Saivism in Philosophical Perspective A Study of the Formative Concepts, Problems and Methods of Saiva Siddhanta 

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Item Code: IDD316
Author: K. Sivaraman
Edition: 2001
ISBN: 9788120817715
Pages: 706
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9" x 6"
Weight 890 gm
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Book Description

From the Jacket

Saivism is one of the pervasive expressions of Indian Religious Culture stretching to the dim past of pre-history and surviving as a living force in the thought and life of millions of Hindus especially in Southern India and Northern Ceylon. The present work is scholarly reconstruction of Saivism in its characteristic and classical from as Saiva Siddhanta, focusing mainly on the philosophical doctrine and presenting a conceptual analysis of its formative notions, problems and methods.

Anteceding the rise of the great systems of Vedanta including that of Sankara, Saiva Siddhanta in its fully systematized form as Mystical Theology in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries represents a constructive reaction to the theological, ethical and aesthetic aspects of Vedanta as a whole. A patient study of this much neglected phase of religo-philosophical development of India should prove useful for a more balanced understanding of Indian religiosity, providing a corrective to the view entertained not without justification that Indian religious thought does not affirm the values of freedom, love and personality.

This methodical study, appended with very exhaustive glossary, bibliography and index and two-hundred pages of references and foot-notes is designed to meet the requirements of serious students of Eastern religious thought.

About the Author

Dr. K. Sivaraman got degree from Annamalai, Madras and Banaras Hindu Universities and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard Centre for the study of World-Religions during 1963-64. As a teacher of Philosophy, he was on the Faculty of Banaras Hindu University and was Visiting Professor in many American Universities and Collages. He also served the Department of Religious Studies, Mcmaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Little need be said by way of apology for writing a book on Saiva Siddhanta. There is always a scope for saying something new and something different especially in the field of religion where study cannot be separated from interpretation. Religious facts are meanings which need to be set every time they ate approached in a new horizon of understanding. Like religious discourses which have to be given anew books on religion will have to be written anew.

The book is inspired by the personal conviction that a careful and patient study of Saiva Siddhanta, which is a typical, though not the only formulation of Saivism, should prove useful for a mote balanced appraisal of Indian religiosity. Saiva Siddhanta marks a distinct shift in the religion-philosophical consciousness of India and represents a unique reaction, culturally and existentially against the ascendancy of positivism over the Indian mind. Through its long and rich history it represents a constructive reaction to the theological, ethical and aesthetic aspects of Vedanta. It provides a corrective to the view, entertained not without some justification, that Indian religious thought does not affirm freedom, love and personality. The importance of these values with reference to Christian situation has been the subject of discussion in the writings of contemporary religious thinkers like Tillich, Marcel, l3erdyaev and Buber. In the light of my acquaintance with their writings, I restudied Saiva Siddhanta and came to realize the deeper significance of these concepts not only for Saiva Siddhanta but also for religion as such.

The book was originally submitted as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, Banaras Hindu University, some ten years ago. Only minor stylistic changes have been made. A systematic analysis of the chief concepts of Saiva Siddhanta, less as a textual exposition than as free problematic construction within the framework of textual interpretation is what has been attempted. In making an analytical study of the philosophy of Saiva Siddhanta traditionally accepted as normative, I have not felt it necessary to depart also from the traditional method of developing the sense of the formative ideas through a series of interrogations and answers. This seems to me still the best form of eliciting the meaning of a concept by means of sustained internal criticism. The views of the texts and commentaries are freely utilized wherever found adequate and relevant. No attempt has been made to trace the historical evolution of ideas or enter into a comparative study undertaken for the sake of comparison. The latter can be useful but they presuppose an earnest study of the ideas themselves. In analyzing the religious dimension of Indian philosophical culture the analytical tools of contemporary philosophical thinking of Phenomenology and Existentialism are far more helpful than the traditional western concepts. The concept of Philosophy that is implied by the generality of Indian religious thought involves cognitive analyses but made avowedly in the service of explicating religious experience.

I must ask the readers to bear with the style of writing. The rendering of difficult and intricate texts into English has been anything but easy. I have concentrated on exactitude which has rather been at the cost of simplicity in construction. I have endeavored to describe what the Saiva philosopher believes in and practices rather than what he should believe, arguing as it were in the first person and interiorizing all external criticisms.

I had the inestimable advantage of discussing Sanskrit texts with eminent Sanskrit scholars of Banaras. Mimämsaratna A. Subrahmanya Shastri helped me difficult passages from Sanskrit commentaries. To the memory of Panditaraja T. V. Ramachandra Dikshitar I can only pay my homage. He introduced me to the world of traditional scholarship in letter and spirit which made it possible for me to study Sivigra Bhaya, the principal Sanskrit text utilised in the writing of the book. I have great pleasure in acknowledging with gratitude my debt to Professor T. R. V. Murti to whom I owe my general orientation to Indian Philosophy. I am grateful to my colleagues in the Department of Philosophy, Banaras Hindu University, specially to Drs. R. K. Tripathi and A. K. Chatterjee for their frank criticisms.

