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Books > Tantra > Saiva Siddhantam (An Inclusive Philosophy For Today’s World of Infinite Choices)
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Saiva Siddhantam (An Inclusive Philosophy For Today’s World of Infinite Choices)
Saiva Siddhantam (An Inclusive Philosophy For Today’s World of Infinite Choices)
Description
Back of the Book

“Saiva Siddhanta philosophy is the choicest product of the Dravidian intellect. The Saiva Siddhanta system is the most elaborate influence and undoubtedly the most intrinsically valuable of all the religions of India.”

- Rev. Dr. G U Pope

‘Saiva Siddhanta represents the high watermark of Indian thought and Indian Life.”

-Rev. W Gaudie

Saiva Siddhanta is an evolved philosophy having its roots in the ancient Tamil Saiva traditions. Having a theoretical framework that is complete and without any internal contradictions it is a living system practiced even being totally relevant to the modern of reliable infinite choices.

Saiva Siddhantam talks of three eternal entities God – The all knowing souls capable of knowing and matter incapable of knowing.

Swami Vivekananda observes :

“As long as we have body and mind we always see this triune being: God Nature and Soul. There must always be the three in one inseparable.”

Saiva Siddhantam covers the whole gamut of logic, self enquiry, theology, spiritual experience devotion and the practice.

This book attempts to take a person on an intellectual journey from the first principles to the final conclusion.

The front cover is adorned by a divine bronze depicting the lord as Pasupati, meaning protector of all souls. It symbolizes the lord’s Compassion – Grace that forms the basis of the doctrine of Saiva Siddhantam.

About the Author

Dr. Neela Venkatachalam is an ardent practitioner of Saiva Siddhantam philosophy. She has researched the subject comparing it with philosophies of the east, west both traditional and modern. She teaches Saiva Siddhantam at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Cultural Centre, Coimbatore Kendra

Preface
by Dr. B.K. Sri Krishnaraj Vanavarayar

Chairman
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore Kendra

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Being a very comprehensive religion with diverse creeds many unique philosophies have sprung form this. Among these Saiva Siddhanta philosophy is the pinnacle of the Dravidian intellect with its doctrines available in Tamil which again is one of the primary languages in the world.

Sir John Marshall, under whom the excavations of the Sindh valley were conducted said: “Among the many revelations that Mohenjodaro and Harappa have had in store for us none perhaps is more remarkable than the discovery that Saivism has a history going back to the Chalcolithic age or perhaps even further still and that it thus takes its places as the most ancient living faith in the world.”

It is interesting to note the stand taken by Saiva Siddhantam. The system takes a universal view of the various theories proposed regarding God soul and the world and views it dispassionately. It does not condemn or attack any faith or belief.

Instead by method of reasoning and enquiry it analyses the proposed postulates and starts building from there. It accepts gracefully that different people have different needs and therefore each one of the faiths has its unique place.

There is an interesting anecdote that is recorded in Swami Vivekananda’s life. Swami Vivekananda after his brilliant speech at Chicago returned to Madras and was received in a very grand manner by the king of Ramanathapuram. Many scholars and philosophers met him. A renowned Saiva Siddhanta scholar had the opportunity to interact with Swami and briefed him about the basic concept of the philosophy which identifies the 3 entities namely the one that is always enlightened God the one which has the potential to be enlightened soul and that which can never be enlightened matter or world. Swami Vivekananda is said to have been impressed by this brilliant explanation and regretted for not having known it until then.

One wonders why such an ancient system is not widespread as it should be. Although there are many translations available in English they are quite difficult to apprehend as it is meant for scholars. It is with this view that this book is being published by the Bhavan to make the system available freely to the modern world.

Dr. Neela Venkatachalam a medical doctor has researched philosophies of both east and west. Due to her family background she has had an opportunity to study Saiva Siddhantam in depth and also practice it. She has presented this book in a very simple manner using the question and answer format to give an introduction about Saiva Siddhantam. This book hopes to evoke interest about the philosophy and its application in your minds.

Introduction

Saiva Siddhantam Philosophy is a way of life

What is philosophy? It is the pursuit of truth. The quest to know the real purpose of life – to ask a thousand question and think about what is absolute. Saiva Siddhantam is not an dogmatic philosophy which dictates a set of rules regulations or rituals. Neither does it denounce any religion belief or faith. In fact to be a student all you have to possess is a thirst for truth and intent to live it. Truth cannot be different for each continent race or creed. The Truth the same and has to be relevant and applicable universally for all times.

Do we have to accept a system just because it is old do we have to reject a system blindly just because it is new? Well this is the opening statement made by one of the saints who made these scriptures nearly 800 years ago. He notes that knowledge should not have any restrictions or limitations. He says you accept everything that enhance true knowledge irrespective of whether it is old new or belonging to other systems of thinking. They practiced “Religious Acceptance” not just religions tolerance. Every system of though was analyzed and studied in depth.

Further to that they accepted every religious faith as a path to the Divine and even declared that is the Lord who places people wherever they will evolve best.

They encouraged the students to ask questions to think to feel and then accept.

Saiva Siddhanta is based fundamentally on Universal Love:

- God’s love for all souls

- The soul’s recognition of it and reciprocating it.

- The ability to see the Divine in every soul

You feel true love for a person only when you understand him thoroughly which may take a few days months or many years.

So we are pursuing this study not to know a few technical words or concepts that will gratify the intellect but to actually know love and serve the Lord and humanity.

Knowledge without devotion is empty and blind faith without truth is shallow. Knowledge enhances Bhakti (Devotion) and true devotion is pure love.

Therefore Saiva Siddhantam is an attitude to life the way you think feel and act.

Let us ask ourselves some questions :

- Is there god? If so what is He/she? Is it one or many? What are its Qualities?

- The world that we see around is anything but order. Is it true that there is no order in the Universe? Is everything going towards destruction?

- Is this world Permanent? What existed a billion years ago? What will remain later?

