PRAMANAM or perception of truth is how Saiva Siddhantam maintains many more logical evidences to ensure the existence of the five eternal elements.
i. Direct experience by the five senses called Prathyaksha Pramanam
Knowledge of things directly by five senses; this knowledge is free from error and doubt.

ii. Inference by mind called Anumana Pramanam
With our previous knowledge of things, we can infer the cause while the effect is present in the cause itself. Fire and smoke theory.

iii. Verbal testimony of Sacred books of Saivism called Agama Pramanam
Verbal testimony of Sacred books, the words of Saints sent by Lord Siva. These are taught by Lord to enlighten souls.
Behind all evidences, the intelligence of the individual soul is highly considered to be the means of valid knowledge. The real evidence of truth is in the enquiry of each individual to find out the truth for himself. It is proved beyond doubts that Saiva Siddhanta has bestowed the right to the respective individual soul to decide the existence of categories on the validity of their own knowledge.

3. Source of Saiva Siddhantam
Saiva Siddhanta views and concepts are found in the fourteen Saiva philosophical texts called Meykanda Sastra which is in Tamil language and are the authoritative books on Saiva Siddhanta. Other than these texts, the Vedas, Saiva Agamas, ancient tamil books, Thirukkural and Thirumurai works give Saiva Siddhanta views. There are also other text by various scholars and saints which speaks about Siddhanta philosophy such as Thirumantiram by Thirumoolar.
Saiva Siddhanta is based mainly on the Gnanakanda or knowledge part of Sivagamas. The Vedas contain varying views on God, soul and cosmos which many views are inconsistent and not clear. Agamic views are relatively consistent, clear and without contradictions.
4. Concept of GOD in Saiva Siddhantam
Saivism believes in the existence of God or Pathi. Pathi means Lord of the souls. Saivism proves His existence in many ways. Saiva scriptures and the words and deeds of Saiva Saints provide proof of His existence. Saivism also gives logical explanations to support this fact.
All things goes through the process of beginning, existence and decay which is certainly been created or made by someone. From this physical body to the entire cosmos, it has a beginning and obviously will come to an end. Hence this also should have a maker, who commonly we believe to be God.Concept of God existed based on the need for soul. What are the elements that we cant live without was established as God and since we cant live without food ( annam ), so food was considered Supreme or Paramporul. Then soul’s intelligence made a conclusion that food will not exist without soil, which depends on rain. Rain depends on air, sun (fire) and finally all on space; the fifth and highest element after air, earth, fire and water. Pancha bootha to Athidevas; to Indra; to Brahma and to Vishnu in the end. But truth in Siddhanta is; He who performs a Mahasankaram can be the supreme.
Saivites believe Lord Siva as the supreme God, who is worshipped as SIVAM ( Aruvam or formless state), SADASIVAM ( Aruruvam or formless form state) and MAHESWARA ( Uruvam or form state ).
The formless form refered here is the Sivalingam which is seen in all Siva temples. The form or Uruvam is refered to the 25 Muhurtams or forms of Lord Siva used for worship. It is stated in Sivagamas, other than these 25 Muhurtams or forms, worship to other forms are prohibited. Although there are more than 25 forms of Lord Siva which is mentioned in the Agamas but these forms are the elaborated forms of the 25 main forms. It is mentioned that there are 64 forms in total.
Vanangguthal or worship is only 1 – 25 Muhurthams
Vanakkam or salutations to 2 – Deivam or Devas and Kula Deivam
Restricted worship is 2 – Demigod or Sirudeivam and demon/ spirit or Pei deivam.
There is only one God and He is called Lord Siva or Sivaperuman. He manifests in different forms, called by different names. Manifest is NOT the same as reincarnation.
Example: Krishna is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu; Lord Dakshinamoorthy is a manifestation of Lord Siva.
Various names of Lord Siva: Nadaraja, Somaskanta, Sadasiva, Bhairava, Ardhanareeswara, Sankara, Neelakanta, Rishabavahana etc. The image of Ambal is a symbolic of His grace. Among all the forms, Sakthi is the highest level of ultimate form of Siva. ( The second is said to be Grace as His form and third, the soul of an evolved soul is said to be His form too)
