FROM THE AGAMAS
How Does Siva Create?
A philosophical discussion on the nature of Siva’s body and its ruling energy
The following is a translation from the Mrigendra Agama, chapter three. This begins a two-part series as an analysis on the nature of the Supreme Lord, Siva, and His body, consisting of Sakti’s power. The author presents an argument for those questioning the philosophy and gives the answer to help solve the mystery of Siva and His sakti.
THE ULTIMATE AND EVER-EXISTING REALITY (VASTU) IS ETERNAL, being not conditioned by time. It is all-pervasive, being not conditioned by space. It creates the bodies, body organs, worlds and the worldly objects in a successive and simultaneous order. So, it should be known that the supreme reality is endowed with unrivaled power (sakti) for effecting such creation.
Since that sakti is active in nature and since action could be possible only when associated with necessary instruments (organs), it is ascertained that the ultimate Lord who performs five functions (Siva) is possessed of a body. Moreover, since action and instruments are intrinsically present in Him, it should be known that such presence of body and organs has not occurred to Him in some intermediate stage, and that such occurrence is spontaneous. Even such body and organs are made up of sakti only. That sakti, the essential conscious form of Isvara, is not an unconscious entity. Even though this body is only one, it becomes innumerable in view of the countless things to be known and countless actions to be done.
Karma cannot be the causal force for the creation and maintenance of the world. Nor could prakriti be the cause. Since karma and prakriti are inert, they cannot function without being activated by an intelligent being. Nor could an individual self create the world, since it is dependent on some other source for knowing and doing. By the process of elimination, it is ascertained that the great Isvara is the ultimate cause.
For the enlightened, He presents Himself as Siva only (Siva being free from the fivefold function). From the point of view of liberated souls, Siva shines forth as the ultimate, transcendental reality alone, being not involved in the cosmic functions.
Some persons object: “Since the relationship between the effected things (products) and the Supreme Lord of the world is not evidently proved, this inferential process of ascertaining an ultimate doer is impaired with a defect of non-apprehension of the relationship between the cause and the effect. There cannot be a relationship between the smoke in a kitchen and the fire on a mountain”—their argument goes like this.
True. Even though there is no relationship between the kitchen smoke and the mountain fire, certainly there is an irrefutable relationship between the fire and the smoke. Thus there is no defect in inferring the presence of fire from the smoke.
Another objection is raised: “It is observed that an action is possible only for him who is associated with a body. Isvara may be the ultimate doer, but He is not to be considered as bodiless. He should be considered an embodied being. Even in the worldly phenomena, action is seen only in him who is an embodied being. In that case, Isvara, being an embodied lord, becomes like us.” (To be continued.)
One form, two forces: Ardhanarishvara is both male and female, both body and power. The two energies remain inseparable yet distinct.
Dr. S. P. Sabharathnam Sivacharyar, of the Adi Saiva priest lineage, is an expert in ancient Tamil and Sanskrit, specializing in the Vedas, Agamas and Shilpa Shastras. This excerpt is from his recent translation of the Mrugendra Agama.