- Who am I? Am I the Body? Am I bounded by time and space? Was the soul created?

- Was the world created/ if so by whom with what?

- Is the soul different from the Lord?

- What is preventing the soul from true understanding?

- What is the bondage?

- Is there true liberation?

- Who will lead me to it?

- Is everything happening in my life because of mere luck or chance?

- Is there a pattern purpose and goal to life?

Now that we have started the thinking process let’s actually get into the subject. A brief history of Saivism will help us understand the background of this school of thought.

History of Saivism

Saivism is the oldest living philosophical system. It is a complete system that is built on 4 pillars namely.

1. Philosophy 2. Theology 3. Practice 4. Study of the lives of the saints, sages, mystic poets and devotes.

The origin of Saivism cannot be traced because it was not founded by any one person in particular.

The oldest documentation that can be traced is from the excavations of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa.(3000BC)

The form of the lingam Nandhi the bull and mention about a supreme Godhead called Siva (Sadurtha) appears in the inscriptions and seals of the Indus vally.

Even today in many parts of the worlds they are excavating ruins which had the lingam form of worship. Saivism is seen in my many parts of India, Sri Lanka, and other South-East Asian countries in its varied forms.

In India worship of Siva is traced back to the Vedas – more so as ‘Rudra’ and that concept is prevalent throughout the country.

Saivism is seen in its various forms Siddhanta Saivam in Tamil Nadu, Kashmiri Saivism in Kashmir in Karnataka as the Lingayat movement and as a widespread cult in North India.

All these systems have a very strong bhakti culture backed by philosophy. The role of saints and the devotional literature in their native languages has contributed to the completeness of this system in their respective territories.

Saivism in Tamil Nadu

The oldest text on Tamil grammar the Tholkappiam written 2000 years ago speaks of certain aspects of the philosophy of Saivism. There are many references to Siva in the Sangam Literature, which is also of the same period. The lady saint Karakalammai’s poems of that period are included under Saiva Thirumurai. Saint Thirumoolar’s Thirumandhiram is also the essence of Saiva Agamas.

The 2nd and 3rd centuries were dominated by the Jains and the Buddhist who had the rulers accept their religion. Tamil literature did blossom in this period Epics like Silapadigaram were composed by poets who invariably belonged to the above sects and it was always only a social that was promoted. There was not much emphasis laid on divinity.

When the land his purchased and dry the showers of blessing will come. Thus came the Nalvar the four saints between the 7th and 9th centuries namely Thirugnana Sambandar, Appar Sundarar and Manickavasagar whose outpouring the devotional hymns called the varams changed the outlook of the distracted dejected people. The works extolled Siva as the Supreme God head and personal God who was compassion personified.

The saints known as ‘Nayamars’s’ laid the foundation for the Bhakti movement of Saivism and traveled by foot to every village and made worship of the supreme possible even to the common man. They laid emphasis on unconditional surrender and limitless love as the ultimate path. It would no be an exaggeration to say it was them that brought the devotee and Lord together irrespective of caste and gender. Their contribution to Tamil and Saivism is unparalleled and it is the very core on which the Saiva Siddhanta philosophy was built a few centuries later.

The Alwars who propagated Vaishnavan having Vishnu as the Supreme godhead also were of the same period. Their hymns bear the same spirit as that of the Nayamars.

The 9th and the 10th centuries saw the Great Chola Empire in its glory and splendour. These kings patronized the bhakthi movement and it was in this grand era the most beautiful temples of South India were constructed Arts like Chola Bronze, painting stone sculpture music and dance flourished under the kings patronage and temple worship attained its pinnacle.

Thevaram the collection of divine poems was discovered and complied by the efforts of the Raja Raja Chola I who has left his imprint in the sands of time by his daring vision and accomplishment of the construction of the Brahadeeswara Temple Tanjore which is the most magnificent temple of all times.

In the 13th century Meikandar the child who had professed the doctrine of the Saiva Siddhanta at the tender age of two consolidated the principles that from the back bone of his philosophy. It is interesting to note that although many concepts are scattered throughout the Thevaramas it was he who formulated the theories about God the soul the world their relation to one another and the path to liberation. His work ‘Sivagnama Bodham’ contains 12 sutras which expounds the truth.

His discipline Arul nandhi Sivachariya expended the text as Siddiyar Maraignana Sambandar was third guru whose grace elevated Umapathi Sivam as the Fourth preceptor. There are 8 books written by Umapathi Sivam which is called as Saiva Siddahnta Attagam.

The uniqueness of the Saiva Siddhantam literature is that it lays down concepts which can be derived even today starting from the first principles. The in depth study of the original scriptures enrichen the mind and enhance one’s thinking.

It was to propagate the teaching of these great saints that several ‘Maddams’ came into existence Kancheepuram Thondai Mandala Aadheenam, thiruvavaduthurai Aadheenam, Dharmapuram Aadheenam are some of them.

The Santhana Aachariyas expounders of Saiva Siddhantam philosophy have a student lineage which stands until today. This is called the ‘Thiru Kaliya Paramparai.

The Samya Aachariyas – namely the Nalvar are revered as the gurus and there is no student lineage that is linked to them.

Saivism as it stands today is a living system in the field of Bhakti and philosophy. Many Worship the Lingam in the ancient temples even though they may not be aware of the philosophy behind it.

This book comes in the wake of a need

- The need for the Indian to know the richness of his heritage.

- To open the minds of genuine seekers and to give them an introduction to the treasure that are buried within.

- To after the wisdom of saints mystics and thinkers who have lived their lives in this manner and attained bliss.

- To emphasize the universality of the doctrine.

Awareness of Saiva Siddhantam

Saiva philosophy is not as well known as Vedanta even in India because of the linguistic barrier. India is such a vast country with so many different cultures, language, custom and religions. Sometimes the magnitude of this simply baffles the person who is trying to see it as one. Also the non availability of the scriptures in other languages poses a problem.

