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Magazine Web Edition > April/May/June 2009 > The Nature of Lord Siva

From the Agamas

The Nature of Lord Siva

"He extends His grace to all and gives creatures experience and liberation"



He is the gross, the subtle and the supreme; the manifested, the unmanifested and that which is both; the external, the internal and that which is external-internal; the eternal, the non-eternal and that which is eternal and non-eternal; the male, the female and the third entity which is non-male [and non-female]; wakefulness, dream and deep sleep; the past, the present and the future; the invisible, the visible and that which is visible and non-visible; the spoken, the mental and the act; the instrument of knowledge, the knower and the known; the atma-tattva, the vidya-tattva and the Siva-tattva; the experiencer, the experienced and cause of the experienced; [the impurity] born of maya, that innate in the soul and that from karma; the knowledge and the ignorance; the light and the darkness; the gross and the subtle, the near and the remote; that which is to be left and that which is to be taken; the permanent and the occasional; the superior and the inferior; that which is brought together and that which is scattered; the true and the untrue, the existent and the non-existent.

This Lord [Siva] is all that. There is nothing different from Him. He is the material cause, the mahat and the ahamkara, the tanmatras of sound, touch, color, taste and odor, the [sense-organs] ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose, the organ of speech, hand, the foot, organs of excretion and generation, with the mind, the five [elements] earth, etc., [and the various tattvas]. Only He can be the Lord. He is I and you. He is the God, i. e., Brahman etc., the Creators, Kasyapa, etc. He is the seven sages, Moon and Sun, lords of planets. He is the king of Gods. Siva is said to be the universe.

The four Vedas, with their secret [section, i. e., Upanishads], speak of Him. In the Siddhanta, the Bhuta Tantra, the left and right current of tantras, in the Bhairava Tantra and other tantras (those of pashus and Pashupata, etc.), in the Tantra of Vishnu, in the tantras of bauddhas and in the science on the lords of directions, in the eighteen Puranas, in the six ancillaries [of Veda] and in others, in the treatises of yoga, in all [sciences], Nyaya, Vaisesika, etc., whatever any of those sages, after examination, has said to be the true reality, this same eternal Lord of Gods, named Siva, is that.

In the Saiva tradition, Siva is known as free from beginning, middle and end, free by nature from the stain-entity, powerful, omniscient, endowed with plenitude, non-limited by directions of space, times, etc., beyond the range of speech and mind, free of manifestation, without action, all-pervading, always seeing everything.

The worship of Him can be the inner worship, which is especially for yogins. Men who take pleasure in the practice of yoga, whose mind is purified by the eight components of yoga, yama, etc., worship Him in the middle of the lotus of their heart, no others. The action of worshiping Him is superior. Without His worship, with any other [rite] there is no benefit for embodied souls.

Someone sometimes is entitled to perform the inner worship; those who have a little knowledge are entitled to perform the outer worship. Being aware of that, this Lord of Gods, Siva, who stands inside everything, who [desires] to extend His grace to all and gives creatures experience and liberation, this Siva became Sadasiva, whose body is manifested as the five brahma [mantras].

The whole universe entirely is created by Brahman, protected by you and destroyed by me. Thus a relation of material cause and effect is established in us. The nature of body of Siva is told to be in Sadasiva, etc. The nature of material cause is unique and established only in Him. This undecaying Sadasiva is worshiped in the Linga, by us, led by Maheshvara and by all creatures in the world. Such is the second chapter, entitled "Narration of the Nature of Siva," in the great Tantra called Ajita.

This translation is by N.R. Bhatt, Jean Filliozat and Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat, all of the French Institute of Pondicherry, and published by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts as The Great Tantra of Ajita

The Vedas and Agamas are the divinely revealed and most revered scriptures, shruti, of Hinduism, likened to the Torah (1200 bce), Bible New Testament (100 ce), Koran (630 ce) or Zend Avesta (600 bce). The oldest portions of the Vedas may date back as far as 6,000 bce. The Saiva Agamas are also ancient, but dating is uncertain.


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