Dr. A. K. Chatterjee shouldered the most wearisome burden of correcting the proofs. To Dr. Miss Bithika Mukherji I am in special debt for her helpful suggestions regarding the reorganization of chapters. My thanks are also due in no small measure to Dr. Miss Padma Misra and Dr. Miss K. Bokil who made valuable suggestions. Dr Padma Misra’s was also the most arduous task of editorial assistance and supervision at a critical time during the printing of the book. I also greatly appreciate the help rendred at different stages of the writing of the book by my young friends Mr. T. Shivamurthy Miss V.K. Annakutty, Miss Krishna Banerjee and Fr. Chacko Valiveetil. I also express my appreciation of the expeditiousness with which messrs. Motilal Banarasidass could publish the book.

I pay my homage to the memory of the late Kasvasi Arunadi Tambiran of kasi Mutt Tirppanandal who was responsible for my coming to Banaras Hindu University to teach myself Saiva Siddhanta.


Preface v
Scheme of Transliteration
i) Tamil
ii) Sanskrit
Scheme of Transliteration
Book One
Chapter IIntroduction to the Philosophy of Saiva Siddhanta
The Point of view 1
Formative concepts of Saiva Siddhanta 7
Meaning of Saiva Siddhanta 12
Formative factors of Saiva Siddhanta 24
Saiva Siddhanta Literature 30
Book Two
On God : Pati
God as the ground of Cosmic Dissolution 43
The Knowledge of God’s existence 50
God as Reality the Central Argument 54
The world exists the world exists in time some arguments to show hat the world is only effect parity of speech world with the spoken
Chapter IIIGod as Cause
From the world to the world cause 69
Accidental creation – Spontaneous creation- Spontaneous destruction – Pre – existence of effect – Modification of Asatkarya vada
The world cause as agent 81
Theory of new creation – Theory of self becoming – material and efficient causes distinguished
The world cause as the will 91
Permanent cause conceivable with auxiliaries – causal power distinguishable from cause – Instrumentality of causal power – causal power as a unity
Chapter IVGod as the only cause
God as the Material cause of the world 100
The use of the ablative scriptural anolon gies – The will to become many – arrtribution of self becoming to God – Equivalence between god and the world – knowledge of one entailing knowledge of all
God as the subject of Existential judgments 110
Qualified interpretations of God’s material causality 112
The concept of Parinam the concept of Apurna parinama the concept of sruti the concept of vivarata
Chapter VGod as the lord of cosmic functions
Five Fold cosmic operations 127
The two definition of God the concept of pancakrtya
God and Non Duality 137
Motive of Creation Interpretation of Advaita the dialectic of divine human relation
Chapter VIGod as the Moral Sovereign
Divine providence and karma 153
The Moral argument for god – Rival points of view and their inclusion – Karma and grace
God as the Inner illuminer of experience 168
Chapter VIIGod as will and being
The Concept of Divine will Sakti 177
Sakti and the dialectic of difference Sakti as the theogonic process
God and the Absolute 189
God as being – Being and knowing
Chapter VIIIInterpretation of Maya
The Concept of Maya Approach and Analysis 205
Rejection of Maya vada Docs maya delude is maya as a category of explanation dispensable ?
Chapter IXDoctrine of Thirty six tattvas
The Concept of Bindu evolution Siva Tattvas 234
Evolution of the speech world – theory of nada- Rejection of Sabdabrahmna vada – Evolution Siva Tattvas
Chapter XThe Doctrine of Mala
Ignorance and the problem of evidence 249
Perceptual evidence of Ajnana remembrance and Ajmama – Examination and criticism – Inference and Ajnana mala and the problem of evidence
Arguments for Mala 265
Book Four
On Self : Pasu
Chapter XIThe Self and its knowledge
The Self its existence and states 279
General conception of means of knowledge 298
Objection to Cit takti as Pramana 298
Some Definitions of Karama 300
Cit-lakti as pramana 304
Chapter XIIValid and Non Valid Knowledge
The Nature of True or Valid Knowledge 307
Some Definitions of Validity 308
Truth as correspondence between Judgment and fact 313
Affinities and differences with Realism 316
Non Valid knowledge forms and theories forms of non valid knowledge 320
Rival theories of error and the perspective of Siddhanta 323
Chapter XIIISelf validity of knowledge and revelation
Theory of Self Apprehension of Validity 337
The Concept of cognition of cognition 338
Statement of the theory 341
The Chief argument for self apprehension of validity 343
Does self apprehension of validity rule out doubt?
Examination of extrinsic apprehension of validity 350
Extrinsic apprehension of invalidity of knowledge 352
Argument for Extrinsic generation of validity 354
Some Objection considered 356
Extrinsic conditions of validity 359
Perceptual validity – validity of inferential knowledge – Validity of scriptural knowledge
Book Five
On life of spirit : Moksa
Chapter XIVSpiritual life as means Sadhana
Self understanding of self 375
Self Insight 380
Are there alternative sadhanas? 381
Preliminaries and accessories to knowledge 388
Karma Samya Mala paripaka and sakti nipata 394
Knowledge and Suddha Avastha 396
Self Purification 399
Chapter XVSpiritual life as End : Moksa
Recovery of self integration with Siva 405
Recovery of self transcendent enjoyment of Siva 412
Book Six
Notes and references 421
Glossary of technical terms 621
Bibliography 646
Index 658

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