Most of the sacred literature is written in the respective mother tongue and is being preserved and cherished by a select group of people who live life accordingly. Not that they are unwilling to share it – it’s just that each one lives in his Bhavanam or mental sphere. There is no possibly of an outsider knowing the true spirit behind the system without getting immersed into it.

Today technology has made everything accessible to anyone who truly wishes it. It is the duty of erudite scholars to pass on these treasure houses knowledge to every genuine seeker who is thirsty for it.

Philosophy is general is thought to be studied only by the elderly or by some who use it as an escape from performing his duties. This is entirely untrue. It’s the youth who are in the prime age of performance and efficiency who should be exposed to philosophy because they are real applicable eternal principles.

Philosophy is meant to clear the cobwebs the cloud one’s intellect and to instill knowledge and compassion in one’s soul.

It expends the horizon of one’s reach and makes it possible to empathize with every living being not just sympathize or worse be indifferent.

The truth lives on….

The world as we perceive it today seems to be made up of multivarious elements. We are so immersed in our day-to-day lives that we are unable to see what constitutes it. Philosophy tries to unearth the common pattern and see life as a homogenous entity. Saiva Siddhantam goes a step beyond and after seeing the oneness goes on to resolve the uniqueness of each entity that forms the life experience.

Even a lay person with very little intellectual quest would acknowledge that there is a higher intelligence that is beyond the human mind which he calls God. Man with all his inconsistencies seems to be the other major intelligent entity heading the group of living things like animals birds plants etc. matter seems to be the third component that which is inert unintelligent and not capable of thinking or evolving.

Siddhantam identifies these three entities namely God soul and bond age. After establishing the existence of each entity it expounds their qualities. The entities are so intricately blended that they appear as one yet their qualities differ. In doing so the system delves deeper and deeper igniting reason and enquiry. Here we are about to begin the journey of actually discovering by a series of question and answers what who God is, his attribute and how he functions the truth about the soul that is apparently not the body the impermanence of the world and the bondage the prevents the soul from the understanding this.

The question explaining Saiva Siddhantam are grouped under 4 headings in part I.

1. Substantiating the existence of the entities.

2. Expending the special features of each.

3. Elaborating the path to liberation.

4. Exposition of the state of the liberated soul.

The general question are grouped under two classifications in Part II.

