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
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.
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