Srouta Saiva Siddhanta means Saiva Siddhanta that is absolutely following Srutis i.e. Vedas unlike others.
If you ask a Vaishnavite, his authoritative texts on the Vaishnavite philosophy, he will immediately say that all Vedas, Puranas and Dharma Sastras are authority on Vaishnavism. If you ask a Saivite, he will also say the same thing. But if you ask a Vaishnavite a second question, - "Are all the Vedas authority for you?" He will say except Rudraadhyayam in Yajurveda, all others are authoritative. If you ask him a third question - "Are all the Puranas authoritative for you?" He will say except Siva Puranam all others are authoritative.
Now if you ask a Smarta or one who professes Aadi Sankaracharya's Adwaita Philosophy as to what are his authoritative texts, he will also immediately say that all Vedas, Puranas and Dharma Sastras are authority on the subject of Adwaita Philosophy. But if you ask him a second question - "Are the Agama Sastras authority for you?" He will not give a reply and will keep mum, because Adwaitins cannot say that the Agama Sastras are not authoritative. If they venture to say that Agama Sastras are authoritative, then the third question - that "why they have not taken Saiva Maha Deeksha mentioned extensively in Agama Sastras like Chandrajnanam, Kaaranam and Kaaranottaram?", they have no answer. They cannot say that Agama Sastras are not authoritative, because Sri Vidyaranya or Madhwacharya and other Adwaita Scholars on whom they rely heavily have considered Agama Sastras as authoritative and are equal to Vedas in all respects. Therefore, it is stated by the author in Saiva Siddhanta Sangraha 35th sloka that "Sarva Vidya Samanvayam" is only in Saivam and not in other religions or philosophies. "Sarva Vidya Samanvayam" means, interpreting what is stated in all the Vedas, Upanishads, Samhitas, Dharma Sastras, Puranas, Itihasas and Agama Sastras in UNISON and without contradiction of what is stated in any of those Sastras put together. This is possible only in Srouta Saiva Siddhanta and not in other Siddhantas.
The six characteristics of Brahman are stated in the sloka - "Sarvajnataa Trupti Ranaadi Bodhaha, Swatantrataa Nityamalupta Saktihi, Ananta Saktischa Vibho Ravidhijnaaha, Shadaahurangaani Maheswarasya". They are -
(i) "Sarvajnathvam" or knowing or knowledge of every thing.
(ii) "Trupti" or contentment.
(iii) "Anadi bodha" or eternal knowledge, from the beginning unaffected by time and space.
(iv) "Swatantratha" or independence.
(v) "Nityalupta sakti" or power or energy possessed not diminishing at any point of time, in the past, in the present or in the future for any reason and
(vi) "Ananta sakti" or unlimited power, always.
The followers of all the six religions (i)Saivam, (ii)Vaishnavam, (iii)Saktham, (iv)Ganapathyam, (v)Sowraram and (vi)Kowmaram, cited by Sri Vidyaranya irrespective of their approach to define the Ultimate Reality, accept these characteristics or attributes of Brahman. In the hierarchy of celestial Gods only Siva possesses, the above six characteristics and none else. The presiding deities of the six religions referred to above, belong to one family of Siva or Saiva Kutumbam. (i)Sakti is Siva's consort, and she has no separate lokam for herself, because she is "Sivavamamkastha", "Sivakutumbini", "Sivajnana Swaroopini" and "Mahakailasaya Nilaya" and in one word not different from Siva. (ii)Vishnu is described in the Vedas as her Amsa or incarnation, (iii)Ganapathi and (iv)Kumaraswamy are Siva's sons and will not get Kingship as long as Siva is there and (v)Surya or Sun God is described in the Vedas as one of the eight incarnations of Siva called as Astamurti. So it is but natural that Saivam is the oldest religion and correctly mentioned first by Madhvacharya in his commentary to Parasara Smruti. It may be seen, that any Veda mantra taken by any one, other than a Saivite, as authoritative is examined in detail, it ultimately favours only Saiva Siddhanta. For example, the Saavitri mantra taken as authoritative by all most all persons of all faiths in this country, the Bharga Padam was interpreted by Saivites, following various authorities including the Amara Kosham or Nighantu - Bharga, Triambaca, Tripurantaka, as Siva; but by the Vaishnavites as Vishnu and by the Adwaitis as "Tejas" or light. Saivites have given a straight forward interpretation to Gayatri mantram stating that they are praying "Bharga" or Siva who is igniting or illuminating their Buddhi or intelligence. So, the person on whom they are concentrating and the person whom they are worshipping is one person only, i.e. Siva. The Adwaitins have removed the "Bharga" padam and interpreted it as "Tejas" or light, thereby changing the linga or gender from Pumlinga to Napumsaka linga i.e. Masculine gender to Neuter gender and again instead of giving a direct meaning that they are worshipping God gave an indirect interpretation that they are worshipping not God but his light. In so saying they are meditating on one and worshipping on another, which has no life or "Achetanam", neuter gender, thereby spoiling the "Mantrartha" itself. Even the Gayatri Dhyana sloka is interpreted by them ignoring the Asadharana Lakshanams i.e. abnormal features of three eyes, Moon on the head, Five faces with matching colours, with which Siva is associated, identified and extolled in the Vedas and with which no one else could be identified for billions of years to come. One can decorate or change Gold ornaments on the body of a person or change Sankha or Conch, Chakra or wheel but not three eyes and five faces with moon on the head, identified as Siva.
Again some persons interpreted the Veda Vangmayam dividing it into two parts as Saatvikam and Taamasam i.e. pure and impure or good and bad, thereby giving colour to Vedas and accepting some portions of the Vedas as authoritative and some as not authoritative. By so interpreting the Vedas, there cannot be a worst tribute paid to that great sage Veda Vyasa, who is praised and worshipped for dividing the Vedas and handing them over to us for easy understanding by all. Again one important significance in Saiva Siddhanta is that, even all the customs and ceremonies adopted therein are in tune with the commentary on Vedic literature and are considered as Moksha Pradams, i.e. leading to salvation. This is not so in regard to other commentaries on the Vedic literature by the followers of other siddhantas or Philosophies. In fact, the author opines in his works that those whose follow the Srouta Saiva Siddhanta in letter and spirit are the real Vaidiks, i.e. followers of the Vedas.
Saivam explained through the Srouta Saiva Siddhanta propounded by Nilakantaradhya is the real, ancient and genuine religion and truth itself. The author says, through Srouta Saiva Siddhanta only the Ultimate Reality of the Brahman can be correctly interpreted in unison with what is contained in the Vedas, Upanishads, Dharma Sastras, Kalpa Sutras, Puranas, Itihasas, etc. without contradicting or rejecting any one of them as non-authentic, unlike in other philosophies. This interpretation in vedantic language is called as "Sarva Vidyaa Samanvayam", which alone is possible through Srouta Saiva Siddhanta and therein, lies it's greatness. By following the Srouta Saiva Siddhanta only, one can get "Moksham" or salvation at the earliest and not otherwise. Siva Puranam says - "Anyabhaavastu Yo Martyastopi Janmatrayaatparam, Sivabhavastu Yo Martyastasmin Janma Nimuchyate" meaning that a person following the Saiva Siddhanta gets salvation in this very birth itself, while he may get salvation after more than three births, by following other siddhantas. The Adwaita philosopher Adi Sankaracharya stated in Atma Bodha that, it is difficult for a person to get salvation even after a hundred crore births - "Muktinon Satajanma Koti Sukrutairpunyam Vina Labhyate".
The reason for a person getting salvation in that very birth itself through Saiva Siddhanta is because that person possesses Yavajjiva Sivatwam and performs Yavajjiva Sivaradhana, which is not possible by following other Siddhantas. The person following Srouta Saiva Siddhanta wears Bhasma, Rudraksha and Linga on his body called as Bhasmadharana, Rudrakshadharana and Lingadharana and recites Panchakshari i.e. Sivanama throughout his lifetime and worships Siva in Lingaroopa by placing Bhasma and Bilwapatra on the Sivalinga, which alone is stated in the scriptures for getting salvation. The immense good or "Punyam" one gets by just performing worship even once to Linga placed in his left hand cannot be compared to that of a person performing a crore of Yagnas. The "Punya Phalam" derived by a person performing a crore of Yajnas is not equal to one-thousandth part of "Punya Phalam" derived by a Lingadhari, who performs Istalingarchana, only once, says Linga Puranam.
Skanda Purana Kasi Khandam highlights the point that all Celestial Gods including Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and the Ashta Dikpalakas installed Lingas of their choice at Varanasi and performed Sivaradhana and obtained their respective positions in heaven. Skanda Purana Sivatatwa Sudhanidhi further states that Istalingarchana is done daily by Brahma, Vishnu, Mahendra and Asta Dikpalakas, namely Indra, Agni, Yama, Niruti, Varuna, Kubera, besides Vidyadharas, Guhyakas, Gandharvas, Rakshasas, Danavas and Daityas and demons in other worlds, besides the Maharshis. This is discussed in detail by the author in his books "Sistah Ssarvey Sivam Prapannah" and also "Saiva Siddhnata Sangraha" with authentic quotations from the scriptures, which may be perused.
When Celestial Gods themselves are performing Istalingarchana, there is no wonder for human beings to perform Istalingarchana daily.