2 category of God’s manifestation is Sambupaksham and Anupaksham. Sambupaksha Thirumeni is when God manifest to do a certain activity by Himself. Anupaksha Thirumeni is when God does His functions through another evolved soul such as Brahma, Vishnu or Rudra. The Thirumurais refer to these thirumeni.
Our body and God’s body are totally different. Our body is a product of Maya which is called Karumeni. As per our karma, when we are dead, we leave this body behind but God’s ‘body’ is a product of Sakthi which grants grace, called Thirumeni.
To help souls to evolve from their bonded state to liberation and bliss, God performs the five fold activities or Aintholil.
i. Creation ii. Protection ii. Destruction iv. Concealment v. Grace
The Ainthelutthu Mantra or the Panjakshara mantra is the highest level of Mantra associated with Lord Siva.
Lord Siva is worshipped by Saivites by two ways. Aanmartha pooja and Parartha pooja. Souls ultimate goal is Sivapadam or Sayujyamukthi. In order to attain this, souls need to move in the path of grace. The three impurities particularly Anavam and Karmam is being an obstruction to souls to receive God’s grace.
Worship and devotion to God is compulsory in order to loosen the grip of Anavam in the soul. Aanmartha pooja is a worship method done by an individual soul in its privacy. Parartha pooja is worshipping God in a holy place such as a Siva temple which is built as per the Sivagamas. The Aanmartha pooja is usually a Siva pooja where a Sivalinga is used to worship. This is done after a process of ritual called Deeksha or initiation. This Deeksha or initiation gives a person an ‘authority’ to conduct a Sivapooja as per mentioned in the Sivagamas. Generally a person who is initiated, practices Saivism, conducts a Siva pooja, being a vegetarian and worships Lord Siva as the Supreme God is called a Saivite.
Worship is divided into Sariyai, Kiriyai, Yoga and Gnanam which leads to different path of liberation for souls. This is commonly said as being devoted to God as a slave, a child, a friend and a disciple to a guru.
5. Who is a Saivite?
The word Saivam does not refer to vegetarian food or being a vegetarian. It is referring to the Saiva Samayam overall especially the person who is practising Saivism. A Saivite has certain restriction in their daily life routine or lifestyle and among them the most important is being a vegetarian.
A Saivite wears a Rudraksha and Thiruneeru or Vibuthi, recites the Panjakshara mantra, does Sivapooja and worships Lord Siva as the supreme God everyday. Visiting Siva temples everyday or once a week is also a part of daily routine for a saivite. The life of the 63 Siva saints in the Periya puranam gives an excellent example of a saivite.
There are various type of Saivites. Some saivites say whatever Lord Siva adorns or wears, we need to do so. Lingaya Saivargal or Aikyavatha Saivargal in Karnataka say we must wear sivalinga on our body.Kabaliga Saivargal use skulls as garland like Lord Shiva. Mavaratha Saivargal say we must use women’s hair as holy thread or poonool. Lord Siva use Lord Vishnu’s hair as poonool. Bairagigal Saivargal will sacrife their life for Lord Shiva and they carry trident.
In ourlineage and sivagamas, after receiving deeksha we should not use any of those above.
In the process of souls maturity (pakkuvam) there are 3 types mentioned in sastras. Each and every one of us are in any of these one category.
i. Samayaprastan – A person who does not acknowledge the sastras or religious studies and claims it to be a waste of time. As a result, unlike other religions, Saivism does not speak about going to hell if you do not acknowledge God or scriptures. But for such person in Saivism, he will take a rebirth as per his karma.
ii. Pothu Saivan – A person who acknowledge Lord Siva but claims he is not initiated and has no time to do everything mentioned as per siva agamas such as Sivapooja. In his next birth with God’s grace, he will be born with a situation where he will have a chance to worship God in a rightful path.
iii. Sirappu Saivan – A person who is initiated as per agamas, performs siva pooja as stated in sivagamas and acknowledges every sastra and scriptures of Saivism.


ANGOOR said...

சைவ சித்தாந்தம் பற்றி அருமையான கட்டுரை
தேவாரம் & திருமுறை பாடல்கள் இலவசமாக பதிவிறக்கம் செய்ய :

Midurshicaa said...

so interesting

venkat said...

Excellent inputs. It will only conclude that Saiva Sidantham is End to the Ends and is total .

Pasupathi K Pillai said...

dear sir,
excellent post.


kprema latha said...

saiva siddantatinul mudaladi vaikum yenaku nalla introduction.thanks..

Agilan Raja said...

Great overview.

karthi saritha said...

Thank you for your efforts to educate people about Saivism. May Lord Shiva always protect you and your family.