1. Practical questions based on daily life applications.

2. Saiva Siddhantam with relevance to the changing world.

Contents

Benediction 5
Preface 19
A Note from the Author 21
About Father Joseph Jaswanth Raj 26
Excerpts from the book Grace in Saiva Siddhantam &
Saint Paul by Father Joseph Jaswant Raj
27
The Place of the Siddhantam in the stream of Indian thought 28
Foreword 31
Appreciations 37
Introduction 41
Saiva Siddhantam Philosophy is a way of life 41
History of Saivism 43
Saivism in Tamil Nadu 44
Awareness of Saiva Siddhantam 47
Part I
Question and Answers Explaining
Saiva Siddhantam
Proof of Existence of three
district entities namely
God soul and bondage
53
1What is Saivism? 53
2What is Sivam? 53
3What Does the world Sivam mean? 54
4What are the eternal entities proposed by Saiva Siddhantam
are what is their relationship to one another?
54
5Can you explain the three entities? 55
6What is the basis of these postulates? 55
7Then is not the world part of God? Did not the souls come
from God?
57
8Does it mean that there are entities independent of God? 57
9Give an example to illustrate the concept? 58
Describing the nature of the
three entities
59
10What is the meaning of Sat? 59
11If something is not tangible does that mean it
does not exist ?
59
Methodology of learning
three entities
60
12How does learning take place? 60
13Western Philosophy places a lot of emphasis on self
reflection and self enquiry ?is this method used here?
62
Nature of Soul 63
14What is Chit? Is there only one Chit? 63
15Differentiate between inert material world and the soul
there is movement in the pancha boothas> does it mean
they have life force?
65
16Explain the nature of the soul – pasu 67
17What is Anandam – Bliss? Does not the soul have inherent
bliss Explain
68
Nature of God 68
18What are the three important qualities of Sivam? 68
19What is the relationship of God to the world and the soul? 69
20Explain the different aspects of Sivam? 70
21What is the meaning of Sivam and Sakthi? Is it the female
or male energy. Do they differ from one another?
71
22Is Sivam devoid of qualities? Do the three gunams affect Him? 72
23What is the meant by Supreme Godhead Personal God etc
Are they one? Is there only one God?
72
24What is the meant by Pathi in this place? What is Panchakrityam? 73
Functions of God 74
25Most of the systems talk only about three functions
Explain
74
26What is the meant by obscuration and revelation? 75
27Does God perform these directly? Who are these
Gods which are mentioned in the puranas
as Brahma Vishnu and Rudra
75
28Does that meant people cannot see the Grace of the Lord
because he is withholding it. That sounds so cruel?
76
29Creation and protection is easy to understand but
dissolution is more painful to accept
78
30You speak as if death is freedom from worries. Is
death the end of it all? What do you mean by death?
78
31why do say that the soul is not inherently pure? 79
Nature of bondage – Ignorance 80
32Explain in Aanavam 80
33What is this ignorance we are talking about? 80
34Is Aanavam the quality of the soul? 81
35Was aanavam created? When did it come and get
attached to the pasu?
81
36What is the aanavam and soul coexisting called?
What was the plight of the soul at this level?
82
37What happens then?83
38What is the purpose of adding on two more bondages to
relieve the first one – namely mayai and kanmam to
remove aanavam
84
39Explain the term pasam and why is it called so? 84
Nature of Mayai 86
40What exactly is Mayai? What are its manifestations? 86
41Did the soul take the body of a human immediately? 87
42Give the classification of mayai ? 87
43Explain Atma Thathuvam? 88
44What are the Antha Karanas ? 90
45What is the Vidya Thathuvam? 90
46Explain Sudda Mayai ? 92
47How do the Thathuvams form the different Sareeram’s? 93
48Does that mean Mayai is actually helping us?
Is it not an illusion?
94
Relation of the soul to the thathuvam 95
49define the soul in relationship to other
Philosophical systems?
95
50What are the 3 gunams? How to do they affect the soul? 96
51Explain how the thathuvams collaborate to make the soul
understand in wakeful stage?
97
52What happens when the soul sleeps? 98
53Does the soul gain knowledge during sleep? 98
Nature of Kanmam 98
54When does the soul acquire the drive to act? 98
55What is the basis of the Kanmam theory ? 99
56What are the effects of good and bad deeds? 99
57What are the 3 types of vinai and how do they
form the basis of the cycle of births and deaths ?
100
58Will not one good deed cancel the effect of a bad
deed? Is there any other way of neutralizing it ?
101
59Why do good people suffer? Why is there so much of
variation seen in the world?
102
60Does someone reap all the effects of his Kanmam
only in his next birth?
103
61Does kanmam come and attach itself to the soul on its
own accord? Does the soul freedom to choose
whatever it wishes?
103
62Who then is doing this? 103
63What are the three channels by which the soul
experiences the effect of its kanmam in this birth?
104
The path that has to be pursued
to attain liberation
105
64How can this cycle of birth and death be broken? 105
65What happens when a soul yearns for liberation? 106
Role pf the Guru 107
66Who is the Guru? 107
67What is the role of the guru in attaining liberation?
Is he guide a mentor or just a sign post to be used?
108
68What do you mean by knowledge or Gtnanam?
Is it mastery of the scriptures ?
110
69What is the meant by Upadesam? 110
Effect of the malams 111
70How do the three malas aanavam kanmam and
mayai hinder soul’s progress?
111
71When does the effect of the malas start thawing?
Explain that state
112
72What happens to the power of the malams now? 112
73What is liberation ? 113
74What happens to thathuvams in the Sudda state ? 115
Practice to be adopted 115
75How can one become eligible for liberation? 115
76Why the insistence on temples? If the Lord is present
everywhere where is the need to search for God in a temple?
116
Significance of temples 117
77Explain the subtleties of temple worship according to Saiva Siddhantam philosophy 117
78Explain the basic structure of a temple 118
79what are the various forms of the Lord? 120
80Does the Sivalingam have a form or is it formless? 121
81Trace the origin of the Lingam form of worship 121
82What is the Significant of Sivaligam? 122
83What is the role of pilgrimage in a devotee’s life? 123
84why do people undertake certain pilgrimages with lot of
physical endurance and hardship’s does it make them wiser?
124
85What keeps philosophy alive and real? 125
86Why do people undertake fasting on certain religions
occasions? Is it necessary to subject oneself to such hardship?
126
87If the Lord is Satchidanandam one and formless -
why do we worship so many deities??
127
The cosmic Dance of Nataraja 128
88What does the cosmic dance of Nataraja mean? 128
89What are the different dances that are explained
exclusively in Saiva Siddhantam ?
130
90What is the significance of OM in relationship
to Nataraja ?
131
91What is Panchaksharam ? 132
92Explain the three states of the soul using Panchaksharam? 134
Different paths to be followed 135
93Can you explain w
margams – pathways to experience God?
135
94What are the various practice that can be undertaken? 136
95what is Gnanam ? How does become eligible for it? 137
What one gains out of practice
State of a liberated person
138
96What is the State of a muktha or a
liberated person?
138
97Does a liberated person run away from the
world discarding his duties ?
138
98Does one have to be a sadhu to pursue the spiritual path?
Is it not possible for a householder to live the
Saiva way ?
138
99Is Saivam only for personal upliftment? How does the
elevated soul participate in the enrichment of humanity?
139
100What will be the attitude and behavior of a
liberated person if he is amidst us now?
how will it benefit us ?
140
101Is these days of self proclaimed sadhus how do we distinguish the imposter ? 140
Relevance of symbols 141
102why do people wear the different symbols like
Vibuthi (holy ash) and Rudraksahm (beads)?
141
103Is feeding the poor considered more holy than feeding
devotees? Similarly what is the stand regarding
construction of hospital and providing health care in
comparison to building and maintaining temples
142
104People always pray for something? Is that the worship we are talking about here? 143
105What does the word “Home” mean ? Can you
explain it in a philosophical perspective?
144
Part II
Practical questions based on
daily life situations
Handling of emotions like anger,
disappointments, hate, greed, jealously, pain
rejection etc.
147
106Is pain real? How does one face it? Is the experience
happening to the body or soul?
147
107Disappointment is the most difficult one to handle?
How to avoid this?
148
108It is really possible to live without expectations Won’t that amount to being withdraw and fatalistic? 148
109people want to be independent in their lives? Comment.149
110How to handle anger? 150
111How do you stop yourself from losing your temper
and being rude to people? Many a time I regret it later.
152
112Concentration seems to be elusive?
How to be more focused?
152
113Are there any special ways to calm the mind?? 154
114Can the body be conditioned for spiritual upliftment? 156
Saiva Siddhantam with relevance
to the changing world
158
115There is so much of materialism and consumerism
in today’s world? How can the right balance between
material needs and spiritual be achieved?
158
116Is material success alone man indication of achievement ? 159
117Define contentment as explained by the wise? 160
118Is it possible not to be swept away by the changes that
we are facing today? How can change be managed ?
161
119A great deal is being spoken about “Human resources Development” HRD what is the relevance of Saiva Siddhantam to HRD? 162
120How important are moral values in one’s life? 164
121What is the worst form of poverty? 165
122Superstitions & Blind Faith versus fearlessness &
True Devotion Comment
166
123How to be equipoised in the ever changing
flow of events?
167
Incisiveness of Saiva Siddhantam 168
124Does Saiva Siddhantam accept the paths followed by other
Indian system other religions in different countries
Does it look down upon them as lesser means?
168
125Saivam appears very logical simple and applicable
Why is it freely available to one and all?
169

Saiva Siddhantam (An Inclusive Philosophy For Today’s World of Infinite Choices)

Item Code:
IHE080
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2007
Publisher:
Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan
Size:
8.3” X 5.3”
Pages:
200 (10 B/W Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 245 gms
Price:
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Back of the Book

“Saiva Siddhanta philosophy is the choicest product of the Dravidian intellect. The Saiva Siddhanta system is the most elaborate influence and undoubtedly the most intrinsically valuable of all the religions of India.”