In ancient times all most all the kings were having their teachers, who were Maharshis or great Saivite scholars, chanting Panchakshari Mantra 21,600 times daily, and worshipping Siva six times daily called Shatkala Siva Puja. This is only possible by wearing the Linga on their body and worshipping and not otherwise. They are called Lokagurus or Aradhyas meaning persons fit to be worshipped by all and were all Gruhastas or householders only. For that matter no celestial God or Maharshi or any Vedic scholar in ancient times were ever reported to have left their consorts and taken to Sanyas. Chandrajnana Agamam ordains that Guru should be Grihasta only. "Gurur Gruhasta Aevasyat Na Kadachit Yatirguruh Van Prastha Yatinantu Gurutwam Nishphalam Bhavet" i.e. Guru should be a householder or Gruhasta only. In those days only Saivite scholars leading Gruhastasrama Dharmam, were exhorting their Sishyas or devotees to salvation and we do not find any Matadhipatis or Sanyasis coming to their rescue, as is the case today. The following Sruti Mantra says - "Tadvignanardham, Gurumeva Adhigatchet Samidh Paani Srotriyam, Brahmanishtam". This Sruti mantra ordains that in order to know Brahma Vidya or Brahma Jnanam, the Sishya or the taught or the devotee with Samidhs or fuel sticks in his hand should approach the Guru or teacher, who is a Srotriya or follower of Vedas and also a Brahma Nista meaning One who has authority to perform "Agni Hotra Dhyanushtanam" or authority to offer Ghee to Agni or God of fire in a Yagnam and who meditates on God. This shows that a Guru can only be a Grihasta or householder performing Karma Kanda. Otherwise carrying of Samidhs or fuel sticks by the Sishya to the Guru will be a waste and this Sruti mantra loses its meaning. If the Guru is not a Grihasta and is a Sanyasi, he should not even cook his own food and the fuel sticks are of no use to him. Because Guru is a Grihasta doing Agni Karya, Sruti says that Sishya should take Samidhs to his Guru. If the Guru himself is not a Sanyasi how can the Sishya become one! On the otherhand, the Guru a Grihasta asks the Sishya to first become a Sanyasi and then come to him saying - "Sanyasya Sravanam Kuryat", the Sishya will question how he got Brahma Vidya without taking Sanyas? Therefore it is not correct to say that taking Sanyasam is a must for knowing Brahma Vidya. Then one would ask why Aadi Sankaracharya stated like this. There is a reason. At the time Sri Aadi Sankaracharya started preaching Siddhanta, there existed terrible differences between Saivites, Vaishnavites and others fighting among themselves, about Brahma Tattwam - whether it is one or two? - whether it is Siva or Kesava? - Whether it is Sagunam or Nirgunam? - etc. Shanmatas or the six religions were already prevalent by the time Sankaracharya was born. He did not establish them. He only tried to bring about a compromise between them, by establishing a new philosophy called Adwaita Philosophy. In order to set at rest the differences among the persons, Sankaracharya has formulated this compromise formula for the good of the people. However since, Suddhadwaitam is against Brahma sutras, Saivites have accpted Sivadwaitam, Sutrakaaras like Rishis Apasthamba and Aswalayana have rejected Adwaitam and established Dwaita. Mallikharjuna Panditharadhya and Somanatha Maha Kavi have also rejected Suddhadwaitam. In the commentary to Siddhanta Sikhamani by Mamandala Veerabhadra Sudhi, titled "Haiyangaveena Vyakhyanam", it is stated as under:
Sivagamai, Sivadvaita Rahasyai, Paramardhikai
Kadhyate Saiva Siddhanta Tantram,
SatsthalaNirnayam Sivadvaita Prajnana
The Siddhantam followed by Saivites is Sivadwaitam and also in Saiva texts Sivadwaita Kalpa Latika - Mulugu Papayaradhya and author of Devi Bhagavatam referred of himself in his works as "Parama Sivadwaita Panditha" and Nilakanta Bhashyam is the Bhashyam propagating Sivadwaita Philosophy. It is also called Visistadwaitam or Visista Sivadwaitam. Nilakanthacharya acknowledged as a predecessor of Aadi Sankaracharya stated that Saiva Maha Deeksha is a must for Mumukshu or seeker of Brahman. While Upanayana Deeksha gives authority for a person to study Vedas and perform Vedic rites, unless one gets Saiva Maha Deeksha he does not get authority to perform Eeswaropasana, uninterruptedly throughout his lifetime. "Teshame Vaitam Brahma Vidyam Vadeta Siro Vratam Vidhi Vaidaistu Cheernam" -- This Swetaswataropanishad mantra clearly ordains, that one who has taken upon himself Sirovratam as laid down in the scriptures, is eligible for seeking Brahma Vidya and not others.
What is Sirovratam? Vatoolottara Sivagamam, says :
Atyasramam, Pasupatam, Sambhavai, Sirovratam
Itidam Namabhih Punyai Rnigamantesu Kirtyate
- Vatoolottara Sivagamam
This Vatoolottara Sivagamam says, that Atyasramam, Pasupatham, Sambhava vratam, Siro Vratam are synonymous with a person wearing Linga and following Saiva Maha Deeksha. Such a person is referred to in Vedic parlance as a Siva Yogi.
Lingam Sivobhavet, Kshetram Amgam Samyoga Masrayah
Tasma Lingam Samyukto, Yopi So Atyasrami Bhavet
This sloka from Linga Dharana Chandrika says that whoever is wearing a Linga on his body is called "Atyasrami" i.e. an Asramam considered above the Sanyasasramam. A Lingadhari prostrates before another Lingadhari even if he is younger to him in age. The authority for this is in Sanskrit version of Kasi Khandam of Skanda Purana, wherein we find Mahendra, all Devatas, all Deva Rushis and Brihaspati prostrated before Agasthya Maharshi, who is a "Manavarushi", because he is a Lingadhari and Srinatha Mahakavi, a Telugu poet of par excellence, highlights this point in his book, stating that high or low does not matter, when one is prostrating before a Lingadhari. This custom is still followed in Aradhya families in Andhra and other places. Though it is stated that Sirovratam is a must for those following Atharvana Vedam, yet in Soota Samhita it is stated - "Vratam Pasupatam Cheernamai Dwijadarenatu Teshame Vopa Vyastavyam Iti Vedanu Sasanam" - Soota Samhita says that only those who follow Pasupatha Vratham are eligible for "Tattvopadesam", and it is so ordained by the Vedas.
Sri Vidyaranya popularly called as Madhavacharya while starting commentary on Parasara Smruti, called as Parasara Madhaveeyam, says
Atha Pasupata Vrata Purvaka Devopadesanubhava Paryato
Bodho Bhavatani - Vaktum Dvitiyadhyaya Prarabhyate
In order to gain subjective knowledge, one has to take upon himself first Pasupatha Vratam and, that to establish this fact he is starting the second chapter. However Aadi Sankaracharya stated that, for one to know Brahma Vidya, he should have acquired Sadhana Chatustayam and for acquiring Sadhana Chatustayam one has to take Sanyas. Therefore Adwaita philosophy closed down the doors for all except to those taking sanyas, but there is no Vedic sanction for this assertion. This assertion is not accepted in Saiva Siddhanta as propounded by Nilakanta Charya who stated that everybody of all varnas and all Asramas have a right to know the Brahman and one need not become a Sanyasi for knowing Brahma Vidya. Nilakantacharya stated in his Bhashyam that Saiva Maha Deeksha is a must for a seeker of salvation. This Saiva Maha Deeksha consists of wearing Bhasma, Rudraksha and Siva Linga on the body of the person and includes in effect three Deekshas called Vedha, Manu and Kriya Deekshas, which can cleanse the Sthula, Sukshma and Karana Sareerams or bodies. This Deeksha unlike "Panchayatanam" is stated in the Vedas and therefore it is "Vaidikam" and not "Avaidikam". It is also stated in a more detailed form in Siva Puranam and Sivagamas like Chandragnanam, Karanam, Karanotharam, etc. Shadadhwa Suddhi is a precondition for taking this Deeksha and this is detailed in Sivagamas, especially in Chandrajnanam, Karanottaram, and Makutottaram and they may be referred to for a detailed study by the seeker of the Brahman. Taittiriya Sikshavalli, emphatically says - Amrutasya Devadharano Bhuyasam and Mahopanishat says Namo Brahmane Dharanam Me, Asthwa Nirakaranam Dharayita Bhuyasam - Meaning may I wear the Ista Linga on my body for getting salvation and continue to wear It throughout my lifetime without rejecting at any point of time. "Adhwana Madhwapate Sreshtasya Adhwana Paramaseeya" - This Sruti mantra mentions "Shadadhwa Sodhanam" i.e. invoking Siva as "Pranava Vachaka" to come to the rescue of the seeker of Brahman, to absolve him of all his sins. This Shadadhwa Suddhi or the cleansing ceremony is normally done at the time of Upanayanam to get Dwijathwam and a question may be raised - Why it should be taken or repeated at the time of taking Saiva Maha Deeksha? The reason is, that though this Adhwa Sodhanam is taken in brief at the time of Upanayanam to get "Karmadhikaram", it should be taken in a more detailed fashion as stated in the Vedas to get "Karmadhikaram" or the right to perform "Sivopasana" for worshipping Siva, because Sruti says - "Narudro Rudra Marchayet" throughout his lifetime uninterruptedly. That is why, those who have taken Saiva Maha Deeksha need not necessarily perform Saiva Mahanyasam every time they perform Shiva puja six times a day called Shatkala Sivapuja- (i)Arunodaya, (ii)Tapanodaya, (iii)Sangava, (iv)Madhyahnika, (v)Sayankala, (vi)Artharathra Siva pujas. Further, it will also be difficult to understand the customs and practices i.e. "Sampradayam" and implement them in day-to-day life. It will be like mixing curd with paddy instead of cooked rice before eating. A religion which has no clarity or fixed principles as laid down by the Vedas, or is not practised by those who claim to be following it, cannot live long. That is why, Srouta Saiva Siddhanta emphasizes from the beginning to the end, importance for "Yavajjeva Sivatwam, Yavajeeva Sivaradhana" i.e. uninterruped worship of Siva giving one word for Brahman as Siva to the seeker for meditation effortlessly throughout called as "Aeka Vakyata Siddhi". "Adhain Katwa Deka Vaakyam" as stated in Poorva Mimamsa Sastram. This is briefly stated below.
(i) At the time of his birth, Bhasma another form of Siva is applied on his face and body to ward off Graha and other Santis, etc. and Rudraksha tied around his neck.
(ii) At the time of his "Aksharabhyasam", initiating the boy into study, before teaching him the alphabet, only Siva Panchakshari is given by his father as "Om Namah Sivaya"
(iii) At the time of his Upanayanam or initiating the boy into Gayatri Deeksha, the boy is given Pancha Sikhas, depicting Sadyojatadi five faces of Lord Siva "Ajinadharana" or wearing deer skin and a begging bowl, all of them relating to and associated with Siva only. The boy thus gets both "Vedadhikaram" or authority to study the Vedas and authority to perform Karma kanda and is told to worship Siva stating as under:
Eesanasarva Vidyaanam, Eeswara Ssarva Bhootanam
Brahmaadhipatir Brahmanodhi Patirbrahma Sivome Astu Sada Sivom
The Gayatri mantra contains the word "Bharga" which means Siva only. The Gayatri Dhyana Sloka states:
Mukta, Vidruma, Neela, Hema, Dhavala Chayairmukhai, Trikshanaih
Yutkaam Indu Nibadha Ratna Makutam, Tattvardha Varnatmikam
Gayatrim Varada Abhayamkusa Kasaa, Subhram Kapalam, Gadam
Sankham Chakramadharavinda Yugulam Hastairvahanteem Bhaje
Gayatri Dhyana Slokam
In this prayer sloka, the seeker is worshipping Siva having five faces with five matching colours as stated in the Pancha Brahma Mantras, eulogising the five faces of Siva - (i)Sadyojaata, (ii)Vaamadeva, (iii)Akhora, (iv)Tatpurusha and (v)Eesana in the same order, with three eyes and told that its application is for Sayujyam.
(iv) Again the seeker of Brahman is given Saiva Maha Deeksha, Bhasma, Rudraksha and Linga by the teacher or "Desika" and the very Panchakshari mantra only and is initiated into the study of Vedas and told "Adhaato Brahma Jijnasa", Brahman meaning again Siva only. The student of Srouta Saiva Siddhanta is thus effortlessly blessed with this "Aeka Vakyata Siddhi" or one absolute commandment, so that there is no confusion in his mind while studying the Vedas and in understanding the Brahmatatwam or in his performing the Karma kanda like Yajnas, etc. This enables him to perform Sivopasana uninterruptedly through out his life time and get "Sayujyam" in this birth itself.
In fact, "Ashtadasa Mahapuraneshu Dasabhihi Kadhyate Sivam", meaning out of 18 Mahapuranas, 10 Puranas are exclusively projecting the greatness of Siva. Out of about four lakh slokas, Skanda Maha Puranam praising Siva itself contains one lakh slokas and the other 9 Puranas contain about more than two lakh slokas praising Siva only. The rest of the slokas are only praising Vishnu, Brahma, Sakti, Agni and other Celestial Gods. From this also the greatness of Saivam could be understood. This is the essence and greatness of the Srouta Saiva Siddhanta.
Sivatatwam is extensively stated in the Sivagamas. Sivatatwam is of three kinds - (1)Siva, (2)Sadasiva and (3)Maheswara. Sivatatwam is called Nishkalam, Sadasiva Tatwam is called Sakala Nishkalam and Maheswara Tatwam is called Sakalam. While Sivatatwam is only of one kind, Sadasiva Tatwam is of five kinds and Maheswara Tatwam is of twenty-five kinds, totalling thirty-one Tatwams.
(i) Saktissivascha Satchabda Prakruti Pratya Yoditou
Tou Brahma Saamarasyena Samasta Jagadaatmakou
This sloka says that this entire Universe or Jagat is as a result of coming together of Sakti and Siva called "Sat" in Sanskrit, "As+At", "As" representing Sakti and "At" representing Siva. Just as the word "Sat" is formed by the coming together of Prakruti and Pratyayam, this entire Universe is formed by the unison of Sakti and Siva or "Siva Saktyaatmikam". Now, as a result of unison of Sakti and Siva, five more Tatwams have come out, called as (1) Para Sakti, with Sahasramsa or one-thousandth part of Siva, (2) Adi Sakti, with one-thousandth part of Para Sakti, (3) Icha Sakti, with one-thousandth part of Adi Sakti, (4) Jnana Sakti, with one-thousandth part of Icha Sakti and (5) Kriya Sakti, with one-thousandth part of Jnana Sakti. Now these five Sakti Tatwams along with the above thirty-one Tattwams, total thirty-six Tatwams is called as Sivatatwam.
Sada Sivatatwam stated as of five kinds above are (1)Sadasiva, (2)Eesa, (3)Brahmesa, (4)Eeswara and (5)Eesana. This is also referred to as (1)Siva Saada, (2)Amoorta Saada, (3)Moorta Saada, (4)Kartru Saada and (5)Karma Sada. Saada means "Swaroopam". Karma Saadam is identified as the East face or Tatpurush Roopam of Siva, Kartru Saada is South face or Aghora Mukham, Moorta Saada is identified as West face or Sadyojata Mukham, Amoortha Saada is identified as North face or Vamadeva Mukham and Siva Saada is identified as Upper face or Oorthwa Mukham also called as Eesana Mukham or Eesana Roopam. Thus, Sada Sivatatwam is described as possessing five faces or "Pancha Vaktram".
Maheswara Tatwam is of twenty-five kinds and is described as the one having three eyes, with a calm serene and beautiful face, wearing ornaments all over the body including Bhasma and Rudraksha and is called as Maheswara. This Maheswara alone exhibited "Pancha Vimsati Leelas" or twenty-five forms of Siva. These are (1)Sukhavaha Leela, i.e. Maheswara enjoying Prakruti also called as Gowri Sukha Pradayi or Girija Sukha Pradayi; (2)Mahalinga Leela, also called as Uru Linga Pradurbhava Leela or Jyothirlinga Leela or Hutavaha Stambha Leela, the origin and end of which could not be seen by Brahma and Vishnu; (3)Vrusharudha Leela, also called as Nandeeswara Leela or Vrushabheswara Leela, Siva created the great Bull with four legs as Dharma Devata Swaroopam and asceding the Bull does Jagatpalana or ruling this Universe or Viswam; (4)Gowri Vallabha Leela, Maheswara marrying Gowri Devi or Sathee Devi, the eldest daughter of Daksha Prajapathi; (3)Chandrasekhara Leela, Maheswara granting boons to Chandra i.e. Moon, who was cursed by Daksha Prajapathi, by wearing the sixteenth Kala of Moon i.e. "Amaa Kala"; (6)Tandaveswara Leela, i.e. Eeswara performing Tandavam or dance in Kailasam accompanied by Brahma playing on Talam, Vishnu on Mrudangam, Saraswati Devi on Veena, Lakshmi Devi singing and watched by Sathee Devi sitting on the Simhasanam; (7)Vighneswara Leela, the effulgent ways of Parameswara born out of Pranavam as Vinayaka with the face of an elephant for worship by devotees to fulfil their desires without hindrance and getting free from difficulties; (8)Vishahara Leela, Eeswara devouring and keeping in his neck the "Kaalakoota Visham" or dangerous poison that emanated from the Milky ocean, churned by Devatas and Rakshas to get nectar or Amrutam and assuming the names of Neelakantha or Sreekantha; (9)Tripura Samhara Leela, Eeswara killing the three Rakshasas called Tripurasuras, who are in the shape of three cities, accompanied by Earth as chariot, Sun and Moon as it's wheels, Meru Parvat as the bow, Adisesha as the string and Vishnu as an arrow and the four Vedas are the four horses driven by Brahma; (10)Antakantaka Leela or Kala Samhara Leela, Eeswara killing Yama Dharma Raj, who came to take away the life of Siva Bhakta Sweta as also Markandeya; (11)Chakra Pradhana Leela, Eeswara presenting the Sudarsana Chakram to Vishnu, who was worshipping Siva daily with thousand Lotus flowers, when one flower was missing, Vishnu, who removed one of his lotus flower like eye and worshipped Siva and from then came to be known as "Kamalaayataksha"; (12)Dakshadhwara Dhwamsa Leela or Veerabhadra Leela, the birth of Veerabhadra by the beating of Maheswara's "Jataajootam" or hair on the head, for destroying Daksha and his Yagnam, after Sati burnt herself there; (13)Chandanugraha Leela, granting authority to enjoy Siva Nirmalyam exclusively by Chanda, a great Siva Bhakta; (14)Aeka Paadaavatara Leela or Pralaya Kaala Leela, Eeswara dancing on one foot at the time of destruction of this Universe or Mahapralayam; (15)Nrusimha Nipaatana Leela, Eswara killing or removing of Narasimhavataram by assuming Sarabhavataram, which consists of human, animal and bird form; (16)Jaalandhara Vidaarana Leela, Eeswara killing of Jalandhara, who imprisoned Hari; (17)Dakshinamoorthy Leela, after Dakshaayani i.e. Sathee Devi disappears, Eeswara sitting as a youth under the Vatavruksham giving discourse to Brahma Manasa Putras and others; (18)Manmadhaantaka Leela, Eeswara opening His third eye and destroying Manmadha, who flung an arrow on him; (19)Uma Maheswara Leela, Maheswara marrying Uma Devi, the daughter of Himavantha; (20)Vidhidhwamsaka Leela, Bhairava taking birth at the time of Eeswara's marriage with Uma Devi and removing one of the five heads of the Brahma, the creator, with the nail of his finger; (21)Bhikshasana Leela, Eeswara assuming Bhairava roopam and seeking alms at Kasi; (22)Kankaaladhari Leela, when Bhairava visits Vaikuntham, Vishwaksena fails to respect him, Bhairava kills Vishwaksena and wears his skull and carries his skeleton or Kankaalam; (23)Kiraata Leela, Eeswara assuming the form of a forest hunter and over-powering Arjuna in a physical fist fight to show Arjuna's beautiful mole on his back to Parvathi Devi, when Pasupatastram was granted to Arjuna, (24)Ardha Naareeswara Leela, when Bhrungeeswara, a great Siva Bhakta, does Pradakshinam to Eeswara alone leaving Parvati Devi, Parvati does great penance and Eeswara assumes the form of Ardha Naareeswara, i.e. right side Eeswara and left side Parvati; (25)Kumara Janaka Leela, when Eeswara veeryam dropped by Agnideva on grass, the Rushipatnis, who were around the burning grass become pregnant and delivered six children, Umadevi makes all of them into one and presents the boy or Kumara to Parameswara and this is called as Kumara Janaka Leela or Skanda Leela.
Now, the following Upanishad Vakyams are discussed so that the readers can understand the Sivatatwam easily.
(i) Visistascha Visistascha Visistou (Sivou)
Tayo Radwaitam Siva Visistaadwaitam
This sloka refers to Siva sabdam (masculine). Siva is existing in "Sookshma Kaarana Prapancham" and also existing in "Sthoola Kaarya Prapancham". These two Sivas are only one and He is referred to as Rudra, Purusha Sabda Vaachya.
Mahanaarayanam says, (a) "Sarvovai Rudra Tasmai Rudraaya Namo Astu", (b) "Purushovai Rudra Ssanmaho Namo Namaha", (c) "Viswam Bhootam Bhuvanam Chitram Bahuda Jaatam Jaayamaancha Yat Sarvo Hyesha Rudrastasmai Rudraaya Namo Astu", (d) "Kad Rudraaya Prachetase, Meedhustamaaya Tavyase, Vochema Santamagum Hrude, Sarvo Hyesha Rudrastasmai Rudraaya Namo Astu".
These four mantras in Mahanarayaneeyam are saluting and prostrating before the great "Purusha Sabda Vachya, Rudra", who is this Universe including the five elements and Chaturdasa Bhuvanams or fourteen worlds, Srusti and Layam. The Siva sabdam in Rudradhyam is representing these four Rudras as Moolapurusha.