- Rev. Dr. G U Pope

‘Saiva Siddhanta represents the high watermark of Indian thought and Indian Life.”

-Rev. W Gaudie

Saiva Siddhanta is an evolved philosophy having its roots in the ancient Tamil Saiva traditions. Having a theoretical framework that is complete and without any internal contradictions it is a living system practiced even being totally relevant to the modern of reliable infinite choices.

Saiva Siddhantam talks of three eternal entities God – The all knowing souls capable of knowing and matter incapable of knowing.

Swami Vivekananda observes :

“As long as we have body and mind we always see this triune being: God Nature and Soul. There must always be the three in one inseparable.”

Saiva Siddhantam covers the whole gamut of logic, self enquiry, theology, spiritual experience devotion and the practice.

This book attempts to take a person on an intellectual journey from the first principles to the final conclusion.

The front cover is adorned by a divine bronze depicting the lord as Pasupati, meaning protector of all souls. It symbolizes the lord’s Compassion – Grace that forms the basis of the doctrine of Saiva Siddhantam.

About the Author

Dr. Neela Venkatachalam is an ardent practitioner of Saiva Siddhantam philosophy. She has researched the subject comparing it with philosophies of the east, west both traditional and modern. She teaches Saiva Siddhantam at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Cultural Centre, Coimbatore Kendra

Preface
by Dr. B.K. Sri Krishnaraj Vanavarayar

Chairman
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore Kendra

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Being a very comprehensive religion with diverse creeds many unique philosophies have sprung form this. Among these Saiva Siddhanta philosophy is the pinnacle of the Dravidian intellect with its doctrines available in Tamil which again is one of the primary languages in the world.

Sir John Marshall, under whom the excavations of the Sindh valley were conducted said: “Among the many revelations that Mohenjodaro and Harappa have had in store for us none perhaps is more remarkable than the discovery that Saivism has a history going back to the Chalcolithic age or perhaps even further still and that it thus takes its places as the most ancient living faith in the world.”

It is interesting to note the stand taken by Saiva Siddhantam. The system takes a universal view of the various theories proposed regarding God soul and the world and views it dispassionately. It does not condemn or attack any faith or belief.

Instead by method of reasoning and enquiry it analyses the proposed postulates and starts building from there. It accepts gracefully that different people have different needs and therefore each one of the faiths has its unique place.

There is an interesting anecdote that is recorded in Swami Vivekananda’s life. Swami Vivekananda after his brilliant speech at Chicago returned to Madras and was received in a very grand manner by the king of Ramanathapuram. Many scholars and philosophers met him. A renowned Saiva Siddhanta scholar had the opportunity to interact with Swami and briefed him about the basic concept of the philosophy which identifies the 3 entities namely the one that is always enlightened God the one which has the potential to be enlightened soul and that which can never be enlightened matter or world. Swami Vivekananda is said to have been impressed by this brilliant explanation and regretted for not having known it until then.

One wonders why such an ancient system is not widespread as it should be. Although there are many translations available in English they are quite difficult to apprehend as it is meant for scholars. It is with this view that this book is being published by the Bhavan to make the system available freely to the modern world.

Dr. Neela Venkatachalam a medical doctor has researched philosophies of both east and west. Due to her family background she has had an opportunity to study Saiva Siddhantam in depth and also practice it. She has presented this book in a very simple manner using the question and answer format to give an introduction about Saiva Siddhantam. This book hopes to evoke interest about the philosophy and its application in your minds.

Introduction

Saiva Siddhantam Philosophy is a way of life

What is philosophy? It is the pursuit of truth. The quest to know the real purpose of life – to ask a thousand question and think about what is absolute. Saiva Siddhantam is not an dogmatic philosophy which dictates a set of rules regulations or rituals. Neither does it denounce any religion belief or faith. In fact to be a student all you have to possess is a thirst for truth and intent to live it. Truth cannot be different for each continent race or creed. The Truth the same and has to be relevant and applicable universally for all times.

Do we have to accept a system just because it is old do we have to reject a system blindly just because it is new? Well this is the opening statement made by one of the saints who made these scriptures nearly 800 years ago. He notes that knowledge should not have any restrictions or limitations. He says you accept everything that enhance true knowledge irrespective of whether it is old new or belonging to other systems of thinking. They practiced “Religious Acceptance” not just religions tolerance. Every system of though was analyzed and studied in depth.

Further to that they accepted every religious faith as a path to the Divine and even declared that is the Lord who places people wherever they will evolve best.

They encouraged the students to ask questions to think to feel and then accept.

Saiva Siddhanta is based fundamentally on Universal Love:

- God’s love for all souls

- The soul’s recognition of it and reciprocating it.

- The ability to see the Divine in every soul

You feel true love for a person only when you understand him thoroughly which may take a few days months or many years.

So we are pursuing this study not to know a few technical words or concepts that will gratify the intellect but to actually know love and serve the Lord and humanity.

Knowledge without devotion is empty and blind faith without truth is shallow. Knowledge enhances Bhakti (Devotion) and true devotion is pure love.

Therefore Saiva Siddhantam is an attitude to life the way you think feel and act.

Let us ask ourselves some questions :

- Is there god? If so what is He/she? Is it one or many? What are its Qualities?

- The world that we see around is anything but order. Is it true that there is no order in the Universe? Is everything going towards destruction?

- Is this world Permanent? What existed a billion years ago? What will remain later?