(ii) Visistancha Visistancha Visiste (Linge) Tayo Radwaitam
This Sivagama sutram in Napumsaka Lingam, refers to Lingaroopa Siva. Abhishekam and Pooja are done only to the Linga, which is called Sivapooja. Siva Linga is Brahma Vishnu Sivatmakam or the combined form of the eternal trinity. The down circular portion of the Linga is called Brahma Roopam, the middle flat portion is called the Somasootram or Vishnuroopam and the upper circular portion of the Linga is called Siva roopam. That is why the Mantra Sastrakaras say "Vruttameeswaraha". In mathematics circle is considered as the perfect figure, and mathematicians failed to find out the value of 'Pie', so far. The circular portion on the top of the Lingam is projecting Parama Siva's Sampoornatwam or perfection. The Santi Paatham or epilogue in "Eesavasyopanishad" is stating "Poorna Madaha, Poorna Midam, Poorna Mudachyate; Poornasya Poorna Madaaya, Poorna Mevaava Sishyate". This Santhi Paatham is stressing the point that Siva Tatwam is Sampoornam and full and from this Sampoorna Siva this entire Universe has come out and the etymology for the word Linga is "Leeyate Gamyate Aetat Characharam Tasmat Lingamuchyate", meaning Linga is that form from which this entire Universe consisting of the movable and immovable things i.e. all Jeevas, Mountains, Rivers, Trees, etc. come out at the time of creation of Srushti and unto which everything goes at the time of destruction or Mahapralayam. So, this universe has come out from Siva, who is Paripoorna. So Viswam is also Paripoornam. That is why in mathematics if zero is added or substracted from zero, it results only in zero. This meaning is explained in the following Purusha Sookta Mantra, which is analysed from the mathematical point of view.
(iv) Sahasra Seersha Purushaha, Sahasraaksha Sahasrapaath
Sabhoomim Viswato Vrutwaa, Atyatishtat Dasaangulam
Purushaye Vedagam Sarvam, Yadbhootam Yachabhavyam
Utaamrutat Vesesaanaha, Yadanne Na Tirohati
Yetabanasya Mahimaa! - Purusha Sooktam
In the science of mathematics, circle is representing Siva in the form of zero. We can draw thousands of diameters inside the circle. These diameters represent Aadiseshu, who has a thousand heads, Indra, the lord of Heaven, who has a thousand eyes and Surya or Sun God, who has a thousand rays, etc. This circular shaped zero, Siva is encircling this entire Universe, which is stated by Eesavasyopanishad in the first mantra, "Eesavasya Midagam Sarvam". From this zero to nine, total ten figures or Dasaangulam and in the circumference of which - "Purusha Kushti" or stomach, this science of figures or Sankhya Sastram has come out. This is all Purush, who existed earlier and will exist in future and this entire Universe is His creation. Thus, Purusha Sooktam is clearly describing Sampoornatwam or perfection of Parameswara.
The Soma Sootra portion in the Linga is Vishnu Roopam, which is in an inseparable state with Siva and the fourth part of the Moola Karana Sakthi. This entire Universe consisting of the fourteen worlds or Chaturdasa Bhuvanams has come out of the "Moola Kaarana Siva Sakatyaatmika Vruttam" and are rotating with different velacity instead of remaining stable with their path elliptic instead of circular, resulting in seasons, days and nights, etc.
The down portion of the Linga or Peetham is Brahma Roopam, which is encircling our Horizon in a circular shape from the earth to the sky and totally projecting the Siva Linga along with Soma Sootram and Siva Saktyaatmika upper portion with Bindu and Aakash as Sampoorna Viswam or Parabrahman. This total cosmos or Sampoorna Viswam is described in Sookshmagama, one of the twenty eight Sivagamas, as under:
(v) Peethikaa Prudhvi, Lingamaakaashaha Srushti Kaaranam
Nissandehamidam, Jnanamandajam Lingameeritam
Dhyatwaatmaana Madhaakaase, Dhyatwaakaasanta Daatmani
Aatmaakaasamayam Lingam, Bindwakaasam Mrudahrutam
The sloka "Sivaaya Vishnu Roopaaya, Siva Roopaaya Vishnave", "Sivasya Hrudayam Vishnu, Vishnusya Hrudayam Sivaha" is an interpolation in Sandhya Vandanam and is considered as Avaidicam. There is only Bhedam or difference between Siva and Vishnu and not Abhedam or no difference. Soota Samhita emphatically says, "Khadyotoyadi Chanda Bhaanu Sadrusaha, Sthulyo Ssambhunaa Harihi", if a nightingale could become equal to Noon Sun, Hari can become equal with Siva, meaning that it is an impossibility. That is why it is stated in Brahmottara Khandam of Skanda Mahapuranam that Sivatatwam is very minute and if one understands the same as stated above, worst sins and calamities will not come near him.
SIVADWAITAM or SIVA VISISTADWAITAM
In Nilakanta Sootra Bhashyam it is stated that Upasya is Siva, Upasaka is Jeeva, who has to take upon himself Pasupata Deeksha with Sivoham Bhavana and worship Siva in Ista, Bhava and Prana Linga Roopam throughout his lifetime with "Sravana, Manana, Nidhi, Dhyasa, Drugavadhana Dwaya, Twagavadhana Traya, Manovadhana Panchaka, Shatsthala Shallingatmaka" and perform thirty six Upacharas or services to get Eeswara Saakshaatkaram. This is explained in the first sloka above, "Visistasya Visistasya Visistow Tayoradwaitam, Siva Visistadwaitam".
Brahmai Vedamamrutam Purastaat,
Brahma Paschaat, Brahmai Dakshinatah,
Uttarenacha, Adha Chordwancha, Prasrutam
Brahmai Vedam Viswamidam Varishtam
This Mundakopanishad mantra says that the entire Universe or Jagat is Brahman, who is encircling the Jagat on all the four sides, establishing the fact that both Jagat and Brahman are very much existing or their existance is a reality or Satyam and another Mundaka Sruti says: "Tripadasya Amrutam Divi", meaning that one part is this Universe or Jagat and three parts is Brahman or Eswara.
Prapancho Paramam Saantham
This Maandukyopanishad mantra is describing the Mahapralaya Kala Sthiti or the state of affairs existing at the time of destruction, before creation. This mantra is stating that the seekers of salvation or invoking Siva, who is the root cause of this Universe i.e. Prapancho Paramam, and who alone is there calm serene after destruction of this Universe i.e. Saantham, who is pulling unto Himself Jeeva and Jagat like a tortoise i.e. Adwaitam, no second person existing and as the fourth person the other three being Sadaasiva, Maheswara and Rudra in the descending order. This is explained below.
The dynasty or Vamsam of Siva is stated in the Taittereeya mantram Brahmavalli while describing the start of creation, as under:
Tasmaa Dwaa Aetasma Aakasah Sambhootah Aa
Kaasha Dwaayuh Vayo Ragnih Agne Raapah Adbhyah
Prudhivi Prudhivya Oshadhayah Oshadhee Bhyonnam
Anna Tpurushah Sa Vaa Aesha Purushonnara Samayah
This Taittereeya mantra says that from Paramatma the Absolute Brahman, Aakash or Cosmos is born and from Cosmos, air or Vayu is born and from air, Agni or fire is born and from Fire, Jalam or water is born and from Water, Prudhvi or earth is born. However, since it is impossible to get birth from Achetanam or Jadam or lifeless thing, the words Cosmos, Air, Fire, Water and Earth stated therein relate not to the five elements, but to the presiding deities of those elements, they are stated in Siva Puranam, Vayaveeya Samhita as under:
Sadaasivah Sabdamoorthih Sparsamoorthi Stha Dheswarah
Rudra Stejomayah Saakshaa Drasamoorthi Rjanaardhanah
Gandhamoorthi Schaturwaktra Ityetaah Panchamoortayah
- Siva Puranam
The presiding deity of Cosmos is Sadasiva, and that of Air is Maheswara, and that of Fire is Rudra and that of Water is Vishnu i.e. Janardhana and that of Earth is Brahma. These are also called as Pancha Brahmas in the Vedas. This is the Srushtikramam or order of creation.
Sakti Ssivascha Sacchabda Prakruti Pratyayoditau
Tau Brahma Saamarasyena, Samasta Jagadaatmakau
This visible universe is appearing to us as changing, moving or "Chit" with the Jeevas and animals, etc. as also stable or "Jadam" with mountains etc. Vedas say that Siva exists "Tacchiva Aeva Kevalah" both before creation or srusti as "Sookshma Chijjada Karana Roopam" as also after creation as "Sthoola Chitachid Karya Prapancham". That both these Sivas are only one is "Sivadwaita Siddhatam" or "Siva Visistadwaita Siddhantam". "Chida" and "Chit" are only different forms of this Universe associated with Siva and it is only illusion to think that Siva possesses "Chit Sakti" and "Achit Sakti". This is explained in this sloka.
Chidachit Prapanca Visista Siva Aeva Karanam
Kaaryancha Bhavateeti Siva Visistadwaitam
The greatness of this Srouta Saiva Siddhanta is discussed in detail in the author's book Siva Aeva Karanam, or Siva alone is the Root cause of this Universe brought out separately, which may be referred to under the fifteenth question discussed therein.
The philosophy propagated by Sri Aadi Sankaracharya is called as Suddhadwaitam, which says that Brahma is Satyam and Jagat is Midhya and Jeeva is not different from Brahman.
Brahma Satyam Jagat Midhya
Jeevo Brahmaiva Na Parah
Neither this sentence "Jeevo Brahmaiva Na Paraha" nor any of the illustrations like the "Rajju Sarpodaharanam", etc. i.e. the illustration about the rope and serpant are found in any of the Dasopanishads, for which commentaries were written by the Acharya. For the question by critics - How Brahma got Jeeva Bhavam? Sankaracharya quoted the Sruit Vakyam, "Maayaacha Vidyaacha Swayameva Bhavati, Maayaa Abhaasena Jeeve Sou Karoti", meaning (i) Maaya is becoming by itself "Maya" and Avidya , (ii) Maaya by superimposition is creating Jeeva and Eswara. When this meaning is examined in detail, we find that there is no subject or "Kartru padam" in this Vakyam. Who is this Swayameva? If we try to interpret the meaning as "Maayaacha Swayameva Avidya Bhavati" or "Avidyaacha Swayameva Maaya Bhavati", will not the person hearing it, ask as to who is this Swayameva? The meaning given by the Adwaitins for this "Maaya" sabdam is that, which is not existing there is "Maaya". This meaning is first of all against all Upanishad Sampradayams. The word "Maa" is an adverb or Avyayam, meaning not required, but not "No". Lingabhattu, commentator of Amarakosam dictionary, stated "Matyasyam Viswamiti Maaya", meaning this Viswam or Universe is contained in this Prakruti or nature. Therefore, this Prakruti or nature is called as "Maaya". The Swetaswatara mantra "Maayaantu Prakrutim Vindyat Maayinantu Maheswaram, Tasyaa Avayava Bhootaishu Vyaaptam Sarvamidam Jagat", is confirming this point of view and stating that the words "Maaya" and Prakruti are synonymous words.
Now, let us examine the second part of the Sruti Vakyam quoted by the Adwaitacharya, that Maaya by superimposition is creating Jeeva and Eeswara, "Jeevesou Karoti". The Adwaita Sampradayam is that Jeeva is not different from Brahma, "Jeevo Brahmaiva Na Paraha", but the Upanishads are not accepting this view.
(i) The Swetaswataropanishad (5-9) is fixing Jeeva Parimanam as "Vaalaagra Sata Bhaagasya Satadhaa Kalpitasyacha Bhaago Jeevaha Sa Vijneyaha, Sachaanantyaya Kalpate", meaning the quantity of Jeeva is one-hundred of one-hundredth part of a paddy thorn.
(ii) The Chandogyopanishad (6-11-3) is stating "Jeevaapetam Vaavati Vedam Mriyate Na Jeevo Mriyate", meaning that Jeeva has no death. In these circumstances, how can the statement "Jeevo Brahmaiva Na Paraha" be accepted following the Upanishad Siddhanta? So, this statement is clearly against the Upanishads.
Now let us examine the second statement that Jeeva is not different from Brahma.
(i) Mundakopanishad is stating two aspects on this point.
(a) Samane Vrukshe Purusho Nimagna
Aneesaya Sochati Muhya Maanaha
Jushtam Yadaa Pasyat Tyanya Meesa
Masya Mahimaanamiti Veeta Sokaha
- Mundakopanisad 3-1-2
(b) Yadaa Pasyate Rukma Varnam
Karkaara Meesam Purusham Brahma Yonim
Tadaa Vidwaan Punya Pape Vidhooya
Niranjanam Paramam Saamya Mupaiti
- Mundakopanishad -3-1-3
This Mundakopanishad mantras are stating that the Jeeva is in the form of Purush in the body or Sareeram is called upon to get Eeswara Saakshatkaram, worshipping Eeswara, who is different from him i.e. Jeeva and get peace.
The second mantra is calling upon the Jeeva, who is the Upasaka, to worship Eeswara, the Upaasya and get total peace, Niranjanam or total likeness or company i.e. Parama Saamyam.
(ii) Chandogyopanishad is stating that such a Jeeva in the "Praajnatwa Parishwangam" i.e. total company of Siva, will not have "Baahyantara Parijnanam" i.e. consciousness of both outside and inside matters. Here, "Prajnatwa" means "Daharantaryaami Siva", the Absolute Reality. So, we find from the above mantras that Jeeva is different from Brahma, (a) from "Anyameesam" in Mundaka mantra, (b) "Saakshaat Kartavya" in Mundaka mantra is Jeeva, while "Saakshaat Karta" is Eesa, pointing that both are different from each other and (c) "Parishwakta" is Purush and "Parishwangaka" is "Prajnatma" i.e. Siva, thereby projecting "Jeeveswara Bhinnatwam" or difference between them.
Now let us examine the statement "Maaya Jeevesou Karoti" i.e. Maaya is creating both Jeeva and Eeswara. The Kathopanishad mantra is -
Na Jaayate Mriyateva Vipaschinnaayam
Kutaschinna Babhoova Kaschit
Ajo Nityaha Saaswatoyam Purano
Nahanyate Hanyamane Sareere
- Kathopanishad (1-2-18)
This mantra is stating that Jeeva has no birth or death. He was not born of anybody. No Jeeva is born. He has no birth. He is always permanent, existing in all the three periods of time, past, present and future. So, when Upanishad Siddhanta is that Jeeva is Nitya and "Janana Marana Rahita", let scholars decide the fate of the sentence "Maaya Jeevesou Karoti". Coming to the second part of the sentence, that Maaya is creating Eeswara, Swetaswatara Vakyam (6-9) is stating "Natasya Kaschit Janitaa Nacha Adhipaha", meaning that there is none, who created Eeswara and there is none above Him. Another Swetaswatara mantra (1-9) says, "Jnaa Jnow Dwaaja Veesa Veesou", meaning that both Jeeva and Eeswara have no birth. Umpteen Sruti Vakyams can be quoted to state that Jeeva and Eeswara are permanent. Thus, the word Maaya referred to in the beginning of this discussion refers to Prakruti, in which this Viswam is present and hence Prakruti is called as Maaya. That is why, Swetaswataropanishad states "Maayantu Prakrutim Vindyaat, Maayinantu Maheswaram", meaning know that Maaya is Prakruti and Maayee is Maheswara. So, let scholars decide on the "Asthitwam" or existence of Maaya in which this Viswam exists, instead of blindly following a Siddhanta, which is "Anowpanishadam".
While the entire vedantic lore and Upanishads in particular are introducing only Pratyaksha Pramanams i.e. real, visible and easily understandable illustrations occurring in our day-to-day life, Sri Aadi Sankaracharya introduced the theory of Super imposition or Midhyavadam called as Vivarta Vadam. This is only a creation of Sri Aadi Sanakaracharya through his Adhyasa Bhashyam and is a compromise formula to bring round persons professing different faiths and following different religions like Saivam, Vaishnavam, Saktam, Souram, Ganapatyam and Kaumaram, etc. into his new Adwaita Siddhantam. Scholars are aware that it has no Vedic sanction, and consider that the Acharya stated this only for the good of the people, who are at that time fighting among themselves about Brahma tatwam.
Sri Sankaracharya was the exponent of Kevaladwaita Philosophy, which states that Brahman alone is real and this world is unreal and the Jeeva is identical with Brahman. Sankaracharya preached "Vivarta Vadam" through his Adhyasa Bhashyam or theory of super imposition. "Just as the snake is super imposed on the rope, this world and this body are super imposed on the Brahman or the Supremeself. If you get the knowledge of the rope, the illusion of the snake will vanish, similarly if you get a knowledge of the Brahman, the illusion of the body or world will vanish". This is explained here, after considering the Brahma Sutras discussed below.
DISCUSSION ON BRAHMA SUTRAS
In order to understand the Brahmatattwam one has to refer to the Vedas, Upanishads and in particular the Brahma Sutras written by the great sage Veda Vyas. Since these Brahma Sutras were in Sanskrit and as ages passed by, ordinary persons could not comprehend their meaning, commentaries came to be written. The earliest and the oldest commentary in this regard is the one written by Nilakantacharya CIRCA 2044 Kali Era before Aadi Sankaracharya was born. For this Nilakanta Bhashyam, the author Mudigonda Nagalinga Sastri garu wrote a detailed commentary in Sanskrit under the title "SIVA CHINTAMANI PRABHA". The author stated that Sankara Bhashyam is neither the first one nor is it adhering to the Brahma Sutras on various aspects of the Siddhanta. Out of about 545 Brahma Sutras the commentary given by Nilakantacharya and explained by the author, a few of them are briefly discussed below for the benefit of the readers.
(i) Janmaadyasya Yathaha Eeksheternaa Shabdam -- In this first Brahma Sutram it is stated that Jagath, Janma, Jeevana Karakathwam is Brahma Lakshanam, meaning the attribute for the person responsible for creation sustenance of this universe is otherwise called Brahman and the second sutram says that creation of the Universe can be done only by a person having life or "Chetanam" and not by lifeless person or "Achetanam" - where as in Sankar Bhashyam it is stated that this creation or Universe is "Midhya" or "Jagat Midhya" or illusion. Again even if it is assumed that Jagath is midhya like a rope imagined as a serpent, then the thing which is imagined need not be one with life and in that case it goes against the second sutra cited above, that a person having life only can be kartha of this Universe.
(ii) Bhedavyapa Desaascha -- In this Brahma sutra it is stated that there is difference between Jeeva and Eeswara, while in Sankara Bhashyam it is taken that there is no difference. Mimamsa Sastra and other sastras do not support this view. Therefore to say that there is no difference between Jeeva and Eeswara is against all sastras or Sarva Sastra Virudham.
(iii) Aatmaa Krute Parinaamaat -- In this Brahma sutra "Parinaama Kaarana Vadam" is made Siddhanta, while in Sankara Bhashyam "Vivarta Vadam" is made Siddhanta. In fact in Brahma Mimamsa Sutram there is no mention anywhere of "Vivarta Vadam".
(iv) Kartaa Saastraardha Vatwat -- In this Brahma Sutra it is stated that Jeeva is the Karta or person responsible for all actions done through the body he is wearing at that time, where as in Sankara Bhashyam it is stated, that Jeeva is not the Karta.
(v) Vai Dharmascha Na Swapnaadi Vatu -- In this Brahma sutra it is stated that, this creation or Jagath is not a dream, while in Sankara Bhashyam it is stated that Jagath is same or identical with dream.
(vi) Sarva Dharmopa Pattescha -- In this Brahma sutra, it is stated that Sarvajnathwam or knowing every thing - Sarva Saktimathwam or having all power, Vigor or vitality i.e. "Sagunam" is the attribute of Brahman, whereas in Sankara Bhashyam it is stated as "Nirdharmakam" or "Nirgunam" meaning no dharmam or no gunam, as the attribute of Brahman.
(vii) Utkraanti Gatyaa Gateenaam -- In this Brahma sutra it is stated that, the weight and volume of Jeeva is equivalent to that of an atom, whereas in Sankara Bhashyam it is stated that Jeeva is the Lord Himself.
(viii) Gruham Pravishtaa Vatmanehi Taddarsanaat -- In this Brahma Sutra it is stated that, Jeeva and Eeswara are seated in "Hrudayaakash" i.e. heart of a person, while in Sankara Bhashyam it is stated that Buddhi or intellect and Jeeva are seated there.
(ix) Aanandamayo Abhyaasaat -- In this Brahma Sutra it is stated that, Ananda Mayaa is Brahman, in Sankara Bhashyam it is stated that Ananda Mayaa is Jeeva only.
(x) Anaavrutti Sabdaat -- The last Brahma sutra coupled and read with Sruti mantra "Nasa Punaravartate" meaning - will not return back to this Universe, ordains that a Mukta Purush will not return back to this Universe, applies only to Saguna Mukti and not Nirguna Mukti as stated in Sankara Bhashyam.
So from a short discussion of a few of the Brahma Sutras, we find almost from the Upakrama sutra to Upasamhara sutra i.e. from the first sutra to the last sutra - "Janmadyasya" to "Anavrutti Sabdaat", referred to above, speak of only Saguna mukti and the entire Brahma Mimamsa Sastra is only favouring or exploring Saguna mukti, it is found difficult for Sankaracharya to replace it and therefore Sankaracharya wrote Adhyasa Bhashyam as a prelude to Sankara Bhashyam, stating that Jagat, Jeeva and Eeswara are all Adhyaropam or Midhya or imaginary and by realising that they are not existing, then only "Brahmatmakam" or becoming one with Brahman becomes possible. This is briefly the Adwaita Siddhantam. Now once this Adhyasa Bhashyam is taught and digested by the seeker of Brahman, if you tell him later that this Jagat or Universe is existing or not existing, or tell him that Eeswara is the root cause of the Universe or not, or tell him that Jeeva is dependent or not dependent or that Brahmatattwam is "Sagunam" or "Nirgunam"; the person will only think that by "Adhyaropam" everything is real but in "Paramartha Drushti" everything is imaginary or Midhya. So after one reads and digests, Adhyasa Bhashyam even the Brahma Sutrakaara i.e. Veda Vyasa himself, cannot change his mind - just as a pleader before examination of the witness tells the court that the witness is of unsound mind, how can the judge believe in his evidence? Therefore Adhyasa Bhashyam is meant to make the entire sastra upside down and is considered by many scholars including those following Sankara Bhashyam, as not authentic.