- Who am I? Am I the Body? Am I bounded by time and space? Was the soul created?

- Was the world created/ if so by whom with what?

- Is the soul different from the Lord?

- What is preventing the soul from true understanding?

- What is the bondage?

- Is there true liberation?

- Who will lead me to it?

- Is everything happening in my life because of mere luck or chance?

- Is there a pattern purpose and goal to life?

Now that we have started the thinking process let’s actually get into the subject. A brief history of Saivism will help us understand the background of this school of thought.

History of Saivism

Saivism is the oldest living philosophical system. It is a complete system that is built on 4 pillars namely.

1. Philosophy 2. Theology 3. Practice 4. Study of the lives of the saints, sages, mystic poets and devotes.

The origin of Saivism cannot be traced because it was not founded by any one person in particular.

The oldest documentation that can be traced is from the excavations of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa.(3000BC)

The form of the lingam Nandhi the bull and mention about a supreme Godhead called Siva (Sadurtha) appears in the inscriptions and seals of the Indus vally.

Even today in many parts of the worlds they are excavating ruins which had the lingam form of worship. Saivism is seen in my many parts of India, Sri Lanka, and other South-East Asian countries in its varied forms.

In India worship of Siva is traced back to the Vedas – more so as ‘Rudra’ and that concept is prevalent throughout the country.

Saivism is seen in its various forms Siddhanta Saivam in Tamil Nadu, Kashmiri Saivism in Kashmir in Karnataka as the Lingayat movement and as a widespread cult in North India.

All these systems have a very strong bhakti culture backed by philosophy. The role of saints and the devotional literature in their native languages has contributed to the completeness of this system in their respective territories.

Saivism in Tamil Nadu

The oldest text on Tamil grammar the Tholkappiam written 2000 years ago speaks of certain aspects of the philosophy of Saivism. There are many references to Siva in the Sangam Literature, which is also of the same period. The lady saint Karakalammai’s poems of that period are included under Saiva Thirumurai. Saint Thirumoolar’s Thirumandhiram is also the essence of Saiva Agamas.

The 2nd and 3rd centuries were dominated by the Jains and the Buddhist who had the rulers accept their religion. Tamil literature did blossom in this period Epics like Silapadigaram were composed by poets who invariably belonged to the above sects and it was always only a social that was promoted. There was not much emphasis laid on divinity.

When the land his purchased and dry the showers of blessing will come. Thus came the Nalvar the four saints between the 7th and 9th centuries namely Thirugnana Sambandar, Appar Sundarar and Manickavasagar whose outpouring the devotional hymns called the varams changed the outlook of the distracted dejected people. The works extolled Siva as the Supreme God head and personal God who was compassion personified.

The saints known as ‘Nayamars’s’ laid the foundation for the Bhakti movement of Saivism and traveled by foot to every village and made worship of the supreme possible even to the common man. They laid emphasis on unconditional surrender and limitless love as the ultimate path. It would no be an exaggeration to say it was them that brought the devotee and Lord together irrespective of caste and gender. Their contribution to Tamil and Saivism is unparalleled and it is the very core on which the Saiva Siddhanta philosophy was built a few centuries later.

The Alwars who propagated Vaishnavan having Vishnu as the Supreme godhead also were of the same period. Their hymns bear the same spirit as that of the Nayamars.

The 9th and the 10th centuries saw the Great Chola Empire in its glory and splendour. These kings patronized the bhakthi movement and it was in this grand era the most beautiful temples of South India were constructed Arts like Chola Bronze, painting stone sculpture music and dance flourished under the kings patronage and temple worship attained its pinnacle.

Thevaram the collection of divine poems was discovered and complied by the efforts of the Raja Raja Chola I who has left his imprint in the sands of time by his daring vision and accomplishment of the construction of the Brahadeeswara Temple Tanjore which is the most magnificent temple of all times.

In the 13th century Meikandar the child who had professed the doctrine of the Saiva Siddhanta at the tender age of two consolidated the principles that from the back bone of his philosophy. It is interesting to note that although many concepts are scattered throughout the Thevaramas it was he who formulated the theories about God the soul the world their relation to one another and the path to liberation. His work ‘Sivagnama Bodham’ contains 12 sutras which expounds the truth.

His discipline Arul nandhi Sivachariya expended the text as Siddiyar Maraignana Sambandar was third guru whose grace elevated Umapathi Sivam as the Fourth preceptor. There are 8 books written by Umapathi Sivam which is called as Saiva Siddahnta Attagam.

The uniqueness of the Saiva Siddhantam literature is that it lays down concepts which can be derived even today starting from the first principles. The in depth study of the original scriptures enrichen the mind and enhance one’s thinking.

It was to propagate the teaching of these great saints that several ‘Maddams’ came into existence Kancheepuram Thondai Mandala Aadheenam, thiruvavaduthurai Aadheenam, Dharmapuram Aadheenam are some of them.

The Santhana Aachariyas expounders of Saiva Siddhantam philosophy have a student lineage which stands until today. This is called the ‘Thiru Kaliya Paramparai.

The Samya Aachariyas – namely the Nalvar are revered as the gurus and there is no student lineage that is linked to them.

Saivism as it stands today is a living system in the field of Bhakti and philosophy. Many Worship the Lingam in the ancient temples even though they may not be aware of the philosophy behind it.

This book comes in the wake of a need

- The need for the Indian to know the richness of his heritage.

- To open the minds of genuine seekers and to give them an introduction to the treasure that are buried within.

- To after the wisdom of saints mystics and thinkers who have lived their lives in this manner and attained bliss.

- To emphasize the universality of the doctrine.

Awareness of Saiva Siddhantam

Saiva philosophy is not as well known as Vedanta even in India because of the linguistic barrier. India is such a vast country with so many different cultures, language, custom and religions. Sometimes the magnitude of this simply baffles the person who is trying to see it as one. Also the non availability of the scriptures in other languages poses a problem.

Most of the sacred literature is written in the respective mother tongue and is being preserved and cherished by a select group of people who live life accordingly. Not that they are unwilling to share it – it’s just that each one lives in his Bhavanam or mental sphere. There is no possibly of an outsider knowing the true spirit behind the system without getting immersed into it.

Today technology has made everything accessible to anyone who truly wishes it. It is the duty of erudite scholars to pass on these treasure houses knowledge to every genuine seeker who is thirsty for it.

Philosophy is general is thought to be studied only by the elderly or by some who use it as an escape from performing his duties. This is entirely untrue. It’s the youth who are in the prime age of performance and efficiency who should be exposed to philosophy because they are real applicable eternal principles.

Philosophy is meant to clear the cobwebs the cloud one’s intellect and to instill knowledge and compassion in one’s soul.

It expends the horizon of one’s reach and makes it possible to empathize with every living being not just sympathize or worse be indifferent.

The truth lives on….

The world as we perceive it today seems to be made up of multivarious elements. We are so immersed in our day-to-day lives that we are unable to see what constitutes it. Philosophy tries to unearth the common pattern and see life as a homogenous entity. Saiva Siddhantam goes a step beyond and after seeing the oneness goes on to resolve the uniqueness of each entity that forms the life experience.

Even a lay person with very little intellectual quest would acknowledge that there is a higher intelligence that is beyond the human mind which he calls God. Man with all his inconsistencies seems to be the other major intelligent entity heading the group of living things like animals birds plants etc. matter seems to be the third component that which is inert unintelligent and not capable of thinking or evolving.

Siddhantam identifies these three entities namely God soul and bond age. After establishing the existence of each entity it expounds their qualities. The entities are so intricately blended that they appear as one yet their qualities differ. In doing so the system delves deeper and deeper igniting reason and enquiry. Here we are about to begin the journey of actually discovering by a series of question and answers what who God is, his attribute and how he functions the truth about the soul that is apparently not the body the impermanence of the world and the bondage the prevents the soul from the understanding this.

The question explaining Saiva Siddhantam are grouped under 4 headings in part I.

1. Substantiating the existence of the entities.

2. Expending the special features of each.

3. Elaborating the path to liberation.

4. Exposition of the state of the liberated soul.

The general question are grouped under two classifications in Part II.