Eesavasyopanishad is stating that -
"Vidyaancha Avidyancha Yastadevo Ubhayagm Saha
Avidyayaa Mrutyum Teerthwa Vidyayaa Mruta Masnute
Here Vidya means Jnanam or knowledge and Avidya means Karma. However, Aadi Sankaracharya interpreted Vidya in this Sruti mantra as Upasana and not Jnanam. For Upasana, Karma is necessary but for acquiring Jnanam, Karma is not necessary. Upasana is different and Jnanam is different. Jnanam can only be experienced while Karma cannot be experienced. Therefore for Gruhasta, Sanakaracharya laid down that he should perform Karma only as he has no authority to hear Vedanta unless he takes up Sanyas - "Sannasya Sravanam Kuryat". The Acharya stated that the seeker is Brahman i.e. "Soham Bhavana". If this Adwaita Bhavana is to be followed by all leaving Karma and Upasana and the seeker goes on chanting that he alone is Brahman, the Acharya felt that people will get lost, so he stated that all including Grihastas should follow Karma and Upasana while Jnanam is only to be followed by Sanyasis. Therefore in Adwaita Philosophy there is no tie up with both i.e. Karma and Jnana. Sanyasis alone have authority to acquire Jnanam and Karma and Upasana are to be followed by Grihastas.
However, Nilakantacharya interpreted Vidya in this Sruti mantra as Upasana and this is in addition to Jnana and therefore Jnanam only. According to Nilakantacharya, performing Upasana doing Karma is the instrument for "Eeswara Sakshatkaram". "Eeswara Sakshatkaram" is "Aparokshanubhavam" and there is no other thing as Anubhava Jnanam. So according to Nilakanthacharya, only Karma Sahita or doing Karma, Upasana leads to "Eeswara Sakshatkaram" and both should be performed by all, as every human being has authority to know the Ultimate Reality or the Brahman. So, the Acharya laid down a relationship or tie-up between Upasana and Karma.
However, Basaveswara of Karnataka, accepting Sankaracharya's philosophy to some extent, stated that for acquiring Jnanam, Karma is not necessarily required and has taken Saiva Maha Deeksha as it is necessary for Upasana and through Upasana alone "Eeswara Sakshatkaram" can be obtained, which is the ultimate goal for any "Sadhaka" or the seeker of salvation.
However, Nilakantacharya's opinion is that, "Karmacharanam" is also "Eeswaropasana" i.e. performing Karma is also Service to God. How can "Varnasrama Dharmanushtanam" meaning code of conduct followed by the four castes, each in their four stages of life i.e. Brahmacharya, Gruhasta, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa, laid down by God Himself cannot be termed as Service to God? As per the orders of the king service done by his subjects come under service to king only. However service to God is of two kinds. The first kind of Service to God is, following his orders, service done to Indra, Agni, etc., and the other is service or Aaradhana done to God alone. Here as per the directions of God as laid down in the Vedas, performing "Nitya" and "Naimittika Karma" or actions performed daily and actions performed on occassions to Agni, Indra and other celestial deities is called "Karma Marga" or path of Karma and Aradhana done exclusively to God or Brahman is "Upasana Marga". To consider or not to consider service to His subjects is lesser in proportion to service to God Himself, it is not in our hands, for all the creatures in this Universe are His creations and are under His control. Therefore as per the wishes of God, when Vedas proclaim everyone to perform "Nitya" and "Naimittika Karma" by serving Agni, Indra, etc., how can one refuse to perform them and still claim that he is not disobeying God's instructions! So everyone should perform "Nitya" and "Naimittika Karma" at the same time also "Eeswaropasana" to become eligible for Moksha and salvation. This is the view of the Poorvacharyas and according to Vedas as stated by Nilakantacharya.
(i) Satyakama Satyasankalpah Sarva Dharmopa Pattescha
(ii)Nama Rupe Vyakaranani
These Sruti mantras say, that God possesses Gunas and Dharmas and names; how can one say that He does not possess them, to call Him Nirguna? For a detailed, understanding on the merits and demerits of the Aadi Sankaracharya's Adwaita philosophy, the interested readers are advised to go through the author, Naga Linga Sastriji's works such as Brahma Padham, Vyasa Padham, Vidyasthana Vinirnayam, Vedantardha Parishkara Taraharam, etc., and in particular his commentary Siva Chinta Mani Prabha, so that they can judge for themselves as to how far the Adwaita philosophy is following the Vedas and Brahma Sutras.
In the Saiva Siddhanta propounded by Nilakantacharya both Karma and Jnana are considered essential for the seeker to practise. If Karma is short, Jnana will protect him. If Jnana is short, Karma will protect him. For a person climbing a tree, upper branch is like Jnana i.e. like a handle and the lower branch is Karma, like a foothold. If he cannot catch the upper branch he cannot go up like one failing in Jnanam, missing Urdhva Lokas or heaven. If the foothold branch breaks due to failure of Karma, he can still hang on for some time before falling down. If for any reason, the person fails in both, his fate is doomed but you cannot find fault with the Mata Charya. This is not so in Adwaita philosophy, wherein the right to acquire Jnana vests with Sanyasis only and Gruhastas have to perform Karma only. Again Kali, the Lord of this Yuga, polluted the Karma or action, so much so, the Gruhastas are unable to do both. In Saiva Siddhanta however they have been permitted to do both. This is called "Karma Jnana Samuchaya Vadam" and is better explained by the sloka:
"Apasyanandhako Dhagdhah Pasyandahati Pangulah Amdha Pangu Vadanyena, Sapekshe, Jnana Karmani"
In this sloka "Andha Pangula Nyayam" is stated. It means that when a house is burning, the blind-man "Andha" was burnt because he could not see, the cripple, "Pangula", was burnt down because he could not walk and get away from the burning place. However, if the blind man takes on his shoulder the cripple, the cripple will show the way and the blind man carrying the cripple can both get out of the burning place and save themselves, by helping each other. So also Jnana like the cripple and Karma like the blind both followed and practiced simultaneously can protect a person and lead him safely to reach God. Therefore both the Karma marga and the Jnana Marga are essential. Since Vedas are themselves divided into two parts, called Karma Kanda and Brahma Kanda, the rituals like Upanayanam and "Aaadhanam" mentioned in Karma Kanda give a person authority to do Karma only, where as Saiva Maha Deeksha mentioned in Brahma Kanda, gives authority to do Eeswaropasana. The authority for this is stated in Swetaswataropanishad, "Teshame Vaitam Brahma Vidyaam Vadeta" referred to earlier under the Gratness of Srouta Saiva Siddhanta.
This Skanda Purana sloka emphasizes, the Karma, Jnana Samuchhaya Vadam.
Na Kriya Rahitam Jnaanam, Na Jnaana Rahitam Kriyaa
Apasyaannandhako Dagdhah, Pasyandahati Pangulaha
Agni Jwalana Samyogaat Usnam Bhavati
Varicha Jnana Mantah, Kriya Bahyah Varicha Jnanamantah
kriyabahyah, Ekobhava Samanvitah
Yadhajalam Tatha Kumbhe, Bahiragni Prabhavitah
It says, that Kriya or action without Jnanam or knowledge and Jnanam without Kriya are both useless like the cripple and the blind burning them individually as stated above. What is chanted internally or Antarlingaradhana should be supplemented and worshipped outside by Bahya Lingaradhana and what is chanted by the mind should be uttered by the mouth and worshipped by the hand, just like water inside the pot getting heated up by fire from outside. Antarlingaradhana or Pranalingaradhana becomes fruitful, by Bahya or outside Istalingaradhana and therefore Bahya Lingaradhana is necessary even for Jnanis and well versed in Vedas. This is stated in detail in the author's book, "Srouta Mevahi Dharanam - Lingasya", brought out by Siva Jnana Lahari separately, which may be referred to. That is why, we find Chandra Mowliswararadhana or worship of the Linga on Peetham, normally considered as Karma Kanda, is done daily even by Sanyasis in all the Adwaita Peethams established by Aadi Sankaracharya!
Critics of the "Karma Jnana Samuchaya Vadam" tried to give the meaning of "ignorance" to the word "Avidya" and how this interpretation is incorrect is stated below.
"Vidyaancha Avidyancha Yastadevo Ubhayagm Saha
Avidyayaa Mrutyum Teerthwa Vidyayaa Mruta Masnute
This Eesavasya Sruti mantra ordains that Karma and Upasana are both necessary for reaching Brahman and supports the "Karma Jnana Samuchaya Vadam" as propounded by Nilakanatacharya.
However, the word Avidya in this mantra cannot be understood as ignorance. This Sruti mantra says "Avidyaaya Mrutyum Teertwa", which if interpreted by following the meaning given by Sankaracharya, it results in "by ignorance one can cross death". Therefore, this interpretation given by Adwaitins is not correct. The Traiambaka mantra in Yaju Samhita says that "Triambaka yajanam" or worship of Siva is necessary to get salvation. Therefore, the Eesavasya mantra "Avidyaaaya Mrutyum Teertwa" and "Triambakam Yajamahey" in Yajurvedam should both be interpreted in unison for Aeka Vakyata Siddhi, that Avidya means "Triambaka Yajanam" only. Otherwise, both the Sruti mantras become unauthentic.
The readers may refer to the author's book The Greatness and antiquity of the Neelakanta Bhashyam and Saiva Maha Deeksha Swaroopam for further details.
In Srouta Saiva Siddhanta there are only four steps to reach God, the Absolute Brahman, Siva. They are -
(i)Mumukshukata, (ii)Upasana, (iii) Nireekshana and (iv)Saakshaatkaram
Mumukshukata means, unflinching or strong desire to get Moksham or salvation. It is a desire to get rid of the Samsara Bandham i.e. going through the cycles of Births and Deaths.
Once this Mumukshukata enters the person's mind, the next step is Upasana or worship or prayer of the Absolute Brahman identified in the Vedas as Siva, "Namasthaaraya Namassambhavecha, Mayo Bhavecha, Namassankarayacha, Mayaskaracha, Namahssivayacha, Sivataraayacha" described in the Vedas as the names of the Amruta or the Absoulte Brahman who can alone confer salvation and none else in the hierarchy of Gods.
Worship of the Absolute Brahman, Siva is called Upasana and Sruti says "Na Rudro Rudra Marchayet" meaning one should become Rudra himself before worshipping Rudra. So, to attract upon himself all attributes or qualities of Siva, he should get Sivatwam or purity throughout his lifetime and not temporarily. The question arises, whether Mahanyaasam can confer purity on the person. Mahanyaasam confers purity only for a particular occasion and not throughout the day and muchless throughout one's lifetime. So, one has to necessarily get lifelong Sivatwam called as Yavajjiva Sivatwam to perform life long worship of Siva or Yavajjiava Sivaradhana. Then the question arises, whether this Sivaradhana to be performed to (i)a Linga placed on the ground or (ii)on a peetham or platform or (iii)on the body of the person, who is the Karta. Of all these three places, the person's body is nearer to him and so the Rigveda mantram "Sarvalingag Sthapayati Paani Mantram Pavitram" says that the Linga should be placed in the person's hand i.e. on his body and worshipped. To place this Linga on the body, a cleansing ceremony called Shadadhwa Sudhi is prescribed in the Agama Sastras and this entire process is called Saiva Maha Deeksha. It is a Deeksha or commitment for life, without which he cannot perform Sivaradhana throughout his lifetime. One cannot get Santhi or peace unless he gets rid of the worldly bonds. Mere knowledge of water alone cannot quench his thirst, unless he drinks. Similarly, mere Jnanam or simple knowledge of the Brahman cannot get rid of the worldly bonds. It can be obtained only through Upasana.
Upasana means worshipping Parameswara by three actions called "Mano Vaakkaaya Karma", popularly called as "Trikarana Sudhi". The first is Manasika, the second is Vachika and the third is Kayika.
Kayika means worship or service of the Linga by applying Bhasma, Gandha, Akshata, Pushpa, Bilwapatra, Dhoopa, Deepa Samarpana and performing Pradakshina and Namaskara.
Vachika means worship or service by reciting Siva mantras at the time of presenting Bhasma, Gandha, Akshata, Pushpa, Bilwapatra, Dhoopa and Naivedya, etc.
Manasika means concentrating on the Linga, the Absolute Brahman, and the Root Cause of this Universe, Siva, in ten ways or Dasaavadhanam. Unless the seeker of the Brahman performs Kayika and Vachika seva, he cannot straight away perform Manasika pooja with concentration called as "Aatyantika Santhi" in Vedanta.
Now Upasana means worshipping Parameswara, who has both Moorta and Amoorta roopams, both outside the body as well as inside. Moortopasana means Vigraharadhana and in that also worship of the Absolute Brahman, Siva in Linga Roopam is alone according to Sastras. Siva temple means a temple in which Linga is installed. Of these, the worship of the Linga installed on the body instead of on the ground is only according to the Sruti, which is absolutely Vaidicam and which only confers immense benefit than Peethapooja. Just as it is impossible to get inner knowledge or knowledge of the self without first getting outside knowledge, similarly unless one gets unto his control outside sense organs namely, the body i.e. Twak, eyes i.e. Chakshu, ears i.e. Sotra, tongue i.e. Jihwa and nose i.e. Ghrana, he cannot get Antarendriya Nigraham or his inner sense organs namely his mind and intellect under his control. For example, the mind decides to give donation and mouth says it so, but unless the hand gives it, the desired result or Uddhishta Phalam cannot be achieved. Similarly, in Upasana the Uddhishta Phalam is Moksham or salvation, which cannot be obtained except by performing Sivaradhana.
Nireekshana means waiting for the grace of the Absolute Brahman to fall on him. Various mantras in the Vedas and Upanishads highlight on this point of waiting for the grace of the Lord, the Absolute Brahman. Mundakopanishad says:
Naayamaatma Pravachane, Na Labhyo
Na Medhaya, Na Bahunaa Srutena
Yamaivaisha Vrunute Tena Labhyasthaisha
Aatma Vivrunute Tanoogum Swaam
This sruti mantra says that Parameswara's grace is absolutely necessary and HE cannot be obtained either by discourse or by intelligence or by a study of all the Vedas.
Anoraneeyan Mahato Mahiyaan
Aatma Guhaan Nihitosya Jantho
Tamakratum Pasyati Veetasoko Dadhatum
Prasadaam Mahimaana Meesam
This Swetaswatara sruti mantra says that the Absolute Brahman is smaller of the smallest and bigger of the biggest and stays in the hearts of every person i.e. Anupravesam. Saakshatkaram or His presence, could only be obtained by His grace or Sivanugraham only.
Saakshatkaram means the presence of the Absolute Brahman in the form in which the Mumukshu or devotee is worshipping. This is so stated in all the Srutis.
Yadaacharma Vadaakasam Veshta Yishyanti Maanava
Tadasivamavijnanaya Dukhahsyanto Bhavishyati
This Swetaswatara mantra says that by Sivaradhana alone one get Moksham or salvation and not otherwise. This is the Saiva Siddhantam.
Now to sum up, since in Sankaracharya's Adwaita philosophy Brahmajnanam means, "Anubhava Jnanam" and not "Eswaropasana", "Eswaropasana" is relegated to the background and Saiva Maha Deeksha, which confers authority to do "Eswaropasana" is ignored. In Basaveswara philosophy since Eswaropasana is considered essential, Saiva Maha Deeksha is taken and since "Karmacharanam" is considered not essential, Upanayanam, which confers authority to do "Karmacharanam", is ignored. However, in Nilakanta philosophy both are considered essential, because "Eswaropasana" performed according to what is ordained in the Vedas only confers Moksha or salvation. In Srouta Saiva Siddhanta religion and Siddhanta are intertwined like precept and practice. If the religion has no proper Siddhanta it is difficult to pray God i.e. take Deeksha or perform uninterrupted Sivopasana as ordained by the Vedas and herein lies the greatness of this Srouta Saiva Siddhanta.
In Sankaracharya philosophy "Moksham" can be obtained only by acquiring Jnana - "Jnanadevatu Kaivalyam" and for acquiring Jnana the authority to acquire vests only with Sanyasis and Gruhastas have only right to perform Karma. Therefore in Adwaita philosophy there is no tie up with both i.e. Karma and Jnana. Then scholars will question whether the entire Adwaita philosophy is against what is stated in the Vedas. There is some truth and some imagination or "Kalpitam". The seeker identifying himself with Brahman is the truth and the rest is all imagination or "Kalpitam". This is stated by Sri Aadi Sankaracharya himself in his Brahma Meemamsa Bhashyam, that "Jeeva Brahmmaikyam" is the essence of all Vedas and the rest is all Midhya or "Kalpitam". To say that Brahma Tatwam is Nirgunam and God's names are all imaginary or "Kalpitam", it appears these are intended, to set at rest the differences among the various religious sects and to do general good. Otherwise, these views will be against the Srutis and Smrutis.
In Srouta Saiva Siddhanta "Moksham" is defined as "Sayujyam" or enjoyment in the company of the Absolute Brahman and "Jeeva Brahmmaikyam" is not the essence of the Vedas.
This is discussed in detail in the author's book Moksha Swaroopa Nirnayam, which may be referred to.
Triambaka mantra is considered as the greatest of all 7 crore mantras. This mantra in Yajurvedam reads as under:
Triambakam Yajaamahe, Sugandhim Pushti Vardhanam
Oorvaarikamiva Bandhanaat Mukshormuksheeya Maamrutaat
This Triambaka mantram contains three sentences, which are,
(i) Triambakam Yajaamahe, Sugandhim Pushti Vardhanam meaning "May I worship Siva having three eyes, who is famous for showering all happiness always",
(ii) Oorvaarikamiva Bandhanaat Mukshormuksheeya, meaning "So that I could get separated from death painlessly like a cucumber getting separated from the creeper and
(iii) Ma Amrutaat or Amrutaat Mamuksheeya, meaning, "I do not get separated at any time from Amruta i.e. Siva".
The first sentence ordains Triambaka Yajanam or worship of Siva also called as Amruta, meaning has no death, the second sentence states of salvation and the third sentence speaks of Sayujyam or staying in the company of Siva thereafter always. A whole book is written on the greatness of this mantra in Telugu, by Sivayogi Sripati Panditaradhyula Sarabharadhyulu (1900-1980 AD), a devout follower of the author, which may be referred to. Efforts are on to publish this work in English for the benefit of the readers.
Once upon a time, all Maharshis approached the great sage Yagnavalkya and questioned him, "Kim Japyena Amrutatwam No Bruhi?", meaning by reciting whose names one can get Amrutatwam or Moksham. Yagnavalkya Maharshi replied, "Satarudreeyenoti", meaning by reciting Satarudreeyam, which contains the names of Amruta or one who has no death. These names are "Soma, Rudra, Sarva, Pasupati, Ugra, Bheema, Sambhu, Sankara, Siva" "Namasthaaraya, Namaha Sambhavecha, Mayo Bhavecha, Namah Sankarayacha, Nama Sivayacha", stated therein.
Aetaanihava Amrutasya Naamadheyaani
Aetairhava Amruto Bhavati
These are all the names of Amruta or one who has no death and by reciting whose names only, one can get salvation, says Yagnavalkya Maharshi emphatically.
Adharvana Sikhopanishad is the last of the Upanishads in the last of the four Vedas. It is emphatically summarizing that Siva alone has to be worshipped to the exclusion of all other Gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, who have birth and consequently death, in these words:
Dhyaayeetesanam, Pradhyayi Tavyam, Sarvamidam, Brahma Vishnu Rudrendra Samprasooyante, Sarvaani Chendriyaani Saha Bhutair Nakaaranam, Karananamdhata, Dhyatakaranamtu Dheyah Sarvaiswarya Sampanna, Sarveswara, Syambu Raakasa Madhye, Siva Aekodhyeyaha, Sivankarah, Sarvamanyat Parityaja, Samaaptah Adharva Sikha.
This mantra is summarizing the essence of all the four Vedas emphatically stating that there is nothing else to be told and that Siva alone has to be worshipped to the exclusion of all others, to get salvation.
This point is further discussed in detail in author's books Saiva Siddhanta Sangraha, Siva Aeva Karanam, Sistah Ssarve Prapannah, etc.
Purushovai Rudrah Sanmaho Namo Namah
Angushta Maatra Purusho Antaraatma
Sadaa Janaanam Hrudaye Sannivishtah
This Mundaka mantram says that Purusha Sabda Vachya is Rudra and Kathopanishad mantra says this Rudra is always in the hearts of everyone and that he is Amruta.
The sruti says that "Rudro Bhootwa Yajet Rudram, Na Rudro Rudramarchayet". This mantra ordains that one should become a Rudra before worshipping Rudra. Then the question arises as to who is authorized to worship Rudra. The mantra says that one who posseses the qualifications of Rudra can only worship Rudra. What are these qualifications? They are -
(1) Bhasma Tripundra Dharana with the middle finger, ring finger and the last finger with the aid of the thumb, at the places of "Bhroomadhyam", "Phalam", "Hrudaya Pravesam", "Nabhi", "Amsam", "Bhujam", "Sirassu", "Bahu" and "Manibandha".