1. Practical questions based on daily life applications.

2. Saiva Siddhantam with relevance to the changing world.

Contents

Benediction 5
Preface 19
A Note from the Author 21
About Father Joseph Jaswanth Raj 26
Excerpts from the book Grace in Saiva Siddhantam &
Saint Paul by Father Joseph Jaswant Raj
27
The Place of the Siddhantam in the stream of Indian thought 28
Foreword 31
Appreciations 37
Introduction 41
Saiva Siddhantam Philosophy is a way of life 41
History of Saivism 43
Saivism in Tamil Nadu 44
Awareness of Saiva Siddhantam 47
Part I
Question and Answers Explaining
Saiva Siddhantam
Proof of Existence of three
district entities namely
God soul and bondage
53
1What is Saivism? 53
2What is Sivam? 53
3What Does the world Sivam mean? 54
4What are the eternal entities proposed by Saiva Siddhantam
are what is their relationship to one another?
54
5Can you explain the three entities? 55
6What is the basis of these postulates? 55
7Then is not the world part of God? Did not the souls come
from God?
57
8Does it mean that there are entities independent of God? 57
9Give an example to illustrate the concept? 58
Describing the nature of the
three entities
59
10What is the meaning of Sat? 59
11If something is not tangible does that mean it
does not exist ?
59
Methodology of learning
three entities
60
12How does learning take place? 60
13Western Philosophy places a lot of emphasis on self
reflection and self enquiry ?is this method used here?
62
Nature of Soul 63
14What is Chit? Is there only one Chit? 63
15Differentiate between inert material world and the soul
there is movement in the pancha boothas> does it mean
they have life force?
65
16Explain the nature of the soul – pasu 67
17What is Anandam – Bliss? Does not the soul have inherent
bliss Explain
68
Nature of God 68
18What are the three important qualities of Sivam? 68
19What is the relationship of God to the world and the soul? 69
20Explain the different aspects of Sivam? 70
21What is the meaning of Sivam and Sakthi? Is it the female
or male energy. Do they differ from one another?
71
22Is Sivam devoid of qualities? Do the three gunams affect Him? 72
23What is the meant by Supreme Godhead Personal God etc
Are they one? Is there only one God?
72
24What is the meant by Pathi in this place? What is Panchakrityam? 73
Functions of God 74
25Most of the systems talk only about three functions
Explain
74
26What is the meant by obscuration and revelation? 75
27Does God perform these directly? Who are these
Gods which are mentioned in the puranas
as Brahma Vishnu and Rudra
75
28Does that meant people cannot see the Grace of the Lord
because he is withholding it. That sounds so cruel?
76
29Creation and protection is easy to understand but
dissolution is more painful to accept
78
30You speak as if death is freedom from worries. Is
death the end of it all? What do you mean by death?
78
31why do say that the soul is not inherently pure? 79
Nature of bondage – Ignorance 80
32Explain in Aanavam 80
33What is this ignorance we are talking about? 80
34Is Aanavam the quality of the soul? 81
35Was aanavam created? When did it come and get
attached to the pasu?
81
36What is the aanavam and soul coexisting called?
What was the plight of the soul at this level?
82
37What happens then?83
38What is the purpose of adding on two more bondages to
relieve the first one – namely mayai and kanmam to
remove aanavam
84
39Explain the term pasam and why is it called so? 84
Nature of Mayai 86
40What exactly is Mayai? What are its manifestations? 86
41Did the soul take the body of a human immediately? 87
42Give the classification of mayai ? 87
43Explain Atma Thathuvam? 88
44What are the Antha Karanas ? 90
45What is the Vidya Thathuvam? 90
46Explain Sudda Mayai ? 92
47How do the Thathuvams form the different Sareeram’s? 93
48Does that mean Mayai is actually helping us?
Is it not an illusion?
94
Relation of the soul to the thathuvam 95
49define the soul in relationship to other
Philosophical systems?
95
50What are the 3 gunams? How to do they affect the soul? 96
51Explain how the thathuvams collaborate to make the soul
understand in wakeful stage?
97
52What happens when the soul sleeps? 98
53Does the soul gain knowledge during sleep? 98
Nature of Kanmam 98
54When does the soul acquire the drive to act? 98
55What is the basis of the Kanmam theory ? 99
56What are the effects of good and bad deeds? 99
57What are the 3 types of vinai and how do they
form the basis of the cycle of births and deaths ?
100
58Will not one good deed cancel the effect of a bad
deed? Is there any other way of neutralizing it ?
101
59Why do good people suffer? Why is there so much of
variation seen in the world?
102
60Does someone reap all the effects of his Kanmam
only in his next birth?
103
61Does kanmam come and attach itself to the soul on its
own accord? Does the soul freedom to choose
whatever it wishes?
103
62Who then is doing this? 103
63What are the three channels by which the soul
experiences the effect of its kanmam in this birth?
104
The path that has to be pursued
to attain liberation
105
64How can this cycle of birth and death be broken? 105
65What happens when a soul yearns for liberation? 106
Role pf the Guru 107
66Who is the Guru? 107
67What is the role of the guru in attaining liberation?
Is he guide a mentor or just a sign post to be used?
108
68What do you mean by knowledge or Gtnanam?
Is it mastery of the scriptures ?
110
69What is the meant by Upadesam? 110
Effect of the malams 111
70How do the three malas aanavam kanmam and
mayai hinder soul’s progress?
111
71When does the effect of the malas start thawing?
Explain that state
112
72What happens to the power of the malams now? 112
73What is liberation ? 113
74What happens to thathuvams in the Sudda state ? 115
Practice to be adopted 115
75How can one become eligible for liberation? 115
76Why the insistence on temples? If the Lord is present
everywhere where is the need to search for God in a temple?
116
Significance of temples 117
77Explain the subtleties of temple worship according to Saiva Siddhantam philosophy 117
78Explain the basic structure of a temple 118
79what are the various forms of the Lord? 120
80Does the Sivalingam have a form or is it formless? 121
81Trace the origin of the Lingam form of worship 121
82What is the Significant of Sivaligam? 122
83What is the role of pilgrimage in a devotee’s life? 123
84why do people undertake certain pilgrimages with lot of
physical endurance and hardship’s does it make them wiser?
124
85What keeps philosophy alive and real? 125
86Why do people undertake fasting on certain religions
occasions? Is it necessary to subject oneself to such hardship?
126
87If the Lord is Satchidanandam one and formless -
why do we worship so many deities??
127
The cosmic Dance of Nataraja 128
88What does the cosmic dance of Nataraja mean? 128
89What are the different dances that are explained
exclusively in Saiva Siddhantam ?
130
90What is the significance of OM in relationship
to Nataraja ?
131
91What is Panchaksharam ? 132
92Explain the three states of the soul using Panchaksharam? 134
Different paths to be followed 135
93Can you explain w
margams – pathways to experience God?
135
94What are the various practice that can be undertaken? 136
95what is Gnanam ? How does become eligible for it? 137
What one gains out of practice
State of a liberated person
138
96What is the State of a muktha or a
liberated person?
138
97Does a liberated person run away from the
world discarding his duties ?
138
98Does one have to be a sadhu to pursue the spiritual path?
Is it not possible for a householder to live the
Saiva way ?
138
99Is Saivam only for personal upliftment? How does the
elevated soul participate in the enrichment of humanity?
139
100What will be the attitude and behavior of a
liberated person if he is amidst us now?
how will it benefit us ?
140
101Is these days of self proclaimed sadhus how do we distinguish the imposter ? 140
Relevance of symbols 141
102why do people wear the different symbols like
Vibuthi (holy ash) and Rudraksahm (beads)?
141
103Is feeding the poor considered more holy than feeding
devotees? Similarly what is the stand regarding
construction of hospital and providing health care in
comparison to building and maintaining temples
142
104People always pray for something? Is that the worship we are talking about here? 143
105What does the word “Home” mean ? Can you
explain it in a philosophical perspective?
144
Part II
Practical questions based on
daily life situations
Handling of emotions like anger,
disappointments, hate, greed, jealously, pain
rejection etc.
147
106Is pain real? How does one face it? Is the experience
happening to the body or soul?
147
107Disappointment is the most difficult one to handle?
How to avoid this?
148
108It is really possible to live without expectations Won’t that amount to being withdraw and fatalistic? 148
109people want to be independent in their lives? Comment.149
110How to handle anger? 150
111How do you stop yourself from losing your temper
and being rude to people? Many a time I regret it later.
152
112Concentration seems to be elusive?
How to be more focused?
152
113Are there any special ways to calm the mind?? 154
114Can the body be conditioned for spiritual upliftment? 156
Saiva Siddhantam with relevance
to the changing world
158
115There is so much of materialism and consumerism
in today’s world? How can the right balance between
material needs and spiritual be achieved?
158
116Is material success alone man indication of achievement ? 159
117Define contentment as explained by the wise? 160
118Is it possible not to be swept away by the changes that
we are facing today? How can change be managed ?
161
119A great deal is being spoken about “Human resources Development” HRD what is the relevance of Saiva Siddhantam to HRD? 162
120How important are moral values in one’s life? 164
121What is the worst form of poverty? 165
122Superstitions & Blind Faith versus fearlessness &
True Devotion Comment
166
123How to be equipoised in the ever changing
flow of events?
167
Incisiveness of Saiva Siddhantam 168
124Does Saiva Siddhantam accept the paths followed by other
Indian system other religions in different countries
Does it look down upon them as lesser means?
168
125Saivam appears very logical simple and applicable
Why is it freely available to one and all?
169
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