(2) Rudraksha Dharana i.e. wearing Rudraksha at these places on the body - viz. one on the Sikha, thirty six on the head, thirty two around the neck, sixteen each around the two Bahu or hands, twelve each around the two Manibandha, one thousand around the neck and one hudred and eighteen worn along with the Upaveetham or holy thread.
The person wearing these is said to be Rudra himself. Just as a person to be recruited into the Army should wear the Army clothes or Uniforms, when only he can be called as a soldier, similarly a person wearing "Rudrachihnams" could be called a Rudra. That is why, Siva Kavacham says as under:
Rudraksha Kankana Lasatkara Dandayugmah
Phaalaantararaala, Sita Bhasmadruta Tripundrah
Panchaaksharam, Paripathanwara, Mantrarajam
Dhyaayan Sadaa Pasupathim Saranam Vrajedhah
- Siva kavacham in Brahmottara Khandam of Skanda Puranam
May I concentrate and surrender unto the Absolute Brahman, Pasupathy, Siva by wearing Rudraksha all over my body including arms and shoulders, by applying Bhasma in three lines across my face, by reciting the greates Panchakshari mantra "Nama Sivaya", the King of seven crore mantras. This prayer is in accordance with the scriptures.
Rudra is stated in the Vedas as the fourth person in this order:
SIVA, is Absolute Brahman
-> Sadasiva -> Maheswara -> Rudra -> Vishnu -> Brahma, who are all Jeevas for whom Birth and Death is stated in the Vedas and are called Pancha Brahmas.
Sivadwaita Siddhantam says that Brahmatatwam is only Sagunam and there is nothing like Nirguna Tatwam, stated anywhere in the Vedas. The words "Nirdharmakatwam" and "Nirgunatwam" when applied to Absolute Brahman only mean that "Parameswara Tatwam" is pure and free from all bad Dharmas or bad "Gunas", etc. It does not mean that the Asbolute Brahman has no Dharmas or no "Gunas". This is against the Sruti.
The Adwaitins have taken the etymology for the word Nirgunam, as "Na Vidyante Gunaa Yasmin, Tat Nirgunam", meaning that the Tatwam is Gunarahitam or devoid of Gunas. However, Saivites have taken the etymology for the word Nirgunam as "Nirgata Gunah Yasmat Tat Nirgunam", meaning where from the Gunas are coming out i.e. Nirguna Brahmatatwam. This meaning is according to Srutis and Sutrardhams and is a correct interpretation for the word "Sakala Dharma Rahitam". So, Nirgunam means "Ananta Kalyana Guna Sampanna Brahma Tatwam". The Sruti vakyam "Yatova Emani Bhootani Jayante, Yena Jataani Jeevanti, Yat Prayantyabhi Sam Visamti, Tat Vijanasasva, Tat Brahmeti", meaning where from Bhootams are born, wherein they are growing and whereunto they are disappearing that is Brahman. The Brahmasutram "Janmadi Asya Yatah", means that where from the Janma i.e. birth, Sthithi i.e. existence and Layam i.e. destruction are happening that is Brahman. Therefore if the tatwam is "Sakala Dharma Rahitam" or devoid of Dharmas i.e. Gunas as interpreted by Adwaitins, the question of birth, existence and destruction of the Bhootas stated by the Sruti vakyam and referred to by the Sutra vakyam both become meaningless. Instead of that if it is stated that Brahmatatwam is "Sakala Dharma Rahitam", as interpreted by the Saivites the meaning that Bhootas are born, existing and disappearing unto the Brahmatatwam fits in and in this way only Brahmatwatam is called "Sakala Dharama Rahitam" by Saivites. Adwaitins claim that Jagat is not born or going unto Brahman and it is only created in Brahman, quoting the vakyam "Aabhasa Matrow Jeevesow" as Sruti vakyam. In reality however, there is no Sruti or Sutra Vakyam "Aabhasa Matrow Jeevesow" in any of the scriptures. This vakyam further is against "Yatova Emani Bhootani Jayante" Sruti vakyam, quoted above and which is accepted as authentic by all including Saivites, Vaishnavites, Madhwas, etc. So, "Aabhasa Matrow Jeevesow" is neither a Sruti vakyam nor sootra vakyam and is only Kalpitam in support of the Adwaita Siddhanta. This is the view of all the poorvacharyas.
Therefore to say that "Brahmatatwam" is "Nirgunam" is not authentic and also avaidicam. Sri Sankaracharya stated that Brahmatattwam is one, and in so saying he was absolutely correct to that extent. "Aeka Aeva Rudro Na Dwiteeyaya Taste". While, the Nama or names and Rupams or figures are imaginary or Kalpithanm, the seeker alone is Brahman. Therefore he stated that to know that he is Brahman is Moksham or salvation and it cannot be obtained eigher by worshipping Siva or Kesava. In support of his Siddhanta Sankaracharya introduced a compromise formula called as Panchayatanam or worship of five Gods, only to bring round all persons on to a common platform. But the concept itself is against the Sruti for the following reasons.
(i) Is not the word "Brahma" a name? By the word Brahma the "Tatwam" is identified as "Brahmatatwam", how can it be called that it has no name? For any affair, "Name" is important. Without a name, there is no affair at all. When an affair is there, there is both a name and Roopam or figure. So, if you agree for a name, there must be Roopam also attached.
(ii) The claim that "Brahmatatwam" has no name and Roopam is Avaidicam is seen from a glance at these Sruti mantras:
(a) Yatte Kalyana Tamam Roopam Tatte Pasyaami - says Eesavasyaopanishad. This mantra says that Parameswara has a Roopam or figure and that is "Kalyana Tamam" or one that is showering the greatest benevolence.
(b) Dwevava Brahmano Roope Moortancha Amoorthancha - says Brihadaranyakopanishad. This mantra says that Parameswara has got "Moorta Roopam" i.e. figure or identifiable form or shape and Amoorta Roopam or definite shape which can be described.
(c) Tasyaahava Aetasya Braahmano Naama Satyam says Chadogyopanishad meaning Brahman has got a name and it is Satyam or Truth.
(d) Yada Pasyah Pasyate Rukma Varnam, Kartara Meesam Purusham Brahma Yonim, says Mundakopanishad, meaning that the Siva Tatwam is of Hiranya Varnam or of golden colour.
(e) Rutagam Satyam Param Brahma Purusham Krishna Pingalam - This Rigveda Samhita mantra says that Brahmatatwam is of "Krishna Pingala Varnam".
(iii) Yajurveda is ordaining to worship the Brahman referring as "Triambakam yajamahey", meaning that Brahmatatwam has got both a name and figure i.e. Namam and Roopam. Otherwise how can the Vedic dictum or commandment be followed "Triambaca" has got a Moorta roopam, which is Linga roopam. There are many other roopams. They are the Dakshinamurthy Roopam, Kalyana Sundara Roopam, Chandra Sekhara Roopam, Arthanareeswara Roopam, etc. These roopams belong to Kailaasaadhipati Maheswara. Linga roopam alone belongs to Siva. That is why, at the time of "Dharana" only "Linga" alone is worn and worshipped as this only belongs to the Absolute Brahman, Siva. All the Puranas contain stories about scholars worshipping only on Linga Roopam of Siva or Vishnu or Sakthi as described in the Vedas and not on "Soonyam" or formless thing.
(iv) After establishing the Adwaita siddhantam, the biggest problem before the Acharya was, to identify the God of their Siddhantam. So, he raises the question in Prasnottara Malika - "Ko Devaha?", "Hariharaatmako Devaha". This question and answer mean that, who is God?, Harihara is God. We find that there is "Sivalokam", "Vishnulokam", "Brahmalokam" and "Souralokam". But not "Saktilokam" or "Ganapatilokam" or "Kumaraswamylokam" or "Hariharatmakalokam". All these persons have either to come to "Sivalokam" or "Vishnulokam" or "Brahmalokam" or "Souralokam". Since it is stated that "Brahmatatwam is only One, but we have five Gods", people hearing it will laugh, so there is no way for the Acharya except to state "Hariharatmako Devaha!" This only exposes the inconsistency in the Adwaita Siddhanta. But, we cannot find fault with the great Acharya, because this compromise formula or Panchayatanam is introduced by Sri Aadi Sankaracharya to bring round the persons of his time fighting among themselves for Brahmatatwam, to do general good.
(i) Istalingopasana is considered superior to all other forms of worship. This is stated in all the four Vedas, the Upanishads and explained in detail in the Agama Sastras and praised as such in the ancient texts like Saiva Siddhanta Sikhamani and others and commented upon extensively by Nilakantaradhya, who is contemporary to the period of Renukacharya, who preached Saiva Siddhanta to Agasthya Maharshi around 3100 BC.
The following sloka from the Siddhanta Sikhamani says -
Sarvago Apisthitah Sambhuh, Swaadhareh Viseshitah
Tasmaat Anyatra Vimukhatah, Sresha Linge Yaje Schivam
- Siddhanta Sikhamani 10th chapter 56th Sloka
Renukacharya in this sloka says, that though Siva is everywhere in the Universe, He stays more so in the Ista Linga, because Linga is another form of Siva, Moorta Roopam. Therefore, He stays more so in the Ista Linga, than in others.
Siva Ssarvagat Schapi, Yajyate Bhrujam
Semi Garbhe Yadha Vahni, Vannir Viseshena Vibhaavatey
- Siddhanta Sikhamani 10 - 57th Sloka
This sloka says that though Fire is present in all the firewood, it is more so present in the Jammi tree or 'Sami Vruksham'. Similarly, Siva is present more in the Istalinga than in others.
Sarva Gatham Mahesasya Sarva Sastra Vinischitam
Tadhaa Pyasraya Lingaange, Poojartham Adhika Sthitih
- Siddhanta Sikhamani 10 - 58th Sloka
Though it is true to say that Siva is present everywhere, He is more present in Istalinga, which is considered as "Adharabhootam". Siva is present more so in the Guru and Jangama for worship by His disciples.
(ii) The Rigveda mantram "Sarva Lingag Sthapayathi Paani Mantram" speaks only Istalingopasana and not Peethapooja. In the Vedic period or Kruta Yugam, there appears to be only Istalingopasana and Peetha Pooja started only after Dharmam lost one of its four legs. With the advent of Treta Yugam, Siva instead of appearing in person, manifested in the form of twelve Jyothirlingas for the benefit of mankind, then only temples appear to have come into existence. This view is supported by the Puranas.
(iii) Linga Puranam says that "Istalingopasana" or worship to the Linga worn on the body or "Karastha Linga Puja" is superior to all other forms of worship by emphatically stating "Yajnakoti Sahasrascha ---- Linganyastyaika Pushpasya Sahasraamsa Na Purayet", meaning that one-thousandth of the benefit or "Phalam" one gets by worship of the Istalinga in his "Kara Peetham" cannot be equaled with the "Phalam" one gets by performing thousand crore Yajnas.